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ther in one mass of glorious confusion. Well, the market is crowded, and Richard Davis, Esq., M.P., makes his appearance, leading Mrs. D. by a cord round her neck. But the scene is short, and immeasurably too rich to be lost. I shall translate it therefore entire— Richard Davis (to the crowd.), “Well, gentlemen—you are aware that the lady is to be sold—" Lucy (falling on her knees.) “Lord have mercy on me!” Sm EDGARD (from the crowd.) , " I bid a thousand pounds !” Richard Davis. “Sir Edgard "" Lucy. “Sir Edgard—Oh! have I not suffered enough * Richard DAvis. “That is your paramour—is it not, ma'am " Lucy. “Oh God! kill me !—kill me!” RICHARD DAvis. “I shall—him—” SIR EngARp. “No gentleman outbids me, I believe? Well— the woman's mine.” SIR HARRY. “Stop, stop. Fifty thousand guineas for Mrs. Davis.” Richard DAvis. “Who bids so high " SIR HARRY. “You shall soon know. When Smithfield clock strikes three, your victim is my property.” [The clock strikes. A man dressed in black appears, and places himself between Richard and Lucy, touching the latter with a wand. SIR HARRY (to Lucy.) “Go, go, poor martyr " Lucy. “What have you done, Richard f" RICHARD DAvis (springing towards her.) “No-no.”
[The Constable with his wand prevents him from touching her.
SIR HARRY (solemnly.) “You have no right over her—you have sold your wife.” Poor Lucy is indeed a victim. No sooner is she sold than her husband discovers her innocence, and his agony closes the fourth act. The fifth opens not a whit less sadly. The purchased wife is of course in a deplorable state, and her quondam husband no better; but, although he thinks he has behaved like a scoundrel, the City of London thinks otherwise, and in Sir Harry's words— “Proud of you, proud of your respect for their noble customs, the merchants and the people of London prepare for you new honours.” While yet he speaks shouts are heard without: “Wive Sir Richard Pavis—vive the new Lord Mayor " . Here is new light upon our : institutions with a vengeance. Z
“How to be Lord Mayor” is the problem proposed. The French dramatist answers, “First sell your wife.” I wonder whether, when the deputies of the corporation were lately so well treated by Louis-Philippe, any of the worthy Parisians imagined that they had attained their municipal glory by leading their wives into Smithfield, and selling them with halters about their necks?
But to continue. The Lord Mayor elect determines, instead of joining in the show, to shoot himself—instead of sitting in civic state in Guildhall, to have the Coroner sitting upon him. But matters have no such dismal termination. We suddenly hear—although, by the way, there is no assignable reason I can see why we should not have heard it in the second act—that Harry, the purchaser of Lucy, is that lady's brother; and that he has not only cleared up the character of his living sister, but proved the virtue of their common mother. Furthermore, we are informed that, although it is considered very disgraceful in England for a married lady to be sold to an indifferent party, yet that her brother may buy her with perfect decorum. The denouement follows as a matter of course. The Lord Mayor proclaims the virtue of the Lady Mayoress to all Cheapside. Enthusiastic shouts grace the touching ceremony; then the civic procession sets forth. The stage directions give us a vivid notion of the affair. The Lord Mayor leads her Ladyship by the hand : all the members of his family follow. We hear nothing of the city champions or the city macebearer, or the city marshal, or the city coach; but we have—after the Lord Mayor's family—the Aldermen with their families; and after them—who does the reader think?—why, the Members of the House of Commons, followed in their turn by some nameless individuals, dimly represented by “&c. &c. &c.” But all is not over. Just as the city procession has begun its march, a cry is raised of “The Queen—the Queen;” and our authority—still the stage directions—states that Her Majesty, having duly asked permission to enter the city, is seen approaching, preceded by heralds—not through Temple Bar, but over London Bridge; it thus .."; that Royalty has varied the ordinary route from Buckingham Palace to the Mansion House, by crossing Westminster Bridge, and traversing the pleasant paths of Pedlar's Acre. And so, to a loud combined cheer of “Vive la Reine, vice le nouveau Lord Maire,” the curtain falls upon this dramatic picture of England and the English ; a picture intended to present the visitors of the Ambigu Comique with a full, true, and faithful account of how we pass our lives, how we treat the wives of our bosoms, and how we elect the rulers of our choice.
Bravo, Messieurs Adolphe Dennery and Paul Fenal | Other authors of your country may make their occasional, nay, their frequent blunders in describing us; but to you—Macflecknoes of the Boulevard—is reserved the proud distinction of your prototype, so well hit off by Dryden, and capable, by a little change, of being so well applied to you:—
“Some men to wit—to truth, some make pretence ;
“IMpossiblE! my good man,” said the doctor, preparing to leave the cottage, “Impossible ! I could not think of interfering with a case that distinctly belongs to the parish surgeon, unless indeed I consider your wife as a private patient, and then, as you are aware, my fee is ten shillings.” . . . "
“Oh I sir, you say there is danger," urged the man, intercepting his progress to the door, “Pray do what you can for her—I am without a shilling at this moment, or the means of raising it, but I will ask Mr. Tims the overseer to lend me five shillings, (he will not surely refuse me that) and I know amongst my neighbours, (badly off as they are) I shall be able to borrow the remainder;-for God's sake, sir, do not leave her—listen to her groans, remember her young children, and have pity on us; I feel sure I shall be able to make up the money.”
But Doctor Cribb felt certain of no such thing, and taking up his gloves from the deal-table, and his cane from one of the wooden chairs on which it was laid, he coolly rejoined—“It is wholly out of my power (under the circumstances) to have anything to do with the case ; you had however better lose no time in applying to the parish authorities: every moment is of consequence to your wife. I am sorry, very sorry, but I can do nothing in it. I thought every one knew that it was customary on these occasions to have the fee prepared.” - “If your honour would but listen to me for a moment,” interposed Nat Lee, getting between him and the door-step. “If your honour would but listen to me: it is five weeks since I have had a day's work, and at the best of times I do not earn more than seven or eight shillings a week. I pay two of it for house and garden rent, and at this time of year, another goes for firing and candles—and I have myself, my wife, and three children to maintain—so that, I leave it to you, sir, if it is to be wondered at that I am not worth ten shillings at the present time 2" “It is a sad affair,” remarked the doctor drily, “but you had a resource; when a man like yourself, with every inclination to support his family, fails in obtaining the means of doing so, the parish has a right to maintain them—and you are culpable in not making the application.” “I have applied,” said the labourer bitterly, “but they will allow me nothing out of the House, nor in it, unless we suffer them to separate us, and that neither my poor girl or I will agree to.” “You are wrong, you are wrong,” interrupted the doctor, moving a step nearer to the door. “Ah! sir," exclaimed the other, “the world thinks, because a man is poor, he must be without the feelings of his kind—as if my wife and children are not as dear to me as a rich man's—as if, because I have to deprive myself of a full meal that they may eat, or of comfortable clothing that the poor things may be covered, I love them less. No, no! some way or other, I do not think they could be half so precious to me, but for all we have suffered with and for each other. Why, bless you, sir, when they wanted us to let one of the children go into the House, you should have seen the two that had sense enough to understand all about it, how they did take on, and beg and pray not to be sent from us; and when we told them it was because we had not enough for them to eat, how they promised to want but a little, a very little— and so hung about their mother and I, that—” (and the man drew his hard hand across his eyes as he spoke) “it seemed easier to starve together than to part with them.” “I dare say, I dare say,” muttered the medical man, who momently felt retreat more difficult, “but as I cannot possibly remain with your wife, and her state is highly critical, I advise you to give instant notice to the overseer, and tell him no time is to be lost in sending medical assistance.” “Oh, sir! will nothing move you ?” exclaimed the unhappy man, finding his appeal had failed to shake the doctor's resolution. “It is useless to apply to the parish. I have already done so, and all they say is, that she had a right to have gone into the women's ward, and that they cannot allow her medical assistance out of it.” “I tell you, my good man,” interrupted the doctor impatiently, “they dare not refuse it under the circumstances—they have funds for the purpose of providing it, and a right to do so; but in my case it is very different. I should soon be a pauper myself if I allowed humanity to overcome common sense, and should have an affair of this kind every day on my hands, and no return for it !”
Nat Lee dropped his hands from the supplicating posture they had assumed, and with a darkened brow and ashy cheek stood aside while the doetor passed out of the house, and then hopelessly returned to the side of the poor woman for whose sake he had so pathetically implored him to remain. In one corner of an inner room, the floor of which was bare, the walls unplastered, and into which the wintry air penetrated through the warped leaden frame-work and loosened panes of filmy greenish glass that composed the casement, lay a mattrass, once filled with chaff, but now so shook out and wasted that it scarcely saved the patient's bones from the boards; a thread-bare blanket, yellow with age, covered it, and over the humble patchwork quilt appeared an indication of a clean sheet,_a fact—I say indication, for it was no more; there was the desire to appear decent, without the power of carrying it farther than the turning down of the bed-clothes—for the residue necessity had compelled the poverty-stricken mother to convert into more essential coverings for her children. A deal table, a couple of chairs, a christmas-piece above the mantel-shelf, and an old Bible in a worn leathern binding, with brass clasps, completed the furniture of the room. But cold and meagre as the place appeared, its cleanliness was conspicuous; from the curd-white boards to the little dimity curtain that shaded the window, not a soil was visible—there is this distinction between the poverty of towns and villages; here the free air and the running stream remain untaxed, and the pollution of filth is not its necessary accompaniment. A diminutive fire burns in the narrow grate, beside which sat an old woman, stirring up the mess of oatmeal and salt and water, which was to serve the labourer's wife in lieu of richer caudle, and in a basket at her knee appeared the mysterious little garments redolent of violet powder, that amidst want and sickness had been prepared with as loving a joy as if the expected little inmate of them was heir to the brightest prospects of humanity. Now and then she lifted her eyes towards her patient, who, exhausted from protracted suffering, lay on the lowly pallet, her sunken features but a shade more flesh-hued than the cap border that surrounded them, and but for the faint motion of the coverlet about the region of her heart, giving no sign of