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shall make she-Puseyites shake in their copes and stoles, and sheforeign ministers settle boundary quarrels with Mrs. Jonathan's (not Rebecca's) daughters-we must still insist upon a reconsideration of that code of popular praise and censure, which gives all the credit to the rich, and all the chastisement to the poor. Let those who are less shrill than Xantippe, less preternaturally submissive than Griselda, have their chance and their advocate; as well as the Dean Swifts who break the hearts of the Stellas for whom they journalise their thoughts, and the Burnses and the Byrons who have dedicated some of the most impassioned of their verses, to immortalise (as my shovel-hatted friend would say) their conjugal infidelities and infelicities !
In my next, peradventure, The Husbands of Great Women.
THE LAUGH OF RHADAMANTHUS.
RHADAMANTHUS sat on his iron throne,
Dooming each shuddering ghost,
In his fiery vaults to roast.
A ghost came up to the judgment bar,
And stood for sentence there,
As a great unpaid should glare.
“A pauper ghost art thou;
Thou wert born to speed the plough.
Hast slaughtered rich men's game,
Or given their ricks to flame ?
“Hast left behind unlawful brats,
The parish rates to swell ?
Thy fitting place in hell."
“Not so, my lord,” the ghost replied,
“Felon nor vagrant I, And three tall sons in wedlock born,
Might answer slander's lie; “But that the first at Waterloo,
On two gashed Frenchmen diedTheir colours on his corpse were found,
Stanching his welling side.
Fell, on the forced stockade ;
In Affgħan land is laid.
Quoth Řhadamanthus stern, "Wherefore I should not send thee hence,
In Phlegethon to burn ?
" Where was thy death?"_“Till seventy-five
I wheeled a roadstone barrow; The Union gave my last poor meal,
And that was putrid marrow.”
“ Then thou dost murmur, slave, at fais,
Tremble, and hear thy doom !”
That spectre's face of gloom.
“ The story of my life is told,
Save what no tongue can tellWhat has the slave of the lords of gold
To fear from the lord of hell ? "
Then came a laugh—but such a laugh,
A shriek had been more gay-
Hell's echoes, as they say.
Or some grey feudal towers-
Whilst the kingdom of Utopia was in its infancy, during the transition state of its constitution to the point of absolute perfection, its inhabitants were subject to certain legislative hardships. In particular, poverty was treated as a crime, even in cases where it arose from inability to get a living. The destitute, whether improvident or merely unfortunate, were shut up in workhouses,— where they were placed, indiscriminately, under the same rule of discipline; all being alike systematically made uncomfortable. They were put to the dirtiest drudgery ; they were coarsely and scantily fed ; their heads were cropped and shorn ; and they were forced to wear a garb of ignominy. Man and wife were separated ; no recreation was allowed ; nor was any kind of solace permitted to these unfortunates. To fortify philosophy by a pinch of snuff, or to stifle hunger with a morsel of tobacco, was a high crime and misdemeanour.
The management of each of these penitentiaries for the poor was conducted by a local board of governors, called Guardians, who were controlled and superintended by certain bashaws termed Commissioners, whose head-quarters lay in a large house or palace situated in the Utopian metropolis. The chief office of these bashaws was to dictate the arrangements for the inconvenience of workhouse prisoners ; and they were paid handsomely for taking this trouble.
Now, the Utopians, who were always a good-natured kind of people, did not fail, from the first institution of this system, to exclaim loudly against it as inconsistent with justice and humanity. . They being, however, indisposed to riot and sedition, and their government never conceding anything to popular opinion, except under the fear of an absolute insurrection, their exclamations and outcries against the law relative to the poor were for a long time unavailing. At length, however, the overthrow of this barbarous code was effected in consequence of the event following :
A wretched woman, with an infant at the breast, driven by distress, sought and obtained admission into one of the workhouses. She was here placed upon the usual dietary, the skilly
and water of affliction, and arrayed by the inquisitors for the suppression of indigence in the sanbenito of parochial charity. She was also, for the correction of her penury, handed over to the kind attentions of their familiars, the matron and beadle. By their tender mercies she was soon taught to know what it was to be destitute and friendless. This discipline, however, wholesome as it may have been, proved also to be so unpalatable, the rather as she had seen better days, that she found it altogether intolerable. She accordingly determined to withdraw herself from under it, and to seek aid and succour elsewhere in the wide world of Utopia.
It had been enacted by the bashaws or commissioners abovementioned, in order to compel all persons guilty of poverty to submit themselves to the workhouse course of penance, that the extreme of misery should be allowed to press upon them, so long as they remained without the walls of the institution. Cold, as well as hunger, being well calculated to promote this end, they had ordained that not a rag of clothing should be afforded to any one who should have the audacity to leave it. The mother, therefore, and child left the workhouse as they had entered it ; the former in tatters, the latter naked, having been, previously to its removal, stripped of every shred of its eleemosynary long-clothes. And so parent and offspring went forth into the frost and snow.
Onward tottered the poor woman with her burden, vainly imploring relief from all she met. At each step she became more faint and footsore ; more and more deeply the fangs of winter bit into her shivering flesh, whilst her child, in its agonies, screamed louder and louder every moment.
At last she was seen to cross a ford, when suddenly, with a gesture of frantic desperation, she dashed her child into the middle of the stream ; and instantly fell, or plunged, after it. Assistance was procured, and both were taken out senseless. The infant never revived.
A coroner's inquest was held on the body. Now the Utopians had been for some time accustoming themselves, to the horror, and notwithstanding the censure, of grave judges and judicial personages, to take the law into their own hands ; so that their juries returned the most extraordinary verdicts—as singular as the celebrated one, “ Served her right.”.
Evidence was given at the inquest of the mother's state of mind on leaving the workhouse, namely, that it amounted to frenzy. Depositions were also made as to the treatment she received whilst an inmate of it. The stripping of the child upon its removal was likewise duly authenticated. Finally, it was proved that all these proceedings, the last inclusive, were enforced by the board of governors or guardians, at the ordinance of the metropolitan commissioners or bashaws.
The coroner, in summing up, defined the crime of murder as homicide wilfully committed by a sane individual, and as chargeable, in addition, on all who were instigators or accessories to the fact.
The jury, after a few moments' deliberation, acquitted the prisoner on the ground of insanity; and returned a verdict of WILFUL MURDER against the metropolitan bashaws.
In the next session of the Utopian senate, the statute against the poor was repealed.
OUR VILLAGE AS IT OUGHT TO BE.
It would be easy to draw out a sketch of a village in Utopia. Reformation is a pleasant work in the world of imagination; but as soon as we touch this material world we feel the presence of difficulties. We must not amuse ourselves merely with painting pictures of all that we should love to behold ; we must find out the causes which prevent the realisation of our views. If these obstructions are founded in reason and nature, then we must resign our schemes as visionary: but if we find no opposition to our views save in the errors of men, against these we must resolutely contend. Now let us inquire what are the causes which prevent “ Our Village as it is ” from becoming “Our Village as it ought to be.” It is evident that they can be found neither in reason nor in nature. There is no necessity that any of our villagers should reside in that filthy and unwholesome « back-lane ” where the Hodgsons dwell, and which has always been the laboratory of fevers. There is no law of nature opposed to the law of reason, that every family should have a decent and wholesome dwelling. Light, air, and water are cheap. Light for the mind, too, is cheap. There is no reason against the education of every mind, the training of every good, harmonious faculty in Our Village. Our