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In a certain city once dwelt a poor honest man, called Work Payall, who had been accustomed to give fifteen pence per stone for that sort of wheaten floor which is named “ Bakers' Fine." There was no breadtax in those days; and it came to pass, that Work Payall having earned half-a-crown, affirmed in his soul, and to his wife, and to his children, and to the uncle of his neighbour, that he would buy in the market a stone of Bakers' Fine, and also a hat for his bareheaded son, Bob. So, on the evening of Saturday, Work Payall and his son went to market, where they were told by Mealface, the huckster, that Lord Starveall had made a law to tax bread, and that “Bakers' Fine” was no longer fifteen pence per stone, but two shillings and sixpence; and Work Payall paid his half crown, even all that he had, for a stone of “ Bakers' Fine ;” but he grumbled in his gizzard, and thought, very absurdly, that Starveall had picked his pocket of fifteen pence; and then he cursed aloud, and called Starveall a “ rogue in grain.” So they re. turned home, and the howlings of bareheaded Bob alarmed the whole market; and, when they were returned, the uncle of their neighbour laughed at them.
But the calamity did not end here; for if Plaits, the hatter, had sold to bareheaded Bob, for fifteen pence, the hat which he had in his shop, he would have gained three pence by it; but not having sold the hat, he was fain to expend three pence in food out of his substance, and was therefore, of course, so much less able to find employment for his man, Botts, who made hats for him. And it came to pass, on the morning of Monday, that Botts came to Plaits, and said unto him, “ Let me make you another hat ;" but Plaits answered him, and said, “ Not having sold the hat, I do not want another.” “ But,” said Botts,
we are clam. ming—what are we to do?” “Go to the devil,” said Plaits. But Botts went to the workhouse. And on the morning of Tuesday, Statepoke, the overseer, came to Work Payall, and demanded and obtained an additional poor rate of one penny; whereupon Work Payall said, very absurdly, that Starveall's new law had already robbed him of sixteen pence; nevertheless, Statepoke reprehended him, and proved that every farthing of the loss was two pence gain. But Botts sickened in the workhouse, and remained there ; and Mary, the wife of Botts, wandered in the streets, even when they were brilliant with gas, and she played the harlot with every man who gave her sixpence; and the righteous were offended, and they called the beadle, and he flung her into his dungeon; and, before it was morning, the frost had killed her. And William, the son of Botts, became a robber, and a murderer, and he fired his master's house, and the hangman slew him ; and his tongue was bitten almost in twain by his teeth, and the end of it hung down over his lip, by a shred of skin. And Statepoke gave unto Sarah, the sickly daughter of Botts, one shilling weekly, for food and raiment, and fire and lodging ; his heart yearned to give her more, but he dared not, because of the payers ; so she drank gin for meat, and when she was dead, the vermin which had fed on her departed. But Botts, who sickened in the workhouse, loved his daughter; and when he heard that she had died, he smote his hand against his side, and fell down dead; and the idiots of the place, they who knew not good from evil, bore him to his grave; and they laughed, and the buriers laughed with them.
But the calamity did not end here, for it happened that Plaits, the
hatter, owed nine pence to Resurrection Jack, and also, that Resurrection Jack owed nine pence to Work Payall ; and further, it came to pass, that Work Payall owed eight pence for rabbit fur to one Skunks Suckegg. Now, if Plaits, the hatter, had sold to bareheaded Bob the hat which he had in his shop, he would have paid Resurrection Jack the ninepence which he owed him ; but, not having sold the hat, he could not pay Resurrection Jack ; so Resurrection Jack could not pay Work Payall, and Work Payall could not pay Skunks Suckegg. And Skunks was wroth, and sware an oath, and with his fist split the table ; and he gnashed with his teeth, and his nose and chin smote each other; and he sued Work Payall in the Ten Penny Court, and cast him into prison. And when Work Payall had become very lean and pale in prison, being evil advised by the devil, he wrote a letter to Starveall, in which he stated, that he, Starveall, having, in a single stone of four, robbed him, Work Payall, of fifteen pence, and a penny, and nine pence, and 10 per cent on three pence, which Plaits would have laid out with him in rabbit fur, had he sold the hat; and expenses of trial in Ten Penny Court, and horrible jail fees, and precious time fatally lost in prison, not to mention such trifles as an establishment subverted, a trade ruined, children made paupers, and a wife self-hung in despair over the marriage bed; he thought his lordship could not refuse to lend his victim a shilling. To which infamous epistle, Work Payall, in due time, that is to say, in about six weeks, received the following most gracious an
Big Beggar Hall, 230 July, 1831, Low SCOUNDREL, You be d—d. Though I robbed fifteen pence, I only sacked a groat. Eleven pence of the swag was lost in growing corn for you vagabonds on Robb’d Cotter's Rock. It is true I succeeded in growing corn, where Martha once fed her ewe, and where God never intended that corn should be grown: so much the greater my merit; but then I could not sell the crop for a fourth of what it cost me ; for when I got it to market, I found that half of the rascally manufacturers had become bankrupt, although I had doubled the price of their bread, and in every market prevented them from selling their goods. Besides, only a day or two ago, when I sentenced an operative for conspiring to stop his master's circular saw, the fellow had the impudence to say, in open court, that the question in dispute between him and his master merely was, whether the master, out of his profits, or the workman out of his wages, should pay my bread-tax, and keep me. So go to-the New Jerusalem. I have the honour to be,-STARVEALL.
And it came to pass, after many weeks, that Statepoke, the overseer, becoming weary of feeding the children of Work Payall, paid the debt which was owing to Skunks Suckegg ; so Work Payall arose out of prison. And the nails of his toes pierced through the leather of his shoes ; and the children of his neighbours fled away from him, and their dogs barked at him, smelling him afar off. And his son, Bob, was lame with cold, and his daughter, whose name was her mother's, was foolish, and knew him not ; and he wept, and trembled, and was silent; and the colour of the white of his eyes was changed ; and his cheeks were of a pale blue, and his shrunken fingers were blue, and his tongue was an icicle, and his lips were black; and he became the death-spirit of Cho. lera incarnate; and all who looked on him, and breathed his breath, died. Nevertheless, Starveall waxed madder than ever ; for, while he kneeled on his knees, and prayed with his lips, he cursed the poor in his heart ; and, in his carousals, he stamped on the earth, and sware that he had dethroned God; but it was only the shadow of his miserable self that he trampled under foot.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GENIUS OF SCOTT.
BY HARRIET MARTINEAU.
The advent of genius is the most striking, and will, in time, be perceived to be the most important species of circumstance which can befal society. When, as in the case of Scott, it manifests itself, not only in a highly popular form, but in a peculiarly healthy state, it becomes equally interesting to analyse it as an object of psychological research, and a duty to inquire into the process of education by which it has been brought to sound maturity. Such an inquiry may seem as an instrument wherewith to measure the achievements of genius in this particular instance of its manifestation, and also as an indication how most wisely to cherish any future revelation of the same kind with which the world may be blessed. This is a social service enjoined upon survivors by departing genius; a service which may not be refused, though emo. tions of grief must be largely mingled with the awe and hope which arise out of the contemplation of the past and future influences of the high presence which has become hidden. We, therefore, proceed, first, to inquire into the discipline of the genius of Scott, and the characteristics of its maturity; and, next, to attempt an estimate of the services that genius has rendered to society.-Walter Scott was happy in his paren. tage and condition in life. His father had good sense, benevolence, and sincerity ; his mother added to these virtues vigorous and well-cultivated talents. The experience of pain which appears to be essential to the deepening and strengthening of genius, was not, in his case, derived from hardships which infuse bitterness with strength, and corrupt while they expand. There was neither the domestic oppression under which Byron grew restive, nor the over-indulgence which prepares its victim for finding the world an oppressor. Scott was, it appears, surrounded with a kindly moral atmosphere from his birth. There was no thwarting of his early tastes; his young sayings were laid up in his mother's heart; his brothers were his friends; and we have his own word for the tenderness with which he was regarded in his second home-his grandfather's farm at Sandyknow :
“ For I was wayward, bold, and wild,
Was still endured, beloved, carest." Neither was his experience of pain derived from poverty, from a baffling of desires, from a deprivation of means to an earnestly-desired end, from the irksomeness of his occupations, or a sense of the unfitness of his outward condition to his inward aspirations. He was spared all that sordid kind of suffering which irritates while it excites, and even while communicating power, abstracts its noblest attribute,—its calmness.
Of this class of evils, from which genius has extensively suffered, Walter Scott knew nothing; and, happily for him, it did not therefore follow that he was raised above that experience of real life, which is the most nourishing aliment of intellectual power. It is a rare thing, and happier than it is rare, to lay hold of reality under a better impulse than that of hardship, and with sufficient power to make it serve its true end. The lordling knows nothing of reality. What he is told he believes, be it what it may. What he is commanded he does, or leaves undone, according to a will which is not the more genuine for being perverse ;-a
NO, IX, VOL. II.
will which springs out of convention, and is swayed by artificial impulses, His very ailments are scarcely teachers of reality, for they are not only artificially beguiled, but are made the building materials of a spurious experience. The fever of a lordly infant leaves its victim less wise than the fever of a cottage child, which is to the latter an evil felt in its full force, but uncompounded with other evils. On recovery, the cottage child knows best what sickness is ; and, yet, bodily affections are the least susceptible of admixture of any: they afford to the lordling the best means of gaining genuine experience. All else is with him passive reception or conventional action, though he may travel in his own country and abroad, and learn to play trap-ball at Eton. As for those who have to do only with what is real, the hewers of wood and drawers of water, they are too generally unprepared to make use of reality. Their power, as far as it goes, is superior to the lordling's; but it is a scanty and unfruitful power. They are for ever laying a foundation on which nothing is seen to arise. This is better than building pagodas of cards on a slippery surface like the lordling ; but it is not the final purpose for which the human intellect was made constructive. It is not enough for the little cotton-spinner, or ploughboy, to know what the lordling only believes,—of the qualities of twist, and the offices of machinery, and the economy of the nests of larks and field-mice. They should be led beyond cotton-spinning and field labours by such knowledge ; but it as seldom happens that they are so as that the lordling exchanges his belief for knowledge; which is the same thing as saying, that genius is as rare in the one class as in the other; being, in the one, overlaid with convention; in the other, benumbed by want. The most efficacious experience of reality must be looked for in the class above the lowest, and in individuals of higher classes still, fewer and fewer in proportion to the elevation of rank, till the fatal boundary of pure convention be reached, within which genius cannot live except in the breasts of one here and there, who is stout-hearted enough to break bounds, and play truant in the regions of reality. The individuals who may thus come out from the higher ranks (where all efficacy is supposed to reside in teaching, instead of enabling to learn) may generally be observed to bear some mark of providence, which they themselves may endure with humiliation, which their companions regard with ignorant compassion ; but in which the far.sighted recognise, not only a passport to the select school of experience, but a patent of future intellectual nobility. What this mark may be, signifies little. The important point is, that there should be pain,-inevitable pain, -not of man's infliction,--natural pain, admitting of natural solace, so that it may produce its effects pure from the irritation of social injury, and be bearable for a continuance in silence. Whether the infliction be orphanhood, leading to self-reliance; whether it be the blindness which has exalted the passion of many bards, or the deafness which deepened the genius of Beethoven, or the lameness which agonized the sensibilites of Byron, or mere delicacy of health (which has often, after invigorating genius, been itself invigorated by genius in its turn ;) whether the infliction be any of these or of the many which remain, matters little; its efficacy depends on the de. gree in which it is felt; that is, on the degree of the knowledge of reality which it confers.
To pain thus inflicted, to a knowledge of reality thus conferred, was Scott, in a great measure, indebted for the prodigious overbalance of happiness which afterwards enriched himself, and the world through him. He suffered in childhood and youth from ill health and privation.
His ill health caused his removal into the country, where, from circumstances of situation, &c. those tastes were formed which predominated in him through life, while the passion with which they were cherished must have been deepened by the one affliction which he had to bear alone, his lameness. Few have any idea of the all-powerful influence which the sense of personal infirmity exerts over the mind of a child. If it were known, its apparent disproportionateness to other influences would, to the careless observer, appear absurd ; to the thoughtful, it would afford new lights respecting the conduct of educational discipline; it would also pierce the hearts of many a parent who now believes that he knows all, and who feels so tender a regret for what he knows, that even the sufferer wonders at its extent.' But this is a species of suffering which can never obtain sufficient sympathy, because the sufferer himself is not aware till he has made comparison of this with other pains, how light all others are in comparison. Be the infirmity what it may, as long as it separates, as long as it causes compassion, as long as it exposes to the little selfishness of companions, to the observation of strangers, to inequality of terms at home, it is a deep-seated and perpetual wo; one which is, in childhood, never spoken of, though perpetually brooded over ; one which is much and universally underrated, because it is commonly well borne ; and, again, well borne, because under-rated, and, therefore, unsympathized with. That this was the case with Walter Scott, is certain. His lameness in childhood was, no doubt, thought much less of by every one, even his mother, than by himself. Not an hour of any day, while with his young companions, could this pain of infirmity have been unfelt. In all sports, in all domestic plans, in all schoolboy frolics, he either was, or believed himself to be, on unequal terms with his playmates; and though he happily escaped the jealousy which arises too often from a much less cause, he suffered enough to drive him to a solace, whose pure and natural pleasures might best counterbalance his peculiar and natural pain. We have notices of these things from himself; a touching recurrence in one of his lightest pieces, to the days when the little lame boy lagged behind with the nurse-maid, while his brothers were running wild ; when he was painfully lifted over the stiles which others were eager to climb. More at large we have tidings of the opposite pleasures, in which he found the best repose from his mortifi. cations. His worship of Smailholm Tower, amidst the green hills; his quest of wallflowers and honeysuckles, and of the blossoms of traditionary verse which adorn the retreats where he sought his pleasures. The immediate enjoyment arising from the study of nature, is probably as much less in childhood than in mature years, as the pain arising from personal infirmity is greater—the pleasure being enhanced and the pain alleviated, by the variety and complexity of associations with which each becomes mingled ; and Walter Scott, therefore, gained in pleasure with every year of his youth. But yet there was a sufficient balance of enjoyment, even in these early days, to render his genius of that benignant character which proves its rearing to have been kindly. He not only gained power by vicissitude, (which is the most rapid method of knowing realities,) but pleasure fast following upon pain, the pain was robbed of its irritation, and the pleasure was enhanced by a sense of freedom, the welcome opposite of the constraint which any species of infirmity imposes in society. Scott's childhood was, in short, spent in feeling, the best possible preparation for after thinking. His limbs were