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hour for dining, or to run after some broken-down rag of Quality, who steams across to America to shoot canvas-back ducks, merely because he had been seen“ at Mrs. Valentine Mott's!' does she consider, that the Miss Phillis or Miss Remarkable, who has the confidence of her toilette, is sure to be dying to die for like unattainable grandeurs ? Does she forget that the imitation is often far more piquant than the original ? I, for one, were I a young, free man, in New York, and looking out for a helpmate, would far rather try the Miss Phillis or the Miss Remarkable aforesaid—as less unlikely to be dissatisfied by a plain life and modest fortunes,—than those high-flyers their mistreses? So who can wonder that all the maids marry off, and leave dejected Grandeur to scrub its own floors and cook its own dinners ?
America, then, I take it, is disposed of, at least, till “the arrival of further advices,”—and the dissatisfactory condition of its "help" is not to be laid to the enlightenment of its people ; a point to prove which many right-diviners labour with an insane pertinacity. Easier far is it to accuse the Schoolmaster as having weak. ened the sinews of service as distinguished from servitude, than our own ways and habits of life. Consider, ye who are dealing by wholesale in invective, what passes in nine out of the ten houses in which you have been ever domesticated :-how many examples of self-indulgence above and machinery below stairs you have known!
-how much order you recollect, enforced by nothing better than the turn-key system--the restraint of peculation being an affair of as many wards, as though the bunch of keys were a Bridewell!-how much licence sanctioned by example! Who shall wonder if the confidential servant, permitted by evasions to stave the payments of inconvenient bills, himself ends in debt ? if the waiting for wages capriciously settled, drive him to kitchen usury, to the pawnbroker, and "the snapper up of unconsidered trifles." Or suppose your house a pleasantly convivial one, and that among the dear friends you draw round you, some are elevated from time to time (not to use the sharper phrase of the Caudle vocabulary) into courageous eloquence and devoted professions of friendship. You, of course, it is to be hoped, are no warning Mathew, ready with an antidote, whereby a virtue is manufactured at an instant's warning ;-no Mistress Ellis, my good lady! to deduce all the possible sins and grief of life, from my Lord Cardigan's bugbear, the black bottle. Yet if Jeremy your man a being with comparatively so few pleasures and means of selfrestraint-presents himself “ in his cups,” how breaks out your righteous indignation : “ Drunkenness,” says every wise head of a family, “is what I can never look over!”. Nor should you : but are you always true enough to your kind, to advert to the example whence the habit grew ?
Then, there's gambling :-—these outrageous examples reproducing the Mississippi mania of Lauriston Law in the soberer times of a Joseph Hume and a Sir Peter Laurie ; and which furnish us with “ Ballads of Berkeley-Square,” and “ Diaries of the Ennuyé," who so late was Shoulder-knot in ordinary to the Marchioness of Salisbury, and is now pretending to the hand of one of the Marchioness her cousins! It is wicked, doubtless, in our gentry of the second table to exchange their I 0 U's as if Crockford's was made for them: It's frightful to hear of cook-maids investing their savings in The Rottenborough Line, and hanging themselves in their garters, like unfortunate Miss Bailey, because the Grand Mulligatawny Junction can't get its bill—(such tragedies have been.) But in this are you wholly guiltless, my Lords, my Gentlemen, and my Brethren in business ; who are happily, neither lords nor gentlemen ? When your winking and blinking “ fellows" have sate up four nights to minister fresh packs of cards to you—when they have seen your tailors rated as monstrosities if they ask for their money, while they have been sent to those very same tailors to borrow for you the cash which is to discharge your debts of honour,-is it wonderful if they also beguile their vigils by “ touching a card,” or if, like you, losing more than they are worth, they “rob the till ? ” Nor must poor Betty (at the instance of any anti-self-destructionist) be buried at a cross-road junction“ her maiden strewments” denied her :-till it can be proved, that Betty's mistress has not shown her the way to put “ her finger into the pie ” of risques and dividends, of par and premiums,-till a cloud of witnesses can be brought to prove that Betty has never paid an area-visit in the house of sharebroker—ten years ago, a broken-down merchant, no matter in what lane, of what town, but to-day a magnate of Belgravia, with his wife in her opera-box, and his daughters heralded in “ The Weekly Crawler," as among the loveliest débutantes of the season.
Ay, you may take it as you please ; yourselves proclaim the severance of your interests from those of your attendants, by every inconsiderate selfishness which appetite can plan, and every idle example which luxury can furnish ; but, in spite of all, the fact remains unaltered, that the family is still the family :-a machine of which you are the mainspring! And though my Mrs. Bell may and does unfairly pay for the rapacity of Lady Salisbury in the disturbance of our “establishment ;”—and though the chariot wheels of our good, weary, red-faced maid-of-all-work “drive more heavily," from time to time, so often as some sanguine Betty shall flash her possible gains in her friend's eyes (sinking, of course) the distant, but no less possible, garters,- I will never believe but that in the long run and in the mass, masters are served as well as they deserve to be ; that is, order by order, decency by decency, intelligence by intelligence, trust by trust, kindliness by kindliness. I shall be answered, I know, by certain well-worn assertions : such as that “ taking people out of their proper sphere," means “ taking libere ties,”-that indulgent mastership means impudent and careless service. Now, to have had liberties taken with one is doubtless a heavy burden on the conscience of “the genteel.” An over familiar phrase is a deadly sin, so exquisitely do we measure the proprieties of our own language ! a too hot self-assertion not to be forgiven by personages so impeccably meek as we, when our own performances are called in question ! But I would of the two bear this load,-heavy and humiliating and full of alarm as it is,-rather than the slight self-reproach of feeling that I had neglected my responsibilities in the exaction of my entire claims,—that I had expected one less advantageously placed for the cultivation of selfrestraint than myself, to exceed me in perfection of duty,-that I had set an example of hardness of heart and self-indulgence, of treason to truth, and want of faith in the future as better than the present, to those over whom circumstances had set me... i
“Here's cant and common-place with a vengeance !” cries some lover of household discipline and human freedom. Good sir, I claim my Cry; as you claim yours. And common-place may sometimes be the wisdom of ages--if one only dared say as much. But, however, one instance is sometimes worth pages of flat assertion and flat denial; and, since we have been talking so much of late, of airs in areas and pantry pretension, - f ladies' maids with “ speculation in their eyes”-and lords' gentlemen, as flowing in their language as though they had nothing else to do but make up bouquets in The Morning , for the
“ wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best” of opera management and managers, let me beg to put forward in evidence (and by way of closing a dull discourse) a true story of a small clock.
Every one has some pet possession ; and this clock (a two dollar German clock, made in some little quaint town of the Black Forest) happened to be THE treasure belonging to the attendant and friend of one of your scrambling London writers (a relation of my Mrs. Bell's, sir), who is turning out very so-so, I fear. The owner is a German, and the clock talked to him of home. He is something of a mechanist, and could take to pieces and clean it himself :'twas the apple of his eye, in short. Now chance threw within the range of this kind creature's ministry another poor, scrambling author ;-an Irish youth ; who, homeless, helpless, and without a relation in the world (his only brother having been lost in shipwreck many years before), had come to London to try the beggarly trade of letters—had been stricken by consumption, when scarcely twenty-two, and had lain down to die, slowly, in the Sanatorium. I have never heard of a lonelier case. Time is time, sir, in London, as I dare say you know—not readily to be parted with. Long and dreary were the hours of every day and of every night which poor - must needs pass without any one, save his attendant, to speak to. But “ the familiar" aforesaid, who went to and fro, (often of his own accord) hit on a rare companion for the bed-ridden youth, “ his little clock.” So he took it, and he nailed it up by the bed-side, that its tiny voice might talk to the poor wasted creature the long night through—and great, great, they assure me, was the comfort thereof.
I am telling the tale shortly ; not to make it up for effect (as London magazine writers I have heard complained of, are too apt to do).-Well, after lingering through the mid-winter, the lonely sufferer died. The burial was to be arranged, his scanty handful of papers to be sealed up and sent here; the few ragged wrecks of his wardrobe (they had but just held out) to be distributed there; -and “ the familiar," of course, to reclaim his unprompted loan. “ But,” said he, with a very doleful face, to the person I heard mention the sad story, “ I shall never take any pleasure in my clock more ; I shall always think of the poor, dying man!”
If a piece of true feeling like this—one amongst thousands we could all tell—does not amount to a plea for fair consideration of a class it is somewhat too much the fashion to mistrust and ridicule ; does not encourage a hope that the faults of domestic servants may be rather ours than theirs ; and, as such, more easily reached
why then, sir, I am afraid we had better, with the least possible ado, set our Wheatstones and our Babbages to contrive those automaton “ hewers of wood and drawers of water," which the brilliant Editor of the Examiner described so whimsically, some years ago. And the sooner we hear “ease her," "stop her!” “ set on ahead !” and like new Cries, in our kneading troughs and private chambers—the better will it be for our peace, order, and mutual good understanding !
The most striking feature in the present day (far more than that of railways even) is the utter chaos into which all previously received principles and opinions are reduced. There is no recognised “rule of faith.” All that for eighteen hundred years served the world for moral principles are, as it were, withdrawn from circulation, to be resolved afresh into their elements, and prove their authority ;-they must speak intelligibly in the dialect of to-day, or the spirit that is in them will not appeal to the hearts and wants of men will not serve them to shape their conduct by in the clashing of interests and the turmoil of active life. Every day, every hour, is for each one of us filled with passionate details which hurry us along without our seeing too clearly whither they lead, and it needs something stronger, larger than they, all sympathising, all pervading, to form a rule of life to which we may each one of us continually resort in all seasons of perplexity and difficulty ; nothing one-sided, nothing of limited sympathy, nothing in short that is sectarian will answer the requirements of a rule to guide and counsel ALL men in the varied phases of LIFE as it is developed in each.
For the last three hundred years men have been breaking loose from the rock to which aforetime they were anchored, and have resolved themselves into sects and religions, and shades of religion and no religion, each one trying to construct an ark for the saving of his own soul out of the wreck and fragments of other systems.
- To bring matters to this pass, principles have been at work which, though not definitely bearing on moral and religious