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breath, finds it hard to keep his legs—merely added, that Richard's wife and children would, in all likelihood, be found at the Committee room, or near it; and then went on, falling however soon into the rear, as Mr. Trounce never walked behind any one but the parson, and of course he had pleasant words for a respectable young man like Sam, whom he knew, by the Land of Goshen signs, to be my Lord Honeysip's lacquey, and, of course, not likely to sully the virgin ear of perfect beadledom with words of irreverent tendency. A turning in the street brought, as I may say, these three representatives of the Constitution, to-wit, the Church, the Aristocracy, and the People, into one better lighted, not only with the usual lamps, but by the flaring gas in the unglazed fishmongers' and upholsterers' windows. On the pavement, before one of these latter, the little party were for a moment stayed in their progress-till Mr. Trounce called lustily out, “ the Church, good people, a member of the Church's executive,"-by a young mechanic, and a modest pretty girl, whose labour at a factory had its signs by the little dinner basket on her arm, and her heart's gladness and woman's pride, by the downward gaze whenever looked at by the other, and by a little hand all lost in one much larger.
Yes, our old friend the cobbler, would have had an anti-Malthusian carol with his lark if he could have seen it. were going pretty quickly to follow Tom Kittletink's example was clear, for they were inspecting a mahogany table, and six new chairs, with veritable horse-hair and brass nails.
“ Yes, love,” said the young fellow, covering still closer the little tiny hand, “ I'll work wery hard for the sake of the chairs being mahogany, for when one tries once to make a good beginning, we keep on, and so if we wait a month longer we'll
" You'll have to wait a good many, young Fillover,”—said old Shuttle, with a particular shake of his head, that veritably outdid Trounce when an apple-eating boy was within sight—" our blessed Parliament-men are going to cut hours pretty short, and tie up a a poor
man’s labour as landlord legislators did corn. “ But what's the harm if a man works two or four hours less, and yet has the same wages, as they say 'll be the case ?"
“ Ha! ha!” laughed the old man, one would have thought, Bob, courting would have taught you some o' the secrets o' human nature. Do you think the world's so for’ård yet in humanity, that, if ye give a man a penny, he 'll give a shilling in return, and this for principle's sake.”
I don't stop here to hear wickedniss agin our blissid Con-stitvo-shun," interrupted Mr. Trounce, who, by some mischance very huritul to his clignity, had fallen in the rear, “let a Con-sti-too-1:on-all wit"-er pass on, on the executive—fellers and girls, let Bili' l'e-mark, should be at home and at their prayers by this time," and with a mighty look, as qualification to this advice, Mr. Trocance and Sampit sed the former, like that swelling frog of thine, oh! human-knowing Phadrus, and, in doing so, he did not see Shuttle's wink, nor, on woril of advice, that young Fillover followed.
I'pa broad, common staircase, with just light enough from a guttering candle to show the pallid faces and compressed lips of earnest men as they pilosell to and fro, lay the large bare-walled room they glit, now densely tilled with the unwearying emmets of capital and labour. Business had already commenced, and Richard Lackbreuil, as chairman, was seated at the top of a large deal table, explaining, as .Vlr. Trounce cleared a way with his stick before hin, that they had met tv petition Parliament against any further interference with labour-hours. Richard spoke earnestly, for when a man has a glorious heart, broad-patented with the signs of Nature's noblest heraldry, it requires no casuistry to teach it prin(iple, and this principle soon evolves itself into clear distinct conception, which, being trutlı, can never be false.
My friends, concluded Richard, “ if you put this Bill into & kale, a little false-mcant philanthropy will be the feather on one sile, and enmity against the Ministry and manufactures the stone on the other. Now we want to fight clear of both these things-Time b.ing our only heritage, it is not for us to let the sign and seal of monopoly be set further upon it. Not that I am disputing, friends, the mighty principle of rest of which we see the foreshadow, and which will gradually evolve itself through the great urgencies of Knowlelyje, Science, anul Progress, without any interference of gentlemanly legislators. I therefore propose a petition.
“ Lord a' mussy,” exclaimed the beadle, loud enough for every one to hear, “ what wickedness o' disputing the wisdom o' our blessed pastors and masters in the 'ouse! But in course the day o' judgment is near, but—but,” Of course
your cock'd hat 'll escape, Mr. Trounce, for it would take a mighty earthquake to swallow them,” chimed in the little old quizzical Shuttle, unbuttoning his threadbare coat and stepping to the table, “ but before that time I trust the world will"
“There, that 'll do,” stopped Trounce, “ in my hearing. Instead o'this flying in the face o' yer betters, you should be humbly thankful for two more hours a day to purge yourselves free o’ wickedniss.”
“ With a daily loaf the less, eh? ” winked Shuttle, “ but we can't afford to lose flesh, Mr. Trounce, nor honest bread, nor let the masters' capital lie still, nor
“Quite enough, quite enough,” wagged mighty beadledom, “ I’se not a' come here to speak upon our glorious Consti-too-shon, but to tell you, Richard Lackbrea:, that your four children can't come to school o'nixt Sunday unless you put 'em in good frocks and shoes, for decency 's a Kris-tin dooty, par-tik-lar when one hasn't to walk a mile to the shoe shop.”
“And who robbed children of their work and their wages, ch ?”. asked Shuttle.
"Oh ! dear, dear," groaned Trouncc, "a riglar Slaughter o the Innocents, did our blessed Con-sti-too-shon let yer. Why my blessed faith is, you'd eat your own children and pick their bones too, if the wisdom o’the Parliament didn't stop yer. No! not even spare 'em a ’our for the kat-a-kism afore it."
“What has made parents unfeeling," echoed Richard, “cating their own flesh as you say?—why, penury and ignorance. Let there be bread enough, let there be knowledge enough, and Nature and God are bountiful enough with glorious humanity. But when you brutify the parent, you crush the child.”
“Fudge,” said beadledom, " that's nothing to do o' this pint o' Sunday shoes and frocks.”
“Tell, as you insist on bleeding a post,” helped Shuttle, “perhaps you 'll be a Samaritan for once, and give ”
* He-m! he-m!” coughed the beadle, “public and private dooties is different things, and charity begins at home and not abroad. Well, I see I can't conwince, so I 'll report to the westry, be-m !”
With a skin less tense, this Frog walked off, 0 Phoedrus, as many human frogs do at the name of charity, and then the business of the night proceeding, it was learnt, that Lord IIoneysip, their
representative, was about to proceed to London on the morl'ow to vote for the bill.
“Now, Sammy," said Shuttle, bringing Sam forward to the table, and informing the assembly that he was Lord Honeysip's footman, “ how would your master like Parlimint to send him
to bed at one hour, and cat at another, and read at another, and”
" Lord !" hastened Sam, whose oratory had never been heard beyond a kitchen before, “when he's cramming for a speech, as Popp our butler says, he 's at his books eighteen hours at a time; and of course if you passed an Act for him to read only twelve, on course he'd break down o' the first sentence of his speech, and that lopp let out one niglit to the cook and me, when we've got a little champagne atween us, and was”?
“ Well,” said shuttle, “as a man can thus see the necessities of time towards speechifying, we may convince him of the necessities of time from Capital and Bread, and so I propose to this meeting that a deputation, headed by Richard Lackbread, wait upon Lord Honeysip to-morrow to remonstrate upon the purpose of his intended vote."--- This proposition was unanimously agreed to,
“Now, friends," said Shuttle, when the petition was duly signed and the business of the night nearly concluded, “ don't let this little cry of mercy deafen you to the right; it is but a penny whistle, which no man should listen to when it's to put a bond upon his sinews when young to bring him to the workhouse when old. Men, let labour be free, and all the rest 'll come. Now, young Fillover, we 've learnt enough o' good from our magazines and newspapers, to have a liking for better things, and we can't have 'em without good wages. Good wages and prosperity of the country go together. Now I ask one question of you Bob, which is the truest principle of human nature ?—Twelve hours' work, good wages, the six mahogany chairs, and-?"
“ Maria and the twelve hours' work,” answered Bob cheerfully, “ rather than not have her ; and with the hope o' getting on a bit in the world, I'd work twenty.”
“ You're right," said Spindlegold, a capitalist, who had watched the whole of these proceedings with much earnestness. ing for restriction, you forget our capital and machinery; a steam engine isn't like an old woman's spinning wheel, to be twirled only at the cry of every landlady and country squire. Wait, let us get cheap bread, and commerce free ; let us have the market of the world for our woollens and our cottons ; let us increase the mighty power of every loom by new inventions, and without one glut, or single pound of raw material wrought up beyond the means of its disposal, we shall be able to give you more remunerative wages for eight hours' labour than for the twelve you
66 In cry
we can do this, when we can, at the end of your eight hours, place a new army of workers over mule and spindle, then this great question of Labour and Time, as connected with Rest, will be seen in its right view ; till then, any Restriction Act is but strapping monopoly like a sloth upon your shoulders.'
Right, sir,” cried Shuttle, lifting up his rusty coat collar with as much dignity as if it were a robe of ermine. “If we be able to make Lord Honeysip think in this way, then 'll be one vote the less. And so good luck be with us!”
The events of this night, after the meeting, were of divers kinds: First, a tremendous curtain lecture from Mrs. Shuttle, upon the sins of “ Dil-ligations,” which Shuttle, from habit, bore in the fashion that a cow does a thunder storm-by turning his back upon it ; next, the delivering of certain banns of marriage to the clerk of the parish ; next, the schoolmistress's note, dictated by Trounce, to reprove frockless pauperism ; and last, not least, Sam's shaken faith of the wisdom of aristocracy (in spite of its growth under the benign influence of nourishing chickens and Maderia), and his mighty victory over Popp the butler on the subject of Committee business, and the consequent vow in the heart of the applauding cook to treat him with the next spare jelly.
My Lord Honeysip (forewarned by Sam) was found by the threadbare-coated deputation, headed by Lackbread and Shuttle, next morning in his study, weighing with nicety (my lord was a just man) that humble, excessively humble thing, called poor man's time, against the solemn wisdom and consequent will of heaven-born, hereditary legislators.
My lord heard Lackbread's introductory statement through, with much suavity.
“One question you will pardon," said Lackbread. “Suppose we working people were to send a bill to Parliament for taking a sixth of your property
But, but,” hurriedly said Lord Honeysip, “ the estate is mine by the law of the land, and the gift of the king.”
“And our estate, called Time, my lord, is one of the laws of Nature, and the glorious gift of God.”
“ You take the matter too seriously,” smiled his lordship ; “my intended vote arises from feelings most charitable. I do assure you, I'm wishing you to have rest, games, instruction, religious and moral, and”.
“Give us bread, my lord, first, and then all these things will NO. XXIII. — VOL. IV.