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Of the ruin and the sadness
Of the glory and the gladness
Woe is me! the tale is over,
So he wandereth, ever vainly—
Then, encompassed by the glory
With fond ear the Lady listeneth—
And her eye's deep azure glisteneth
And she murmureth, “Poet mine,
Blossoms of a hue divine,
Blossoms dearer far to me
Than earth's brightest ones can be,
And a worthy crown—for thee!”
Aug. 1846. T. Westwoop.
MESSRS. CLOTHYARD'S PROGRESS.
“ONE, twelve, six and a farthing, you say, Mr. Twigg,” said old Abel Clothyard, as he noted the heinous item on the back of an invoice, “and this on a figured gros' " “Exactly so,” whispered Mr. Twigg, the shop-walker, with a confidential smile; “I gave him the putting on look, but of course it wasn't heeded; for . . . . .** “Well, well, Mr. Twigg, when a man has a fair credit at his banker's, little affairs of this sort are soon settled; so Bloomforth can just step this way and Mullins too. . . . hem . . . . Abbot, just pass me the cheque-book.” The young man to whom this was addressed finished his sum total of five hundred and fifty-nine bales of long-cloth, handed the book, dipped his pen in the ink, settled his spectacles, and had carried over, when the office door opened, and Bloomforth, obeying Mr. Twigg's orders, entered, followed by a feeble creature, so stricken, so powerless, that he reeled like a drunken man. This Mr. Clothyard did by no means see, as the particular sort of work that at the minute engaged him was such a virtual bleeding of mammon, that it was quite enough to attend to the instrument, and the little trickling drops that followed, lest one should overflow, and place a balance in the scale assigned to flesh and blood, and human labour. At last, after a twist with the pounce box, he placed one of the cheques into Bloomforth's hand. “Be so good, sir, as to see that the sum is right, exactly right;" but as the only answer was a look of utter astonishment, the old man took back the paper very quietly, and read, “Pay to Mr. Matthew Bloomforth or his bearer, the sum of five pounds, five shillings, which is, I believe, sir, your full quarter's salary. It being so, you may, from this minute, consider yourself free of Messrs. Clothyards' service.” NO, XXII.-WOL. IV. X
“For what offence, Mr. Clothyard 2 I really . . . . .” “Oh, sir, no offence 1 A virtue, a large virtue, quite consistent with modern meetings, modern opinions, modern shuttingsup that would be ; quite in keeping with counter oratory; but virtues, Mr. Bloomforth, particularly those of conscience, are poor assets to the balance of the year's ledger. Good morning, sir. Tapbox can carry your trunks, if necessary.” “This, sir, this unexplained dismissal after ten years' honest service!" said the usually calm Matthew, in a voice of indignation. “Memory’s a little deficient, I presume,” replied Abel, drily, as he turned over a leaf of his ledger. “A lady in satin, yesterday, and the gros you sold six and six instead of seven and nine; recollect, sir, one, twelve, six and a farthing. Good morning, sir. Words are rather unprofitable coin in a counting-house— he—m ! Now for you, Mr. Mullins.” Though this was said, the old man waited till Bloomfield had closed the door, for what he had now to say was harder still, and he was by no means desirous of any little parenthesis of mercy, to dull the iron knell to be rung for the accumulated facts of drops of charitable muttonbroth, suspicious jellies of Tweek fabrication, one anatomy of a shilling chicken, and a penny raspberry puff. “Four pounds, four shillings, I think, for you, sir, though your long illness . . . .” “I—I—I–” gasped the hectic creature, leaning forward to the desk. “I’m getting better, sir. I shall be better in a week; indeed I have no home, and the doctor's bill . . . . .” “Will be paid, Mr. Mullins I don't doubt. As to sickness, sir, it's an inconvenient matter in a house of business. I have never time to be sick, Mr. Mullins—never.” “But one more week, sir, and . . . .” “Eighty-four letters, sixty invoices, and the cashier's book to audit, by twelve. Good morning, sir. By the way, don't forget that canary of yours. Mr. Twigg considers its songs disturb business thoughts—go !” The stricken creature, in whose heart lay latent diviner human melodies than the crawling maggots of the earth made deaf by imbrutifying avarice, could hear; looked once, as only stricken creatures look; but the invoice and the carry-over were under way, like a flaunting ship, whose ribs were lined with gold, and so it was unseen; the dial hand moved round, pens tricked, hands went, thoughts keep their channel to one golden sea-the bank, and Mullins passed on to his parish coffin:
Parishes or dunghills are indifferent things where Baal is the only God of human worship !
Messrs. Cldthyards' house was a strange old dusty cavernous place, densely filled with merchandize and humanity; the former the much more precious commodity. Over the twenty-five “ young men" presided Mr. Twiggs, who was an Apollo of four feet eight, made just five feet by high-heeled boots; and over the fifteen “young ladies,” the culinary “department," the housekeeping “department,” the pinching, yet withal, feathering-your-ownnest “department,” was set Mrs. Tweek, a Venus of fifty; whilst in the little old cell of a parlour, lined with pattern-books and tin boxes, lived, eat, and recreated themselves, old Abel Clothyard and his nephew, Abbot Clothyard. . From year to year, from day to day, the same dull round of work, ill paid, ill cared for, except in its one result—the gold! No 1 no sunshine of the spirit, no hearts' voices, no foot light, no hard earnest, the souls of all seemed dead, except those of Tapbox, who had little slips of sunshine of his own, of Mr. Twigg, who took “out-and-out” privately, and Mrs. Tweek, who lived in the full-blowing summer of the said feathering-your-own-nest, and might be always said to be adding one pretty-much-to-the-purpose little item to another. Some two months after the dismissal of Bloomforth and Mullins, as Abbot Clothyard was returning at his usual hour of twelve, from a certain commercial tavern, where a few young spirits of his own kind were accustomed to meet most evenings in the week, to discuss speculations on “twills,” and “plains or figured,” sip brandy and water, leer at the barmaid, or joke with the waiter, he encountered, in a little dirty alley, old Tapbox, in the very act of covering a bird-cage with his apron, in order to guard it from the snow that was falling thick from the wintry sky. Now the soul of Abbot Clothyard was an unborn thing—a sort of embryo kept latent by a crust of worldliness; yet forth at times had come signs of life and being, and those signs had concentrated themselves into a very favourable opinion of Mr. Tapbox, and a most unmitigated dislike of Tweek and Twiggs, who were however singing swans in the sight of Abel. He stayed to speak to Tapbox. “Well, sir, if yer must know the truth,” said Mr. Tapbox, bringing forth a rag of a pocket-handkerchief, in seeming for his nose, in reality for his eyes, “it’s Mullins's bird; it's the only thing as in its heart misses the creetur as went forth to-day in his arish coffin. Ay, sir, Miss Kitty Merrily and I got as far as a it o' good flannel for his shroud, but we couldn't get up to a coffin.” 2 X
“Dead and in a parish coffin f" repeated Abbot. “Yes, sir, not that the dear creetur is the worse for sich a coffin, for many a plank o' parish deal has covered in a weight o' goodness, and, as for daisies on a pauper's grave, I always think they blow, sir, and look towards heaven, to ask the eye and heart of God for sich bits o' grave in Paradise, as didn't come on earth to the creeturs that are below ; and so he shall have a precious bit o' turf, as sha'n't want a daisy or a blue bell to say a bit o' praye for him as had none o' men,” * “Dead and in a parish coffin'" still repeated the hitherto heartless, because thoughtless, man. - “Yes, sir, and 'seuse me, I think if you or master would have let him stayed, he would have got better o' the weakness o' the fever; but, turned out without a home, he took to fretting, and as he kept getting on to this here bit o'coffin like a shadder faster and faster, it was the blissid heart o' our Miss Kitty Merrily, as found him out by some means, and paid the bit o' rent o' the room, and kept him from the kennel. Ay! sir, and bread, and tea, and all our blissid young ladies did a sumfen for him, and many a pair o' gloves the less, and many a bright ribbon the less. Ay, sir, and when Twigg's bin a saying at twelve at night, jist as the warehouse was closed, that one or two o' the young men were off to the tavern, or somewhere worse, there they were with Mullins, a cheering him up, dear creetur, and speaking o' things they couldn't feel in their hearts. Ay! sir, my 'pinion is, you and master don't know half the goodness that lies beneath our roof. “Why not speak to my uncle or Mrs. Tweek?" - * “Please, sir, human natur takes more care o' its breath, than to preach a sermon to a stone ; and as for Tweek, ha! ha! she's got precious legs o' weal, and shoulders o' mutton to think of. No! there's a pint beyond which a creetur can't bend his knee only to God. Not that he'd a wanted a deal o' help, if he'd let me gone to Bloomforth, as has got a precious sit-ti-a-tion, at Bobbin's, in the next street; him, sir, as you andmaster have bin so again in the shutting up; but, no, he wouldn't; he said it might come to the ears o' some o' you, and might be the worser for Miss Kitty. No, the creetur hadn't a bit o' selfishness in 'em, or a bit o' hardness, which he might o' had naturally, considering that this here little Tit was the only thing as seemed to droop a head for him, or flutter round his wasted hand. Ay! sir, there's a deal n brute creeturs as shames us images o' God. Well, Tit sha’n’t