The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (2023)

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Barber's Chair, and the Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas William Jerrold

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States andmost other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictionswhatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the termsof the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or onlineat If youare not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of thecountry where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Barber's Chair, and the Hedgehog Letters

Author: Douglas William Jerrold

Editor: William Blanchard Jerrold

Release Date: January 24, 2023 [eBook #69868]

Language: English

Produced by: MFR, Krista Zaleski and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (1)

The Barber’s Chair,


The Hedgehog Letters.





The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (2)


The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (3)


Introduction, vii
The Barber’s Chair, 1
The Hedgehog Letters
1.To Peter Hedgehog, at Sydney, 211
2.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York, 216
3.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York, 222
4.To Michael Hedgehog, at Hong-Kong, 228
5.To Mrs Barbara Wilcox, at Philadelphia, 231
6.To Mr Jonas Wilcox, Philadelphia, 234
7.To John Squalid, Weaver, Stockton, 239
8.To —— ——, Naples, 244
9.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York, 247
10. To Samuel Hedgehog, Galantee Showman, Ratcliffe Highway, 252
11. To Chickweed, Widow, Penzance, 257
12. To Isaac Moss, Slop-seller, Portsmouth, 260
13. To Mrs Hedgehog of New York, 263
14. To Mrs Hedgehog of New York, 272
15. To Miss Kitty Hedgehog, Milliner, Philadelphia, 279
16. To Mrs Hedgehog, New York, 285
17. To Michael Hedgehog, Hong-Kong, 290
18. To Richard Monckton Milnes, Esq., M.P., 293
19. To Isaac Moss, Slop-seller, Portsmouth, 297
20. To Mrs Hedgehog, New York, 300
21. To Sir J. B. Tyrell, Bart., M.P. for North Essex, 308
22. To Mrs Hedgehog, New York, 312
23. To Mrs Hedgehog, New York, 319
The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (4)

[Pg vii]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (5)


These dialogues on passing events appeared in Douglas Jerrold’s WeeklyNewspaper, a journal started by my father in 1846. They became at oncevery popular. The idea was a fresh and happy one that, like “Caudle’sLectures,” went home to all classes of readers. Indeed, in Mrs Nutts wehave indications of Mrs Caudle’s vein: Mrs Nutts might have been a poorrelation of the Caudle family. Nutts is such a barber as the Gossipwas, who for many years occupied a little shop against Temple Bar—withone door in the City and the other in Middlesex. He was the mosttalkative, the most knowing, the most confident of barbers. His mindhad possibly been sharpened by the distinguished men from the Temple,and from the Fleet Street newspaper offices, whom he had shaved. Hehad more than[Pg viii] a smattering of literary and forensic gossip: he wassomething of a humourist, and, like Mr Nutts, it took very much in theway of news to surprise him. Mr Nutts observes that he has had so muchnews in his time, that he has lost the flavour of it. He could relishnothing weaker than a battle of Waterloo. To this state of satiety hadthe Temple Bar barber shaved and talked himself.

Indeed it is my firm belief that the “Barber’s Chair,” which in 1847was set up in the offices of Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper, nextdoor to the Strand Theatre, was the chair taken from Temple Bar; andthat the most loquacious and original of barbers sat for Mr Nutts.

These weekly humorous commentaries on passing events, made by Mr Nuttsand his customers, carry me back to the bright time when they werewritten. It was about the happiest epoch of my father’s life. He hadwon his place; he had troops of friends; he could gather Dickens, LeighHunt, Maclise, Macready, Mark Lemon, Lord Nugent, and other merrycompanions, to dine under his great tent by the mulberry-tree at WestLodge; he was in good health—a rare enjoyment in his case; and his ownnewspaper and magazine were[Pg ix] prospering. On the stage, in the volumesof Punch, and in his own organs, he was addressing the public.All his intellectual forces were at their brightest. With Dickens, MrForster, Leech, and Lemon he had recently delighted picked audiencesas Master Stephen in “Every Man in his Humour.” He wrote about thistime to Dickens that his newspaper was a substantial success; andthat henceforth he was beyond the reach of stern Fortune, who hadtreated him roughly for many a weary year. Dickens, in reply, said,“Two numbers of the ‘Barber’s Chair’ have reached me. It is a capitalidea, and capable of the best and readiest adaptation to things as theyarise.”

Suddenly the glowing lights of the picture faded. A daughter who wasliving in Guernsey fell dangerously ill; and he was called away fromthe editorial chair, and from the “Barber’s Chair.” He was so affectedby the danger in which he found my sister that he could not write aline. Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper began to appear without MrNutts and his customers; and each week the newsboys would ask, “AnyBarber?”

Answered in the negative, they would take a[Pg x] less number of copies.Week after week, while my father remained away, the circulation ofthe paper fell. Not only was his pen absent, but he had weighted itwith heavy contributors, who were possibly sound, but unquestionablydull. He could not say nay to a friend; and directly he had installedhimself as editor of a weekly journal, he was besieged. He would takea series, thinking rather of the pleasure he was giving the writerthan of the way in which the public would receive it. Thus he becameentangled in a currency series of interminable length, that tried thepatience of readers to the utmost. In Angus Reach he had a lively andspirited colleague, and Frederick Guest Tomlins was a fair manager; butthese could not make way, in his absence, against the dull men, andthe decline of circulation continued. My father returned to London tofind a newspaper which he had left a handsome property, dwindled to aconcern that hardly paid its expenses.

The “Barber’s Chair” was resumed, and with it the flagging paperrevived. Messrs Nutts, Nosebag, Tickle, Bleak, Slowgoe, and the restof the authorities of the barber’s shop, talked about the events[Pg xi]of the week in the old sprightly manner. Nutts and his wife crossto France, and the lady is rudely treated at the Customhouse. Theywere searched, said Nutts, as though they had brought a cutler’s shopand a cotton-mill in every one of their pockets. Slowgoe reproachesthe barber as the advocate of universal peace, “and all that sort ofstuff;” and defends war on the ground that “there’s nothing so littleas doesn’t eat up something as is smaller than itself.”

One week, a poor babe is picked up in a basket, on a doorstep: the sameweek the papers have an account of the betrothal of the young Queenof Spain to a man whom she loathed. She sobbed as she was forced toplight her troth to him. The two cases are contrasted in the barber’sshop. On the one hand we have Betsy of Bermondsey, and on the otherIsabella of Spain. Betsy gets on in life “as a football gets on by allsorts o’ kicks and knocks.” Betsy has the humblest fortune, but shegives her heart away, and is all the lighter and rosier for the gift.And “she marries the baker, and in as quick a time as possible she’sin a little shop, with three precious babbies, selling penny rolls,and almost making ’em twopennies by the good nature[Pg xii] she throws about’em.” Then comes the case of the Queen of Spain—a “poor little merinolamb!” Next week Mr Bleak reads glorious news—the Duke of Marlboroughintends shortly to take up his permanent residence at Blenheim Palace.Whereupon Nosebag observes, “Well, that’s somethin’ to comfort us forthe ’tato blight;” and he wonders why the papers that tell the peoplewhen dukes and lords change their houses, don’t also tell them whenthey change their coats. Nutts supplies an instance: “We are delightedto inform our enlightened public that the Marquis of Londonderryappeared yesterday in a bran-new patent paletot. He will wear it forthe next fortnight, and then return to his usual blue for the season.”Gilbert à Beckett had ridiculed the Court newsman and the Jenkinsesof the period, years before. One bit was especially good: “Her RoyalHighness the Princess Victoria walked yesterday morning in KensingtonGardens. We are given to understand that her Royal Highness used bothlegs.”

Farther on there is a conversation in the shop on the possibility ofcontemplating such a social revolution as the marriage of a princesswith a commoner. “What!” cries Slowgoe, “marry a[Pg xiii] princess to ahusband with no royal blood! do you know the consequence? What wouldyou think if the eagle was to marry the dove?” Nutts replies, “Why,I certainly shouldn’t think much of the eggs.” They were, for themost part, “dreadful Radicals” in Mr Nutts’ shop. They said many goodthings, however. Mr Tickle remarks, “Married people grin the mostat a wedding, ’cause other folks can get into a scrape as well asthemselves.” Slowgoe opines that “the world isn’t worth fifty years’purchase,” because the railway people are using up all the iron, which“we may look upon as the bones of the world.” Nutts says, “The realgun-cotton’s in petticoats.” Again, “Family pride, and national pride,to be worth anything, should be like a tree: taking root years ago, buthaving apples every year.” He describes Justice as keeping a chandler’sshop in the Old Bailey, to “serve out penn’orths to poor people.”

In due course the dialogues of Mr Nutts and his customers were broughtto a close. The sage reflections of Mr Tickle were left unreported,albeit at the very last he was at his best. “How often,” he remarkedto loyal Mr Slowgoe, “has Fortune crowned where she ought to havebonneted.”

[Pg xiv]

Other series were essayed in the newspaper. In 1848 my father went toParis, well furnished with letters of introduction to Lamartine and theprominent men of the Republican Government, to write a number of paperson the aspects of the French capital. He would never speak about thatjourney afterwards. He was not at home by the banks of the Seine. Hehated turmoil. He could never write in a hurry, nor under uncomfortablecircumstances. He felt directly he had reached the hotel that he hadmade a mistake, and that descriptive reporting was no gift of his. Hissecretary was sent abroad to gather bits of information, and broughtback a budget of peculiar and exclusive news in the evening—but itwas left unused. Even the letters of introduction remained upon thewriting-table; and they were never delivered. Only a few columns ofwriting ever reached the newspaper; and “Douglas Jerrold in Paris” hadbeen advertised far and wide!

In brief, Douglas Jerrold had tired of his newspaper. He could notwork up against the tide. The break in the “Barber’s Chair,” and theconsequent loss of circulation, had never been recovered; whereas theCurrency series, signed Aladdin, was[Pg xv] interminable, and its dulnessprovoked protests and wearied out subscribers. The papers were perhapsadmirable. They were written by a very clever man. But they shouldhave been in the Banker’s Magazine, or the Economist,and not in the columns of a popular newspaper. The end was a heavyloss, which might have been substantial fortune. It was a bitterresult, brought about by the editor’s inability to sustain a continuouseffort; and by his easy-going friendship, that led him to open hiscolumns to incompetent writers. This latter editorial defect harmed theIlluminated Magazine, and hastened the death of the ShillingMagazine. Both were suffocated by importunate dullards, who wouldbesiege the editor in his study, and never leave him till they hadobtained his consent to print a score of articles from their fatallyfacile pens.

Of Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper there remains only—“The Barber’sChair.” It is a bright remnant, however; and this, I trust, the readerwill fully admit.

Blanchard Jerrold.

Reform Club, June 1874.

[Pg 1]
The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (6)


Chapter I.

SCENE.—A Barber’s Shop in Seven Dials. Nutts (theBarber) shaving Nosebag. Pucker, Bleak,Tickle, Slowgoe, Nightflit, Limpy,and other customers, come in and go out.

Nightflit. Any news, Mr Nutts? Nothin’ in the paper?

Nutts. Nothing.

Nightflit. Well, I’m blest if, according to you, there everis. If an earthquake was to swallow up London to-morrow, you’d say,“There’s nothin’ in the paper: only the earthquake.”

Nutts. The fact is, Mr Nightflit, I’ve had so much news in mytime, I’ve lost the flavour of it. ’Couldn’t relish anything weakerthan a battle of Waterloo now. Even murders don’t move me. No; not eventhe pictures of ’em in the newspapers, with the murderer’s hair in fullcurl, and a dresscoat[Pg 2] on him: as if blood, like prime Twankay, was tobe recommended to the use of families.

Tickle. There you go agin, Nutts: always biting at human nature.It’s only that we’re used to you, else I don’t know who’d trust you toshave him.

Slowgoe. Tell me—Is it true what I have heard? Are the Whigsreally in?

Nutts. In! Been in so long that they’re half out by this time.As you’re always so long after everybody else, I wonder you ain’t inwith ’em.

Bleak. Come now! I was born a Whig, and won’t stand it. In thebattle of Constitution aren’t the Whigs always the foremost?

Nutts. Why, as in other battles, that sometimes depends upon howmany are pushing ’em behind.

Tickle. There’s another bite! Why, Nutts, you don’t believe goodof nobody. What a cannibal you are! It’s my belief you’d live on humanarts.

Nutts. Why not? It’s what half the world lives upon. Whigsand Tories. Tell you what; you see them two cats. One of them I callWhig, and t’ other Tory; they are so like the two-legged ones. You seeWhig there, a-wiping his whiskers. Well, if he in the night kills thesmallest mouse that ever squeaked, what a clatter he does kick up! Hekeeps my wife and me awake for hours; and sometimes—now this is solike Whig—to catch a[Pg 3] mouse not worth a fardin’, he’ll bring down arow of plates or a teapot or a punch-bowl worth half-a-guinea. Andin the morning when he shows us the measly little mouse, doesn’t heput up his back and purr as loud as a bagpipe, and walk in and out mylegs, for all the world as if the mouse was a dead rhinoceros. Doesn’the make the most of a mouse, that’s hardly worth lifting with a pairof tongs and throwing in the gutter? Well, that’s Whig all over. Nowthere’s Tory lying all along the hearth, and looking as innocent asthough you might shut him up in a dairy with nothin’ but his word andhonour. Well, when he kills a mouse, he makes hardly any noise aboutit. But this I will say, he’s a little greedier than Whig; he’lleat the varmint up, tail and all. No conscience for the matter. Blessyou, I’ve known him make away with rats that he must have lived in thesame house with for years.

Bleak. Well, I hate a man that has no party. Every man that is aman ought to have a side.

Nutts. Then I’m not a man; for I’m all round like a ninepin.That will do, Mr Nosebag. Now, Mr Slowgoe, I believe you are next.(Slowgoe takes the chair.)

Slowgoe. Is it true what I have heard, that the Duke ofWellington (a great man the Duke; only Catholic ’Mancipation isa little spick upon him)—is[Pg 4] it true that the Duke’s to have a’questrian statue on the Hyde Park arch?

Tickle. Why, it was true, only the cab and bus men havepetitioned Parliament against it. They said it was such bad taste’twould frighten their horses.

Slowgoe. Shouldn’t wonder. And what’s become of it?

Tickle. Why, it’s been at livery in the Harrow Road, eating itshead off, these two months. Sent up the iron trade wonderful. Tenpennynails are worth a shilling now.

Slowgoe. Dear me, how trade fluctuates! And what willGovernment do with it?

Tickle. Why, Mr Hume’s going to cut down the armyestimates—going to reduce ’em—our Life Guardsmen; one of the two thatalways stands at the Horse Guards; and vote the statue of the Dukethere instead. Next to being on the top of a arch, the best thing,they say, is to be under it. Besides, there’s economy. For Mr Hume hassummed it up; and in two hundred years, five weeks, two days, and threehours, the statue—bought at cost price, for the horse is going to thedogs—will be cheaper by five and twopence than a Life-Guardsman’s payfor the same time.

Slowgoe. The Duke’s a great man, and it’s my opinion——

[Pg 5]

Nutts. Never have an opinion when you’re being shaved. If youwhobble your tongue about in that way, I shall nick you. Sorry to doit; but can’t wait for your opinion. Have a family, and must go on withmy business. Anything doing at the playhouses, Mr Nosebag?

Nosebag. Well, I don’t know; not much. I go on sticking theirbills in course, as a matter of business; but I never goes. Fash’nablehours—for now I always teas at seven—won’t let me. As I say, I sticktheir posters, but I haven’t the pride in ’em I used to have.

Tickle. How’s that, Nosey?

Nosebag. Why, seriously, they have so much gammon. I’ve stuck“Overflowing Houses” so often, I wonder I haven’t been washed offmy feet. And then the “Tremendous Hits” I’ve contin’ally had in myeye—Oh, for a lover of the real drama—you don’t know my feelings!

Nutts. The actors do certainly bang away in large type now.

Nosebag. And the worst of it is, Mr Nutts, there seems a fate init; for the bigger the type the smaller the player. I could show you aplaybill with Mr Garrick’s name in it not the eighth of an inch. Andnow, if you want to measure on the wall “Mr Snooks as Hamlet,” why, youmust take a three-foot rule to do it. Don’t talk on it. The[Pg 6] playersbreak my heart; but I go on sticking ’em of course.

Nutts. To be sure. Business before feelings. Have you seen MissRayshall, the French actress at the St James’s?

Nosebag. Not yet. I’m waiting till she goes to the ’Aymarket.

Tickle. But she isn’t a-going there.

Nosebag. Isn’t she? How can she help it? Being of the Frenchstage, somebody’s safe to translate her.

Tickle. Ha, so I thought. But all the French players havebeen put on their guard; and there isn’t one of ’em will go near theDraymatic Authors’ Society without two policemen.

Pucker. Well, I’m not partic’lar; but really, gen’l’men, to talkin this way about plays and players, on a Sunday morning too, is ashocking waste of human life. I was about to say——

Nutts. Clean as a whistle, Mr Slowgoe. Mr Tickle, now for you.(Tickle takes the chair.)

Pucker. I was about to say, it’s nice encouragement to goa-soldiering—this flogging at Hounslow.

Nutts. Yes, it’s glory turned a little inside out. For my part,I shall never see the ribbands in the hat of a recruiting soldieragain—the bright blue and red—that I shan’t think of the weals andcuts in poor White’s back.

[Pg 7]

Pucker. Or his broken heart-strings.

Nutts. What a very fine thing a soldier is, isn’t he? See himin all his feathers, and with his sword at his side, a sword to cutlaurels with—and in my ’pinion, all the laurels in the world wasnever worth a bunch of wholesome watercresses. See him, I say, dressedand pipeclayed and polished, and turned out as if a soldier was farabove a working man, as a working man’s above his dog—see him in allhis parade furbelows, and what a splendid cretur he is, isn’t he? Howstupid ’prentices gape at him, and feel their foolish hearts thump atthe drum parchment, as if it was played upon by an angel out of heaven!And how their blood—if it was as poor as London milk before—burns intheir bodies, and they feel for the time—and all for glory—as if theycould kill their own brothers! And how the women——

Female voice. (From the back.) What are you talking aboutthe women, Mr Nutts? Better go on with your shaving, like a husband anda father of a family, and leave the women to themselves.

Nutts. Yes, my dear. (Confidentially.) You know my wife?Strong-minded cretur.

Pucker. For my part, to say nothin’ against Mrs Nutts, I hatewomen of strong minds. To me they always seem as if they wanted to bemen, and[Pg 8] couldn’t. I love women as women love babies, all the betterfor their weakness.

Nosebag. Go on about the sojer.

Nutts. (In a low voice.) As for women, isn’t itdreadful to think how they do run after the pipeclay? See ’emin the Park—if they don’t stare at rank and file, and fall in lovewith hollow squares by the heap. It is so nice, they think, to walkarm-in-arm with a bayonet. Poor gals! I do pity ’em. I never see a niceyoung woman courtin’ a soldier—or the soldier courtin’ her—as itmay be, that I don’t say to myself, “Ha! it’s very well, my dear. Youthink him a sweet cretur, no doubt; and you walk along with him as ifyou thought the world ought to shake with the sound of his spurs andthe rattling of his sword, and you hold on to his arm as if he was agiant that was born to take the wall of everybody as wasn’t sweetenedwith pipeclay. Poor gal! You little think that that fine fellow—thattremendous giant—that noble cretur with mustarshis to frighten adragon, may to-morrow morning be stript to his skin, and tied up, andlashed till his blood—his blood, dearer to you than the blood inyour own good-natured heart—till his blood runs, and the skin’s cutfrom him;—and his officer, who has been, so he says, ‘devilishly’well-whipt at schools perhaps, and therefore thinks flogging verygentlemanly—and his officer looks on[Pg 9] with his arms crossed, as ifhe was looking at the twisting of an opera-dancer, and not at thestruggling and shivering of one of God’s mangled creturs—and thedoctor never feels the poor soul’s pulse (because there is no pulseamong privates), and the man’s taken to the hospital to live or to die,according to the farriers that lashed him. You don’t think, poor gal,when you look upon your sweetheart, or your husband, as it may be, thatyour sweetheart, or the father of your children, may be tied and cut upthis way to-morrow morning, and only for saying ‘Hollo’ in the dark,without putting a ‘sir’ at the tail of it. No: you never think of this,young woman; or a red coat, though with ever so much gold-lace upon it,would look like so much raw flesh to you.”

Nosebag. I wonder the women don’t get up a Anti-Bayonet’Sociation—take a sort of pledge not to have a sweetheart that livesin fear of a cat.

Slowgoe. Doesn’t the song say, “None but the brave deserve thefair”?

Nosebag. Well, can’t the brave deserve the fair withoutdeserving the cat-o’-nine-tails?

Nutts. It’s sartinly a pity they should go together. I only knowthey shouldn’t have the chance in my case, if I was a woman.

Mrs Nutts. (From within.) I think, Mr Nutts, you’d betterleave the women alone, and——

[Pg 10]

Nutts. Certainly, my dear. (Again confidentially.) She’snot at all jealous; but she can’t bear to hear me say anything aboutthe women. She has such a strong mind! Well, I was going to say, if Iwas a sojer, and was flogged——

Nosebag. Don’t talk any more about it, or I shan’t eat nodinner. Talk o’ somethin’ else.

Slowgoe. Tell me—Is it true what I have heard? Have theychristened the last little Princess? And what’s the poppet’s name?

Nosebag. Her name? Why, Hél-ena Augusta Victoria.

Slowgoe. Bless me! Helleena——

Nosebag. Nonsense! You must sound it Hél—there’s a-goin’ to bea Act of Parliament about it. Hél—with a haccent on the first synnable.

Slowgoe. What’s a accent?

Nosebag. Why, like as if you stamped upon it. Here’s a good dealabout this christening in this here newspaper; printed, they do say,by the ’thority of the Palace. The man that writes it wears the royallivery; scarlet run up and down with gold. He says (reads), “Theparticulars of this interesting event are subjoined; and they will beperused by the readers with all the attention which the holy rite aswell as the lofty ranks of the parties present must command.”

Nutts. Humph! “Holy rite” and “lofty[Pg 11] rank,” as if a littleChristian was any more a Christian for being baptized by a archbishop!Go on.

Nosebag. Moreover, he says (reads), “The ceremony was ofthe loftiest and most magnificent character, befitting in thatrespect at once the service of that all-powerful God who commanded Hiscreatures to worship Him in pomp and glory under the old law.”

Nutts. Hallo! Stop there. What have we to do with the “old law”in christening? I thought the “old law” was only for the Jews. Isn’tthe “old law” repealed for Christians?

Nosebag. Be quiet. (Reads.) “The vase which contained thewater was brought from the river of Jordan”——

Nutts. Well, when folks was christened then, I think there wasno talk about magnificence; not a word about the pomp of the “old law.”Don’t read it through. Give us the little nice bits here and there.

Nosebag. Well, here’s a procession with field-marshals in it,and major-generals, and generals.

Nutts. There wasn’t so much as a full private on the banks ofthe Jordan.

Nosebag. And “the whole of the costumes of both ladies andgentlemen were very elegant and magnificent; those of the former wereuniformly[Pg 12] white, of valuable lace, and the richest satins or silks.The gentlemen were either in uniform or full Court dress.”

Nutts. Very handsome indeed; much handsomer than any coat ofcamel’s hair.

Nosebag. The Master of the Royal Buckhounds was present——

Nutts. With his dogs?

Nosebag. Don’t be wicked,—and “the infant Princess was dressedin a rich robe of Honiton lace over white satin.”

Nutts. Stop. What does the parson say? “Dost thou in the name ofthis child renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp andglory of this world?”

Nosebag. (Reads.) “The Duke of Norfolk appeared in hisuniform as Master of the Horse. The Duke of Cambridge wore the Ordersof the Garter, the Bath, St Michael, and St George. Earl Granvilleappeared”——

Nutts. That will do. There was no “vain pomp,” and not a bit of“glory.”

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (7)

[Pg 13]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (8)

Chapter II.

Nutts. Now, Mr Slowgoe, when you’ve gone through the alphabet ofthat paper, I’m ready.

Slowgoe. Just one minute.

Nutts. Minutes, Mr Slowgoe, are the small-change of life. Can’t waitfor nobody. I’ll take you then, Mr Limpy. (Limpy takes thechair.) It makes my flesh crawl to see some folks with a newspaper.They go through it for all the world like a caterpillar through acabbage leaf.

Slowgoe. Well, for my part, I like to chew my news. I think anewspaper’s like a dinner; doesn’t do you half the good if it’s bolted.Haven’t come to it yet; but tell me—Is it true that the Duke ofWellington’s going to repeal flogging?

Tickle. Why, yes; they do say so; but the Duke does nothin’ ina hurry. Always likes to take his time. You know at Waterloo he wouldwait for the Prussians; and only because if he’d[Pg 14] licked the Frenchafore, he didn’t know how else to spend the evening.

Slowgoe. I never heard that; but it’s very like the Duke. Andthere’s to be no flogging.

Tickle. No; it’s to be repealed by degrees, like the corn-laws.In nine years’ time there won’t be a single cat in the British army.

Nosebag. Why should they wait nine years?

Nutts. Nothin’ but reg’lar. You see the cat-o’-nine-tails is oneof the institutions of the country, and therefore must be handled verydelicate.

When cat’s away

Sojers play.

That’s been the old notion. And folks—that is, the folks withgold-lace that’s never flogged—think to ’bolish the cat at once wouldbring a blight upon laurels. They think sojers like eels—none theworse for fire for being well skinned.

Tickle. There you are; biting the ’thorities of your countryagin. But since you’ve taken the story out of my mouth, go on, thoughevery word you speak’s a bitter almond.

Nutts. Well, it isn’t a thing to talk sugar-plums about, is it?I’m not a young lady, am I?

Mrs Nutts. (From back parlour.) I wish you’d rememberyou’ve a wife and children, Mr Nutts, and never mind young ladies. Youcan’t shave and talk of young ladies too, I’m sure.

[Pg 15]

Nutts. (In a low voice.) It’s very odd; she’s one of thestrongest-minded women, and yet she can never hear me speak of one ofthe sex without fizzing like a squib.

Nosebag. (Solemnly.) Same with ’em all. I suppose it’slove.

Nutts. Why, it is; that is, it’s jealousy, which is only lovewith its claws out.

Tickle. Well, claws brings you to the cat again; so go on.

Nutts. To be sure. Well, as I was saying——(To Limpy.)What’s the matter? I’m sure this razor would shave a new-born baby;but for a poor man I don’t know where you got such a delicate skin. Iwill say this, Mr Limpy, for one of the swinish multitude, you are thetenderest pork I ever shaved.

Slowgoe. But the Duke of Wellington——

Nutts. Don’t hurry me; I’m going to his Grace. Well, they do saythat he’s going to get rid of the cat by little and little. He knowsthe worth of knotted cords to the British soldier, and, like a dowagerwith false curls, can’t give ’em all up at once. So there’s to be a lawthat the cat is still to be used upon the British Lion in regimentals,only that the cat is to lose a tail every year.1

[Pg 16]

Slowgoe. Is it true?

Nutts. Certain. So you see, with the loss of one tail per annum,in only nine years’ time, or in anno Domino 1855, every tailwill be ’bolished; that is, the cat with its nine tails will have lostits nine lives, and be defunct and dead.

Slowgoe. I don’t like to give an opinion, but that seems a veryslow reform.

Nutts. Why, yes: when folks have a tooth that pains ’em, theydon’t get cured in that fashion. But then, again, it’s wonderful withwhat patience we can bear the toothache of other people.

Nosebag. What horrid things there’s been all the week in thepapers. Officers of all sorts writing what they’ve seen done with thecat. Well, if I was a sojer, my red coat would burn like red-hot ironin me; I should think all the world looked at me, as if they was askingthemselves, “I wonder how often you’ve been flayed.”

Slowgoe. Bless your heart! and here’s a dreadful matter. JamesSayer, a marine on board the Queen, sentenced to be hanged forassaulting two sergeants—to be hanged by the neck. And the Presidentsays, “James Sayer, I am sorry indeed that I cannot offer you hopethat the sentence of this court will not be fully carried out, and Irecommend you to prepare yourself to meet your doom.”

Bleak. What a difference is made by salt water![Pg 17] FrederickWhite, private soldier, is sentenced to be flogged for giving a blowto his sergeant. James Sayer, marine, is to be hanged for the sameoffence. So a blow afloat and a blow ashore isn’t the same thing.

Nutts. But there’ll be no hanging in the case; they say as muchin Parliament, don’t they?

Slowgoe. But it says here the President was “much affected.” Whypass sentence, why give no hope?

Nutts. Why now, I suppose that’s what they’d call a fiction ofthe law; and when we think what a dry matter all law is, can we wonderthat the ’torneys and such folks spice it up with a few lies? Blessyou, if all law was all true, nobody would go on swallowing it. It’sthe precious fibs that’s in it that gives it a flavour, and makes menlive, and grow fat upon it.

Slowgoe. It can’t be.

Nutts. Tell you ’tis. Was you never on a jury? La! bless you,when one of the gen’lemen of the long robe, as they call ’em—oneof the conjurors in horse-hair—get hold of a fib, or a flaw, or asomething to bring a blush into the face of Common-sense, and so puther out of court at once—doesn’t he enjoy it? Doesn’t he relish thefiction, as it’s called, as if it was his first “Goody Two Shoes”?He relishes it; all the bar—’xcept, perhaps,[Pg 18] the conjuror againsthim—relishes it, and the judge himself. Oh! haven’t I seen him withthe wrinkles about his eyes like the map of England; haven’t I seenhim relish it too, for all the world like an old sporting dog that hadgiven up hunting himself, but still did so love the smell of the game!

Tickle. I tell you what it is, Nutts, I feel my blood a-gettin’vinegar all the while I hear you. I feel a-changing from a man to acruet; and I won’t have it. You are so sour, you’d pickle salmon tolook at it. Nosebag, tell us something pleasant. What have they done atthe playhouse this week?

Nosebag. Why, there’s been Miss Faucit at the Hayma’ket, butonly for one night. Your very great players now, they’re like the newaloe at the Colossyum; they only blossom once in a hundred years, orsomethin’ of that sort. London’s gettin’ low for ’em, I s’pose. I haveheard—though I know nothin’ about what you call the currency—I haveheard that there isn’t, for any long time, ready gold enough in thecountry to pay ’em.

Tickle. Couldn’t they take ’Chequer bills?

Nosebag. Why, I believe they was offered to a singer last week;but he wouldn’t have ’em, ’cause he’d no faith in the Government.

Tickle. Well, and how did the young lady go off?

Nosebag. Never go to a benefit, for fear I should[Pg 19] be taken fora private friend of the actors. But I’m told the—the—what is it?—thefibula was another tremendous hit.

Limpy. (Rising.) That will do, Mr Nutts. What’s thefibular?

Nosebag. Why, a emerald buckle that the Irish House of Commonsgive to Miss Faucit last year for playing in Antigony.It was very well to put it in the playbill, ’cause of course itdrew so many folks who’d never seen a buckle. Nevertheless, if MrWebster—and I don’t mean to say anything against Mr Webster, not by nomeans—nevertheless, if he’d known his own interest he would have hadfive hundred posters with a bold woodcut of that fibula. And Ishould have stuck ’em.

Limpy. And you didn’t go to see it?

Nosebag. No; but I shall go next week, if I never go agin. Forthey do say that Mrs Humby—dear cretur!—is goin’ to appear in athimble presented to her by the ladies’-maids of London. And if anybodyever deserved a bit of plate, Mrs Humby deserves that thimble.

Nutts. Now, Mr Slowgoe. (Slowgoe takes the chair.)There’s quite enough discourse of the playhouses, let’s talk of seriousmatters. Have you heard? They’ve been proposin’ in Parliament to makenineteen more bishops, and one of ’em a Bishop of Melton Mowbray.

[Pg 20]

Tickle. Ha! a sportin’ bishop; for the morals of theneighbourhood. And I shouldn’t wonder if we’ve a Bishop of Epsom, and aBishop of Newmarket, and a Bishop of Ascot, and a Bishop of Doncaster.And very proper. Black aprons may reform blacklegs. Seein’ the bishopsdo so much good, in course they’re most wanted in the worst places.They’re to be sent in holes and corners of wickedness; jist as my wifehangs bags of camphor about the necks of the little ones when she hearsof fevers. Now a bishop—the Bishop of Exeter, for instance (by theway, he’s been havin’ another row in the House of Lords—he’s always atit)—the Bishop of Exeter, what is he, I should like to know, but a biglump of camphor in a bag of black silk hung about the whole neck of theWest of England? Why, the good he does nobody knows.

Bleak. (With newspaper.) ’Pon my word, when I read thesethings I do feel ashamed that I’m a man.

Nutts. Daresay; but ’tisn’t your fault. What is it?

Bleak. That a good quiet gen’lewoman can’t go by herself in arailway carriage without having to scream out for the police! Insultedby a coward with a good coat on him. Thinks himself, I daresay, one ofthe lords of the creation. Lords!—I call ’em apes.

[Pg 21]

Nutts. My wife—and I’d advise every lady to do the like—mywife never travels by rail without a pair of scissors. But then she’s awoman of sich strong mind!

Slowgoe. So, I see they’ve been givin’ a dinner at Lynn to LordGeorge Bentinck. He’s a great man, Lord George; and they’ve had himall the way from London to tell him. Made a beautiful speech, I see.Here’s a touch after my own heart. He’s a-talkin’ about the corn-laws,and he says, “When some foreign ship, some Swede or Norwegian or Dane,with an outlandish name for herself and her captain, which neither younor I could pronounce (cheers and laughter), comes into port(cheers), I ask you how much this foreigner pays out of hiswages to support the trade of your town?” Well, I say, that’s what Icall talking like a true Briton.

Nutts. To be sure it is; no argument like that. The argumentis—the argument that the Norfolk farmers cheer at is, that the Swedeand the Norwegian and the Dane have outlandish names; that in fact theyaren’t called, like the boys in the spelling-book, Jones, Brown, andRobinson. That’s the way t’ appeal to British bosoms, and Lord Georgeknows it. Bless you! shouldn’t wonder, when the farmers went home, ifthey didn’t kill their wives’ and daughters’ canary-birds[Pg 22] ’cause theywere all outlandish, and not true-born British linnets. Nothin’ likecalling names; every fool can understand mud.

Slowgoe. Still Lord George is a wonderful man. Here he says,in this very speech, “he was eighteen years silent in the House ofCommons.”

Nosebag. That reminds me of a pantomine I once saw, where therewas a wild man that said nothin’ all through the piece, and then atlast somebody came for’ard, and held up a scroll in gold letters, thatsaid, “Orson is endowed with reason!

Nutts. The worst of them members of Parliament is that, likechildren when they’re backward in their speech, they more than makeup for it when they do begin. Like the Thames froze up, when oncethey’ve a quick thaw, they threaten to wash the speaker off his legs,and overflow the whole House of Parliament. Great pity some of thesemembers aren’t like the Paddington Canal—with locks.

Tickle. There you are agin, ’busin’ of the ’thorities. I’ve readthe whole of it, and it was a very pretty bit of speechifying at Lynn.Didn’t the Duke of Richmond, too, talk of the battle of Waterloo? I’veno doubt——

Nutts. In course he did. He talks of it when he’s asleep. Thebattle of Waterloo to the Duke[Pg 23] of Richmond is like a wax doll toa little gal. He always will be showing it to company—opening andshutting its eyes, pointing out its red morocco shoes, and white frock,and cherry-coloured sash. I wish the Duke of Wellington would take thebattle of Waterloo from him, and lock it up, and only let him bring itin at Apsley House once a year with the dessert.

Slowgoe. Ha! Nutts, you haven’t a good word for nobody. I’m sureit’s quite cutting to read what Lord Bentinck and Mr Disraeli say ofthemselves: each of ’em trying to be smaller than the other one.

Nosebag. Jist like boys at leap-frog. Each in his turn “tucks inhis twopenny,” that the other may go clean over his head. But then, yousee, Mr Slowgoe, like leap-frog, it’s only make-game after all.

Slowgoe. I won’t have it. The member for S’rewsbury’s a greatman. What a tongue he has!

Nutts. Very great; measure tongue and all, and he’s very great,to be sure. He reminds me of a—a—dear me!—that thing that lives onwind, that I once saw at Mr Tyler’s Zologicul Gardens—a—a——

Tickle. Lives on wind! It can’t be nothing but a bagpipe or achameleon.

Nutts. That’s it: a chameleon. Well, that has[Pg 24] a tongue as longas his body; but for all that, he can only catch flies with it. Andthat’s the case, I take it, with the member for S’rewsbury. I know it’ssaid he talked for loaves and fishes. And acause Sir Robert wouldn’tgive him so much as a penny roll, not so much as the smallest spratthat swims in the Treasury, why then——

Slowgoe. Sir Robert! Hear what he does to Sir Robert, accordin’to Sir John Tyrrel, who was at Lynn. He says the member for S’rewsbury“tears off Sir Robert Peel’s flesh, then polishes his bones, and sends’em to the British Museum.”

Nutts. Well, that’s a nice compliment for agen’l’man—bone-polisher to Sir Robert Peel! But certainly Sir JohnTyrrel is a good one at a compliment. Didn’t he once say that the Dukeof Wellington was the greatest man since our blessed Saviour? He did,as I’m a sinner. And if Sir John is very red in the face, which heought to be, it is because he hasn’t done blushing ever since.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (9)

[Pg 25]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (10)

Chapter III.

Nutts lathering a customer; others waiting. Enter Little Girl.

Nutts. Now, my little dear, what’s for you?

Girl. Please, Mr Nutts, my mother says you’ve sent the wrongfront. This is a red un, and mother’s is a light brown.

Nutts. Oh! if she says it’s red, I know it isn’t hers. Now thelady as that belongs to calls it auburn. Not that I should like to walkwith her into a powder-magazine with her wearing it.

Girl. And please, my mother says she hopes the curls are alittle tighter than——

Nutts. Tighter! You tell that blessed widow, your mother, thatthey’re just what she wants—tight enough to hold a second husband.I know the man; and though I’ve no grudge agin him, I curled ’ema-purpose.

Limpy. Why, isn’t that Mrs Trodsam’s little[Pg 26] girl? And the womangoing to be married agin?

Nutts. In course. When her husband died she vowed she’d go intoweeds and her own grey hairs for life. That’s barely a twelvemonth ago;and now the weeds are gone, and she wears marigolds in her cap, tocatch the milkman. I don’t know who’d have a widder! Seven times have Icurled that front in three weeks.

Slowgoe. (With newspaper.) Well, this is a prettybus’ness, this Religious ’Pinions Bill. Going to make friends with thePope! Going to let him send his bulls into the country, as many as helikes. Well, I don’t know; but I should think the British Lion—if he’sgot a war life in him—won’t stand that.

Tickle. That’s nothin’. They say we’re goin’ to send a ’bassadorto Rome, and Sir Randrews Agnew’s to be ’pinted to the post. Oh, isn’tthe Pope a—a-gammin’ us! He’s a-goin’ to buy down railroads right andleft. Now what do you think the rails are for?

Slowgoe. Why, for steam-ingines.

Tickle. Not a bit on it. I know somebody as knows ColonelSibthorpe’s footman as knows all about it. The Pope intends to get up afancy fair in Rome for the conversion of the Jews. Well, this will fillRome with English dowagers, taking[Pg 27] all their pincushions ready-madewith them. And when they get there, the rails (they’re made o’purpose) will be taken up and turned into gridirons; and won’t thePapishes roast us agin, as they did in Smithfield?

Slowgoe. No doubt on it. This comes of giving up good old names.I always thought what would come of it when we left off calling thePope the Scarlet——

Nutts. Mr Slowgoe, allow me to say that my wife—Mrs Nutts—isonly in the next room.

Slowgoe. When we left off calling the Pope an improper person ina scarlet garment. It’s the growin’ evil of the times, Mr Tickle, thatwe don’t respect old names.

Tickle. We don’t. And yet Colonel Sibthorpe says the Pope—thatis, his Scarletness—is as scarlet as ever he was.

Slowgoe. It’s a great comfort to see that the Colonel spokeagainst the bill; but it passed the second reading for all that.

Tickle. That’s the worst of it, and just reminds me of what Isaw last Sunday. There was a nice old animal eating his thistle upon acommon—as nice a cretur as ever drew a cart. Well, the Kingston traincame smoking, whizzing, rumbling along; when, suddenly, the animalleft his thistle, and, stretching his legs to take firmer[Pg 28] hold of theground, brayed and brayed at the train, as if he would bring the skyright down upon it; but, as you say of the bill, it passed for all that.

Tickle. You’ve heard of the Pertection Peers o’ course? Heardwhat they’ve come to a resolution to do?

Slowgoe. No—what?

Tickle. Why, they’ve all met in the first-pair front of theMorning Post; and feelin’ that the country is ruined, they’veresolved like patryots, as they are, to do nothin’.

Nosebag. Shouldn’t wonder if they succeed. It’s a dreadfulthing, though, for peers and lords, when they know a country’s done upfor ever, to be obliged to live in the ruins. I wonder they don’t move.

Nutts. Bless you! they can’t. The more rickety the country gets,the more they like it. Just as a woman loves her bandiest baby all thebest. In their hearts they never was so fond of the British Lion asnow, though Mr Tyler of the Zologicul Gardens wouldn’t give no pricefor him unless the Unicorn was thrown in with the bargain. Providenceis very good to dukes and lords, for they do say this season grouse isperdigious plentiful.

Slowgoe. I’m glad on it. For it’s my ’pinion that grouse andpheasants, and in fact all[Pg 29] sorts of game, was only sent into the worldfor superior people.

Nutts. Shouldn’t wonder; only it’s a pity they warn’t somehowticketed. ’Twould have hindered much squabblin’. Agin; when Adam givetheir names to all the birds and beasts, he might have ’lotted ’em outinto partic’lar folks that was to eat ’em—ven’son for lords, muttonfor commons.

Tickle. Might ha’ gone further than that, and have marked thevery joints—sirlines for them as is respectable, and stickings for thepoor.

Slowgoe. I tell you what, Mr Nutts, if you talk of Adam in thatway, you don’t shave me. I’ll not trust my throat to an infidel.

Mrs Nutts. And that’s the way, Mr Nutts, you’ll drive everybodyfrom the shop. At this time of day, what’s Adam to you? Look after yourown family—Adam did, I’ve no doubt.

Slowgoe. Talkin’ o’ the Pertectionists—I see they’ve hadanother dinner.

Nutts. Yes. The country’s done for; but it’s a comfort tothink that, though their hearts are broke, they can dine still. If anearthquake were to gulp England to-morrow, they’d manage to meet anddine somehow among the rubbish, just to celebrate the event.

Slowgoe. Dinner to the Marquis of Granby.

[Pg 30]

Nosebag. Ha! seen him at a good many public-houses in my time.

Slowgoe. Dinner at Walsham. Chairman something like a chairman;drank the Queen; and this is what I call real speaking (reads):“They must have observed what benignant smiles were upon hercountenance and how she appreciated their loyalty. Her Consort, too,was in the fields of sport, and he rode with courage andbrilliancy with the hounds till night closed the chase.”

Nutts. I’m not intimate with his Royal Highness, but the paperalways says he goes home to the castle to luncheon. And then to praisea gen’lewoman for smilin’! I s’pose they think that a compliment, asif it warn’t at all easy for a queen to look pleasant. Again, if it’ssich a recommendation to state affairs to be in the “fields of sport,”I wonder they don’t make a foxhound a prime minister!

Slowgoe. The Duke of Richmond says (reads), “I never hada fancy to ride upon the whirlwind and direct the storm.”

Nutts. So far a very sensible old gentleman. A whirlwind isn’tmade for every man’s hobby.

Slowgoe. And doesn’t Mr Disreally give it to Manchester alittle? Makes it a nothin’. Puts, as I may say, his crush hat over allthe tall chimneys, and kivers ’em quite. He says, “Magna[Pg 31] Charta wasnot procured by Manchester; Manchester was not known then!”

Nutts. And is that really Benjamin? Well! And if only two yearsago, at a Manchester sworry, if he didn’t stand up in the ’Theneum, andbutter the youths of Manchester as if they was so many muffins! And hetalked to ’em too—I recollect it well—as familiarly about Jacob’sladder as if it had been placed in the Minories, and he’d been used torun right up it and slide down it from a boy.

Nightflit. Well, this is good news, isn’t it? Here’s Mr Joneshas brought up a report to the Common Council of London; and we areto have a house, as he says—“the heart of St Giles’”—built for poorpeople.

Nutts. The heart of St Giles’! Well, it’s the way to put a heartinto it, anyhow.

Slowgoe. What, goin’ to do away with all the cellars? Well, allI hope is this, I hope they’re not goin’ too fast.

Nightflit. How can they go too fast? when the report says(reads), “They propose to build a house, giving clean andwholesome lodging to one hundred single labourers, at a rent notgreater than they are now forced to pay for accommodation in housesfilled with dirt, vermin, unwholesome air, bad society, and many otherevil circumstances.”[Pg 32] Can’t get rid of dirt and varmint too soon, canwe?

Slowgoe. I won’t be sure of that; when people have been born andreared among ’em, dirt and varmin are as second nature.

Nutts. And aren’t comfort and cleanliness?

Slowgoe. It’s all very well, but I’m the friend of order, I am.I only hope the Government won’t find it out. Make poor people cleanand spruce, and you don’t know what they’ll want next. All too fast,too fast.

Nutts. Well, I wonder you ever use your legs. I wonder you don’tgo upon all fours by choice, acause it’s slower.

Slowgoe. Look here; keep people in dirt accordin’ to theirstation, and you’ll keep ’em quiet. A man as lives in a cellar, or ina house, for the matter of that, with ten or twelve in a room, withoutany talk of water, and air, and gas, and such stuff as was never talkedof in St Giles’ afore—why, he never thinks o’ nothin’ but his drop o’wholesome gin. All he wants is, like a wild beast, some place to hidehis head in for the night, that he may go to the public-house the nextmornin’. Well, he goes; and he gets his glass, and his glass; and everyglass seems to put new clothes on his back, and drop new shillings intohis pocket, and all about him looks gold and purple—a sort of glory.[Pg 33]And though his wife is bone and skin, and kivered with rags; when he’scomfortable drunk, she looks like any queen in a silver petticoat. Andif his children with their thin chalk faces do make a hullabaloo forbread, why, when he’s as drunk as he ought to be, they seem to himnothin’ more than crying cherrybims.

Nutts. Well, but where’s the man’s heart all the while?

Slowgoe. Heart! Nonsense: doesn’t feel no heart. If he takes ginenough, it’s all gone; burnt up like a bit o’ sponge in the burningspirits o’ wine. Water, and gas, and air, and wholesome lodging! Why,isn’t gin cheapest, when it makes a man do without ’em?

Nosebag. Not a bit on it. Gin never made a man respectable; now,water, air, and all that does.

Slowgoe. I’ve said I’m a friend to order——

Nutts. Order! Well, if ever they make a Order of the Pigsty—andthere is, I believe, a Order of the Sheep-pen, or Fleece, or somethingof the sort—you ought to have it.

Slowgoe. Nonsense. ’Thusyism is puttin’ the poor out o’ theirproper places. I’ll just take the other tack. A poor man gets out ofdirt and foul air, and all that. Gets raised in the scale, as the storyof it goes. Why, there must be always somebody at the bottom of thesteps, mustn’t there?

[Pg 34]

Nutts. Why, yes. But then the steps themselves needn’t be inmuck, need they? Why shouldn’t the lowest of us have plenty of sweetwater, and God’s sweet air, and all be raised together?

Slowgoe. ’Thusyism, as I say, is very well; but you know nothin’of political economy. Look here. A man gets used to all the CommonCouncil talks about; to wholesome lodging, and all that. Well, hedoesn’t go to the gin-shop. Then, how, I ask you, is the revenoo to bekept up? Where’s taxes to come from? I was only readin’ it yesterday.It seems that the publican alone pays money enough to build all theships, pay all the sailors, fit out all the sojers with their cannonsand bayonets, and what not. Well, the man who’s a good stiff drinkerought to feel pride in this. Every sojer he sees, every musket that’smade, every ball-cartridge that goes into the warm bowels of an enemy,he helps with every blessed drop of gin he swallows, to pay for. Isn’tit, or oughtn’t it to be, a comfort to a man, if he hasn’t a bit ofliver left, to know that it’s gone to help to load bullets, and sharpenswords, and pipeclay cross-belts? I say it: a man with no liver, histongue like shoe-leather, his nose no better than a stale strawberry,and every limb on him shaking like leaves upon the aspling-tree, sicha man, thinkin’ what the[Pg 35] publican pays through him, may still go intothe Parks, and seeing the sojers on parade, take a pride in ’em.

Nutts. Well, and suppose the man is taken out of the muck that’shelped to make him drink? What then?

Slowgoe. What then? Why, then comes the danger to Government.The man doesn’t go to the public-house. No: he gets used to a cleanplace and a clean shirt; and has light about him, and doesn’t live likea two-legged bat, and has water enough to swim in. Well, he begins toread and to think, and to trouble his head about his vote, and all suchstuff, that with the gin-glass at his mouth, he never dreamt on. Well,the end on it is, such will be the presumption of the poorer sort, whenyou take ’em from dirt and darkness, which, in my ’pinion, is theirnat’ral elyment—such is their conceit, that I’m blest if they soonwon’t talk of having a stake in the country!

Nosebag. Well, and every man as has muscles and bones, and iswilling to work with ’em, has a stake, hasn’t he?

Slowgoe. Where is it? You can’t see it!

Nutts. Why, suppose his muscles and his bones helps to build ahouse for a man?

Slowgoe. Well, it’s the man’s stake it’s built for, and nothis’n that builds it. And that’s perlitical[Pg 36] economy. But I was goin’to say when you put me out, that the Government doesn’t know what it’safter encouragin’ cleanliness, and temperance, and such new-fangledstuff. It’s all revolution in disguise. We’ve had gunpowder revolution,and moral revolutions; but they’re nothing to what’s coming, forthey’ll be the revolutions of water and soap. No government upon the’versal earth can stand with everybody clean and sober. Do away withthe swinish multitude, and I ask you, what becomes of the guinea-pigso’ society? Tell me that.

Nosebag. Why, we shall all be guinea-pigs together.

Slowgoe. Impossible! The likes o’ you a guinea-pig! ’Tisn’tin nature. All I ask is, where will you get your taxes? Last weekat the great meetin’ o’ the waters, as I call it, at Common GardenTheatre—last week, I stood in Bow Street, and watched mobs o’ peoplegoin’ in, all on ’em conspiring against the revenoo of the country.There wasn’t one there, man or ’oman—and very pretty women some on’em was, bloomin’ like fresh flowers in fresh water—that wasn’t aconspirator aginst the taxes that pays the sojers and the sailors,and the salaries in Woolwich Dockyard, and the Government never sentthe p’lice to take ’em, but let ’em all sport away like the fountainin[Pg 37] Temple Gardens. Temperance and cleanliness! I’ve lived to seesomethin’! I’ve heard of the age of iron, the age of gold, and the ageof silver, and I should like to know what age we are to call this?

Nutts. Why, by your own account, the best of all on ’em—the Ageof Soap and Water.

Slowgoe. (With newspaper.) This must have been abeautiful sight, gen’lemen, a beautiful sight, at Portsmouth. Quitemakes a man’s heart beat to read about it.

Nightflit. What’s the perdicament?

Slowgoe. Quite a solemn thing. Field-Marshal Prince Albert hasgiven a spick-and-span new set of flags to the 13th Foot, or what iscalled his own Light Infantry. The old ones had been so singed by fire,and torn to bits by bullets in Afghanistan, wheresomever that may be.

Nutts. Doesn’t say who ’broidered the colours, does it?

Slowgoe. Not as I see.

Nutts. That’s a pity. But I s’pose it was some o’ the women.Fine ladies, as wouldn’t so much as take up a stitch in a silk stockingacause they’d think it low and beneath ’em—fine ladies work at flags,and, I really do believe, like the work better than if it was their ownbaby-linen.

Limpy. How d’ ye account for that, Mr Nutts?

[Pg 38]

Nutts. Why, you see, it’s a part of the finery of sojering; andthat always takes the women. And so they’ll stitch and stitch away atcolours, and, for what I know, work their own precious locks of hair in’em, acause they’re to be carried by smart young gen’lemen covered withred and daubed with gold, and the drums and the fifes and the trumpetswill play about ’em; and they think that’s glory, poor souls! Sillycreturs! if they only thought of the blood, and groans, and mashedlimbs, and burning houses, and trodden-down babies, and screechingwomen, suffering worse than death—if they only thought that theirneedlework was to be waved and fluttered above such horrors as these,it’s my ’pinion they’d as soon do sewing and stitching for Beelzebub.

Slowgoe. Don’t be profane, Mr Nutts.

Nutts. Never was, Mr Slowgoe. But I will say it, I do thinkthere’s a devil sleeping in every trumpet; and he wakes up and bellowsout every time the brass is blown.

Nightflit. And the account goes on to say (reads), “Thecolours were consecrated by the Chaplain of the Forces.”

Nutts. Never heard of one of the apostles with such a post—didyou? Consecrated! I s’pose dipped in blood, and then fumigated withgunpowder.

[Pg 39]

Limpy. Is that the way, Mr Nutts?

Nutts. Can’t tell for certain, as I never read the recipe in theNew Testament.

Tickle. I once heard how it was done. The beadle o’ St Giles’told me all about it. The colours are taken into the church, and theparson or the bishop, as it may be, who’s to bless ’em, stays in thechurch, fasting all night with ’em, praying that every bullet as isfired off under ’em shall be directed by an angel; that every sworddrawn beneath ’em, and cutting through the skull of a man, shall havethe edge of it sharpened by Christian love; and that every bayonetthrust into the bowels of a man shall be pushed home with a blessing.And he prays that wherever them colours may wave, all the gunpowder maybe kept dry under the wings of angels; and the firelocks be continuallyoiled by the tears of Christian spirits. After all, it must be agreat comfort to a man—shot down, mangled, and mashed like a crushedfrog—to turn his dying eyes to them colours and remember there’s aparson’s blessing on ’em. It must give him some pleasure to think ofit when he’s screeching for water, it may be, all night, and the moonwith her cold, white, unpitying face looking down upon him. Consecratedcolours! Well, if the flags are consecrated, in course they fire withsacred gunpowder and holy[Pg 40] bullets. And then the bombshells! They can’tbe s’posed to carry death and destruction when they drop; but, beingblessed, must fall like manna in the streets and on the roofs of houses.

Slowgoe. None o’ your sedition, Mr Tickle, none o’ yoursedition. Noble regiment the 13th Foot, and nobly rewarded! Why, itseems as long ago as 1776, when they were commanded by the Duke ofCumberland——

Nutts. What! Billy the Butcher, as they called him?

Slowgoe. As long ago as 1776 (reads), “as a mark ofdistinction for their gallant conduct, the sashes of the officers andsergeants were ordered to be tied on the right side insteadof the left.

Nutts. The officers and sergeants only! Then the privates didnothing in the way of fighting? And what a mark of distinction, to besure! Why didn’t they at the same time order ’em to change the gaitersof the regiment, wearing the right on the left leg, and the left onthe right; or to turn their hats the hind part afore, or their shirtsinside out?

Slowgoe. And now the brave 13th, for fighting in India like anydragons, come in for more luck. For “her Majesty has been pleased toorder the facings of the regiment from yellow to blue,and the regiment to be called Prince Albert’s Regiment”!

[Pg 41]

Nutts. What a comfort—what a consolation for a man ina hailstorm of bullets—what a pleasure after marching andcounter-marching, and living through the pains of fifty deaths,—tothink that the yellow serge of his cuffs and collars shall be turnedto blue! What a blessing to leave his children! Well, there’s glory incolours, isn’t there? Shouldn’t wonder that when some regiment someday does some wonderful thing never heard of afore, if her Majestyisn’t pleased to order that the same be dressed all over with harlequinpatches. From yellow to blue! Well, that’s a great change in life,isn’t it?

Nightflit. Talking of soldiers, I see they haven’t gotField-Marshal Duke of Wellington on the top of his arch yet.

Bleak. Why, no. They say in Parliament—I’ve jest been readin’on it—that they’re goin’ to wait till the people return to town, tillthey come back from raffling at the watering-places, and suchlike; andthen when the statu’s up they’re to give their ’pinions.

Slowgoe. Ha! So I see. But won’t it be a little difficult to getto the feelin’ o’ the public?

Tickle. Not at all. Yon Colonel Trench, who says the arch wasmade for the statue, and the statue for the arch, just as they say oftwo people afore they marry——

[Pg 42]

Nutts. Go on. Say what you like about marriage. My wife’s out.

Tickle. Just as they say of folks afore they marry; who, whenmarried, turn the worst match as can be. Colonel Trench is going tomanage the whole matter. When all London comes back to town, and isgathered together under the arch, the Colonel will go round and tossfor the Duke—the best two out of three—with every man, woman, andchild upon the ground. The Colonel’s taken odds that he’ll win, and theDuke keep the arch.

Slowgoe. But I see they’re going to try the effect with a sortof dummy, a Wooden Duke for the Iron one.

Nutts. Very disrespectful. Now I’ve a notion they might try itmuch better and cheaper. Why not hire one of the folks and a horse fromAshley’s Amphitheatre? They might hoist the animal a-top of the arch,and there he might be mounted by the player as is used to him.

Nightflit. But the horse and the rider would only be the size oflife. How could folks judge then?

Tickle. Why, very well. Let all the House of Commons go into thePark with telescopes magnifying four-horse power, and spying throughthem; why, in course they would see the ’fect, and no mistake.

[Pg 43]

Slowgoe. I see Lord John Russell’s withdrawn the Irish Arms Bill.

Nutts. I said he would. That’s the first Whig blunderbuss as ismissed fire.

Tickle. Or rayther, the blunderbuss was so high charged, LordJohn didn’t like to pull the trigger. ’Fraid it would kick a little toostrong, and crack the Cabinet like chaney.

Nutts. Talking about model dukes and dummy horses, isn’t it apity there isn’t a sort o’ model Parliament afore which the Whigs mighttry their bills? They find so many split when they come to prove ’emafore the real house. One night Lord John holds fast to his Arms Bill,like a child to a new drum; and the next he gives it up as if it was ofno use, somebody having knocked a hole in it.

Tickle. Tell you it’s the old Whig cowardice. They’re so oftenafraid o’ their own blunderbuss. Howsumever, this is a fault of theright sort, only hope they’ll do no worse.

Nightflit. Any news about Young Ireland? What’s he done with the“sword” that he took from ’Ciliation Hall?

Tickle. Why, they do say he’s swallowed it, like the Injunjuggler; only—not like him—they do say he’ll never be allowed tobring it up agin. Old Daniel offers to take O’Brien back to his[Pg 44] busumif he’ll promise never more to smell of gunpowder.

Nosebag. I’ve heard that O’Connell’s going to write up in’Ciliation Hall somethin’ like what they print in the playbills.

Slowgoe. What’s that?

Nosebag. Why, “Young Ireland in arms not admitted.”

Nutts. And he might add, “No money returned.”

Bleak. So I see Mr Hume’s lost his motion for openingskittle-grounds on Sundays.

Slowgoe. Skittle-grounds—I thought ’twas to open the BritishMuseum, the National Gallery, and suchlike.

Bleak. Well, it seems to be all the same, for Lord John Russellwon’t have it nohow. He says (reading), “As to the admission onSundays to the British Museum and National Gallery, he thought it wasbetter not to lay down any positive rule, or for that House tointerfere by a resolution. There were some places where a single porterat the door would be sufficient as a protection. Such places he thoughtit was quite right to have open on the Sundays; but if they wentfurther, he did not see why they might not ask to have the theatresopen on a Sunday. Listening to a play of Shakespeare, it might be said,would divert[Pg 45] people from habits of drunkenness. Then as to openingsuch places as the Museum and National Gallery on Sundays, it wouldtend to deprive a great many persons of their only day of rest; andthey could not well supply their places with others who were not in thedaily habit of taking care of rooms.” Well, for my part, it does seemto me that what holds good with “many persons” ought to hold good witha “single porter.”

Nutts. Agin. Why don’t they ’bolish steamboats on theriver; Sunday rail-travelling; Sunday coach and cab stands; Sundaytea-gardens? These things and places—all of ’em—deprive a great manypersons of their only day of rest! So do Sunday public-houses. Andthen, as if taking care of the pictures at the National Gallery, thatfolks don’t run their walking-sticks through ’em—and keeping a sharpeye upon the mummies at the Museum, for fear they should be run awaywith—was such delicate work that people must serve a ’prenticeship tolearn it.

Tickle. And ’specially, too, when Mr Wakby said there was somany Jews who’d be delighted to take the post o’ Sundays, and be’specially delighted to take the money for it.

[Pg 46]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (11)

Chapter IV.

Enter Peabody (Policeman).

Nutts. Well, I’m glad somebody’s come. Thought all the beardshad gone out of town. Just as you come, was thinking of shuttin’ upshop and goin’ myself. Never saw the Dials so dull, Mr Peabody. Thereisn’t a back pair that isn’t at a watering-place.

Slowgoe. (With newspaper.) Watering-place! Pretty goingson there, I think. Here’s a letter taken from the Times, whenthe gentleman as writes says, “Ramsgate’s shocking. Ladies bathing withno more thought than if they was mermaids; and chairs let out at apenny a piece, for an enlightened public to sit—as if they was in theopera stalls—to look at ’em.”

Nutts. Bless my soul! Where did you say?

Slowgoe. At Ramsgate.

Nutts. You may go on. Mrs Nutts is at Margate.

[Pg 47]

Slowgoe. And the gen’leman says in his letter that the youngladies dance polkas and waltzes in their bathing-gowns; and dance andscream the more for the people looking at ’em.

Peabody. Where’s the police?

Slowgoe. That’s what the gen’leman asks. Where’s the police toput ’em down? Where’s the police to warn ’em back to the machines?

Tickle. Why not have a coast-guard with indy-rubber uniforms, torun into the water, and take the ladies up, and make an example of thering-leaders?

Nutts. I don’t know how it is, I’ve often thought of it; butsomehow—I’ve observed the circumstance to Mrs Nutts—somehow thefemale mind seems to gain courage at watering-places. A young thingthat won’t raise a eyelid in London, will meet you like the full moonat the seaside.

Tickle. Well, I’ve often thought of that too. Somehow orother the sea air does harden ’em. Now, Mr Peabody, you who wasa schoolmaster afore you was a policeman, can you, who knowseverything—can you explain it?

Peabody. Why, the female mind is naturally susceptible——

Nutts. That’s what Mrs Nutts said, when on one occasion shewould have a pint of peas at five shillings.

[Pg 48]

Peabody. And sympathises with external nature. The female mind,too, often confined to the limits of a slop-basin, feels itself growand expand in presence of the universal deep. A woman who may be nobetter than a doll in London, shall be a first-rate philosopher atBroadstairs.

Nutts. Humph! Like young ducks; don’t know all their strengthtill they take to the water.

Peabody. But it all goes off with the season.

Nutts. I’m glad of that. Mrs Nutts, as you know, is a woman ofstrong mind; nevertheless, she must come back to the slop-basin.

Slowgoe. So I see that Cobden has been in France. Wantingto stir up a free trade in frogs, I s’pose. But they’re not such fools;they won’t give up pertecting their native produce like us. He says inhis speech to the Frenchmen, “I am not a propagandist.” Now what doeshe mean by that?

Peabody. Why, that he doesn’t want to preach free trade to theFrench.

Tickle. But the best on it is, he can’t help it. Mr Nutts and Iwas talking about that afore, warn’t we, Nutts.

Nutts. The very fact, says I, of Cobden being received as heis by Frenchmen, makes him a propagandist. There he is, with everysyllable he says, preaching free trade for the wine-growers,[Pg 49] thoughhe doesn’t say a word about it. There he is in the city of Paris tenthousand times bigger conq’ror than Marshal Blucher. Lor’ bless you!the soldiers, poor fellows! never thought of it; but Cobden will provethe worst English general for them. He’s opened the campaign that willknock up their trade. There wasn’t a French soldier, whilst Cobdenwas talking and the Frenchmen were cheering, that oughtn’t to havefelt his musket crumbling away in his arms like dust, and his bayonetmelting like in its scabbard. There wasn’t a single French cannon, ifit had had any sense at all, that oughtn’t to have groaned as withthe bellyache, knowing that, as condemned old iron, it would go tothe melting-pot. Then for the Gallic cock—the cock of glory!—thecock that, unlike any decent barndoor fowl, is always for picking outthe eyes of nations—the cock that only lives upon a morning feed ofbullets—why, after Cobden had made his speech, the poor thing felthis appetite get weaker and weaker for the garbage of glory, and inthe end, depend on’t, he’ll live upon corn, without a drop o’ bloodmixed in it, like a decent respectable bird, and never think ofcock-a-doodle-dooing above all his neighbours.

Nightflit. Shouldn’t wonder. Why, doesn’t the French paperitself—the Journal des—des——

[Pg 50]

Peabody. The Journal des Débats—the Government organ.

Nightflit. Doesn’t it, here, in what it says about Cobden,talk as if it was ashamed of the business of the customhouse officersrumpling and tousling everybody as steps into the country, for smuggledgoods? Turning people upside down, and shaking ’em like so manypickpockets.

Nutts. Don’t talk of it. Shall I ever forget when Mrs Nutts andme crossed to Calais to see France? Shall I ever forget how fellowsin blue uniforms, with swords by their sides, searched us over andover, as if we’d brought a cutler’s shop and a cotton-mill in everyone of our pockets? Isn’t it dreadful to think that men should be suchfools to themselves as to pay soldiers and customhouse officers toprevent one country bringing its blessings to another, as if heavenonly intended the best iron for England, and the best claret winesfor France? Well, isn’t it a comfortable thing to think of, that MrCobden has spoken the dying speech of all them customhouse officers?They mayn’t believe it just yet, but it’s sure to come. They’ve gotconsumption in ’em, and sooner or later they must go. Only I dohope that on both sides they’ll save one or two specimens for theirmuseums, just to show the children that come arter us what fools theirfathers was afore ’em.

[Pg 51]

Slowgoe. Well, there’s one comfort left for me, I shan’t live tosee it. You’re for universal peace, and all that sort of stuff. Verywell in story-books, but never was intended. War and all thatwas meant from the first. War runs through our nature. Everything warsupon everything. There’s nothing so little as doesn’t eat up somethingas is smaller than itself. Look here now; here’s a paragraph from anInjy paper, the Agra Chronicle, about the battle-field in theSutlej. It says: “We came viâ Loodianah and Firozepore, andon our way encamped on the fields of Alrival and Ferozeshah. Alrivalwas a beautiful green plain, the only one I saw between Meerut andthis, and seemed intended by nature for a battle-field. Afew skeletons were strewed over it, and of the wells one was justdrinkable, and the other was so impregnated with gunpowder as to bewholly unfit for use.”

Tickle. I can’t have that. “Intended by nature for abattle-field.” And do you think when nature made this beautiful world,and filled it with fruits and flowers, and sent down blessed light uponit—made it, as I may say, a paradise for folks to live in—do youfor a moment think that nature made certain “beautiful green plains”for slaughterhouses? You might as well say that when nature made iron,she made it not for carpenters’ tools, but a-purpose for swords andbayonets; and that[Pg 52] the sea would have all been fresh water only thatwe wanted the salt for gunpowder. That’s the shabby part of man.Whenever he does wickedness upon a large scale, he always lays it uponnature. If Cain had been a general, he’d have put all his bloodshed uponnature.

Nosebag. Then never mind nature; let’s talk of the Court. So theQueen’s a-goin’ to have another palace. Isn’t it an odd thing that kingsand queens in our country never do get properly suited with houses? Alltheir palaces—like their clothes—seem misfits when they leave ’em tothem who comes after ’m. There was George the Fourth, he could no morelive in his old father’s palace than he could get into his coat; so hehad Buckingham Palace built, with a fine archway that always looks jestwhitewashed. And now that’s so little that the present Royal Familyfill it all up, like a cucumber in a bottle. And so we’re to haveanother building.

Slowgoe. Never mind that. It won’t cost a farthing. For doesn’tSir F. Trench say in his motion—here it is—“That while this Housefeels confident that Parliament would willingly supply any reasonableamount of expense for the attainment of so desirable an object,it has great pleasure in expressing its belief, that by propermanagement of the means at the disposal of her[Pg 53] Majesty and herGovernment (in aid of the £150,000 voted for alterations at BuckinghamPalace), this great and desirable national object may be obtainedwithout adding one shilling to the burthens of the people.” Whatdo you think of that? Not one shilling, says Sir Frederick.

Nosebag. Bless you! in the matter of money, who’d trust tobricks and mortar? But we’ll say the palace is built without a shillingfrom the people—we’ll say it’s built. How about the furniture? Why,afore the thing’s well up, the Minister will come down to the Houseand ask for about half a million of money to buy rolling-pins andtinder-boxes.

Slowgoe. But he won’t get it.

Tickle. Won’t he? Every farden on it; while all the House, andthe Speaker into the bargain, will weep with pleasure while they puttheir hands in their pockets.

Slowgoe. And what will Mr Hume be about?

Tickle. He’ll oppose it, o’ course; and so will Mr Wakley andMr Williams. And what o’ that? Why, the Minister will draw himself upupon his toes, and, looking as tragic as if they’d killed his dearestrelations, ask the honourable members if they know what they’reopposin’. Put it to ’em as men, whether her Majesty ever before askeda single farden for rolling-pins—whether above all[Pg 54] sovereigns thatever went afore her—or that’ll come after her—she hasn’t beenmost scrupulous, most ekonomick in the article of tinder-boxes? Hewill ask what surrounding nations will think of us—higgling aboutrolling-pins—disputing on royal tinder-boxes; and then the House willget up, and hurray—and, as I say, weeping tears of gratitude, vote themoney, as though with all their hearts and our pockets they wished ittwice as much.

Slowgoe. Ha! you’re a cuss-of-liberty man, you are, Mr Tickle,and don’t know what befits the royal prerogative. They won’t want ashilling, sir—not a shilling. There’s the Pavilion at Brighton. Iunderstand that the loyal people of that loyal town, out of love,and affection, and veneration for their monarch as a king, a man, ahusband, a father, and—let me see—yes, a practical moralist, intendto purchase the Pavilion, and let it off in shops for jewellers,wig-makers, and tailors, and all as a monument to the memory of thatgreat and good man George the Fourth.

Tickle. Well, to make the monument complete, I hope they won’tforget a wine and brandy vaults.

Nutts. But how about the Duke’s statue? I thought it was to beput up upon the gate, that the Queen might see it when she drove out.Now, if the Queen has a new house on Buckbeen Hill——

Tickle. Why, all the houses ’tween that and[Pg 55] Rutland Gate willbe pulled down, that the statue may be brought near to the new palacewith a telescope.

Slowgoe. I’m very happy to see that her Majesty, and the Prince,and the children are taking such pleasure on the sea.

Tickle. Yes. Parson M’Neile—he isn’t yet a bishop, I hear——

Nutts. Why, no; but as they say there’s going to be a bishopmade for Manchester, and as he’s at Liverpool, so very near the spot,he keeps himself prepared for the best. They do say he sleeps with hiscarpet-bag and shovel-hat by his bedside, all in readiness for an earlytrain.

Tickle. A very provident parson. Well, they say he preachedanother sermon last Sunday about the Prince and his doings. In fact, itis reported that he intends to follow up his Royal Highness through theCourt Circular. Last Sunday he compared him to Noah.

Nutts. As how?

Tickle. Why, because his Royal Highness was afloat in the royalyacht. Bless you! he showed how the Prince was Noah, and how theVictoria and Albert was nothing more than the ark, holding thehopes of the world; and how the precious children were Ham, Shem, andJapheth, and how the ark held two of every living thing.

[Pg 56]

Tickle. Well, I can’t say about that; but if Parson M’Neile toldmen all the beasts in the ark was, St Jude’s could answer for one ofthe “creeping things.”

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (12)

[Pg 57]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (13)

Chapter V.

Tickle. (With newspaper.) Well, it’s a shocking thing,isn’t it, when we read of babbies, left by things as call themselvestheir mothers, on highways and door-steps, and in all sort of places,exposed, I b’lieve they call it, to the elements and the severity ofthe season. It’s a little bad o’ such parents, isn’t it, Mr Nutts?

Mr Nutts. Bad! that isn’t the word, Mr Tickle; and the worst ofit is, we can’t make a word bad enough for it.

Tickle. To put a sweet little child—a innocent little gal, forinstance—in a box, or a basket, or what not, and leave her in the wideworld, for the wolves that walk about it. As I say, it is a little bad;and it’s very proper, when the mother as does it is found out, thatshe’s sent to prison, and made to pick oakum; and try to learn feelingsfrom the gaol clergyman. It’s a shockin’ matter[Pg 58] this, to think of alittle gal so left—a poor little soul, as innocent as the daisies.

Mrs Nutts. Is it so very shockin’? Then read it.

Tickle. What I mean is taken out of the Times, and is allabout the Queen of Spain’s marriage with her cousin. Here it is:—

“Don Francisco de Assis was summoned at Madrid, and for the reasonsas stated to you at the time, refused to come. He was again summoned,though there was no decision taken, as the feeling of dislike to hisperson was as strong as before, and rendered his chances, even then,of a very trifling nature. That dislike was strongly and deeply feltby the young Queen herself, and participated in by her mother; it waswith tears in her eyes, and her bosom heaving with sobs, that shewas forced to plight her troth to him. She had to be told that—Iuse the expression employed—‘if she did not instantly consent to marryher cousin, Don Francisco de Assis, she should marry no one.’ When Iagain assure you that the feeling of dislike, amounting to repugnance,was shared in by the Queen-mother, it is not difficult to guess fromwhat quarter this force proceeded to compel a child, not yet sixteenyears old, to consent to marry a man from whom she recoiled withloathing.”

A nice beginning, that, of the marriage state.

Nutts. There, Mrs Nutts, aren’t you happy that[Pg 59] you was born inSeven Dials, and have a husband who you love, as shaves for a penny?Don’t you bless yourself that you aren’t the Queen of Spain?

Mrs Nutts. It’s all shockin’ enough; but it isn’t what Mr Ticklebegun talking about. His story was about a little gal as was left in abasket in the wide world, with nothin’ but chance to look after her.

Tickle. I know that; but isn’t that little gal, with her bit o’wretched flannin, in her miserable bit o’ basket, with the midnightwind singing about her, at last picked up by letter Q, No. 45,policeman, and carried to the workhouse—isn’t that little gal, withthe taste of its mother’s milk not yet out of its mouth, a happiersoul than the poor little wretch, born in a Spanish palace, wrapt invelvet, and fed with a golden spoon? Now, take the two babbies. Here’sBetsy of Bermondsey, we’ll say, and Isabella o’ Spain. Betsy was takenup in a wicker basket, at the door of a very respectable tanner, aman as had served as churchwarden a dozen times, and not being ownedby nobody, was packed off to the workhouse. She’s called Betsy, afterone of the misses as does her the first compliment she ever had inlife, by consentin’ to do her that honour. Well, Betsy grows up astrong, flourishing workhouse thing, a bit of parish duckweed, anddoes credit to her keeper.[Pg 60] She is thumped and bumped, but betweenwhiles somehow learns to write and read and keep accounts, as far astwo and two make half-a-dozen. Well, at ten years old she’s sent outas parish ’prentice, to look after the five children of Mrs Chip, thebonnet-builder, as has too much to do in her own bus’ness to attend toher own family. And she’s the maid-of-all-work, without the wages, upearly and abed late; for as Mr Chip is a first-rate bagatelle-player,he doesn’t sometimes come home till two, and Mrs Chip will havethe kittle bilin’ at six. Howsumever, Betsy gets on in life, as afootball gets on by all sorts o’ kicks and knocks, and at last she’sout of her ’prenticeship, and sets up housemaid on her own account.She’s a independent young ’oman, with eight pounds a year besidestea and sugar, and nobody knows how many caps, and how many yards o’cherry-coloured riband in her deal box.

Mrs Nutts. What nonsense you talk, Mr Tickle! No woman has somany yards of riband of one colour. It only shows what a little youknow of the human ’art.

Nutts. My dear Mrs Nutts, talking about the human heart, is thepie made?

Mrs Nutts. Mr Nutts, just attend to your beards, and leave thepies to me.

Nutts. (Aside to Slowgoe, who points.) A[Pg 61] woman ofvery strong mind. Go on, Mr Tickle. You left the gal with the caps andthe riband.

Tickle. Well, Betsy Bermondsey has all sorts of sweethearts;and the Morning Post never troubles what head it has about thematter. Whether she marries the butcher, the baker, the milkman, or thepoliceman (as has a partic’lar weakness o’ the stomach for roast duckand inions), not one of the young Englanders in the Post, or anyother paper, cares the vally of its own leaders.

Mrs Nutts. What’s leaders made of, Mr Tickle?

Tickle. Made o’ different things. Sometimes o’ steel-filings,sometimes o’ soap-and-water. But, as I say, Betsy Bermondsey hassweethearts; and the different parishes about her don’t send theirchurchwardens, some to speak for the butcher; some for the baker; somefor the milkman; some for the police; and some for a cobbler that she’dnever seen in all her days; and what’s worse, some from the cats’-meatman that she never looked at without shivering. No, Betsy gives awayher heart, and is all the lighter and rosier for the gift. And shemarries the baker, and in as quick a time as possible she’s in a littleshop, with three precious babbies, selling penny rolls, and almostmaking ’em twopennies by the good nature she throws about ’em.

[Pg 62]

Nutts. What do you say to that, Mrs Nutts?

Mrs Nutts. Well, I should say Betsy were a happy woman. Everypoor soul hasn’t her luck.

Tickle. You may say that. For only think of Isabella, Queen ofSpain. Poor little merino lamb! With half-a-dozen ’bassadors prowlingabout her, and licking their lips, like tigers about a sheep-pen, tosnatch her up—and at last it’s done. At last she’s laid hold of, andher very heart’s torn out of her, that she may be made a wife of a ——.

Nosebag. It makes a man’s blood bile to think of it.

Tickle. And acause she’s a queen she’s to be turned into ahorrid slave for life, and the link of the chain that holds her isto be a wedding-ring. Now, when some foreign prince’s grandmother’saunt’s husband’s sister’s son or daughter dies, all the Courts go intomourning for three or four days or hours, I forget which, to show tothis world and the next their respect for the calamity. Now it’s myopinion, if there was any real truth in Court mourning, that all theroyal folks in Christendom ought to put on sackcloth, with a goodsprinkling of the best Wallsend ashes, when Queen Isabella marries hercousin. Charming matrimony, when one of the parties, and that one thepoor woman[Pg 63] too, as the Times says, recoils from the other “withloathing.”

Mrs Nutts. Don’t talk of it, Mr Tickle, it’s more than my headcan bear.

Slowgoe. All very fine and very sentimental; but what’s tobecome of state affairs, if kings and queens think of their hearts?Hearts warn’t made for ’em. Royal folks have always married in one way,and therefore always must. It’s quite right there should have been allthis dodging about Isabella’s husband.

Nutts. Well, I haven’t said anything about the matter asyet; but after all, what a deal we men, as rational criturs of theuniverse—lords of the earth—angels in our worldly apprenticeship,as we think ourselves, have to brag about, when it’s made a matter ofconsequence to millions of rational souls who a little gal ofsixteen marries—whether one man or another!

Slowgoe. None of your atheism, Mr Nutts; or, as I’ve told you ahundred times, you shan’t shave me. Politics is a mysterious thing.

Nutts. You’re right. So is picking pockets. Now honesty, as theold spelling-books say, is adapted to the meanest understanding.

Nightflit. Very rum letters, these, from the Earl of Ripon andhis parson! All, I see, taken from the Standard.

[Pg 64]

Nutts. What—about the Earl, the donkey, and the curate? I mustsay the Earl doesn’t shine quite like a new fourpenny in the business.

Slowgoe. Nonsense! give me the paper. What does hisLordship—mind I’m not a Whig, so no admirer of his’n—what does hisLordship say to Mr Crowther, who’s made the curate of Nocton, that LordBentinck made all the row about? The Earl, looking upon the curateas a livery servant—only the livery’s a surplice, and not drab withmustard facings—desires him and his wife not to have no dealings witha Mr and Mrs Newton, simply because the Earl doesn’t like ’em. TheEarl says: “Lord Ripon is confident that if they were aware of thecourse pursued by Mrs Newton towards the Dean of Windsor, Mr Granvilleand Mr Kempe (the two previous curates of Dunston), as well as toLord Ripon himself, they would not receive any apparent civilitiesfrom Mrs Newton, or have any communication with her. Lord Ripon haswritten to Mr Howse to desire that Mr Crowther may have the useof the pony, and Mrs Crowther of the donkey OR coveredcart, whenever he applies to him for them.” Think of that. Isn’tit condescension? What I call Christian kindness? To lend a pony to aparson, and an ass with a covered cart to the parson’s wife. What wouldrevolutionists have?

Nutts. Very right. The donkey is a touching[Pg 65] bit. The loan of itshows in what respect the Earl held the clergyman. There’s somethingwhat I call magnanimous in that jackass.

Slowgoe. Again listen to this: “If Mr Crowther has need ofanything being done for him in any way, it is to Mr Howse aloneto whom Lord Ripon would wish him to apply. Lord Ripon is confident MrCrowther will meet with every attention from Mr Howse.”

Nutts. And who is Mr Howse? A near and dear relation to EarlRipon?

Slowgoe. No: Mr Howse is Earl Ripon’s cook; and therefore, asknowing best his Lordship’s heart through his stomach, could besttalk to Mr Crowther. And now think of the ingratitude of this parson.He won’t give the cold shoulder to Mr and Mrs Newton in return forthe pony and donkey, but says: “The duties of this situation dictateto me great impartiality, and that I should think no evil, but asmuch as in me lieth, live peaceably with all men. In the humblehope of accomplishing this course, it must be my care to avoid eventhe appearance of partisanship in any unhappy differences of theparishioners.” Don’t you call that flying in the face of anobleman?

Nutts. Yes; and capital flying too.

Slowgoe. Like your revolutionist ways. But his Lordship knowswhat belongs to the true dignity[Pg 66] of a nobleman. He won’t let MrCrowther wind up his watch by Nocton Hall. That’s sweet revenge. Forthe parson writes: “I was in the habit of regulating my watch by theclock in the tower of Nocton Hall, and every Saturday evening went upto the Hall for that purpose, having learnt that it was by that timethe inhabitants of the two villages regulated theirs. On Saturdayevening the policeman on the grounds came up to me and said ‘he wasvery sorry to be compelled to act so to a gentleman, but he had beendirected to warn me off the grounds, and of course he must obey hisorders.’” Now isn’t that spirit on the part of his Lordship? Won’t letthe clergyman set his watch by Nocton clock. Won’t the parson be sorryfor that?

Nutts. I can’t say; but all I know is this, if his Lordship’sclock goes at all like his manners to his curates, it’s the lasttimepiece I should like to wind myself up by, anyhow.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (14)

[Pg 67]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (15)

Chapter VI.

Nutts. Now, Mr Bleak, I b’lieve the shave’s with you.(Bleak takes the chair.) Mustn’t complain; but dreadfulweather this for business. Not a soul in town. Had nothing to do butimprove my mind all the week. Now, folks who pay rent and taxes can’tafford that. Everybody still at the seaside.

Slowgoe. Humph! For my part I can’t think where the ’noxialgales are gone to: they ought to blow people back to London bythis time. But nothing is as it was.

Tickle. Rum thing this at Margate. And quite a warning to youngwomen.

Mrs Nutts. What’s that, Mr Tickle?

Tickle. Young lady of most respectable family—father in theExcise—turned to a mermaid.

Mrs Nutts. Nonsense! it can’t be. What for?

Tickle. Because she would dance the polka close[Pg 68] inshore, andmake so many people write to the Times. Now she’s punished; nowshe’s enough o’ bathing. Now she does nothing but sing songs, comb herhair, and stare at herself in a looking-glass.

Nutts. Well, for a young woman that can be no punishment.

Mrs Nutts. Mr Nutts, you’re a fool. (Retires.)

Nutts. As you’re all family men, gentlemen, you understand that.And yet I never could make it out why the tenderest of wives have thegreatest knack of calling their husbands fools.

Tickle. Bless you! it’s only too much love speaking out. Just asa saucepan, when too hot, boils over.

Slowgoe. (With paper.) Great season for the vineyards.It seems there never was such a promise for champagne. Glorious newsthis for the poor. In course nobody here understands it; but accordingto perlitical economy, when champagne’s plentiful it must bring downginger-beer.

Nutts. Well, all I know is, pineapples haven’t cheapenedpotatoes.

Slowgoe. Don’t talk of potatoes in that heathen way, Mr Nutts;if you’d any decency, any religion, you wouldn’t talk of a potato witha smile. I suppose you haven’t seen what Lord George Bentinck—that’s[Pg 69]a pious soul, that is—says upon potatoes? I thought not. Here it is.His Lordship as will be Prime Minister—it’s at Mr Newdegate’sdinner—his Lordship says (reads): “They would recollect thatat the close of the last year there was a sham cry got up,respecting the failure in the potato crop, to serve the purpose ofan administration; he was now sorry to say that that feint hadbecome a reality; that the potato failure had spread from one endof the kingdom to the other—from the Land’s End to John o’ Groats,throughout the whole of Ireland, and throughout the whole of thecountries bordering upon the Atlantic. (Hear.) He was fain to confess,and he did so with sorrow, that this time there was no sham,but he greatly feared that this sad reality was the justvengeance of Providence for the great ingratitude we had displayedin needlessly complaining of His bounty.” And all the people cried“Hear, hear,” and with the wind in their faces, no doubt, looked verybelieving, very solemn. So you see, ’cording to Lord George, it’sPeel, and nobody but Peel, as has brought the potato rot upon us. Peelcried “Wolf” to pass the corn-laws; and now for his wickedness, andhis alone, the wild beast is really come—has been sent, as dear LordGeorge says, by Providence, to tear the bowels of hundreds o’ thousandsof innocent people; and, moreover——

[Pg 70]

Nutts. Don’t—don’t go on in that way, or I must lay down therazor. Well, I hope I’m a religious man—I haven’t cut you, Mr Bleak, Itrust?—and I love a bit o’ politics, nobody better; but if I shouldn’tblush redder than that blacking-bill, to think for a minute of makingProvidence Whig or Tory, and counting the angels on my side of thequestion; whether it was for all the world as they count a majorityin the House of Commons. If there is a presumption that shows whatan impudent worm upon two legs a man is—and I don’t care a buttonwhether the worm is a worm with stars and ribands, or a worm with nomore nobility of flesh in him than a worm in a pauper burial-ground—ifthere is a presumption in this world, it is, I say, when a man willtake religion into partnership with him, and whatever he may do, makehimself and his little dirty doings the special pets of Providence. Andyet, I daresay, Lord George thinks this the Christianity for gentlemen!Well, there’s no knowing what use a man may make of his religion.Hearing what I have heard, I won’t swear that a member of the JockeyClub mayn’t bind his betting-book up with his Bible.

Slowgoe. I’ve often threatened it, Mr Nutts; but if you go on inthis infidel manner, I must take my chin to another shop.

[Pg 71]

Nutts. Why, look here: truth isn’t like a penny-piece with twodifferent sides to it; and a flum is not less a flum for coming afterdinner. Either Lord George meant what he said, or he didn’t. Now, if hemeant it, he meant to make Sir Robert Peel answerable for what he calls“the vengeance of Providence;” he meant to lay at Sir Robert’s door themisery and starvation—and it makes one’s heart sick and one’s bloodcold to think of it—of thousands and thousands of suffering creaturs;he meant——

Slowgoe. Nonsense! you’re such a violent man: he meant nothingof the sort. When a man bids for Minister, everything’s fair: publicmen——

Tickle. Oh yes; men blacken one another as they like, they meansnothing. They do it, I s’pose, just as last Tuesday we blackened BillSimpson’s face when he was asleep—for a joke, and nothing more.

Nutts. Ha! and his Lordship having dined, I s’pose you’ll haveit, there was a greater allowance for burnt cork? Don’t tell me. Theytake up poor fortin-tellers—hocus-pocus fellows that cast nativitiesand suchlike, and tell servant-gals what every star means when it winksupon ’em. But when a lord—and a lord, too, that would be a primeminister—would trade upon Providence, and, thinking he knows all itsdoings, would lay the[Pg 72] misery of millions upon the head of one man,they never send for the constable, oh no; but fine gentlemen, full ofpiousness and port wine, stamp their feet and whobble out “Hear! hear!”Such religion’s like olives to ’em, and gives quite a relish to theirdrink.

Slowgoe. I say again, you’re a violent man, Mr Nutts. There isno doubt that the potato disease is brought about by something; anduntil that something is discovered, we—I mean us of true Conservativeprinciples—may as well lay it upon the treason of Sir Robert Peel asupon anything else. When the true cause is found out, why, then, asgentlemen, we can shift it.

Nightflit. Here’s a bit from the Dublin Record that saysit’s Popery as has brought about the blight. It’s nothing but givingmoney to Maynooth that’s ruined the ’taters.

Tickle. No doubt on it. In the same way that when sheep dieof the rot, it’s only because there’s the Pope’s eye in every leg ofmutton. Now as for Lord George——

Nutts. Don’t talk about him. Poor fellow! Now I’m a little cool,although he’s a lord and I’m only a penny barber, I do from the verybottom of my heart pity him! Anything pleasant in the paper?

Nosebag. Lord Wrothesley’s going to make[Pg 73] second-class carriagespop’lar on King Hudson’s lines, and won’t pay his Majesty’s firstfares. A good move this. For if lords would only ride with the sheepand bullocks, there’s lots of people who’d directly think sheep andbullocks the best of company. Howsomever, in this matter his Lordship’sright. But King Hudson has made a long speech at the York and Newcastlemeeting, and, like all kings, cracking his own generosity to the skies;and then he began abusing the Times, but somehow his heartfailed him; and the Iron King talked as if his tongue was suddenlyturned to butter, and every bit of metal was drawn out of him.

Tickle. (With paper.) Have you heard this?(Reads.) “Mr Wakby, M.P., has received several letters fromladies, many of them of rank and title, offering to co-operate inpurchasing the discharge of Cork, Mathewson, and any other witnessesexamined at the inquest.” And this is taken from the MorningPost.

Nutts. Oh, it’s all right; the women will see the true beautyof soldiering at last. Poor things! At present they think man never sopretty as when in uniform; never so complete a thing to love as when hesmells of gunpowder. And beauty smiles on soldiering, and soldieringtoasts beauty; and that’s how for hundreds of years[Pg 74] they’ve diddledone another. But it says something when ladies club their pounds totake the finery off men’s backs, and the swords from their hands, andturn them from parade heroes into peaceful nobodies. Once Mrs Nuttsused to dote upon a drum; and now—though she hates the law, like awoman, ever since I was served with a writ—now she thinks a drum thewickedest of parchment.

Slowgoe. Glorious news! The Duke’s going up at last. He’ll be onRutland Gate in a day or two, the—the “envy of surrounding nations,and the—the”—I forget the rest, but there he’ll be.

Tickle. It must be a great relief to him to have it over. Leta man be as great as he may, and as iron as he may, he must feel ina bit of a pucker to have his bronze lightness so talked and writabout. They do say that for the last month the Duke’s suffered nothingbut nightmare: every night thinking in his sleep that Mr Cubitt washoisting up, now one of his legs to the arch, now one of his arms, andnow his head. It must be a great comfort to him when he’s up altogether.

Nutts. The thing will look ugly enough, no doubt—a disgrace tothe metropolis, as the newspapers say, and all that; but for my part,and after a proper consideration of my power of holding out, even ifthe statue when up never comes[Pg 75] down again—I—I speak timidly, to besure, as a penny barber ought—but I don’t think I shall sink under it.

Nightflit. A pleasant marriage this for the French Duke as isgoing to have the Infant of Spain.

Nutts. Humph! it reminds me of the old story of the eagle andthe child, only instead of the eagle it’s that old Gallic cock LouisPhilippe. How he’ll pounce upon the little wench, and carry her offto his nest in Paris, there to make the most of her! Quite a case ofchild-stealing, only, you see, there’s no police-van—no Newgate forkings.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (16)

[Pg 76]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (17)

Chapter VII.

Limpy. (With newspaper.) It isn’t a bad notion of MrO’Connell’s, nohow.

Tickle. I haven’t read it; but I can guess what it is. Seein’the state Ireland’s in, he’s buttoned up his pockets and taken anothervow.

Nutts. I know; a vow to turn every day into eight-and-fortyhours, and work every minute of ’em for Ireland.

Tickle. No; it’s a newer vow than that, for that vow’s aweek old. It’s a vow that his pockets, so long as the folk arestarving—shall fast too. That they shan’t know the taste of rent—notso much as the copper taste of a farthing—till the peasantry haveevery day a bellyful. He’s buttoned up his pocket with that vow; andhe’ll defy a troop of horse with drawn swords to open it again.

Limpy. Nothin’ o’ the sort. Quite another notion. Mr O’Connell’stoo modest a man to say[Pg 77] anything about his own pockets: no, the hon.gentleman, as they say in the Commons, knows his place, and confineshimself to the pockets of other people; and here in his letter to“dear Mr Ray” he says, “How delighted I should be to be able withany prospect of success, to propose that the gentry in each localityin Ireland should appoint a delegation of their number tomeet together in Dublin without delay, in order to organise the bestplans for obtaining Government and local relief during the impendingcalamities of famine and pestilence, and to embody in practical formtheir suggestions to Parliament for laws suited to the emergency.” Nowisn’t this the liberal thing? To give such advice as this, to bring allthe cream of the gentry together?

Nutts. It might be called the Parliament of Famine. A tremendousgathering, to be sure! And if only all the landlords as live away,taking their change out of Ireland, would for once be brought togetherin Dublin, wouldn’t it be an awful meeting? To only consider what manyof such members would for the time represent! There’s a good many of’em the best of men, to be sure; but again, supposin’ it, as I say, tobe a Parliament of Famine, wouldn’t there be the hon. member for Filthand Rags, the hon. member for the Houseless, the hon. member for theFevered and Naked, the[Pg 78] hon. member for Despair, the hon. member forMidnight Housebreaking, and the hon. member for Midday Murder?

Slowgoe. What mad stuff are you preaching, Mr Nutts?

Nutts. Nothin’ mad, Mr Slowgoe, but every word of it terriblemeaning—dreadful sense. Do you mean to say that if you got such ameetin’ as Mr O’Connell speaks of, you wouldn’t have in the peoplecoming together, the representatives, as it were, of all the miseriesthat make the wretchedness and the crimes I talk about? What do we callthe English Parliament? Why, the wisdom of England. All the sense ofthe country skimmed and strained.

Tickle. But you never believe it.

Nutts. Never mind that. Now, in the delegation of Mr O’Connell,we should have all the sufferings, and horrors, and crimes of Irelandrepresented, as I may say—brought naked before the world. And then ifthese gentry could be got together, and specially the absent gentry,the graceless babes that suck Ireland’s breasts, and never look uponIreland’s starving face—if all these could meet—“meet together inDublin”—and be made by a miracle to do what Ireland wants, how weshould find hon. members change their constituencies! The member forFilth and Rags would be ashamed of what he represented, and resolve to[Pg 79]stand for Cleanliness and Clothing; and Houseless, and Nakedness, andDespair, and Burglary, and Murder, would all of ’em, as I may say, bedisfranchised—wiped off the national schedule—and Comfort and Health,and Peace and Plenty, and Security, all of ’em for once send theirIrish members to Parliament.

Tickle. Very odd this talk about Ireland, and quite makes out adream I had last night. I thought the Queen drove up in a special trainto London, and went down to Parliament with all her cream-colouredhorses, and with two golden keys, and the crown on her head, insistedupon opening both the Houses herself. And then she took her seat uponthe throne and read her speech, and I thought it wasn’t her MajestyI heard, but a silver trumpet; and I thought she talked about thedistresses in such a way that everybody wept, and even Lord Broughamwiped his eyes with a roll of parchment; and her Majesty said that thetime was come for everybody to make a sacrifice—yes, sacrifice wasthe word—for the folks in Ireland. And then I thought I heard anotherflourish of trumpets, and I saw the Queen-Dowager come in with a largebag of money marked £50,000. And with the surliest look in the worldshe went up to the Lord Chancellor, and gave him the bag, telling himthat she, a lone woman, had £100,000 a year out[Pg 80] of the taxes; she wasonly too happy to give up half for as long a time as Parliament shouldthink fit, and the country should want it. And then there was such acheer, and I thought I saw the Queen-Dowager go floating out of theHouse upon a purple cloud, and looking so happy that she looked thirtyyears younger for it——

Slowgoe. Only shows what your waking thoughts must be, to havean infamous dream like that. In the good old times they wouldn’thave let you dream in that manner—not a bit on it. Yea, if thingsonly was as they was, you’d have Mister Attorney-General with a’x-officio ’bout your ears for that dream.

Tickle. Well, hear me out. When the Queen-Dowager went, Ithought all the bishops ran with money-bags to the table.

Slowgoe. (Rising.) I won’t hear another word. If you’lldream anything that’s possible, I don’t mind listening to you; but nosuch balderdash as that.

Nutts. Talking about bishops, it seems that Manchester hasa good chance now. There’ll be a mitre, after all, among the tallchimneys.

Tickle. Wonder if they’ll smoke the less for it.

Slowgoe. Hope the roof’s safe, Mr Tickle; but you do talk alittle like an atheist. If Manchester[Pg 81] is really to have a bishop, Ido hope they’ll send an early train to Liverpool for the Rev. HughM’Neile. Why, here’s a letter from the Albion, a Liverpoolpaper—a letter written by a “Churchman” about his Reverence, who’sgoing to be removed, it seems; whereupon the writer says, “But howwill the cause be served by his removal from St Jude’s to St Paul’s?What the one gains the other loses. And what is the reason of thisremoval? The only one I have ever yet heard advanced on the subject is,that he has preached himself threadbare (in his ideas, I mean)where he now is, and wants to start with it all new again for anothercongregation.”

Nutts. Very odd he should leave because his ideas arethreadbare. Why can’t he turn ’em and go on again? Others have.

Nosebag. Well, this is a good ’un. It’s an account of the Legerrunning, taken from the Morning Post of Wednesday, about thehorse “Sir Tatton Sykes” and his jockey Bill Scott. “The appearanceof Sir Tatton Sykes infused fresh hopes into the minds of those whohad not seen him since Epsom, while the quiet earnestness of ‘Bill’s’manner assured them that the advice given him at Epsom had not beenthrown away upon him, and that he was fully impressed with theimportance of the charge committed to him. Singular to say, HIS[Pg 82]CONSTANT GUARDIAN was a clergyman of the Established Church. Ajockey under such guidance could hardly fail behaving himself.

Nutts. Should like to know the name of the clergyman. Odd,isn’t it, that the black coat should match over the blacklegs? The’Stablished Church will get a lift, eh? if every jockey’s to have hischaplain. As there’s a talk of making more bishops, if Lord Georgecomes in, shouldn’t wonder if we’ve a Bishop of Tattersall’s; jist toordain young clergymen for all the race-courses. Don’t see too, ifclergymen are to be constant guardians of jockeys, why they shouldn’thave a pulpit set up for ’em on the grand stand. Well, after this Ishan’t be surprised to hear hymns sung at a dog-fight.

Slowgoe. I see nothing to sneer at, nothing whatever. If MrScott is fond of a glass, who better than a clergyman could be, as thewords go, his constant guardian? But it’s like you levellers. If youcan’t have good done after your own way, you’d rather it shouldn’t bedone at all.

Nutts. Good done! Why, it’s right that a horse shouldn’t behocussed, certainly; but for that reason should a clergyman of theEstablished Church sleep with the beast in the stable? It’s right thatdice shouldn’t be loaded or cards marked; but would it be right that aclergyman should see fair play in every gaming-house?[Pg 83] If parsons areto wait upon jockeys, what’s to prevent ’em—if their patrons requireit—what’s to prevent ’em turning bottle-holders to prize-fighters?

Slowgoe. So I see Mr Newton’s writ to Lord Ripon to know whathis Lordship means by setting on his attorney to sneer at him, andof course his Lordship won’t answer him; he knows the dignity of anobleman better.

Nutts. To be sure; that’s what’s called the privilege of thepeerage: to pelt a common man with mud, and then silently wonder at hisimpudence when he complains of the dirt.

Bleak. Here’s great news, glorious news! (Reading.) “Itis said that the Duke of Marlborough intends shortly to take up hispermanent residence at Blenheim Palace.”—Oxford Chronicle.

Nosebag. Well, that’s somethin’ to comfort us for the ’tatoblight. When the newspapers is ringin’ with all sorts of horrors, it isa real bit of pleasure to come upon a piece of news like that. I wonderthat the papers that tell us when dukes and lords change their houses,don’t also tell us when they change their coats.

Nutts. Very true. After this fashion: “We are delighted toinform our enlightened public that the Marquis of Londonderry appearedyesterday in a bran-new patent paletot. He will wear it for[Pg 84] the nextfortnight, and then return to his usual blue for the season.”

Bleak. Here’s another bit. (Reads.) “Viscount”—well,never mind the name—“Viscount —— has gone on a visit to his noblerelatives, where the Viscountess is expected to join his Lordship atthe expiration of her duties as lady-in-waiting to the Queen.”

Nosebag. I never could make that out, how ladies, with husbandsand families, could go and be ladies’-maids and chambermaids even to aqueen.

Nutts. Easily accounted for, bless you! It’s all theirhumbleness. They go to know what service really is, that they may beall the kinder and gentler to their own ladies’-maids and chambermaidsat home.

Slowgoe. So the Spanish match is going on.

Nutts. And real match it will be too, with brimstone at bothends.

Slowgoe. I see the Duke Montpensier leaves Paris on the 27th,his baggage-waggon’s gone before him.

Nutts. Wonder what artillery he’ll take, for there never wasa marriage that will smell so much of gunpowder. Daresay they’llmarry him in a hollow square of soldiers, with charged bayonets; and,moreover, that he’ll have a suit of armour under[Pg 85] his marriage clothes,and cannon with lighted fusees at the church door.

Tickle. The Spanish Parliament, I see, has addressed the Queen,and wished her joy. And the Queen says (reads), “I receive withprofound emotion the felicitations which you address to me on theoccasion of my marriage with my august cousin, and that of my dearsister with the noble (esclareido) Duke de Montpensier. I havenot only consulted my own domestic happiness, but also thewelfare and prosperity of the nation.”

Nutts. (After a long whistle.) I wonder what would comeof state affairs, if it wasn’t for the lying that holds ’em together!Why, lies to some governments seem like mortar to houses of bricks;couldn’t, it seems, stand at all without ’em. Consulted her owndomestic happiness! poor soul! Consulted her parrot, perhaps.

Tickle. That’s a nice old gentleman, Louis Philippe, isn’t he?Well, my blood as a Briton does bile a little to think that he has, soto speak, gammoned our gracious Sovereign, after all his embracing andkissing her at Yow,2 and at Windsor Castle, and I don’t knowwhere; and all the time, when he know’d that he meant to jockey us,and marry his son to that precious Infant. I do repeat it, my bloodbiles——

[Pg 86]

Nutts. It was shabby, certainly, and like a king. Nevertheless,think as I will upon the matter, my blood’s as mild as mutton broth.To be sure, I do think the little gal had better have married aSpaniard, ’specially as there’s a prince or two in the family. And ifthere hadn’t been a prince, at all events she ought to have married acountryman.

Slowgoe. What! marry a princess to a husband with no royalblood! Do you know the consequence? What would you think if the eaglewas to marry the dove?

Nutts. Why, I certainly shouldn’t think much of the eggs.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (18)

[Pg 87]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (19)

Chapter VIII.

Nutts. (Laying down newspaper and taking up razor.) It’sa great blessing it’s all over, and no signs yet of a revolution.Wonderful, isn’t it? Come, Mr Limpy, here’s a razor that ’ud take offthe beard of a thistle. (Limpy sits.) Wonderful, isn’tit, what a deal o’ bad taste, as it’s called, Englishmen will stand,and quietly sleep upon, after all? Didn’t folks prophesy a riot at onlythe notion of putting the Wellington Idol—as I’m bold to call it—uponthe top of the arch, and what’s the end of it? There’s Mrs Nutts, mywife, had made her mind up to a revolution, made her mind up to it asif it was a new gown, and no woman was ever more disappointed.

Mrs Nutts. Well, I’m nothin’ to Mrs Biggleswade opposite. Sheexpected nothin’ but the people a-fightin’ with the soldiers; and somoved her chest o’ drawers agin the door, and her feather bed[Pg 88] behindthe shop windows, to stop the bullets and cannon-balls. Now, whatevermy feelings was, bating filling my bottle with hartshorn, I took noother trouble.

Nutts. And there’s one comfort; wherever there’s a woman,hartshorn’s sure not to be wasted.

Slowgoe. (With paper.) A magnificent ceremony! What Icall a holiday for a whole people.

Tickle. Quite a holiday for all the statues anyhow. Not one of’em, I’m told, but felt it so. They say Queen Anne at St Paul’s, shookher petticoats and stood an inch higher. George the Third in CorkspurStreet, raised himself in his stirrups. George the Fourth in TrafalgarSquare, stroked up the bustus of his wig. And the Duke of York, perchedon that very high pillar, out of the way of the sheriff, for once leftoff thinking of his debts as quite beneath him, and looked like agentleman in easy circumstances.

Slowgoe. I don’t believe a word of it. Statues do this? ’Tisn’tlikely. What for?

Tickle. What for? Jest as married people—ask your pardon, MrsNutts—grin the most at a wedding, ’cause other folks have got into ascrape as well as themselves.

Nutts. Have you heard how the waxwork at Madame Tussaud’s tookit?

Tickle. Better than was expected. In course[Pg 89] the Iron Duke willbe a great opposition, a great pull agin ’em for two or three weeks;but as November comes in, and the shine’s taken out of his Grace, thewaxwork has hope that folks will come back to somethin’ like nature agin.

Nutts. You saw all the show, I b’lieve, Mr Tickle?

Tickle. Pretty well, only——

Enter Cannikin, a drayman.

Well, isn’t this droll? Here’s the very man as is one of Mr Goding’s,the brewer’s, gen’lemen, as assisted at the ceremony.

Cannikin. Jest did, then. Great day for the brewery. Not a ’ossthat drawed the Duke as isn’t twenty pound the better for it. Fetch itat the ’ammer.

Tickle. No doubt. More than that if advertised: “Warranted tocarry twenty stone; quiet in harness; and never shied at the Duke ofWellington.”

Cannikin. And didn’t the ’osses—the whole team on ’em—look acredit to their grains? All on ’em—with laurel in their heads?

Nutts. Considering where they come from, wouldn’t hops have beenproperer? Well, and when the people saw the statue, how did they takeit?

Cannikin. They opened their mouths, and hooraed as if they wouldha’ swallowed it. If instead o’[Pg 90] bright brass it had been made o’ giltgingerbread, and the mob had been schoolboys, they couldn’t ha’ shoutedand smacked their lips more.

Tickle. Well, I don’t wonder—it did somehow look good to eat.It hadn’t so much a goolden as a custard look about it; seemed to myeye as if it had been smeared with yolk o’ eggs. But go on; tell Nutts,Mr Cannikin.

Cannikin. When we’d got the Dook well on the dray, off wewent—the ’osses mindin’ it no more than if they’d drawn dooks,instead of beer, all their life. Off we went—and very grand it was.Yet, somehow, when I looked at the cocked-hat—for I’d never seen acocked-hat in brass afore—I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t helpthinking o’ the Fifth of November. And then the brass cock’s feathersin the hat—didn’t they rattle a bit?

Nutts. Rattle! What, was they loose?

Nosebag. What they’d call in the playhouse, propertyfeathers—made o’ hammered metal. For my part, I should ha’ thoughtthey’d been cast solid.

Tickle. Bless you! Mr Wyatt knows what he’s about. He made ’emto rattle in the wind a-purpose to frighten the birds, and preserve theDuke’s face, otherwise it was feared the swallows might build theirnests under his Grace’s eyebrows.

Slowgoe. Impossible! they wouldn’t dare to do it.

[Pg 91]

Tickle. Why not? Must be plenty o’ room; for they do sayfourteen gentlemen took a sociable glass in the Duke’s inside.

Slowgoe. Pooh! What for?

Nosebag. I s’pose to show, as I once heard Othello say,that the Duke “had stomach for ’em all.”

Slowgoe. Never was—never will be—so great a man. Proceed. Thedray-horses—noble animals!—went on——

Cannikin. And when they turned Park Lane—and how theydid turn! as if they know’d the whole business quite as well aswe Christians—and got into Pickydilly, and the statue—as I thoughtto myself—begun to smile, tho’ p’r’aps it was only the sun as brokeout upon it—as the Dook seemed to know he was gettin’ near home—thendidn’t the people shout agin, and didn’t the band blow their brasstrumpets, and didn’t the Dook’s brass feathers rattle agin? Oh, didn’tthey!

Slowgoe. Quite affecting to hear of it. And I’m told the Duke’sbalcony was full o’ nobility.

Tickle. Bless you! full as the Red Book. There was theQueen-Dowager, and a good many o’ the rest o’ the Royal Family.

Nutts. (In a low voice, aside.) Worshipping the gravenimage.

Tickle. But, bless your heart! you should ha’ seen Sir FrederickTrench and the Duke o’ Rutland[Pg 92] upon Mr Wyatt’s stand. Didn’t theylaugh at the statue—and rub their hands—and wink at one another—andput their tongues in their cheeks, as much as to say to the mountain o’brass afore ’em, “Well, it’s all right; we’ve got you so far, and we’llhave you up: and when you’re well up, there you’ll stand; for we know a’lightened people won’t trouble their heads a pin about the matter topull you down agin.” And that’s the way they sarve the British Public!

Slowgoe. Sarve it right. What does the public know—what doesthe press, as it’s called, know in comparison with a committee ofnoblemen? Talk about taste. Nobility comes into the world with it; it’sonly the sham sort that comes to the other people. The voice of thepress, indeed! what is it, at best, but bow-wow?

Tickle. That’s what the Statue Committee think it. And theydo say, just to show what they care for it, that afore the Duke’shead was soldered on, they put copies of the Times and theChronicle—as writ agin it—in the Duke’s inside.

Nosebag. With a spicy cut of Leech’s from Punch, jest tokeep the cold from the Duke’s stomach. Well, it will be a bad thing forsome time for the playhouses. Mr Webster—I always sticks his bills forhim, like a gen’leman as he is—has got a new farce at the ’Aymarket. Idon’t care[Pg 93] how droll it is—but it must feel the ’fect of the Duke’scocked-hat. Painful to think of, isn’t it, to one who sticks thelegitimate drayma—painful to think of, how, whether dead or alive, thenobility is agin the English stage!

Slowgoe. This talk about the drama, and such rubbish, Mr Nutts,it’s enough to drive every respectable person from the shop.

Nutts. Well, it is bad. But we must allow for early edication.Mr Nosebag was, we may say, brought up on paste, and so talks likea billsticker. And the Duke’s up, after all! Nevertheless, it’s my’pinion, it had never been if a soul had been in town. Folks at thewatering-places, and folks abroad—in France, and in Germany, and inSwisserland——

Slowgoe. I pity ’em, poor wretches! out o’ London on such a day!Every absent Englishman as thinks on it, ought to go into a shirt o’cinders-and-water. But go on, sir (to Cannikin), tell us therest o’ the ceremony.

Cannikin. Oh, it was all hoorain’—nothing but hoorain’.

Nutts. Well, altogether, I’m disappointed. As the people wasfor the time in such high spirits, and took the thing so kindly, Idon’t think they went far enough. Seein’ what a idol they’ve made o’the thing—sticking it up agin common sense—and,[Pg 94] by the way, thesufferings of common sense under them as is got the upper hand, there’snobody can tell—seein’ what a idol they’ve made of it, the Committeemight ha’ gone further, and made the show, as I may say, complete.

Slowgoe. What do you mean, Mr Nutts? To my poor thinking, theceremony seems to have been magnificent—perfect!

Nutts. Not half. See what they do in Indy. Don’t the folks, whenthey bring their dray, the dray of Juggernought—don’t they goand throw themselves right down, as if upon a feather bed, right downunder its wheels?

Slowgoe. Mr Nutts! You don’t dare to insinuate that free-bornBritons, men that never stoop to nothin’, should have castthemselves——

Nutts. What?—right down under the wheels of the WellingtonIdol? Why, no; not quite. That would ha’ been a little too serious. Butwhen we hear some folks talk as they do about the statue, and aboutthe Duke, as if he was the first man born, and would certainly be thelast—when these folks are for settin’ up brass and bronze to the gloryof gunpowder, and never heeding the glory of the goose-quill, or——

Nosebag. Ha! there’s Shakespeare, and——

Slowgoe. Now, none of your low company, Mr Nosebag: I won’t haveit. Go on, Mr[Pg 95] Nutts; you was speaking of the admirers of the Duke.

Nutts. No, I warn’t. I was speaking of the ’dolators. I likeadmiration; but I hate ’dolatry of any man. I can hear the wordWaterloo, and not go down upon my knees to it. Well, I shouldn’t ha’liked these folks to ha’ gone under the wheels, theirselves; but sincelast Tuesday was Michaelmas-day, a good many on ’em might ha’ foundvery proper proxies.

Nosebag. They might have drew a flock of the birds under, to besure.

Nutts. In course. And it would have been so in keeping, wouldn’tit? Crushing the goose-quills under the iron wheels of war! Now I thinkof it, that’s not a bad notion. Eh?

Slowgoe. (Jumping up.) Good-morning, Mr Nutts. Neveragain do I enter your shop. A man who can speak thus of a statue ofall we love, a man who can talk in such an infidel way of Waterloo,and—but, good-morning!—I think I’ve had a lucky escape, seeing howoften I’ve been shaved by an atheist. (Exit.)

Nosebag. See what it is, Nutts, to have principles. A customergone for life!

Nutts. Not a bit on it. He only wanted to go off, like a squib,with a bang—and he thinks he’s done it. Didn’t like the touch of thegeese; thought[Pg 96] it a little too hard upon himself, perhaps. Now, whatdo you say to my notion, Mr Peabody? You ought to know—you’ve been aschoolmaster.

Peabody. Before I entered the police, I had that melancholyhonour. Certainly there is something in your notion of the geese thatmight be improved. Michaelmas-day might be made still more memorable bya yearly sacrifice, after the old Pagan manner, at the Hyde Park arch,under the statue. Recollecting classical instances—and on my beat atnight, it is now and then a comfort to me to rub up my rusty Latin;indeed, I sometimes catch myself crying, “I præ sequor,” insteadof “Move on, I’ll be after you”—well, as I say, recollecting classicalinstances, there might every Michaelmas be performed at Hyde Park, inhonour and memory of the Statue Committee, the Great Goose Sacrifice.

Nutts. It sounds promising: go on. How—in your classicalmanner—would you manage it?

Peabody. Why, I propose to have an equal number—that is, agoose for every committee-man, whose name, for the nonce, the gooseshould bear. And the goose should have fillets of sage about its head,and a rope of onions circled about its neck and body; and its throatshould be cut to the tune of the “British Grenadiers,” played on thebrassiest band to be had; and it should be drawn, and[Pg 97] stuffed androasted, and its savoury, smoking body be divided amongst the populace.

Nutts. And so with every committee-man—that is, so with everygoose?

Peabody. So with every goose. And so should the glory of theCommittee endure to all time, and the names of a Rutland and a Trenchbe odorous in the land!

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (20)

[Pg 98]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (21)

Chapter IX.

Nutts. (Opening door for child carrying hare in a dish.)Now, Adelgitha, you’ll tell Dobbs the baker to be very partic’lar withthat hare. ’Tisn’t pleasant to send meat to the oven, and have back acinder. (Exit child.)

Nosebag. Specially arter the trouble of gettin’ a hare. Haresaren’t wired every day.

Nutts. Wired, Mr Nosebag? No sich thing. That hare died happy,knowing it died according to Act of Parliament: goin’ to eat him withcurrant-jelly, and all the honours.

Enter Slowgoe.

What, Mr Slowgoe! Well, at first if I didn’t think it was a he-goat.Can’t afford it—can’t, indeed; if you will go with your beard for afortnight, I can’t lose by it. No; that must be twopenn’orth;[Pg 99] not afarthin’ less. Soap and razor can’t do it.

Slowgoe. Never again, Mr Nutts, am I shaved by an infidel. Neveragain should I have come into your shop, only, I—I think I left my’bacco-stopper.

Nutts. Never thought you smoked; but I do. (Calling.) MrsNutts, you haven’t seen Mr Slowgoe’s ’bacco-stopper?—a little boot o’virgin gold with a diamond heel-top. If the child’s swallowed it, putthe poor man out of his misery, and say so.

Mrs Nutts. (From the back.) Mind your business, Nutts;and go along with your rubbish.

Nutts. (In a low voice.) That’s like the women, isn’tit, Mr Slowgoe? All our little pleasures in which they take no partis rubbish. What do they care for ’bacco-stoppers? Not a jot: nothin’below a broken heart’s worth their notice. You won’t take a stool, MrSlowgoe?

Slowgoe. Just while I wait. The thing will be found; for MrsNutts is a charming woman, and——

Nutts. Mr Slowgoe, excuse me; I never say anything o’ thesort myself, and can suffer no other man to take that freedom.(Calling.) Mrs Nutts—partner of my bosom—apple of myeye—don’t forget the currant-jelly. You see, gentlemen,[Pg 100] when it’sa matter of dinner, a little kindness is allowable. Exalt man as youwill, still he’s a thing of stomach.

Nosebag. Stomach! I only wish Mr Slowgoe had seen that hare.Poached, Mr Slowgoe, poached, as I’m a sinful billsticker. If MrPeabody here had done his duty as a policeman, he’d ha’ taken that hareto Bow Street.

Slowgoe. Ha! it’s no business of mine, of course—I’ll takethe paper after you, Mr Nosebag, just while I stay—no business; butI know’d what it would come to when they disgraced pheasants down topoultry, and sold hares with low rabbits.

Tickle. Nothin’s surprising now; I shouldn’t wonder to see theBritish Lion sold for bull-beef, and the Unicorn himself turned intoewe-mutton. Wonder what Mr Grantley Berkeley would say, if he heardthat a penny barber dined off hare and currant-jelly!

Slowgoe. Why, he’d write another letter to the MorningPost, of course. Great man Mr Berkeley! We’ve got a Keeper of theWoods and Forests, why shouldn’t we have a Government officer, a Keeperof the Hares and Pheasants?

Peabody. With a seat in the Cabinet?

Slowgoe. And a right to raise a body of men, to be called“Punchers on the Head”—punching[Pg 101] everybody as ever looked at anythingabove a weasel or a sparrow? But I always said it: once sell game—oncelet the lower orders taste it, and, like tigers that once eat men,they’re too conceited to eat anything under it.

Nosebag. Talking about Grantley Berkeley—here’s a letter fromhim, that says he’s had warning from Lord Fitzhardinge not to think anymore of his seat for the “Western Division of the County of Gloucester”!

Nutts. I see. An order to take off his Lordship’s livery andlook out for another place. That’s how they discharge valets, andfootmen, and——

Tickle. Independent members of Parliament!

Slowgoe. I can’t stop a minute; but this is interesting: justone look at the paper. (Takes it.) Ha! I see: a very long letter.

Tickle. Yes; by what I can make out, it goes more for lengththan depth.

Slowgoe. I’ve no doubt—whatever it is—it’s quite right.(Reads.) “I have a letter bearing date the 31st August 1846,in which Lord Fitzhardinge for the first time informs me that heshall discontinue the support he had for so many years given tomy representation of the county. You will, I am sure, pardon me fornot touching on all the wild passages of that angry letter,and permit me to bring under your notice the[Pg 102] only strictly publicaccusation it contains. In the sincerest sorrow, I assure you, thatwere I in the present instance to deem it worth my while to alludeto other objectionable portions of that remarkable communication, Icould do myself justice in refutation of them, without touching witha tenfold deeper tint certain and mischievously ruling orpredominant shadows, that unhappily are already too well knownas imperiously existing in the quarter from whence the aspersioncomes.” “Shadows imperiously existing!” That’s fine writing, that is!Real pen-and-ink work!

Nutts. But why should the servant be discharged? What has theunhappy man done that he should be commanded to strip himself of thecoat of the family—to take off his plush—to undo the Fitzhardingegold-band from his hat—and leave Parliament in a plain suit?

Slowgoe. Why, he’s accused of “abusing Government patronage.”

Tickle. Well, that isn’t much—there’s so many to keep him incountenance. But what’s he done? ’Pointed himself to be Master of theRoyal Poultry-yard?

Slowgoe. A mere nothing. All he’s done, poor fellow! is this.He got a cadetship from Government for a youth some years ago, andhe’s just asked for another. Now, what’s in that, I[Pg 103] should like toknow? And yet on the 15th September, Lord Fitzhardinge—but here’sthe resolution (reads): “A meeting of some of the influentialsupporters of the Liberal interest of the Western Division ofGloucestershire having taken place at Gloucester on the 15th September1846, and a statement having been made by Earl Fitzhardinge as tohis future intentions with regard to the representation of theDivision, it was unanimously decided to support, in every possibleway, the views and intentions of Lord Fitzhardinge as detailedto-day, and as a necessary consequence to deprecate every attempt whichmay be made to foil the Liberal interest in this Division.” And this issigned by a batch of the independent electors.

Nutts. Poor fellow! And what does Grantley say to that?

Slowgoe. Doesn’t like it at all—and doesn’t mean to put upwith it. He says (reads): “On the field of politics, I standprecisely on the spot whereon he (Lord Fitzhardinge)placed me: I am so far and no further, by his immediatedesire, and with his personal concurrence; and at present it isfair to presume that in his unexplained desertion of me, he eithercontemplates a retrograde movement, or he means to jump beyond me,leave me at a spot to which my obedience to his wishes[Pg 104] led me, andto join the Free Traders to the widest extent of their wishes. At allevents, by every law of courtesy and justice, he ought to give methe option of taking either step by his side.”

Nutts. Well, there’s a good deal of truth in that. If I was ableto keep a footman, and he wasn’t to brush my clothes, or clean theplate, or to bring Mrs Nutts’ lapdog into the room in a manner I liked,I think I should first say to him, “Is that the way, Jeames, you takethe dirt off my trousers? is that the style you have your forks in? isthat the manner to lift a pug or a spaniel bitch (as the case might be)worth forty pounds—is that the way to do it?” I should say at firstthat he might try again, and not, no, not at once without a warningword, discharge him, but give him, as the unfortunate Mr Berkeley says,“the option” of trying his hand again. But so it is. Whether in a Houseof Commons, or a house of call for tailors, people have no pity ontheir servants.

Slowgoe. But Mr Berkeley intends to call a meeting in Novembernext; for, speaking of the county, he says (reads): “I am readyto sacrifice myself, as I have long done, for her realinterests, but not to an unworthy conspiracy, if one exists. I amin no way inclined to commit a political suicide, or to allow mypublic life to die by the[Pg 105] hand of undiscovered assassination.” That’snoble—and like a sportsman!

Nutts. Poor gentleman! And he has long sacrificed himself—andnobody’s known it! Just as I’ve read of folks carrying iron spikesabout their waists, when people have thought they wore nothing harderthan fleecy hosiery. What a shame there shouldn’t be a House ofCommons’ “Book of Martyrs”! Then we should know our real sufferers.

Peabody. And a Berkeley go down to posterity with “a punchon the head” (I wonder how he likes it?) from his noblerelation—for all the world as old Fox sends down hismartyrs—in a copperplate picture.

Nutts. No notion, I suppose, of the next independent member forthe equally independent voters of Western Gloucester? Not known yetwho’s to wear the gold-band, the plush, and the family facings?

Tickle. That’s in the bosom of the Most Noble Lord Fitzhardinge!He’ll do what’s right, I daresay.

Peabody. But isn’t there a law against peers of Englanddirtying their precious white hands with making—just as children makedirt-pies—members of Parliament?

Nutts. To be sure. But peers never do make[Pg 106] ’em; they only say,Let ’em be made; and their journeymen see to that. A good deal of it’squite the same as doll-making; and there’s dolls in my house thatopen their eyes and shut ’em—and speak to notes that go for “no” and“yes”—and with these dolls I make all the profit I can. Only there’sthis difference: the dolls never pretend to be anything but dolls;they are faithful to their wires, and when they speak, they neverfor a moment try to say—that very difficult word for a doll of anysort—“Independent.”

Tickle. Talking about dolls, I see they’ve married them littlegirls in Spain. Mr Lewis Philips has got another daughter.

Nosebag. Seem to have made quite a ballet-dance of it. Seem tohave danced the princes from town to town—as if the holy state ofwedlock was to lead to nothing better than a jig. When the princes gotto Tolosa (reads), “a lively and original symphony announced theapproach of the dancers; at the head of these marched a choir of littleboys, arrayed in white dresses, all bespangled with gold, with diademson their heads, and guitars or lutes in their hands. Then advanced, indouble line, the male and female dancers—the latter in blue and whitedresses, the former in white pantaloons and pink waistcoats.”

Nutts. I see: the little boys “with diadems on[Pg 107] their heads” isa capital touch; and means the lot of little princes that’s to be bornin Paris, to be ready for the Spanish throne.

Slowgoe. And what does this mean? I mean this about “thefireworks”?

Nutts. The fireworks means the war that’s to be lighted for theglory of France, when the King of the French is in the busum of hispartic’lar saint, and, gone from this world, has left to it the benefitof bullets, bayonets, and saltpetre, besides the new diskiveriesthat’s to beat Warner, and to blow up Maltar and Gibraltar by way ofexperiment like.

Slowgoe. Well, he’s married all his sons now—that’s a comfort.

Nutts. Not a bit on it; for hasn’t he got relays ofgrandchildren? Now I don’t want this to be known all over the Dials,but the fact is, at this very moment—I have the news from a Moorthat sweeps the crossing in Broad Street—at this moment he’s sentto Mr Besson, his journeyman lucifer-match maker, to go off at onceto Morocco, and ask the Emperor to let any one of his hundred littledaughters marry the Count of Paris, and to keep all the benefit of hergold-dust and di’monds, and the M’ometan religion. And, moreover, hisMajesty promises to build a mosque for the young lady in the ’LysianFields, I believe they call ’em,[Pg 108] with a mufty on the top of it, tocall her every morning to prayers.

Slowgoe. Humph! we must mind what we’re arter in theMediterranean. Not that I think the Emperor of Morocco will consent tothe matter; in which case Louis Philippe——

Nutts. Doesn’t care a pin; acause he then intends to apply fora daughter to Mr Abdel Kader. And when the Count of Paris has marriedher, his little brother is to have a wife from Ireland.

Slowgoe. Why, there’s no princesses there!

Nutts. Isn’t there? Louis Philippe knows better than that.So he’s sent over to invite any of the five hundred gentlemen withdaughters, all undeniably come from Irish kings; and when he’s pickedout a bride, he’ll marry his grandson to the child, and in her righttake possession o’ the Emerald Isle! Queen Victoria doesn’t know it;but never was a young woman robbed by a nice-looking old gentleman inany omnibus as she’s been rifled by Louis Philippe.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (22)

[Pg 109]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (23)

Chapter X.

Nutts. (Stropping razor.) Can’t think what’s come to myrazor. Won’t cut nohow.

Slowgoe. I’ve often told you, Mr Nutts, nothing is as it was.The world’s gettin’ old; and the iron, which we may look upon as thebones of the world, is going first. But what was to be expected from somany railroads? The earth’s exhausted, sir, by the persumption of man.I’ve been readin’ all about it, and I should say, as a man of business,the world isn’t worth fifty years’ purchase.

Nutts. Like my wife—looks very well for age, for all that.

Mrs Nutts. (From parlour.) Better let your wife alone, MrNutts, and provide for your family.

Nutts. But if, Mr Slowgoe, we aren’t to get any more iron, whatare we to do for swords and armour in the next Spanish war? You knowas the[Pg 110] happy couple’s married—the Prince and the Infant lady, Imean—who can say how soon the fighting may begin?

Slowgoe. (Very solemnly.) Nobody!

Nutts. Artful work, isn’t it, when a little petticoat likethat stirs up a war, sets armies in motion and ships a-sailing, andfortifies batteries, and cuts down, and blows up, and brings, as I maysay, Beelzebub himself upon the world, like an old showman, to playthe pipes and beat the drum whilst the fun’s a-doing? I wonder, in thecourse o’ time, how many thousand will be cut and blown to bits, andall along of the Infanta’s marriage. Well, they may talk as they like,but the real gun-cotton’s in petticoats.

Slowgoe. (With paper.) I perceive that the Queen of Spainhas ennobled the French Ambassador’s baby. Not weaned yet, and made agrandee of Spain!

Tickle. And not the worst of the lot for that, I daresay.

Mrs Nutts. Make a darling baby a grandee, Mr Slowgoe. Dearchild! what good will that do it? better have given it a silver mug.

Tickle. Only just hear, Mrs Nutts, and——

Nutts. I think, Mrs Nutts, you’d better look to your pudding,and never listen about babies.

Mrs Nutts. Not listen about babies! Well, I’m[Pg 111] sure—dearcreturs!—we’re troubled enough with ’em. Never mind Nutts, MrTickle—he never deserved the babies he’s got.

Nutts. No! but how rewards do rain upon some men! Well, makehaste; read all about the baby, Tickle, or—well, it is odd—but younever can even start a baby without bringing a woman about with you.

Tickle. Very proper, too. You see, Mrs Nutts, the ’Bassador’sbaby is made Duke of Santa Isabel. He hasn’t done sucking his thumbyet; but he’s a duke, for all that. Made a duke because his father gotthe Infanta made a wife—a wife at fourteen, Mrs Nutts!

Mrs Nutts. At fourteen! Well, where do they expect to go to? Andthe baby’s a grandee?

Tickle. Of the first water; and as such—I’ve read it allafore and will tell it you short—as such, he can’t have a single dayout from Spain without the Queen’s leave! And then, agin, he can’tmarry—can’t give his heart away, as you did, Mrs Nutts——

Mrs Nutts. There! no rubbish!—go on with the child.

Tickle. Baby can’t give away his heart and get married, if theQueen doesn’t like the young ’oman.

Mrs Nutts. Little sufferer!

Tickle. But now comes the honour and glory.[Pg 112] Baby may keep hishat on in the presence of the Sov’ran of Spain!

Peabody. And his head, too? Because ’tisn’t always so certain.

Tickle. And further; baby has the right, in honour of theSov’ran, at any of the royal bullfights, to rush in among the bulls,taking any of ’em by the horns he likes——

Mrs Nutts. Poor little innocent!

Tickle. Or taking his chance o’ luck as it comes. In fact, doingas the boys do with the pie-man—risking a toss for it. And that’s whatit is to be a grandee of Spain, Mrs Nutts!

Mrs Nutts. Well, I thank my stars none o’ my precious babesare that. They are not called upon to wear their hats and show theirill-manners afore their lawful Queen; they are not called upon to——

Nutts. No; and they’re not called upon to eat up the apples andsugar, but they’re doing it. (Mrs Nutts rushes to back parlour:squalling heard.) Best children in the world: I know ’em; theywon’t cry above half an hour. Tell me where did they ring the marriedcouples?

Nosebag. At the Church of A-toucher.

Peabody. Atocha, my good sir. The Virgin of Atocha is the saintof all the Queens of Spain.

Nutts. Ecod, she must have had her hands full in her time! QueenChristina, I don’t know how it[Pg 113] is—I never saw the lady, don’t think Iever shall—but, somehow, I never read or hear about her that I don’tthink of that beautiful female panther that Mr Tyler’s got in the’Logical Gardens.

Slowgoe. There you are agin. Flinging at kings and queens! Ifyou will go on being an infidel, I must leave the shop.How can a she-panther be like a Queen of Spain?

Nutts. Not a bit, if you come to reason on it; and yet I can’tget it out o’ my head. Whenever I hear of Christina, I do think of thatbeautiful, soft, velvet-looking beast, so very handsome and so verytreacherous. Then there’s Mr Louis Philippe, he’s like——

Slowgoe. There now! I won’t stop! I know what you’re arter. In aminute you’ll be putting all the Continental crowned heads into cagesand ticketing ’em.

Nutts. Nothin’ o’ the sort. Though, when you speak of cages,there is certainly some o’ the Continentals, as you call ’em, safestseen on this side o’ the bars.

Peabody. Talking of the Virgin, here is something about herfrom the Constitutionnel (reads): “It is said that theVirgin of Atocha, on the day of the marriage, was covered with amagnificent chemisette, a present of Ferdinand VII. on his return[Pg 114]in 1814, and a petticoat, admirably embroidered, by Don Antonio,the uncle of Ferdinand.”

Nutts. “Admirably embroidered!” Now isn’t it a pity, Mr Slowgoe,when you see fortin’ taking people out of their proper spear, making’em kings, when they should ha’ been men-milliners? Carrying swordsand sceptres, and golden—what you call them round things, eh, MrPeabody?—you’ve been a schoolmaster.

Peabody. The ball—the ball of sovereignty. When a king holdsthat ball in his hand, at his coronation, the ball is typical of thewhole earth; the world is in his hand.

Nutts. And I’m blessed if some on ’em don’t play worst trickswith it than an ape plays with a cocoa-nut! But I was going to say,isn’t it a thing to cry over, to think that fellows like Ferdinand——

Slowgoe. I must leave the shop. I do not agree with allthe principles of that revere—I mean of that monarch; nevertheless, heonce wore a crown upon his head, and I must respect him.

Nutts. Well, then, I suppose if all the monkeys in the world wasto go mad, and crown an ourangoutang for their king—I suppose you’drespect him?

Slowgoe. I can’t answer for myself; but I think I should.

Nosebag. Worked “a magnificent chemisette”![Pg 115] Well, for a king,that was a precious thimble-rig!

Slowgoe. You’re an ignorant man, Mr Nosebag; as dead to truerespect as the walls you stick your bills agin. The thimble-rig, as youcall it—mind I’m no Papist—was, he thought, for the good of his soul.

Nosebag. Very careful of his soul, no doubt. For all o’ that, Ishouldn’t ha’ liked to ha’ played his gracious Majesty with a table atEpsom. He’d have always know’d where the pea was, depend on ’t.

Slowgoe. Nevertheless, the Spaniards are a fine people, a proudpeople, a very proud people.

Nutts. Well, I don’t see what they’ve got to be proud on.

Slowgoe. Their ancestors were very great men, and thereforethey’re proud.

Nutts. Now, that reminds me of that lazy varmint Jack Blaze.He does nothin’ but smoke cigars, play at skittles, borrow money,and swindle everybody as will trust him. Ask him to work on his ownaccount, and he talks o’ the pride of the Blazes: only hint to him thatyou should like to have the price o’ that pot o’ beer you lent him fiveyears ago, and he’ll strike his chest, and still—there’s the prideof the Blazes! And why? The fact is, a hundred years ago, Jack had arelation as[Pg 116] was a full private in the royal dragoons; and he got adeal of glory, and all that, and Jack can never forget it. Now familypride’s very well, when it’s kept up by the family working for it. AndI daresay Blaze the dragoon was a very fine fellow in his time; but forwhat he did a hundred years ago, I can’t pay his relation, Jack Blaze,who won’t do nothing for himself now. Family pride, and national pride,to be worth anything, should be like a tree—taking root years ago, buthaving apples every year. Now Spanish pride appears to me a good deallike a Spanish chestnut—so long in the ground that it’s very near donebearing.

Slowgoe. You’re so full of prejudice, Mr Nutts, there’s notalking to you. What’s this? From the Bristol Times, I see.(Reads.) “The permissions to shoot over the Beaufortestates in Monmouthshire have been withdrawn by the Dukefrom those gentlemen who are known to support Lord G. Somerset, hisbrother-in-law.” Very right. The Duke of Beaufort knows what is dueto his own dignity. If he allows to voters the right of shootingpartridges, it’s only fair he should have the run of their votes.

Nutts. To be sure. It is but right. The voter, we’ll say, bags apheasant, and the Duke bags a conscience. Nothin’ but proper.

Tickle. Here’s a dreadful case. (Reads.)[Pg 117] “Twelve youngwomen brought up for breaking windows in St George’s Workhouse.—Itseemed they came to the workhouse, and were informed that they couldnot be admitted until the evening, on which they commenced throwingat the windows. The defendants said that they were starving about thestreets, and they admitted they broke the windows that they might besent to gaol, which was preferable to wandering about the streetsdestitute and strangers.”

Nutts. A bad case. And surely something must be wrong, whenstarving folks are made, in this way, to turn stones into bread.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (24)

[Pg 118]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (25)

Chapter XI.

Nosebag. (With paper.) The King of the French seemsgiving away crosses like winkin’!

Tickle. Hardly surprised at that. If things don’t take a turn,shouldn’t wonder if he hasn’t a good many to spare. Hasn’t sent youanything, eh, Nutts?

Nutts. Not yet; though I’ve kept a sharp eye for the ParcelsDelivery all the week. Considerin’ what a shower of crosses andsnuff-boxes is coming down, I don’t well see how a man’s to miss one of’em.

Slowgoe. A great man Louis Philippe! He didn’t come at thecrown, certainly, in the reg’lar way; but I’m beginning to bereconciled to him, he’s getting so like the Emperor of Rushy and therest of ’em. Talking about crosses, Mr Nutts, how should you like LouisPhilippe’s pictur?

Nutts. Why, that would entirely depend upon[Pg 119] the di’monds. Imust say I shouldn’t value it much myself, if the pawnbroker didn’t.

Slowgoe. Pawn a crowned head, Mr Nutts! But it’s like yourlevelling ways.

Nutts. Why, it isn’t often we can turn kings to profit,and one shouldn’t miss a chance. Besides, when the war once began, Ishould pawn the enemy’s pictur on principle.

Slowgoe. Pooh! There’ll be no war. Things look a little blackat present, but Louis Philippe’s a great man: he’ll smile it all clearagain.

Tickle. They do say he can’t get a bit o’ sleep o’ nights forthinking of the noise in Shee’ness Dockyard: when they’re doing nothingbut calking a whole squadron.

Slowgoe. What for?

Tickle. Why, in case anything happens, I suppose, to take theQueen of England’s kindest regards to the French Fleet. And they dosay, that when the war breaks out, Admiral Joinville has taken aprivate oath to captur the Victoria and Albert, with the Queenand the Prince, and little Wales, and all the royal babbies, and SirJeames Clark and Doctor Locock, and the whole of the crew.

Nutts. Well, I don’t know, for the babbies’ sake, if I should besorry for it.

Slowgoe. Why, you traitorous—rebellious!—Mr Peabody, as apoliceman, can you bear this?

[Pg 120]

Peabody. Yes: anything; I’m not on duty.

Nutts. Hear me out. Sometimes when I wake o’ nights my heartbleeds for them babbies. Haven’t you all read what Sir Frederick Trenchsays, that in Buckin’ham Palace the royal children have such smallbedrooms that they’re like the little princes smothered in the Tower?Now, if they was to be taken just for two or three years to France,while the new palace was building, they wouldn’t, as it’s now verylikely, be stopt in their growth. Only think of a Prince of Wales withnot room enough to stretch himself! Now, the King of the French, I’veno doubt on it, would give ’em all nice roomy quarters at Yow.

Peabody. Beg your pardon, Mr Nutts; but—Eu! It’s difficult, Iknow; but—Eu!

Nightflit. It’s all very well; but if once Louis Philippe caughthold o’ them babbies, he’d never let ’em go till he’d married every oneon ’em to his grandsons and granddaughters. But there won’t be no war.

Slowgoe. (With paper.) I think not; nevertheless, I seeour ’Bassador, Lord Normandy——

Nosebag. A noble gen’l’man that!

Slowgoe. Humph! For a Whig. I see the Réforme—how Ihate that word!—a French paper, says, “Considerable bets were madeyesterday at[Pg 121] the Jockey Club that Lord Normandy would have a fit ofgout, by order of his Government, at the period of the feasts which areto be given at Versailles on the arrival of the Duchess of Montpensier.Those bets exceed 2000 louis.” Ha! what we call perlitical gout.

Nutts. Well, considering the lots o’ children in the palace, Iwouldn’t have gout, if I was his Lordship: no, to make it quite safe,I’d have nothing less than measles.

Tickle. (With paper.) His Lordship may remain in health;for another paper, I see, says this: “We announced that a grandtheatrical representation was to take place at Versailles on theoccasion of the marriage of the Duke de Montpensier; but the King,deeply touched with disasters which have fallen on several of thedepartments, has countermanded all kinds of rejoicing.” Poor littleDuchess! Her honeymoon hasn’t begun so pleasant, has it? To be sure,she’s seen a few bulls killed, and, as the accounts say, “the usualnumber” of horses gored and slaughtered.

Nutts. More than that. I was reading that one of the men thatfought the bulls has since died of his wounds.

Peabody. Well, I’m not superstitious myself; but the Greeks andthe Romans wouldn’t have foretold much of a marriage so soon followedby[Pg 122] death and a deluge. I must say, I do prophesy a war.

Nutts. Why, there’s no doubt on it. One of our Ministershas wrote a confidential letter to another advising him to send toManchester, to order I don’t know how many tons of gun-cotton; forpowder, you know, is exploded.

Slowgoe. How do you know this, if the letter was confidential?

Nutts. I know it from his Lordship’s footman, who found theletter in his master’s letter-basket; that footman has a good eye fora penn’orth, and—but let this be between us—that private letterwill appear to-morrow in the Morning Post! I tell you, tons ofgun-cotton.

Mrs Nutts. What is all this about gun-cotton? Cotton going offand blowing up! Well, as I was saying to Mrs Biggleswade over the way,it’s enough to frighten a woman from ever taking a needle-and-thread inher hand. I don’t know how it is; but now, somehow, I do dread to gonear my cotton-box.

Slowgoe. That’s not a new complaint with Mrs Slowgoe, by anymeans.

Tickle. A very fine invention this gun-cotton, no doubt; but itgives a dreadful power to husbands: no woman’s safe.

Mrs Nutts. Bless my soul, Mr Tickle! Not[Pg 123] that I’ve any fear ofNutts, but do tell me what you mean. How do they make the gun-cotton gooff?

Tickle. That’s it. You take the cotton and you steeps it in whatthey call a sirlution of hydrogin and hogsesgin and creamovallygin.

Mrs Nutts. Dreadful!

Tickle. And then you dry it; and then it’s prepared. One woman’sblow’d to bits already, and the police is after her husband. I see youhaven’t heard about it. Certainly it has been strangely kept out o’ thenewspapers.

Mrs Nutts. Ha! that’s because only men write for the newspapers,Mr Tickle. If it had been the other way; yes, if a poor woman had onlykilled her husband, we should never have heard the last of it. Butof course a wife’s nothing. Go on, Mr Tickle—I’ve made the pudding,Mr Nutts; you needn’t be looking knives and forks at me in thatmanner.—Go on: the poor soul was blown to bits?

Tickle. You see, she would go to the play; and because she’d go,her husband wouldn’t.

Mrs Nutts. Just like the whole sect: go on.

Tickle. Well, it is supposed from what followed that her husbandwent unbeknown to her drawers, and——

Mrs Nutts. What! She never kept ’em locked?[Pg 124] Well, perhaps it’swrong for one woman to say it of another; but after that, whatever shesuffered, it served her right. Not lock her drawers! Well, I have beenmarried to Nutts these seventeen years, and——

Nutts. And I’m as well as could be expected after it. Proceed,Mr Tickle.

Tickle. Went unbeknown to her drawers, and got the poor woman’scotton gown, and steeped it in all the gins I’ve said: and squeezedit; and dried it; and put it back again. Well, the poor soul dressedherself, thinking nothing of the villany of her husband——

Mrs Nutts. Jest like us; and fools we are for our pains.

Tickle. And went away to go to the Surr’y pit. Mr Macready, theimminent tragedian, was to play, and there was a precious squeezing,you may be sure. Well, the doomed ’oman, with the gun-cotton gown uponher——

Mrs Nutts. Dear soul! But she ought to have locked her drawers.

Tickle. With the gun-cotton gown upon her, was standing inthe middle of the crowd. Well, when the doors was opened there was ageneral rush and crush—a bang was heard—the people screamed—thecotton gown had exploded——

Mrs Nutts. And the dear woman?

[Pg 125]

Tickle. A little white smoke went slowly over the heads o’ themob, and that was all that was ever seen of her.

Mrs Nutts. Well, what’s gone can’t be brought back; but it’s ablessed comfort to think of, they’ll hang the husband when they catchhim.

Peabody. They can’t, ma’am. By the law of England, Mrs Nutts,they can do nothing to the man.

Mrs Nutts. To be sure, not. I’d forgot. He’s only killed hiswife; and what’s a wife? Men make laws, of course; and when theymake ’em, don’t they take care o’ themselves? However, we shall haveour turn. Yes, yes! the world—as I said to Mrs Biggleswade over theway—the world is going on, and must take us women with it. Of course,Mr Peabody, though you are a policeman, you’ll take the husband’s part;of course. Nevertheless, I should like to know why they can’thang him? The brute!

Peabody. Now, in the first place, my dear Mrs Nutts——

Nutts. Don’t talk to her in that way: I tell you she’s neverbeen used to it.

Peabody. In the first place, there’s no evidence. Gun-cottonleaves nothing behind it—not a vestige. Certainly there is evidenceto prove that one minute there was a woman, in a certain gown, in[Pg 126] acertain place; that there was a report: and then there was no woman;nothing more than a little white floating smoke. Now, Mrs Nutts, thelaw can’t be satisfied with this. Where is the woman? Where’s herremains? The majesty of the English law demands the body to sit upon.

Mrs Nutts. Fiddle-dee—nonsense! There’s plenty of people toswear that the man had a wife, and now he can’t show one: isn’t thatenough?

Nosebag. I should say no; because it’s very well known in anycourt o’ law that wives do sometimes go off without a bit o’ gun-cottonin the matter.

Nutts. So you see, Mrs Nutts, your life is in my hands. I’veonly to make you a present of a nice-prepared cotton gown, and——

Mrs Nutts. Don’t you think it, Mr Nutts; for from this blessedminute, knowing what I do know—and I hope all women will follow myexample—I’ll never wear nothing but silk.

Slowgoe. Gun-cotton! I don’t believe a word about it. Allnew-fangled stuff. If we once go to war with gun-cotton, and give upour honest powder—the powder that won a Nile, and Trafalgar, andWaterloo—there’s an end of the British Constitution. They’re going totake the flints out of the muskets, too, and trust to ’cussion-caps.Well, if a war does come, I hope we shan’t[Pg 127] see the King o’ the French,not only King of Great Britain, but the Governor of the Bank of England.

Nutts. Wonderful discoveries, certainly! We make gunpowder ofcotton to make wounds with, and lint out of linen to cure ’em.

Peabody. I wonder what Friar Bacon would say if he knew it.Friar Bacon, Mr Nosebag, was a parson, and invented gunpowder. You knewthat, I suppose?

Nosebag. No, I didn’t; but from some parsons I’ve heard and readabout, I can quite believe it.

Slowgoe. Well, my ’pinion is, if Friar Bacon was to hear ofthis gun-cotton, as you call it, he’d treat it with the contempt itdeserves. I say again, I don’t believe it.

Nutts. Suppose you was blown up to the Monument by it?

Slowgoe. Well, I hate a man who doesn’t stick to hisprinciples—I wouldn’t believe it then.

Nutts. Ha! Mr Slowgoe, don’t you in that manner fly in the faceof fortin and your washer-woman. At this very moment, I look upon it,every man’s life is in the hands of his clear-starcher; for who knowswhat they’ll make starch of now? and then for gowns and petticoats,and——

Mrs Nutts. There; hold your tongue, Mr Nutts. I’ll be on myguard, I assure you. You don’t get rid of me like the poor woman atthe Surr’y, I can[Pg 128] tell you. For if the gun-cotton only wants a goodpressing to go off, I won’t wear a blessed stitch that I don’t firstsee well mangled.

Nutts. You’re a prudent woman, Mrs Nutts. Nevertheless, you’vetalked quite enough to-day; and I don’t know that you’ve any partic’larbusiness at all in the shop.

Mrs Nutts. Don’t you? Then I have business; and I tell youwhat—now little Tommy’s weaned, it’s my intention to come and have along talk in the shop every week. You’re not going to have it all yourown way, as you have done, I can assure you.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (26)

[Pg 129]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (27)

Chapter XII.

Slowgoe. (With paper.) Oh yes; it’s plain enough: moredanger in the Church of England. Here’s something taken from theMorning Herald that shows how the cat jumps.

Nutts. Well, I’m not partic’lar about cats in common, buthow does she jump?

Slowgoe. Towards Rome, Mr Nutts; yes, towards the Scarlet——

Nutts. Mr Slowgoe, beg your pardon, but Mrs Nutts is in the shop.

Mrs Nutts. Never mind me, Mr Slowgoe, if I am in the shop. Thechildren’s washed, the meat’s sent to the bakehouse, and I shall justsit down and enjoy myself. Go on, Mr Slowgoe.

Slowgoe. The Morning Herald, talking of the danger tothe Church, says this much, that English people going to Rome, catchthe Catholic[Pg 130] religion without knowing it. Listen. “Such familieswere generally lodged in some portion of a vacant palace or mansion.Commonly there was soon found dwelling in some adjacent part of thesame building an accomplished and agreeable priest or Jesuit.This person soon found an opportunity of rendering some service;obtaining access for the family to some gallery or museum, or aninvitation to some concert.” You see, Mr Nutts, how the thing’s done?

Mrs Nutts. Taking advantage of pleasure to undermine ourprinciples! Playing us into Popery with flutes and fiddles!

Nosebag. Well, but if folks will go to see the shows atRome, when they’d better stay at home and be edified at their ownplayhouses—what’s to become on ’em?

Tickle. Why, it just strikes me that we might fight ’em withtheir own weapons. For instance, you say “an agreeable and accomplishedpriest or Jesuit” is the disturber of the peace of families. Well,before the family starts, why don’t they take with ’em—just as theytake cork jackets and life-preservers—“an agreeable and accomplished”’Stablished chaplain to battle for ’em on the other side?

Mrs Nutts. Very right, Mr Tickle; and if I was the Queen o’England, I’d make a law that should force ’em. I thank my stars I shallnever go to[Pg 131] Rome; but if I should, I wouldn’t think myself safe withanything less than a bishop.

Slowgoe. Nor I. Not that I’d think of turning my religion for——

Nutts. Tell you what, Slowgoe, some folk’s religion’s like somefolk’s coats—too poor to be worth turning.

Mrs Nutts. Never mind him, Mr Slowgoe. You know the sort o’husband I’m blessed with. As for the Papists, I often say to MrsBiggleswade over the way, “I wonder you can buy your cat’s-meat o’that Biddy Maloney, when you know he’s a Papist and goes to a Catholicchapel. No wonder, my dear,” says I to Mrs Biggleswade, “that you can’tkeep a linnet or canary from the claws o’ that cat. Think what she’sfed on, and who brings it her.”

Slowgoe. As for the Jesoots, Mrs Nutts, they’re swarming inevery house—swarming like fleas, and we don’t know it.

Nutts. Not at all like our fleas, then! Ecod, you’d soon knowthem!

Mrs Nutts. A pretty speech, I think, for a husband. I assureyou, Mr Slowgoe, if we’ve a single flea in the house, that is, a fleato speak of, I’m—but what—you know Mr Nutts!—always likes to makehis wife little before strangers.

Slowgoe. I was speaking of the Jesoots——

[Pg 132]

Mrs Nutts. I know ’em, Mr Slowgoe. I had the ague once; anddidn’t folks want me to take their bark: but no, said I—I’ll die first.

Slowgoe. And I was going to say that this last blessedThursday—fifth o’ November as was—Guy Fox Day, Dunpowder Day—why,it only proves the Jesoots are everywhere. When I was a boy, Guys wasrespected. Where are they now? I didn’t see ten in all Lunnun, MrsNutts; and I made it my business to walk about and count ’em. And whatGuys, too! But it’s the fashion to sneer at and put down the wisdom ofancestors; and that’s why the fifth o’ November is come to what it is.The church bells ring, to be sure, but with nothing hearty in ’em; theyring as if the whole thing was a joke. Oh, when I was a boy, didn’t myfather make squibs and crackers, what I call a moral duty on BonfireDay! And didn’t the neighbours club their old coats, and waistcoats,and breeches, as if they was proud on ’em being made up into Guys: thatwas turning out handsome, splendid-looking Popes; things really worththe burning. And now, what are they? Well, I’ve lived to see something!When I looked upon the things they called Guys o’ Thursday, things nobigger than Tom Thumbs, with brown paper faces—I know it’s a littleweak, still I’m not ashamed of it for all that—I could ha’ burst intocrying. As I’m a Christian sinner, and a[Pg 133] lover o’ the Constitution,there wasn’t one on ’em decent for the flames.

Tickle. Well, now, if you had a bit o’ proper constitutionalrespect in you, you should ha’ just put on your Sunday best, and goneto the flames for ’em.

Nightflit. (With paper.) A dreadful affair this in StPancras’ parish! A poor, dear, innocent servant-girl shamefully treatedby a vestryman.

Mrs Nutts. Just like ’em; go on. Shamefully treated! Oh, I wishthey’d just let me take half an hour to myself to make a few laws forthe men! I mean, that is, for ourselves. Laws never will be what theyought to be till women help to make ’em.

Nutts. Nonsense! keep to pie-crusts. A pretty light hand you’dhave for a statute. What did the vestryman do to the gal?

Nightflit. Why, one vestryman, Mr Douglas, charges anothervestryman, Mr Pike, with taking a servant-maid and chucking her——

Mrs Nutts. Into the canal, of course. Just like the men.

Nightflit. Not into the canal, ma’am; certainly not. He chuckedher under the chin!

Nutts. There, Mrs Nutts! Ain’t you sorry you spoke? Chucked herunder the chin! What do you say now?

[Pg 134]

Mrs Nutts. Say? Why, what I said afore—that it’s just like themen. But read all about it. And I’ve no doubt a married man, too!

Nightflit. It all came out at a meeting o’ Pancras’ vestry. MrDouglas says that Mr Pike, being upon canvas and asking for a vote,“chucked” the gal under the chin—as I s’pose for her master’s interest.

Nutts. Well, where’s the great harm o’ that?

Mrs Nutts. Mr Nutts! if you go on with such sentiments, I tellyou this, I’ll go up-stairs! I won’t stop and listen to you.

Nightflit. Well, Mr Pike, the culprit as was thought, was calledin——

Nosebag. To slow music, o’ course?

Nightflit. Called into the vestry, and put upon his defence.Poor gentleman! When he said—here it is in the paper (reads):“It is untrue, upon my honour: in the presence of my God, it is untrue.I know myself better than to be guilty of so humiliating an act.I have more respect for myself than to chuck any servant-girlunder the chin, and least of all the servant of a vestryman ofSt Pancras’.” This declaration seemed to satisfy the chairman and hisfellow-vestrymen. Very awful business, isn’t it, Mrs Nutts? Poor MrPike, innocent as a lamb!

Mrs Nutts. Oh yes; to be sure; of course; never[Pg 135] know’d a manwho wasn’t innocent! Don’t see, though, why a servant-gal should belooked down upon in that way: been in service myself. Anyservant-gal, indeed!

Tickle. Wouldn’t chuck nothin’, maybe, under a lady’s-maid.

Nutts. Very partic’lar tender parish St Pancras’; tender as amaid’s face, to be sure: and certainly it does become the same parishto kick up such a hubbub about chucking a girl’s chin, when they don’tmind chucking a poor pauper wench into the “shed,” as they call it; andso—when she gets out—driving her to chuck herself into the canal, tobe dragged out for a coroner’s jury to sit upon. It isn’t much, whenthey crowd gals and old women into the “shed,” and the “feather-room,”and places that fond o’ pork wouldn’t keep pigs in; that’s not much—ohno! Poor Mary Ann Jones may chuck herself into the canal and bedrowned—she’s only a pauper, as the song says, “as nobody owns;” butto chuck a gal’s chin—ha! that’s something dreadful—and the vestry,as I’ve read somewhere, “feels it’s man’s first duty to fly to hersuccour.”

Tickle. I hope Mr Pike will get over the shock; though Ihave heard he’s so taken it to heart, the very thought o’chucking the chin of a servant-gal—though where will you see prettierchins for a[Pg 136] red ribbin sometimes?—that he’s gone ill, had his knockertied up, and straw laid down afore the door.

Peabody. And yet, I believe, it’s quite regular—a courtesy onlyexpected upon a canvas. Why, there’s hardly a member of the House ofCommons that doesn’t feel it his bounden duty to give a kiss for everyvote.

Mrs Nutts. And, as I say, many of ’em married men, no doubt? Itreally makes one shudder!

Peabody. Now, I take it, the little attention is in a very fairproportion. If a candidate for the House of Commons kisses, surely avestryman may “chuck.”

Mrs Nutts. There, Mr Peabody; you’ve been a schoolmaster, Iknow, and it’s like you scholars; feelings are nothing in your hands.You take ’em and twist ’em and turn ’em into as many ways and shapesas the man that goes about with a sheet o’ writing-paper, and folds itinto everything, from a coal-scuttle to a chest o’ drawers. Just likescholars, as they’re called: and how I do pity their wives!

Slowgoe. (With paper.) Here’s another man writes that hecan make gunpowder out of sawdust, another out of paper, another out ofanything.

Mrs Nutts. I read that about the sawdust myself, and for thatreason I never again grate a[Pg 137] nutmeg with my own hands; for the world’staken such a turn, who now can say what will happen? As I said toMrs Biggleswade over the way, it’s my opinion, since they can findgunpowder in a cotton gown, and, in fact, gunpowder in everything, why,we mightn’t know one minute from the t’other when the whole world willbe blown up!

Tickle. And that’s your opinion, Mrs Nutts.

Mrs Nutts. It just is; and I was thinkin’ of it only yesterday,just as the tax-gatherer called for the rates. And so—although I’dthe money ready in a cup in the cupboard—so being in the dumps, notknowing how long the world would last, I just thought it safest to tellthe man to call again.

Nutts. When you die, my love, what a deal of prudence you’lltake out of the world with you!

Mrs Nutts. More than enough, Mr Nutts, to keep twenty mencomfortable in it.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (28)

[Pg 138]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (29)

Chapter XIII.

Mrs Nutts. I don’t wonder we’re poor, Mr Nutts; sitting therereading the news when you should be minding your bus’ness and yourfamily.

Nutts. Bless the woman!

Mrs Nutts. Yes; bless the man!—but that does no good, one wayor the other.

Nutts. Can’t I have a bit of quiet news to myself afore thecustomers come in?

Mrs Nutts. Not with your razors in the state they are. ’Twouldbe another thing if you was stropped as you ought to be. And I musttell you this——

Nutts. And I must tell you, Mrs Nutts, that I won’t have youhere in the shop. ’Tisn’t your place.

Mrs Nutts. Don’t you think it? All the years[Pg 139] I’ve been marriedto you, I’ve been kept in the background—and you know it, Nutts. Verywell, as I said afore, Tommy’s weaned, and now I shall come for’ard andenjoy myself. Women, as I said to Mrs Biggleswade over the way—womenhave been kept too long under, a good deal too long. But it is myintention now, Nutts—and I give you fair warnin’—to jine the movement.

Nutts. I wish you’d lead it and get out of this. (Mrs Nuttsdeterminedly drops in a chair.) Well, you are the most aggravatingthing as ever wore petticoats; you are——(Slowgoe,Peabody, Nosebag, &c., drop in.) Mrs Nutts, mydarling, where’s the hot water?

Mrs Nutts. On the fire, and minding its business. Biling, as itought to do, Mr Nutts.

Slowgoe. I’m first, Nutts; but I’m in no hurry. I haven’theard a bit of news this week: feel quite starving. (Takespaper—sits.) Well, I’ve often thought what Rob’son Crusoe didwithout a newspaper. To me, a paper’s meat and drink, and a blanket tosleep in. Ha! so I see the Duke of Borducks——

Peabody. Beg your pardon—Bordeaux.

Slowgoe. I know; but it’s Borducks in English. He’s got a wifeat last. The Duke of Modena’s sister—aged thirty—with four millionsof money!

Mrs Nutts. Poor thing! I hope she’s settled[Pg 140] every penny on iton herself, else a nice life she’ll have of it.

Nutts. Four millions of money, and got safe to thirty with it!’Twouldn’t have happened had she been in England! She’d had a swarm o’Irish barristers stopping her on the king’s highway, every one withhis heart and weddin’-ring. Four millions! Why, sweethearts would haveswarmed round her like flies round a sugar-cask.

Mrs Nutts. A very pretty comparison, Mr Nutts, for a husband anda father.

Nosebag. Well, I don’t know; but to think of a woman with sich amountain o’ gold—it seems unnat’ral.

Nutts. Quite awful to think of! Besides, quite impossible, too,that any man could love her.

Mrs Nutts. And I should like to know why not?

Nutts. The money, Mrs Nutts, the money; it must distract hisattention. No man’s heart can be big enough to hold four millions o’money and a wife at the same time.

Mrs Nutts. Just like you, Nutts. But I know what you’d have doneif you’d have been a dook. Yes; you’d have had room enough inyour heart for all the money; and as for the poor ’oman, she might havetaken her chance and have stayed outside.

[Pg 141]

All. Ha! ha! ha!

Mrs Nutts. I see nothing to laugh at. And it’s enough to make awoman’s flesh creep to hear you men.

Tickle. No offence, Mrs Nutts; but the fact is, women haveno bus’ness with sich a lot o’ money. ’Tisn’t giving us men a fairchance. Woman, as I’ve always said, is fascinatin’ enough withouta penny—always has the odds of us, if she hasn’t a farden; butwhen jined to everything else, she comes among us with millions o’money—why, it isn’t fair love-making; no, it’s nothing short ofmanslaughter.

Slowgoe. How did Louis Philippe overlook her? Why, theInfanta hasn’t got above a fourth of the sum—only a million.

Mrs Nutts. Poor little thing! And nicely that brute herfather-in-law will snub her for it now, I daresay. A wife, and onlyfourteen too! Well, if she’d been my daughter—but I’ll say nothing.Only as a married woman I will say this, she’s begun hertroubles early enough.

Nutts. Well, who knows?—she may the sooner get through ’em.

Mrs Nutts. Nutts—but I won’t tell you what you are, now.

Slowgoe. Lord Normandy, I see, as ’Bassador for England, didn’tpay his public compliments to the[Pg 142] happy pair; and the Funds, I see,went down because.

Nosebag. Why, no; but his Lordship went afterwards in privateand took tea and muffins with ’em, and upon that the Funds riz like arocket.

Peabody. The Times says that Louis Philippe has retainedLord Brougham to plead his cause in the House of Lords. M. Guizot, theysay, has loaded him with all the papers—rammed him down like a pieceof brass ordnance with all sorts of wadding—and, there’s no doubt ofit, he’ll go off with a considerable bang.

Tickle. No doubt on it; and just as sailors do when theyboard—get the better of their lordships in the smoke. Wonder what feeLewis Philip’s to give Brougham for the job? for, being a lawyer, hecan’t work for nothing.

Peabody. Why, they do say it’s to be made up to his Lordshipsomehow in his arms. He’s to be allowed to quarter every boar he killsat Cannes, and put him upon his coach panels; and further, he and hisheirs for ever and ever are to be permitted to land anywhere in France,and not to have their pockets rummaged inside out by customhouseofficers. It’s further said that Lord Brougham intends to plead theKing of the French’s cause in French, that his Lordship may[Pg 143] seem to beas little of an Englishman in the matter as possible.

Slowgoe. (With paper.) Well, I hope I’m a lover of theinstitutions of my country—but I think this is pulling the rope alittle too tight. I always stand up for the Church, and always will,like any steeple; but—I’m sorry to own it—but, as a great man hassaid afore me, this is too bad.

Nosebag. What’s the matter? Anybody been sticking posters aginSt Paul’s? As a billsticker, I must say I’ve often looked with an eyeof envy at Queen Anne—often wished to stick her.

Slowgoe. Here’s a letter from the Times; from a gentlemanwhose wife and party was asked sixpence at St Paul’s on Lord Mayor’sDay, because “she was told when once in, they might see the LordMayor’s show there, when it came back in three or four hours.”

Nutts. Well, Mother Church is now and then a good ’un at abargain, for certain. Nice ways that to turn a penny with the men inarmour—nice way of showing a mayor and a mayor’s coach-horses atthreepence a peep.

Limpy. Well, it’s just struck me that if Mr Taylor of the Surrey’Logical Gardens don’t mind what he’s at, the nobs of St Paul’s willnext summer get quite the better on him.

Slowgoe. I can’t see that. I don’t defend St[Pg 144] Paul’s in thematter of the show, but I don’t see how that venerable building is tobe opposed to the lions and tigers at feedin’-time.

Limpy. In this way, I mean. At the ’Logical Gardens, you know,there is always a “grand display of fireworks.” Very well. Admittanceone shilling. Very well. Now if the folks of St Paul’s took it intotheir heads, couldn’t they admit the public to the top of the church,where they might have a comfortable view of the ’ruption and therockets, all at half-price?—for a little sixpence?

Slowgoe. Humph! I don’t think they’d do that.

Tickle. Well, I don’t know; when they make a peep-show of amayor’s gold coach and liveries, I wouldn’t trust ’em with Wesuvius.Sorry am I to say it; sorry am I to believe that any church could soforget itself as to think of making a penny by fireworks.

Mrs Nutts. Don’t talk in that wicked way, Mr Tickle; but you’velearnt it all from my husband. And—sorry am I to say it, but thoughI’m his wife, he’s no more religion than a tombstone; for, however nearhe may be to a church, he’s not a bit the better for it.

Nutts. (Solemnly.) Mrs Nutts, it is one of the fewgrievances of the marriage state, that a woman[Pg 145] may take away herhusband’s character, and the poor man have no remedy for it.

Tickle. None: unless he pays himself heavy damages out of hisown pocket.

Nosebag. And goes with ’em—which he always may do—to thepublic-house.

Mrs Nutts. Oh, you needn’t teach him that. But I was going toask, Mr Slowgoe, is it true that they’re going to take the dear Dookdown again from the Park arch?

Tickle. Why, they do say he’s received warning. All I know ishe’s beginning to look very black about something.

Mrs Nutts. Well, I don’t know—I was saying so to MrsBiggleswade over the way—but after all that had been said, he lookedvery nice and comfortable. To be sure the horse does look a little moreconcerned about the battle than the Dook himself; but Mrs Biggleswadeassures me that that’s quite as the thing happened, all according to’istory. But why—I want to know, after all the fuss of lugging himup—why is he coming down agin?

Nosebag. Why, the Daily Noose says that the Queen hasdone it all. Her Majesty, having a taste, and knowing how a gentlemanought to look on horseback, won’t have the Dook nohow.

Slowgoe. That’s one story; but I think the[Pg 146] other much morelikely. And that is, that it’s aginst the Queen’s perrogative, andcontrary to her state and dignity, to have any subject perched upon sohigh a place that her carriage must drive right under him. And now Ithink of it—for it never struck me before—there is a sort of a pettytreason in it. Good thing Sir Frederick Trench didn’t live in QueenElizabeth’s time. She knew how to use her royal perrogative;she’d have had his head off to a certain.

Tickle. Suppose she had. What would she have made o’ that? Why,nothin’.

Mrs Nutts. But the poor soul and his horse must go somewhere!What’s to become of him, can any good Christian tell?

Nutts. Very like a traveller gone astray, and wanting goodentertainment for man and beast.

Tickle. Well, I have heard, if nothing better can be done withit, that it’s to be taken somewhere to the sea-coast, and made a sortof lighthouse of.

Mrs Nutts. A lighthouse of! A lighthouse! How?

Tickle. Why, by fitting up a revolving light inside the statue’shead, to warn ships from sands and rocks.

Slowgoe. And after all, I, for one, should have no objection toit. After all, ’twould be a very[Pg 147] pretty compliment to the aristocracyo’ the land. (Rising from his chair.) For are they not thelights and beacons that in time of danger——

Nutts. Come, none o’ that nonsense in this place. We’re none ofus Lord Georges here.

Slowgoe. Mr Nutts, I have once, remember—once left yourshop.

Nutts. Well, I never care to balk a customer, not I; so you maytake it even numbers if you like.

Mrs Nutts. Don’t mind him, Mr Slowgoe; he’s a man as hates allauthority. Talks, too, about the perlitical principles! All very welland very fine for bachelors, but I should very much like to know whatmen with wives and families have to do with principles at all—eh, MrPeabody? You who’ve been a schoolmaster can answer that, I should think.

Peabody. Very true, Mrs Nutts; for the great Lord Bacon—youhave heard of him—eh, Mrs Nutts?

Mrs Nutts. No doubt on it; but I can’t bring him to mind justnow.

Peabody. The great Lord Bacon was accustomed over his wine tosay, that the man who had a wife and children had given hostages tofortune.

Mrs Nutts. And just like a good many of ’em. There’s Nuttsthere, for all his fine perlitical principles,[Pg 148] I’ve often toldhim—and Lord Bacon makes it true—that he wouldn’t mind giving hiswife and children to anybody, so he wasn’t troubled with ’em.Only he’s not likely to give them to fortune, as the lord tellsof—not he, indeed; more like to force his poor wife to another Union;well, it can’t be worse than the first.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (30)

[Pg 149]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (31)

Chapter XIV.

Slowgoe, Tickle, Peabody, and others waiting.Mrs Nutts comes from back room.

Tickle. Why, Mrs Nutts, where’s the master? Not gone to Brightonand left you to shave?

Mrs Nutts. Ha, Mr Tickle! I only wish I could shave. I’ve oftensaid it ’ud be a nice light business for us poor women. I only wish Icould shave! Anything to get money one’s self; anything rather thanbe going to a man’s pocket for every farden. Why—I’ve often askedit—why shouldn’t women shave?

Slowgoe. Nonsense! Taking men by the nose! Men—the rulers ofthe world! Pooh! what revolution, I should like to know, next?

Mrs Nutts. Rulers of the world! Ha, the world never will runright, Mr Slowgoe, till women put[Pg 150] their hands a little more to it.And as for taking you rulers by the noses, I don’t think any of youneed turn ’em up for that. I’m sure you men monopolise everything. Verylittle you leave us to do; and what we could do, you won’t let us; andfor this reason, in course, to keep us your slaves. I only wish I wasthe Queen of England! Wouldn’t I set the example of shaving, that’s all?

Tickle. Why, how, Mrs Nutts? how?

Mrs Nutts. How? Why, as I say, I’d bring in fashion. I’d make aMaid of Honour, or something of that sort, shave my own lawful husband;and I’d see it done, too, every morning; shave him just to set thething a-going. That would give employment to lots of poor things thathas nothing now but the needle.

Nutts comes in.

Nosebag. Why, Nutts, you’ve just come in time. In anotherminute, and your wife would ha’ taken the business out of your hands.

Nutts. Yes, I know; jest the persumption of women; think theycan do anything their husbands do. If I was a Horse Guardsman, she’dthink she’d look quite as well as me in boots, helmet, and regimentals.It’s like all wives; but it’s our own fault—I’ve often said it. We’retoo[Pg 151] free with ’em: it’s the famil’arity breeds contempt. Women shave,indeed!

Mrs Nutts. And why not? A very light, genteel livelihood. Betterthan making shirts, I’m sure; for a woman with a razor in her handwouldn’t be the unpertected thing she is now.

Nutts. Now, Mrs Nutts, suppose you go and look to theapple-sarce, and, for a little while, be quiet with your own. Burns thebaker has promised to do the pig like a pictur; that’s why I took itmyself; brown and crisp, and——

Mrs Nutts. Well, Nutts, I wouldn’t worship a roast pig as youdo, for its weight in gold; I should think something would happen tome. You, with a wife and family, to be the slave you are to crackling!

Nutts. If a great man hadn’t one weakness, he wouldn’t be fitsociety for the miserable sinners in this world about him. I have oneweakness—jest one—and that is now in the oven. Now, Mr Nosebag, shallI make you fit for company? (Nosebag takes the chair.)

Mrs Nutts. Well, I have one comfort, Nutts; if anything shouldhappen to you, I’ve seen you shave so often, that I’m sure I could keepthe children, and do it quite as well myself, if the customers wouldtrust me.

Tickle. You shall have my custom, Mrs[Pg 152] Nutts. I wouldn’t desertthe widder of my friend.

Nosebag. Nor I.

Nutts. Gentlemen, allow me for a moment to think myself dead andburied, and to thank you warmly from the churchyard. Your friendshipfor my widder and fatherless babes is quite affectin’.

Slowgoe. (With paper.) There really is no enjoying abit of news. Such nonsense! Women shaving men, indeed! They might beallowed to lather us, and that, I think, is going quite far enough.But do let us talk of something serious. This, now, is ratheran awful matter. This time—and no mistake—Mother Church really is indanger.

Tickle. Well, she’s used to it; by this time, I should think,must rather like it. What’s the matter?

Slowgoe. Oh, the old enemy—the Scarlet Woman of Rome. Here’sthe Surrey Protestant Alliance as meets at the Horns, in Kensington.It’s all out. Colonel Sir Digby Mackworth says, all the reporters ofthe newspapers are all of ’em Papishes.

Mrs Nutts. La! Never! Well, if that’s true, not a newspapercomes into this house! If he was to come to life again, I’d jest assoon let the back attic to Guy Fawkes.

[Pg 153]

Slowgoe. All Papishes, and all of ’em—with poisoned pens intheir hands—sworn upon a sheet of foolscap not faithfully to reportthe speeches of Captain Gordon and the Rev. Hugh Stowell, and suchgreat men as speak for the Protestant cause.

Tickle. I don’t believe it. My true ’pinion is, that if thereporters really wanted to hurt the Protestant cause, they’d put downevery syllable—just as it’s said—that such talkers talk about it.It’s my belief they couldn’t do it worse service.

Peabody. Having read a good many of their speeches, I shouldcertainly say that any alteration would better ’em.

Slowgoe. To be sure: I’d forgot I was talking to some folks nobetter than infidels. People who won’t believe any wickedness of thePope! For my part, I don’t know where the religion’s gone to. When Ithink of these reporters let loose about London—reporters, every oneon ’em, as Mr Stowell would say, hatched from a cockatrice’s egg, setupon in Trinity College for the purpose—every one full of quills as aporkipine, going to Exeter Hall and the Horns Tavern, and, for what Iknow, the Bull and Mouth, and the Belle Savage——

Peabody. Beg your pardon—Belle Sauvage.

Slowgoe. I know that; but who’d stop for pronunciation whenthe Church is in danger? When,[Pg 154] I say, I see ’em all with their drawnquills at such meetings, they do seem to me no better than ’sassinswith daggers ready to stick at nothing but Protestant ’Scendancy.

Mrs Nutts. My stars! and——

Nutts. Mrs Nutts, stars will do.

Mrs Nutts. Well, I can’t speak without being taken up! I wasonly going to ask what was to be done against such creturs—going withdrawn daggers among peaceable people?

Nosebag. Why, nothing. (Feeling his chin and rising.) Avery clean shave, indeed; got a chin like white satin. Why, nothing canbe done—nothing.

Slowgoe. No; because we want a minister with wigour. But I’dstop it, I would. Yes; for I wouldn’t let a single reporter into anymeeting ’somever that didn’t—as members of Parliament used to do whenEngland was worth living in—that didn’t renounce the Pope and all hisworks; and Captain James Gordon, with two drawn swords at the door,should ’minister the oath.

Nosebag. Well, I don’t know. I’m not a Papish myself—nevershall be—but——

Mrs Nutts. Just as I said to Mrs Biggleswade over the way—“Mydear,” says I, “they might tear me to bits with wild Arabian horses,and they wouldn’t get my religion out of me.”

Slowgoe. Very proper, ma’am; I’m delighted to[Pg 155] hear you. I willsay this, you’re worthy of Smithfield in its best days.

Nosebag. But I was going to say, this new Pope seems a fine oldchap. Doing all sorts of good. I’ve heard that he’s set up a PennyRoman Magazine—and has, with his own hands, turned I don’t knowhow many sods for railways—and let perlitical people out of prison,and——

Slowgoe. Yes, yes; we know Rome before this. All a blind. Peoplewho know anything, know that very well. Why, there isn’t an Italianboy that sells images—and I suppose you’ve heard that Dr Pusey andDr Newman are coming out in Roman cement, at sixpence a-head, formantelpieces?—there isn’t, I say, an Italian image-boy as doesn’texpect to hear the Pope say High Mass in Westminster Abbey.

Mrs Nutts. Not possible!

Slowgoe. Mrs Nutts, though I honour you for what you’ve saidabout the Arab horses, nevertheless you don’t know Rome. Why, the Popewill come to England, just as Ibraham Parker did, to see—that’ll bethe excuse—our works and manufactures. He’ll be asked to take a snackat Oxford, in course. And then when he’s seen all the sights—andp’r’aps given Madame Tussaud a sittin’ for her waxwork—he’ll just gooff softly in a cab to Westminster Abbey, pay his money at[Pg 156] the door,as if nothing was the matter, and then quietly walk in. Now I’m notan alarmist—I should be sorry if I was—but with the Pope once wellinside Westminster Abbey, who do you think is to get him out agin?

Mrs Nutts. To be sure. And for what I know, he’d turn us allinto nuns; but I know what I’d do—I’d die first!

Nutts. No doubt on it, Mrs Nutts. But what a comfort, my love,that they’d allow you the preference. Shouldn’t wonder, Slowgoe, ifthey didn’t make you a cardinal.

Peabody. Yes; Cardinale Lentopasso. Rome has certainly seen herSlowgoes in her day. The Lentopasso——

Mrs Nutts. Now, Mr Peabody, none of your Greek, if you have beena schoolmaster.

Peabody. The Lentopasso is a very old name in the Church. Thefamily crest is a snail proper chewing opium.

Mrs Nutts. The nasty creturs! But just like ’em.

Tickle. (With paper.) So they’re going to make theDuchess of Marlborough pay a fine for shooting her husband’s pheasants.Rather hard, isn’t it; a wife not allowed to kill her husband’s game?

Mrs Nutts. But it’s all done to lower marriage—all done to makelittle of the weddin’-ring. I’m sure I wonder they don’t alter themarriage service.[Pg 157] Talking about flesh of flesh, and bones of bones,and a lawful married woman is to take out a stamp to shoot at whatbelongs to her! What do you say to that, Mr Slowgoe?

Slowgoe. Why, really, Mrs Nutts, I’ve a great respect for anyduchess—nevertheless, the game-laws is, I must say it, a solemnmatter; mustn’t be tampered with because of the vulgar. If duchesseswill insist upon using powder—I mean, in course, gunpowder—they mustbe properly authenticated so to do.

Nutts. But if ladies will shoot—if the taste’s coming up thatway—why don’t they shirk the licence, and sport with poultry? Aren’tthere hens, and ducks, and geese to be killed for the kitchen? I don’tsee why the fashion shouldn’t go up from chickens to bullocks.

Tickle. Talking about shooting, I see Prince Albert shot a wholeswarm of rabbits at Virginny Water on Monday—rabbits that was sent(reads paper) “to Mr Humphries of Egham, the contractor for thepurchase of all rabbits killed in the home and great parks.” Isn’t thatdroll?—for the Queen’s husband to sell rabbits?

Slowgoe. There you go with your sneering disloyalty agin. Notat all droll, for there isn’t one of them rabbits that won’t be turnedinto a beef-steak or a mutton-chop.

[Pg 158]

Mrs Nutts. La! how do you mean?

Slowgoe. Why, in this way. The money that Mr Humphries gives for’em will, of course, be laid out upon butcher’s-meat, and at Christmasbe distributed to the Windsor poor!

Nutts. Shouldn’t have any objection to all the game in theworld, if it could be so transmogrified. A pheasant shan’t be disgracedwith ribs of beef for a proxy.

Tickle. So the Court, I see, is gone to Osborne House, in theIsle of Wight.

Slowgoe. As a loyal subject, that Isle of Wight makes me veryuneasy. To be sure, it’s rather near to Portsmouth; nevertheless, whenthe war breaks out——

Nosebag. And I’m told it’s whizzing up in France like agingerbeer-cork with the string cut.

Slowgoe. When it goes off, ’twouldn’t at all surprise me if thatJoynveal was to ’tack the Isle of Wight, and Osborne House in ’special.I must say it, I should sleep easier with the thoughts of a handful offorty-pounders there. A battery or two would help to set my mind atrest.

Tickle. The Queen and the Prince, they do say, have gone down tosee about the planting, and not the guarding, of the place—planting itwith trees.

Peabody. What a very pretty picture! Her[Pg 159] Gracious Majestydropping acorns in the earth. Britannia sowing her own oaks.

Tickle. Dear soul! And let us hope she’ll live to see aflourishing crop of three-deckers.

Nutts. There goes one o’clock. Pig’s ready. Can’t shave anotherhair. (Runs out.)

Mrs Nutts. There! I told you all so. A man with a wife andfamily, and yet sich a headstrong cretur of crackling!

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (32)

[Pg 160]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (33)

Chapter XV.

Nutts. In his circle.

Slowgoe. (With newspaper.) Pretty quiet, I see, aboutthis Cracow business.

Nutts. Why, yes; when kings choose to break into towns, it’swhat we may ’nominate burglary made easy. Heads may do anything, ifthey happen to be anointed, as you call it; for then they’ve been madeso slippery, Justice can’t catch hold of ’em.

Slowgoe. Mr Nutts, you’re incurable. Justice is very well forpeople like us; but when it comes to emperors and kings—why, then, yousee the scales of Justice——

Nutts. I know; not big enough for royal transactions. Justicemay keep a chandler’s shop in the Old Bailey, to serve out penn’orthsto poor people——

Nosebag. And sometimes cruel hard penn’orths, too.

[Pg 161]

Nutts. But she hasn’t weights heavy enough for wholesale work.She can’t weigh cities and towns, and thousands of men, women, andchildren, for royal customers. There’s no place sufficiently large inthis world for her to set up her scales in.

Peabody. Why, no; perhaps not in this world. But heaven’s bigenough, Mr Nutts; and there’s a destiny, they tell us, that weighsmountains.

Slowgoe. Now none of your irreligion, Mr Peabody. If the King ofPrussia and the Emperor of Austria and of Russia——

Tickle. Well, I’d a droll dream about them a night or two ago.I’d been reading a police case and fell asleep, and I dreamt that Isaw the three of ’em, with their crowns upon their heads, put into apolice-van. And then I thought I saw a policeman in a coat of bluefire—no reflections on you, Mr Peabody—jump upon the steps, and heardhim bang to the door, and cry out with a jolly loud voice, “Allright, Newgate!

Slowgoe. Well, I’m not a cruel person; but if order’s to be atall respected, I’d hang any man for dreaming a dream like that.

Tickle. And then I thought the three crowned heads—and howoften has Fortin crowned where she ought to have bonneted!—the threecrowned heads was put upon a cast-iron treadmill; and as they went upand up, it grew warmer and warmer, till at last it was red-hot.

[Pg 162]

Slowgoe. If this conversation is continued I must leave the shop.

Tickle. And then, after a little while, I thought I saw thecrowned heads put upon a bench pickin’ oakum—no; it was a lot oflittle snakes in knots which the crowned heads couldn’t separate; andwhich the more they was picked the more they stung—and didn’t thecrowned heads all blow and blow, as if they’d well burnt their preciousfingers!

Mrs Nutts. Don’t talk in that way, Mr Tickle; it isn’t like aChristian; ’specially with such company as kings. For after all, poorthings! they mayn’t know better.

Nutts. And after all—I do confess it—since I’ve seen PrinceAlbert’s pigs at the cattle-show, I do feel a greater respect for allsorts of royalty.

Tickle. Well, I must say it, and I don’t mean any joke, but inthe respect that’s got from prize pigs there must be a good deal ofgammon.

Slowgoe. Here’s the account (reads): “Pigs of any breed,above twenty-six and under fifty-two weeks old.—H.R.H. Prince Albert,of Windsor Castle, a pair of three forty-one-weeks-old Bedfordshirepigs, bred by H.R.H. and fed on corn, meal, milk, and potatoes.—Secondprize, £5.”

Mrs Nutts. And you can’t think it, Mr Slowgoe, such loves! Icould have nursed ’em!

[Pg 163]

Nutts. I own it; loyalty seemed to steal all over me as I lookedat ’em. I confess the weakness, but had my country been on one side,and them pigs on the other, I should have been a traitor in the causeof pork.

Mrs Nutts. As I said to Mrs Biggleswade over the way—for shewent with us; the poor soul! like me, it isn’t often she gets out fromthat brute her—but never mind—as I said to Mrs Biggleswade, “My dear,this is the Prince’s pork, and they don’t look like common vulgar pigs,do they?” And they didn’t; they looked as white as if they’d beenwashed with the best scented Windsor soap, and dried upon damask. “Mydear,” whispered Mrs Biggleswade to me, and I could see something waspassing in her mind—“My dear, them’s the Prince’s pigs! Well, I feelso affected, I could kiss ’em.”

Tickle. Not bad things, I daresay, to put your lips to, whenroasted.

Mrs Nutts. Ha! There was something in ’em. They wasn’t at allcommon pigs, I tell you. Fed on corn, and milk, and potatoes! Underthe Prince’s own eye, too! only think, wasn’t that something toconsider, as the sweet things lay grunting—for they was too fat tostand—grunting afore you?

Slowgoe. Mrs Nutts, I must honour your principles. To a loyalmind, it must be impossible to[Pg 164] look upon those pigs, and not feelthere was a perfume, as it were, of royalty about ’em.

Nutts. I can’t say about that: when I looked at ’em, I seemed tosmell nothin’ but sage and onions.

Mrs Nutts. Don’t talk in that way, Nutts. It appears to mewicked to think of eating ’em: all the while I looked at ’em, theyseemed to take me nearer to his Royal Highness. And so it seemed with agood many other ladies; I’m sure there wasn’t one of us that would havebegrudged her golden ear-rings to put in their precious noses.

Tickle. Women are such devoted creturs—specially when there’sprinces in the way. To throw ear-rings to pigs! Well, what next?

Mrs Nutts. Ha! but they wasn’t at all like common pigs, I tellyou—so genteel; not at all like other pork. In a minute you could seethey were pigs of high breedin’; for they lay upon their sides, withtheir noses a-restin’ on the troughs, doing nothin’. They wouldn’t tryto take the trouble to look at us; they was so fat they couldn’t opentheir eyes theirselves, when a young man—to oblige us—with his fingerand thumb opened ’em for ’em. And Mrs Biggleswade and me both agreed,that for pig’s eyes, they were the sweetest blue we ever see.

Tickle. Ha! This comes o’ being fattened on royal milk, andfilled with royal potatoes. Jest[Pg 165] like you women. If a great man was tobring up a prize donkey, you’d swear it was the finest zebra; and, forwhat I know, wear thistles in your caps and bonnets in honour of theanimal. If the Prince’s pigs were to be bled into black puddings, whata scramble there would be to buy the delicacy!

Mrs Nutts. There now, Mr Tickle, I don’t want to hear yourheathen discourse. If I was to look upon such puddin’s—coming fromthe Prince’s sty—as the blood royal, what’s that to you? And if MrNutts was like any other man—which he isn’t—he’d hardly hear hiswife talked to in this manner. And then, Mr Slowgoe—not but what thepigs carry away the bell with me—then you should have only seen thePrince’s heifer!

Slowgoe. Here it is, I see (reads): “ExtraStock.—Cattle.—H. R. H. Prince Albert, of Windsor Castle, atwo-years-and-eleven-months-old Highland Scot and Durham heifer,bred by Mr Milnes, Downham, Norfolk, and fed on cake, meal, hay,Swedes, and mangold-wurzel! travelled to the show on foot ninemiles, and by railway twenty-two miles.—Silver medal.” Now, does themedal, I wonder, go to the Prince or to Mr Milnes?

Mrs Nutts. To Mr Milnes, indeed! Like his impudence! To PrinceAlbert, of course; and I[Pg 166] should hope on state days and drawing-rooms,and so forth, he’ll wear it.

Tickle. No objection to that at all. As there’s the Order ofthe Golden Fleece, and the Order of the Elephant, and suchlike—givento statesmen and soldiers, very often for swindling and killing oneanother—eh, Mr Peabody? you’re a scholar, and know all about it—Idon’t see why at these cattle-shows there shouldn’t be the Order ofthe Ox—the Order of the Steer—the Order of the Ram—the Order of theWether Sheep—the Order of the China Pig—and the Order of the Pig ofAny Breed.

Peabody. Why not? With Knights Companions of Oilcake,Mangold-Wurzel, Buckwheat, and Barleymeal? I don’t see why a verypretty sort of heraldry might not be got up of prize cattle; much wiserand more serviceable, after all, to mankind, than the prize Unicornsand prize Griffins won upon battle-fields. Then, as for the shedding ofblood, I don’t think that’s the best sort that grows us laurels; butthat that runs to black puddings.

Nutts. Well, of the two, I know which does the least mischief,and gives the wholesomest bellyful. And as there’s a good many of thearistocracy—by-the-by, you can’t think what a while I was musteringthat word, but I’ve got hold of him at last—as the aristocracy go inevery year for a show[Pg 167] of fat, I shouldn’t wonder to see the day comewhen medals for killing men, and, as Mr Tickle says, for swindling ’emin cabinets, haven’t all the shine taken out of ’em by the medals ofcattle-shows.

Peabody. Very true, Mr Nutts. Put a case now. There is M.Bresson: I believe he has had bestowed upon him the Order of the GoldenFleece.

Nosebag. What was the beginnin’ of that Order?

Peabody. To reward the flaying of a whole people! Well,Mons. Bresson has the Fleece because he kidnapped that littlegirl—the Infanta—as a daughter-in-law for Louis Philippe. Poorlittle Merino Lamb! the Fleece had a meaning in it, as payment forsuch work. Nevertheless, when the Frenchman walks with it about hisneck—as though he carried a star out of heaven under his chin—doyou think, all matters considered, the Order is as honest a lookingthing—as honourable to him who carries it, and as serviceable tothe world, as the gold medal given to—here it is (reads)—to“Mr J. Painter of Burley, near Oakham, Rutland” for “a pen of threetwenty-one-months-old new Leicester wethers”? Tell me that, Mr Slowgoe.

Tickle. I should think not: that’s something like Fleece, thatis; and the wethers were fed upon good honest corn, and meal, andpulse, I’ll be[Pg 168] bound—while for the poor little Spanish girl, I wonderwhat sort of promise the Frenchman crammed her with, that made her aPrize Bride, and so rewarded him with the Prize Order.

Nosebag. But after all—though I’ve stuck the bills, as I maysay, taken money of the cattle—after all, it does seem to me a flyingin the face of plenty, to fatten ’em, not for the food of Christians,but for soap and candles. I’m sartin on it—for I walked round andlooked at all on ’em—there was half-a-dozen oxen there that was sofat they seemed quite disconcerned o’ themselves. And the poor cretursseemed to look at some o’ their owners as much as to say, “We wonderyou ain’t ashamed o’ yourselves to spile our figures in this fashion; topad us—and all in the wrong places—with tallowy fat; and to take allthe shape and make out of us innocent unsuspecting oxen, as if we wasnothin’ more than churchwardens or city aldermen.”

Mrs Nutts. Nonsense! I’m sure the poor creturs had no such stuffin their heads. And for the royal pigs—if they’d been emperors, theycouldn’t have sprawled about more at their ease, and seemed more fulland happy. They knew what was what, and never had their noses out ofthe troughs.

Nutts. I should like to know who’ll buy ’em. Nobody can call mea worshipper of rank and fortin,[Pg 169] and that sort of thing, but I shouldlike to know who’ll buy them pigs, and when they’ll cook ’em.

Limpy. What can it matter to you, Nutts, who’ll cook thePrince’s pigs?

Nutts. ’Twould be a satisfaction, that’s all. Them pigs havetaken such a hold on me, I’d go ten mile to walk up and down by thekitchen window to smell ’em roastin’.

Peabody. Well, the pigs—for they’ve been spoilt, as things veryoften are, brought up in their walk of life—the pigs are sensiblecreatures, for all that; and if you’d have heard them really talk as Idid on Tuesday night——

All. Talk!

Peabody. Talk. I’ll tell you how it was. I was on duty at theshow, walking about among the cattle all night—at least nearly allnight; for I sat down on a bench at about twelve—for a minute after Iheard the church clock strike. At that very moment, who should I seerise up out of a heap of straw but a short thick-set man, with a largehead bossed like a huge potato. I knew him at once by his looks and hisgarment—it was Æsop.

Nosebag. I don’t believe a syllable about it; but who is Æsop?

Nutts. Well, Mr Nosebag! I never did hear such ignorance; if Idon’t feel ashamed of myself[Pg 170] that ever I shaved you. Did you never seea spellin’-book? Wasn’t he the intimate friend of the birds, and thebeasts, and the fishes, and hasn’t he told us all they talked about?Didn’t he write the story of the Lion and the Mouse?

Mrs Nutts. And Cock Robin? But go on, Mr Peabody—never mindNosebag. Some people are so wicked they won’t believe nothin’! Go on.Wasn’t you afeard?

Peabody. Just at first. But there was such a look of truegood-nature—and true wisdom, Mrs Nutts, is always good-natured—inÆsop’s face; such a look, I may say, of pleasant benignity, that in amoment I ceased to be afraid of the thing as a ghost, and stood boltupright, and took my hat off—though it’s not required by the rules ofthe “force”—as to a teacher and a friend.

Slowgoe. Well, I shall begin to have some hopes of you, afterall. I didn’t think you’d show such a respect for ghosts. I’m gladyou’re not quite lost to the wisdom of our ancestors. I have livedto hear the ghosts of Cock Lane doubted; but—I confess it—it’spositively comforting to hear you talk as you do of Æsop. A greatman! I should like to know what wisdom we’ve had since he lived? Why,nothing new: it’s been the old thing served up, like a cold jointhashed with ketchup, and kayenne, and all that.

[Pg 171]

Mrs Nutts. And very good eatin’, too, Mr Slowgoe; but go on, MrPeabody. What did Æsop say when he saw you?

Peabody. Nothing to me at all; he merely smiled and nodded, andkept all his discourse for the cattle. Well, it was very odd, but ina minute every four-footed thing seemed to know the presence of theirgreat interpreter, Æsop.

Nosebag. How could they see him? Was the gas burning?

Tickle. Not at all. But don’t you know it’s a rule with ghostsalways to appear with their own lights?

Peabody. All’s one for that. I tell you they all knew him: andthe heaviest oxen there, though wellnigh broken-backed with fat, roseupon its four legs; and its loose velvety skin seemed to quiver andwrinkle with pleasure; and its eyes glowed with a mild and almost humanlight; and it bent its head in token of veneration and acknowledgmentof the immortal Æsop. And the sheep—those packs of breathingwool—they softly baaed, and shook their tails; and——

Mrs Nutts. And the pigs?—the Prince’s pigs?

Peabody. They couldn’t fail to support the dignity of theirbreeding, and made more noise to welcome even the ghost of genius thanall the[Pg 172] rest; indeed it was delightful, wonderful, to see how thegreat master was acknowledged.

Mrs Nutts. And didn’t he say a syllable to you?

Peabody. Not a word: there was better company for him. But hewalked from class to class, and from pen to pen; and as he looked uponthe misshapen mountains of vitality, he shook his head, and, with amild melancholy upon his face, heaved a frequent sigh.

Nutts. Not to be wondered at; he was always such a friend topigs.

Peabody. At last the ghost paused close beside a four-year-oldHereford steer. It had won the first prize and a silver medal. “How areyou?” said Æsop, laying his hand upon the beast. “Choking; wellnighgone,” answered the steer. “Did you ever see such a beast as I am inall your days? And this is what the stupidity and vaingloriousness ofman have brought me to!” “Foolish wretch!” cried Æsop, “how was it yougorged so much? Couldn’t you restrain your appetite?” “Impossible!”said the steer. “I had taken no temperance pledge against oil-cake: Ihadn’t vowed to keep to grass, with now and then a mouthful of turnips;no. And so when they put the cake, and the mangold-wurzel, and theSwedes, and the meal, and the cabbages[Pg 173] before me, I did no more thanwhat men do with port and sherry, and brandy and gin, upon the table:I took all I could swallow, though I felt I was making a greater beastof myself every minute.” “Poor wretch!” said Æsop again; “however, I’mglad you feel the degradation. Still, there’s one comfort for you—yes,one consolation; like a glutton and wine-drinker with gout in hisstomach, you’ll die a prize beast.” “As for dying,” said the steer, ina small asthmatic voice—“As for dying—but I beg your pardon, greatÆsop!—would you allow me to lie down in your presence? for I feel mylegs are cracking under my fat.” Æsop, with his old benevolence, noddedassent; and the poor beast, after much wheezing and groaning laiditself down again, and resumed its talk. “As for dying, life’s a burdento me; and I’m sure of it, I shall smile at the butcher. You can’tthink I’ve any comfort in the gluttony that’s been forced upon me. Asfor this stalling and over-feeding, what is it all to a sweet rationalmouthful of summer grass, with now and then a cabbage or two, a gentlewalk about the pastures, and at the heat of noon a foot-bath in thepond, away from the flies under the shade of a willow? That’s wholesomelife; and makes good, honest beef—beef that’s a credit to theplum-pudding and horse-radish. And now I’ve a[Pg 174] whole tallow-chandler’sstock upon my ribs and back, and the taste of unprofitable fat in mymouth. Look at me,” and the animal languidly flourished its tail—“Lookat me, you who know what steers and oxen ought to be, and say if natureisn’t outraged and violated in my person. I’m at the best a filthyunnatural curiosity—a monster fattened by the conceit of man—and nota decent beast fit for a decent table. I’m a mountain, and not a comelyanimal.”

Tickle. Well, upon my life! a very sensible beast indeed.

Peabody. Don’t interrupt me. “Well,” says Æsop, shaking hishead, “I’m not given to compliments; and I must say it, you are afat, filthy, nasty-looking beast indeed. And then, again, how muchrespectable beef might have been bred and properly fattened with thefood that has been thrown away—for it’s no better—upon you!”

Tickle. And I should like to know what the brute had to answerto that.

Peabody. Why, though its heart was in walls of fat, the reproachof Æsop went right through to it. It rolled, and kicked, and lowed,and at last, somehow, the tears running out of its eyes, it cried,“Don’t, don’t; there’s my remorse. I knew that there were whole herdsof beasts somewhere that would have been bettered by the superfluity[Pg 175]that was crammed down my throat; but the fact is, I had lived so longand intimately with man, that I had fallen into his greatest vice, andover-gorged myself with what would have comforted others.” And thenagain the prize beast lowed, and its compunction seemed terrible; andin this way Æsop went from prize beast to prize beast—to steers, tooxen and heifers, and sheep.

Nutts. And pigs?

Peabody. And pigs.

Mrs Nutts. And tell me, what did the Prince’s pigs say? Surelythey didn’t bewail their fat to Æsop.

Peabody. All in the same manner as the steer; and one of thepigs in special said this, “They’ve over-fattened me, made my life aburden, and now they’ll kill me. Still I have this revenge; for beassured, whoever eats a morsel of me—if it’s hours afterwards—I’ll donothing but rise upon him.”

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (34)

[Pg 176]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (35)

Chapter XVI.

Nutts. (Stropping razor.) Happy new year to ye, myfriends.

Tickle. Hallo, Nutts! Why, what’s the matter with the shop?As fine and as shiny, and smelling as sweet as Covent Garden! Well,I’m sure! If you haven’t brought a bit of Bond Street to Seven Dials!What’s it all about?

Nutts. Nothing. Merely treating the new year like a gentleman.That’s all. I’ve turned over a new leaf.

Mrs Nutts. That’s the old story, Mr Tickle. For these ten yearsand more, Nutts has always turned over a new leaf. Mighty fine. Butafore the year’s a week old, see if he doesn’t turn the new leaf backagain. All his new leaves are very soon old dog’s-ears. Just like themen.

Nosebag. Shouldn’t ha’ known the shop agin. New rush-bottoms tothe chairs, all the cracked[Pg 177] windows mended, and what—remarkable—nicesand upon the floor!

Nutts. Why, you see, when Time’s brushing up all the world for anew beginning, it’s nothin’ more than right to treat him with a littleceremony, when Time himself starts with a clean shave on the first ofJanuary.

Slowgoe. Well, for my part, I thought Time never shaved.

Nutts. Quite a vulgar error, sir. As the clock strikes twelve onthe thirty-first of December, he takes up his scythe, which is Time’srazor—and what that’s stropped upon ’twould make a man’s fortin tofind out, for what cuts like it, I should wish to know?—well, he takesup his scythe, and holding himself by the nose, begins the operation.

Slowgoe. What! in the dark? and without a glass?

Peabody. Not at all. His glass is the Frozen Ocean, and heshaves by the Northern Lights.

Nutts. (Aside to Peabody.) Thank’ee, Mr P. You’ve helpedme well out of that, like a gentleman with a scholar. Considerthat I owe you a shave. Why, at this moment, 1847—like a new-bornbabby—Time hasn’t a hair on his chin. No; I consider him a nice smartyoung chap, with a very clean face—a very straight back—a merrytwinkle in his eye—a sprig of green holly in his[Pg 178] mouth—and quiteready to draw, wherever he’s invited, for Twelfth-cake—and dance withall women afterwards.

Mrs Nutts. Yes, that’s your notion of Time; and a married man,too! All very well; but I don’t see that Time’s any reason to look sosmart, and go dancing about with anybody but his own wife—and that,too, when his bills for last year ain’t paid.

Nutts. (Aside to Peabody.) Now isn’t that like ’em, MrP.? The worst of a wife is she always goes for realities. It isn’t anopinion to put forth to the world, but my notion is that romance—likebrandy—was only made for man. Sometimes when I’m up in the clouds,a-going here and a-flying there, and doing I don’t know what—well,at that moment, that good woman there—the wife of my busum—sayssomethin’, and down I drop in a lump, like a dead eagle with a bulletin his belly.

Mrs Nutts. Not very good manners, Mr Nutts, I think, to therest of your customers—to keep a-muttering there to Mr Peabody. But Isuppose that’s one of your new leaves.

Nutts. Was only asking him, my dear, if Time—like some of thelinen-drapers—didn’t sometimes shave the ladies. And Mr Peabody saidthere could be no doubt on ’t, you did look this new year so fresh andblooming.

[Pg 179]

Mrs Nutts. Mr Peabody, though disgised as a policeman, as I maysay, is a gentleman.

Nosebag. Always was, from a child. Heyday! Why, Nutts, how smartthe cats look, too!—both on ’em, Whig and Tory. Spick-and-span newcollars!

Nutts. Yes; poor brutes! Couldn’t do less, you see. Parliamentmeets on the nineteenth, and out o’ special compliment to what’s calledits wisdom—and considerin’ it’s the new year—I’ve given ’em collars.Whig looks rather serous, doesn’t he?

Tickle. Well, I must say there is a sort of thoughtful lookabout his whiskers. He does get very like Lord John, somehow.

Nutts. Poor fellow! There is rayther a few mice to catch forhim, isn’t there?

Slowgoe. Well, Tory’s the cretur for my money. Really abeautiful animal, and a credit to any house.

Nutts. Why, she has been, to say the hard and serous truth,a very devil in her time. But she’s old, very old, and wheezy now.Teeth’s nearly gone, and claws worn to the stumps. Here, Tory, Tory!Look at her, poor old cretur! All she can do now is to purr; she hasn’tstrength enough in her for a good squall of the good old times. Talkingof the likeness of Whig and Lord John—do now just observe that Tory;all in a lump of[Pg 180] cosy fur, with her eyes half-shut, and her head aleetle on one side, is she not the very spit of the late lamented LordEldon?

Slowgoe. (Rising.) So early in the year I should not liketo quarrel. No; I should not like to be forced out of the shop. ButI cannot, as an Englishman who sticks to his institutions, hear thatanimal compared to a reverend Lord Chancellor. What! liken catskin tothe spotless ermine?

Tickle. Ecod! Considering what ermine’s sometimes done, therehasn’t been much difference between ’em.

Limpy. What, Nutts! Got more cats? A big ’un and, yes, fivekittens!

Nutts. Yes; that’s Charter and the Five Pints. My wife—jestlike the Whigs—wanted to drown all the five afore they could see.They’re not very strong; a little back’ard, it must be owned, jest yet;but shouldn’t wonder if some on ’em don’t catch mice some day. Here—asParliament’s going to begin, I bought another, what I call, a party,yesterday. Here—here! (Whistles.)

Nosebag. Why, it’s a dog, a turnspit; and, I declare, quite apuppy.

Nutts. Yes; that’s Young England.

Slowgoe. A most intelligent, beautiful little animal. That’s theonly dog I care for, for that’s a dog that reminds me of what Englandwas in her[Pg 181] good old times of hospitality: in those happy days whenthere were no smoke-jacks, or any such new-fangled inventions to roastgood honest English beef with; nothing but a national animal likethat to sit upon his faithful hind legs, and turn and turn the noblesurloin. Ha! there’s no such beef now.

Tickle. But I say, Nutts, you don’t make Young England thereturn your spit, do you?

Nutts. Lor’ bless you! no. Still, somehow, the thing’s bred inthe cretur; for whenever missus hangs down a jint to roast, doesn’tYoung England get as close as he can to it? and then sitting up andbegging like, doesn’t he look with one eye upon the meat as it browns,and the other on the sops in the pan?

Slowgoe. A very clever dog, no doubt.

Nutts. Why, yes; he can understand sops in the pan as well asany on ’em.

Limpy. And how does he and the cats agree?

Nutts. Why, middlin’. Whig spits and sets up her back at him,and won’t be friends nohow. Poor old Tory dozes away, and raytherlikes him; whilst Charter seems to treat him with silent contempt; andthe little Five Pints play with his tail as if it was no more than mywife’s thread-paper.

Slowgoe. Just like the lower orders. No respect for real rank.

[Pg 182]

Nutts. I haven’t thought much of any of the creturs lately; butI assure you, when Parliament ’sembles I shall keep my eye as sharpas a needle’s pint upon ’em. In the meanwhile, gentlemen, considerin’this is the new year, if you will take so short a notice, I shall beproud to see you, your wives and sweethearts, to a dance in the shopto-morrow night, which, somehow or the other, we’ll manage to enlargefor the occasion.

Slowgoe. I’ve no objection, for one. But mind, none of yourfangled brass stuff, your cornets-a-piston, and all that. Let’shave a good English fiddle and a constitutional clarionet. And none ofyour quodrilling, and polkys; but a straightforward country-dance, anda legitimate four-handed reel. And mind, none of your fellars from theorchestra of the opera: if there’s a foreigner here with moustachers, Itake my hat.

Nutts. No objection, I hope, to a Scotch bagpipe and an Irishharp?

Slowgoe. Why, no.

Nutts. Very well, you shall have ’em; and more than that, ahornpipe danced to ’em in character, by a young gentleman who lives atMrs Biggleswade’s over the way, and goes on in one of the pantomimes asthe “British Lion.”

Mrs Nutts. He’s promised me to come in his skin, and I’m sure itwill be beautiful.

[Pg 183]

And for awhile turning from the fierceness of politics, raging allthe year round in Nutts’ shaving-shop, it was beautiful to seehow Nutts and the customers, with wives and sweethearts, danced onNew-Year’s night. Mr Nutts led off Mrs Biggleswade from over the way;the hornpipe of the “British Lion” was danced to admiration;—and,in the full flush of the festivity, it is said that Mr Peabody,the scholarly policeman, furtively saluted Mrs Nutts, when thatunsuspecting woman stood immediately beneath the mistletoe. This,however, could hardly be, since the very next morning Mrs Nutts herselfdeclared to Mrs Biggleswade over the way, “that that Mr Peabody was toogood for the police; he was such a gentleman.”

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (36)

[Pg 184]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (37)

Chapter XVII.

NUTTS, with his usual customers.

Slowgoe. (With newspaper.) So Parliament’s at it inearnest now.

Nutts. Yes; they’ve opened Solomon’s brass kettle at last.

Slowgoe. What do you mean by Solomon’s kettle?

Nutts. And did you never read the “’Rabian Nights,” where theyfish up from the sea the brass kettle with Solomon’s seal upon it? Akettle thought to be crammed with wisdom, and when it was opened therecame out of it clouds and clouds of smoke?

Mrs Nutts. La! Nutts, how can you go on in that heathen wayabout Parliament, after what you saw on Tuesday? I’m a sinful woman,Mr Slowgoe, if he didn’t keep me awake half the night talking of theQueen’s stomacher and crown of diamonds. He talked on ’em in such away, I almost thought I saw ’em in the room.

[Pg 185]

Nutts. Well, there’d have been no want of the rushlight if youhad.

Slowgoe. (Solemnly.) Why, you never mean to say, MrNutts, that you saw her Gracious Majesty on last Tuesday, with hercrown upon her head, in the House of Lords?

Nutts. Saw all of it—heard all of it; but how I got into theHouse, why, that’s a secret that even my tombstone shall tell tonobody. Splendid sight! I can tell you. I haven’t got the light of thediamonds out of my eyes yet.

Tickle. Perhaps, then, you’ll tell us a little about it?

Nutts. Well, then, you see, having got my ticket from my friendthe Minister—ha! you don’t know the private interest mixed up withshaving, after all—having got my ticket, I say, I drove down in apatent safety to the House of Lords, jest no more than if it was anyother public-house I was in the habit of going to.

Limpy. The Bag o’ Nails, or the Cat and Whistle?

Nutts. Just so. Human nature’s weak, and—I confess it—as Iwent rolling along atween the rows of people waiting in the street,with their feet freezing to the flags, to catch a glance of the Queenthrough her carriage windows—I confess it, I did a little pity ’em.Well, I went to the lobby, and there[Pg 186] was such a crowd! If I trodupon the toes of many peeresses, I hope I shall be forgiven for it. Isqueezed into the House—and wasn’t there a scramblin’ for seats! Yousee, there was some benches that the ladies wanted to storm; but theywouldn’t let ’em; they were kept for the Lords.

Mrs Nutts. No doubt on it. Jest like ’em.

Nutts. And how the ladies’ voices did ring! You would havethought you heard all at once twenty thousand canary-birds. I expectedevery minute they’d charge through the officers and carry the benches;indeed, I’m pretty sure they’d have done it, when the sound of atrumpet tore through the House, and on a sudden they were as mute asmice.

Slowgoe. The trumpet meant her Gracious Majesty, of course?

Nutts. Not a bit on it: it only meant the Duke of Cambridge.Well, when he came in, he shook hands with a lot of lords, and seemedas happy as if he was at a prize cattle-show.

Slowgoe. If you’re going to be profane, much as I want to hearthe rest, I shall leave the shop. Tell your tale, and no revolutionarycomparisons. Who else did you see?

Nutts. Why, all the ’bassadors; and among ’em the FrenchAmbassador, looking as if nothing had happened, and the SpanishPrincess was still a[Pg 187] spinster. But, bless your heart! it’s only folksthat can look anything, that are chose for ’bassadors. And then therewas such clouds of lawn!

Nosebag. What do you mean by clouds of lawn?

Nutts. Why, bishops, to be sure. They looked very noble, veryfine, for certain; and yet, somehow, to my mind, their robes didn’tseem to fit well in with the scarlet and gold, and velvet and otherfinery. To my mind, the pictur would have been quite as well without’em.

Slowgoe. You’re determined that I shall leave the shop.

Nutts. That’s optional, of course. And then there was thejudges, kivered so with ermine as if they’d come wild into theworld with the fur upon ’em. And then there was their long wigs ofjustice—though why justice, like an armchair, should be always coveredwith horse-hair, I never could find out. And then, again, there wassuch a heap of lords.

Slowgoe. Ha! the flowers of the world! The lilies that neithertoil nor spin!

Nutts. Oh! don’t they though? If you’d have heard some of ’em,as I did, afterwards, you’d own they did spin, and precious long yarns,too.

Slowgoe. I hope nothing will happen to you, Mr Nutts; but go on.

[Pg 188]

Nutts. On a sudden the Park guns banged, and the peeressesjumped, and the colour came to their cheeks, and their eyes sparkled,and they looked at their bibs and tuckers to see that all wasright—nothin’ rumpled about ’em—for they know’d by the gunpowder thatthe Queen was comin’.

Mrs Nutts. That must have been a minute!

Nutts. It was more than a minute—seven or eight, perhaps; andthen I don’t know how many trumpets went off with such flourishes, asif they wound in and out every corner of you—and everybody seemed tosay to everybody, “Hush! she’s comin’.”

Mrs Nutts. I’m sure I should have fainted.

Nutts. Not unlikely; you’re weak enough for anything. But don’tinterrupt me. Well, in a minute the procession begins. The Earl ofZetland comes in first, carrying what’s called the Cup of Maintenance.

Nosebag. What’s the meaning of that?

Nutts. Why, it means taxes to maintain the Government. Afterhim comes the Duke of Wellington with the Sword of State. And when Isaw it, I couldn’t help it, but I thought to myself, “Well, we humancreturs are a rum lot, when we make the thing that sheds blood the signof human glory.”

[Pg 189]

Slowgoe. (Jumping up.) No; I’m determined! I will notstay in the shop.

Nutts. Don’t; but don’t interrupt me. Then comes Lord Lansdowne,carrying the Crown on a cushion—like a baby on a pillow—very carefuland steady, as it was right to be, for fear of spillin’ it. Then comesthe Queen herself, glistening with diamonds, as if she’d walked out ofthe centre of the sun——

Mrs Nutts. Oh! them diamonds!

Nutts. Along with Prince Albert. And then they took their seatsin two chairs of state—and an empty one that’s waiting till he growsto fill it, was beside the Queen to signify the Prince of Wales. Andthen the Queen in the politest way desired the Peers to take theirseats and make themselves comfortable, which they know’d how to dodirectly. And then the House of Commons came scramblin’ to the bar, agood many of ’em like very big schoolboys. And then the Queen read theSpeech, and read it beautiful; for her voice seems as sweet and clearas melted sugar-candy. For my part, I never before heard such a voice.

Mrs Nutts. There, that will do, Mr Nutts. Of course; everybodybefore your own wife.

Nutts. And when the Queen read about Ireland, she read itout as if there was tears in her throat;[Pg 190] but when she came to theSpanish match and the Cracow burglary, she spoke up, and her lip shooka little, and there was the smallest tint, no bigger than a singlerose-leaf, in both of her cheeks.

Slowgoe. Very proper. It does me good to hear it.

Tickle. And when the ceremony was all over, what now was yourthoughts about it?

Nutts. Well, I’ll tell you. For one moment afore the Queenarose, when I looked about me, and saw the officers of state, and thejudges, and the bishops, and, above all, the beautiful women, allsparkle and all smiles, seeming angels, only with feathers in theirheads and not at their backs—this thought dropped sudden on me, andall for the moment fell into shadow, for I thought, “What a thing isthis to think of—that all of you must die!”

Slowgoe. There you are again! Always something bad to say ofpeople above you!

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (38)

[Pg 191]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (39)


NUTTS reading newspaper; customers drop in.

Mrs Nutts. Now, Mr Nutts; will you drag yourself out of thatnewspaper? I wish there wasn’t such a thing in the world. I’m sure aman with his wife and family oughtn’t to waste his time with newspapers.

Nutts. (Laying down paper.) Mrs Nutts—but I’m toomelancholy to make a noise. Be quiet, my dear, can’t you, and let meenjoy my wretchedness? How d’ye do, Slowgoe? Servant, Mr Peabody. If Ishould cut you all round to-day, let it go for nothing; for the factis, the Chancellor’s “Budget’s” quite put my hand out of order.

Nosebag. Well, I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard the pints. Idid think to have a little more light in my back room, but now the’tatoes have made it impossible. We’re to have the window-tax still.

Slowgoe. I must confess it; not that I ever[Pg 192] expect anythingfrom the Whigs—still I did look for some fall in soap. I thoughtwashing might be made a little cheaper; but, as you say, Mr Nutts, thetaxes keep us still in our dirt.

Peabody. And then in the matter of tea——

Mrs Nutts. What’s that about tea?

Nutts. Of course. Put politics in a teapot, and you women willlisten to ’em directly. Why, the tea won’t come down a halfpenny. Andwhy not? Because of the ’tatoes. The potato’s the real root of evil.

Peabody. And the first is—eight millions of money for Ireland.Eight millions more of debt to be laid upon the innocent shoulders ofunborn babes.

Mrs Nutts. Dear little creturs!

Nutts. Still it can’t be helped. As a policeman and once aschoolmaster, you must own this, Mr Peabody, the famishing must be fed.

Peabody. He’s no better than a stone that denies it.Nevertheless, it is a little hard that for so many years thereshould be a running account of misery and profit between tenants andlandlords; and at the last, when misery sinks to famine, we shouldbe called on to make up the balance, pocketed years ago by others.There’s a passage, I remember, in Mr Disraeli’s—I don’t mean youngBenjamin’s—“Curiosities,” that’s taken from a[Pg 193] sermon, and it runssomehow so: “If you ladies and gentlemen who are fattening on yourpleasures, and wear scarlet clothes—I believe, if you were put in agood press, we should see the blood of the poor gush out with whichyour scarlet is dyed.” Now, if a good many Irish landlords weresqueezed after this fashion, their pockets would run scarlet too.

Nutts. Didn’t Sir Walter Rawley bring potatoes from the NewWorld? I thought so. ’Pon my life! when I think of it, they almost seemas if they’d been sent from the New World to revenge the wickednessshe’d suffered from the Old. We made slaves with whips and chains; andthe New World, waiting her time—for the wheel of right and wrong comesround, let it turn ever so slowly—makes slaves with potatoes. What doyou think of that, Mr Peabody?

Peabody. Why, I think that Mr M’Neile, or any other of theillustrators of Providence—and pretty fiery pictures they’ve paintedabout it lately—wouldn’t grudge half-a-crown for that thought.Why, he’d beat it into a discourse of an hour and a half long, andprint and publish it for a shilling afterwards. The Potato inits Iniquity! Depend on it, Mr M’Neile would make a grand thingof it; showing that Irish landlords had nothing to do with thefamine, but that the whole of the[Pg 194] potato blight was nothing morethan the wickedness of Cortez and such fellows—all Catholics, be itremembered—coming up more than two hundred years afterwards. Therottenness of present potatoes no other than the whips and chains ofbygone centuries coming to a head! There would be something grand inthis. Whereas, to lay the blight upon the Maynooth Grant isn’t worthyof the old woman who cursed the Pope for inventing the scarlet fever.

Nutts. Whatever brought the blight, I hope they’ll never trustto ’tatoes again. For my part, I shall never again think of fields of’em in Ireland, without thinking every root a human slave: fields ofmisery, and want, and death. I’ve read somewhere of a certain root,that when men eat it they are turned to brutes: well, the potato’s verylike it; for, living upon nothing else, it takes the best part of aman clean out of him: it takes away his respect from himself; and whenthat’s the case, a man’s lost, and may as well go upon all fours atonce. And then for the landlords——

Slowgoe. I will not sit any longer in the shop, and hear thoseworthy and most unfortunate gentlemen abused. As for the National Debt,as a lover of the institutions of my country, I’m bound to think it’s ablessing.

Tickle. What! you don’t think it a burden?

[Pg 195]

Slowgoe. Not at all. The National Debt is like the hump on acamel—it makes the State carry what it has to carry with greaterconvenience. (Looking at paper.) So they’re going to make PrinceAlbert Chancellor of Cambridge. Mr Peabody, though you are now in thepolice, I believe last week you said you had a vote? Who do you give itto?

Peabody. Nobody. In the first place, I don’t see how theEarl of Powis, being, on his own confession, not so wise a man as theDuke of Northumberland, can have the face to ask for it. And secondly,Prince Albert’s intentions, should he be elected, are too military.

Nutts. What do you mean?—going to turn the students intosoldiers?

Peabody. Not all at once; but it’s generally reported, thatif he’s made Chancellor, he intends to abolish the trencher-cap atCambridge University and bring in the Albert hat. I shouldn’t wishit talked about, because it might lose the poor girl her place;nevertheless, the housemaid at Fulham told me of the fact, that onThursday last she saw her master, the Bishop of London, trying on theAlbert hat before the looking-glass.

Tickle. That’s nothing; he might only be doing that as anofficer—and I suppose a bishop would rank as lieutenant-colonel—inthe Army of Martyrs.[Pg 196] Talking of the Duke of Northumberland, I see he’sbeen lying in state.

Slowgoe. Very right. Even in death people should respect theirproper rank, and not come down to the vulgar. I see here’s the accounttaken from the Morning Herald. Hark! (Reads.) “Thenoblest and most conspicuous town mansion of the nobility of thiscountry is that which now bears the aspect of desolation, and betokensthe chill presence of death. The busy throng without pursue theirwonted avocations around the princely pile ‘regardless of thedead:’ within, all is darkness and pompous gloom.” Beautiful, isn’t it?

Peabody. Very good, hearselike literature, written with a blackplume. But why shouldn’t “the busy throng” go about their business?Would the gentleman have ’em stop and throng about the house? If so,and I’d been on duty, I am sure I should have said “Move on.”

Slowgoe. Don’t be profane, Mr Peabody. The gentleman isnow in the chamber. (Reads.) “Eight enormous altar candlesvainly attempted to dispel the gloom that thickenedaround the unconscious object of all this pomp, which was supportedupon trestles, within an ebony railing, surmounted by eight enormousplumes of black ostrich feathers. The pall, of rich Genoa velvet,thrown partially aside, disclosed the coffin, an[Pg 197] unparalleled pieceof art, covered with crimson velvet, and sumptuously mounted withmassive gold ornaments, and a plate inscribed with the style and titleof the Duke at great length.” And this, the writer goes on beautifullyto say, is all that remained of the “illustrious object.”

Nutts. Well, he was a very decent man, I believe; but I neverknew anything illustrious that he did. What made him illustrious—doesanybody know?

Tickle. Why, the same thing that makes a weathercockillustrious—gold.

Nutts. And they call this “lying in state.” “Ostrichfeathers—Genoa velvet—and an unparalleled coffin.” Well, when wethink what coffins hold at the best, such a show is rightly named; itis “Lying in State,” and nothing better.

Slowgoe. Of course you’ll sneer, Mr Nutts; anything against thearistocracy. But I’m happy to say that the funeral was of correspondingsplendour, and went off remarkably well. A great many of theambassadors and nobility—though they didn’t go themselves—in the veryhandsomest manner sent their carriages.

Nutts. Well, that’s making woe easy, isn’t it, when—poorthings!—it’s put upon the horses?

Tickle. (With newspaper.) I’m the veriest varmint, if theChurch isn’t really in danger now.

[Pg 198]

Slowgoe. What do you mean? How so?

Tickle. Why, here’s Lord John Russell’s word for it; he’s goingto make three more bishops. Manchester’s to be the smallest; I supposenot exactly a fine lawn bishop, but a cotton one.

Slowgoe. Three more? I wish it was thirty.

Tickle. All the worse for the Church, then, I say again. Don’ttell me. Poor old soul! When we think of the money her sons, thebishops, do get through—when we think of their palaces and theircoaches—and their bankers’ books—and their coal-mines and theirsulphur-mines, for what I know—when we think of all this, and rememberthe precepts—I think they’re so called—of Lady Church herself, Ithink her sons can’t be called the most dutiful of children. On thecontrary, I do believe they’re getting the old lady every day intogreater discredit; and where it will end, who shall say? Thus, it’s myopinion—the more bishops, the more danger.

Nutts. I wonder if Mr Barry’s had orders in the House of Lordsto make seats for ’em.

Tickle. Oh, they’re not to go to Parliament, says Lord John,“except as vacancies in the bench of bishops occur.”

Slowgoe. I don’t quite understand that. And I must confessit—whenever I see a Whig meddling with the Church, I feel as if Iwas looking at a cat[Pg 199] in a china-closet; nobody can say what preciousarticle mayn’t be smashed.

Nutts. Perhaps his Lordship means that the bishops, like thesoldiers, should take the House of Lords in turn; mounting guard in theChurch one after t’other.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (40)

[Pg 200]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (41)

Chapter XIX.

NOSEBAG comes in; at intervals, other customers.

Nosebag. Servant, Mrs Nutts. Where’s the master?

Mrs Nutts. If you mean Mr Nutts, he’s jest run with the pie tothe bakehouse. I don’t know how it is, but the older he grows, themore partic’lar he gets with his dinners. I am sorry to say it of myown husband, but I don’t think an angel could make a crust to suit himnow—for I try, I’m sure.

Nosebag. Well, nor I don’t know how it is; but as we lose, as Iheard a player say the other night—as we lose “the finer feelings ofthe ’art,” we seem to think more and more of wittles. Twenty years ago,when I was first married, I could have dined three days in the week onperiwinkles; but I own it—I couldn’t be happy on periwinkles now.

[Pg 201]

Mrs Nutts. Oh, in course not. I’m sure I don’t know who’dbe a poor woman, put upon as we are! Not a bit of power in our ownhands—not so much as pie-crust left us.

Tickle. (With newspaper.) Well, really, Mrs Nutts—axingyour pardon—I do sometimes think you have a little the whip-hand of us.

Mrs Nutts. I don’t see how—I wish we had. We should know how touse it—we should.

Tickle. Why, see here now. Haven’t you heard all about theSpanish dancer Donna Lola Montes and the old King of Bavaria?

Mrs Nutts. I don’t want to hear anything about such creturs.What is it?

Tickle. Why, she’s doin’ wonders. Taking the whole kingdom andwhippin’ it round like a top.

Nosebag. A most charmin’ woman. She was here at the opera—don’tI remember the bills? When the other lady dancers wouldn’t dance withher—and screamed when they come nigh her—and when she went away,insisted upon having the house whitewashed, and vinegar and brown paperburnt in every corner. And then she went to Poland, where she stabbedthe Emperor’s own policeman; for she wears a dagger for a busk in herstays—don’t you call ’em busks, Mrs Nutts?—in——

Mrs Nutts. There, go along; how should I know?[Pg 202] Stabbed him witha dagger, eh? Poor soul! and I daresay served him right. Well?

Tickle. Now she’s got to Bavaria; and she makes no moreof the King’s crown than a thimble. And they do say that the oldgen’l’man—that is, the King—though he’s got a snow-white beard a footlong, is gone so raving mad about her that the unfortunate old mandoesn’t know the Queen, his own lawful wife.

Mrs Nutts. Nothing more likely.

Tickle. And more than that, Mrs Nutts; she’s kicked over theCabinet like a tea-table, and smashed the Ministry as if they was somany cups and sarcers. Besides which, the paper here says, she walksabout Munich with a bulldog to pertect her innocence.

Mrs Nutts. Innocence! I’m not cruel—no, I should hope not; but,as I’m a living woman, if I was the Queen, I’d gullyteen her!

NUTTS comes in.

Nutts. Hallo! Mrs Nutts! Talking about bloodshed in thathorrible manner?

Mrs Nutts. Oh, of course; you’ll take her part. It’s suchcreturs that are most cared for; but I only wish I was Queen, that’sall. I’m not cruel, as I said afore; but as sure as I’d a palace gate,her head should be a-top of it; yes, if she’d a[Pg 203] thousand bayonetsfor busks, that it should. And you ought to be ashamed of yourself,Nutts—you, the father of a family—to stand there taking the cretur’spart. Dormalolez, indeed!

Nutts. Oh, that’s what it is, eh? Now, Mr Nosebag, will you takethe chair? I’ve read all about that.

Mrs Nutts. Of course you have; I saw you laughing and enjoyingyourself, and I knew by the way of you there could be no good in it. Goon, Mr Tickle; of course the cretur has turned the poor Queen out ofher palace, and is at this moment walking about the town with her crownupon her head—a minx—jest like ’em.

Tickle. Not at all. For here’s a letter from Munich of the22d ult. that says (reads): “The exasperation of the populaceof our city against Mlle. Lola Montes has become so great that theauthorities, in order to prevent disturbances, have required the younglady to quit the town.”

Mrs Nutts. “Young lady!” Such creturs! Well—if pisoning canever be lawful—but go on.

Tickle. (Reads.) “This she did last night, going to thevillage of Sturemberg, situated at about five leagues from Munich.Her carriage was escorted by a strong detachment of dragoons from thegarrison.”

Nutts. At the village of Sturemberg? Ha! like[Pg 204] a letter at thepost-office, I s’pose—“to be left till called for.”

Mrs Nutts. Well, Nutts, I wonder how you can joke at such amatter. As a husband and father of a family, it ought to make yourblood run cold. It does me.

Peabody. Well, I’ve heard of Venus drawn by doves——

Mrs Nutts. I have it in a valentine; and then, like a foolishgirl, believed in it.

Peabody. But I don’t fancy Venus with her bulldog. However, theysay the King’s mad—don’t they?

Slowgoe. No doubt on it. For isn’t he the same King that’s writpoems and started a newspaper? If I was on a jury, that would be enoughfor me. I’d send him to a lunatic asylum for life.

Mrs Nutts. Very right, Mr Slowgoe; any man who can serve hisQueen as he’s done, I’d put him in a straight jacket for the rest ofhis days, with only one arm out on Sundays.

Limpy. Never mind them foreigners; let’s think of the wirtues ofour own homes. You’ve a vote for Vestminster, haven’t you, Mr Nutts?

Nutts. I have, sir. A vote—though I say it—as pure as driftedsnow.

Mrs Nutts. And quite as uncomfortable. Often when the childrenwant things, Nutts will have[Pg 205] the money for the taxes to preserve whathe calls his independent vote. And for years and years—no matter howI’ve been pinched—he has preserved it. And what’s the good on it?Independence! I don’t blame anybody for being independent when they canafford it; then it’s right and respectable. Otherwise it’s a piece ofextravagance beyond poor people.

Nutts. Now, my dear, if you’ll let alone my politics, I’llpromise not to interfere with your turnip-tops; and I’m sure, ifturnip-tops can speak, I heard ’em just now crying out for you tocome and pick ’em in the kitchen. A cleverer woman at greens neverlived; but for all that, my dear, you are not quite up in the House ofCommons. (Mrs Nutts looks an unspoken repartee, and whisks out.)Yes, gentlemen, as I said, I have a vote.

Peabody. Well, is it promised?

Nutts. Why, I’m taken a little aback. I rayther like the addressof Mr Cochrane; but, as I once heerd a feller say at the play—“Hishighness is discovered.”

Slowgoe. Well, I’m not surprised—not at all. When a manpromises liberty by the bushel—universal suffrage and all that—I knowwhat to expect. I haven’t read the partic’lars; but it’s true, isn’tit, that he went about the country as a wandering minstrel?

[Pg 206]

Peabody. Why, I understand that, blushing like a gentleman, hehas owned as much.

Slowgoe. As I say, I haven’t heard the partic’lars; but he wentabout, didn’t he, with a hurdy-gurdy and white mice?

Nutts. Oh dear, no; went with guitar, and twangled the wires.But I don’t care so much about that—no, and I could have forgiven themice, for mice out of Parliament aren’t so bad as rats in; but theunfortunate young youth—I mean Don Juan de Vega Cochrane—writ a bookthat, though it was all about soft-hearted ladies, wasn’t quite a bookof beauty. Now, the worst of black used in all this blackening world isthe black that’s put upon the name of a kind, unsuspecting woman. It’sa hard job for a man to get his hands clean after using it—it willstick worse than the real “Tyrian dye.”

Slowgoe. And so this patriot—this hurdy-gurdy politician—thisminstrel boy of Westminster—won’t stand, eh, for Parl’ment?

Nosebag. P’r’aps he may sing, then. Shouldn’t wonder if he wasto canvass the voters’ wives with his guitar, with pink ribbons about’is neck, dust like Mr James Wallack, for the Brigand, with a newsort of song—“Gentle Electors;” or, “The Minstrel Boy to the Poll isgone.” If he was only to try that dodge, and the women had votes,[Pg 207] I’mblest if, in my opinion, he wouldn’t chant plumpers out of all of ’em.I’m certain on it, a man with one of them twangling guitars is a moredangerous cretur about a house than with a double-loaded blunderbuss.

Nutts. And so I’ve been reading Mr Charles Lushington’s speech,and my mind’s made up; if he sticks to what he says, I shall prime himwith my vote for Parl’ment.

Slowgoe. I’m very happy—very proud to see—that his RoyalHighness Prince Albert consents to be the Chancellor for Cambridge.Here it is from the Post. The deputation went to the palaceon Tuesday. (Reads.) “His Royal Highness expressed himself inthe warmest terms for the distinguished honour conferred upon him bythe University of Cambridge, and the sincere gratification he felt inaccepting it. His Royal Highness conversed with the deputation on thesubject of English university discipline, and evinced considerableknowledge of the Oxford and Cambridge systems.” What do you thinkof that, eh?

Nutts. Why, nothing; princes always do “evince considerableknowledge” on the very shortest notice upon anything.

Peabody. Quite true, Mr Nutts. If they’d made the Prince theKing of M. Leverrier’s new[Pg 208] planet just discovered, his Royal Highnesswould have evinced “considerable knowledge” of all its plains andmountains, besides a very intimate acquaintance with some of theprincipal inhabitants.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (42)

[Pg 209]

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (43)


Containing the opinions and adventures of JuniperHedgehog, cabman, London; and written to his relatives andacquaintance in various parts of the world.

Letter I.To Peter Hedgehog, at Sydney.

Dear Peter,—at last I’m settled at my heart’s content.For fifteen years and more, I’ve been fighting, and punching, andscrewing, and doing—the Lord forgive me!—all sorts of mean tricksto be respectable; and now I’m happy, for I’ve given the thing up.I’ve got rid of every bit of the gentleman, and drive a cab. Ha! youdon’t know—you can’t think—what a blessing it is to get rid of allcares about what’s genteel. It’s like taking off fine tight boots, andstretching yourself in comfortable old slippers. How respectabilitydid pinch, and gall, and rub the skin off me, to be sure; but I’vedone with it. I’ve given[Pg 212] up the trumpery, for the good, stout,weather-proof character of cabman.

Respectability is all very well for folks who can have it for readymoney; but to be obliged to run in debt for it—oh, it’s enough tobreak the heart of an angel. Well, I’ve gone a good round, and it’snothing but right that I should be comfortable at last. Wasn’t allthe sweetness of my little boyhood lost in an attorney’s office? At atime of life when I ought to have been bird’s-nesting, shoeing catswith walnut-shells, spinning cock-chafers on pins, and enjoying myselflike any other child of my age—there I was half the day wearing outa wooden desk with my young breast-bone, and the other half runningabout, like a young cannibal, to serve writs: sneaking and shuffling,and lying worse than any playbill, and feeling as happy as a devil’simp on a holiday whenever I “served” my man. Yes, Peter, that I’ve anymore heart than an oyster left me, is a special favour of Providence;for what a varmint I was! If it hadn’t been for the playhouse, I shouldhave been ruined. Yes, Peter, but for the Coburg Theatre, I have nodoubt that at this time I should have been a sharp attorney, not ableto smell as much as a lucifer-match without the horrors. ’Tis a greatplace for morals, the playhouse, Peter. As I say, it quite drew me backinto the paths of virtue.[Pg 213] Old Simcox, my master, to keep me active,used to give me a shilling for every writ I served. He used to saythere was nothing like rubbing a young dog’s nose in the blood, to makehim sharp after the game.

Well, with these shillings I used to go to the Coburg gallery. Thatgallery was my salvation. When I used to see the villain, who’d beenso lucky all through the piece, chopped down like chopped wood at thelast, my conscience used to stir worse than the stomach-ache. And soby degrees I liked the playhouse more, and the writs less. And one daywhen Simcox told me to go and serve a writ upon the very actor whoused to do me so much good—for he was always the cock of the walk asfar as virtue went—I gave him such a speech about “tremble, villain,for there is an eye,” that the old fellow gasped again. When he hadrecovered himself enough to fling a ruler at my head, I put on my capand turned my back upon the law. After this, I sold playbills at theCoburg doors, and that ’s how I picked up the deal I know about thestage.

And so I went scrambling on till twenty, and how I lived I don’t know.Indeed, when I look back, I often think money’s of no use at all; folksdo quite as well, or better, without it. Money’s a habit—nothing more.At twenty—how it happened[Pg 214] I can’t tell—I found myself a tradesman.Yes; I sold baked ’tatoes, and—on nipping winter days—used to feelmyself a sort of benefactor to what is called our species. I had reada little at book-stalls and so on; and many a time have I, with asort of pride, asked myself if many of the Roman emperors ever sold’tatoes, salt, and a bit of butter for a penny? I should think not.Well, at three-and-twenty down came that bit of money on me! Whetherit was really a relation who left it or not, or whether it was all amistake, I never asked—I took the money. And that bit of money mademe swell not a little. Yes; I swelled like a toad—full of poison withit. Then I went to make no end of a fortune. I thought luck had fallendeep in love with me, and I couldn’t go too far. There was a gentlemanwho always came with an order to the Coburg. A few years ago I shouldhave said he was a Jew; but now I know manners, and so call him agentleman of the Hebrew persuasion. Well; if he couldn’t talk meltedbutter! We were both to make our fortunes, but I was to find the moneyfor the couple. We went upon ’Change; and, as he said, both of us wereruined. Ruin, however, could have been nothing strange to him, for henever seemed the worse for it. From that time, Peter, I was flung uponthe hard stones of London. I had too much pride to go to the[Pg 215] ’tatoesagain, and so took to billiards. Ha! Peter, it’s dirty bread; it’sbread with the headache and the heartache in it. That wouldn’t do long;though how I did shuffle, and hedge, and make the most of the innocent,and all to try and keep myself respectable.

I tell you, for fifteen years I fought it out like a man. I didn’tcare what came of it, what folks said of me—I would be respectable.A superfine coat and a prime dinner I would have; but ha, Peter! it’sall been taken out of me. I’ve given it up, I tell you, and I’m a happycabman. Bless your soul! you can’t think what a happy life it is.Always seeing something new, and always riding with somebody. For youmust know my cab isn’t one of the new concerns that divide the driveand his fare. That wouldn’t suit me nohow. No; I like to ride upon whatI call an equality, and talk and learn life as I go; you can’t believethe sort of people that I sometimes drive about, and the things I getout of ’em. But I intend to write it all down, and to save the botherof posting, and all that, to print my letters at once. Then if my dearrelations and acquaintance that are scattered in all the corners of theworld don’t know anything about me, ’twill be their fault, not mine.

I couldn’t have thought that a cabman’s life could have so improvedthe mind. But when we[Pg 216] meet at the Spotted Lion—that’s ourwatering-house—there’s something to be heard, I can tell you. I nevertroubled my head with politics before I drove a cab: no, I was littlebetter than an animal; but I should think that now I know something ofthe Bill of Rights, and all that, and all from the newspapers. When thenosebag’s on the old mare, don’t I read the debates in Parliament!

I was going to write you a bit upon the Sugar Question, but oldLumpy—he’s our waterman—has called me for a job. So at present nomore from your cousin and wellwisher,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter II.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York.

My dear old Grandmother,—Thank all your stars and two gartersthat you’re out of England! We’re all going to be made Catholics. It’sa settled thing. You ought henceforth never to cook a supper of spratswithout looking at the gridiron, thinking of Smithfield, and beingspecial grateful for your deliverance. Nobody can tell what’s come tohalf the bishops, and three parts of the clergy.[Pg 217] Such a noise aboutsurplices and gowns! The old story again. The old fight—as far as Ican tell—about white and black: one party vowing that the real thing’swhite, whilst the other will have it that the true white’s black. Yes,grandmother, it’s the old battle of black and white that, as far as mylearning goes, has for hundreds of years filled this nice sort of worldof ours with all kinds of trouble. Nobody can tell what’s set theseministers of peace—as they call themselves—all of a sudden in such apucker; but I think I’ve hit upon the cause, and here it is.

All this noise in the Church has begun in the playhouse. I’m sure ofit. Foolish people say and write that we English folks don’t care aboutplays. There never was such a mistake. In our hearts, all of us, andespecially many of the bishops and clergy, dote upon the playhouse; butthen, you see, it isn’t thought quite the thing for the clergy to gothere. The Bishop of Exeter—I’m cocksure of it—has a consuming lovefor a pantomime; but then he wouldn’t like to be seen in the boxes ofDrury Lane, giving his countenance to the clown, that takes his titheof all sorts of things that come under his nose. The Bishop of Londontoo—he, I’ve heard it said, got made a bishop of by some intimateacquaintance of his that wrote plays in Greek. Well, he can’t go and[Pg 218]enjoy his laugh at the Haymarket, or have his feelings warmed, tillthey boil over at his eyes, at the Victoria (that was once the Coburg);so you see, as the bishops can’t decently stir from the Church to theplayhouse, they’ve set their heads together to bring the playhouse tothe Church. And this accounts for all their fuss in the Church aboutwhat the playhouse people call the “dresses and decorations.” They seemto think that religion isn’t enough of itself, unless it’s “splendidlygot up.” Whereupon they want to go back to the old properties ofcrosses and candlesticks, and so forth, to fill the pews. Well, whenthe bishops—the grey, sober men, the fathers of the Church—havethis hankering after a bit of show, it isn’t to be expected that theyoung fellows will refuse the finery. Certainly not. Whereupon they’rebringing in all sorts of fashions, it seems. They don’t think itenough to belong to the Army of Martyrs, unless they’ve very handsomeregimentals.

In some of the churches they’ve revived what they call the offertory.It’s this. At a certain part of the service, they send round a bagor a pocket at the end of a stick to all the people, to put moneyin. I have seen the same sort of thing used in the streets to reachto the first-floors, when the tumblers go about. Well, this money isgathered for a-many things; but John Bull doesn’t like it.[Pg 219] They saythe crocodile has his tender part somewhere about his belly—John’svital part is his breeches-pocket. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt thatthe Bishop of Exeter—for he’s very strong upon the offertory—hasintroduced it to make religion, what is so very much liked in England,select and respectable. You see the people who can’t afford to droptheir Sunday shillings and sixpences, won’t have the face to go toworship at all—or they may turn Dissenters, and so the EstablishedChurch, like the Opera-house, will be made a place for what theStandard (I can tell you that is a religious paper,though you may never hear of it) calls the “better classes.” Poorpeople may turn Anabaptists, or anything of that sort that’s verycheap. Purple and fine linen a’n’t for everybody; no, isn’t there goodstout sound cloth, and striped cotton?

The Bishop of London has been in very hot water with the folks atTottenham about the Sunday silver, which they won’t pay at all. Well,he says they needn’t pay it for a twelvemonth. So it seems that a truthisn’t a truth all at once, it takes a year to grow. According to theBishop, it would seem that truth was born like a tadpole, that wantedtime afore it came to be a perfect frog.

Well, then, there’s another notion about. It’s said that the wantsof the people are so many that[Pg 220] it’s quite out of the power of thelabouring clergy to attend to ’em. It would be worse than drayman’swork. And so it has been recommended that there should be a sort ofChurch militia raised in addition to the regulars. It was only lastnight that I drove down to Fulham a very chatty sort of man—I thinkthe under-butler of the Bishop of London. Well, he talked a good dealabout this militia; they’re to be called Deacons, I think, and are tobe considered a sort of a parson; like young ravens not yet come totheir full black.

Well, it was quite plain that he hoped to be one of ’em, for he saidthe places would be open to anybody, really pious, of the humblestparts. He was very talkative, and said these deacons would have all thecomforts of the monks, without any of their vows; going to people’shouses; worming themselves into their families, and learning all theirbusiness carnal—yes, I think carnal was his word—and spiritual. WhenI asked him if, like the monks, they were to wear gowns and hoods(as I’d seen ’em at the Coburg), he winked very knowingly, and said,with the blessing of Providence, that might come. At all events, theymight begin with letters and numbers worked in gold or silver in theircollars; and, something after the new police, have a pink or purplestrap about their cuffs when upon spiritual duty.

[Pg 221]

Folks are in a mighty stir about the matter; but I think Exeter andLondon might bring all the people of their own minds, if they only knewhow to go about the business. I’ve just been reading Miss Martineauabout mesmerism, and she says this: “It is almost an establishedopinion among some of the wisest students of mesmerism, that the mindof the somnambule [you must ask somebody about these words] mirrorsthat of the mesmerist.” And then she goes on to say, “It certainly istrue to a considerable extent, as is pretty clearly proved when anignorant child—ignorant, especially, of the Bible—discourses ofthe Scriptures and divinity when mesmerised by a clergyman.”

Now the bishops have nothing to do but to mesmerise the people—I’msure I’ve known parsons who’ve done wonders with sleepycongregations—have only to get ’em “to mirror their minds,” andthey may do as they please with crosses, and surplices, and saints,and offertory, and all that. In a word, the Bishops of Exeter andLondon have only to send all their flocks well to sleep, to shear ’emafter what fashion they like. As yet, my dear grandmother, I haven’tgiven nothing to the offertory, and I won’t agree to the move aboutthe surplice. But flesh is weak. I can’t tell how long I may hold out.Fashion’s a strong thing, and always strongest when it sets towards[Pg 222]the Church. The day may come when I may take my grey mare—as I’m toldthey take all the animals in Italy—to be blessed and sprinkled on thefeast of St Anthony, and the Bishop of London may do the job for her.But I’ll hold out as long as I can. In the mean time, let me have yourprayers, and believe me your affectionate grandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

P.S.—I did intend to write to cousin Bridget, but Lumpy’scalled me away for a long job.

Letter III.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York.

My dear Grandmother,—We’re all safe for a time; the Popehasn’t quite got hold of us yet. You recollect when I was a boy, howI would fling stones, and call names, and go among other boys pelting’em right and left, and swearing I didn’t mean to hurt ’em, but playedoff my pranks only for their good? And then, when I used to get intoa terrible fight, you remember how you used to come in at the lastminute, and carry me off home just as I was nearly giving in? And then,how afterwards I used to brag that if grandmother hadn’t[Pg 223] taken meaway, I’d have licked twenty boys; one down, another come on! Well,well; the more I see of life, the more I’m sure men only play overtheir boys’ tricks; only they do it with graver faces and worse words.

What you did for me, the Archbishop of Canterbury has done for theBishop of Exeter. Almost at the last minute he has wrapped his apronabout the Bishop and carried him out of the squabble. And now theBishop writes a letter as long as a church bell-rope, in which hesays he only gives up fighting to show that he’s obedient—more thanhinting, that if he’d been allowed to go on, he’d have beaten allcomers, with one hand tied behind him. At all events, he’s very gladthere’s been a rumpus, as it proves there’s pluck on both sides.

Yes; he says, “Whatever may have been the temporary results, Ido not and cannot regret that I deemed it necessary publicly toassert those principles of Church authority, which it is alike theduty of all of us to recognise and to inculcate. The very vehemencewith which the assertion of them has been resisted proves, ifproof were necessary, the necessity of their being asserted,and of our never suffering them to fall into oblivion.” If this isn’ttalking in the dark, I don’t know what a rushlight is. You might aswell[Pg 224] say that the “vehemence” with which a man resists a kicking,“proves the necessity” of kicking him. Because folks wouldn’t at anyprice have surplices forced down their throats, and offertory-bagspoked into their pews, why, that’s the very reason you should try topush both surplice and bag upon ’em. As I say, it shows there’s bloodon both sides; and it’s a comfort to know that both parties are readyfor a tussle. Well, I’ve heard this sort of preaching from a Tipperarycabman, and never wondered; but it does sound droll from abishop. I’ve read something somewhere about the thunder of the Church,and have now no doubt that it must be very serviceable; it must soclear the air after a certain time. Here, for months, has Exeter beenthundering in the newspapers—crack, crack, crack! it’s gone almostevery morning, till people wondered if the steeple of their own parishchurch was safe; and now, at last, he sits himself down, and smiling asif his face was smeared with honey, folds his hands and softly says,“Thank heaven! we’ve had a lovely storm.” Talking about thunder, I onceread a poem—one of those strange, odd things that give your brain atwist—called “Festus.” There was a passage in it that certainly didbother me; but now I can perfectly understand it. Somebody says toanother—

[Pg 225]

“Why, how now!

You look as though you fed on buttered thunder.”

Now, the Bishop of Exeter—I say it with all respect, grandmother,for you know you always taught me to love the bishops—is this veryman. You’ve only to read his letters, really so noisy, and yet, ashe declares, meaning to be so soft—to be sure that what he livesand thrives upon is buttered thunder. The Bishop, of course,isn’t alone in his happiness at the row. One of his best friends, theMorning Post, believes it will do a deal of good. True piety,like physic, wants shaking to have its proper effect. The Posttalked a little while ago about “the means which have made the Churcharise from its slumbers like a giant refreshed;” that is,getting up in a white surplice, to be refreshed with ready money fromthe pews. I don’t know how it is, but I don’t think the Church ought tobe compared to a giant. All the giants I know are people of very queercharacter. The best of ’em gluttonous, swaggering, overbearing chaps,with nothing too hot or too heavy for ’em to carry off: now, these arenot at all the sort of creatures that we are likely to think of whenwe’re reading the Bishop of Exeter’s letters. No; they rather remind usof a shepherd playing on his pipe—I’ve only read of these things—tohis sheep and lambkins. The Morning Post further says:—

[Pg 226]

“We are not among those who feel alarm at the present state ofthe Church. The fermentation will throw off the scum,and what is good will remain.”

Now, grandmother, you know enough of boiling to know that “the scum”always floats on the top. Now, is anything on the top to be thrownoff? Don’t flurry yourself; the Post doesn’t mean that. What itmeans is, that a whole lot of the vulgar members of the EstablishedChurch will be so fermented by the surplice, the offertory, andother Popish ingredients—grains of Paradise, as they tell us—thatthey’ll be thrown clean out of it. You know how Bill Wiggins oncepoisoned the pond, so that the fish was floated dead ashore. In thesame way the Church may get rid of its small fry, and “what is goodwill remain.” Then the Church will be something like. Now, it’s oldand weather-stained, with time blotches and cracks about it. But howfine it will look with crucifixes and pictures of the Virgin inside—aclean white surplice always in the upper pulpit—and the whole buildingbeautifully and thickly faced with Roman cement!

But at this present writing, it isn’t all over in the city of Exeter.The Bishop, having had his fling, one of his journeymen, the Rev.Mr Courtenay, minister of St Sidwell’s, comes in for a little more[Pg 227]than his share of the performance. Don’t think I’m profane, deargrandmother—no, quite the reverse. But you have in your timebeen to Astley’s, and seen the riding in the ring. Well, the principalrider comes, and does all manner of wonders whilst cantering andgalloping, and going all kind of paces. When he’s done, he makes hisbow and goes off. And then after him comes the clown. Well, he’sdetermined to outdo all that’s been done before him, and for thispurpose goes on with all sorts of manœuvres. Now the Bishop ofExeter has made his bow, and the Rev. Mr Courtenay is, at the time Iwrite, before the public. He will preach in a surplice; andthat he may do so with safety—for all the folks in Exeter are in apretty pucker about it—he goes to and from church, as I may say, inthe bosom of the police. Oh dear! isn’t it sad work, grandmother? thisnoise about black and white gowns, when Churchmen ought to think ofnothing but black and white souls? Black and white! as if there was apattern-book of colours for heaven! However, how it will end nobodyknows; but if the matter goes on as it promises, it is thought the Rev.Mr Courtenay will call to his aid the yeomanry, and be escorted to StSidwell’s by a body-guard armed with ball-cartridge. It is said he hasbespoken two howitzers to keep off the mob from the church doors.

[Pg 228]

I’ve hardly time to save the packet; so remain, your affectionategrandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

P.S.—They do say that Mr Courtenay wants to be made a martyrof. But the days for burning are all gone by. Besides, other folksdeclare that the parson of St Sidwell’s would have been too green toburn at any time.

Letter IV.To Michael Hedgehog, at Hong-Kong.

Dear Michael,—When you quitted England, in the Hong-Kongdivision of police, I promised to write you all the news I could;at least, such news as I knew you’d like. The crimes and evils ofpopulation were, I know, always a favourite matter with you. I’m sorryto say the evil’s getting worse every day; and no wonder. You’llhardly believe it, Michael, seeing what a surplus of pauper flesh andblood respectable people have upon their hands, that there’s a set ofignoramuses who absolutely offer a premium for babies; for all theworld, as they give away gold and silver medals for prize pigs. I takethe bit of news I send you from the Times.

[Pg 229]

You must know that a few weeks ago a “Mrs Clements of 21 Hunt Street,Mile-end, Newtown,” had at once “three children, two girls and a boy,”all, too, impudent enough to live. Well, the Times published anaccount of the misdemeanour, and—would you believe it?—some “generousindividuals,” as they are stupidly called, sent, among ’em, £38 for themother and little ones.

Now, what is this, as you’d say, but fostering a superabundance ofpopulation? It’s no other than offering bribes to bring people into thecountry, already as full as a cask of herrings; and when every trade iseating part of its members up, for all the world as melancholy monkeyseat their own tails! Isn’t it shocking to encourage the lower classesto add to themselves? There’s nothing that money won’t do; and I’ve nodoubt whatever that, for some years to come, all children at Mile-endwill be born by threes and fours. A shrewd fellow like you must haveremarked how people imitate one another. You never yet heard of an oddact of suicide, or any kind of horror with originality in it, thatit didn’t for a little time become the fashion, as if it was a newbonnet or a new boot. And so, among the lower orders, it will be in thematter of babies. Now, if Mrs Clements had been sent to prison for theoffence, then the evil might have been nipped in the bud; but to rewardher[Pg 230] for her three babies, who could show no honest means of providingfor themselves, why, it’s flying in the face of all political economy.Three babies at once at Mile-end is monstrous. Even twins should beconfined to the higher ranks.

You’ll be glad to hear that we’ve been giving a round of dinners toyour Chinese hero, Sir Henry Pottinger. At Manchester he was hailedas the very hero of cotton prints. They dined him very handsomely,and you may be sure there was a good deal of after-dinner speaking.A Rev. Canon Wray answered the toast for the Clergy. I once read ofa melancholy man, who thought all his body was turned into a glassbottle, and so wouldn’t move for fear of going to pieces. Now, I’mcertain of it, that there’s a sort of clergyman who, after some suchhumour, thinks himself a forty-two pounder; for he is never heard at apublic meeting that he doesn’t fire away shot and gunpowder. The Rev.Canon said (or rather fired) his thanks, that Sir H. Pottinger “hadopened a way for the march of the gospel.” Now, Michael, I never heardof any artillery in the New Testament. And he further said:—

“British arms seem scarcely ever to know a defeat. In the east,west, north, and south, our soldiers and sailors are, in theend, ever victorious. I cannot but think that, as great Britainholds the tenets of the gospel[Pg 231] in greater purity than anyother nation, so she is intended by the Divine will to carryinestimable blessings to all distant benighted climes.”

Well, Michael, I’ve heard of a settler in mistake sowing gunpowderfor onions; but the Rev. Canon Wray, with his best knowledge abouthim, thinks there’s nothing like sowing gunpowder for the “scripturalmustard-seed.” I suppose he’s right, because he’s a canon; andtherefore not to be disputed with by your ignorant, but affectionatebrother,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter V.To Mrs Barbara Wilcox, at Philadelphia.

Dear Sister,—It gave me much pleasure to learn from yourletter that yourself, husband, and baby got safe and sound to yourpresent home. You ask me to send you my portrait. It isn’t in mypower to do so at present; but if I should be unfortunate enough tokill anybody, or set a dockyard a-fire, or bamboozle the Bank—or, inshort, do anything splashy to get a front place in the dock at the OldBailey—you may then have my portrait at next to nothing. Then, I cantell you, it[Pg 232] will be drawn in capital style—at full length, threequarters, half length, and I know not what.

I’ve read somewhere, that in what people call the good old times—astimes always get worse, what a pretty state the world will be in athousand years hence!—when there were dead men’s heads on the top ofTemple Bar, grinning down, what people call an example, on the folksbelow, that there used to be fellows with spyglasses; and, at a penny apeep, they showed to the curious all the horror of the aforesaid heads,not to be discovered by the naked eye. Well, the heads are gone, andthe spyglass traders too; but for all that, there’s the same sort ofshow going on, and a good scramble to turn the penny by it, only aftera different fashion. Murderers are now shown in newspapers. They areno longer gibbeted in irons; no, that was found to be shocking, and ofno use: they are now nicely cut in wood, and so insinuated into thebosoms of families. The more dreadful the murder, the greater value theportrait; which, for a time, is made a sort of personal acquaintanceto thousands of respectable folks who pay the newspaper owner—thespyglass-man of our time—so much to stare at it as long as they like.I am certain that the shortest cut to popularity of some sort is to cutsomebody’s throat. A dull, stupid fellow, that pays his way and doesharm to nobody, why,[Pg 233] he may die off like a fly in November and be nomore thought of. But only let him do some devil’s deed—do a bit ofmurder as coolly as he’d pare a turnip—and what he says, whether hetakes coffee, or brandy-and-water “cold without;” when he sleeps, andwhen he wakes; and when he smiles, and when he grinds his teeth,—allof this is put down as if all the world went upon his movements, andcouldn’t go on without knowing ’em. To a man who wants to make a noise,he doesn’t care how, all this is very tempting. I hope I mayn’t cometo be cut in wood, but still one would like to make a rumpus some waybefore one died.

There’s commonly an Old Bailey fashion, the same as a St James’sfashion. Just now—as you want to know all the domestic news—poison’scarrying everything before it. ’Twould seem as if people suddenlythought their relations rats, and treated ’em accordingly. I never yettried my hand upon a book, but I do think that I could throw off anice little story with lots of arsenic in it—a sort of genteel guideto Newgate. I’ve been reading about a lady, one Tofana, who made agreat stir some years ago. She could give arsenic in such a mannerthat she set people for death as you’d set an alarum. She got a goodmany pupils, young married ladies, about her, who all of ’em put theirhusbands aside like an old-fashioned gown. Now, I[Pg 234] do think that anovel called “The Ladies’ Poisoning Club,” or “Widowhood at Will,”would just now make a bit of a stir. I don’t mean to say that I couldwrite a book, that is, what folks call write; but I’ve a knack:I know I could imitate writing, just as an ape imitates a man. Thesubject grows upon me. I certainly think I shall make a beginning.However, of this you shall hear more by the next packet. I do thinkI could make a hit in what I call arsenicated literature. There’sarsenicated candles, why shouldn’t there be arsenicated books?—Inhaste, your affectionate brother,

Juniper Hedgehog.

P.S.—If I do the book, I shall follow it up with a sort ofmoral continuation, to be called “The Stomach-Pump.”

Letter VI.To Mr Jonas Wilcox, Philadelphia.

Dear Brother-in-law,—As my last letter was to sister, it isbut fair that you should have the next dose of ink. Well, Parliament’sopened; and Sir Robert’s made a clean breast of it—that is, if aPrime Minister can do such a thing. There never was such harmony inthe House of Commons![Pg 235] After Sir Robert had spoken out, you might havethought all the House was holding nothing but a love-feast. I was inthe gallery—I won’t tell you how I got in—and never saw such a sightin all my life. All the papers, I can’t tell why, have oddly suppressedan account of the matter; therefore, what you get from me will beexclusive—from your “own” correspondent. Treasure it accordingly.

When Sir Robert said he should keep on the income-tax for three yearslonger, almost the whole House fell into fits of delight at hisgoodness. You might have seen Whig embracing Tory, Radical throwinghis arms about the neck of Conservative, and Young England with tearsof gratitude rolling like butter-milk down upon his white waistcoat.When Sir Robert had quite finished his speech, there was a shower ofnosegays flung upon him from the Treasury benches, just in the sameway as now and then you pelt the actors at the playhouses! Sir Robertpicked ’em all up, and pressed ’em to his heart, and from the cornersof his mouth smiled the thousand thanks. Then sitting down, he veryhandsomely gave a flower apiece to what he calls his colleagues. Heinsisted—amidst the cheers of the House—on putting a forget-me-notin the button-hole of Mr Gladstone (who sobbed audibly at the touchof[Pg 236] friendship); and then he handed a lily—as an emblem of the HomeSecretary’s reputation—to Sir James Graham. At this, I needn’t tellyou, there were “roars of laughter.” To be sure, at this season of theyear these flowers were artificial; but for which reason, it was saidby somebody, they were more in keeping with Sir Robert’s measures.Two or three members—for form’s sake—abused the income-tax, butnevertheless said they would vote for it. Lord John Russell called it ashameful, infamous, ignominious, tyrannical, prying impost: he would,however, support it. This is as if a man should denounce another as acoward, a ruffian, and a thief, and then—fold him to his bosom! Butthey do odd things in Parliament. Sir Robert says we are to have theincome-tax for only three years longer. Nonsense! He intends that weshould grow with it upon us. He’ll no more take it off than a Chinesemother will take off the little shoe that, for the beauty of thefull-grown woman, she puts upon the foot of her baby girl. The childmay twist, and wriggle, and squall; and the mother may now and then saypretty things—make pretty promises to it to keep it quiet—but theshoe’s there for the sufferer’s life. Now John Bull—thinks Sir RobertPeel—will move all the better with his foot in the income-tax: all thebetter too,[Pg 237] because it most galls and crushes a lower member. However,we are to have the duty off glass; which, says Sir Robert, is muchbetter than if the duty were taken off light. It is not for such as meto dispute with a minister, but I can’t see how, if I’m to get my houseglazed duty free, it’s quite as good as if there was no window-tax. Tobe sure, if a man, as a householder, were to new glaze himself fromtop to bottom once a quarter, it might be another thing; he might saveupon the glass what he now pays for the sun that, in London, tries tocome through it. He may certainly afford to have more windows, butwill, I say, the saving on the glass pay for the light? Besides, notlight alone, but air is paid for. There is at the present time a secretagitation going on among the cats of England. The grievance is this: Aman can’t make a hole in his house for the cat to pass in and out tomouse or visit, without the said hole being surcharged as a window.This is a wrong done upon the cats of the country; but whether done outof sympathy with the rats or not, let Sir James Graham answer. However,one comfort will come of cheap glass: folks who choose to visit museumsand such public places, may break what they like of the material at adecreased cost, for the pleasure. Before it was bad enough, nothing,according to the law, being worth more than five[Pg 238] pounds; so anymalicious or morbid scoundrel (or both) might smash any rare piece ofantiquity, and handing to the magistrate any sum over five pounds,bid him take the change out of that. I think a club might be formedfor certain young chaps about town, to be called “The IndependentSmashers.” They might subscribe to a common fund to pay fines; and eachin turn draw for the pleasure of a bit of destruction. With the dutytaken off the article, it would be remarkably cheap sport. However,there is no doubt of it, that Peel has got great glory by taking offthis tax. A good deal of his reputation as a minister will be lookedupon as glass; such side of his reputation in the eyes of an admiringcountry to be always “kept upwards.”

We are to have sugar, too, at about three-halfpence a pound cheaper;which Mrs Hedgehog tells me will allow us to save at least sixpence aweek: however, what we shall have to pay to protect the West Indians,she, poor soul, never dreams of, and I should be a brute to tell her.Therefore—poor thing!—she may now and then toast Sir Robert in herTwankay, without thinking of the £140,000 we lose in the other way.Then again, what we shall save in cotton is wonderful!

The auctioneers, too, are all right. They are to knock down at so muchfor life, instead of taking[Pg 239] out a yearly licence. It is thought thatthis enlarged piece of statesmanship came about out of compliment toGeorge Robins, who, in one of his familiar letters to the Premier, saidhe’d rather have it so.

However, everybody says Sir Robert Peel’s in for life. He’s marriedDowning Street, and nothing but death can them part. One thing’scertain, he’s got a thumping surplus. And when any man in England getsthat, folks are not very particular how he’s come by it.

So no more at present from your affectionate brother-in-law,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter VII.To John Squalid, Weaver, Stockton.

Dear John,—I’m afraid you don’t go the right way to makeboth ends meet. Your letter is full of complaints of poverty, and allthat sort of disagreeable thing. I very much fear that you’ve got intoexpensive habits, or your sixteen shillings a week would be sure to gofurther. Why don’t you be economical? why don’t you copy the prudenceshown you by high people? Look here, now. Just read this from SirRobert Peel’s speech.[Pg 240] He is speaking of the marriage (and economy) ofQueen Victoria:—

“It has pleased God to bless that union with the birth of fourchildren, and this, of course, caused a considerable additionaldemand upon the civil list. In the course of the last yearthree sovereigns have visited this country; amongst them werethe sovereigns of two of the most powerful countries in thehabitable globe—the Emperor of Russia and the King of theFrench.”

I hope you blush now. Four children: and when—if you will onlyconsider upon it—you come to think how much it costs for babies—howmuch in tops-and-bottoms alone—how much in short coating, worstedshoes, and all that,—can you, as a loyal subject, forbear to cast upyour eyes and close your hands in wonderment at Sir Robert’s pictureof royal economy? There have been four children and three kings cometo Windsor Castle, and yet John Bull has never been asked for an extrashilling. If you owe anything anywhere, you are, after this, lost toall sense of self-respect. I give you up. Consider the expense borne byroyalty for royal visitors! The extra night-candles—the extra cleansheets and pillow-cases,—and yet not a farthing more, as yet,demanded! To be sure, it wouldn’t have been very gracious towardsthe three sovereigns, if the bill for their entertainment[Pg 241] had beenimmediately sent down to Parliament: they might, as gentlemen, havefelt inclined to send over their cheques for the amount: but—no matterfor that.

I clearly see what lies before you—it’s the union, and nothing less.And you don’t know what that—under the benevolence of SirJames Graham—is to be yet. He has just brought in a bill for anotherexperiment upon the poor. Indeed Graham, in his bills for the treatmentof the poor, may be likened to one Dr Majendie, a French surgeon, inhis treatment of rabbits. He would take a live rabbit and cut itsnerves here and there to make some great discovery—to learn whatpoint of agony the rabbit could bear—and still keep a sort of lifewithin it, eat and drink. Graham is the Poor-Law Majendie! He’s broughtin something like a Settlement Bill; a bill which is to take thepoor—to cut their nerves and heart-strings from their parishes—andsettle them, when they need, what he in his droll manner calls relief,into unions, melting three-and-twenty parishes into one union! Oldfeelings—old affections for old places are to be nothing—ties ofkindred nothing, nothing. Sir James will sever all these, and will thentriumphantly show the world how well the human rabbit can exist withthem cut through and through.

When in the fulness of years and reputation it[Pg 242] may please Providenceto remove Sir James from this vale of tears—and certainly it’s nofault of his measures if the vale is very dry—there ought to bea monument raised to his memory, made of paupers’ bones.

However, history will be sure to do this for him. As the poor are tocease to have what is called any associations of place—why shouldthey have any associations of particular names? Why should they notbe lettered and numbered like the police? Such a plan would go far totake the conceit out of them, by reminding them most forcibly of thedifference between themselves and the luckier people who bear Christianand surnames. More, that there should be no mistake, no shuffling inthe matter, the pauper babe, instead of being christened, might beindelibly tattooed both with letter and number. If at any time of itsfuture life it should by some strange accident realise sufficient moneyto make it respectable, it might then be allowed to be baptized; in thesame way that now a man, on coming to immense wealth, is allowed by theGazette to slough the vulgarity of Wiggins into the aristocracyof Mosmancourt of Godolphin. I hope Sir James will think of this.

But the poor man was always a culprit. You heard I was once a lawyer’sclerk, and so, John, respect my Latin. The poor were adscriptiglebæ—that[Pg 243] is, bound to the soil, a bit of the earth, a lump ofthe clay, with no more power to remove themselves than a bramble-bush;if they did, see what came to ’em. I’ve only just picked up the matter,but here it is—let it be a warning to you. In the time of Richard theSecond—what a very pauper he’d been if born one!—if any poor man lefthis home without a justice’s leave, and was taken in the crime, why, hewas put in the stocks for his rascality. Henry the Eighth—a real tigerof the royal menagerie—made a law that whipped any beggar begging fromhis native place. Another of his laws—some of ’em were written inthe best blood of the country—only whipped the beggar for his firstoffence, but cut off his right ear for the second, and blackened himfrom head to heel a felon for the third. Well, Edward the Sixth, orhis ministers, branded the vagabond on the shoulder, and gave him as aslave to anybody who’d be troubled with him, to be beaten, chained, andotherwise remonstrated with for being poor. He might also, for furtherill-manners of running away, be branded in the cheek, and made a slavefor life. Another running away, and—here really came a bit of summaryhumanity—he might be hanged! Queen Elizabeth punished the beggar byordering his ear to be “burned through the gristle with a hot iron, ofa compass of an inch about”—that is, not much thicker.

[Pg 244]

Now, John, I hope you lay these things to your heart: I hope you willat once acknowledge the wickedness that has very properly been put uponpoverty for hundreds of years, and don’t disgrace yourself and yourrelations by becoming a pauper. I have a great regard for you—a verygreat regard; nevertheless, if you come to want, I give you up forever, and renounce you. I hope, therefore, you will take this warningin good part, and believe me, your affectionate cousin,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter VIII.To —— ——, Naples.

Thank heaven and the printer that there are such things as —— ——!You, my dear friend, will know to whom they apply, and may thereforereceive this letter without its bringing down upon you the Governmentof Naples. However, don’t venture to write me any answer, for I’m inSir James Graham’s books; I’m down—a marked man. Unhappily for me, aPolish refugee lives in our garret, and the eye of Russia is upon me.Nevertheless, there has been, I find, some good-luck in this. I’ve nowdiscovered that the two gentlemen with beards, who used to hire mewhen the Emperor Nicholas was here, to drive them from[Pg 245] one end of thetown to the other, did so to come at the plot which was hatching inour attic. However, they got nothing out of me but, as old Lumpy says,wicey-warsy. Still I’m not comfortable. As a cabman, I’ve beenboxed up with Spaniards, Italians, Sardinians, Austrians—men of allcountries and colours. Well, I don’t know at this moment that everyletter to Juniper Hedgehog—that is, every copy—isn’t in the office ofSir James Graham. A nice thing this to go to bed and sleep upon! When Ithink of the sort of letters—full of delicate and tender matters—thathas come to me, I own it does make me burn and fluster to think that Imay not have a single secret to myself: no, Sir James—the Post-Officeburglar—has broken into my affairs, and at this moment he knows allmy poverty, all my little strugglings with little debts—in fact, allmy inner man. I seem to myself to walk about the world turned insideout! And this evil, be it remembered, may be the fate of thousands,although, poor wretches, they may not know it. Who shall tell how manymen’s souls are at the Home Office, under the Graham lock and key?Still, says Sir James, the whole security, not only of thiscountry, but, in truth, of the whole world, depends upon wax and wafers.

There is no doubt that last summer a few[Pg 246] Italians were denounced tothe Government of Naples, and duly shot, in consequence of seals brokenat Downing Street. This is comfortable to reflect upon. Though if SirJames was a squeamish man—which he is not, for no man ever braved thepillory with all its unsavoury accidents with a stronger stomach—thenwould he never again behold the Queen’s head upon the red post-stampwithout thinking of human blood!

Sir James, however, has two natures, or rather two parts. Like thepicture of Death and the Lady, Sir James is only corrupt on one side.Thus spoke Tom Duncombe to the foolscap burglar—the sealing-wax JackSheppard: “He has had the meanness, ay, and the baseness, to concealhis act and has not had the courage to avow it.”

Upon this, the Speaker, in one of his conciliatory moods, observed that“such observations were very personal. Would the honourable gentlemanwithdraw them?” Whereupon Mr Duncombe answered: “Sir, I applied thoseobservations to the right honourable gentleman in his ministerialcapacity: to those observations and to those topics I adhere; so theymust and shall remain.”

And they do remain. And Sir James remains “as a minister,” a“mean,” “base,” cowardly agent! How strange is the distinction betweenthe[Pg 247] minister and the man!—they’re quite two different things, likethe calipee and calipash of a turtle.

Sir James Graham rose to answer, with a confidence that would havehonoured the Old Bailey. He said, “Mr Duncombe was a person quiteindifferent to him.” This reminds me of the chap who, after he’d beenflogged half a mile and more at the cart’s tail, with all the worldlooking on, said to the man that had flayed him, “Sir, you’re beneathmy notice.” I could write more, but Lumpy’s called me for a fare. Thefun, however, is not yet over; and you may hear more of Sir James in mynext. Meantime, if you write, don’t either use wax or wafers; it’s onlywasting property. Send your letters open, and believe me, your faithfulfriend,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter IX.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York.

Dear Grandmother,—It was very kind of you, though away fromOld England, to have prayers put up for the Bishops of Exeter andLondon, and Mr Courtenay and Mr Ward, with all the unfortunate youngclergymen who’ve been frightening[Pg 248] their good Mother Church, for allthe world like young ducklings that, hatched by a hen, would takewater. The bishops, you will be glad to learn, are much better; andnow, Sunday after Sunday, the young parsons are taking off their whitesurplices and putting on their old gowns, just like idle, flashy, youngdogs, who’ve been making a noise at a masquerade, but are once moreprepared to go back to their serious counters. Mr Courtenay and two orthree of his kidney did think of putting on chain-armour under theirsurplices, like the Templars that you once saw in the play of Ivanhoe;but whether the Bishop of Exeter has interfered or not, I can’t say:the thing’s given up.

Mr Ward, who has been turned out of Oxford for his ideal of a ChristianChurch—which means a Church with censers and candlesticks, andpictures of the Virgin, and martyrs’ bones, and other properties—isgoing to be married, if the business isn’t done already. I shouldn’thave written upon the matter, only Mr W. has printed a letter in allthe papers, giving his notions of the holy state. They certainlyare very sweet and complimentary to the lady chosen by Mr Ward, for hesays—

“First, I hold it most firmly as a truth even of naturalreligion that celibacy is a higher condition of lifethan marriage.”

Now, if celibacy is the highest condition of life,[Pg 249] how is it that Adamand Eve came together while they were yet in Paradise? Their union,according to Mr Ward, ought to have taken place after they both fell.Matrimony should have followed as a punishment for the apple. And then,when it was commanded, “Increase and multiply,” was it supposed thatthose who obeyed the command would not be in so “high a condition”as those who neglected it? But men read their Bibles through strangespectacles!

However, grandmother, as you like to hear all the chat about theChurch, you must know that last week I took up a fare near theoyster-shop in Covent Garden—a very respectable sort of person—infact, I’m sure one of the Established Church. When he had left thecab, I found that the Ecclesiastical Gazette (No. 18) haddropt from his pocket. I’ve gone through it, and found parts of it—Imean the Church advertisements—very odd indeed. You can’t think howstrange they read after the New Testament. If you wouldn’t think thepulpit-cushion was a counter, after reading ’em. Look here, now:—

“A curate wanted in a large market-town forty miles fromLondon, near a railroad, population five thousand,where the incumbent resides and takes his full share of theduty. He must be in Priest’s Orders, have a voice sufficientlyloud for a very large church, and whilst holding[Pg 250]moderately High Church views, be chiefly anxious toseek and save the lost by preaching Christ and Himcrucified. Stipend one hundred pounds a year. Theadvertiser does not pledge himself to answer every letter.”

All of ’em bargain for a loud “voice:” you’d think, grandmother,the advertisements were for chorus-singers and not clergymen. And,grandmother, can you tell me what “a moderate High Church view”is? Is it moderate virtue—moderate honesty—moderate truth?Pray, tell me. Another advertiser wants “a pious and active curate,”who will double his duty with “the tuition of the incumbent’s sons.”That incumbent has a good eye for a good pennyworth, depend upon it.At Bishops Lydeard a curate is tempted with “a neat little cottage,”and “almost certainly the chaplaincy of an adjoining union,”with “other considerations” (what can they be, grandmother?)which will make the salary “equivalent to £100 per annum.” And forthis he must be orthodox and married. Another curate is wanted ina “small parish in Berks,” where “the duty is very light.” Whatwould the apostles have said to such an offer? A beneficed clergymanadvertising from Camberwell, wishes for duty “in some agriculturaland picturesque part of the north of England.” A picturesquepart! You see, it isn’t every one who would like to preach[Pg 251] in thewilderness. Another curate required in Nottinghamshire: salary, £100per annum. He must have the highest references for “gentlemanlymanners,” as “the vicar is resident.” I suppose if the vicarwas away, a second or third rate style would do well enough for theparishioners.

However, you’ll be glad to learn that several of the advertisersprofess to be “void of Tractarianism and other novelties.” Justin the same way as they write up somewhere in Piccadilly, “The originalbrown bear.”

Another clergyman “is desirous of meeting with an early appointment intown;” and, grandmother, you may judge of the lengths this gentlemanwill go to preach Christianity and save human souls, when he adds, “Noobjection to the Surrey side.” Isn’t this good of him? Because, youknow, grandmother, the opera, and the clubhouses, and the divans, andso forth, are none of ’em on the Surrey side. To be sure, there’s theVictoria and Astley’s—but they’re low.

Now, grandmother, don’t all these advertisements smell a little toomuch of trade—don’t they, for your notions of the right thing, jinglea little too much with gold and silver? As I’m an honest cabman, thoughI knew I was reading all about the Church and her pious sons, yetsomehow the advertisements did put me in mind of “Rowland’s[Pg 252] Macassar,”“Mechi’s Magic Strops,” and “Good stout Cobs to be disposed of.”

I am, dear grandmother, your affectionate grandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

P.S.—I open my letter to tell you that the Bishop of Exeter hasbroken out again. A Mr Blunt of Helston will wear the surplice;and the Bishop, like a bottle-holder at a fight, backs him in hisdoings. Do have more prayers put up for the Bishop.

Letter X.To Samuel Hedgehog, Galantee Showman, RatcliffeHighway.

Dear Sam,—I’m just come home from Hampstead, and so, whilethe matter’s fresh in my mind, I sit down to write you a few lines. Youhave heard of the awful murder, of course. Well, I don’t know: murder’sa shocking thing, to be sure; nobody can say it isn’t; and yet, afterwhat I’ve seen to-day—Sunday, mind—it does almost seem to me as ifpeople took a sort of pleasure in it. Bless you! if you’d only seen thehundreds and hundreds of folks figged out in their very best to[Pg 253] enjoya sight of the place where a man had been butchered, you’d have thoughtHaverstock Field—stained and cursed as it is with blood—a secondVauxhall at the least. I’m sure I’ve seen people going to GreenwichFair with not half the pleasure in their faces. However, I’ll tell youall about it.

I was called off the stand about eight this morning by a gentlemanand lady, dressed, as I thought, for church. They’re a little early,thought I, but that’s their business. “Take us to Hampstead,” saidthe gentleman; “and mind, as near to the murder as possible.” “Do, mygood man,” said the lady. Bless you! to have looked at her you’d havethought she’d have fainted at the sound of murder. “Do, my good man,”said she; “and make haste, for I wouldn’t be too late for anything.Take care of these,” said she to the gentleman, giving him a basket,“and mind you don’t break it.” Well, it’s my business to drive a cab;so I said nothing, but started for Hampstead. Bless you! before I’d gothalf up Tottenham Court Road, it was no easy driving, I can tell you.The road swarmed! Up and down the New Road, through Camden Town, andright to Haverstock Hill—I never saw anything like it, except perhapson the day they run for the Derby. Everybody seemed turned out to enjoythemselves—determined to have a holiday and no mistake.

[Pg 254]

Well, I drove as near as I could to the place, and then I got a boyto hold the horse, and got down and went along with my fare. Ifit didn’t make me quite savage and sick, Sam, to see hundreds offellows—well-dressed gentry, mind you—gaping and lounging about, andnow poking the grass with their sticks, as if it was something preciousbecause blood had been shed upon it, and now breaking bits of the treesabout the place, I suppose to make toothpicks and cribbage-pegs of.And then there were fathers—precious fools!—bringing their childrenwith them, boys and girls, as though they’d brought ’em to a stall ofgingerbread nuts, where they might fill their bellies and be happy!But the worst of all, Sam, was to see the women. Lots of ’em nice,young, fair creatures, tender as if they were made of best wax—therethey were running along and looking at the bushes and the grass, andtalking of the blood and the death-struggle, just as if they werelooking at and talking of the monkeys at the ’Logical Gardens. Well,the handsomest of ’em after a time looked to me no better than youngwitches—and that’s the truth. Every minute I expected some of ’em todo a polka, they did after a time seem to enjoy themselves.

Well, all of a sudden I missed my fare. Looking about, I saw mygentleman go up to the brick[Pg 255] wall. Then he took a heavy hammer outof his pocket, and knocking away, split a brick, and then knocked itout of the wall. “This is something like,” said he to me, twinklinghis eye; “something to remember the murder by.” And then he carefullywrapt the pieces of brick in a silk handkerchief, and put ’em in hisbreast-pocket, as if they’d been lumps of diamonds. I said nothing—butI could have kicked him. However, he hadn’t done yet, for going to apart of the field, he said to his wife—for so she proved to be—“Thisis the place, Arabella; the very place: where’s the pots?” Then thelady took three garden-pots from a basket, and then her husband,dropping upon his knees, turned up the earth with a large clasp-knife,and when he’d filled the pots, he dug up two or three daisy roots,and set ’em; his wife smiling and looking as happy all the while asif she’d got a new gown, or a new bonnet, or both. “Come,” said thegentleman, squinting at the daisy roots, and twisting one of the potsin his hand, “this is what I call worth coming for. As I say, thisis something to recollect a murder by. Humph!” and then he paused abit, and looked very wishfully at the stile—“Humph! I should likea walking-stick out of that; but the police are so particular, Isuppose they wouldn’t suffer it. Come along, Arabella;” and securingthe broken brick and the[Pg 256] daisy roots in the pots, my gentleman wentback to the cab. “Now drive as fast as you can to the church,” hesaid; “I wouldn’t but be there for any money.” Well, I never did drivethrough such a crowd, but at last I managed it; and at last—butno; I haven’t patience enough to write any more upon this part ofit. There was nothing wanted in and about the churchyard to make ita fair, except a few stalls and suchlike. It made me sick, Sam, tolook upon this murder’s holiday. I wish you’d have seen the YorkshireGrey public-house! No sooner did they open the doors than there wasas much scrambling as at any playhouse on boxing-night. Well, thelandlord didn’t make a little by his gin that day! Murder proved a goodcustomer to him! And then to see the hundreds and hundreds strugglingand pushing to get to the bar—to hear ’em laughing and shouting—andseeing ’em tossing off their liquor,—upon my life, Sam, there was amob of well-dressed, well-to-do Englishmen, that, considering what hadbrought them there, wasn’t half so decent as a crowd of Zealand savages.

Cricketing’s an English sport—so is single-stick—so are bowls—and soare nine-pins—and after what I’ve seen to-day, so, I’m sure of it, ismurder. For my part, it does seem a little hard to hang the murdererhimself, when it appears that he gives by[Pg 257] his wickedness so muchenjoyment to his fellow-subjects.

Well, Sam, I’m now come to the marrow of my letter, and it’s this. Ido think, if you will only take pains, and have all the murders of theyear nicely got up, you may make a capital penn’orth of the lot withyour show at Christmas. Well, lords and ladies make a scrimmage for itat police-courts; and respectable, pious people take in newspapers forthe very best likenesses of prisoners and cut-throats. I’m sure you’dget custom—if the thing was well done—ay, “of the nobility, gentry,and public in general.”

Now do, Sam, take my advice. Depend upon it, the pop’lar taste sets infor blood; and so, instead on winter’s nights a-going about with yourold-fashioned cry of “Gallantee Show!” sing out “Mur-der!” and yourfortune’s made. And so no more from your cousin and wellwisher,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter XI.To Chickweed, Widow, Penzance.

Dear Mrs Chickweed,—It has given me a vast deal of concernthat you should have been frightened by the ignorant reports in thenewspapers.[Pg 258] Don’t believe a word they say on the matter. It isn’ttrue that the churchyard where you laid Solomon Chickweed before youwent back to your native place, is to be shut up—the tombstone tobe taken down—and all future burials forbidden. It’s very true thatSt Clement’s Churchyard is in the middle of the Strand; but that’sno reason why folks shouldn’t be buried there, twenty deep, if thesexton can only as much as sprinkle ’em with a little grave-dust.Parliament knows better than to interfere in the matter. To be sure,there’s a great hubbub about public health; but what’s public health incomparison with church fees? Some meddlesome people have been writinga report about the burying at St Clement’s, and the report says, “Thusa diluted poison is given in exchange from the dead to the living inone of the most frequented thoroughfares in the metropolis.” So, yousee, your late husband—poor fellow! he’d have been sorry to thinkit—may at this moment be helping to kill some of his oldest and bestneighbours.

But what of that? Look at what is called the moral good thesechurchyards do in the middle of London. What wicked people we cockneysshould be without ’em! Isn’t it plain that they keep a check upon us?that they make us think of life and death? that they often give us,[Pg 259]so to speak, a pull up when we are about to stumble? Look at the stateof all the tradespeople in the neighbourhood of such churchyards as StGiles’ and St Clement’s and St Bride’s, and a hundred others, within afew yards of shop counters. Why, they’re all pattern folks. They haveall so constantly death in their eyes, that it makes ’em honest totheir own disadvantage. Think, too, what it is for folks from the topsof omnibuses now and then to see funerals going on in the highways ofLondon. Do you suppose that it doesn’t do them a world of good? To besure; and that’s the reason the rectors and so forth of the churchesin London have set their faces against the new-fangled cemeteries,where people are buried in quiet, with nobody but the mourners to seethe ceremony. Don’t, Mrs Chickweed, think it’s for the fees: certainlynot; it’s all for the sake of the souls of the giddy, sinful peopleof London. It’s true enough that what is called the “effluvia” fromthese churchyards may poison the bodies of the living, but what ofthat when it helps to keep the soul so sweet? I’m called away, and sofor the present can add no more. If, however, at any time they thinkof disturbing Solomon, depend upon it, for old acquaintance’ sake, youwill hear from me. Till then, I am your wellwisher,

Juniper Hedgehog.

[Pg 260]

Letter XII.To Isaac Moss, Slop-seller, Portsmouth.

Dear Isaac,—I don’t know whether Portsmouth has any aldermen,but if it has, I hope you’ll get into a gown outright. The thing’s asgood as done. What poor George the Third, Lord Eldon, and such folkthink of it, there’s no saying, but in a twinkling a Jew may be analderman! Even the Bishop of London swallows the measure, althoughshuddering at it, as if it was a black draught. However, Isaac, whatI write to you about is this. Mr Ashurst, in the common council ofLondon, spoke about the Jews; and after him the Duke of Cambridge inthe House of Lords. Both of ’em gave their reasons for what is calledHebrew emancipation; and droll it is to consider ’em one with theother. Here they are:—

Mr Ashurst.Duke of Cambridge.

“No man was consulted as to who should be his parents; whatconstitution, organisation, or temperament he should receive;what should be his climate, his colour, or country; what shouldbe his language; what literature should influence him; whateducation he should receive; nor as to what general externalcircumstances should surround him. They saw and knew as a factthat religion was geographical. If a man was born inTurkey, he was a Mahometan; in Africa, a pagan; in India, hewas one of the multitudinous castes of sects which prevailedthere; and in a Christian country a Christian. Why, then, for amatter which was independent to himself, should man losein civil rights? That religion which was true would ultimatelyprevail, but not by persecution.”

“I have had occasion for some time to know the good whichpersons professing the Jewish religion have done; andparticularly with reference to the different charities to whichI belong; and I can certainly say that it is to them that weowe a great deal, and that they contribute a very largeportion to the[Pg 261] funds of the charities over which I havethe honour of presiding. Two of the individuals whose nameswere mentioned in the speech of my noble and learned friend,on a former occasion, are personally known to myself. One wasformerly the High Sheriff of the county of Kent—Mr Solomons;and I can bear witness to the good he has done. Also thereSir Moses Montefiore, ... learning what was the object of themeeting I was about to attend, he gave me a very handsomesum, which he desired me to present. I will not mentionwhat the sum was, for it would be a violation of good taste todo so.”

Observe this, Isaac: Mr Ashurst argues upon what are called broad,wide, and benevolent principles. He would give liberty to the Jewbecause the man was born a Jew; because he couldn’t choose his fatherand mother, his creed or colour. It is his fortune to be a Jew, as itmay be the fortune of the Bishop of London to be a Christian. Thereforethe common councilman would give him equal freedom with the rest. Now,the royal Duke would emancipate the Jew because “he contributes a largeportion” to the funds of Christian charities. With the Duke, the Jewbuys the favour with hard cash! Sir Moses ought to be an alderman,[Pg 262]because he gave the Duke “a very handsome sum” for a charitable meeting!

The Jew touches the common councilman through his reason, his senseof justice; but the Hebrew moves the royal Duke purely through hisbreeches-pocket. “We owe a great deal to the Jews,” says Cambridge;“and therefore they ought to be freed.” Now suppose, Isaac, thatthe Jews had been poor; that they had never subscribed handsome sums;could the Duke, according to his own logic, have lifted up his voice intheir behalf? I fear not.

Thus, then, it is, Isaac, Mr Ashurst and men of his school give libertyas a right—the Duke of Cambridge and such reasoners sell it.

There’s a good deal, Isaac, to think of in what Mr Ashurst says; thatno man chose his colour or his country. Only suppose now, if Sir RobertPeel had been born one of the—what d’ye call ’em?—the spinningdervishes, whose whole religion is said to be in doing nothing butgoing round, and round, and round! Why, one can’t help thinking thatSir Robert would have gone round with any of ’em.

Just suppose, too, Sir James Graham born a Chinaman. Instead of diningoff Christian beef and mutton, don’t you think he’d have eaten ratsglazed with rice? and now, all the world knows,[Pg 263] a rat’s a thing hecan’t abide to think of. Only think, Isaac, how many white-skinnedpublic folks, if they’d been only born in Africa, would have beenborn as black—yes, quite as black—as if they could now beturned inside out. Is it any merit of Lord Brougham’s that he wasn’tborn to play with knives and balls like Ramo Samee? On the other hand,is poor Ramo to be despised because he hasn’t the salary of a shelvedchancellor? I should think not.

There’s capital wisdom in what Mr Ashurst says—the best of wisdom.And let us hope that even lords and bishops will by-and-by come tounderstand it.

And so no more from your old friend,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter XIII.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York.

Dear Grandmother,—You ought to be in England just now, we’rein such a pleasant pucker. The Church is in danger again! I have myselfknown her twenty times in peril, but now she really is at the very edgeof destruction.

You know there’s a place called Maynooth College, where they bring upRoman Catholic[Pg 264] priests for the use of Ireland. Well, there’s a lotof folks who will have it that this college is not a bit better thancertain tanks I’ve read of in India, where they breed young crocodilesto be worshipped by people who know no better. Sir Robert Peel intendsto give £26,000 a year to this place—it used to have an annual grantof £9000—that the scholars may be increased in number, and that theymay be better taught and more comfortably boarded and lodged. Well,the members of the Church of England—although here and there theyhave grumbled at the matter, and have called the Pope names that passin small-change at Billingsgate—have been mute as fish compared tothe Dissenters. It is they who have fought the fight; it is they whohave raised the price of parchment by darkening the House of Commonswith clouds of petitions. It is they who have risen to a man, and havepatted the British Lion, and twisted his tail, and goaded him—as you’dset a bulldog on a cat—to tear Popery to pieces.

But, dear grandmother, don’t be afraid. Before you get my next letter,with all this noise and bouncing, we shall have settled down as quietas stale sodawater. And then for the Church being in danger—bless you!the very folks who are now holding up their hands, thinking it willdrop to pieces (from its very richness, I suppose, like[Pg 265] some of yourplum-puddings)—why, they’ll sleep quietly in their beds, and taketheir glass of wine and chicken with their usual appetite, until theChurch shall be once more in trouble, once more to give ’em a pleasant,healthful shaking,—and then once more to let ’em easily down again.I’ve known some girls who’ve thought they best showed how tender theywere by always going into fits: well, I do think that, just like ’em,some people believe they best show their religion when they scream andfoam at the mouth about it.

It’s a settled belief with a good many pious people, who are as carefulof their religion as of their best service of china—only using iton holiday occasions, for fear it should be chipped or flawed inworking-day wear—it’s a belief with them that a Papist is a sort ofhuman toad, an abomination in the form of man. Dr Croly has surelya notion of this sort. A few days ago he appeared on Covent Gardenstage (I think his first appearance there since his comedy of “Prideshall have a Fall”), and called upon the Lord, with thunder andlightning and the sword, to kill His enemies—meaning Roman Catholics!And then the Doctor showed how Providence had punished all naughtykings who had cast an eye of favour on the Pope. Capping this, theDoctor more than hinted that George the Fourth, the first gentleman[Pg 266]in Europe—for he had a greater number of coats than all the rest ofthe kings put together—was somewhat suddenly called from his lovingpeople because he had passed the bill that ’mancipated the Catholics.Well, when we think how many Catholics there are in the world—whenwe remember the millions of ’em scattered about the earth—it doesappear to me a little bold in a worm of a man (whether the said wormwears clergyman’s black or not) praying to the Lord to destroy, crush,burn, whole nations of men and women because he wasn’t born to thinkas they do. But so it is with some folks very proud indeed of theirChristianity. Hear them talk and pray, and you would think that Satanhimself, the father of wickedness, had been the creator of ninety-ninemen out of a hundred, and it was the pure, elect, and lucky hundredththat religiously begged for the destruction of the ninety-nine. Butall the noise is about the largeness of the sum—the £26,000. The£9000 was every year quietly voted—for I call the cackling of twoor three Parliament geese as nothing—and still the Church standsunshaken on her foundation. By this it would seem that with some folksit is the money that wrong costs, and not the wrong itself, that isobjectionable. Thinking after this fashion, drunkenness is not to bethought a vice if it be drunkenness gratis; it, however, increases in[Pg 267]enormity with the increase of its price: thus gin-drunkenness is merelywrong, but burgundy-drunkenness is infamous to the last degree. Haven’tI read somewhere of an old Greek philosopher—if some of these chapshad lived in these times, they’d now and then have found themselves atthe police-office—who felt mightily disposed for what was immoral,and only held back at the purchase-money! I think he said he wouldn’t“buy repentance at so dear a price.” Now, if he could have had the sinat a cheap pennyworth, the sin itself had been light, indeed. It’s theweight of money that makes the weight of crime.

But I suppose Dr Croly, Mr M’Neile, and such folks—who seem to readtheir Bibles by the blue light of brimstone—believe that the extramoney given to the Roman Catholic priests of Ireland will only be somuch powder and shot with which they may bring down Protestants. Well,if money is to make converts, what has the Irish Protestant Church beenabout, that has always had a full money-bag at her girdle, and morethan that—plenty of leisure to reclaim the fallen? She has always hada golden crook whereby to bring stray lambs into the fold, and yet hasadded nothing to her flock.

Now, according to my opinion, the folks who abuse Maynooth ought ratherto feel glad that[Pg 268] money is to be given to her priests, seeing whatan abundance of money, and good things purchased by money, have donefor the Irish Protestant Church. It has become slow as it has becomefat. Stuff even a pulpit-cushion with bank-notes, and it is strangeto see how religion will sleep upon it. And therefore people ought torejoice that the Catholic is to be made a little comfortable in worldlymatters! Excellent, worthy Churchmen, who can command the sports of thefield and all the pleasures of the table, are not the busy, troublesomefolks to go about converting their benighted neighbours! And though theMaynooth pupils may not—like their beneficed rivals—keep fox-hounds,and enjoy the dearest turtle, pineapples, and all that, they will not,I think, be in after-life more dangerous to the Protestant Church,because when at college they slept not more than two in a bed.

But there’s a sort of people in the world that can’t bear making anyprogress. I wonder they even walk, unless they walk backwards! Iwonder they don’t refuse to go out when there’s a full moon, and allout of love and respect for that “ancient institution,” the old one.But there always were such people, grandmother—always will be. Whenlucifers first came in, how many old women, stanch old souls—many of’em worthy[Pg 269] to be members of Parliament—stood by their matches andtinder-boxes, and cried out “No surrender!” And how many of these oldwomen, disguised in male attire, every day go about at public meetingsprofessing to be ready to die for any tinder-box question that may comeup! Yes, ready, quite ready to die for it; all the readier, perhaps,because dying for anything of the sort’s quite gone out of fashion.

Even Sir James Graham says the time is gone by for ill-using Ireland.“The time is gone by!” And yet how many men before Sir James, havestood up and declared their time—the time “gone by”—was thebest time possible for Ireland, that what was doing for her could notbe improved; and having thundered this, have sat down, secure in amajority that has voted for the evil to continue! What a long time itis before men in power will learn to call things by their proper names!What a time it takes to teach ministers to call evil, evil—and lies,lies!

Sir Robert Peel has behaved in the handsomest manner in the matter. Hesays it is by no means his wish to rob the Whigs of the gratitude ofIreland for the Maynooth measure. Certainly not: they, no doubt, couldhave carried it had he joined them; this, however, he would not do: hehas, however, no objection that they should join[Pg 270] him. And sothey may have the gratitude, and he the patronage and power. They havehelped him to open the oyster; he swallows the fish, and they are quitewelcome to the shells.

It is quite a delight to read Sir Robert’s Parliament speeches. Didyou ever talk to a man who seemed never to hear what you said, butonly thought what he should say to pass for an answer? who seemed asthough none of your words entered his ears, but all slid down hischeeks? I’ve met with such people, and Sir Robert Peel—when I read hisMaynooth speeches—does remind me of ’em. What a way he has of talkingdown the side of a speech, and never answering it direct! Ihardly wonder that the playhouses don’t flourish, when there’s suchcapital actors of all sorts in the Houses of Parliament. I had justbeen reading an account of two or three more Maynooth meetings, wheresome of the speakers talked about the true and the false religion,as though themselves had a sole and certain knowledge of what wastrue—what false: I had just been reading all this, when my eye fellupon a paragraph headed “Lord Rosse’s Telescope.” Lord Rosse, you mustknow, is one of those noblemen who do not pull off knockers, knockdown cabmen, and always take a front seat at the Old Bailey on a trialfor murder. No: he has been making an enormous telescope;[Pg 271] and theparagraph I write of says: “Marvellous rumours are afloat respectingthe astronomical discoveries made by Lord Rosse’s monster telescope. Itis said that Regulus, instead of being a sphere, is ascertained to bea disc; and stranger still, that the nebula in the belt of Orion is auniversal system—a sun with planets moving round it, as the earth andher fellow-orbs move round our glorious luminary.”

Now, at one time, a man might have been burnt alive for taking it uponhimself to say that Regulus was not a sphere but a disc; and that Orion(I know nothing about him, save and except that a marvellously finepoem, price one farthing, was lately published with his name) did notwear in his belt any nebula, but a universal system! La, grandmother!when I read of these things, I feel a mixture of pain and pity formen that, instead of having their hearts and spirits tuned by theharmony that God is always playing to them (and they won’t hear it, theleathern-eared sinners!) think of nothing but swearing that one thing’sa disc, and the other a nebula—when they only look through smallglasses, wanting the great telescope to show ’em the real truth!—Andso no more from your affectionate grandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

[Pg 272]

P.S.—I blush for myself, that I had almost forgotten to tellyou that Dr Wolff has come back safe and sound from the innermost partof India, where he went to try to save the lives of two Englishmen,Stoddart and Conolly. It was like going into a tiger’s den to takethe flesh from the wild beast. And yet the stout-hearted man went!Such an act makes us forget the meanness and folly of a wholegeneration! Captain Grover—a heart of gold that—has published abook on the matter called “The Bokhara Victims.” As no doubt the NewYork publishers—in their anxiety to diffuse knowledge—have alreadypublished it for some five cents, do not fail to read it. As for DrWolff, I wonder what Englishmen will do for him? If he’d come backfrom India after cutting twenty thousand throats, why, he might havehad a round of dinners, diamond-hilted swords, wine-coolers as big asbuckets, and so on; as it is, I fear nothing can be done forhim. However, we shall see.

Letter XIV.To Mrs Hedgehog of New York.

Dear Grandmother,—England’s still above water: the seadoesn’t yet roll over Dover cliffs;[Pg 273] nevertheless, the Maynooth Grantthat I wrote to you about, is gone through the House of Commons, andin a very few weeks the Papists, as you love to call them, will havethe money. Sir Culling Eardley Smith, Mr Plumptre, and others of theirkidney, may possibly for a month or two appear in the streets insackcloth and ashes, and with beards like Jew rabbis—first to showtheir respect for the departed constitution; but after a decent timeof mourning, they will, no doubt, be open to consolation, and taketheir dinners with their usual appetite. I shouldn’t wonder if in sixmonths the Rev. Mr M’Neile (of sulphurous principles) consents toeat and drink like anybody else; and shall be by no means surprisedif Dr Croly is found to have regained, at least, all the flesh thatanxiety and grief for the Church in danger have so deplorably deprivedhim of. It’s wonderful to think how certain saints and patriots getlean and fat as sudden as rabbits! Wonderful to think, when the wholeworld, according to their declaration, has gone to bits, how well andcontentedly they still continue to live upon the pieces! But, deargrandmother, what a blessing is Exeter Hall! What a safety-valve it isfor the patriotism, and indignation, and scorn, and hatred—and allother sorts of public virtues—that but for it, or some such place,would fairly burst so many excellent folks, if they couldn’t go[Pg 274] andrelieve their swelling souls in a bit of talk! As it is, they speechifyand are saved! Only suppose there had been no place whereat worthypeople could have abused the Maynooth Grant—no place wherein to airtheir own particular Christianity to the condemnation of the religionof everybody else—what would have been the consequence? Why, theymust have exploded—burst like the frog in the fable. Day after day MrWakley and his brother coroners would have been sitting on the bodyof some respectable saint and patriot—day after day we should haveread the verdict, “Died by retention of abuse!” Happily, while we haveExeter Hall, we are spared these national calamities.

As I know, grandmother, your natural tenderness for all that concernsthe bishops, I must—at the risk of bringing on your cholic—informyou that they are again in danger. Even the Morning Post isbeginning to neglect ’em! Some newspaper—I don’t know which—hasproposed, as the only true remedy for the distress of the country,that there should be a greater number of bishops. Now this, at thefirst blush, seems a capital notion. But only mark what follows.The writer would multiply episcopal blessings, by “distributing therevenues of the present sees, as they fall vacant, among a greaternumber of bishops.” And the[Pg 275] Morning Post doesn’t at once putdown this infamous proposal. Only imagine the Bishop of London slitinto half-a-dozen bishops—one Henry of Exeter made twenty Henrys—justas you make bundles of small wood from one large piece! After givingutterance to this wickedness, the writer goes on to think “itimpossible that the spiritual Lords should continue to be members ofthe Legislature after ceasing to be rich men.” And this the Postcalls “no singular opinion. For such is the habitual association ofpower and station in this country with wealth, that perhaps nine out ofevery ten persons that one might meet walking along the Strand, wouldsay with this writer that unless a prelate had his thousands a year,and his carriage, and his servants, and his grandeur of accessories,he could not properly take a part in counselling the Government, orassisting to make laws in the Upper House of Parliament!” And if thepeople think so, I’ve heard it said that the bishops have themselvesto thank for such belief, seeing that the world often hears more oftheir carriages and servants than of the humility and tenderness thatwere shown by the apostles. The Post, however, to my amazement,is for stripping Lambeth and Fulham of much of their finery. Yes: thePost absolutely says: “We protest against the opinion that,without the wealth, the worth of the bishops in the[Pg 276] House of Lordswould be nought. Nay, we can conceive the possibility of the influenceof learning, and eloquence, and venerable earnestness, being evengreater when disassociated from wealth and worldly interests!”Only imagine, grandmother, the Bishop of London walking down to theHouse of Lords leaning on a horn-tipped staff, and not rolled alongin his cushioned carriage, with servant in purple livery to let downthe steps for him! Isn’t the picture terrible? Isn’t it what they callrevolutionary? And yet the Morning Post—as coldly as thispresent month of May—can see the possibility of a Bishop of Exeterbeing cut into ten or twenty bishoplings, and never swoon, or even asmuch as call out for the hartshorn! Who is the revolutionist now?

The month has been a dull month: politics, and all that, have been asstupid as the weather. The trees and bushes have come out, to be sure;but only, as it would seem, from a matter of habit—because it’s May bythe almanac. However, the Duke of Newcastle has very kindly tried togive us a fillip, as I’ve heard somebody say in some play or the other,“Orson is endowed with reason!” We’ve had two letters from Clumber!You must know that in the British Museum there are two or threemummies of Egyptian kings, they say, who lived I don’t know how manythousand years ago.[Pg 277] Now just suppose, grandmother, that one of thesemummies—with his brains out, be it remembered—should have suddenlygot up, and written a letter or two to Mehemet Ali and his Egyptians,thinking ’em the self-same Egyptians that used to worship crocodilesand ibises, and make gods of the leeks and onions that grew in theirgardens,—suppose the British Museum mummy had done this—well, thething would have done no more than the political mummy of Clumber;would have made just the same mistake as his well-meaning Grace theDuke of Newcastle. “Forget all you’ve been learning for the lastthirty years, at least; give up the wickedness of steam, forego theiniquity of railroads, be content with sailing-smacks and stagecoaches,repeal the Reform Bill, repeal Catholic Emancipation—in a word, wipeeverything from your minds, gathered there since the good old timeswhen George the Third was King!—come out again in the pig-tails andshoe-buckles of that blissful reign—and I, Duke of Newcastle, am readyto march with you! I am prepared, at every risk, to be hero of theback-step!”

As yet, I have heard of nobody who has joined the Duke’s standard; butif recruits should come in, I’ll let you know.

It is not unlikely, grandmother, that you may have a few Highlandfamilies sent over to America,[Pg 278] as they are now being carefully “weededout” from their native places by certain landlords, who think it betterand more Christian-like to turn their lands into sheep-walks than tosuffer them to be tenanted by mere men, women, and children. “Weeding”is a nice word, isn’t it? it so capitally describes the worth of thething rooted out. The poor man is, of course, the “weed;” the rich isthe “lily,” that “neither toils nor spins.” And just now, it seems,certain places in the Highlands are overgrown with this rank, foulweed—this encumbrance to the soil—this one human thing, worse thanthistle or nettle. What a beautiful world this would be, wouldn’tit?—if this weed of poverty was cut up, burnt, destroyed, got ridof any way! It’s a dreadful nuisance; and yet it will springup, like groundsel or any other worthless thing! And strange to say,the sun will shine upon it, and the dews of heaven descend upon it,all the same as if it was one of the aforesaid lilies, full of lightand breathing sweetness. Odd, isn’t it, that the sky should shine soimpartially on both?—Your affectionate grandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

The Barber’s Chair and The Hedgehog Letters, by Douglas Jerrold—A Project Gutenberg eBook (44)

[Pg 279]

Letter XV.To Miss Kitty Hedgehog, Milliner,Philadelphia.

Dear Kitty,—If I haven’t written before this, it is becauseI’ve had nothing worth ink and paper to send you. I know that you’ve amind above politics, and—may you be pardoned for the lightness!—cansleep like a cat in the sun, no matter how much the Church may bein danger. When, however, there’s anything stirring among silks andsatins, why, then your woman’s spirit is up, and all the milliner isroused within you. Knowing this, Kitty, I shall treat you with a fewlines about a Powdered Ball we’ve lately had at Court; when everybody,out of compliment, I suppose, to what is called the wisdom of theirancestors, went dressed like their great grandfathers and grandmothers.A huge comfort this to great people in the shades! Dear Queen Charlottewas once again at Court, very flatteringly represented by a fine pieceof point-lace worn by the blessed Victoria herself. And dukes, andlords, and generals—all of ’em sleeping in family lead—were once morewalking minuets and dancing “Sir Roger de Coverly.” Everybody, for atime, lived more than a hundred years ago; and, as I’m told, felt veryhappy at going backward even for one night. To go back is[Pg 280] with manyhigh folks the greatest proof of wisdom; and therefore, among suchpeople, the Powdered Ball was considered a glorious stride in the rightdirection. Only imagine the rapture of a Duke of Newcastle, living,even in fancy, for a few hours, at any time from 1715 to 1745; a timewhen there was no Reform Bill, no steam-engines, no railways, no cheapbooks! Think of the delight of many old gentlemen believing themselvestheir own grandfathers; quite away from these revolutionary days, andliving again in “good old times”! I’ve heard—though I don’t answerfor it—that two or three of ’em were so carried away by the thought,that, to keep up the happiness as long as they could, they went to bedin their clothes, high-heeled shoes and all. At this very moment, theydo say Lord —— is still in his embroidered coat and smalls,with a wig like a white cloud upon him. He declares 1715 is such a“good old time” that nothing shall make him go on again to 1845. He hasordered flambeaux for his servants, and now and then talks about goingto Ranelagh. Moreover, by people quite worthy of belief, it is fearedhis delusion, as they call it, is spreading, as they call it, amongstcertain high folks; many of ’em thinking themselves a hundred yearsback, and wanting to make Acts of Parliament in the spirit of thatgood old time. See, Kitty, how a Powdered[Pg 281] Ball may turn the highestheads—even the nobs of the country!

The ladies were, of course, all jewelled, and very fine. Oh, whata fortune some of ’em would have been to a poor man—with theirstomachers! But, Kitty, there is one odd thing at these masksand balls: how is it that young ladies—with names as white assnow—sometimes take the character, fly-spotted and damaged as theyare, of sinful love-birds? You, Kitty, being a woman, can explainthis; but to me, one of the ignorant rough sex, it does seem odd thata pure young lady should dress herself as Nelly Gwynne, or any otherperson of the sort, when the aforesaid pure lady would squeak—and, nodoubt, very proper—at the living creature as if it was a toad. Canyou explain this, Kitty? Do they take such characters, just as theyput black patches on their cheeks, to bring out their own white allthe stronger? Or is it that there’s a sort of idle daring in it, justas children play with fire, though they never mean to burn themselves?I can’t make it out; but how should I expect it—I, a poor, weak,ignorant man—how should I unriddle a creature that’s puzzled Solomon?Of course there was an account of the dresses. Well, when I opened theMorning Post, and saw whole columns built o’ nothing but velvetsand satins, and all that, if I didn’t grin—like a clown[Pg 282] through acollar for a new hat—at the vanity of life.

“Look here,” says I to Bill Fisher, that was sitting in the SpottedLion—“look at the conceit of these folks,” says I, “who think that allthe world’s to stand still a-reading about their ‘gimp Brandenburghsand buttons’—their ‘buttons and frogs’—their ‘blue facings andturnback’—and such mountebankery.” “It is quite beneath us as men,”says Bill; “not at all like lords of the creation. Now, I can forgivethe women—poor little souls!—for having all their flounces andpuffings put in the paper. It’s nat’ral for them.” “Why nat’ral?” saysI. “Why,” says Bill, “because they know it makes one another savage.Bless you, that’s what they do it for—and nothin’ else.” And thenyou should have heard how he laughed as he spelt out the paper. “Lookhere, now,” says he, “here was a lady with a dress looped with bouquetsof pink roses; skirt of rich green satin, trimmed with flounces ofpoint-lace and bouquets of roses; white satin shoes with high heels,green rosettes, with diamonds in the centre. Hair powdered, andornamented with roses and diamonds. Now, isn’t it dreadful, Juniper,that people are to be stopped over their honest pint of porter withstuff like this? What’s ‘satin shoes with high heels’ to all the’versal world? But then, as I say, the women do it to[Pg 283] make one anothersavage. I’ve often thought, since they like so to print in the paperswhat clothes they wear, that at the same time they might let the worldknow what books they read, what pictures they look at—in fact, whatsort of dresses they put on their minds. But, to be sure, this wouldmake nobody savage.” This is what Bill Fisher says; but mark, Kitty,I’m not quite of his way of thinking; though, after all, it does seemodd that a young lady should think it worth while to put all herclothes in print for the world to spell over.

But the Ball will have done a great deal of good in making us look ahundred years back. How I should like to see the thing tried upon agrand scale! Suppose that everybody in London, just for four-and-twentyhours, out of compliment to the great example set by the Court, shouldlive as if it was 1745. Wouldn’t it be droll? Droll to have the gasout, and set up oil-twinklers! Droll to make the new police put on drabcoats, and call the hours like that “venerable institution,” the watch!Droll to have all the rail-trains stopt, and only book passengersfor York by the waggon! Droll to stop the steamboats on the river,the omnibuses in the streets; making folks move about in nothing butwherries, hackney-coaches, and sedan-chairs! Droll, too,[Pg 284] would it be,to start for Gravesend in the tilt-boat on a two days’ voyage! Well,I hope that all this will be brought about; for if all the folks inLondon were made to live only four-and-twenty hours of a hundred yearsago, I do think that for the rest of their lives they’d shut theirmouths about those precious good old times, that some people do now solike to cackle about.

There’s no doubt that the Powdered Ball has been a very fine affair;but the Ball of next season will be the grand thing. A nobleman’sfootman, as I last night drove, told me that at the Ball of nextyear all true folks will wear supposed dresses from the time of 1915to 1954—that is, about a hundred years ahead. There’s a good manyopinions as to what they’d be. Some folks declare they’ll be as plainas drab, and some that we shall have all gone back again to the fashionof the painted Britons, as you see ’em in the “History of England.”By that time, it’s thought, soldiers’ uniforms will have gone quiteout—the electric gun and such nick-nacks having killed War, body andbones. Howsomever, ’twill be odd to see how people’s fancy will dressthemselves for a hundred years on; there’ll be more cleverness in that,if well done, than in wearing the precise coat and petticoat of yourgrandfather and grandmother.—Your loving brother,

Juniper Hedgehog.

[Pg 285]

Letter XVI.To Mrs Hedgehog, New York.

Dear Grandmother,—The Maynooth Grant is granted, and theBritish Lion has once more gone to sleep. When either Sir CullingSmith, Mr M’Neile, or Dr Croly shall pinch his tail and make him roaragain, you shall have due notice of the danger. I think, however, thatthe Lion is safe to sleep until next May, when, of course, he’ll againbe stirred up for the folks at Exeter Hall. In the meantime he must betired, very drowsy, after the speeches that have been made at him; solet him sleep on.

Yes, Maynooth College has got the new grant; nevertheless, to theastonishment of the Duke of Newcastle and company, the sun risesevery morning as if nothing had happened; and, so hard does the loveof shillings make men’s hearts, London tradesmen still smile behindtheir counters, never thinking that their tills are threatened with anearthquake. Newcastle and other peers—just out of consolation to theirshades—have written what’s called a “Protest” against the grant; anda hundred years hence, when England is blown to atoms by the measure,very comfortable it will be to their ghosts, as they walk among theruins, to see men[Pg 286] reading the aforesaid “Protest,” and hear themcrying, “A prophet!” “a prophet!”

And now, grandmother, comes the Roman Catholic Bishops. They won’thave Peel’s plan of education unless all the masters are to be oftheir own faith. For they say “the Roman Catholic pupils could notattend the lectures on history, logic, metaphysics, moral philosophy,geology, or anatomy, without exposing their faith or morals to imminentdanger—unless a Roman Catholic professor shall be appointedfor each of those chairs.” You see, the lecturer on history, if aProtestant, might be making Queen Mary—Bloody Mary, as I was taught tocall her at day-school—a very cruel wretch, indeed; whereas the QueenMary of the Catholic might be a very nice woman, who never could abidefagots, and never knew where Smithfield was. And then for logic (youmust, as I’ve said before, look dictionary for hard words); logic, itseems, is a matter of religion. What’s logic to a Protestant isn’t toa Catholic, or a Mahometan, or a Chinese! In the same way, I suppose,that a straight line in London would be what they call a curve inDublin, and perhaps a whole circle at Canton. And then for “geology”and “anatomy,” why, we all know that there’s nothing certain inanatomy; that it’s all a matter of faith. Thus, if a Catholic anatomistlectured, we’ll say, upon[Pg 287] the body of a Protestant pluralist, hemight, out of blindness, declare that the said body never had a singleatom of heart; that such pluralists always lived without the article.While on the other side, the real Protestant lecturer, discussing onthe self-same corcup, might declare that it was all heart, likea summer cabbage! “Professors’ chairs!” when I read these things, Isomehow do think of the baby-chair that I used to be set up in to takemy meals, with a stick run through the arms to keep me from tumblingout, the talk is so childish!

You ask me about your pet, the Bishop of Exeter. Well, the clergy ofhis diocese have just suffered what’s called his “charge;” a charge,grandmother, in which the Bishop generally contrives to put in alot of small-shot to pepper about him right and left. As usual, hetalked a good deal about himself; making Exeter out such a soft gentleperson—such a lump of Christian butter—that in this hot weather it’swonderful he hasn’t melted long ago. Ha, grandmother! what a lawyerwas spoiled in that bishop! what a brain he has for cobwebs! How hedrags you along through sentence after sentence—every one a darkpassage—until your head swims, and you can’t see your finger closeto your nose! He talked about this Puseyite stuff—this play-actingof the Church—for I don’t know how long; but whether he very[Pg 288] muchlikes it or very much hates it, it’s more than any cabman’s brains canmake out. I never read one of Exeter’s charges, that I don’t think ofa sharp lawyer quite spoiled; but this last is a greater tangle thanall. He talked a great deal about “the apostolical succession,” thetruth of which he would defend. How I should like to hear him tracehimself—Henry of Exeter—upwards! He then came to the new Billthat was to take the right of divorce out of the hands of the Church.He said, “Let the Liberalism of the age be content with what ithad already achieved. It was enough for one generation that men andwomen might be coupled together in a Registrar’s Office, with as totalan absence of all religious sanction as if one huckster were coupledup in partnership with another.” Here the Bishop’s right enough, nodoubt. For if the Bishops’ Court loses cases of divorce, what lots offees go from them to the mere lawyers! A wedding-ring and a licence arethings almost dog-cheap; but, O grandmother! what a lot of money ittakes to break that ring!—what a heap of cash to tear up the licence!and that’s the reason that divorce, like green peas at Christmas, canonly be afforded by the rich. Next, the Bishop had a fling at whathe called “the unhappy beings who went to mechanics’ institutes andlecture-rooms.” He said they wanted “the[Pg 289] discipline of the heart, andthe chastening influence of true religion.” I’m an ignorant cabman,grandmother; but if so many “millions,” as the Bishop said, wantthis, I must ask, What do we pay the Church for? If so many of usare no better, as Exeter said, than “any of the wildest savages whodevoured one another in New Zealand,” for what, in the name of pounds,shillings, and pence, do we pay church-rates? Why don’t the bishopsand the high preachers of the Church come more among us? Why, thinkingof “the apostolical succession,” don’t they copy more than they do thefishermen and tentmakers who are their forefathers? I can’t help askingthis, though, as I said, I know I’m an ignorant cabman.

The Bishop, however, after scolding a good deal, tried to end mildlyand like a Christian. I’ve read at some bookstall of an Indian leaf.One side of it acts as a blister; then take it off, turn it, and theother side serves for the salve. The Bishop of Exeter, to my mind,always tries to make his charge a leaf of this sort; though I mustsay it, one side is generally stronger than the other—better forblistering than healing.—So no more from your affectionate grandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

[Pg 290]

Letter XVII.To Michael Hedgehog, Hong-Kong.

Dear Brother,—You’ll be glad to hear that at last Ministershave remembered there’s such a man in the world as Sir Henry Pottinger.The Queen has sent her compliments to Parliament, commanding a pensionfor him. We’ve given him £1500 a year for life; to my mind a shabbysum. La! Michael, only think how those six clerks of Chancery Lane,with their thousands a year—the chaps who had nothing to do but toplay tricks with what they call equity—only think of them retired witha pension, every one of ’em living like a pot-bellied mouse in a ripeStilton! How they must turn up their noses at poor Sir Henry! He hasopened, I may say, a new world, for rivers of gold to flow out of itinto the banks of Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow—I can’t tell where.And he gets £1500 a year! I think we gave something more than that toLord Keane for blowing up a pair of gates. But then folks turn a betterpenny upon war than peace. Blood and fire, and misery of all kinds,are more profitable than treaties of trade, no matter how glorious.The sword—the bloodier the better, too—weighs down the goose-quill;however, Sir Henry has a reward of some sort, and I’m heartily glad ofit. May he live a[Pg 291] hundred years—and his heart be as green as laurelwhen his head’s as white as cotton!!

But I’m coming to another part of the business. Sir J. C. Hobhouse,who, after all, has not lost his speech, as was for a long timesupposed, lifted up his voice for Sir Henry. What do you think hesaid? “If he” (Sir Henry, mind) “were refused the reward now asked,the result would be this: he was only a lieutenant-colonel, althoughhe had the brevet of major-general, and he would be obliged to leaveEngland; he could not live here.” At this the House cheered, andI’m afraid, Mike, Hobhouse spoke the truth. As I’m an honest cabmanwho never takes less than his fare, if I didn’t blush like a poppywhen I read this. Why, what a shabby, mean, outside set of folks wemust be! Supposing Sir Henry had not got this pension—supposing that,wanting to stay in England, he had lived in a smallish house, had notgiven grand parties, but, content with the thoughts of the great thingshe had done, he had jogged on plainly and humbly, would folks havelooked down upon him? Would the hicky do-nothings, born to their tensof thousands a year, have forgotten all about the Chinese peace andransom, and tremendous trade opened by Sir Henry, unless they saw himin a crack carriage, and knew that he lived in a first-rate mansion?Wouldn’t it have been enough for them to know[Pg 292] that a great and goodhead—one of the heads that rule the world, though the world won’tacknowledge it, at least until the aforesaid head may be rolled aboutby boys in the churchyard—that such a head had all its laurels aboutit, even though sometimes it went under a cotton umbrella? Wouldn’tthey have acknowledged this? No, Michael; no, no, no! The great man, inthe eyes of our English world, would have been lost in the smallness ofhis income.

Pull down Apsley House, deprive the Duke of Wellington of his fortune,let him for three months be seen as a general living at a club uponnothing but his half-pay, and it’s my belief that in three months afterthat some folks would more than doubt whether he ever won Waterloo.I once read of a Roman who was called from his turnips to save hiscountry. What a small fellow he’d have seemed among us! We never couldhave understood a hero upon turnips alone. No; with us Cincinnatus musthave had a fine leg of Southdown to his vegetables, butter and capers,and above all things, a silver fork. I’m called for a fare, so yours inhaste,

Juniper Hedgehog.

P.S.—I don’t know whether you’ll care much about the news atHong-Kong, but we shall have a tidy hay season.

[Pg 293]

Letter XVIII.To Richard Monckton Milnes, Esq., M.P.

Sir,—As I once had the honour to drive you down toParliament, and as I found you such an affable gentleman, with nopride at all in you (I say nothing about the sixpence you gave me overyour fare), I make no bones at all in writing these few lines to you,about your motion for private hanging. I see by the newspapers thatyou want to make a law to hang inside of the gaol, in a snug and quietway; and not to have the show in the open street. Pardon a cabman’sboldness, but really, Mr Milnes, you can’t have thought of the shockingconsequence of your measure, if so be it had been carried out. What!make a law for private hanging! With one bit of parchment destroy whatI’ll be bold enough to call one of the chief amusements of the people!Sir James Graham knows better than this; for he generally contrivesto have an execution on Easter and Whit-Monday, just by the way of anearly whet to the appetites of the holiday-makers. First the Old Baileyand then Greenwich; Mr Calcraft, the hangman—and then the fire-eaterand the clown. Your bill, sir—do forgive my boldness—was very rash,and not[Pg 294] at all just. They’ve taken away bear-baiting and duck-huntingand dog-fighting from what they call the lower orders, and now you’ddeprive ’em of their last and dearest privilege—you’d, with one dashof the pen, rob ’em of their own public gallows! And you call yourselfa friend of them people, Mr Milnes—a stickler for their ancient sportsand pastimes? I don’t wonder that for once something like shame cameover Parliament—that not forty conscientious members stopped to listento you—and that, in a word, you were “counted out.”

I have said your bill was unjust, shamefully unjust, unless you canprove to me that there was a clause in it to what they call indemnifythe housekeepers in the Old Bailey for their loss of vested interests,seeing that they make no end of money by letting their windows at apopular hanging. Why, a Hocker’s worth any money to ’em; for it’s oddhow hanging brings down the pride of some of the upper classes, many ofthe nobs enjoying it quite as much as the lower orders, only that theygive one or two guineas—according to the beauty of the murder—forcomfortable sitting room. If the men they call the six clerks wereindemnified, surely you would not rob the tradesmen of the Old Bailey.

But it really is shocking to see how a mere[Pg 295] member of Parliament willset himself up against a clergyman of Newgate! Didn’t the Rev. MrDavis preach that the whole use and beauty of hanging was to be foundin making it public? According to him, if it was possible to hang aman where all England might see him strangled, why, all England wouldcertainly be the better for it. I’ve no doubt that the cause of so muchcrime is in the smallness of the Old Bailey, that will only accommodatesuch a few! Why shouldn’t the gallows be erected on Salisbury Plain,with cheap railway excursions from all parts on hanging days?

Pardon me, sir, but there never was such a mistake as to think todo away with the wickedness of hanging by making it private. In thefirst place, if to see a hanging is no warning to the beholder, doyou think that to hear or read of a hanging would do all the good ofan example? Does what men see, or what they hear, stir ’em the most?But let us suppose that a man is to be hanged inside of Newgate. Why,the penny-liners that get their sops in the pan out of the condemnedcell, why, they would write all sorts of pretty things, all kinds ofinteresting stories about the last minutes of the criminal, and sothe curiosity of the town would be more agog than ever. The picturenewspapers that publish the murderers’ portraits—those family[Pg 296] papersfor the instruction and amusement of the younger branches—would givehalf-a-dozen pictures where they now give one. The secrecy of the thingwould give a flavour to the whole matter.

And now, suppose that a rich man was to be privately hanged: a banker,we’ll say, or, saving your presence, even a member of Parliament. Well,we know how unbelieving is man. There’s thousands of people who wouldnever sleep quietly in their beds, for the thought that the said bankeror member was never hanged at all, but was smuggled out alive in acoffin, and shipped abroad. Every year or so, there’d be a letter inthe newspapers from somebody who had seen the banker somewhere in theBackwoods, where he had married one of the Chactaws, and got a familyof ten children. No, Mr Milnes, private hanging won’t do; the peoplearen’t to be cheated out of their pleasure after that fashion. Besides,Mr Milnes, all hanging’s a bungle. The gallows is condemned, marked tocome down; timber by timber it’s loosening, and it’s no use trying tokeep it together with small corking-pins. No, Mr Milnes, it will betterbecome you, be more like your kind good-natured self, to give a pullto the planks, to bring the whole machine to the ground, to make it athing of the past, like the bonfires that burnt witches,—and for thehangman thrown out of work, why, small[Pg 297] retiring allowances have beengiven to worse public servants.—Hoping, sir, that you’ll excuse myboldness, I remain, your obedient servant,

Juniper Hedgehog.

P.S.—You know my number, sir, and I’m always in Palace Yard.

Letter XIX.To Isaac Moss, Slop-seller, Portsmouth.

Dear Isaac,—Sir Robert Peel has stood your friend; and ifyou’ve only the money, and the freedom, and the luck, you may be LordMayor of London as soon as you like. You can’t, as a Jew, sit inParliament as yet; but time goes round, Isaac, and I shouldn’t wonderif some day that was to come. Only think if a Jew—an hon. memberfor Whitechapel—was some day to find himself alongside of a ColonelSibthorpe; for every Parliament has its Sibthorpe, just as every springhas its green geese.

Sir Robert Inglis, of course, stood up for Mother Church, who, infaith, must have a tremendous constitution, seeing how the dearcreature has been ill-treated by all sorts of infidel politicians. Ireally do believe that Sibthorpe[Pg 298] wouldn’t now trust Sir Robert withthe church-plate; no, not even with the taking of the twopences at thedoor of St Paul’s, for fear he should cheat in his accounts.

Mr Plumptre would have nothing to do with the bill, because, he said,“every Christian man, who was sensible of his religious obligation,should consider what would be for the honour of the Most High.”Ah, Isaac, there it is! What a lot of wickedness has been done in thispretty world of ours—and all with a conscience—for what Christiansthought would be “for the honour of the Most High”! For such honourmen have roasted one another, as they wouldn’t roast live beasts, at astake; for such honour they have done all sorts of wrong, shutting uptheir fellow-creatures in dungeons, and tearing and torturing them allmanner of ways, as if they thought, when they did most wrong to mortalcreatures, they did most honour to the good God that made them.

Well, Isaac, I’m only a cabman, but when I sometimes read the debates,I do now and then thank my stars that I’m out of Parliament. And thenthe conceit of them that’s in it. When they’ve done anything that’sgood, what do they do? Why, they only walk about like the bird inthe fable, in feathers of better people. They never do nothing ofthemselves. No good seed is ever[Pg 299] grown in Parliament: not a bit of it;the thing’s grown outside of the place, and then transplanted. Talkof the wisdom of Parliament, Isaac! why, they get their wisdom frompeople who’ve never set their eyes upon Mr Speaker. What did Parliamentever begin, I should like to know? That is, understand me, whatthat’s good? No, good laws—wise laws—are begun outside; thought of,invented by quiet folks, who never think to put M.P. to their names;and whose great trouble it is to get the good acknowledged. And when atlast, after wasting I don’t know how much of heaven’s good time—afterthe rumpus of many, many years—Parliament consents to take the goodthing, I’m hanged if the goose doesn’t hatch the swan’s egg, as if itwas a thing laid by itself, and not put into its nest by other people.

“The honour of the Most High!” Surely, Isaac, the best way to show suchhonour is to love your fellow-creatures as the greatest work—so faras we know—of the Most High; and not, poor small things as we are, towalk about the earth, and when we poke up our noses highest in the faceof heaven, think we have then the best right to tread the hardest onthe necks of everybody that don’t agree with us. To hear a few folkstalk in Parliament, you’d think that they’d assured to themselves allParadise as a freehold, and standing[Pg 300] upon their rights, would setup in it man-traps and spring-guns against all intruders. However,never mind, Isaac. There was a time when a King of England wouldhave drawn a tooth a day out of your jaws, if you didn’t undraw yourpurse-strings; and now—so do this wicked world roll on—you may wear aLord Mayor’s chain, and, as a magistrate, commit vagrants to gaol likeany Christian.—Your friend,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter XX.To Mrs Hedgehog, New York.

Dear Grandmother,—September’s so near we can almost putour hand upon it, and yet I’m in London. It’s a dreadful confessionof poverty, but I can’t help it. If I’m not ashamed to be seen on mystand, I’m not a licensed cabman. The only comfort there is, everybodythat stays in town must be as poor as myself, and that, accordingto some folk’s notions, is a blessing to think of. A purse that wasdropped on the pavement of Regent Street lay there a week, and was atlast picked up by a policeman. London never looked so poor and dull;for all the world like a fine lady in an undress gown, with all herpaint wiped off. The opera is shut up, and the manager has[Pg 301] had asilver bed-candlestick given him by lords and dukes, because he hasbeen so full of public spirit as to make his own fortune. By the way,grandmother, I don’t know how it is with the player-folks in New York;but here with us, if a man or woman want a bit of plate they’ve only totake a theatre. A playhouse is a short cut to a silversmith’s. Thereisn’t a London manager who isn’t plated after this fashion, which showsthere is no place for true gratitude like the green-room; but I askyour pardon for talking of such matters, knowing what a low place youthink the theatre. Parliament, like a goose that has been set upontoo many eggs, has risen with half of ’em come to nothing. But this,grandmother, is the old trick. When the Parliament first opens, andMinisters come down with new law after law, why, what busy, bustlingfolks they seem! What a look of business it gives to the whole thing!But half of ’em is only for show; just so many dummies to take inwhat shopkeepers call “an enlightened public.” You know the bottlesof red and blue that they have in apothecaries’ shops? Well, half thefolks think ’em physic, when they’re nothing in the world but colouredwater. Sir James Graham’s Medical Bill was just one of these things:nothing real in it; but something made up for show; just to give acolouring to business. Talking of[Pg 302] Parliament, a dreadful accidenthappened at the prorogation. You know it’s the privilege of the Dukeof Argyll to bear the royal crown before the Queen. Certain folks cameinto the world with certain privileges of the kind. One has a right tostir the royal tea-cup on the day of the coronation, another to puton the Queen’s pattens whenever she shall walk in the city, anotherto present the monarch with a pint of periwinkles when he shall visitBillingsgate; and so forth: all customs of the good old times, whenpeople thought kings and queens were angels in disguise, who had kindlyleft heaven just to give poor mortals here a lift—in fact, to makethe world endurable. Well, the Duke of Argyll, walking backwards withthe crown—going straightforwards not being at all the thing in theCourt—fell, poor old gentleman, down some steps, and falling, droptthe crown! Pheugh! There was a shower of pearls and diamonds; for allthe precious stones came rattling on the floor, just as if the Queen,like the little girl in the fairy story, had been talking jewels. Therewere thoughts, I’m told, of calling in the police to keep off the mobof peers; but altogether they behaved themselves very well, and not aprecious stone was found missing. The accident, however, caused a greatfuss; and I’m told, in order to prevent its happening again, MadameTussaud has offered to[Pg 303] make a Duke of Argyll in wax, that, fitted upwith proper wheels and springs, may be made to go backwards with nofear of a tumble. Should the thing succeed—and I don’t see why itshouldn’t—it would be a great saving in the way of salaries to thecountry, if a good many other Court officers were manufactured afterthe like fashion.

I’d almost forgotten to say that the King of the Dutch has been on avisit to us—and, as I’ve heard, a very decent sort of king he is. Ofcourse he played while here at a little bit of soldiering; guards andgrenadiers were turned out in Hyde Park, that he might review theirhelmets and bearskin caps. Isn’t it odd, grandmother, that the firstshow kings and princes, when they come to us, want to stare at is ashow of soldiers? just to see how nicely men are armed and mountedto kill men! They don’t mean any harm by it, of course; but still—Ican’t help thinking it—it does appear to me, if Beelzebub was to gointo a strange country—if, indeed, there is any country he’s notyet visited—the sight he’d first like to see would be the sight ofmen taught the best way of cutting men’s throats. And then (if hecame here to London) he’d go down to Woolwich Marshes, to see whatthey call rocket-practice, and wouldn’t he rub his hands, and switchabout his tail, to see how rockets and shells split, break, tear awayeverything[Pg 304] before ’em, showing what pretty work they’d make of a solidsquare of living flesh, standing for so many pence a day to be made atarget of? You’d think it would be some wicked spirit that would enjoythis fun; but no, grandmother, it isn’t so; quite the contrary; it’skings and princes. And yet I should like to have some king come overhere who wouldn’t care to go a-soldiering in Hyde Park; who wouldn’tthink of rocket-practice; but who, on the contrary, would go about toour schools and our hospitals, and our asylums, and all places whereman does what he can to help man; to assist and comfort him like afellow-creature, and not to tear him limb from limb like a devil.

Our Queen has gone to Germany to see where Prince Albert was born.Well, there’s something pretty and wife-like in the thought of this,and I like this. There was a dreadful fear among some of the nobs inParliament, that while the Queen was away the kingdom would drop topieces. But it isn’t so: the tax-gatherer calls just the same as ever.The Queen took ship, and landed at Antwerp—at the Quai Vandyke; now,Vandyke, you must know, was a famous painter; and abroad, they’vea fashion of naming streets and places after folks that’s calledgeniuses. We haven’t come to that yet. Only think of our[Pg 305] having aHogarth Square, or a Shakspere instead of a Waterloo Bridge! And thenfor statues in the streets, we don’t give them to authors and painters,but only to kings and dukes that don’t pay their debts.

Still, I do feel for her Gracious Majesty. Dear soul! Isn’t it dreadfulthat a gentlewoman can’t step abroad—can’t take boat, but what there’sa hundred guns blazing, firing away at her,—as if the noise of cannonand the smell of gunpowder was like the songs of nightingales and thescent of roses! How royalty keeps its hearing, I can’t tell. When thedear lady got upon the Rhine, there were the guns blazing away asthough heaven and earth were come together. It’s odd enough that peoplewill think a great noise is a great respect; and that the heartiestwelcome can only be given by gunpowder. It seems that the folks wereputting up a statue to a musician named Beethoven, and the Queen ofEngland and the Prince were just in time to pay their respects to thebronze. Mr Beethoven while alive was nobody; but it’s odd how a man’sworth is raked up from his coffin! And so it’s a great comfort to greatmen who, when in this world, are thought very small indeed, to thinkhow big they’ll be upon earth after they’ve gone to heaven; a comfortfor ’em, when they may happen to want a[Pg 306] coat, to think of the suit ofbronze or marble that kings and queens will afterwards give ’em. If,now, there’s any English composer, any man with a mind in him, forced,for want of better employment—forced to give young ladies lessons onthe piano when he should be doing sonatas and sinfonias, and that sortof thing,—why, I say, it must be a comfort to him to know that folkscan honour genius when it’s put up by way of statue in the market-place.

One of the prettiest stories I’ve heard of the jaunt is this, thatthe Queen and Albert went in a quiet way to visit the Prince’s oldschoolmaster—if this isn’t enough to make all schoolmasters in Englandhold their heads up half a yard higher! Besides, it mayn’t show a badexample to high folks who keep tutors and governesses.

Altogether the Queen must be pleased with her trip, and I should thinknot the less pleased where the folks made the least noise; although,from what I read in one of the papers, everybody doesn’t think so; forthe writer complains that there was “no shouting or noise, only thateternal bowing which so strikes a traveller, and which wouldmake one believe that beings across the Channel were formed with somenatural affinity between their right hands and their hats.” Really,to my mind there’s something more pleasing,[Pg 307] more rational-like, inone human creature quietly bowing to another, than in shouting andhallooing at him like a wild Indian. But, then, people do so like noise!

You’ll be sorry to hear, grandmother, that your pets, the bishops,are again in trouble. I’m sure of it, bishops were never intended tohave anything to do with money: they always tumble into such mistakeswhenever they touch it. How is it to be expected that they shouldknow the mystery of pounds, shillings, and pence,—they who can’tabide earthly vanities—they who are always above this world, thoughthey never go up, as I hear, with Mr Green in his balloon? Well, itseems that the bishops have had a mint of money put into their handsthat they may build new churches for their fellow-sinners, whom theycall spiritually destitute. Well, would you think it?—in a moment ofstrange forgetfulness, they’ve laid out so much money upon palacesfor themselves, that they can’t build the proper number of churchesfor the poor? The bishops have taken care of the bishops—and for thespiritually destitute, why, they may worship in highways and byways, infields and on commons. Of course the bishops never meant this. No; ithas all come about from their knowing nothing of the value of money.Still, what’s called the lower orders won’t believe[Pg 308] this. And isn’tit a shocking thing to consider that the poor man may look at BishopSo-and-so with a grudge in his eye, saying to himself, “Yes, you’vebuilt yourself a fine house—you’ve got your fine cedars, and all thatKing Solomon talks about, in your own palace; but where’s my sittingsin the church?—where, bishop, is my bench in the middle aisle?”

This is so dreadful to think of, that I can’t write any further uponit—and so no more from your affectionate grandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter XXI.To Sir J. B. Tyrell, Bart., M.P. for NorthEssex.

Sir,—As I consider every gentleman that I have had thepleasure, or the honour, or the ill-luck as it may be, of driving, asort of acquaintance—for where money passes, it in a manner bindsmen—I make no difficulty in sending you these few lines.

You have been dining with the Conservative Maldon True Blue Club.True Blue, I suppose, means heaven’s blue—that is, blue as true asheaven. All the speeches were printed in the Essex Standard,and afterwards, where I saw ’em,[Pg 309] in the Morning Post. Yourspeech, Sir James, or Sir John (for, upon my life, I forget which itis, so I’ll call you Sir James upon chance)—your speech drenched me,as a Christian cabman, quite over. You rose to drink the health ofthe Duke of Wellington. Well, I don’t object to that. But, I’m sureof it,—never once thinking of your Testament, you went on in thismanner—and mind, it was only just after dinner—

“It had been said of the noble Duke, that he was notonly the conqueror of Bonaparte—but the greatestman since the time of the Saviour!”

You thought if that language was “too strong to apply to himas a man, his claims upon the country could not be overrated.” Now,Sir James, IF the language was too strong (for you said“if”), why did you use it? Why make any comparison between theSaviour of the world and the colonel of a Grenadier Guards? The Duke,no doubt, has claims upon the country; though some of these claims,by-the-by, are regularly settled by the country every pay-day, and comein regularly with his rents of Strathfieldsaye. Nevertheless, whateverclaims he may have outstanding against us, I don’t think he can enforceany of ’em in the spirit of Him who said, “Love your enemies; blessthem that curse you; do good to them that hate[Pg 310] you; and pray for themwhich despitefully use you, and persecute you.” The Duke of Wellingtonnever talks in this way in the House of Lords; but do we expect thathe should? His business of life, Sir James, has been to fight; andthough I think the trade a very bad one, nevertheless he made the bestof the wickedness. But, Sir James, you, it seems, would bind up theSermon on the Mount with the “Wellington Despatches;” and seem to thinkthe battle of Waterloo a finer acted thing than that small incidentrehearsed at the words, “Take up thy bed and walk.”

Sometime ago, the son of a Christian judge, passing through a Londonstreet, saw, as he thought, a blasphemous representation of the Deityexposed in a window. In a trice he smashed the glass and tore up theoffensive picture. Right glad am I, for the sake of the convivial TrueBlues, that young Mr Bruce was not at the Maldon dinner; otherwise,where the chairman found a companion picture for Jesus in the Grenadiertenant of Apsley House, Mr Bruce might have forgotten Sir James Tyrellin what he might have thought the blasphemer.

“Our Saviour” and the Duke of Wellington! And among the company,“which was upwards of seventy in number,” were members of Parliament,captains, esquires, and—my ink turns almost red[Pg 311] with shame as Iwrite it—and clergymen! There were pious Christians, teachersof Christian flocks, “their eyes red with wine, and their teeth whitewith milk,” who sat quietly upon their seats, and heard the BritishGrenadier paralleled with Jesus Christ! Answer, Reverends Leigh,Williams, Bruce, and Henshawe—was it not so? O Conservative clergymen!O True Blue disciples of beeswing port! O knife-and-fork apostles!when, mute as fish, you consented to the speech of Tyrell, and soforgot your Master, did you not, in your souls, hear “the cock crow”?

Well, Sir James, I do recollect what my old grandmother taught me ofthe New Testament; and although I’m but a cabman, I hope I do feel, ifI’d ever had the presumption to compare anybody to the blessed Saviour,I couldn’t have gone to the barracks for him.

I think the Duke of Wellington has said that “no man who’s nice aboutreligion should be a soldier!” Perhaps you never heard of this, andthought that to hunt the French out of Spain was almost quite as greatas to cast out devils.

“The greatest man since the time of our Saviour!” And there havebeen no other men, Sir James, sent into the world to pick theirfellow-creatures, as I may say, out of the mud? There have been noShakspere? No Newton? No[Pg 312] Howard? No! Ball-cartridge has been the truemanna of life; and the words “Feed my sheep” are nothing to “Makeready, present, fire!”

But, Sir James, I’ve done. I know you didn’t mean what you said.No: the truth is, you’re a regular Conservative, and so—like otherdarkened folks—you must make an idol out of something. Rather thanhave none at all, you’d set up the Duke of Wellington’s bootjack.Still, among the True Blues, you overshot the mark, and must be by thistime perfectly ashamed of yourself. Nevertheless, your wickedness oughtnot to go unpunished: and because, in a port-wine moment, you comparedthe Iron Duke to the Lamb of the world, I’d make you undergo a month’spenance. You should be covered all over with pipeclay, and eat parchedpeas off a drum-head.

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter XXII.To Mrs Hedgehog, New York.

Dear Grandmother,—As I don’t think you have any liking forrailways—being, like Colonel Sibthorpe, one of those folks loving thegood old times when travelling was as sober a thing as a waggon andfour horses could make it—I really[Pg 313] don’t see how I’m to write youanything of a letter. There’s nobody in town, and nothing in the papersbut plans of railways, that in a little time will cover all Englandlike a large spider’s net; and, as in the net, there will be a goodmany flies caught and gobbled up by those who spin it. Nevertheless,though I know you don’t agree with me any more than Colonel Sibthorpedoes, it is a fine sight to open the newspapers and see the railwayschemes. What mountains of money they bring to the mind! And then forthe wonders they’re big with—why, properly considered, aren’t they athousand times more wonderful than anything in the “Arabian Nights’Entertainments”? There we have a flying carriage to be brought to everyman’s door! All England made to shake hands with itself in a few hours!And when London can in an hour or so go to the Land’s End for a gulp ofsea air, and the Land’s End in the same time come to see the shows ofLondon, shan’t all of us the better understand one another? shan’t weall be brought together, and made, as we ought to be, one family of?It’s coming fast, grandmother. Now pigs can travel, I don’t know howfar, at a halfpenny a head, we don’t hear the talk that used to be of“the swinish multitude.” And isn’t it a fine thing—I know you don’tthink so, but isn’t it—to know that all that’s been done,[Pg 314] and allthat’s to do, will be done because Englishmen have left off cuttingother men’s throats? That peace has done it all! If they oughtn’t toset up a dove with an olive branch at every railway terminus, I’m animpostor and no true cabman! Yes, grandmother, peace has done it all!Only think of the iron that had been melted into cannon, and round-shotand chain-shot, and all other sorts of shot, that the devils on aholiday play at bowls with!—if the war had gone on—all the verysame iron that’s now peaceably laid upon sleepers! Think of the ironthat had been fired into the sea, and banged through quiet people’shouses, and sent smashing squares and squares of men—God’s likenessesin red, blue, and green coats, hired to be killed at so many pencea day,—only think what would have been this wicked, I will say it,this blasphemous waste of metal—that, as it is, has been made intosteam-engines! Very fine, indeed, they say, is the roar of artillery;but what is it to the roar of steam? I never see an engine, withred-hot coals and its clouds of steam and smoke, that it doesn’t seemto me like a tremendous dragon that has been tamed by man to carryall the blessings of civilisation to his fellow-creatures. I’ve readabout knights going through the skies on fiery monsters—but what arethey to the engineers, at two pound five a week? What is any squire[Pg 315]among ’em all to the humblest stoker? And then I’ve read about martialtrumpets, why, they haven’t, to my ears, half the silver in their soundas the railway whistle! Well, I should like the ghost of Bonaparte toget up some morning, and take the Times in his thin hands. Ifhe wouldn’t turn yellower than ever he was at St Helena! There he’dsee plans for railways in France—belly France, as I believethey call it—to be carried out by Frenchmen and Englishmen. Yes; hewouldn’t see ’em mixing bayonets, trying to poke ’em in one another’sbowels, that a few tons of blood might, as they call it, water hislaurels (how any man can wear laurels at all, I can’t tell, they mustsmell so of the slaughter-house!)—he wouldn’t see ’em charging oneanother on the battle-field, but quietly ranged cheek by jowl, in thelist of directors! Not exchanging bullets, but clubbing together theirhard cash.

Consider it, grandmother, isn’t it droll! Here, in these very lists,you see English captains and colonels in company with French viscountsand barons, and I don’t know what, planning to lay iron down inFrance—to civilise and add to the prosperity of Frenchmen! The verycaptains and colonels who—but for the peace—would be blowing Frenchships out of water, knocking down French houses, and all the whileswearing it, and believing[Pg 316] it, too, that Frenchmen were only sent intothis world to be killed by Englishmen, just as boys think frogs werespawned only to be pelted at! Ah, only give her time, and Peace—timiddove as she is—will coo down to the trumpet.

Now, grandmother, only to think of Lord Nelson as a railway directoron the Boulogne line to Paris! Well, I know you’ll say it, the world’sgoing to be turned upside down. Perhaps it is; and after all, itmightn’t be the worse now and then for a little wholesome shaking. Theydo say there’s to be a rail from Waterloo to Brussels, and the Duke ofWellington, the Iron Duke, with, I’ve no doubt, iron enough in him forthe whole line, is to be chairman of the directors.

The Prince Joinville is now and then looking about our coasts to findout, it is said, which is the softest part of us, in the case of awar, to put his foot upon us. Poor fellow! he’s got the disease ofglory; only, as it sometimes happens with the smallpox, it has struckinward—it can’t come out upon him. When we’ve railways laid down, asI say, like a spider’s web all over the country, won’t it be a littlehard to catch us asleep? For, you see, just like the spider’s web, theelectric telegraph (inquire what sort of a thing it is, for I haven’ttime to tell you)—the electric telegraph will touch a line of theweb, when down will come a tremendous[Pg 317] spider in a red coat with allsorts of murder about him! Mind, grandmother, let us hope it never willhappen; but when folks who’d molest us, know it can come about,won’t they let us alone? Depend upon it, we’re binding war over to keepthe peace, and the bonds are made of railway iron!

You’d hardly think it—you who used to talk to me about the beautyof glory (I know you meant nothing but the red coats and the fineepaulets; for that so often is woman’s notion of glory, though, bless’em! they’re among the first to make lint, and cry over the sonsof glory, with gashes spoiling all their fine feathers)—and you’dhardly think it, but they’re going to put up a statue to the man whofirst made boiling water to run upon a rail. It’s quite true: I readit only a day or two ago. They’re going to fix up a statue to GeorgeStephenson at Newcastle. How you will cast up your dear old eyes whenyou hear of this! you, who’ve only thought that statues should be putup to Queen Anne, and George the Third, and his nice son, George theFourth, and such people! I should only like a good many of the statueshere in London, to be made to take a cheap train down to Newcastle, tosee it. If, dirty as they are—and dirty as they were—they wouldn’tblush as red as a new copper halfpenny! Why, those statues—especiallywhen they’ve queens and kings in ’em—are[Pg 318] the most unfeelingest ofmetal! What a lot of mangled bodies, and misery, and housebreaking, andwickedness of all sorts, carried on and made quite lawful by a uniform,may we see—if we choose to see at all—about the statue of what iscalled a conqueror! What a firing of houses, what shame—that, becauseyou’re a woman, I won’t more particularly write about—we might lookupon under the statue, that is only so high, because it has so muchwickedness to stand upon! If the statue could feel at all, wouldn’t itput up its hands, and hide its face, although it was made of the bestof bronze? But Mr Stephenson will look kindly and sweetly about him; hewill know that he has carried comfort, and knowledge, and happiness tothe doors of millions!—that, that he has brought men together, thatthey might know and love one another. This is something like having astatue! I’m sure of it—when George the Fourth is made to hear the news(for kings are so very long before the truth comes to ’em), he’d liketo gallop off to the first melter’s and go at once into the nothingthat men think him.

And besides all this, the railways have got a king! When you hear of aking in England, I know your old thoughts go down to Westminster Abbey,and you think of nothing but bishops and peers, and all that sort ofthing, kissing the king’s[Pg 319] cheeks, and the holy oil put upon the royalhead, that the crown, I suppose, may sit the more comfortably upon it;but this is another sort of king, Mr King Hudson the First. I have readsomewhere at a bookstall, that Napoleon was crowned with the Iron Crownof Italy. Well, King Hudson has been crowned with the Iron Crown ofEngland!—a crown melted out of pig-iron, and made in a railway furnace.

I’ve somewhere seen the picture of the River Nile, that with thelifting of his finger made the river flow over barren land, and leavethere all sorts of blessings. Well, King Hudson is of this sort; hehas made the molten iron flow over all sorts of places, and so bringforth good fruits wherever it went.—So no more, from your affectionategrandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.

Letter XXIII.To Mrs Hedgehog, New York.

Dear Grandmother,—Of course you must have heard of the potatoblight. There are some subjects that women don’t want newspapers toteach ’em about, and “potatoes is one.” I can’t tell how your red Yorksand Kidneys may be in[Pg 320] your part of the world: with us, they’re thingsto weep over. But, of course, your potatoes are all right: you’ve donenothing to bring down rot upon ’em from heaven. But it’s very differentwith us, grandmother. Our potato blight was got up by her Majesty’sMinisters, and—would you think it?—consented to by her blessedMajesty! It is now as plain as light that the great Maynooth has doneit all! One William Ferrie—who writes in a hair shirt, with a girdleof tenpenny nails next his skin—has let out the terrible secret in theWitness, an Edinburgh paper (Nov. 8). He groans as follows:—

“Had we set ourselves to consider by what displayof His sovereignty the Lord could most thoroughly and veryseverely have distressed Ireland, whilst He in some degreeafflicted also both England and Scotland, in token of Hisindignation at the sin of their joint rulers in enactingthat which, whilst it insulted Him, was justified on theplea that it would benefit Ireland, could we have conceiveda more effectual one than the blasting of the potatocrop!”

Now, grandmother, this, I know, is stuff after your own heart.Popery is at the root of the root! The Lord has been insulted; andHis terrible vengeance is a blight upon potatoes! There can be nodoubt that this is the fact—a fact so after[Pg 321] the good old times!Nevertheless, for my part, I think it rather hard that Protestantpotatoes—potatoes that, if they could talk, would cry, “Nosurrender!”—should suffer equally with potatoes of Roman Catholicprinciples. I know it’s very conceited in me to give an opinion againstmen like William Ferrie—men who always bawl and scribble (I’ve heard’em in their pulpits, as well as read their stuff in print) as if theywere nothing less than livery servants to Providence, and knew all thehousehold secrets! And Willy Ferrie, depend on ’t, is flunky after thisfashion.

A rotten potato is a rotten potato—at least so I should have thoughtit afore I’d been taught better by ranting Willy; but now, I can seeinto the thing just as well as if Erasmus Wilson—the magician of themicroscope—had lent me his glass, and his eyes and brains into thebargain. I can see into the decayed parts, for I won’t bother your dearhead with hard words (though when a man’s got ’em for the first time,he likes to sport ’em), and can behold nothing but what you used tocall “the murdering Papishes.” I’ve a ’tato before me, as rotten asthe heart of any talking ’tato that ever spouted blarney in the faceof starvation. Well, with the microscope, I can see the Old Woman inScarlet, with her toe polished with holy[Pg 322] kisses—cardinals and abbots,and friars and priests, in white and red and gold—and canopies, anddolls of the Virgin, and saints, and little boys swinging censers.I can see all this by the assistance of Willie Ferrie—all of it inone potato—as plainly as once I saw all sorts of sharks in a drop ofNew River water. I shall write this blessed night to Sir Andrew Agnew(by the way, dear grandmother, it was said that Sir Andrew was latelycaught in a Sunday train—but it isn’t true: it’s now proved to besomebody I won’t mention to you, who sometimes, out of spite to theBaronet, goes about in his likeness)—I’ll write to Sir Andrew, and gethim to give a Potato Lecture, after this fashion, at Exeter Hall. Ifwith one potato he wouldn’t make the women cry, then there’s no weepingto be got out of an onion! Sir Andrew with one rotten potato, likeDavid with a smooth pebble, would kill Goliath Peel as dead as Tamworthmutton.

And yet when it’s plain that it’s the Maynooth Grant, and not thewet—certainly not the wet—that’s rotted the potato, we find big-wigdoctors sent to Ireland (a further insult to Providence, grandmother)to inquire, as it is presumptuously said, into the cause of thedisease. Why, I know what you or any other good old woman would[Pg 323] havedone; after you’d tasted the Maynooth Grant—and there’s no mistakingthe flavour—in your early kidneys, you’d at once have stopped therot;—and how would you have done it? Why, you’d have got the Queen tosend a message to Parliament, to order a repeal of the Maynooth Grant.Of course you would. But no: sinful men are made foolhardy by success.Because, when they granted Catholic ’Mancipation, the fly spared ourturnips, it was thought we could give money to Maynooth College, andyet save our ’tatoes! Ha! Dear grandmother, when you take your kidneybaked, steamed, or mashed, think of us sinners, and say a short prayerfor us.

I’d forgotten to tell you that the potatoes in Belgium are as bad, oreven worse, than ours. Besides the wet, I can’t precisely tell thecause of this; because there’s been no Maynooth Grant there, nearly allthe wicked people being Catholics,—but then, I suppose, that’s it. MrFlunky Ferrie declares that “the present judgment is connected withPopery.” There’s no doubt of it:—

“The blight being general over three kingdoms, points outthe rulers of the land as the persons whose sin hassecured it; and the blight being in the potato crop, directsattention to their dealings with Ireland as[Pg 324] the particularsins which have immediately called it down.”

This is, doubtless, true enough, and no less true because the wholepeople must suffer for the dozen rulers. Now, had the blight fallenonly upon Tamworth, or Strathfieldsaye, or all the ’tatoes of all theMinisters, the disease would doubtless have been hushed up. Yes,—itwas necessary that every man should suffer in his potatoes; not onlythe sinful Protestant who consented to the Grant, but the luckyCatholics who accepted it. The judgment fell upon all tribes alike—thetribes of the Established Church and of the Church of Babylon. TheBishop of London’s ’tatoes are in as forlorn a way as the ’tatoes ofthe Irish Lion of Judah: that’s some comfort, grandmother.

Well, and what does this blight say to the Catholics—what does everypotato cry (with the little voice that what they call tubercularconsumption has left it)—what does it cry to the “Papishes,” but,“Change your religion, and henceforth be happy in your ’tatoes!” Atfirst, I thought this change of religion a ticklish matter; but whenI see how easily the nobs—the bright examples of the world—do it,why, it’s only conceit in smaller people to hesitate: for I’ve justread a long story about the Emperor Nicholas, who’s in Italy[Pg 325] with hispoor dying wife. (By the way, it seems that the Emperor, like manyother folks, is such a good-tempered, jolly fellow when he’s out, thatit’s a pity he should ever go home again.) The Emperor’s daughter, theDuchess Olga (a good playbill name, isn’t it?) was to marry an AustrianArchduke; but her father wouldn’t let her alter her religion from theGreek to the Catholic Church. Now, however, Nicholas has thought betterof it,—and his daughter may change her religion for a husband, justas she’ll put on a new gown to be married in. When emperors and kingsplay at hustle-cap with creeds, isn’t it downright impudence in merenobodies to be nice!

When I think, though, that the Maynooth Grant has brought the rot inpotatoes, I can’t help looking round about the world, and fearing whatmay by-and-by become of us for our friendship with heathens. We taketea of the Chinese—a people, evidently an insult to heaven—thoughlong put up with, and mustering hundreds of millions. Doesn’t Mr Ferriefear that some day all us men may rise in the morning with pig-tails,and the women get up with a little foot apiece? We buy rhubarb fromthe wicked Turk. A time may come when—for a visitation—the drug maydeceive all the doctors, and Old Gooseberry only know[Pg 326] what mischiefmay happen! We get tallow from Russia. How do I know that I mayn’t inevery six to a pound, without thinking of it, set up a candle to theGreek Church! Will Flunky Ferrie think of these things?—for there aremany of his kidney who’d like to be enlightened.

But, O grandmother! perhaps the worst is to come. The Church is reallynow in danger! I’ve not had a fare up Ludgate Hill lately, but I’veno doubt St Paul’s is cracked from top to bottom. Would you believeit? David Salomons, the late Sheriff (who was sweetly cheated out ofhis gown as Alderman, the said gown being now on the shoulders ofChurch-and-State Moon, Esq.)—David Salomons, a Jew, has given £1666,13s. 4d. to buy a scholarship of £50 a year for the city of London, andthe city—Gog and Magog quivered as with ague—has been mean enough totake it. Oh for the good old times, when they used to spit upon Jewsin the Exchange! And now we take their money from ’em! I know you’llthink it a blow at the Church. The scholarship is said to be “open tomembers of every religious persuasion;” this is a flam-blind. The giftis a sly attack on the Established Church. It is the evident intentionof the Minories to turn us all Jews. Never has there been such a blowstruck at the vested interests[Pg 327] of Smithfield Pig-market. Sir RobertInglis—whom I took up at Exeter Hall a night or two ago—says, in twoyears there’ll be a grand Rabbi in Lambeth Palace.—Your affectionategrandson,

Juniper Hedgehog.


1 The Duke has, doubtless to the astonishment of Mr Nuttswhen he shall learn it, suggested a more rapid reformation.

2 Eu.

Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variationsin hyphenation and accents have been standardised but all otherspelling and punctuation remains unchanged.


Updated editions will replace the previous one—the old editions willbe renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyrightlaw means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the UnitedStates without permission and without paying copyrightroyalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use partof this license, apply to copying and distributing ProjectGutenberg™ electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG™concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,and may not be used if you charge for an eBook, except by followingthe terms of the trademark license, including paying royalties for useof the Project Gutenberg trademark. If you do not charge anything forcopies of this eBook, complying with the trademark license is veryeasy. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose such as creationof derivative works, reports, performances and research. ProjectGutenberg eBooks may be modified and printed and given away—you maydo practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks not protectedby U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the trademarklicense, especially commercial redistribution.




To protect the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promoting the freedistribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase “ProjectGutenberg”), you agree to comply with all the terms of the FullProject Gutenberg™ License available with this file or online

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg™ electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg™electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree toand accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by allthe terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return ordestroy all copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works in yourpossession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to aProject Gutenberg™ electronic work and you do not agree to be boundby the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the personor entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B. “Project Gutenberg” is a registered trademark. It may only beused on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people whoagree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a fewthings that you can do with most Project Gutenberg™ electronic workseven without complying with the full terms of this agreement. Seeparagraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with ProjectGutenberg™ electronic works if you follow the terms of thisagreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg™electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation (“theFoundation” or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collectionof Project Gutenberg™ electronic works. Nearly all the individualworks in the collection are in the public domain in the UnitedStates. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in theUnited States and you are located in the United States, we do notclaim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long asall references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hopethat you will support the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promotingfree access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg™works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping theProject Gutenberg™ name associated with the work. You can easilycomply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in thesame format with its attached full Project Gutenberg™ License whenyou share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also governwhat you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries arein a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of thisagreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or anyother Project Gutenberg™ work. The Foundation makes norepresentations concerning the copyright status of any work in anycountry other than the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or otherimmediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg™ License must appearprominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg™ work (any workon which the phrase “Project Gutenberg” appears, or with which thephrase “Project Gutenberg” is associated) is accessed, displayed,performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work isderived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does notcontain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of thecopyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone inthe United States without paying any fees or charges. If you areredistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase “ProjectGutenberg” associated with or appearing on the work, you must complyeither with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 orobtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg™trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work is postedwith the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distributionmust comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and anyadditional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional termswill be linked to the Project Gutenberg™ License for all worksposted with the permission of the copyright holder found at thebeginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg™License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of thiswork or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg™.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute thiselectronic work, or any part of this electronic work, withoutprominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 withactive links or immediate access to the full terms of the ProjectGutenberg™ License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, includingany word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide accessto or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg™ work in a formatother than “Plain Vanilla ASCII” or other format used in the officialversion posted on the official Project Gutenberg™ website(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expenseto the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a meansof obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original “PlainVanilla ASCII” or other form. Any alternate format must include thefull Project Gutenberg™ License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg™ worksunless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providingaccess to or distributing Project Gutenberg™ electronic worksprovided that:

• You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from the use of Project Gutenberg™ works calculated using the method you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg™ trademark, but he has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in Section 4, “Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.”

• You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg™ License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg™ works.

• You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of receipt of the work.

• You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free distribution of Project Gutenberg™ works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a ProjectGutenberg™ electronic work or group of works on different terms thanare set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writingfrom the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the manager ofthe Project Gutenberg™ trademark. Contact the Foundation as setforth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerableeffort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofreadworks not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the ProjectGutenberg™ collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg™electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, maycontain “Defects,” such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurateor corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or otherintellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk orother medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage orcannot be read by your equipment.

1.F.2. LIMITED WARRANTY, DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES - Except for the “Rightof Replacement or Refund” described in paragraph 1.F.3, the ProjectGutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the ProjectGutenberg™ trademark, and any other party distributing a ProjectGutenberg™ electronic work under this agreement, disclaim allliability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legalfees. YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE, STRICTLIABILITY, BREACH OF WARRANTY OR BREACH OF CONTRACT EXCEPT THOSEPROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 1.F.3. YOU AGREE THAT THE FOUNDATION, THETRADEMARK OWNER, AND ANY DISTRIBUTOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT BELIABLE TO YOU FOR ACTUAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE ORINCIDENTAL DAMAGES EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCHDAMAGE.

1.F.3. LIMITED RIGHT OF REPLACEMENT OR REFUND - If you discover adefect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you canreceive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending awritten explanation to the person you received the work from. If youreceived the work on a physical medium, you must return the mediumwith your written explanation. The person or entity that provided youwith the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy inlieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the personor entity providing it to you may choose to give you a secondopportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. Ifthe second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writingwithout further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forthin paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you ‘AS-IS’, WITH NOOTHER WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOTLIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE.

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain impliedwarranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types ofdamages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreementviolates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, theagreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer orlimitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity orunenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void theremaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, thetrademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyoneproviding copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works inaccordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with theproduction, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg™electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any ofthe following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of thisor any Project Gutenberg™ work, (b) alteration, modification, oradditions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg™ work, and (c) anyDefect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg™

Project Gutenberg™ is synonymous with the free distribution ofelectronic works in formats readable by the widest variety ofcomputers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. Itexists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donationsfrom people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with theassistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg™’sgoals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg™ collection willremain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the ProjectGutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secureand permanent future for Project Gutenberg™ and futuregenerations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg LiteraryArchive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, seeSections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non-profit501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of thestate of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the InternalRevenue Service. The Foundation’s EIN or federal tax identificationnumber is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg LiteraryArchive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted byU.S. federal laws and your state’s laws.

The Foundation’s business office is located at 809 North 1500 West,Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and upto date contact information can be found at the Foundation’s websiteand official page at

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg™ depends upon and cannot survive without widespreadpublic support and donations to carry out its mission ofincreasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can befreely distributed in machine-readable form accessible by the widestarray of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exemptstatus with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulatingcharities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the UnitedStates. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes aconsiderable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep upwith these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locationswhere we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SENDDONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular statevisit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where wehave not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibitionagainst accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states whoapproach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot makeany statements concerning tax treatment of donations received fromoutside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg web pages for current donationmethods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of otherways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. Todonate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg™ electronic works

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the ProjectGutenberg™ concept of a library of electronic works that could befreely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced anddistributed Project Gutenberg™ eBooks with only a loose network ofvolunteer support.

Project Gutenberg™ eBooks are often created from several printededitions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright inthe U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do notnecessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paperedition.

Most people start at our website which has the main PG searchfacility:

This website includes information about Project Gutenberg™,including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg LiteraryArchive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how tosubscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 04/06/2023

Views: 6674

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.