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Reprinted Pieces by Charles Dickens

Part 5 out of 5

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father met his fate; and the despair and grief of Mrs. Dumbledon at
that calamity was movingly shadowed forth as having weakened the
parlour-boarder's mind. This production was received with great
favour, and was twice performed with closed doors in the dining-
room. But, it got wind, and was seized as libellous, and brought
the unlucky poet into severe affliction. Some two years
afterwards, all of a sudden one day, Dumbledon vanished. It was
whispered that the Chief himself had taken him down to the Docks,
and re-shipped him for the Spanish Main; but nothing certain was
ever known about his disappearance. At this hour, we cannot
thoroughly disconnect him from California.

Our School was rather famous for mysterious pupils. There was
another - a heavy young man, with a large double-cased silver
watch, and a fat knife the handle of which was a perfect tool-box -
who unaccountably appeared one day at a special desk of his own,
erected close to that of the Chief, with whom he held familiar
converse. He lived in the parlour, and went out for his walks, and
never took the least notice of us - even of us, the first boy -
unless to give us a deprecatory kick, or grimly to take our hat off
and throw it away, when he encountered us out of doors, which
unpleasant ceremony he always performed as he passed - not even
condescending to stop for the purpose. Some of us believed that
the classical attainments of this phenomenon were terrific, but
that his penmanship and arithmetic were defective, and he had come
there to mend them; others, that he was going to set up a school,
and had paid the Chief 'twenty-five pound down,' for leave to see
Our School at work. The gloomier spirits even said that he was
going to buy us; against which contingency, conspiracies were set
on foot for a general defection and running away. However, he
never did that. After staying for a quarter, during which period,
though closely observed, he was never seen to do anything but make
pens out of quills, write small hand in a secret portfolio, and
punch the point of the sharpest blade in his knife into his desk
all over it, he too disappeared, and his place knew him no more.

There was another boy, a fair, meek boy, with a delicate complexion
and rich curling hair, who, we found out, or thought we found out
(we have no idea now, and probably had none then, on what grounds,
but it was confidentially revealed from mouth to mouth), was the
son of a Viscount who had deserted his lovely mother. It was
understood that if he had his rights, he would be worth twenty
thousand a year. And that if his mother ever met his father, she
would shoot him with a silver pistol, which she carried, always
loaded to the muzzle, for that purpose. He was a very suggestive
topic. So was a young Mulatto, who was always believed (though
very amiable) to have a dagger about him somewhere. But, we think
they were both outshone, upon the whole, by another boy who claimed
to have been born on the twenty-ninth of February, and to have only
one birthday in five years. We suspect this to have been a fiction
- but he lived upon it all the time he was at Our School.

The principal currency of Our School was slate pencil. It had some
inexplicable value, that was never ascertained, never reduced to a
standard. To have a great hoard of it was somehow to be rich. We
used to bestow it in charity, and confer it as a precious boon upon
our chosen friends. When the holidays were coming, contributions
were solicited for certain boys whose relatives were in India, and
who were appealed for under the generic name of 'Holiday-stoppers,'
- appropriate marks of remembrance that should enliven and cheer
them in their homeless state. Personally, we always contributed
these tokens of sympathy in the form of slate pencil, and always
felt that it would be a comfort and a treasure to them.

Our School was remarkable for white mice. Red-polls, linnets, and
even canaries, were kept in desks, drawers, hat-boxes, and other
strange refuges for birds; but white mice were the favourite stock.
The boys trained the mice, much better than the masters trained the
boys. We recall one white mouse, who lived in the cover of a Latin
dictionary, who ran up ladders, drew Roman chariots, shouldered
muskets, turned wheels, and even made a very creditable appearance
on the stage as the Dog of Montargis. He might have achieved
greater things, but for having the misfortune to mistake his way in
a triumphal procession to the Capitol, when he fell into a deep
inkstand, and was dyed black and drowned. The mice were the
occasion of some most ingenious engineering, in the construction of
their houses and instruments of performance. The famous one
belonged to a company of proprietors, some of whom have since made
Railroads, Engines, and Telegraphs; the chairman has erected mills
and bridges in New Zealand.

The usher at Our School, who was considered to know everything as
opposed to the Chief, who was considered to know nothing, was a
bony, gentle-faced, clerical-looking young man in rusty black. It
was whispered that he was sweet upon one of Maxby's sisters (Maxby
lived close by, and was a day pupil), and further that he 'favoured
Maxby.' As we remember, he taught Italian to Maxby's sisters on
half-holidays. He once went to the play with them, and wore a
white waistcoat and a rose: which was considered among us
equivalent to a declaration. We were of opinion on that occasion,
that to the last moment he expected Maxby's father to ask him to
dinner at five o'clock, and therefore neglected his own dinner at
half-past one, and finally got none. We exaggerated in our
imaginations the extent to which he punished Maxby's father's cold
meat at supper; and we agreed to believe that he was elevated with
wine and water when he came home. But, we all liked him; for he
had a good knowledge of boys, and would have made it a much better
school if he had had more power. He was writing master,
mathematical master, English master, made out the bills, mended the
pens, and did all sorts of things. He divided the little boys with
the Latin master (they were smuggled through their rudimentary
books, at odd times when there was nothing else to do), and he
always called at parents' houses to inquire after sick boys,
because he had gentlemanly manners. He was rather musical, and on
some remote quarter-day had bought an old trombone; but a bit of it
was lost, and it made the most extraordinary sounds when he
sometimes tried to play it of an evening. His holidays never began
(on account of the bills) until long after ours; but, in the summer
vacations he used to take pedestrian excursions with a knapsack;
and at Christmas time, he went to see his father at Chipping
Norton, who we all said (on no authority) was a dairy-fed pork-
butcher. Poor fellow! He was very low all day on Maxby's sister's
wedding-day, and afterwards was thought to favour Maxby more than
ever, though he had been expected to spite him. He has been dead
these twenty years. Poor fellow!

Our remembrance of Our School, presents the Latin master as a
colourless doubled-up near-sighted man with a crutch, who was
always cold, and always putting onions into his ears for deafness,
and always disclosing ends of flannel under all his garments, and
almost always applying a ball of pocket-handkerchief to some part
of his face with a screwing action round and round. He was a very
good scholar, and took great pains where he saw intelligence and a
desire to learn: otherwise, perhaps not. Our memory presents him
(unless teased into a passion) with as little energy as colour - as
having been worried and tormented into monotonous feebleness - as
having had the best part of his life ground out of him in a Mill of
boys. We remember with terror how he fell asleep one sultry
afternoon with the little smuggled class before him, and awoke not
when the footstep of the Chief fell heavy on the floor; how the
Chief aroused him, in the midst of a dread silence, and said, 'Mr.
Blinkins, are you ill, sir?' how he blushingly replied, 'Sir,
rather so;' how the Chief retorted with severity, 'Mr. Blinkins,
this is no place to be ill in' (which was very, very true), and
walked back solemn as the ghost in Hamlet, until, catching a
wandering eye, he called that boy for inattention, and happily
expressed his feelings towards the Latin master through the medium
of a substitute.

There was a fat little dancing-master who used to come in a gig,
and taught the more advanced among us hornpipes (as an
accomplishment in great social demand in after life); and there was
a brisk little French master who used to come in the sunniest
weather, with a handleless umbrella, and to whom the Chief was
always polite, because (as we believed), if the Chief offended him,
he would instantly address the Chief in French, and for ever
confound him before the boys with his inability to understand or

There was besides, a serving man, whose name was Phil. Our
retrospective glance presents Phil as a shipwrecked carpenter, cast
away upon the desert island of a school, and carrying into practice
an ingenious inkling of many trades. He mended whatever was
broken, and made whatever was wanted. He was general glazier,
among other things, and mended all the broken windows - at the
prime cost (as was darkly rumoured among us) of ninepence, for
every square charged three-and-six to parents. We had a high
opinion of his mechanical genius, and generally held that the Chief
'knew something bad of him,' and on pain of divulgence enforced
Phil to be his bondsman. We particularly remember that Phil had a
sovereign contempt for learning: which engenders in us a respect
for his sagacity, as it implies his accurate observation of the
relative positions of the Chief and the ushers. He was an
impenetrable man, who waited at table between whiles, and
throughout 'the half' kept the boxes in severe custody. He was
morose, even to the Chief, and never smiled, except at breaking-up,
when, in acknowledgment of the toast, 'Success to Phil! Hooray!'
he would slowly carve a grin out of his wooden face, where it would
remain until we were all gone. Nevertheless, one time when we had
the scarlet fever in the school, Phil nursed all the sick boys of
his own accord, and was like a mother to them.

There was another school not far off, and of course Our School
could have nothing to say to that school. It is mostly the way
with schools, whether of boys or men. Well! the railway has
swallowed up ours, and the locomotives now run smoothly over its

So fades and languishes, grows dim and dies,
All that this world is proud of,

- and is not proud of, too. It had little reason to be proud of
Our School, and has done much better since in that way, and will do
far better yet.


WE have the glorious privilege of being always in hot water if we
like. We are a shareholder in a Great Parochial British Joint
Stock Bank of Balderdash. We have a Vestry in our borough, and can
vote for a vestryman - might even BE a vestryman, mayhap, if we
were inspired by a lofty and noble ambition. Which we are not.

Our Vestry is a deliberative assembly of the utmost dignity and
importance. Like the Senate of ancient Rome, its awful gravity
overpowers (or ought to overpower) barbarian visitors. It sits in
the Capitol (we mean in the capital building erected for it),
chiefly on Saturdays, and shakes the earth to its centre with the
echoes of its thundering eloquence, in a Sunday paper.

To get into this Vestry in the eminent capacity of Vestryman,
gigantic efforts are made, and Herculean exertions used. It is
made manifest to the dullest capacity at every election, that if we
reject Snozzle we are done for, and that if we fail to bring in
Blunderbooze at the top of the poll, we are unworthy of the dearest
rights of Britons. Flaming placards are rife on all the dead walls
in the borough, public-houses hang out banners, hackney-cabs burst
into full-grown flowers of type, and everybody is, or should be, in
a paroxysm of anxiety.

At these momentous crises of the national fate, we are much
assisted in our deliberations by two eminent volunteers; one of
whom subscribes himself A Fellow Parishioner, the other, A Rate-
Payer. Who they are, or what they are, or where they are, nobody
knows; but, whatever one asserts, the other contradicts. They are
both voluminous writers, indicting more epistles than Lord
Chesterfield in a single week; and the greater part of their
feelings are too big for utterance in anything less than capital
letters. They require the additional aid of whole rows of notes of
admiration, like balloons, to point their generous indignation; and
they sometimes communicate a crushing severity to stars. As thus:


Is it, or is it not, a * * * to saddle the parish with a debt of
2,745 pounds 6S. 9D., yet claim to be a RIGID ECONOMIST?

Is it, or is it not, a * * * to state as a fact what is proved to

Is it, or is it not, a * * * to call 2,745 pounds 6S. 9D. nothing;
and nothing, something?

Do you, or do you NOT want a * * * TO REPRESENT YOU IN THE VESTRY?

Your consideration of these questions is recommended to you by


It was to this important public document that one of our first
orators, MR. MAGG (of Little Winkling Street), adverted, when he
opened the great debate of the fourteenth of November by saying,
'Sir, I hold in my hand an anonymous slander' - and when the
interruption, with which he was at that point assailed by the
opposite faction, gave rise to that memorable discussion on a point
of order which will ever be remembered with interest by
constitutional assemblies. In the animated debate to which we
refer, no fewer than thirty-seven gentlemen, many of them of great
eminence, including MR. WIGSBY (of Chumbledon Square), were seen
upon their legs at one time; and it was on the same great occasion
that DOGGINSON - regarded in our Vestry as 'a regular John Bull:'
we believe, in consequence of his having always made up his mind on
every subject without knowing anything about it - informed another
gentleman of similar principles on the opposite side, that if he
'cheek'd him,' he would resort to the extreme measure of knocking
his blessed head off.

This was a great occasion. But, our Vestry shines habitually. In
asserting its own pre-eminence, for instance, it is very strong.
On the least provocation, or on none, it will be clamorous to know
whether it is to be 'dictated to,' or 'trampled on,' or 'ridden
over rough-shod.' Its great watchword is Self-government. That is
to say, supposing our Vestry to favour any little harmless disorder
like Typhus Fever, and supposing the Government of the country to
be, by any accident, in such ridiculous hands, as that any of its
authorities should consider it a duty to object to Typhus Fever -
obviously an unconstitutional objection - then, our Vestry cuts in
with a terrible manifesto about Self-government, and claims its
independent right to have as much Typhus Fever as pleases itself.
Some absurd and dangerous persons have represented, on the other
hand, that though our Vestry may be able to 'beat the bounds' of
its own parish, it may not be able to beat the bounds of its own
diseases; which (say they) spread over the whole land, in an ever
expanding circle of waste, and misery, and death, and widowhood,
and orphanage, and desolation. But, our Vestry makes short work of
any such fellows as these.

It was our Vestry - pink of Vestries as it is - that in support of
its favourite principle took the celebrated ground of denying the
existence of the last pestilence that raged in England, when the
pestilence was raging at the Vestry doors. Dogginson said it was
plums; Mr. Wigsby (of Chumbledon Square) said it was oysters; Mr.
Magg (of Little Winkling Street) said, amid great cheering, it was
the newspapers. The noble indignation of our Vestry with that un-
English institution the Board of Health, under those circumstances,
yields one of the finest passages in its history. It wouldn't hear
of rescue. Like Mr. Joseph Miller's Frenchman, it would be drowned
and nobody should save it. Transported beyond grammar by its
kindled ire, it spoke in unknown tongues, and vented unintelligible
bellowings, more like an ancient oracle than the modern oracle it
is admitted on all hands to be. Rare exigencies produce rare
things; and even our Vestry, new hatched to the woful time, came
forth a greater goose than ever.

But this, again, was a special occasion. Our Vestry, at more
ordinary periods, demands its meed of praise.

Our Vestry is eminently parliamentary. Playing at Parliament is
its favourite game. It is even regarded by some of its members as
a chapel of ease to the House of Commons: a Little Go to be passed
first. It has its strangers' gallery, and its reported debates
(see the Sunday paper before mentioned), and our Vestrymen are in
and out of order, and on and off their legs, and above all are
transcendently quarrelsome, after the pattern of the real original.

Our Vestry being assembled, Mr. Magg never begs to trouble Mr.
Wigsby with a simple inquiry. He knows better than that. Seeing
the honourable gentleman, associated in their minds with Chumbledon
Square, in his place, he wishes to ask that honourable gentleman
what the intentions of himself, and those with whom he acts, may
be, on the subject of the paving of the district known as Piggleum
Buildings? Mr. Wigsby replies (with his eye on next Sunday's
paper) that in reference to the question which has been put to him
by the honourable gentleman opposite, he must take leave to say,
that if that honourable gentleman had had the courtesy to give him
notice of that question, he (Mr. Wigsby) would have consulted with
his colleagues in reference to the advisability, in the present
state of the discussions on the new paving-rate, of answering that
question. But, as the honourable gentleman has NOT had the
courtesy to give him notice of that question (great cheering from
the Wigsby interest), he must decline to give the honourable
gentleman the satisfaction he requires. Mr. Magg, instantly rising
to retort, is received with loud cries of 'Spoke!' from the Wigsby
interest, and with cheers from the Magg side of the house.
Moreover, five gentlemen rise to order, and one of them, in revenge
for being taken no notice of, petrifies the assembly by moving that
this Vestry do now adjourn; but, is persuaded to withdraw that
awful proposal, in consideration of its tremendous consequences if
persevered in. Mr. Magg, for the purpose of being heard, then begs
to move, that you, sir, do now pass to the order of the day; and
takes that opportunity of saying, that if an honourable gentleman
whom he has in his eye, and will not demean himself by more
particularly naming (oh, oh, and cheers), supposes that he is to be
put down by clamour, that honourable gentleman - however supported
he may be, through thick and thin, by a Fellow Parishioner, with
whom he is well acquainted (cheers and counter-cheers, Mr. Magg
being invariably backed by the Rate-Payer) - will find himself
mistaken. Upon this, twenty members of our Vestry speak in
succession concerning what the two great men have meant, until it
appears, after an hour and twenty minutes, that neither of them
meant anything. Then our Vestry begins business.

We have said that, after the pattern of the real original, our
Vestry in playing at Parliament is transcendently quarrelsome. It
enjoys a personal altercation above all things. Perhaps the most
redoubtable case of this kind we have ever had - though we have had
so many that it is difficult to decide - was that on which the last
extreme solemnities passed between Mr. Tiddypot (of Gumption House)
and Captain Banger (of Wilderness Walk).

In an adjourned debate on the question whether water could be
regarded in the light of a necessary of life; respecting which
there were great differences of opinion, and many shades of
sentiment; Mr. Tiddypot, in a powerful burst of eloquence against
that hypothesis, frequently made use of the expression that such
and such a rumour had 'reached his ears.' Captain Banger,
following him, and holding that, for purposes of ablution and
refreshment, a pint of water per diem was necessary for every adult
of the lower classes, and half a pint for every child, cast
ridicule upon his address in a sparkling speech, and concluded by
saying that instead of those rumours having reached the ears of the
honourable gentleman, he rather thought the honourable gentleman's
ears must have reached the rumours, in consequence of their well-
known length. Mr. Tiddypot immediately rose, looked the honourable
and gallant gentleman full in the face, and left the Vestry.

The excitement, at this moment painfully intense, was heightened to
an acute degree when Captain Banger rose, and also left the Vestry.
After a few moments of profound silence - one of those breathless
pauses never to be forgotten - Mr. Chib (of Tucket's Terrace, and
the father of the Vestry) rose. He said that words and looks had
passed in that assembly, replete with consequences which every
feeling mind must deplore. Time pressed. The sword was drawn, and
while he spoke the scabbard might be thrown away. He moved that
those honourable gentlemen who had left the Vestry be recalled, and
required to pledge themselves upon their honour that this affair
should go no farther. The motion being by a general union of
parties unanimously agreed to (for everybody wanted to have the
belligerents there, instead of out of sight: which was no fun at
all), Mr. Magg was deputed to recover Captain Banger, and Mr. Chib
himself to go in search of Mr. Tiddypot. The Captain was found in
a conspicuous position, surveying the passing omnibuses from the
top step of the front-door immediately adjoining the beadle's box;
Mr. Tiddypot made a desperate attempt at resistance, but was
overpowered by Mr. Chib (a remarkably hale old gentleman of eighty-
two), and brought back in safety.

Mr. Tiddypot and the Captain being restored to their places, and
glaring on each other, were called upon by the chair to abandon all
homicidal intentions, and give the Vestry an assurance that they
did so. Mr. Tiddypot remained profoundly silent. The Captain
likewise remained profoundly silent, saying that he was observed by
those around him to fold his arms like Napoleon Buonaparte, and to
snort in his breathing - actions but too expressive of gunpowder.

The most intense emotion now prevailed. Several members clustered
in remonstrance round the Captain, and several round Mr. Tiddypot;
but, both were obdurate. Mr. Chib then presented himself amid
tremendous cheering, and said, that not to shrink from the
discharge of his painful duty, he must now move that both
honourable gentlemen be taken into custody by the beadle, and
conveyed to the nearest police-office, there to be held to bail.
The union of parties still continuing, the motion was seconded by
Mr. Wigsby - on all usual occasions Mr. Chib's opponent - and
rapturously carried with only one dissentient voice. This was
Dogginson's, who said from his place 'Let 'em fight it out with
fistes;' but whose coarse remark was received as it merited.

The beadle now advanced along the floor of the Vestry, and beckoned
with his cocked hat to both members. Every breath was suspended.
To say that a pin might have been heard to fall, would be feebly to
express the all-absorbing interest and silence. Suddenly,
enthusiastic cheering broke out from every side of the Vestry.
Captain Banger had risen - being, in fact, pulled up by a friend on
either side, and poked up by a friend behind.

The Captain said, in a deep determined voice, that he had every
respect for that Vestry and every respect for that chair; that he
also respected the honourable gentleman of Gumpton House; but, that
he respected his honour more. Hereupon the Captain sat down,
leaving the whole Vestry much affected. Mr. Tiddypot instantly
rose, and was received with the same encouragement. He likewise
said - and the exquisite art of this orator communicated to the
observation an air of freshness and novelty - that he too had every
respect for that Vestry; that he too had every respect for that
chair. That he too respected the honourable and gallant gentleman
of Wilderness Walk; but, that he too respected his honour more.
'Hows'ever,' added the distinguished Vestryman, 'if the honourable
and gallant gentleman's honour is never more doubted and damaged
than it is by me, he's all right.' Captain Banger immediately
started up again, and said that after those observations, involving
as they did ample concession to his honour without compromising the
honour of the honourable gentleman, he would be wanting in honour
as well as in generosity, if he did not at once repudiate all
intention of wounding the honour of the honourable gentleman, or
saying anything dishonourable to his honourable feelings. These
observations were repeatedly interrupted by bursts of cheers. Mr.
Tiddypot retorted that he well knew the spirit of honour by which
the honourable and gallant gentleman was so honourably animated,
and that he accepted an honourable explanation, offered in a way
that did him honour; but, he trusted that the Vestry would consider
that his (Mr. Tiddypot's) honour had imperatively demanded of him
that painful course which he had felt it due to his honour to
adopt. The Captain and Mr. Tiddypot then touched their hats to one
another across the Vestry, a great many times, and it is thought
that these proceedings (reported to the extent of several columns
in next Sunday's paper) will bring them in as church-wardens next

All this was strictly after the pattern of the real original, and
so are the whole of our Vestry's proceedings. In all their
debates, they are laudably imitative of the windy and wordy slang
of the real original, and of nothing that is better in it. They
have head-strong party animosities, without any reference to the
merits of questions; they tack a surprising amount of debate to a
very little business; they set more store by forms than they do by
substances: - all very like the real original! It has been doubted
in our borough, whether our Vestry is of any utility; but our own
conclusion is, that it is of the use to the Borough that a
diminishing mirror is to a painter, as enabling it to perceive in a
small focus of absurdity all the surface defects of the real


IT is unnecessary to say that we keep a bore. Everybody does.
But, the bore whom we have the pleasure and honour of enumerating
among our particular friends, is such a generic bore, and has so
many traits (as it appears to us) in common with the great bore
family, that we are tempted to make him the subject of the present
notes. May he be generally accepted!

Our bore is admitted on all hands to be a good-hearted man. He may
put fifty people out of temper, but he keeps his own. He preserves
a sickly solid smile upon his face, when other faces are ruffled by
the perfection he has attained in his art, and has an equable voice
which never travels out of one key or rises above one pitch. His
manner is a manner of tranquil interest. None of his opinions are
startling. Among his deepest-rooted convictions, it may be
mentioned that he considers the air of England damp, and holds that
our lively neighbours - he always calls the French our lively
neighbours - have the advantage of us in that particular.
Nevertheless he is unable to forget that John Bull is John Bull all
the world over, and that England with all her faults is England

Our bore has travelled. He could not possibly be a complete bore
without having travelled. He rarely speaks of his travels without
introducing, sometimes on his own plan of construction, morsels of
the language of the country - which he always translates. You
cannot name to him any little remote town in France, Italy,
Germany, or Switzerland but he knows it well; stayed there a
fortnight under peculiar circumstances. And talking of that little
place, perhaps you know a statue over an old fountain, up a little
court, which is the second - no, the third - stay - yes, the third
turning on the right, after you come out of the Post-house, going
up the hill towards the market? You DON'T know that statue? Nor
that fountain? You surprise him! They are not usually seen by
travellers (most extraordinary, he has never yet met with a single
traveller who knew them, except one German, the most intelligent
man he ever met in his life!) but he thought that YOU would have
been the man to find them out. And then he describes them, in a
circumstantial lecture half an hour long, generally delivered
behind a door which is constantly being opened from the other side;
and implores you, if you ever revisit that place, now do go and
look at that statue and fountain!

Our bore, in a similar manner, being in Italy, made a discovery of
a dreadful picture, which has been the terror of a large portion of
the civilized world ever since. We have seen the liveliest men
paralysed by it, across a broad dining-table. He was lounging
among the mountains, sir, basking in the mellow influences of the
climate, when he came to UNA PICCOLA CHIESA - a little church - or
perhaps it would be more correct to say UNA PICCOLISSIMA CAPPELLA -
the smallest chapel you can possibly imagine - and walked in.
There was nobody inside but a CIECO - a blind man - saying his
prayers, and a VECCHIO PADRE - old friar-rattling a money-box.
But, above the head of that friar, and immediately to the right of
the altar as you enter - to the right of the altar? No. To the
left of the altar as you enter - or say near the centre - there
hung a painting (subject, Virgin and Child) so divine in its
expression, so pure and yet so warm and rich in its tone, so fresh
in its touch, at once so glowing in its colour and so statuesque in
its repose, that our bore cried out in ecstasy, 'That's the finest
picture in Italy!' And so it is, sir. There is no doubt of it.
It is astonishing that that picture is so little known. Even the
painter is uncertain. He afterwards took Blumb, of the Royal
Academy (it is to be observed that our bore takes none but eminent
people to see sights, and that none but eminent people take our
bore), and you never saw a man so affected in your life as Blumb
was. He cried like a child! And then our bore begins his
description in detail - for all this is introductory - and
strangles his hearers with the folds of the purple drapery.

By an equally fortunate conjunction of accidental circumstances, it
happened that when our bore was in Switzerland, he discovered a
Valley, of that superb character, that Chamouni is not to be
mentioned in the same breath with it. This is how it was, sir. He
was travelling on a mule - had been in the saddle some days - when,
as he and the guide, Pierre Blanquo: whom you may know, perhaps? -
our bore is sorry you don't, because he's the only guide deserving
of the name - as he and Pierre were descending, towards evening,
among those everlasting snows, to the little village of La Croix,
our bore observed a mountain track turning off sharply to the
right. At first he was uncertain whether it WAS a track at all,
and in fact, he said to Pierre, 'QU'EST QUE C'EST DONC, MON AMI? -
What is that, my friend? 'Ou, MONSIEUR!' said Pierre - 'Where,
sir?' ' La! - there!' said our bore. 'MONSIEUR, CE N'EST RIEN DE
TOUT - sir, it's nothing at all,' said Pierre. 'ALLONS! - Make
haste. IL VA NEIGET - it's going to snow!' But, our bore was not
to be done in that way, and he firmly replied, 'I wish to go in
that direction - JE VEUX Y ALLER. I am bent upon it - JE SUIS
DETERMINE. EN AVANT! - go ahead!' In consequence of which
firmness on our bore's part, they proceeded, sir, during two hours
of evening, and three of moonlight (they waited in a cavern till
the moon was up), along the slenderest track, overhanging
perpendicularly the most awful gulfs, until they arrived, by a
winding descent, in a valley that possibly, and he may say
probably, was never visited by any stranger before. What a valley!
Mountains piled on mountains, avalanches stemmed by pine forests;
waterfalls, chalets, mountain-torrents, wooden bridges, every
conceivable picture of Swiss scenery! The whole village turned out
to receive our bore. The peasant girls kissed him, the men shook
hands with him, one old lady of benevolent appearance wept upon his
breast. He was conducted, in a primitive triumph, to the little
inn: where he was taken ill next morning, and lay for six weeks,
attended by the amiable hostess (the same benevolent old lady who
had wept over night) and her charming daughter, Fanchette. It is
nothing to say that they were attentive to him; they doted on him.
They called him in their simple way, L'ANGE ANGLAIS - the English
Angel. When our bore left the valley, there was not a dry eye in
the place; some of the people attended him for miles. He begs and
entreats of you as a personal favour, that if you ever go to
Switzerland again (you have mentioned that your last visit was your
twenty-third), you will go to that valley, and see Swiss scenery
for the first time. And if you want really to know the pastoral
people of Switzerland, and to understand them, mention, in that
valley, our bore's name!

Our bore has a crushing brother in the East, who, somehow or other,
was admitted to smoke pipes with Mehemet Ali, and instantly became
an authority on the whole range of Eastern matters, from Haroun
Alraschid to the present Sultan. He is in the habit of expressing
mysterious opinions on this wide range of subjects, but on
questions of foreign policy more particularly, to our bore, in
letters; and our bore is continually sending bits of these letters
to the newspapers (which they never insert), and carrying other
bits about in his pocket-book. It is even whispered that he has
been seen at the Foreign Office, receiving great consideration from
the messengers, and having his card promptly borne into the
sanctuary of the temple. The havoc committed in society by this
Eastern brother is beyond belief. Our bore is always ready with
him. We have known our bore to fall upon an intelligent young
sojourner in the wilderness, in the first sentence of a narrative,
and beat all confidence out of him with one blow of his brother.
He became omniscient, as to foreign policy, in the smoking of those
pipes with Mehemet Ali. The balance of power in Europe, the
machinations of the Jesuits, the gentle and humanising influence of
Austria, the position and prospects of that hero of the noble soul
who is worshipped by happy France, are all easy reading to our
bore's brother. And our bore is so provokingly self-denying about
him! 'I don't pretend to more than a very general knowledge of
these subjects myself,' says he, after enervating the intellects of
several strong men, 'but these are my brother's opinions, and I
believe he is known to be well-informed.'

The commonest incidents and places would appear to have been made
special, expressly for our bore. Ask him whether he ever chanced
to walk, between seven and eight in the morning, down St. James's
Street, London, and he will tell you, never in his life but once.
But, it's curious that that once was in eighteen thirty; and that
as our bore was walking down the street you have just mentioned, at
the hour you have just mentioned - half-past seven - or twenty
minutes to eight. No! Let him be correct! - exactly a quarter
before eight by the palace clock - he met a fresh-coloured, grey-
haired, good-humoured looking gentleman, with a brown umbrella,
who, as he passed him, touched his hat and said, 'Fine morning,
sir, fine morning!' - William the Fourth!

Ask our bore whether he has seen Mr. Barry's new Houses of
Parliament, and he will reply that he has not yet inspected them
minutely, but, that you remind him that it was his singular fortune
to be the last man to see the old Houses of Parliament before the
fire broke out. It happened in this way. Poor John Spine, the
celebrated novelist, had taken him over to South Lambeth to read to
him the last few chapters of what was certainly his best book - as
our bore told him at the time, adding, 'Now, my dear John, touch
it, and you'll spoil it!' - and our bore was going back to the club
by way of Millbank and Parliament Street, when he stopped to think
of Canning, and look at the Houses of Parliament. Now, you know
far more of the philosophy of Mind than our bore does, and are much
better able to explain to him than he is to explain to you why or
wherefore, at that particular time, the thought of fire should come
into his head. But, it did. It did. He thought, What a national
calamity if an edifice connected with so many associations should
be consumed by fire! At that time there was not a single soul in
the street but himself. All was quiet, dark, and solitary. After
contemplating the building for a minute - or, say a minute and a
half, not more - our bore proceeded on his way, mechanically
repeating, What a national calamity if such an edifice, connected
with such associations, should be destroyed by - A man coming
towards him in a violent state of agitation completed the sentence,
with the exclamation, Fire! Our bore looked round, and the whole
structure was in a blaze.

In harmony and union with these experiences, our bore never went
anywhere in a steamboat but he made either the best or the worst
voyage ever known on that station. Either he overheard the captain
say to himself, with his hands clasped, 'We are all lost!' or the
captain openly declared to him that he had never made such a run
before, and never should be able to do it again. Our bore was in
that express train on that railway, when they made (unknown to the
passengers) the experiment of going at the rate of a hundred to
miles an hour. Our bore remarked on that occasion to the other
people in the carriage, 'This is too fast, but sit still!' He was
at the Norwich musical festival when the extraordinary echo for
which science has been wholly unable to account, was heard for the
first and last time. He and the bishop heard it at the same
moment, and caught each other's eye. He was present at that
illumination of St. Peter's, of which the Pope is known to have
remarked, as he looked at it out of his window in the Vatican, 'O
Heaven! this thing will never be done again, like this!' He has
seen every lion he ever saw, under some remarkably propitious
circumstances. He knows there is no fancy in it, because in every
case the showman mentioned the fact at the time, and congratulated
him upon it.

At one period of his life, our bore had an illness. It was an
illness of a dangerous character for society at large. Innocently
remark that you are very well, or that somebody else is very well;
and our bore, with a preface that one never knows what a blessing
health is until one has lost it, is reminded of that illness, and
drags you through the whole of its symptoms, progress, and
treatment. Innocently remark that you are not well, or that
somebody else is not well, and the same inevitable result ensues.
You will learn how our bore felt a tightness about here, sir, for
which he couldn't account, accompanied with a constant sensation as
if he were being stabbed - or, rather, jobbed - that expresses it
more correctly - jobbed - with a blunt knife. Well, sir! This
went on, until sparks began to flit before his eyes, water-wheels
to turn round in his head, and hammers to beat incessantly, thump,
thump, thump, all down his back - along the whole of the spinal
vertebrae. Our bore, when his sensations had come to this, thought
it a duty he owed to himself to take advice, and he said, Now, whom
shall I consult? He naturally thought of Callow, at that time one
of the most eminent physicians in London, and he went to Callow.
Callow said, 'Liver!' and prescribed rhubarb and calomel, low diet,
and moderate exercise. Our bore went on with this treatment,
getting worse every day, until he lost confidence in Callow, and
went to Moon, whom half the town was then mad about. Moon was
interested in the case; to do him justice he was very much
interested in the case; and he said, 'Kidneys!' He altered the
whole treatment, sir - gave strong acids, cupped, and blistered.
This went on, our bore still getting worse every day, until he
openly told Moon it would be a satisfaction to him if he would have
a consultation with Clatter. The moment Clatter saw our bore, he
said, 'Accumulation of fat about the heart!' Snugglewood, who was
called in with him, differed, and said, 'Brain!' But, what they
all agreed upon was, to lay our bore upon his back, to shave his
head, to leech him, to administer enormous quantities of medicine,
and to keep him low; so that he was reduced to a mere shadow, you
wouldn't have known him, and nobody considered it possible that he
could ever recover. This was his condition, sir, when he heard of
Jilkins - at that period in a very small practice, and living in
the upper part of a house in Great Portland Street; but still, you
understand, with a rising reputation among the few people to whom
he was known. Being in that condition in which a drowning man
catches at a straw, our bore sent for Jilkins. Jilkins came. Our
bore liked his eye, and said, 'Mr. Jilkins, I have a presentiment
that you will do me good.' Jilkins's reply was characteristic of
the man. It was, 'Sir, I mean to do you good.' This confirmed our
bore's opinion of his eye, and they went into the case together -
went completely into it. Jilkins then got up, walked across the
room, came back, and sat down. His words were these. 'You have
been humbugged. This is a case of indigestion, occasioned by
deficiency of power in the Stomach. Take a mutton chop in half-an-
hour, with a glass of the finest old sherry that can be got for
money. Take two mutton chops to-morrow, and two glasses of the
finest old sherry. Next day, I'll come again.' In a week our bore
was on his legs, and Jilkins's success dates from that period!

Our bore is great in secret information. He happens to know many
things that nobody else knows. He can generally tell you where the
split is in the Ministry; he knows a great deal about the Queen;
and has little anecdotes to relate of the royal nursery. He gives
you the judge's private opinion of Sludge the murderer, and his
thoughts when he tried him. He happens to know what such a man got
by such a transaction, and it was fifteen thousand five hundred
pounds, and his income is twelve thousand a year. Our bore is also
great in mystery. He believes, with an exasperating appearance of
profound meaning, that you saw Parkins last Sunday? - Yes, you did.
- Did he say anything particular? - No, nothing particular. - Our
bore is surprised at that. - Why? - Nothing. Only he understood
that Parkins had come to tell you something. - What about? - Well!
our bore is not at liberty to mention what about. But, he believes
you will hear that from Parkins himself, soon, and he hopes it may
not surprise you as it did him. Perhaps, however, you never heard
about Parkins's wife's sister? - No. - Ah! says our bore, that
explains it!

Our bore is also great in argument. He infinitely enjoys a long
humdrum, drowsy interchange of words of dispute about nothing. He
considers that it strengthens the mind, consequently, he 'don't see
that,' very often. Or, he would be glad to know what you mean by
that. Or, he doubts that. Or, he has always understood exactly
the reverse of that. Or, he can't admit that. Or, he begs to deny
that. Or, surely you don't mean that. And so on. He once advised
us; offered us a piece of advice, after the fact, totally
impracticable and wholly impossible of acceptance, because it
supposed the fact, then eternally disposed of, to be yet in
abeyance. It was a dozen years ago, and to this hour our bore
benevolently wishes, in a mild voice, on certain regular occasions,
that we had thought better of his opinion.

The instinct with which our bore finds out another bore, and closes
with him, is amazing. We have seen him pick his man out of fifty
men, in a couple of minutes. They love to go (which they do
naturally) into a slow argument on a previously exhausted subject,
and to contradict each other, and to wear the hearers out, without
impairing their own perennial freshness as bores. It improves the
good understanding between them, and they get together afterwards,
and bore each other amicably. Whenever we see our bore behind a
door with another bore, we know that when he comes forth, he will
praise the other bore as one of the most intelligent men he ever
met. And this bringing us to the close of what we had to say about
our bore, we are anxious to have it understood that he never
bestowed this praise on us.


IT was profoundly observed by a witty member of the Court of Common
Council, in Council assembled in the City of London, in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty, that the French are
a frog-eating people, who wear wooden shoes.

We are credibly informed, in reference to the nation whom this
choice spirit so happily disposed of, that the caricatures and
stage representations which were current in England some half a
century ago, exactly depict their present condition. For example,
we understand that every Frenchman, without exception, wears a
pigtail and curl-papers. That he is extremely sallow, thin, long-
faced, and lantern-jawed. That the calves of his legs are
invariably undeveloped; that his legs fail at the knees, and that
his shoulders are always higher than his ears. We are likewise
assured that he rarely tastes any food but soup maigre, and an
onion; that he always says, 'By Gar! Aha! Vat you tell me, sare?'
at the end of every sentence he utters; and that the true generic
name of his race is the Mounseers, or the Parly-voos. If he be not
a dancing-master, or a barber, he must be a cook; since no other
trades but those three are congenial to the tastes of the people,
or permitted by the Institutions of the country. He is a slave, of
course. The ladies of France (who are also slaves) invariably have
their heads tied up in Belcher handkerchiefs, wear long earrings,
carry tambourines, and beguile the weariness of their yoke by
singing in head voices through their noses - principally to barrel-

It may be generally summed up, of this inferior people, that they
have no idea of anything.

Of a great Institution like Smithfield, they are unable to form the
least conception. A Beast Market in the heart of Paris would be
regarded an impossible nuisance. Nor have they any notion of
slaughter-houses in the midst of a city. One of these benighted
frog-eaters would scarcely understand your meaning, if you told him
of the existence of such a British bulwark.

It is agreeable, and perhaps pardonable, to indulge in a little
self-complacency when our right to it is thoroughly established.
At the present time, to be rendered memorable by a final attack on
that good old market which is the (rotten) apple of the
Corporation's eye, let us compare ourselves, to our national
delight and pride as to these two subjects of slaughter-house and
beast-market, with the outlandish foreigner.

The blessings of Smithfield are too well understood to need
recapitulation; all who run (away from mad bulls and pursuing oxen)
may read. Any market-day they may be beheld in glorious action.
Possibly the merits of our slaughter-houses are not yet quite so
generally appreciated.

Slaughter-houses, in the large towns of England, are always (with
the exception of one or two enterprising towns) most numerous in
the most densely crowded places, where there is the least
circulation of air. They are often underground, in cellars; they
are sometimes in close back yards; sometimes (as in Spitalfields)
in the very shops where the meat is sold. Occasionally, under good
private management, they are ventilated and clean. For the most
part, they are unventilated and dirty; and, to the reeking walls,
putrid fat and other offensive animal matter clings with a
tenacious hold. The busiest slaughter-houses in London are in the
neighbourhood of Smithfield, in Newgate Market, in Whitechapel, in
Newport Market, in Leadenhall Market, in Clare Market. All these
places are surrounded by houses of a poor description, swarming
with inhabitants. Some of them are close to the worst burial-
grounds in London. When the slaughter-house is below the ground,
it is a common practice to throw the sheep down areas, neck and
crop - which is exciting, but not at all cruel. When it is on the
level surface, it is often extremely difficult of approach. Then,
the beasts have to be worried, and goaded, and pronged, and tail-
twisted, for a long time before they can be got in - which is
entirely owing to their natural obstinacy. When it is not
difficult of approach, but is in a foul condition, what they see
and scent makes them still more reluctant to enter - which is their
natural obstinacy again. When they do get in at last, after no
trouble and suffering to speak of (for, there is nothing in the
previous journey into the heart of London, the night's endurance in
Smithfield, the struggle out again, among the crowded multitude,
the coaches, carts, waggons, omnibuses, gigs, chaises, phaetons,
cabs, trucks, dogs, boys, whoopings, roarings, and ten thousand
other distractions), they are represented to be in a most unfit
state to be killed, according to microscopic examinations made of
their fevered blood by one of the most distinguished physiologists
in the world, PROFESSOR OWEN - but that's humbug. When they ARE
killed, at last, their reeking carcases are hung in impure air, to
become, as the same Professor will explain to you, less nutritious
and more unwholesome - but he is only an UNcommon counsellor, so
don't mind HIM. In half a quarter of a mile's length of
Whitechapel, at one time, there shall be six hundred newly
slaughtered oxen hanging up, and seven hundred sheep - but, the
more the merrier - proof of prosperity. Hard by Snow Hill and
Warwick Lane, you shall see the little children, inured to sights
of brutality from their birth, trotting along the alleys, mingled
with troops of horribly busy pigs, up to their ankles in blood -
but it makes the young rascals hardy. Into the imperfect sewers of
this overgrown city, you shall have the immense mass of corruption,
engendered by these practices, lazily thrown out of sight, to rise,
in poisonous gases, into your house at night, when your sleeping
children will most readily absorb them, and to find its languid
way, at last, into the river that you drink - but, the French are a
frog-eating people who wear wooden shoes, and it's O the roast beef
of England, my boy, the jolly old English roast beef.

It is quite a mistake - a newfangled notion altogether - to suppose
that there is any natural antagonism between putrefaction and
health. They know better than that, in the Common Council. You
may talk about Nature, in her wisdom, always warning man through
his sense of smell, when he draws near to something dangerous; but,
that won't go down in the City. Nature very often don't mean
anything. Mrs. Quickly says that prunes are ill for a green wound;
but whosoever says that putrid animal substances are ill for a
green wound, or for robust vigour, or for anything or for anybody,
is a humanity-monger and a humbug. Britons never, never, never,
&c., therefore. And prosperity to cattle-driving, cattle-
slaughtering, bone-crushing, blood-boiling, trotter-scraping,
tripe-dressing, paunch-cleaning, gut-spinning, hide-preparing,
tallow-melting, and other salubrious proceedings, in the midst of
hospitals, churchyards, workhouses, schools, infirmaries, refuges,
dwellings, provision-shops nurseries, sick-beds, every stage and
baiting-place in the journey from birth to death!

These UNcommon counsellors, your Professor Owens and fellows, will
contend that to tolerate these things in a civilised city, is to
reduce it to a worse condition than BRUCE found to prevail in
ABYSSINIA. For there (say they) the jackals and wild dogs came at
night to devour the offal; whereas, here there are no such natural
scavengers, and quite as savage customs. Further, they will
demonstrate that nothing in Nature is intended to be wasted, and
that besides the waste which such abuses occasion in the articles
of health and life - main sources of the riches of any community -
they lead to a prodigious waste of changing matters, which might,
with proper preparation, and under scientific direction, be safely
applied to the increase of the fertility of the land. Thus (they
argue) does Nature ever avenge infractions of her beneficent laws,
and so surely as Man is determined to warp any of her blessings
into curses, shall they become curses, and shall he suffer heavily.
But, this is cant. Just as it is cant of the worst description to
say to the London Corporation, 'How can you exhibit to the people
so plain a spectacle of dishonest equivocation, as to claim the
right of holding a market in the midst of the great city, for one
of your vested privileges, when you know that when your last market
holding charter was granted to you by King Charles the First,
Smithfield stood IN THE SUBURBS OF LONDON, and is in that very
charter so described in those five words?' - which is certainly
true, but has nothing to do with the question.

Now to the comparison, in these particulars of civilisation,
between the capital of England, and the capital of that frog-eating
and wooden-shoe wearing country, which the illustrious Common
Councilman so sarcastically settled.

In Paris, there is no Cattle Market. Cows and calves are sold
within the city, but, the Cattle Markets are at Poissy, about
thirteen miles off, on a line of railway; and at Sceaux, about five
miles off. The Poissy market is held every Thursday; the Sceaux
market, every Monday. In Paris, there are no slaughter-houses, in
our acceptation of the term. There are five public Abattoirs -
within the walls, though in the suburbs - and in these all the
slaughtering for the city must be performed. They are managed by a
Syndicat or Guild of Butchers, who confer with the Minister of the
Interior on all matters affecting the trade, and who are consulted
when any new regulations are contemplated for its government. They
are, likewise, under the vigilant superintendence of the police.
Every butcher must be licensed: which proves him at once to be a
slave, for we don't license butchers in England - we only license
apothecaries, attorneys, post-masters, publicans, hawkers,
retailers of tobacco, snuff, pepper, and vinegar - and one or two
other little trades, not worth mentioning. Every arrangement in
connexion with the slaughtering and sale of meat, is matter of
strict police regulation. (Slavery again, though we certainly have
a general sort of Police Act here.)

But, in order that the reader may understand what a monument of
folly these frog-eaters have raised in their abattoirs and cattle-
markets, and may compare it with what common counselling has done
for us all these years, and would still do but for the innovating
spirit of the times, here follows a short account of a recent visit
to these places:

It was as sharp a February morning as you would desire to feel at
your fingers' ends when I turned out - tumbling over a chiffonier
with his little basket and rake, who was picking up the bits of
coloured paper that had been swept out, over-night, from a Bon-Bon
shop - to take the Butchers' Train to Poissy. A cold, dim light
just touched the high roofs of the Tuileries which have seen such
changes, such distracted crowds, such riot and bloodshed; and they
looked as calm, and as old, all covered with white frost, as the
very Pyramids. There was not light enough, yet, to strike upon the
towers of Notre Dame across the water; but I thought of the dark
pavement of the old Cathedral as just beginning to be streaked with
grey; and of the lamps in the 'House of God,' the Hospital close to
it, burning low and being quenched; and of the keeper of the Morgue
going about with a fading lantern, busy in the arrangement of his
terrible waxwork for another sunny day.

The sun was up, and shining merrily when the butchers and I,
announcing our departure with an engine shriek to sleepy Paris,
rattled away for the Cattle Market. Across the country, over the
Seine, among a forest of scrubby trees - the hoar frost lying cold
in shady places, and glittering in the light - and here we are - at
Poissy! Out leap the butchers, who have been chattering all the
way like madmen, and off they straggle for the Cattle Market (still
chattering, of course, incessantly), in hats and caps of all
shapes, in coats and blouses, in calf-skins, cow-skins, horse-
skins, furs, shaggy mantles, hairy coats, sacking, baize, oil-skin,
anything you please that will keep a man and a butcher warm, upon a
frosty morning.

Many a French town have I seen, between this spot of ground and
Strasburg or Marseilles, that might sit for your picture, little
Poissy! Barring the details of your old church, I know you well,
albeit we make acquaintance, now, for the first time. I know your
narrow, straggling, winding streets, with a kennel in the midst,
and lamps slung across. I know your picturesque street-corners,
winding up-hill Heaven knows why or where! I know your tradesmen's
inscriptions, in letters not quite fat enough; your barbers' brazen
basins dangling over little shops; your Cafes and Estaminets, with
cloudy bottles of stale syrup in the windows, and pictures of
crossed billiard cues outside. I know this identical grey horse
with his tail rolled up in a knot like the 'back hair' of an untidy
woman, who won't be shod, and who makes himself heraldic by
clattering across the street on his hind-legs, while twenty voices
shriek and growl at him as a Brigand, an accursed Robber, and an
everlastingly-doomed Pig. I know your sparkling town-fountain,
too, my Poissy, and am glad to see it near a cattle-market, gushing
so freshly, under the auspices of a gallant little sublimated
Frenchman wrought in metal, perched upon the top. Through all the
land of France I know this unswept room at The Glory, with its
peculiar smell of beans and coffee, where the butchers crowd about
the stove, drinking the thinnest of wine from the smallest of
tumblers; where the thickest of coffee-cups mingle with the longest
of loaves, and the weakest of lump sugar; where Madame at the
counter easily acknowledges the homage of all entering and
departing butchers; where the billiard-table is covered up in the
midst like a great bird-cake - but the bird may sing by-and-by!

A bell! The Calf Market! Polite departure of butchers. Hasty
payment and departure on the part of amateur Visitor. Madame
reproaches Ma'amselle for too fine a susceptibility in reference to
the devotion of a Butcher in a bear-skin. Monsieur, the landlord
of The Glory, counts a double handful of sous, without an
unobliterated inscription, or an undamaged crowned head, among

There is little noise without, abundant space, and no confusion.
The open area devoted to the market is divided into three portions:
the Calf Market, the Cattle Market, the Sheep Market. Calves at
eight, cattle at ten, sheep at mid-day. All is very clean.

The Calf Market is a raised platform of stone, some three or four
feet high, open on all sides, with a lofty overspreading roof,
supported on stone columns, which give it the appearance of a sort
of vineyard from Northern Italy. Here, on the raised pavement, lie
innumerable calves, all bound hind-legs and fore-legs together, and
all trembling violently - perhaps with cold, perhaps with fear,
perhaps with pain; for, this mode of tying, which seems to be an
absolute superstition with the peasantry, can hardly fail to cause
great suffering. Here, they lie, patiently in rows, among the
straw, with their stolid faces and inexpressive eyes, superintended
by men and women, boys and girls; here they are inspected by our
friends, the butchers, bargained for, and bought. Plenty of time;
plenty of room; plenty of good humour. 'Monsieur Francois in the
bear-skin, how do you do, my friend? You come from Paris by the
train? The fresh air does you good. If you are in want of three
or four fine calves this market morning, my angel, I, Madame Doche,
shall be happy to deal with you. Behold these calves, Monsieur
Francois! Great Heaven, you are doubtful! Well, sir, walk round
and look about you. If you find better for the money, buy them.
If not, come to me!' Monsieur Francois goes his way leisurely, and
keeps a wary eye upon the stock. No other butcher jostles Monsieur
Francois; Monsieur Francois jostles no other butcher. Nobody is
flustered and aggravated. Nobody is savage. In the midst of the
country blue frocks and red handkerchiefs, and the butchers' coats,
shaggy, furry, and hairy: of calf-skin, cow-skin, horse-skin, and
bear-skin: towers a cocked hat and a blue cloak. Slavery! For OUR
Police wear great-coats and glazed hats.

But now the bartering is over, and the calves are sold. 'Ho!
Gregoire, Antoine, Jean, Louis! Bring up the carts, my children!
Quick, brave infants! Hola! Hi!'

The carts, well littered with straw, are backed up to the edge of
the raised pavement, and various hot infants carry calves upon
their heads, and dexterously pitch them in, while other hot
infants, standing in the carts, arrange the calves, and pack them
carefully in straw. Here is a promising young calf, not sold, whom
Madame Doche unbinds. Pardon me, Madame Doche, but I fear this
mode of tying the four legs of a quadruped together, though
strictly a la mode, is not quite right. You observe, Madame Doche,
that the cord leaves deep indentations in the skin, and that the
animal is so cramped at first as not to know, or even remotely
suspect that HE is unbound, until you are so obliging as to kick
him, in your delicate little way, and pull his tail like a bell-
rope. Then, he staggers to his knees, not being able to stand, and
stumbles about like a drunken calf, or the horse at Franconi's,
whom you may have seen, Madame Doche, who is supposed to have been
mortally wounded in battle. But, what is this rubbing against me,
as I apostrophise Madame Doche? It is another heated infant with a
calf upon his head. 'Pardon, Monsieur, but will you have the
politeness to allow me to pass?' 'Ah, sir, willingly. I am vexed
to obstruct the way.' On he staggers, calf and all, and makes no
allusion whatever either to my eyes or limbs.

Now, the carts are all full. More straw, my Antoine, to shake over
these top rows; then, off we will clatter, rumble, jolt, and
rattle, a long row of us, out of the first town-gate, and out at
the second town-gate, and past the empty sentry-box, and the little
thin square bandbox of a guardhouse, where nobody seems to live:
and away for Paris, by the paved road, lying, a straight, straight
line, in the long, long avenue of trees. We can neither choose our
road, nor our pace, for that is all prescribed to us. The public
convenience demands that our carts should get to Paris by such a
route, and no other (Napoleon had leisure to find that out, while
he had a little war with the world upon his hands), and woe betide
us if we infringe orders.

Drovers of oxen stand in the Cattle Market, tied to iron bars fixed
into posts of granite. Other droves advance slowly down the long
avenue, past the second town-gate, and the first town-gate, and the
sentry-box, and the bandbox, thawing the morning with their smoky
breath as they come along. Plenty of room; plenty of time.
Neither man nor beast is driven out of his wits by coaches, carts,
waggons, omnibuses, gigs, chaises, phaetons, cabs, trucks, boys,
whoopings, roarings, and multitudes. No tail-twisting is necessary
- no iron pronging is necessary. There are no iron prongs here.
The market for cattle is held as quietly as the market for calves.
In due time, off the cattle go to Paris; the drovers can no more
choose their road, nor their time, nor the numbers they shall
drive, than they can choose their hour for dying in the course of

Sheep next. The sheep-pens are up here, past the Branch Bank of
Paris established for the convenience of the butchers, and behind
the two pretty fountains they are making in the Market. My name is
Bull: yet I think I should like to see as good twin fountains - not
to say in Smithfield, but in England anywhere. Plenty of room;
plenty of time. And here are sheep-dogs, sensible as ever, but
with a certain French air about them - not without a suspicion of
dominoes - with a kind of flavour of moustache and beard -
demonstrative dogs, shaggy and loose where an English dog would be
tight and close - not so troubled with business calculations as our
English drovers' dogs, who have always got their sheep upon their
minds, and think about their work, even resting, as you may see by
their faces; but, dashing, showy, rather unreliable dogs: who might
worry me instead of their legitimate charges if they saw occasion -
and might see it somewhat suddenly.

The market for sheep passes off like the other two; and away they
go, by THEIR allotted road to Paris. My way being the Railway, I
make the best of it at twenty miles an hour; whirling through the
now high-lighted landscape; thinking that the inexperienced green
buds will be wishing, before long, they had not been tempted to
come out so soon; and wondering who lives in this or that chateau,
all window and lattice, and what the family may have for breakfast
this sharp morning.

After the Market comes the Abattoir. What abattoir shall I visit
first? Montmartre is the largest. So I will go there.

The abattoirs are all within the walls of Paris, with an eye to the
receipt of the octroi duty; but, they stand in open places in the
suburbs, removed from the press and bustle of the city. They are
managed by the Syndicat or Guild of Butchers, under the inspection
of the Police. Certain smaller items of the revenue derived from
them are in part retained by the Guild for the payment of their
expenses, and in part devoted by it to charitable purposes in
connexion with the trade. They cost six hundred and eighty
thousand pounds; and they return to the city of Paris an interest
on that outlay, amounting to nearly six and a-half per cent.

Here, in a sufficiently dismantled space is the Abattoir of
Montmartre, covering nearly nine acres of ground, surrounded by a
high wall, and looking from the outside like a cavalry barrack. At
the iron gates is a small functionary in a large cocked hat.
'Monsieur desires to see the abattoir? Most certainly.' State
being inconvenient in private transactions, and Monsieur being
already aware of the cocked hat, the functionary puts it into a
little official bureau which it almost fills, and accompanies me in
the modest attire - as to his head - of ordinary life.

Many of the animals from Poissy have come here. On the arrival of
each drove, it was turned into yonder ample space, where each
butcher who had bought, selected his own purchases. Some, we see
now, in these long perspectives of stalls with a high over-hanging
roof of wood and open tiles rising above the walls. While they
rest here, before being slaughtered, they are required to be fed
and watered, and the stalls must be kept clean. A stated amount of
fodder must always be ready in the loft above; and the supervision
is of the strictest kind. The same regulations apply to sheep and
calves; for which, portions of these perspectives are strongly
railed off. All the buildings are of the strongest and most solid

After traversing these lairs, through which, besides the upper
provision for ventilation just mentioned, there may be a thorough
current of air from opposite windows in the side walls, and from
doors at either end, we traverse the broad, paved, court-yard until
we come to the slaughter-houses. They are all exactly alike, and
adjoin each other, to the number of eight or nine together, in
blocks of solid building. Let us walk into the first.

It is firmly built and paved with stone. It is well lighted,
thoroughly aired, and lavishly provided with fresh water. It has
two doors opposite each other; the first, the door by which I
entered from the main yard; the second, which is opposite, opening
on another smaller yard, where the sheep and calves are killed on
benches. The pavement of that yard, I see, slopes downward to a
gutter, for its being more easily cleansed. The slaughter-house is
fifteen feet high, sixteen feet and a-half wide, and thirty-three
feet long. It is fitted with a powerful windlass, by which one man
at the handle can bring the head of an ox down to the ground to
receive the blow from the pole-axe that is to fell him - with the
means of raising the carcass and keeping it suspended during the
after-operation of dressing - and with hooks on which carcasses can
hang, when completely prepared, without touching the walls. Upon
the pavement of this first stone chamber, lies an ox scarcely dead.
If I except the blood draining from him, into a little stone well
in a corner of the pavement, the place is free from offence as the
Place de la Concorde. It is infinitely purer and cleaner, I know,
my friend the functionary, than the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Ha,
ha! Monsieur is pleasant, but, truly, there is reason, too, in
what he says.

I look into another of these slaughter-houses. 'Pray enter,' says
a gentleman in bloody boots. 'This is a calf I have killed this
morning. Having a little time upon my hands, I have cut and
punctured this lace pattern in the coats of his stomach. It is
pretty enough. I did it to divert myself.' - 'It is beautiful,
Monsieur, the slaughterer!' He tells me I have the gentility to
say so.

I look into rows of slaughter-houses. In many, retail dealers, who
have come here for the purpose, are making bargains for meat.
There is killing enough, certainly, to satiate an unused eye; and
there are steaming carcasses enough, to suggest the expediency of a
fowl and salad for dinner; but, everywhere, there is an orderly,
clean, well-systematised routine of work in progress - horrible
work at the best, if you please; but, so much the greater reason
why it should be made the best of. I don't know (I think I have
observed, my name is Bull) that a Parisian of the lowest order is
particularly delicate, or that his nature is remarkable for an
infinitesimal infusion of ferocity; but, I do know, my potent,
grave, and common counselling Signors, that he is forced, when at
this work, to submit himself to a thoroughly good system, and to
make an Englishman very heartily ashamed of you.

Here, within the walls of the same abattoir, in other roomy and
commodious buildings, are a place for converting the fat into
tallow and packing it for market - a place for cleansing and
scalding calves' heads and sheep's feet - a place for preparing
tripe - stables and coach-houses for the butchers - innumerable
conveniences, aiding in the diminution of offensiveness to its
lowest possible point, and the raising of cleanliness and
supervision to their highest. Hence, all the meat that goes out of
the gate is sent away in clean covered carts. And if every trade
connected with the slaughtering of animals were obliged by law to
be carried on in the same place, I doubt, my friend, now reinstated
in the cocked hat (whose civility these two francs imperfectly
acknowledge, but appear munificently to repay), whether there could
be better regulations than those which are carried out at the
Abattoir of Montmartre. Adieu, my friend, for I am away to the
other side of Paris, to the Abattoir of Grenelle! And there I find
exactly the same thing on a smaller scale, with the addition of a
magnificent Artesian well, and a different sort of conductor, in
the person of a neat little woman with neat little eyes, and a neat
little voice, who picks her neat little way among the bullocks in a
very neat little pair of shoes and stockings.

Such is the Monument of French Folly which a foreigneering people
have erected, in a national hatred and antipathy for common
counselling wisdom. That wisdom, assembled in the City of London,
having distinctly refused, after a debate of three days long, and
by a majority of nearly seven to one, to associate itself with any
Metropolitan Cattle Market unless it be held in the midst of the
City, it follows that we shall lose the inestimable advantages of
common counselling protection, and be thrown, for a market, on our
own wretched resources. In all human probability we shall thus
come, at last, to erect a monument of folly very like this French
monument. If that be done, the consequences are obvious. The
leather trade will be ruined, by the introduction of American
timber, to be manufactured into shoes for the fallen English; the
Lord Mayor will be required, by the popular voice, to live entirely
on frogs; and both these changes will (how, is not at present quite
clear, but certainly somehow or other) fall on that unhappy landed
interest which is always being killed, yet is always found to be
alive - and kicking.


(1) Give a bill

(2) Three months' imprisonment as reputed thieves.

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