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possess, of forming an opinion of their propriety, nothing for its removal, or nothing on which a and of enforcing their views.
majority agree. Twenty years or more have passed in serious We would not expect the people to do worse discussions on sanatory and social reforms. Many for themselves than acknowledge an evil, but of them have been carried; but the work is done leave it unredressed-assert that their children slowly, as it were the privilege of the present could not read, but find no means of teaching them generation to discuss measures, and even to un- -confess the need of superior education, but allow dergo experiments, for the benefit of their suc- the vacancy to remain ; and discuss for years the cessors, instead of their own good. More lives superiority of flour ground by steam, over the old are annually destroyed by bad sanatory arrange-water-wheel process; but refuse to let the people ments in large towns, than in all the great battles have bread until the discussion were brought to a of the same period. The loss of life by wretched harmonious conclusion. These anomalies, and all arrangements of cottages in rural districts is also anomalies can only be subdued by allowing more enormous. These evils will only be removed by power to the popular will, coming nearer by a members in earnest; and they are not to be substantial step to the practice of popular governexpected until the electors are in earnest ; and ment, and permitting a fair representation of all comprehend all, or nearly all, the intelligence and classes ; and whatever work may come up for the the power of the land; yet the butchery of a distant future; that should be the work of the great many thousand persons annually, neighbours immediate future-of the current year. and friends, or their children, is a serious—a ter- We advised organisation some months ago, but rible calamity, undergone with great resignation. that advice is not palateable in some quarters.
The political past has effected good, for which The Middlesex Liberal Association expired in we are thankful, and neglected more good, which, Jermyn-street, London, a few weeks since, from if done, would have merited more thanks. The destitution. That body never, probably, comprised political future needs to be less crotchetty and a large number, who were in want of any particumore determined. Its work has more reference to lar privilege. It was, perhaps, like other liberal homely things than many whom it concerns take societies, no more than ministerial, and now that the trouble of finding out. They regard politics no opposition exists, its occupation resembles overmuch as the lounge of the idle. The idea Othello's, or that of the old coachman. The case was an able and clever dodge ; and it has been of other liberals is very different, and although used down to tatters. Are the idle alone associations, to be useful now, should be educational interested in scholastic education ? Proba. in their way, instructive, and numerous; yet it does bly they alone are uninterested in the matter. not follow that they should-it follows that they Still, in England and Scotland it has been agita- should not-seek to win from fear what reason ted not for two or three years only, but for more. may wrest from reason ; for if there be no very The Parliament has been unable to supply the de- | active pressure for reform, only passive resistance ficiency; while alleging the fact they devise' will be offered to its achievement.
THE WINTER AMUSEMENTS OF LONDON.
Tre amusements of the people, like their ballads, who bought up the prizes at any price. No modest forn a landmark in their progress, while they help man could be found in the trade, so far as it either “ downwards or upwards.” Like some experience reached, who had not gone and bought other things, they are to one person a cause and lo some sort of prize. The shops devoted to the another a consequence. The mediæval church con- abomination of Mr. Simpson, and other zealous verted Christmas into a great festival ; or probably vegetarians, were gaily decorated with green leaves gave the name to the mid-winter festivities of and misletoe, to keep the stock in countenance as nations who had little active work at this season. they descended to their graves. Flesh eaters Not many years have passed away since one half relished the display, portentous though it seemed of our seamen came home for the winter. Agri- of night-mares; yet with their own satisfaction cultural operations went lazily onwards at that some stray sympathies must have been given to time. The building trades stayed their movements the sorrows of those vegetising friends, whose until spring. Mankind imitated the earth and its finer feelings are said to be distressed horribly at vegetables. They were still while the snow was the smell of hot joints. It is an odour bespeaking on the ground.
envy to the shillingless—always a numerous class ; The festivities of the season survive their and now that one branch of Hindooism has conoriginal cause ; for we do not suppose that to have verts among this Gothic and Teutonic race, the been connected in any way with the name now steam that arises from smoking rounds in those given. They should not be abridged, for civilisa. Bishopsgate-street windows, where a man may tion with its competition has brought many benefits, have a ready-cooked dinner at any hour without and charged a handsome price for them. One any notice, is the incense of sorrow. Well, we item in the bill is long hours of labour, making it can't all be happy. Experience goes clean against a drudgery instead of an honest pleasure ; and we the effort. And the leaders of the twenty-second all require to guard against these inroads. century must necessarily be in bad and savage
London possesses a population probably double company in this nineteenth. One of them disthat of any other European city; and we have no posing of the “What's to be done with all the faith in Asiatic numbers. It looks rather down cattle ?” question, which naturally comes up for upon provincial capabilities for rational amusements, discussion among those who live on herbs only, although Manchester, Liverpool, or Glasgow, have intimated that they would be allowed their full more abundant means of intellectual enjoyment. enjoyment of life-meaning, we fancy, that they The metropolis has not yet a single hall equal to would die of old age after swallowing half a cut. either of the towns named, or to halls in half a of Holloway's pills, and a stone weight of the dozen more that might be named. The Crystal Morrisonian gamboge--and decidedly forgetting Palace is not in London, and does not supply the that in his condition of the world the greater want.
part of the cattle that might have lived, never The amusements of the London population at would live to enjoy life in any way. Where would this season are closely connected with eating and be the economy of keeping land in grass when all drinking, with the exception of those theatrical we needed from grass would be milk and dairy extravagances devised for the amusement of produce, at rates so enhanced that wine, subject children from school. The legitimate drama-as even to the scandal of Messrs. Oliveira and it is termed—is put aside for grotesqne panto- MacGregor—the wine duty—would be the cheaper mimes; and nobody pretends that any very deep drink. We recollect a half demented physician moral is concealed in them. The cries and sights who held that the value of buttermilk would never of London are chiefly occupied in providing for be known until it was sold for a crown a quart. If the pleasures of the table; and the festival among that worthy dispenser of simples were alive, he the middle classes is domestic; amongst a class far would rejoice at the coming time when his beneath the middle it is gin.palaceive. The Smith. cherished drug will bring its natural value in the field Cattle Show was the most expensive exhibition, market and be esteemed. and the most attractive of the season. The people Although the vegetarians perceive not that the went for once to see the animals that they were to success of their views is the death of cattle, for eat. And those who could not afford the shilling our fields must grow brocolis and cauliflowers, poand the time necessary to visit the great gathering tatoes and Swedish turnips—the latter being of a of fatted cattle, were gratified by enterprising saccharineish and sugarish taste—onions and fleshers, who exposed to the view of their cus- | radishes, not to be used as pickles or relishes, but tomers for many days the live animals that were for plain food—when we are confined to the diet doomed for death and division amongst them. of Nebuchadnezzar with the addition of all manner Very marvellous was the number of prize cattle at of fruits in their season; and very much at a loss this season's Smithfield exhibition. Either the to know what to drink, seeing, of course water, is beasts were all prizes, or the butchers “wherever a bloody sort of draught, it being calculated by we chanced to roam” were the spirited persons / scientific personages, that a ploughman swallows
three millions of animalcules daily, while all his life money paid for them. Still they are not all conthat poor man believes that he drinks the limpid sumed. They will live in little plots of ground in spring; still, even now, we are so disposed to the back courts or suburban gardens for years to come, doctrine, and the idea of animals enjoying life, perhaps. The great grandchildren of the little and vegetables, too, in their own way—that we children who have gathered mottoes from their protest against lamb and green peas in their taper-lighted branches, may hang their swings season—and veal at any season- as costly extrava. | between these same brauches ; and wish that the gances and offensive cattings up of life's enjoy. summer holidays were only come, and they were ments at an improper time.
off to the country—the nearest point meriting the The propriety of adorning the carcases of slain name being half way to Brighton, or Birmingham, beasts with garlands or knots of tri-coloured rib. or Bath, from St. Paul's; and people will then bons at this juncture is not apparent. If they wonder where the Palm House stood in the great are there to denote the satisfaction of their owners market of Kew, while it was a garden, very at the prospect of a penny per lb. of additional long ago. profit, it is a horrible illustration of the line- Twenty minutes to twelve on the Saturday Self lies hid in all our feelings.
night before Christmas week, and not a shop is The custom may, however, be derived from the closed in the long lines of Bishopsgate, Bethnal ancient practice of decorating the beasts offered in Green-road, Hackney-road, Hoxton, High-street, sacrificial usages. Somebody may raise a “note and all the satellites, broad and narrow,
that cross and query" upon the subject, and midsummer may and re-cross these great thoroughfares. What has pass before it can be fully ventilated. We can. come of the short hours' movement, its meetings, not wait so long out of the green-grocery estab. and pamhplets, and reports ! Here are five or six lishments and their attractions—not of course, in thousand persons, in one district, chained from those animal gratifications common to them—but early morning to the latest hour of night-to the bower or tabernacle character that they pos- counters, and shelves, and tills—the victims of sess, and the gypsy look they give to anybody miserable customs and rivalry. The short hour under their canopies of green leaves and red ber movement has moved back rather than forward in ries. England must be wide to furnish the ever- all parts of London, out of the city, in its munici. greens that London needs in the last half of each pal and narrow sense, and a few west end streets. December. As for the cattle we know that the Where the customers belong chiefly to the working best come from Scotland, although we don't wish classes, the shopkeeping world appears to toil for to say so— remembering with not a little confusion sixteen hours daily. The system produces a and dread that there is a Times, and there once was middle class, in search of riches at any cost, a Professor Blackie, though we fear that he is ex. spending life in acquiring the means of living, and tinguished—if not in the manner of the sheep thoughtless of their assistants and their comforts, fed by the Earl of Aberdeen, after his expulsion or even their existence, beyond the passing hour. from the premiership of course, which dignified A strange race line the London streets with the shop of an Islington butcher a few days stalls, containing sometimes considerable value, but since-yet butchered intellectually, like a barbarian chiefly in the provision trade. The division of gladiator in old centuries, whose woes were sung labour is, however, carried to a ridicuously minute by Byron-butchered to make a London holiday, extent by some of these dealers. Stationery seems by the grim priest of ink and ink-craft.
a favourite article, but the vendor of pens has no Then these red berries—the pretty bunches of connexion with papers, and the man with memored berries. Where on earth come they all from? randum books transacts no business in envelopes. Certainly no single human being ever saw so many The social state of this numerous class would form growing in a season as anybody may see plucked a curious inquiry; but it has nothing to do with here in half an hour and half a mile's walk. Their amusements, and would yield a result of a beauty is past all doubt, and they carry back many character far from amusing. thousand pairs of care-worn dim eyes, back, far The gin palaces of that district of the metropolis back through merry days and nights—to home obviously furnish the greater source of recreation, and boyhood, and braes and glens, and woods. No They were crowded with customers, and more such braes and glens, and hedges and woods, exist than half of them were women.
This feature in now, or we see them not-could not see them. London drinking distinguishes it from that of the Others may, of course—young eyes may—but for Scotch towns. Glasgow has many drunken females, half the world they are gone out of the world, and but the customers to its licensed houses belong not gone for ever.
to the extent of one balf to that class. The beer No
ore young trees can be planted in England traffic takes many sober females to these places in this year. That must be plain. They were all London, for families want their beer off the wood, wanted for London last week, and the nurseries but we discount that class of messengers, who are must be bare and empty. An ordinary calculation easily known, in saying that one half of the makes something like two hundred thousand young frequenters of gin shops in the lower districts of firs for the consumption in Christmas trees by the London belong to the class whose intemperance is metropolitans, and fifteen thousand pounds as the l hopeless and irremediable ruin.
LECTURES, THEATRES, EXHIBITIONS.
A little girl, not cver eight years old, at nearly sixpence. The "moral" instruction given to the midnight was tempting its inother home, who leant audience, was, like the accommodation, much out of her back to the wall, needed its support, and order. The piece was taught by symbols, hung at refused to move on by a single step. The child the entrance like sign-boards, highly coloured and argued the case, but the beldame argued too, that extremely disagreeable. These abridged scenes she was a good mother, a very good mother, and represented the details of general murders, and all the neighbours knew that she was a good they formed the staple of this intellectual effort. mother. In a Scotch town she would have been Two gin-drinking women of the town were heroines apprehended for drunkenness; but nobody seemed in the second part, and adroitly practised pocketto consider that an offence had been committed picking, to the satisfaction of the audience. A in Hoxton ; and this remiss dealing with drunkards trial in a criminal corut occupied sone time. The probably swelled appearances against the North, on innocent was almost, of course, convicted, upon Mr. Hume's return, which caused much excite. the evidence of a “ Peeler," who, also quite of ment some years ago.
This evil peculiarity may course, gave a false oath, in consequence of a bribe also in some part explain the heavy part of the it being popular iu that quarter to play down business in Police Courts, relating to domestic the police, and rob them, at least, of any character. quarrels. It will not excuse the beating of wives In the end, virtue had not its reward assuredly, for by husbands; but it renders such disgraceful | the virtuous were nearly all killed, or died, or leapt occurrences the very natural consequences of a from London Bridge and were drowned ; notwithnight's amusement.
standing a clever escape made by one of them from Attempts are made in some quarters of the great prison; for it is an essential part of the business metropolis to establish lectures in half explored to provide extremely horrible sensations, strong regions, for the instruction of the vicinity, illus- tragedy, throes of death on the stage, and much trated with maps, or magic lanterns, or small bloodshed. We cannot think that anybody's panoramic mechanisms, and art; yet the lecturers morality was in the slightest degree promoted by generally seem to be ashamed of themselves-keep this exhibition, which closed at half an hour to well out of the way in remote corners, dimly twelve; being in that respect superior to a more lighted, without half the gas and glare of a third notorious establishment, of a kindred nature, in rate public house, and far below the appearance the City-road. The multitudes who flock to places even of an ordinary coffee shop. They appreciate of that character would, probably, frequent others their capabilities, perhaps, too low-a most un- of a higher character, if they were found for them; common crime ; but the instruction is frequently but they do not exist in the east. The magnitude dreary and dry. Statistics are jumbled into a most of London may explain the circumstance, but the forbidding form. Of course, nobody recoliects few concerns that combine amusement with inanything respecting them. It is not desirable, structiou, or afford amusement of an unobjectionable perhaps, that anybody should. They refer to character, are located in the centre, or the west; subjects for which nobody there cares ; of which two hours journey from those who need them few have previously heard. A lecture upon the more than families who possess within themselves art and mystery of shoemaking might be serviceable. the means of recreation. The rise and progress of gutter people might be The Egyptian Hall, in Piccadilly, possesses the amusing. England has a thousand chapters in its most singular exhibition in Britain. For quite a history that would furnishi admirable material for number of years past, Mr. Albert Smith, with unlectures. But they should be full of bold, broad usually brief recesses, has been ascending Mont touches—for the pre-Raphaelite style will not do Blanc in that very ball
, nightly, before admiring with the multitude, who have heard very little audiences. The singularity of his efforts is their from, or of, the schoolmaster.
continued success. High as is Mont Blanc, and The intellectual position of this district may be long the Rhine, both might have been, and, except almost gathered from the tone of its great theatre, for the genius of the narrator, vould have been of which we once read a favourable notice in a exhausted by the close of the first or the second literary journal, and had some desire to see the
The audience, indeed, now no longer manner of administering the drama there. Its ascend Mont Blanc. It descends to them in a entrance is between the jaws of a great gin palace. panoramic form, which does equally well
. Instead On the Saturday before Christmas it was crowded of going up the mountain, the mountain sinks densely. The audience must have numbered down into the earth, and we want not a little of thousands. They were all apprentices, young the old anecdotal part of the entertainment, artisans, labourers, aud females. The roof is arising from struggles among the glaciers. Still, villainously low, and the boxes and pit--very little the deficiency is amply supplied. We have more boxing being requisite in the place-run into one. I of Baden-a little of Paris-something of Geneva The ventilation of the building was incomparably) -and the evening may be altogether more varied. vicious-being the Black Hole of Calcutta enlarged. Mr. Smith plainly tells his audience that he is not The seats rose in tiers, like those of a temporary to teach them, and he gives them many excellent platform, and it appeared to be a dangerous place lessons, nevertheless. He does not profess to for an accident. The admission was threepence to I lecture on morality; but young gentlemen who
may wish to visit Baden, the centre of European man beings cannot work always. Proper amusegambling, bave permission to draw their own ment now and then will lengthen life. And that's inferences, and they will never be able to ascribe not all the good of it. As an addition it makes their losses, if they foolishly make any, to the en- life move a little more pleasantly on the way. It couragement given in Egyptian Hall. The at. oils the wheels, and stops much creaking. The tractions of the hall are partly artistic. The want of amusement sends the thousands of the panoramic scenery is beautifully painted, for any, east to their gin.palaces, and the wretched theatres thing on so large a scale. Then the stage, if that we have described faintly. These attractions can be the proper term, is a little wilderness of rocks, only be beaten by counter attractions, but they and pines, and water, full of gold fish, who appear cannot all be composed of useful knowledge. Dash to be quite at home, as part of the audience. The useful knowledge into and through them, but do decorative accompaniments have all an air of Swiss not always poke it in people's faces as a dose that horos and hunting.
The place is comfortable, and must be swallowed. The educated and intellectual everybody seems to be very happy, and it is classes forget that something must be done for a pleasure to see so many people pleased.
many wlio are neither the one nor the other, and The versatility of the owner is, however, the that, moreover, those who belong to both cannot leading attraction. One feels that he is rather be always in search of knowledge hitting us all slyly, with our bad French, or The principal exhibitions of London cluster French whatever, except the Gascɔn of young Mr. together, upon a bad principle for the public, Brown, and then the book; with the assuming airs although it must suit the proprietors. The district that some people among us put on in their con around Regent-street comprises nearly all of them tinental tours, as if they did not know, and they at once noted and praiseworthy. The galleries of do not know, that the continentalists see far illustrations, panoramas, paintings, and sculpture, through anything of that kind; and are never on to geology, the arts and manufactures, are all farther taken in than suits their bill, by gilding located in the west. The Polytechnic, one of the over vulgarity; but we need these lessons, and it most brilliant, is at the top of Regent-street, and is better to take them in Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, the Great Globe, one of the most useful, at its than in Baden or Paris, or any other place what. southern extremity. The British Museum is north ever. Then our little oddities, male or female, are and west of the centre of the metropolis, and the brought out in a charming manner, and done in Crystal Palace is in the country, to the south of no worse spirit than Monsieur himself, whose London. The distance that must be travelled by clothes have always a faint smell of tobacco smoke visitors from that ill defined and crowded district, about them. The sketching young lady, and the the Tower Hamlets, from Finsbury north, and from poetical young lady, and the plain speaking younger Southwark to the places of amusement, keeping lady, who describes the way in which' her sister's theatres out of view, puts amusement out of the frocks are facetiously said to be inade down to fit question, unless at a price which many persons her somewhat larger proportions—to the confusion cannot pay. of her elder sisters; and how as a serious case of Churches, schools, mechanics' institutions, pubgarrotting, Fanny was kissed under the mistletoe. lic libraries, and newsrooms, are all absolutely bough by some much-to be-envied young friend, necessary, as the first and second-or highly and has bad her head turned ever since, are perfect advisable, like the third, fourth and fifth; but contrasts to the engineer of the steamer on Lake leave what a multitude consider a little chink in Geneva, who has met Mr. Smith, on the Mediter. the timbers. A small leak sinks the ships. For ranean, at Paris, and at so many more places, that all classes and wants some provision should be there seems to be fatalism in it; and who tells his made ; and gin palaces, perhaps, might be reduced stories and his strictures, of and upon the Austrian to more manageable numbers, by the competition Lloyds, in such utter confusion of one thing with of equally well fitted, and well lighted coffee shops ; another, that nothing earthly can be made out of while for the young, especially, a cheap reproduction anything, except that he would not deceive Mr. in the east of the wonders of the west would be Smith ; 'cos why should he deceive Mr. Smith, and attended by, perhaps, pecuniary advantages; and, also that he had made bold to tell the Austrian without doubt, by others of a superior character. Lloyds gentlemen that they never could make In the meantime, although a superiority has Austria England, or England Austria-let them try been cast upon our Scotch towns, for drunkenness, ever so long and so much-and that Greenwich on these festive seasons, and not without a crushing time is not Venice time, 'cos why should he quantity of evidence, yet we say that the public have deceive them, since Greenwich time could never be returned a rash verdict; without examining parts of Venice time; but the engineer is done to a point, the metropolis, hidden from the view of strangers, and that a mathematical one, while no more can be where drinking seems to form all the amusement, said for the travelling parties on pleasure. No. and a great part of the business of life, and where, body calling at Mr. Smith's for an evening will in female society especially, it has attained dimendeceive bimself
, or be in any way deceived. But sions, and a kind of habit and repute position, with what's the good of it? An hour and a half or which the large Scotch towns, in the darkest two hours hearty laughter is no small good. Hu quarters, are not yet quite acquainted.