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Are offered at my shrine.
Heed not your victims' whine,
But pile the faggots higher;
Roast, and expire,
And from the pyre,
Made his free-trade oration :
And he groaned out with vexation,
Hark! the death-bell tolls
Back the vast crowd rolls-
Thieves, by dozens, were plying their trade,
And marks a crowd, anxious and dense,
With eagerness most intense ;
Where spindles were turning,
And children their day's bread were busily earning.
Confounded, he spread his wings on high,
When with rumble and groan,
Like a red-hot stone,
* Alluding to the present extraordinary demand for Bibles at Manchester.
A PLEA FOR THE WORLD BELOW STAIRS.
BY PAUL BELL When I was a little tiny boy, sir, I used to stand at the door of the Blue Bell, opposite my father's house, that I might watch the mails going out, with a bitterness of yearning you gentlemen who live perpetually in the metropolis can't understand ;-We country folks used to be for ever hearing of your London Cries ! Now-it may be that the increase of reciprocal intercourse has taken off the edge of the strangeness; or else you have fewer “ Water Cresses," and “Babes in the Wood,” « Bird Cages,” “Dolls' Bedsteads," “ Hot Muffins," and other such “easements of life,” (as Jeannie Deans called them) than your fathers. Here and there, it is true, one may hear, in a long lonely street, some pernicious Italian tempting you to buy a "tombola,”' (under which invitation the Le Grands have assured me there lurks a jesuitical meaning and intention calling for close watchfulness on the part of The Record ); but there's no more possibility of encountering a sweep than a Unicorn : while the ice carts are too grand, and Monsieur Jullien's vans too genteel and English (for Monsieur Jullien boasts, I hear, that he is now a thorough Englishman) to make any noise as they go ! In short,—whatever Mr. Hullah may choose to say, sir,—London is a less musical place by daytime than it was thirty years ago.
For all this—and though, to boot, the race of town criers who used to bawl in village streets for lost children, and to announce sales by auction, is well nigh extinct,—there is no lack of cries abroad. I can never, for instance, set foot in certain houses, without being knocked down by ~ Who wants an old abuse ?" or “ Churches to mend !" And what housekeeper will deny the fact, that, so soon as ever two or three get together and begin to praise their own and to pity their neighbours' mismanagements,-a sort of “ Ullalu” or lament, over the “ degeneracy of servants,” is as certain to be raised, as a most comprehensively christian " grace" after my Lord Bishop of Exeter's dinner, or the peal of applause which follows Macready's “ There's no such thing ?” in his dagger scene from Macbeth. Young England or Old England,-Exeter Hall-goer or Romeward-bound-aristocrat or mill-owner, it is pretty much the same song—the same words to the same tune! za beggarly account of “perquisites” and keys turned-of Licen. tiousness in a shoulder-knot, and Cheatery in a bedgown and apron; a tale of trumpery warfare, without a single new feature or exeiterent to distinguish it. And when the chroniclers have talked themselves out of breath, ninety-nine times out of the hundred comes this inevitable winding-up : “Well, we shall never see such a thing as a good old servant again. It's a great pity !".
Now, sir, without any unfair wish to take their bread (a grievance) out of the Criers' mouths, I must beg leave to say a few words on à matter which comes home to all of us : whether we have “chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before us,” like Adonijah the son of Haggith,—or but one poor gawky Tilly Slowboy, to brandish our baby in the faces of all our friends who threaten to enter our houses. What right have I to speak ? is a question which will be asked, perhaps. This, sir-Owning as I do some fifty cousins, in every condition of life, from my cousin, Lord 's steward, up to my cousin the cotton Lord, who has a steward of his own, (and who, Mrs. Bell desires me to add, might naturally be expected to show more kindness to his relations,) I have had much opportunity of observing what goes on in families : and as I only make mischief in print, can warrant my fairness as a private witness. What I say, I know ; and I hope this assertion will content any who may be disposed to fancy me presuming.
First, sir,—nay, it is last too, as well as first, I am disposed to deny that those who treat their servants in “ the good old fashion," are worse served than their grandfathers and great aunts. How was it with them? If I was not fearful of prolixity; or, if the matter could be proved by instance against instance, I could bring up some famous examples of knavery and ingratitude which were produced in those homely days, when the persons under the same roof lived together like one tribe; and father and son waited upon father and son. Was there any charm in frugality of manners and familiarity of speech which could keep out cupidity and ignorance ?-destroy the desire to rise, or put to rest the gross sensual passions? Look at an old Newgate calendar ;—not that I wish to be understood to encourage such reading, save for good purposes-false wills, murders, personal outrages, connivance in mad-house oppressions !-are no such “accidents and offences" chargeable on the domestic servant of the blessed old times ? What tales, again, would our provincial annals unfold, of misers in lonely houses-of credulous ladies held
in a thraldom, such as in these days could hardly last a week of lyings and chicaneries--of darker crimes, the very mention of which it were as well “ to hush up,” for the sake of the old escutcheon! I would shock no person's modesty, but I can solemnly assure the reader, that, during a winter which many years ago I spent in one of the most patriarchal districts of this island, I commonly heard ladies promulgate one class of scandals against ladies, with a hardihood which proved at all events the idea to be familiar—that hereditary service might not unfrequently mean somewhat more intimate! One of your London authors, sir, would be charged with gross exaggeration, did he “book" half the “facts” which would there have been narrated to him with regard to one house out of three : and this in an Arcadia, which our laureate would describe as a world of innocence, not to be desecrated by “Manchester tradesmen.” Let us hope that the gentlemen and ladies in — shire were given to telling lies of each other ;--but the disposition and the direction of their talk says much, and if only a fiftieth part of the gossip was true, it is important testimony.
Yes : while I devoutly believe that we have lived to see the end of the fidelity of Ignorance, I am no less cordially assured that we are suffering little by the loss. As we sow, we reap. Don't let the notorious discomfort of American households be thrown in my teeth ; and simple natural Mistress Clarissa Packard's “ Housekeeper " be quoted against me, as a proof, that, whenever liberty and cultivation extend, that desire to “get on" breaks out which renders man insubordinate to man. What if Jonathan be whipped in “parlour, kitchen, and all,” by his owo rod ?-the instruction of his own eagerness to thrive, being bettered by those whom he would part with at a wink, could half a dollar, more or less, be turned in the operation ? What, secondly, if our dearly beloved kinsman suffers in his home from the spectacle in his land of black work, in such large proportions, that all service is somehow confounded with slavery ; -and bears a bad name? Then, again, the strong ambition to be aristocratie and fashionable displayed in the new country, (sadly will these youthful fopperies one day fall away, and the vanity thereof come to be understood !) can hardly fail to react upon the world below stairs. When Mrs. Judge Peabody, or Governor Comberlege's lady giving way to an agony for some new French costume, would try to persuade her lord and master to adopt some ridiculously inapplicable