Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Reprinted Pieces by Charles Dickens

Part 2 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

coachmen to madness; but they fell harmless upon us within and
disturbed not the serenity of our peaceful retreat. As I looked
upward, I felt, I should imagine, like the Astronomer Royal. I was
enchanted by the contrast between the freezing nature of our
external mission on the blood of the populace, and the perfect
composure reigning within those sacred precincts: where His
Majesty, reclining easily on his left arm, smoked his pipe and
drank his rum-and-water from his own side of the tumbler, which
stood impartially between us. As I looked down from the clouds and
caught his royal eye, he understood my reflections. 'I have an
idea,' he observed, with an upward glance, 'of training scarlet
runners across in the season, - making a arbour of it, - and
sometimes taking tea in the same, according to the song.'

I nodded approval.

'And here you repose and think?' said I.

'And think,' said he, 'of posters - walls - and hoardings.'

We were both silent, contemplating the vastness of the subject. I
remembered a surprising fancy of dear THOMAS HOOD'S, and wondered
whether this monarch ever sighed to repair to the great wall of
China, and stick bills all over it.

'And so,' said he, rousing himself, 'it's facts as you collect?'

'Facts,' said I.

'The facts of bill-sticking,' pursued His Majesty, in a benignant
manner, 'as known to myself, air as following. When my father was
Engineer, Beadle, and Bill-Sticker to the parish of St. Andrew's,
Holborn, he employed women to post bills for him. He employed
women to post bills at the time of the riots of London. He died at
the age of seventy-five year, and was buried by the murdered Eliza
Grimwood, over in the Waterloo Road.'

As this was somewhat in the nature of a royal speech, I listened
with deference and silently. His Majesty, taking a scroll from his
pocket, proceeded, with great distinctness, to pour out the
following flood of information:-

'"The bills being at that period mostly proclamations and
declarations, and which were only a demy size, the manner of
posting the bills (as they did not use brushes) was by means of a
piece of wood which they called a 'dabber.' Thus things continued
till such time as the State Lottery was passed, and then the
printers began to print larger bills, and men were employed instead
of women, as the State Lottery Commissioners then began to send men
all over England to post bills, and would keep them out for six or
eight months at a time, and they were called by the London bill-
stickers 'TRAMPERS,' their wages at the time being ten shillings
per day, besides expenses. They used sometimes to be stationed in
large towns for five or six months together, distributing the
schemes to all the houses in the town. And then there were more
caricature wood-block engravings for posting-bills than there are
at the present time, the principal printers, at that time, of
posting-bills being Messrs. Evans and Ruffy, of Budge Row;
Thoroughgood and Whiting, of the present day; and Messrs. Gye and
Balne, Gracechurch Street, City. The largest bills printed at that
period were a two-sheet double crown; and when they commenced
printing four-sheet bills, two bill-stickers would work together.
They had no settled wages per week, but had a fixed price for their
work, and the London bill-stickers, during a lottery week, have
been known to earn, each, eight or nine pounds per week, till the
day of drawing; likewise the men who carried boards in the street
used to have one pound per week, and the bill-stickers at that time
would not allow any one to wilfully cover or destroy their bills,
as they had a society amongst themselves, and very frequently dined
together at some public-house where they used to go of an evening
to have their work delivered out untoe 'em."'

All this His Majesty delivered in a gallant manner; posting it, as
it were, before me, in a great proclamation. I took advantage of
the pause he now made, to inquire what a 'two-sheet double crown'
might express?

'A two-sheet double crown,' replied the King, 'is a bill thirty-
nine inches wide by thirty inches high.'

'Is it possible,' said I, my mind reverting to the gigantic
admonitions we were then displaying to the multitude - which were
as infants to some of the posting-bills on the rotten old warehouse
- 'that some few years ago the largest bill was no larger than

'The fact,' returned the King, 'is undoubtedly so.' Here he
instantly rushed again into the scroll.

'"Since the abolishing of the State Lottery all that good feeling
has gone, and nothing but jealousy exists, through the rivalry of
each other. Several bill-sticking companies have started, but have
failed. The first party that started a company was twelve year
ago; but what was left of the old school and their dependants
joined together and opposed them. And for some time we were quiet
again, till a printer of Hatton Garden formed a company by hiring
the sides of houses; but he was not supported by the public, and he
left his wooden frames fixed up for rent. The last company that
started, took advantage of the New Police Act, and hired of Messrs.
Grissell and Peto the hoarding of Trafalgar Square, and established
a bill-sticking office in Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane, and
engaged some of the new bill-stickers to do their work, and for a
time got the half of all our work, and with such spirit did they
carry on their opposition towards us, that they used to give us in
charge before the magistrate, and get us fined; but they found it
so expensive, that they could not keep it up, for they were always
employing a lot of ruffians from the Seven Dials to come and fight
us; and on one occasion the old bill-stickers went to Trafalgar
Square to attempt to post bills, when they were given in custody by
the watchman in their employ, and fined at Queen Square five
pounds, as they would not allow any of us to speak in the office;
but when they were gone, we had an interview with the magistrate,
who mitigated the fine to fifteen shillings. During the time the
men were waiting for the fine, this company started off to a
public-house that we were in the habit of using, and waited for us
coming back, where a fighting scene took place that beggars
description. Shortly after this, the principal one day came and
shook hands with us, and acknowledged that he had broken up the
company, and that he himself had lost five hundred pound in trying
to overthrow us. We then took possession of the hoarding in
Trafalgar Square; but Messrs. Grissell and Peto would not allow us
to post our bills on the said hoarding without paying them - and
from first to last we paid upwards of two hundred pounds for that
hoarding, and likewise the hoarding of the Reform Club-house, Pall

His Majesty, being now completely out of breath, laid down his
scroll (which he appeared to have finished), puffed at his pipe,
and took some rum-and-water. I embraced the opportunity of asking
how many divisions the art and mystery of bill-sticking comprised?
He replied, three - auctioneers' bill-sticking, theatrical bill-
sticking, general bill-sticking.

'The auctioneers' porters,' said the King, 'who do their bill-
sticking, are mostly respectable and intelligent, and generally
well paid for their work, whether in town or country. The price
paid by the principal auctioneers for country work is nine
shillings per day; that is, seven shillings for day's work, one
shilling for lodging, and one for paste. Town work is five
shillings a day, including paste.'

'Town work must be rather hot work,' said I, 'if there be many of
those fighting scenes that beggar description, among the bill-

'Well,' replied the King, 'I an't a stranger, I assure you, to
black eyes; a bill-sticker ought to know how to handle his fists a
bit. As to that row I have mentioned, that grew out of
competition, conducted in an uncompromising spirit. Besides a man
in a horse-and-shay continually following us about, the company had
a watchman on duty, night and day, to prevent us sticking bills
upon the hoarding in Trafalgar Square. We went there, early one
morning, to stick bills and to black-wash their bills if we were
interfered with. We WERE interfered with, and I gave the word for
laying on the wash. It WAS laid on - pretty brisk - and we were
all taken to Queen Square: but they couldn't fine ME. I knew
that,' - with a bright smile - 'I'd only give directions - I was
only the General.' Charmed with this monarch's affability, I
inquired if he had ever hired a hoarding himself.

'Hired a large one,' he replied, 'opposite the Lyceum Theatre, when
the buildings was there. Paid thirty pound for it; let out places
on it, and called it "The External Paper-Hanging Station." But it
didn't answer. Ah!' said His Majesty thoughtfully, as he filled
the glass, 'Bill-stickers have a deal to contend with. The bill-
sticking clause was got into the Police Act by a member of
Parliament that employed me at his election. The clause is pretty
stiff respecting where bills go; but HE didn't mind where HIS bills
went. It was all right enough, so long as they was HIS bills!'

Fearful that I observed a shadow of misanthropy on the King's
cheerful face, I asked whose ingenious invention that was, which I
greatly admired, of sticking bills under the arches of the bridges.

'Mine!' said His Majesty. 'I was the first that ever stuck a bill
under a bridge! Imitators soon rose up, of course. - When don't
they? But they stuck 'em at low-water, and the tide came and swept
the bills clean away. I knew that!' The King laughed.

'What may be the name of that instrument, like an immense fishing-
rod,' I inquired, 'with which bills are posted on high places?'

'The joints,' returned His Majesty. 'Now, we use the joints where
formerly we used ladders - as they do still in country places.
Once, when Madame' (Vestris, understood) 'was playing in Liverpool,
another bill-sticker and me were at it together on the wall outside
the Clarence Dock - me with the joints - him on a ladder. Lord! I
had my bill up, right over his head, yards above him, ladder and
all, while he was crawling to his work. The people going in and
out of the docks, stood and laughed! - It's about thirty years
since the joints come in.'

'Are there any bill-stickers who can't read?' I took the liberty of

'Some,' said the King. 'But they know which is the right side
up'ards of their work. They keep it as it's given out to 'em. I
have seen a bill or so stuck wrong side up'ards. But it's very

Our discourse sustained some interruption at this point, by the
procession of cars occasioning a stoppage of about three-quarters
of a mile in length, as nearly as I could judge. His Majesty,
however, entreating me not to be discomposed by the contingent
uproar, smoked with great placidity, and surveyed the firmament.

When we were again in motion, I begged to be informed what was the
largest poster His Majesty had ever seen. The King replied, 'A
thirty-six sheet poster.' I gathered, also, that there were about
a hundred and fifty bill-stickers in London, and that His Majesty
considered an average hand equal to the posting of one hundred
bills (single sheets) in a day. The King was of opinion, that,
although posters had much increased in size, they had not increased
in number; as the abolition of the State Lotteries had occasioned a
great falling off, especially in the country. Over and above which
change, I bethought myself that the custom of advertising in
newspapers had greatly increased. The completion of many London
improvements, as Trafalgar Square (I particularly observed the
singularity of His Majesty's calling THAT an improvement), the
Royal Exchange, &c., had of late years reduced the number of
advantageous posting-places. Bill-Stickers at present rather
confine themselves to districts, than to particular descriptions of
work. One man would strike over Whitechapel, another would take
round Houndsditch, Shoreditch, and the City Road; one (the King
said) would stick to the Surrey side; another would make a beat of
the West-end.

His Majesty remarked, with some approach to severity, on the
neglect of delicacy and taste, gradually introduced into the trade
by the new school: a profligate and inferior race of impostors who
took jobs at almost any price, to the detriment of the old school,
and the confusion of their own misguided employers. He considered
that the trade was overdone with competition, and observed speaking
of his subjects, 'There are too many of 'em.' He believed, still,
that things were a little better than they had been; adducing, as a
proof, the fact that particular posting places were now reserved,
by common consent, for particular posters; those places, however,
must be regularly occupied by those posters, or, they lapsed and
fell into other hands. It was of no use giving a man a Drury Lane
bill this week and not next. Where was it to go? He was of
opinion that going to the expense of putting up your own board on
which your sticker could display your own bills, was the only
complete way of posting yourself at the present time; but, even to
effect this, on payment of a shilling a week to the keepers of
steamboat piers and other such places, you must be able, besides,
to give orders for theatres and public exhibitions, or you would be
sure to be cut out by somebody. His Majesty regarded the passion
for orders, as one of the most unappeasable appetites of human
nature. If there were a building, or if there were repairs, going
on, anywhere, you could generally stand something and make it right
with the foreman of the works; but, orders would be expected from
you, and the man who could give the most orders was the man who
would come off best. There was this other objectionable point, in
orders, that workmen sold them for drink, and often sold them to
persons who were likewise troubled with the weakness of thirst:
which led (His Majesty said) to the presentation of your orders at
Theatre doors, by individuals who were 'too shakery' to derive
intellectual profit from the entertainments, and who brought a
scandal on you. Finally, His Majesty said that you could hardly
put too little in a poster; what you wanted, was, two or three good
catch-lines for the eye to rest on - then, leave it alone - and
there you were!

These are the minutes of my conversation with His Majesty, as I
noted them down shortly afterwards. I am not aware that I have
been betrayed into any alteration or suppression. The manner of
the King was frank in the extreme; and he seemed to me to avoid, at
once that slight tendency to repetition which may have been
observed in the conversation of His Majesty King George the Third,
and - that slight under-current of egotism which the curious
observer may perhaps detect in the conversation of Napoleon

I must do the King the justice to say that it was I, and not he,
who closed the dialogue. At this juncture, I became the subject of
a remarkable optical delusion; the legs of my stool appeared to me
to double up; the car to spin round and round with great violence;
and a mist to arise between myself and His Majesty. In addition to
these sensations, I felt extremely unwell. I refer these
unpleasant effects, either to the paste with which the posters were
affixed to the van: which may have contained some small portion of
arsenic; or, to the printer's ink, which may have contained some
equally deleterious ingredient. Of this, I cannot be sure. I am
only sure that I was not affected, either by the smoke, or the rum-
and-water. I was assisted out of the vehicle, in a state of mind
which I have only experienced in two other places - I allude to the
Pier at Dover, and to the corresponding portion of the town of
Calais - and sat upon a door-step until I recovered. The
procession had then disappeared. I have since looked anxiously for
the King in several other cars, but I have not yet had the
happiness of seeing His Majesty.


MY name is Meek. I am, in fact, Mr. Meek. That son is mine and
Mrs. Meek's. When I saw the announcement in the Times, I dropped
the paper. I had put it in, myself, and paid for it, but it looked
so noble that it overpowered me.

As soon as I could compose my feelings, I took the paper up to Mrs.
Meek's bedside. 'Maria Jane,' said I (I allude to Mrs. Meek), 'you
are now a public character.' We read the review of our child,
several times, with feelings of the strongest emotion; and I sent
the boy who cleans the boots and shoes, to the office for fifteen
copies. No reduction was made on taking that quantity.

It is scarcely necessary for me to say, that our child had been
expected. In fact, it had been expected, with comparative
confidence, for some months. Mrs. Meek's mother, who resides with
us - of the name of Bigby - had made every preparation for its
admission to our circle.

I hope and believe I am a quiet man. I will go farther. I KNOW I
am a quiet man. My constitution is tremulous, my voice was never
loud, and, in point of stature, I have been from infancy, small. I
have the greatest respect for Maria Jane's Mama. She is a most
remarkable woman. I honour Maria Jane's Mama. In my opinion she
would storm a town, single-handed, with a hearth-broom, and carry
it. I have never known her to yield any point whatever, to mortal
man. She is calculated to terrify the stoutest heart.

Still - but I will not anticipate.

The first intimation I had, of any preparations being in progress,
on the part of Maria Jane's Mama, was one afternoon, several months
ago. I came home earlier than usual from the office, and,
proceeding into the dining-room, found an obstruction behind the
door, which prevented it from opening freely. It was an
obstruction of a soft nature. On looking in, I found it to be a

The female in question stood in the corner behind the door,
consuming Sherry Wine. From the nutty smell of that beverage
pervading the apartment, I have no doubt she was consuming a second
glassful. She wore a black bonnet of large dimensions, and was
copious in figure. The expression of her countenance was severe
and discontented. The words to which she gave utterance on seeing
me, were these, 'Oh, git along with you, Sir, if YOU please; me and
Mrs. Bigby don't want no male parties here!'

That female was Mrs. Prodgit.

I immediately withdrew, of course. I was rather hurt, but I made
no remark. Whether it was that I showed a lowness of spirits after
dinner, in consequence of feeling that I seemed to intrude, I
cannot say. But, Maria Jane's Mama said to me on her retiring for
the night: in a low distinct voice, and with a look of reproach
that completely subdued me: 'George Meek, Mrs. Prodgit is your
wife's nurse!'

I bear no ill-will towards Mrs. Prodgit. Is it likely that I,
writing this with tears in my eyes, should be capable of deliberate
animosity towards a female, so essential to the welfare of Maria
Jane? I am willing to admit that Fate may have been to blame, and
not Mrs. Prodgit; but, it is undeniably true, that the latter
female brought desolation and devastation into my lowly dwelling.

We were happy after her first appearance; we were sometimes
exceedingly so. But, whenever the parlour door was opened, and
'Mrs. Prodgit!' announced (and she was very often announced),
misery ensued. I could not bear Mrs. Prodgit's look. I felt that
I was far from wanted, and had no business to exist in Mrs.
Prodgit's presence. Between Maria Jane's Mama, and Mrs. Prodgit,
there was a dreadful, secret, understanding - a dark mystery and
conspiracy, pointing me out as a being to be shunned. I appeared
to have done something that was evil. Whenever Mrs. Prodgit
called, after dinner, I retired to my dressing-room - where the
temperature is very low indeed, in the wintry time of the year -
and sat looking at my frosty breath as it rose before me, and at my
rack of boots; a serviceable article of furniture, but never, in my
opinion, an exhilarating object. The length of the councils that
were held with Mrs. Prodgit, under these circumstances, I will not
attempt to describe. I will merely remark, that Mrs. Prodgit
always consumed Sherry Wine while the deliberations were in
progress; that they always ended in Maria Jane's being in wretched
spirits on the sofa; and that Maria Jane's Mama always received me,
when I was recalled, with a look of desolate triumph that too
plainly said, 'NOW, George Meek! You see my child, Maria Jane, a
ruin, and I hope you are satisfied!'

I pass, generally, over the period that intervened between the day
when Mrs. Prodgit entered her protest against male parties, and the
ever-memorable midnight when I brought her to my unobtrusive home
in a cab, with an extremely large box on the roof, and a bundle, a
bandbox, and a basket, between the driver's legs. I have no
objection to Mrs. Prodgit (aided and abetted by Mrs. Bigby, who I
never can forget is the parent of Maria Jane) taking entire
possession of my unassuming establishment. In the recesses of my
own breast, the thought may linger that a man in possession cannot
be so dreadful as a woman, and that woman Mrs. Prodgit; but, I
ought to bear a good deal, and I hope I can, and do. Huffing and
snubbing, prey upon my feelings; but, I can bear them without
complaint. They may tell in the long run; I may be hustled about,
from post to pillar, beyond my strength; nevertheless, I wish to
avoid giving rise to words in the family.

The voice of Nature, however, cries aloud in behalf of Augustus
George, my infant son. It is for him that I wish to utter a few
plaintive household words. I am not at all angry; I am mild - but

I wish to know why, when my child, Augustus George, was expected in
our circle, a provision of pins was made, as if the little stranger
were a criminal who was to be put to the torture immediately, on
his arrival, instead of a holy babe? I wish to know why haste was
made to stick those pins all over his innocent form, in every
direction? I wish to be informed why light and air are excluded
from Augustus George, like poisons? Why, I ask, is my unoffending
infant so hedged into a basket-bedstead, with dimity and calico,
with miniature sheets and blankets, that I can only hear him
snuffle (and no wonder!) deep down under the pink hood of a little
bathing-machine, and can never peruse even so much of his
lineaments as his nose?

Was I expected to be the father of a French Roll, that the brushes
of All Nations were laid in, to rasp Augustus George? Am I to be
told that his sensitive skin was ever intended by Nature to have
rashes brought out upon it, by the premature and incessant use of
those formidable little instruments?

Is my son a Nutmeg, that he is to be grated on the stiff edges of
sharp frills? Am I the parent of a Muslin boy, that his yielding
surface is to be crimped and small plaited? Or is my child
composed of Paper or of Linen, that impressions of the finer
getting-up art, practised by the laundress, are to be printed off,
all over his soft arms and legs, as I constantly observe them? The
starch enters his soul; who can wonder that he cries?

Was Augustus George intended to have limbs, or to be born a Torso?
I presume that limbs were the intention, as they are the usual
practice. Then, why are my poor child's limbs fettered and tied
up? Am I to be told that there is any analogy between Augustus
George Meek and Jack Sheppard?

Analyse Castor Oil at any Institution of Chemistry that may be
agreed upon, and inform me what resemblance, in taste, it bears to
that natural provision which it is at once the pride and duty of
Maria Jane to administer to Augustus George! Yet, I charge Mrs.
Prodgit (aided and abetted by Mrs. Bigby) with systematically
forcing Castor Oil on my innocent son, from the first hour of his
birth. When that medicine, in its efficient action, causes
internal disturbance to Augustus George, I charge Mrs. Prodgit
(aided and abetted by Mrs. Bigby) with insanely and inconsistently
administering opium to allay the storm she has raised! What is the
meaning of this?

If the days of Egyptian Mummies are past, how dare Mrs. Prodgit
require, for the use of my son, an amount of flannel and linen that
would carpet my humble roof? Do I wonder that she requires it?
No! This morning, within an hour, I beheld this agonising sight.
I beheld my son - Augustus George - in Mrs. Prodgit's hands, and on
Mrs. Prodgit's knee, being dressed. He was at the moment,
comparatively speaking, in a state of nature; having nothing on,
but an extremely short shirt, remarkably disproportionate to the
length of his usual outer garments. Trailing from Mrs. Prodgit's
lap, on the floor, was a long narrow roller or bandage - I should
say of several yards in extent. In this, I SAW Mrs. Prodgit
tightly roll the body of my unoffending infant, turning him over
and over, now presenting his unconscious face upwards, now the back
of his bald head, until the unnatural feat was accomplished, and
the bandage secured by a pin, which I have every reason to believe
entered the body of my only child. In this tourniquet, he passes
the present phase of his existence. Can I know it, and smile!

I fear I have been betrayed into expressing myself warmly, but I
feel deeply. Not for myself; for Augustus George. I dare not
interfere. Will any one? Will any publication? Any doctor? Any
parent? Any body? I do not complain that Mrs. Prodgit (aided and
abetted by Mrs. Bigby) entirely alienates Maria Jane's affections
from me, and interposes an impassable barrier between us. I do not
complain of being made of no account. I do not want to be of any
account. But, Augustus George is a production of Nature (I cannot
think otherwise), and I claim that he should be treated with some
remote reference to Nature. In my opinion, Mrs. Prodgit is, from
first to last, a convention and a superstition. Are all the
faculty afraid of Mrs. Prodgit? If not, why don't they take her in
hand and improve her?

P.S. Maria Jane's Mama boasts of her own knowledge of the subject,
and says she brought up seven children besides Maria Jane. But how
do I know that she might not have brought them up much better?
Maria Jane herself is far from strong, and is subject to headaches,
and nervous indigestion. Besides which, I learn from the
statistical tables that one child in five dies within the first
year of its life; and one child in three, within the fifth. That
don't look as if we could never improve in these particulars, I

P.P.S. Augustus George is in convulsions.


'MY uncle lay with his eyes half closed, and his nightcap drawn
almost down to his nose. His fancy was already wandering, and
began to mingle up the present scene with the crater of Vesuvius,
the French Opera, the Coliseum at Rome, Dolly's Chop-house in
London, and all the farrago of noted places with which the brain of
a traveller is crammed; in a word, he was just falling asleep.'

Thus, that delightful writer, WASHINGTON IRVING, in his Tales of a
Traveller. But, it happened to me the other night to be lying: not
with my eyes half closed, but with my eyes wide open; not with my
nightcap drawn almost down to my nose, for on sanitary principles I
never wear a nightcap: but with my hair pitchforked and touzled all
over the pillow; not just falling asleep by any means, but
glaringly, persistently, and obstinately, broad awake. Perhaps,
with no scientific intention or invention, I was illustrating the
theory of the Duality of the Brain; perhaps one part of my brain,
being wakeful, sat up to watch the other part which was sleepy. Be
that as it may, something in me was as desirous to go to sleep as
it possibly could be, but something else in me WOULD NOT go to
sleep, and was as obstinate as George the Third.

Thinking of George the Third - for I devote this paper to my train
of thoughts as I lay awake: most people lying awake sometimes, and
having some interest in the subject - put me in mind of BENJAMIN
FRANKLIN, and so Benjamin Franklin's paper on the art of procuring
pleasant dreams, which would seem necessarily to include the art of
going to sleep, came into my head. Now, as I often used to read
that paper when I was a very small boy, and as I recollect
everything I read then as perfectly as I forget everything I read
now, I quoted 'Get out of bed, beat up and turn your pillow, shake
the bed-clothes well with at least twenty shakes, then throw the
bed open and leave it to cool; in the meanwhile, continuing
undrest, walk about your chamber. When you begin to feel the cold
air unpleasant, then return to your bed, and you will soon fall
asleep, and your sleep will be sweet and pleasant.' Not a bit of
it! I performed the whole ceremony, and if it were possible for me
to be more saucer-eyed than I was before, that was the only result
that came of it.

Except Niagara. The two quotations from Washington Irving and
Benjamin Franklin may have put it in my head by an American
association of ideas; but there I was, and the Horse-shoe Fall was
thundering and tumbling in my eyes and ears, and the very rainbows
that I left upon the spray when I really did last look upon it,
were beautiful to see. The night-light being quite as plain,
however, and sleep seeming to be many thousand miles further off
than Niagara, I made up my mind to think a little about Sleep;
which I no sooner did than I whirled off in spite of myself to
Drury Lane Theatre, and there saw a great actor and dear friend of
mine (whom I had been thinking of in the day) playing Macbeth, and
heard him apostrophising 'the death of each day's life,' as I have
heard him many a time, in the days that are gone.

But, Sleep. I WILL think about Sleep. I am determined to think
(this is the way I went on) about Sleep. I must hold the word
Sleep, tight and fast, or I shall be off at a tangent in half a
second. I feel myself unaccountably straying, already, into Clare
Market. Sleep. It would be curious, as illustrating the equality
of sleep, to inquire how many of its phenomena are common to all
classes, to all degrees of wealth and poverty, to every grade of
education and ignorance. Here, for example, is her Majesty Queen
Victoria in her palace, this present blessed night, and here is
Winking Charley, a sturdy vagrant, in one of her Majesty's jails.
Her Majesty has fallen, many thousands of times, from that same
Tower, which I claim a right to tumble off now and then. So has
Winking Charley. Her Majesty in her sleep has opened or prorogued
Parliament, or has held a Drawing Room, attired in some very scanty
dress, the deficiencies and improprieties of which have caused her
great uneasiness. I, in my degree, have suffered unspeakable
agitation of mind from taking the chair at a public dinner at the
London Tavern in my night-clothes, which not all the courtesy of my
kind friend and host MR. BATHE could persuade me were quite adapted
to the occasion. Winking Charley has been repeatedly tried in a
worse condition. Her Majesty is no stranger to a vault or
firmament, of a sort of floorcloth, with an indistinct pattern
distantly resembling eyes, which occasionally obtrudes itself on
her repose. Neither am I. Neither is Winking Charley. It is
quite common to all three of us to skim along with airy strides a
little above the ground; also to hold, with the deepest interest,
dialogues with various people, all represented by ourselves; and to
be at our wit's end to know what they are going to tell us; and to
be indescribably astonished by the secrets they disclose. It is
probable that we have all three committed murders and hidden
bodies. It is pretty certain that we have all desperately wanted
to cry out, and have had no voice; that we have all gone to the
play and not been able to get in; that we have all dreamed much
more of our youth than of our later lives; that - I have lost it!
The thread's broken.

And up I go. I, lying here with the night-light before me, up I
go, for no reason on earth that I can find out, and drawn by no
links that are visible to me, up the Great Saint Bernard! I have
lived in Switzerland, and rambled among the mountains; but, why I
should go there now, and why up the Great Saint Bernard in
preference to any other mountain, I have no idea. As I lie here
broad awake, and with every sense so sharpened that I can
distinctly hear distant noises inaudible to me at another time, I
make that journey, as I really did, on the same summer day, with
the same happy party - ah! two since dead, I grieve to think - and
there is the same track, with the same black wooden arms to point
the way, and there are the same storm-refuges here and there; and
there is the same snow falling at the top, and there are the same
frosty mists, and there is the same intensely cold convent with its
menagerie smell, and the same breed of dogs fast dying out, and the
same breed of jolly young monks whom I mourn to know as humbugs,
and the same convent parlour with its piano and the sitting round
the fire, and the same supper, and the same lone night in a cell,
and the same bright fresh morning when going out into the highly
rarefied air was like a plunge into an icy bath. Now, see here
what comes along; and why does this thing stalk into my mind on the
top of a Swiss mountain!

It is a figure that I once saw, just after dark, chalked upon a
door in a little back lane near a country church - my first church.
How young a child I may have been at the time I don't know, but it
horrified me so intensely - in connexion with the churchyard, I
suppose, for it smokes a pipe, and has a big hat with each of its
ears sticking out in a horizontal line under the brim, and is not
in itself more oppressive than a mouth from ear to ear, a pair of
goggle eyes, and hands like two bunches of carrots, five in each,
can make it - that it is still vaguely alarming to me to recall (as
I have often done before, lying awake) the running home, the
looking behind, the horror, of its following me; though whether
disconnected from the door, or door and all, I can't say, and
perhaps never could. It lays a disagreeable train. I must resolve
to think of something on the voluntary principle.

The balloon ascents of this last season. They will do to think
about, while I lie awake, as well as anything else. I must hold
them tight though, for I feel them sliding away, and in their stead
are the Mannings, husband and wife, hanging on the top of Horse-
monger Lane Jail. In connexion with which dismal spectacle, I
recall this curious fantasy of the mind. That, having beheld that
execution, and having left those two forms dangling on the top of
the entrance gateway - the man's, a limp, loose suit of clothes as
if the man had gone out of them; the woman's, a fine shape, so
elaborately corseted and artfully dressed, that it was quite
unchanged in its trim appearance as it slowly swung from side to
side - I never could, by my uttermost efforts, for some weeks,
present the outside of that prison to myself (which the terrible
impression I had received continually obliged me to do) without
presenting it with the two figures still hanging in the morning
air. Until, strolling past the gloomy place one night, when the
street was deserted and quiet, and actually seeing that the bodies
were not there, my fancy was persuaded, as it were, to take them
down and bury them within the precincts of the jail, where they
have lain ever since.

The balloon ascents of last season. Let me reckon them up. There
were the horse, the bull, the parachute, - and the tumbler hanging
on - chiefly by his toes, I believe - below the car. Very wrong,
indeed, and decidedly to be stopped. But, in connexion with these
and similar dangerous exhibitions, it strikes me that that portion
of the public whom they entertain, is unjustly reproached. Their
pleasure is in the difficulty overcome. They are a public of great
faith, and are quite confident that the gentleman will not fall off
the horse, or the lady off the bull or out of the parachute, and
that the tumbler has a firm hold with his toes. They do not go to
see the adventurer vanquished, but triumphant. There is no
parallel in public combats between men and beasts, because nobody
can answer for the particular beast - unless it were always the
same beast, in which case it would be a mere stage-show, which the
same public would go in the same state of mind to see, entirely
believing in the brute being beforehand safely subdued by the man.
That they are not accustomed to calculate hazards and dangers with
any nicety, we may know from their rash exposure of themselves in
overcrowded steamboats, and unsafe conveyances and places of all
kinds. And I cannot help thinking that instead of railing, and
attributing savage motives to a people naturally well disposed and
humane, it is better to teach them, and lead them argumentatively
and reasonably - for they are very reasonable, if you will discuss
a matter with them - to more considerate and wise conclusions.

This is a disagreeable intrusion! Here is a man with his throat
cut, dashing towards me as I lie awake! A recollection of an old
story of a kinsman of mine, who, going home one foggy winter night
to Hampstead, when London was much smaller and the road lonesome,
suddenly encountered such a figure rushing past him, and presently
two keepers from a madhouse in pursuit. A very unpleasant creature
indeed, to come into my mind unbidden, as I lie awake.

- The balloon ascents of last season. I must return to the
balloons. Why did the bleeding man start out of them? Never mind;
if I inquire, he will be back again. The balloons. This
particular public have inherently a great pleasure in the
contemplation of physical difficulties overcome; mainly, as I take
it, because the lives of a large majority of them are exceedingly
monotonous and real, and further, are a struggle against continual
difficulties, and further still, because anything in the form of
accidental injury, or any kind of illness or disability is so very
serious in their own sphere. I will explain this seeming paradox
of mine. Take the case of a Christmas Pantomime. Surely nobody
supposes that the young mother in the pit who falls into fits of
laughter when the baby is boiled or sat upon, would be at all
diverted by such an occurrence off the stage. Nor is the decent
workman in the gallery, who is transported beyond the ignorant
present by the delight with which he sees a stout gentleman pushed
out of a two pair of stairs window, to be slandered by the
suspicion that he would be in the least entertained by such a
spectacle in any street in London, Paris, or New York. It always
appears to me that the secret of this enjoyment lies in the
temporary superiority to the common hazards and mischances of life;
in seeing casualties, attended when they really occur with bodily
and mental suffering, tears, and poverty, happen through a very
rough sort of poetry without the least harm being done to any one -
the pretence of distress in a pantomime being so broadly humorous
as to be no pretence at all. Much as in the comic fiction I can
understand the mother with a very vulnerable baby at home, greatly
relishing the invulnerable baby on the stage, so in the Cremorne
reality I can understand the mason who is always liable to fall off
a scaffold in his working jacket and to be carried to the hospital,
having an infinite admiration of the radiant personage in spangles
who goes into the clouds upon a bull, or upside down, and who, he
takes it for granted - not reflecting upon the thing - has, by
uncommon skill and dexterity, conquered such mischances as those to
which he and his acquaintance are continually exposed.

I wish the Morgue in Paris would not come here as I lie awake, with
its ghastly beds, and the swollen saturated clothes hanging up, and
the water dripping, dripping all day long, upon that other swollen
saturated something in the corner, like a heap of crushed over-ripe
figs that I have seen in Italy! And this detestable Morgue comes
back again at the head of a procession of forgotten ghost stories.
This will never do. I must think of something else as I lie awake;
or, like that sagacious animal in the United States who recognised
the colonel who was such a dead shot, I am a gone 'Coon. What
shall I think of? The late brutal assaults. Very good subject.
The late brutal assaults.

(Though whether, supposing I should see, here before me as I lie
awake, the awful phantom described in one of those ghost stories,
who, with a head-dress of shroud, was always seen looking in
through a certain glass door at a certain dead hour - whether, in
such a case it would be the least consolation to me to know on
philosophical grounds that it was merely my imagination, is a
question I can't help asking myself by the way.)

The late brutal assaults. I strongly question the expediency of
advocating the revival of whipping for those crimes. It is a
natural and generous impulse to be indignant at the perpetration of
inconceivable brutality, but I doubt the whipping panacea gravely.
Not in the least regard or pity for the criminal, whom I hold in
far lower estimation than a mad wolf, but in consideration for the
general tone and feeling, which is very much improved since the
whipping times. It is bad for a people to be familiarised with
such punishments. When the whip went out of Bridewell, and ceased
to be flourished at the carts tail and at the whipping-post, it
began to fade out of madhouses, and workhouses, and schools and
families, and to give place to a better system everywhere, than
cruel driving. It would be hasty, because a few brutes may be
inadequately punished, to revive, in any aspect, what, in so many
aspects, society is hardly yet happily rid of. The whip is a very
contagious kind of thing, and difficult to confine within one set
of bounds. Utterly abolish punishment by fine - a barbarous
device, quite as much out of date as wager by battle, but
particularly connected in the vulgar mind with this class of
offence - at least quadruple the term of imprisonment for
aggravated assaults - and above all let us, in such cases, have no
Pet Prisoning, vain glorifying, strong soup, and roasted meats, but
hard work, and one unchanging and uncompromising dietary of bread
and water, well or ill; and we shall do much better than by going
down into the dark to grope for the whip among the rusty fragments
of the rack, and the branding iron, and the chains and gibbet from
the public roads, and the weights that pressed men to death in the
cells of Newgate.

I had proceeded thus far, when I found I had been lying awake so
long that the very dead began to wake too, and to crowd into my
thoughts most sorrowfully. Therefore, I resolved to lie awake no
more, but to get up and go out for a night walk - which resolution
was an acceptable relief to me, as I dare say it may prove now to a
great many more.


I AM a bachelor, residing in rather a dreary set of chambers in the
Temple. They are situated in a square court of high houses, which
would be a complete well, but for the want of water and the absence
of a bucket. I live at the top of the house, among the tiles and
sparrows. Like the little man in the nursery-story, I live by
myself, and all the bread and cheese I get - which is not much - I
put upon a shelf. I need scarcely add, perhaps, that I am in love,
and that the father of my charming Julia objects to our union.

I mention these little particulars as I might deliver a letter of
introduction. The reader is now acquainted with me, and perhaps
will condescend to listen to my narrative.

I am naturally of a dreamy turn of mind; and my abundant leisure -
for I am called to the Bar - coupled with much lonely listening to
the twittering of sparrows, and the pattering of rain, has
encouraged that disposition. In my 'top set' I hear the wind howl
on a winter night, when the man on the ground floor believes it is
perfectly still weather. The dim lamps with which our Honourable
Society (supposed to be as yet unconscious of the new discovery
called Gas) make the horrors of the staircase visible, deepen the
gloom which generally settles on my soul when I go home at night.

I am in the Law, but not of it. I can't exactly make out what it
means. I sit in Westminster Hall sometimes (in character) from ten
to four; and when I go out of Court, I don't know whether I am
standing on my wig or my boots.

It appears to me (I mention this in confidence) as if there were
too much talk and too much law - as if some grains of truth were
started overboard into a tempestuous sea of chaff.

All this may make me mystical. Still, I am confident that what I
am going to describe myself as having seen and heard, I actually
did see and hear.

It is necessary that I should observe that I have a great delight
in pictures. I am no painter myself, but I have studied pictures
and written about them. I have seen all the most famous pictures
in the world; my education and reading have been sufficiently
general to possess me beforehand with a knowledge of most of the
subjects to which a Painter is likely to have recourse; and,
although I might be in some doubt as to the rightful fashion of the
scabbard of King Lear's sword, for instance, I think I should know
King Lear tolerably well, if I happened to meet with him.

I go to all the Modern Exhibitions every season, and of course I
revere the Royal Academy. I stand by its forty Academical articles
almost as firmly as I stand by the thirty-nine Articles of the
Church of England. I am convinced that in neither case could there
be, by any rightful possibility, one article more or less.

It is now exactly three years - three years ago, this very month -
since I went from Westminster to the Temple, one Thursday
afternoon, in a cheap steamboat. The sky was black, when I
imprudently walked on board. It began to thunder and lighten
immediately afterwards, and the rain poured down in torrents. The
deck seeming to smoke with the wet, I went below; but so many
passengers were there, smoking too, that I came up again, and
buttoning my pea-coat, and standing in the shadow of the paddle-
box, stood as upright as I could, and made the best of it.

It was at this moment that I first beheld the terrible Being, who
is the subject of my present recollections.

Standing against the funnel, apparently with the intention of
drying himself by the heat as fast as he got wet, was a shabby man
in threadbare black, and with his hands in his pockets, who
fascinated me from the memorable instant when I caught his eye.

Where had I caught that eye before? Who was he? Why did I connect
him, all at once, with the Vicar of Wakefield, Alfred the Great,
Gil Blas, Charles the Second, Joseph and his Brethren, the Fairy
Queen, Tom Jones, the Decameron of Boccaccio, Tam O'Shanter, the
Marriage of the Doge of Venice with the Adriatic, and the Great
Plague of London? Why, when he bent one leg, and placed one hand
upon the back of the seat near him, did my mind associate him
wildly with the words, 'Number one hundred and forty-two, Portrait
of a gentleman'? Could it be that I was going mad?

I looked at him again, and now I could have taken my affidavit that
he belonged to the Vicar of Wakefield's family. Whether he was the
Vicar, or Moses, or Mr. Burchill, or the Squire, or a
conglomeration of all four, I knew not; but I was impelled to seize
him by the throat, and charge him with being, in some fell way,
connected with the Primrose blood. He looked up at the rain, and
then - oh Heaven! - he became Saint John. He folded his arms,
resigning himself to the weather, and I was frantically inclined to
address him as the Spectator, and firmly demand to know what he had
done with Sir Roger de Coverley.

The frightful suspicion that I was becoming deranged, returned upon
me with redoubled force. Meantime, this awful stranger,
inexplicably linked to my distress, stood drying himself at the
funnel; and ever, as the steam rose from his clothes, diffusing a
mist around him, I saw through the ghostly medium all the people I
have mentioned, and a score more, sacred and profane.

I am conscious of a dreadful inclination that stole upon me, as it
thundered and lightened, to grapple with this man, or demon, and
plunge him over the side. But, I constrained myself - I know not
how - to speak to him, and in a pause of the storm, I crossed the
deck, and said:

'What are you?'

He replied, hoarsely, 'A Model.'

'A what?' said I.

'A Model,' he replied. 'I sets to the profession for a bob a-
hour.' (All through this narrative I give his own words, which are
indelibly imprinted on my memory.)

The relief which this disclosure gave me, the exquisite delight of
the restoration of my confidence in my own sanity, I cannot
describe. I should have fallen on his neck, but for the
consciousness of being observed by the man at the wheel.

'You then,' said I, shaking him so warmly by the hand, that I wrung
the rain out of his coat-cuff, 'are the gentleman whom I have so
frequently contemplated, in connection with a high-backed chair
with a red cushion, and a table with twisted legs.'

'I am that Model,' he rejoined moodily, 'and I wish I was anything

'Say not so,' I returned. 'I have seen you in the society of many
beautiful young women;' as in truth I had, and always (I now
remember) in the act of making the most of his legs.

'No doubt,' said he. 'And you've seen me along with warses of
flowers, and any number of table-kivers, and antique cabinets, and
warious gammon.'

'Sir?' said I.

'And warious gammon,' he repeated, in a louder voice. 'You might
have seen me in armour, too, if you had looked sharp. Blessed if I
ha'n't stood in half the suits of armour as ever came out of
Pratt's shop: and sat, for weeks together, a-eating nothing, out of
half the gold and silver dishes as has ever been lent for the
purpose out of Storrses, and Mortimerses, or Garrardses, and

Excited, as it appeared, by a sense of injury, I thought he would
never have found an end for the last word. But, at length it
rolled sullenly away with the thunder.

'Pardon me,' said I, 'you are a well-favoured, well-made man, and
yet - forgive me - I find, on examining my mind, that I associate
you with - that my recollection indistinctly makes you, in short -
excuse me - a kind of powerful monster.'

'It would be a wonder if it didn't,' he said. 'Do you know what my
points are?'

'No,' said I.

'My throat and my legs,' said he. 'When I don't set for a head, I
mostly sets for a throat and a pair of legs. Now, granted you was
a painter, and was to work at my throat for a week together, I
suppose you'd see a lot of lumps and bumps there, that would never
be there at all, if you looked at me, complete, instead of only my
throat. Wouldn't you?'

'Probably,' said I, surveying him.

'Why, it stands to reason,' said the Model. 'Work another week at
my legs, and it'll be the same thing. You'll make 'em out as
knotty and as knobby, at last, as if they was the trunks of two old
trees. Then, take and stick my legs and throat on to another man's
body, and you'll make a reg'lar monster. And that's the way the
public gets their reg'lar monsters, every first Monday in May, when
the Royal Academy Exhibition opens.'

'You are a critic,' said I, with an air of deference.

'I'm in an uncommon ill humour, if that's it,' rejoined the Model,
with great indignation. 'As if it warn't bad enough for a bob a-
hour, for a man to be mixing himself up with that there jolly old
furniter that one 'ud think the public know'd the wery nails in by
this time - or to be putting on greasy old 'ats and cloaks, and
playing tambourines in the Bay o' Naples, with Wesuvius a smokin'
according to pattern in the background, and the wines a bearing
wonderful in the middle distance - or to be unpolitely kicking up
his legs among a lot o' gals, with no reason whatever in his mind
but to show 'em - as if this warn't bad enough, I'm to go and be
thrown out of employment too!'

'Surely no!' said I.

'Surely yes,' said the indignant Model. 'BUT I'LL GROW ONE.'

The gloomy and threatening manner in which he muttered the last
words, can never be effaced from my remembrance. My blood ran

I asked of myself, what was it that this desperate Being was
resolved to grow. My breast made no response.

I ventured to implore him to explain his meaning. With a scornful
laugh, he uttered this dark prophecy:


We parted in the storm, after I had forced half-a-crown on his
acceptance, with a trembling hand. I conclude that something
supernatural happened to the steamboat, as it bore his reeking
figure down the river; but it never got into the papers.

Two years elapsed, during which I followed my profession without
any vicissitudes; never holding so much as a motion, of course. At
the expiration of that period, I found myself making my way home to
the Temple, one night, in precisely such another storm of thunder
and lightning as that by which I had been overtaken on board the
steamboat - except that this storm, bursting over the town at
midnight, was rendered much more awful by the darkness and the

As I turned into my court, I really thought a thunderbolt would
fall, and plough the pavement up. Every brick and stone in the
place seemed to have an echo of its own for the thunder. The
waterspouts were overcharged, and the rain came tearing down from
the house-tops as if they had been mountain-tops.

Mrs. Parkins, my laundress - wife of Parkins the porter, then newly
dead of a dropsy - had particular instructions to place a bedroom
candle and a match under the staircase lamp on my landing, in order
that I might light my candle there, whenever I came home. Mrs.
Parkins invariably disregarding all instructions, they were never
there. Thus it happened that on this occasion I groped my way into
my sitting-room to find the candle, and came out to light it.

What were my emotions when, underneath the staircase lamp, shining
with wet as if he had never been dry since our last meeting, stood
the mysterious Being whom I had encountered on the steamboat in a
thunderstorm, two years before! His prediction rushed upon my
mind, and I turned faint.

'I said I'd do it,' he observed, in a hollow voice, 'and I have
done it. May I come in?'

'Misguided creature, what have you done?' I returned.

'I'll let you know,' was his reply, 'if you'll let me in.'

Could it be murder that he had done? And had he been so successful
that he wanted to do it again, at my expense?

I hesitated.

'May I come in?' said he.

I inclined my head, with as much presence of mind as I could
command, and he followed me into my chambers. There, I saw that
the lower part of his face was tied up, in what is commonly called
a Belcher handkerchief. He slowly removed this bandage, and
exposed to view a long dark beard, curling over his upper lip,
twisting about the corners of his mouth, and hanging down upon his

'What is this?' I exclaimed involuntarily, 'and what have you

'I am the Ghost of Art!' said he.

The effect of these words, slowly uttered in the thunder-storm at
midnight, was appalling in the last degree. More dead than alive,
I surveyed him in silence.

'The German taste came up,' said he, 'and threw me out of bread. I
am ready for the taste now.'

He made his beard a little jagged with his hands, folded his arms,
and said,


I shuddered. It was so severe.

He made his beard flowing on his breast, and, leaning both hands on
the staff of a carpet-broom which Mrs. Parkins had left among my
books, said:


I stood transfixed. The change of sentiment was entirely in the
beard. The man might have left his face alone, or had no face.

The beard did everything.

He lay down, on his back, on my table, and with that action of his
head threw up his beard at the chin.

'That's death!' said he.

He got off my table and, looking up at the ceiling, cocked his
beard a little awry; at the same time making it stick out before

'Adoration, or a vow of vengeance,' he observed.

He turned his profile to me, making his upper lip very bulky with
the upper part of his beard.

'Romantic character,' said he.

He looked sideways out of his beard, as if it were an ivy-bush.
'Jealousy,' said he. He gave it an ingenious twist in the air, and
informed me that he was carousing. He made it shaggy with his
fingers - and it was Despair; lank - and it was avarice: tossed it
all kinds of ways - and it was rage. The beard did everything.

'I am the Ghost of Art,' said he. 'Two bob a-day now, and more
when it's longer! Hair's the true expression. There is no other.

He may have tumbled down-stairs in the dark, but he never walked
down or ran down. I looked over the banisters, and I was alone
with the thunder.

Need I add more of my terrific fate? IT HAS haunted me ever since.
It glares upon me from the walls of the Royal Academy, (except when
MACLISE subdues it to his genius,) it fills my soul with terror at
the British Institution, it lures young artists on to their
destruction. Go where I will, the Ghost of Art, eternally working
the passions in hair, and expressing everything by beard, pursues
me. The prediction is accomplished, and the victim has no rest.


SITTING, on a bright September morning, among my books and papers
at my open window on the cliff overhanging the sea-beach, I have
the sky and ocean framed before me like a beautiful picture. A
beautiful picture, but with such movement in it, such changes of
light upon the sails of ships and wake of steamboats, such dazzling
gleams of silver far out at sea, such fresh touches on the crisp
wave-tops as they break and roll towards me - a picture with such
music in the billowy rush upon the shingle, the blowing of morning
wind through the corn-sheaves where the farmers' waggons are busy,
the singing of the larks, and the distant voices of children at
play - such charms of sight and sound as all the Galleries on earth
can but poorly suggest.

So dreamy is the murmur of the sea below my window, that I may have
been here, for anything I know, one hundred years. Not that I have
grown old, for, daily on the neighbouring downs and grassy hill-
sides, I find that I can still in reason walk any distance, jump
over anything, and climb up anywhere; but, that the sound of the
ocean seems to have become so customary to my musings, and other
realities seem so to have gone aboard ship and floated away over
the horizon, that, for aught I will undertake to the contrary, I am
the enchanted son of the King my father, shut up in a tower on the
sea-shore, for protection against an old she-goblin who insisted on
being my godmother, and who foresaw at the font - wonderful
creature! - that I should get into a scrape before I was twenty-
one. I remember to have been in a City (my Royal parent's
dominions, I suppose), and apparently not long ago either, that was
in the dreariest condition. The principal inhabitants had all been
changed into old newspapers, and in that form were preserving their
window-blinds from dust, and wrapping all their smaller household
gods in curl-papers. I walked through gloomy streets where every
house was shut up and newspapered, and where my solitary footsteps
echoed on the deserted pavements. In the public rides there were
no carriages, no horses, no animated existence, but a few sleepy
policemen, and a few adventurous boys taking advantage of the
devastation to swarm up the lamp-posts. In the Westward streets
there was no traffic; in the Westward shops, no business. The
water-patterns which the 'Prentices had trickled out on the
pavements early in the morning, remained uneffaced by human feet.
At the corners of mews, Cochin-China fowls stalked gaunt and
savage; nobody being left in the deserted city (as it appeared to
me), to feed them. Public Houses, where splendid footmen swinging
their legs over gorgeous hammer-cloths beside wigged coachmen were
wont to regale, were silent, and the unused pewter pots shone, too
bright for business, on the shelves. I beheld a Punch's Show
leaning against a wall near Park Lane, as if it had fainted. It
was deserted, and there were none to heed its desolation. In
Belgrave Square I met the last man - an ostler - sitting on a post
in a ragged red waistcoat, eating straw, and mildewing away.

If I recollect the name of the little town, on whose shore this sea
is murmuring - but I am not just now, as I have premised, to be
relied upon for anything - it is Pavilionstone. Within a quarter
of a century, it was a little fishing town, and they do say, that
the time was, when it was a little smuggling town. I have heard
that it was rather famous in the hollands and brandy way, and that
coevally with that reputation the lamplighter's was considered a
bad life at the Assurance Offices. It was observed that if he were
not particular about lighting up, he lived in peace; but that, if
he made the best of the oil-lamps in the steep and narrow streets,
he usually fell over the cliff at an early age. Now, gas and
electricity run to the very water's edge, and the South-Eastern
Railway Company screech at us in the dead of night.

But, the old little fishing and smuggling town remains, and is so
tempting a place for the latter purpose, that I think of going out
some night next week, in a fur cap and a pair of petticoat
trousers, and running an empty tub, as a kind of archaeological
pursuit. Let nobody with corns come to Pavilionstone, for there
are breakneck flights of ragged steps, connecting the principal
streets by back-ways, which will cripple that visitor in half an
hour. These are the ways by which, when I run that tub, I shall
escape. I shall make a Thermopylae of the corner of one of them,
defend it with my cutlass against the coast-guard until my brave
companions have sheered off, then dive into the darkness, and
regain my Susan's arms. In connection with these breakneck steps I
observe some wooden cottages, with tumble-down out-houses, and
back-yards three feet square, adorned with garlands of dried fish,
in one of which (though the General Board of Health might object)
my Susan dwells.

The South-Eastern Company have brought Pavilionstone into such
vogue, with their tidal trains and splendid steam-packets, that a
new Pavilionstone is rising up. I am, myself, of New
Pavilionstone. We are a little mortary and limey at present, but
we are getting on capitally. Indeed, we were getting on so fast,
at one time, that we rather overdid it, and built a street of
shops, the business of which may be expected to arrive in about ten
years. We are sensibly laid out in general; and with a little care
and pains (by no means wanting, so far), shall become a very pretty
place. We ought to be, for our situation is delightful, our air is
delicious, and our breezy hills and downs, carpeted with wild
thyme, and decorated with millions of wild flowers, are, on the
faith of a pedestrian, perfect. In New Pavilionstone we are a
little too much addicted to small windows with more bricks in them
than glass, and we are not over-fanciful in the way of decorative
architecture, and we get unexpected sea-views through cracks in the
street doors; on the whole, however, we are very snug and
comfortable, and well accommodated. But the Home Secretary (if
there be such an officer) cannot too soon shut up the burial-ground
of the old parish church. It is in the midst of us, and
Pavilionstone will get no good of it, if it be too long left alone.

The lion of Pavilionstone is its Great Hotel. A dozen years ago,
going over to Paris by South-Eastern Tidal Steamer, you used to be
dropped upon the platform of the main line Pavilionstone Station
(not a junction then), at eleven o'clock on a dark winter's night,
in a roaring wind; and in the howling wilderness outside the
station, was a short omnibus which brought you up by the forehead
the instant you got in at the door; and nobody cared about you, and
you were alone in the world. You bumped over infinite chalk, until
you were turned out at a strange building which had just left off
being a barn without having quite begun to be a house, where nobody
expected your coming, or knew what to do with you when you were
come, and where you were usually blown about, until you happened to
be blown against the cold beef, and finally into bed. At five in
the morning you were blown out of bed, and after a dreary
breakfast, with crumpled company, in the midst of confusion, were
hustled on board a steamboat and lay wretched on deck until you saw
France lunging and surging at you with great vehemence over the

Now, you come down to Pavilionstone in a free and easy manner, an
irresponsible agent, made over in trust to the South-Eastern
Company, until you get out of the railway-carriage at high-water
mark. If you are crossing by the boat at once, you have nothing to
do but walk on board and be happy there if you can - I can't. If
you are going to our Great Pavilionstone Hotel, the sprightliest
porters under the sun, whose cheerful looks are a pleasant welcome,
shoulder your luggage, drive it off in vans, bowl it away in
trucks, and enjoy themselves in playing athletic games with it. If
you are for public life at our great Pavilionstone Hotel, you walk
into that establishment as if it were your club; and find ready for
you, your news-room, dining-room, smoking-room, billiard-room,
music-room, public breakfast, public dinner twice a-day (one plain,
one gorgeous), hot baths and cold baths. If you want to be bored,
there are plenty of bores always ready for you, and from Saturday
to Monday in particular, you can be bored (if you like it) through
and through. Should you want to be private at our Great
Pavilionstone Hotel, say but the word, look at the list of charges,
choose your floor, name your figure - there you are, established in
your castle, by the day, week, month, or year, innocent of all
comers or goers, unless you have my fancy for walking early in the
morning down the groves of boots and shoes, which so regularly
flourish at all the chamber-doors before breakfast, that it seems
to me as if nobody ever got up or took them in. Are you going
across the Alps, and would you like to air your Italian at our
Great Pavilionstone Hotel? Talk to the Manager - always
conversational, accomplished, and polite. Do you want to be aided,
abetted, comforted, or advised, at our Great Pavilionstone Hotel?
Send for the good landlord, and he is your friend. Should you, or
any one belonging to you, ever be taken ill at our Great
Pavilionstone Hotel, you will not soon forget him or his kind wife.
And when you pay your bill at our Great Pavilionstone Hotel, you
will not be put out of humour by anything you find in it.

A thoroughly good inn, in the days of coaching and posting, was a
noble place. But no such inn would have been equal to the
reception of four or five hundred people, all of them wet through,
and half of them dead sick, every day in the year. This is where
we shine, in our Pavilionstone Hotel. Again - who, coming and
going, pitching and tossing, boating and training, hurrying in, and
flying out, could ever have calculated the fees to be paid at an
old-fashioned house? In our Pavilionstone Hotel vocabulary, there
is no such word as fee. Everything is done for you; every service
is provided at a fixed and reasonable charge; all the prices are
hung up in all the rooms; and you can make out your own bill
beforehand, as well as the book-keeper.

In the case of your being a pictorial artist, desirous of studying
at small expense the physiognomies and beards of different nations,
come, on receipt of this, to Pavilionstone. You shall find all the
nations of the earth, and all the styles of shaving and not
shaving, hair cutting and hair letting alone, for ever flowing
through our hotel. Couriers you shall see by hundreds; fat
leathern bags for five-franc pieces, closing with violent snaps,
like discharges of fire-arms, by thousands; more luggage in a
morning than, fifty years ago, all Europe saw in a week. Looking
at trains, steamboats, sick travellers, and luggage, is our great
Pavilionstone recreation. We are not strong in other public
amusements. We have a Literary and Scientific Institution, and we
have a Working Men's Institution - may it hold many gipsy holidays
in summer fields, with the kettle boiling, the band of music
playing, and the people dancing; and may I be on the hill-side,
looking on with pleasure at a wholesome sight too rare in England!
- and we have two or three churches, and more chapels than I have
yet added up. But public amusements are scarce with us. If a poor
theatrical manager comes with his company to give us, in a loft,
Mary Bax, or the Murder on the Sand Hills, we don't care much for
him - starve him out, in fact. We take more kindly to wax-work,
especially if it moves; in which case it keeps much clearer of the
second commandment than when it is still. Cooke's Circus (Mr.
Cooke is my friend, and always leaves a good name behind him) gives
us only a night in passing through. Nor does the travelling
menagerie think us worth a longer visit. It gave us a look-in the
other day, bringing with it the residentiary van with the stained
glass windows, which Her Majesty kept ready-made at Windsor Castle,
until she found a suitable opportunity of submitting it for the
proprietor's acceptance. I brought away five wonderments from this
exhibition. I have wondered ever since, Whether the beasts ever do
get used to those small places of confinement; Whether the monkeys
have that very horrible flavour in their free state; Whether wild
animals have a natural ear for time and tune, and therefore every
four-footed creature began to howl in despair when the band began
to play; What the giraffe does with his neck when his cart is shut
up; and, Whether the elephant feels ashamed of himself when he is
brought out of his den to stand on his head in the presence of the
whole Collection.

We are a tidal harbour at Pavilionstone, as indeed I have implied
already in my mention of tidal trains. At low water, we are a heap
of mud, with an empty channel in it where a couple of men in big
boots always shovel and scoop: with what exact object, I am unable
to say. At that time, all the stranded fishing-boats turn over on
their sides, as if they were dead marine monsters; the colliers and
other shipping stick disconsolate in the mud; the steamers look as
if their white chimneys would never smoke more, and their red
paddles never turn again; the green sea-slime and weed upon the
rough stones at the entrance, seem records of obsolete high tides
never more to flow; the flagstaff-halyards droop; the very little
wooden lighthouse shrinks in the idle glare of the sun. And here I
may observe of the very little wooden lighthouse, that when it is
lighted at night, - red and green, - it looks so like a medical
man's, that several distracted husbands have at various times been
found, on occasions of premature domestic anxiety, going round and
round it, trying to find the Nightbell.

But, the moment the tide begins to make, the Pavilionstone Harbour
begins to revive. It feels the breeze of the rising water before
the water comes, and begins to flutter and stir. When the little
shallow waves creep in, barely overlapping one another, the vanes
at the mastheads wake, and become agitated. As the tide rises, the
fishing-boats get into good spirits and dance, the flagstaff hoists
a bright red flag, the steamboat smokes, cranes creak, horses and
carriages dangle in the air, stray passengers and luggage appear.
Now, the shipping is afloat, and comes up buoyantly, to look at the
wharf. Now, the carts that have come down for coals, load away as
hard as they can load. Now, the steamer smokes immensely, and
occasionally blows at the paddle-boxes like a vaporous whale-
greatly disturbing nervous loungers. Now, both the tide and the
breeze have risen, and you are holding your hat on (if you want to
see how the ladies hold THEIR hats on, with a stay, passing over
the broad brim and down the nose, come to Pavilionstone). Now,
everything in the harbour splashes, dashes, and bobs. Now, the
Down Tidal Train is telegraphed, and you know (without knowing how
you know), that two hundred and eighty-seven people are coming.
Now, the fishing-boats that have been out, sail in at the top of
the tide. Now, the bell goes, and the locomotive hisses and
shrieks, and the train comes gliding in, and the two hundred and
eighty-seven come scuffling out. Now, there is not only a tide of
water, but a tide of people, and a tide of luggage - all tumbling
and flowing and bouncing about together. Now, after infinite
bustle, the steamer steams out, and we (on the Pier) are all
delighted when she rolls as if she would roll her funnel out, and
all are disappointed when she don't. Now, the other steamer is
coming in, and the Custom House prepares, and the wharf-labourers
assemble, and the hawsers are made ready, and the Hotel Porters
come rattling down with van and truck, eager to begin more Olympic
games with more luggage. And this is the way in which we go on,
down at Pavilionstone, every tide. And, if you want to live a life
of luggage, or to see it lived, or to breathe sweet air which will
send you to sleep at a moment's notice at any period of the day or
night, or to disport yourself upon or in the sea, or to scamper
about Kent, or to come out of town for the enjoyment of all or any
of these pleasures, come to Pavilionstone.


IT fell to my lot, this last bleak Spring, to find myself in a
watering-place out of the Season. A vicious north-east squall blew
me into it from foreign parts, and I tarried in it alone for three
days, resolved to be exceedingly busy.

On the first day, I began business by looking for two hours at the
sea, and staring the Foreign Militia out of countenance. Having
disposed of these important engagements, I sat down at one of the
two windows of my room, intent on doing something desperate in the
way of literary composition, and writing a chapter of unheard-of
excellence - with which the present essay has no connexion.

It is a remarkable quality in a watering-place out of the season,
that everything in it, will and must be looked at. I had no
previous suspicion of this fatal truth but, the moment I sat down
to write, I began to perceive it. I had scarcely fallen into my
most promising attitude, and dipped my pen in the ink, when I found
the clock upon the pier - a red-faced clock with a white rim -
importuning me in a highly vexatious manner to consult my watch,
and see how I was off for Greenwich time. Having no intention of
making a voyage or taking an observation, I had not the least need
of Greenwich time, and could have put up with watering-place time
as a sufficiently accurate article. The pier-clock, however,
persisting, I felt it necessary to lay down my pen, compare my
watch with him, and fall into a grave solicitude about half-
seconds. I had taken up my pen again, and was about to commence
that valuable chapter, when a Custom-house cutter under the window
requested that I would hold a naval review of her, immediately.

It was impossible, under the circumstances, for any mental
resolution, merely human, to dismiss the Custom-house cutter,
because the shadow of her topmast fell upon my paper, and the vane
played on the masterly blank chapter. I was therefore under the
necessity of going to the other window; sitting astride of the
chair there, like Napoleon bivouacking in the print; and inspecting
the cutter as she lay, all that day, in the way of my chapter, O!
She was rigged to carry a quantity of canvas, but her hull was so
very small that four giants aboard of her (three men and a boy) who
were vigilantly scraping at her, all together, inspired me with a
terror lest they should scrape her away. A fifth giant, who
appeared to consider himself 'below' - as indeed he was, from the
waist downwards - meditated, in such close proximity with the
little gusty chimney-pipe, that he seemed to be smoking it.
Several boys looked on from the wharf, and, when the gigantic
attention appeared to be fully occupied, one or other of these
would furtively swing himself in mid-air over the Custom-house
cutter, by means of a line pendant from her rigging, like a young
spirit of the storm. Presently, a sixth hand brought down two
little water-casks; presently afterwards, a truck came, and
delivered a hamper. I was now under an obligation to consider that
the cutter was going on a cruise, and to wonder where she was
going, and when she was going, and why she was going, and at what
date she might be expected back, and who commanded her? With these
pressing questions I was fully occupied when the Packet, making
ready to go across, and blowing off her spare steam, roared, 'Look
at me!'

It became a positive duty to look at the Packet preparing to go
across; aboard of which, the people newly come down by the rail-
road were hurrying in a great fluster. The crew had got their
tarry overalls on - and one knew what THAT meant - not to mention
the white basins, ranged in neat little piles of a dozen each,
behind the door of the after-cabin. One lady as I looked, one
resigning and far-seeing woman, took her basin from the store of
crockery, as she might have taken a refreshment-ticket, laid
herself down on deck with that utensil at her ear, muffled her feet
in one shawl, solemnly covered her countenance after the antique
manner with another, and on the completion of these preparations
appeared by the strength of her volition to become insensible. The
mail-bags (O that I myself had the sea-legs of a mail-bag!) were
tumbled aboard; the Packet left off roaring, warped out, and made
at the white line upon the bar. One dip, one roll, one break of
the sea over her bows, and Moore's Almanack or the sage Raphael
could not have told me more of the state of things aboard, than I

The famous chapter was all but begun now, and would have been quite
begun, but for the wind. It was blowing stiffly from the east, and
it rumbled in the chimney and shook the house. That was not much;
but, looking out into the wind's grey eye for inspiration, I laid
down my pen again to make the remark to myself, how emphatically
everything by the sea declares that it has a great concern in the
state of the wind. The trees blown all one way; the defences of
the harbour reared highest and strongest against the raging point;
the shingle flung up on the beach from the same direction; the
number of arrows pointed at the common enemy; the sea tumbling in
and rushing towards them as if it were inflamed by the sight. This
put it in my head that I really ought to go out and take a walk in
the wind; so, I gave up the magnificent chapter for that day,
entirely persuading myself that I was under a moral obligation to
have a blow.

I had a good one, and that on the high road - the very high road -
on the top of the cliffs, where I met the stage-coach with all the
outsides holding their hats on and themselves too, and overtook a
flock of sheep with the wool about their necks blown into such
great ruffs that they looked like fleecy owls. The wind played
upon the lighthouse as if it were a great whistle, the spray was
driven over the sea in a cloud of haze, the ships rolled and
pitched heavily, and at intervals long slants and flaws of light
made mountain-steeps of communication between the ocean and the
sky. A walk of ten miles brought me to a seaside town without a
cliff, which, like the town I had come from, was out of the season
too. Half of the houses were shut up; half of the other half were
to let; the town might have done as much business as it was doing
then, if it had been at the bottom of the sea. Nobody seemed to
flourish save the attorney; his clerk's pen was going in the bow-
window of his wooden house; his brass door-plate alone was free
from salt, and had been polished up that morning. On the beach,
among the rough buggers and capstans, groups of storm-beaten
boatmen, like a sort of marine monsters, watched under the lee of
those objects, or stood leaning forward against the wind, looking
out through battered spy-glasses. The parlour bell in the Admiral
Benbow had grown so flat with being out of the season, that neither
could I hear it ring when I pulled the handle for lunch, nor could
the young woman in black stockings and strong shoes, who acted as
waiter out of the season, until it had been tinkled three times.

Admiral Benbow's cheese was out of the season, but his home-made
bread was good, and his beer was perfect. Deluded by some earlier
spring day which had been warm and sunny, the Admiral had cleared
the firing out of his parlour stove, and had put some flower-pots
in - which was amiable and hopeful in the Admiral, but not
judicious: the room being, at that present visiting, transcendantly
cold. I therefore took the liberty of peeping out across a little
stone passage into the Admiral's kitchen, and, seeing a high settle
with its back towards me drawn out in front of the Admiral's
kitchen fire, I strolled in, bread and cheese in hand, munching and
looking about. One landsman and two boatmen were seated on the
settle, smoking pipes and drinking beer out of thick pint crockery
mugs - mugs peculiar to such places, with parti-coloured rings
round them, and ornaments between the rings like frayed-out roots.
The landsman was relating his experience, as yet only three nights
old, of a fearful running-down case in the Channel, and therein
presented to my imagination a sound of music that it will not soon

'At that identical moment of time,' said he (he was a prosy man by
nature, who rose with his subject), 'the night being light and
calm, but with a grey mist upon the water that didn't seem to
spread for more than two or three mile, I was walking up and down
the wooden causeway next the pier, off where it happened, along
with a friend of mine, which his name is Mr. Clocker. Mr. Clocker
is a grocer over yonder.' (From the direction in which he pointed
the bowl of his pipe, I might have judged Mr. Clocker to be a
merman, established in the grocery trade in five-and-twenty fathoms
of water.) 'We were smoking our pipes, and walking up and down the
causeway, talking of one thing and talking of another. We were
quite alone there, except that a few hovellers' (the Kentish name
for 'long-shore boatmen like his companions) 'were hanging about
their lugs, waiting while the tide made, as hovellers will.' (One
of the two boatmen, thoughtfully regarding me, shut up one eye;
this I understood to mean: first, that he took me into the
conversation: secondly, that he confirmed the proposition: thirdly,
that he announced himself as a hoveller.) 'All of a sudden Mr.
Clocker and me stood rooted to the spot, by hearing a sound come
through the stillness, right over the sea, LIKE A GREAT SORROWFUL
FLUTE OR AEOLIAN HARP. We didn't in the least know what it was,
and judge of our surprise when we saw the hovellers, to a man, leap
into the boats and tear about to hoist sail and get off, as if they
had every one of 'em gone, in a moment, raving mad! But THEY knew
it was the cry of distress from the sinking emigrant ship.'

When I got back to my watering-place out of the season, and had
done my twenty miles in good style, I found that the celebrated
Black Mesmerist intended favouring the public that evening in the
Hall of the Muses, which he had engaged for the purpose. After a
good dinner, seated by the fire in an easy chair, I began to waver
in a design I had formed of waiting on the Black Mesmerist, and to
incline towards the expediency of remaining where I was. Indeed a
point of gallantry was involved in my doing so, inasmuch as I had
not left France alone, but had come from the prisons of St. Pelagie
with my distinguished and unfortunate friend Madame Roland (in two
volumes which I bought for two francs each, at the book-stall in
the Place de la Concorde, Paris, at the corner of the Rue Royale).
Deciding to pass the evening tete-a-tete with Madame Roland, I
derived, as I always do, great pleasure from that spiritual woman's
society, and the charms of her brave soul and engaging
conversation. I must confess that if she had only some more
faults, only a few more passionate failings of any kind, I might
love her better; but I am content to believe that the deficiency is
in me, and not in her. We spent some sadly interesting hours
together on this occasion, and she told me again of her cruel
discharge from the Abbaye, and of her being re-arrested before her
free feet had sprung lightly up half-a-dozen steps of her own
staircase, and carried off to the prison which she only left for
the guillotine.

Madame Roland and I took leave of one another before mid-night, and
I went to bed full of vast intentions for next day, in connexion
with the unparalleled chapter. To hear the foreign mail-steamers
coming in at dawn of day, and to know that I was not aboard or
obliged to get up, was very comfortable; so, I rose for the chapter
in great force.

I had advanced so far as to sit down at my window again on my
second morning, and to write the first half-line of the chapter and
strike it out, not liking it, when my conscience reproached me with
not having surveyed the watering-place out of the season, after
all, yesterday, but with having gone straight out of it at the rate
of four miles and a half an hour. Obviously the best amends that I
could make for this remissness was to go and look at it without
another moment's delay. So - altogether as a matter of duty - I
gave up the magnificent chapter for another day, and sauntered out
with my hands in my pockets.

All the houses and lodgings ever let to visitors, were to let that
morning. It seemed to have snowed bills with To Let upon them.
This put me upon thinking what the owners of all those apartments
did, out of the season; how they employed their time, and occupied
their minds. They could not be always going to the Methodist
chapels, of which I passed one every other minute. They must have
some other recreation. Whether they pretended to take one
another's lodgings, and opened one another's tea-caddies in fun?
Whether they cut slices off their own beef and mutton, and made
believe that it belonged to somebody else? Whether they played
little dramas of life, as children do, and said, 'I ought to come
and look at your apartments, and you ought to ask two guineas a-
week too much, and then I ought to say I must have the rest of the
day to think of it, and then you ought to say that another lady and
gentleman with no children in family had made an offer very close
to your own terms, and you had passed your word to give them a
positive answer in half an hour, and indeed were just going to take
the bill down when you heard the knock, and then I ought to take
them, you know?' Twenty such speculations engaged my thoughts.
Then, after passing, still clinging to the walls, defaced rags of
the bills of last year's Circus, I came to a back field near a
timber-yard where the Circus itself had been, and where there was
yet a sort of monkish tonsure on the grass, indicating the spot
where the young lady had gone round upon her pet steed Firefly in
her daring flight. Turning into the town again, I came among the
shops, and they were emphatically out of the season. The chemist
had no boxes of ginger-beer powders, no beautifying sea-side soaps
and washes, no attractive scents; nothing but his great goggle-eyed
red bottles, looking as if the winds of winter and the drift of the
salt-sea had inflamed them. The grocers' hot pickles, Harvey's
Sauce, Doctor Kitchener's Zest, Anchovy Paste, Dundee Marmalade,
and the whole stock of luxurious helps to appetite, were
hybernating somewhere underground. The china-shop had no trifles
from anywhere. The Bazaar had given in altogether, and presented a
notice on the shutters that this establishment would re-open at
Whitsuntide, and that the proprietor in the meantime might be heard
of at Wild Lodge, East Cliff. At the Sea-bathing Establishment, a
row of neat little wooden houses seven or eight feet high, I SAW
the proprietor in bed in the shower-bath. As to the bathing-
machines, they were (how they got there, is not for me to say) at
the top of a hill at least a mile and a half off. The library,
which I had never seen otherwise than wide open, was tight shut;
and two peevish bald old gentlemen seemed to be hermetically sealed
up inside, eternally reading the paper. That wonderful mystery,
the music-shop, carried it off as usual (except that it had more
cabinet pianos in stock), as if season or no season were all one to
it. It made the same prodigious display of bright brazen wind-
instruments, horribly twisted, worth, as I should conceive, some
thousands of pounds, and which it is utterly impossible that
anybody in any season can ever play or want to play. It had five
triangles in the window, six pairs of castanets, and three harps;
likewise every polka with a coloured frontispiece that ever was
published; from the original one where a smooth male and female
Pole of high rank are coming at the observer with their arms a-
kimbo, to the Ratcatcher's Daughter. Astonishing establishment,
amazing enigma! Three other shops were pretty much out of the
season, what they were used to be in it. First, the shop where
they sell the sailors' watches, which had still the old collection
of enormous timekeepers, apparently designed to break a fall from
the masthead: with places to wind them up, like fire-plugs.
Secondly, the shop where they sell the sailors' clothing, which
displayed the old sou'-westers, and the old oily suits, and the old
pea-jackets, and the old one sea-chest, with its handles like a
pair of rope ear-rings. Thirdly, the unchangeable shop for the
sale of literature that has been left behind. Here, Dr. Faustus
was still going down to very red and yellow perdition, under the
superintendence of three green personages of a scaly humour, with
excrescential serpents growing out of their blade-bones. Here, the
Golden Dreamer, and the Norwood Fortune Teller, were still on sale
at sixpence each, with instructions for making the dumb cake, and
reading destinies in tea-cups, and with a picture of a young woman
with a high waist lying on a sofa in an attitude so uncomfortable
as almost to account for her dreaming at one and the same time of a
conflagration, a shipwreck, an earthquake, a skeleton, a church-
porch, lightning, funerals performed, and a young man in a bright
blue coat and canary pantaloons. Here, were Little Warblers and
Fairburn's Comic Songsters. Here, too, were ballads on the old
ballad paper and in the old confusion of types; with an old man in
a cocked hat, and an arm-chair, for the illustration to Will Watch
the bold Smuggler; and the Friar of Orders Grey, represented by a
little girl in a hoop, with a ship in the distance. All these as
of yore, when they were infinite delights to me!

It took me so long fully to relish these many enjoyments, that I
had not more than an hour before bedtime to devote to Madame
Roland. We got on admirably together on the subject of her convent
education, and I rose next morning with the full conviction that
the day for the great chapter was at last arrived.

It had fallen calm, however, in the night, and as I sat at
breakfast I blushed to remember that I had not yet been on the
Downs. I a walker, and not yet on the Downs! Really, on so quiet
and bright a morning this must be set right. As an essential part
of the Whole Duty of Man, therefore, I left the chapter to itself -
for the present - and went on the Downs. They were wonderfully
green and beautiful, and gave me a good deal to do. When I had
done with the free air and the view, I had to go down into the
valley and look after the hops (which I know nothing about), and to
be equally solicitous as to the cherry orchards. Then I took it on
myself to cross-examine a tramping family in black (mother alleged,
I have no doubt by herself in person, to have died last week), and
to accompany eighteenpence which produced a great effect, with
moral admonitions which produced none at all. Finally, it was late
in the afternoon before I got back to the unprecedented chapter,
and then I determined that it was out of the season, as the place
was, and put it away.

I went at night to the benefit of Mrs. B. Wedgington at the
Theatre, who had placarded the town with the admonition, 'DON'T
FORGET IT!' I made the house, according to my calculation, four
and ninepence to begin with, and it may have warmed up, in the
course of the evening, to half a sovereign. There was nothing to
offend any one, - the good Mr. Baines of Leeds excepted. Mrs. B.
Wedgington sang to a grand piano. Mr. B. Wedgington did the like,
and also took off his coat, tucked up his trousers, and danced in
clogs. Master B. Wedgington, aged ten months, was nursed by a
shivering young person in the boxes, and the eye of Mrs. B.
Wedgington wandered that way more than once. Peace be with all the
Wedgingtons from A. to Z. May they find themselves in the Season


I AM not used to writing for print. What working-man, that never
labours less (some Mondays, and Christmas Time and Easter Time
excepted) than twelve or fourteen hours a day, is? But I have been
asked to put down, plain, what I have got to say; and so I take
pen-and-ink, and do it to the best of my power, hoping defects will
find excuse.

I was born nigh London, but have worked in a shop at Birmingham
(what you would call Manufactories, we call Shops), almost ever
since I was out of my time. I served my apprenticeship at
Deptford, nigh where I was born, and I am a smith by trade. My
name is John. I have been called 'Old John' ever since I was
nineteen year of age, on account of not having much hair. I am
fifty-six year of age at the present time, and I don't find myself
with more hair, nor yet with less, to signify, than at nineteen
year of age aforesaid.

I have been married five and thirty year, come next April. I was
married on All Fools' Day. Let them laugh that will. I won a good
wife that day, and it was as sensible a day to me as ever I had.

We have had a matter of ten children, six whereof are living. My
eldest son is engineer in the Italian steam-packet 'Mezzo Giorno,
plying between Marseilles and Naples, and calling at Genoa,
Leghorn, and Civita Vecchia.' He was a good workman. He invented
a many useful little things that brought him in - nothing. I have
two sons doing well at Sydney, New South Wales - single, when last
heard from. One of my sons (James) went wild and for a soldier,
where he was shot in India, living six weeks in hospital with a
musket-ball lodged in his shoulder-blade, which he wrote with his
own hand. He was the best looking. One of my two daughters (Mary)
is comfortable in her circumstances, but water on the chest. The
other (Charlotte), her husband run away from her in the basest
manner, and she and her three children live with us. The youngest,
six year old, has a turn for mechanics.

I am not a Chartist, and I never was. I don't mean to say but what
I see a good many public points to complain of, still I don't think
that's the way to set them right. If I did think so, I should be a
Chartist. But I don't think so, and I am not a Chartist. I read
the paper, and hear discussion, at what we call 'a parlour,' in
Birmingham, and I know many good men and workmen who are Chartists.
Note. Not Physical force.

It won't be took as boastful in me, if I make the remark (for I
can't put down what I have got to say, without putting that down
before going any further), that I have always been of an ingenious
turn. I once got twenty pound by a screw, and it's in use now. I
have been twenty year, off and on, completing an Invention and
perfecting it. I perfected of it, last Christmas Eve at ten
o'clock at night. Me and my wife stood and let some tears fall
over the Model, when it was done and I brought her in to take a
look at it.

A friend of mine, by the name of William Butcher, is a Chartist.
Moderate. He is a good speaker. He is very animated. I have
often heard him deliver that what is, at every turn, in the way of
us working-men, is, that too many places have been made, in the
course of time, to provide for people that never ought to have been
provided for; and that we have to obey forms and to pay fees to
support those places when we shouldn't ought. 'True,' (delivers
William Butcher), 'all the public has to do this, but it falls
heaviest on the working-man, because he has least to spare; and
likewise because impediments shouldn't be put in his way, when he
wants redress of wrong or furtherance of right.' Note. I have
wrote down those words from William Butcher's own mouth. W. B.
delivering them fresh for the aforesaid purpose.

Now, to my Model again. There it was, perfected of, on Christmas
Eve, gone nigh a year, at ten o'clock at night. All the money I
could spare I had laid out upon the Model; and when times was bad,
or my daughter Charlotte's children sickly, or both, it had stood
still, months at a spell. I had pulled it to pieces, and made it
over again with improvements, I don't know how often. There it
stood, at last, a perfected Model as aforesaid.

William Butcher and me had a long talk, Christmas Day, respecting
of the Model. William is very sensible. But sometimes cranky.
William said, 'What will you do with it, John?' I said, 'Patent
it.' William said, 'How patent it, John?' I said, 'By taking out
a Patent.' William then delivered that the law of Patent was a
cruel wrong. William said, 'John, if you make your invention
public, before you get a Patent, any one may rob you of the fruits
of your hard work. You are put in a cleft stick, John. Either you
must drive a bargain very much against yourself, by getting a party
to come forward beforehand with the great expenses of the Patent;
or, you must be put about, from post to pillar, among so many
parties, trying to make a better bargain for yourself, and showing
your invention, that your invention will be took from you over your
head.' I said, 'William Butcher, are you cranky? You are
sometimes cranky.' William said, 'No, John, I tell you the truth;'
which he then delivered more at length. I said to W. B. I would
Patent the invention myself.

My wife's brother, George Bury of West Bromwich (his wife
unfortunately took to drinking, made away with everything, and
seventeen times committed to Birmingham Jail before happy release
in every point of view), left my wife, his sister, when he died, a
legacy of one hundred and twenty-eight pound ten, Bank of England
Stocks. Me and my wife never broke into that money yet. Note. We
might come to be old and past our work. We now agreed to Patent
the invention. We said we would make a hole in it - I mean in the
aforesaid money - and Patent the invention. William Butcher wrote
me a letter to Thomas Joy, in London. T. J. is a carpenter, six
foot four in height, and plays quoits well. He lives in Chelsea,
London, by the church. I got leave from the shop, to be took on
again when I come back. I am a good workman. Not a Teetotaller;
but never drunk. When the Christmas holidays were over, I went up
to London by the Parliamentary Train, and hired a lodging for a
week with Thomas Joy. He is married. He has one son gone to sea.

Thomas Joy delivered (from a book he had) that the first step to be
took, in Patenting the invention, was to prepare a petition unto
Queen Victoria. William Butcher had delivered similar, and drawn
it up. Note. William is a ready writer. A declaration before a
Master in Chancery was to be added to it. That, we likewise drew
up. After a deal of trouble I found out a Master, in Southampton
Buildings, Chancery Lane, nigh Temple Bar, where I made the
declaration, and paid eighteen-pence. I was told to take the
declaration and petition to the Home Office, in Whitehall, where I
left it to be signed by the Home Secretary (after I had found the
office out), and where I paid two pound, two, and sixpence. In six
days he signed it, and I was told to take it to the Attorney-
General's chambers, and leave it there for a report. I did so, and
paid four pound, four. Note. Nobody all through, ever thankful
for their money, but all uncivil.

My lodging at Thomas Joy's was now hired for another week, whereof
five days were gone. The Attorney-General made what they called a
Report-of-course (my invention being, as William Butcher had
delivered before starting, unopposed), and I was sent back with it
to the Home Office. They made a Copy of it, which was called a
Warrant. For this warrant, I paid seven pound, thirteen, and six.
It was sent to the Queen, to sign. The Queen sent it back, signed.
The Home Secretary signed it again. The gentleman throwed it at me
when I called, and said, 'Now take it to the Patent Office in
Lincoln's Inn.' I was then in my third week at Thomas Joy's living
very sparing, on account of fees. I found myself losing heart.

At the Patent Office in Lincoln's Inn, they made 'a draft of the
Queen's bill,' of my invention, and a 'docket of the bill.' I paid
five pound, ten, and six, for this. They 'engrossed two copies of
the bill; one for the Signet Office, and one for the Privy-Seal
Office.' I paid one pound, seven, and six, for this. Stamp duty
over and above, three pound. The Engrossing Clerk of the same
office engrossed the Queen's bill for signature. I paid him one
pound, one. Stamp-duty, again, one pound, ten. I was next to take
the Queen's bill to the Attorney-General again, and get it signed
again. I took it, and paid five pound more. I fetched it away,
and took it to the Home Secretary again. He sent it to the Queen
again. She signed it again. I paid seven pound, thirteen, and
six, more, for this. I had been over a month at Thomas Joy's. I
was quite wore out, patience and pocket.

Thomas Joy delivered all this, as it went on, to William Butcher.
William Butcher delivered it again to three Birmingham Parlours,
from which it got to all the other Parlours, and was took, as I
have been told since, right through all the shops in the North of
England. Note. William Butcher delivered, at his Parlour, in a
speech, that it was a Patent way of making Chartists.

But I hadn't nigh done yet. The Queen's bill was to be took to the
Signet Office in Somerset House, Strand - where the stamp shop is.
The Clerk of the Signet made 'a Signet bill for the Lord Keeper of
the Privy Seal.' I paid him four pound, seven. The Clerk of the
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal made 'a Privy-Seal bill for the Lord
Chancellor.' I paid him, four pound, two. The Privy-Seal bill was
handed over to the Clerk of the Patents, who engrossed the
aforesaid. I paid him five pound, seventeen, and eight; at the
same time, I paid Stamp-duty for the Patent, in one lump, thirty
pound. I next paid for 'boxes for the Patent,' nine and sixpence.
Note. Thomas Joy would have made the same at a profit for
eighteen-pence. I next paid 'fees to the Deputy, the Lord
Chancellor's Purse-bearer,' two pound, two. I next paid 'fees to
the Clerk of the Hanapar,' seven pound, thirteen. I next paid
'fees to the Deputy Clerk of the Hanaper,' ten shillings. I next
paid, to the Lord Chancellor again, one pound, eleven, and six.
Last of all, I paid 'fees to the Deputy Sealer, and Deputy Chaff-
wax,' ten shillings and sixpence. I had lodged at Thomas Joy's
over six weeks, and the unopposed Patent for my invention, for
England only, had cost me ninety-six pound, seven, and eightpence.
If I had taken it out for the United Kingdom, it would have cost me
more than three hundred pound.

Now, teaching had not come up but very limited when I was young.
So much the worse for me you'll say. I say the same. William
Butcher is twenty year younger than me. He knows a hundred year
more. If William Butcher had wanted to Patent an invention, he
might have been sharper than myself when hustled backwards and
forwards among all those offices, though I doubt if so patient.
Note. William being sometimes cranky, and consider porters,
messengers, and clerks.

Thereby I say nothing of my being tired of my life, while I was
Patenting my invention. But I put this: Is it reasonable to make a
man feel as if, in inventing an ingenious improvement meant to do
good, he had done something wrong? How else can a man feel, when
he is met by such difficulties at every turn? All inventors taking
out a Patent MUST feel so. And look at the expense. How hard on
me, and how hard on the country if there's any merit in me (and my
invention is took up now, I am thankful to say, and doing well), to
put me to all that expense before I can move a finger! Make the
addition yourself, and it'll come to ninety-six pound, seven, and
eightpence. No more, and no less.

What can I say against William Butcher, about places? Look at the
Home Secretary, the Attorney-General, the Patent Office, the
Engrossing Clerk, the Lord Chancellor, the Privy Seal, the Clerk of
the Patents, the Lord Chancellor's Purse-bearer, the Clerk of the
Hanaper, the Deputy Clerk of the Hanaper, the Deputy Sealer, and
the Deputy Chaff-wax. No man in England could get a Patent for an
Indian-rubber band, or an iron-hoop, without feeing all of them.
Some of them, over and over again. I went through thirty-five
stages. I began with the Queen upon the Throne. I ended with the
Deputy Chaff-wax. Note. I should like to see the Deputy Chaff-
wax. Is it a man, or what is it?

What I had to tell, I have told. I have wrote it down. I hope
it's plain. Not so much in the handwriting (though nothing to
boast of there), as in the sense of it. I will now conclude with
Thomas Joy. Thomas said to me, when we parted, 'John, if the laws
of this country were as honest as they ought to be, you would have
come to London - registered an exact description and drawing of
your invention - paid half-a-crown or so for doing of it - and
therein and thereby have got your Patent.'

My opinion is the same as Thomas Joy. Further. In William
Butcher's delivering 'that the whole gang of Hanapers and Chaff-
waxes must be done away with, and that England has been chaffed and
waxed sufficient,' I agree.


TO come to the point at once, I beg to say that I have not the
least belief in the Noble Savage. I consider him a prodigious
nuisance, and an enormous superstition. His calling rum fire-
water, and me a pale face, wholly fail to reconcile me to him. I
don't care what he calls me. I call him a savage, and I call a
savage a something highly desirable to be civilised off the face of
the earth. I think a mere gent (which I take to be the lowest form
of civilisation) better than a howling, whistling, clucking,
stamping, jumping, tearing savage. It is all one to me, whether he
sticks a fish-bone through his visage, or bits of trees through the
lobes of his ears, or bird's feathers in his head; whether he
flattens his hair between two boards, or spreads his nose over the
breadth of his face, or drags his lower lip down by great weights,
or blackens his teeth, or knocks them out, or paints one cheek red
and the other blue, or tattoos himself, or oils himself, or rubs
his body with fat, or crimps it with knives. Yielding to
whichsoever of these agreeable eccentricities, he is a savage -
cruel, false, thievish, murderous; addicted more or less to grease,
entrails, and beastly customs; a wild animal with the questionable
gift of boasting; a conceited, tiresome, bloodthirsty, monotonous

Yet it is extraordinary to observe how some people will talk about
him, as they talk about the good old times; how they will regret
his disappearance, in the course of this world's development, from
such and such lands where his absence is a blessed relief and an
indispensable preparation for the sowing of the very first seeds of
any influence that can exalt humanity; how, even with the evidence
of himself before them, they will either be determined to believe,
or will suffer themselves to be persuaded into believing, that he
is something which their five senses tell them he is not.

There was Mr. Catlin, some few years ago, with his Ojibbeway
Indians. Mr. Catlin was an energetic, earnest man, who had lived
among more tribes of Indians than I need reckon up here, and who
had written a picturesque and glowing book about them. With his
party of Indians squatting and spitting on the table before him, or
dancing their miserable jigs after their own dreary manner, he
called, in all good faith, upon his civilised audience to take
notice of their symmetry and grace, their perfect limbs, and the
exquisite expression of their pantomime; and his civilised
audience, in all good faith, complied and admired. Whereas, as
mere animals, they were wretched creatures, very low in the scale

Book of the day: