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scuttle, a ditto salt cellar—the salt in which was the roughest and dirtiest. looking condiment ever known by that name, and a large gridiron which was alternately used for fish and flesh. Tip, the carpenter, stood waiting patiently and good-humouredly, with his beef steak cut from the shin, until Jem, the chaunter, had done his “two sodgers.”
The tables stretched along the length of the room were elegantly carved. Hundreds of initials were there. Just where Lester was sitting there were two letters, S. M., newly carved. They were the product of the skill of Samuel Mallet, who whiled away the odd half-hour, while his companion was away pawning a few tools, upon the proceeds of which they intended to make themselves merry. Man is man in the tap-room as
Pyramids; some achieve their immortality by carving their initials upon the head of Athor, in the temples of Aboo Simboul, and others by carving them upon the top of the " Three Jolly Butchers'” tap-room table. Taste guides all, and opportunity finds the place for carving.
We should, however, be unfaithful to our readers were we to omit mentioning the fact that, although, generally speaking, it was bare, there was one ornament in the den. Over the fireplace was a large black-board, upon which a curious specimen of wood-engraving was pasted, the which was quite as badly engraved as it was drawn. One day, when the landlord was wandering through the Strand, he observed the said engraving hanging in a window; it was that of a long and thin tectotaller, who was very lovingly hugging an iron pump. The unhappy artist had probably intended it to be passed off as a comic sketch ; but, although it was a failure, Boniface was delighted, and, as it cost only throepence, he made the investment. Whether it was out of hatred to those who drink cold water, whether it proceeded from his desire to promote the artistic tastes of his tap-room company, or whether it was only from a spirit of waggery, it were difficult to determine ; but he pasted it upon
the aforesaid black-board, just above the never-absent line,“ Pay on delivery,' so that all who entered were compelled to look upon the intended satire. Lester moved forward to inspect it somewhat closely, when an old hanger-on in the room whispered
“Read that 'ere at the bottom, just read that.”
Lester, by placing his face nearly close to it, was able to make out the following words, writ in pencil
They'll shoot you out, the pump to hug." “All true, I can swear to that,” said the same thin and haggard old man, and in a thin piping tone, which indicated want of bread, of home, and every creature comfort. Then looking at Lester, he whined out, “ Can you lend me twopence till to-morrow ?” The money was advanced rather too easily, as Belter believed; for he interposed
"You have got that pint, but don't try it on again till that's cleared off, you ain't goin' to suck us in so easy as you think for.”
The three visitors were more intent upon observing the company than the room itself; and, although it was not possible distinctly to make out the appearance of all who were in it, there were some who may be easily sketched. When they entered, two cabbies were busy with an elegant game, called is shove ha’-penny." Some lines, about an inch and a half apart, are cut
across the table, one above the other, proceeding from the end ; and the aim of the player is to push with his hand three half-pence into each division, so that the coins do not touch the lines. Whoever does this in all the divisions first, wins the game. The cabbies played on quietly enough until just the end of the game, when a noisy dispute arose as to whether a certain halfpenny did or did not touch a certain line. One protested that it “warnt not aneer the line," while the other declared that it was “bang on the line." . As usual, the gentlemen of the company were called upon to decide the knotty question, but without any practical effect. The first who examined gave it as his belief that "the mag” was on the line, upon which the opposite cabby suggested that he had better go home and borrow his "grandmother's specterkels afore he looked at another mag." The next decided that it did not touch the line, whereupon he was informed that “a cove as 'll go about to say that that 'ere mag is not right over the line ain't no gentleman.” This seemed to influence the company considerably, for several now gave it as their opinion that the coin did really touch. When our party was appealed to, Belter suggested that it would be best to toss up, and thus decide it; a proposal which was generally approved, and adopted.
This "shove-ha’-penny" question had created no little stir among the company, which numbered about thirty. Everybody was talking, and, without any real row, there was general confusion. Presently a stentorian voice shouted, “Order for a song;” and Belter, nudging Barrington, said, “Now we shall have it that's Brummagem Bill, the drover, and he can't sing at all.” Bill was not of that conviction, although ready enough to confess that “ in attempten to permote the general harmony, a chap couldn't do no more than his best." What was deficient in one way, he made up in another; he lacked sweetness, but made it up in power ; there was no flexibility, but that was compensated for by the rolling of his eyes, and waving of his hands ; and, before he had got half through his song, it was evident that a noisier and less musical man could not be found in the metropolis. The company, without knowing it, were great philosophers; they adopted the wise course of tolerating the infliction, for Bill was an ugly customer to meddle with; but there was a manifest sense of relief when he reached the end of his long ditty, which related to some green willows, an old bank, and a
“most lovely fair." He was immensely satisfied, and, as Belter remarked, "Now that he's sung song,
he'll drink hisself blind drunk ;' which seemed to be true, for he loudly called for another pint, and prepared himself to make a night of it.
At one table two drovers were seated, and dirtier specimens of humanity it were hard, if not impossible, to find. It is possible that at some remote period they might have been washed, but certainly not within the past twelve months, and only they who were liberally endowed with faith could believe them to have been thoroughly cleansed at all ever since leaving the laps of their mothers. These men were busily employed discussing the "condition of England” question, in which they evidently took great interest. One of them bawled out, somewhat lustily,
" Well, it doesn't matter for tbat at all. I say as how Old England is a goin' down the hill. Things aint as they used to be, and there's no tellin' what's goin' to happen."
The other seemed to be somewhat more of a patriot, for he would not agree that the country was hastening to ruin ; on the contrary he argued that things " was a lookin' up--’special Short Horns and Devons, hides and tallow,"
Thus contradicted on his darling proposition, the first speaker, still more markedly raising his voice, protested that there was ' no use in a man's shuttin' his eyes to the fact that the best days for Englishmen was when the beastes was druv to market in a Christian way, not packed up in boxes to be shoyed along the rails as they are now."
This was his stronghold, and for a time he argued as if he had been the leading member of the Society for Preventing Cruelty to Animals. Quite forgetful of the heavy-knobbed stick and the rude method of driving in the days of Old Smithfield, he dwelt most feelingly upon the. "sin of crowdin' poor beastes into trucks so closely that they can't stir nor breathe. And from the fact that this is done” he deduced his conclusion that “ England is a goin' down the hill.”
Close by where the three visitors sat, there were two men, far gone in liquor, who were busily discussing certain religious problems. They were well up in the contents of a well-known newspaper, in which racing and religious news are brought into pretty close contact. The Editor, desirous of compensating for the large amount of space devoted to the interests of blaguardism, is particularly careful in scenting out heresy. A man may make fighting the busineşs of his life, and be applauded, but if he happens to doubt the correctness of the redemption theory, he is denounced in language which will not admit of any parallel for its bitterness and vulgarity. The Editor scalps' all those who differ from him upon religious dogmas, but, then, he makes
up for it by blessing all who have nothing to do with any form of religion. In the ethics and dogmatism of this paper these worthies were well read, and hence it was that they employed themselves discussing the question, What becomes of the souls of those soldiers who fall in battle? There was something horribly disgusting in the style in which they argued this point ; both of them were far gone in liquor, but, through familiarity with the usual language of the theological schools, they were so well up in the set phrases that even in the moments of their absolute drunkenness these were the sentences which most commonly escaped their lips. They now spake of heaven and hell with perfect composure, for both of them being children of grace, or Calvinists, they could have no fear regarding the future.
Lester was so thoroughly disgusted by their speech that, much to the astonishment of Belter, he motioned to leave, when the latter quietly observed,
“ The fun hasn't begun yet, and as to that religious talk, it's nothin' to what you may hear every day in the tap-rooms. There's more talk about it in these places than elsewhere, and when a missionary comes in, as there sometimes is, you'll hear better sermons here than are to be heard in church.”
At this moment one of the two disputants fell forward upon the floor, helplessly drunk, and the other, having attended to the neckcloth and head of his fallen companion, coolly ordered another pint, and then went on talking to himself about the Sin of Infidelity and the marvellous decrees of Providence.
As a rare event in this place a woman had entered the room ; she had come in unnoticed by our party, and had taken her stand in front of a man who was sitting alone. She bore all the marks of poverty battling with a sense of decency. Her clothes were clean but all worn and faded, her countenance wore the aspect of patient grief, and there was so much of mental agony in her voice that its first sound made Barrington start in alarm. The man before whom she had planted herself seemed to be a daily labourer, but a sot. His face was one of the most repulsive the two friends had ever gazed upon, not villanous but selfish, sottish, and stony cold. He sat, pipe and pint in hand, with all the starched majesty of Victoria theatricals, and appearing neither to see nor hear the woman who was pleading for a little money. She was his wife, the mother of his four children, one of whom was laying at home ill, and she was here in order to coax him to give her the means of buying arrowroot and other necessaries, but he heeded her not. In a low voice—in a mere whisper, but like that of the dying, painfully distinct and sharp - she pleaded, “Oh, John, don't keep me here before all these men, do give me something to get what the doctor has ordered for little Willie.” There was a pause
of two or three minutes, but the man heeded her not, and again she spake.
“ Willie is so bad and I am afraid to be away long! do, dear Jolin, do give me a shilling !” Still no answer, no notice of her presence,
"John dear, don't be angry at my coming here. I wouldn't have come but I was afraid of losing Willie through bis not having what the doctor said he must have. Do give me a shilling, there's a dear!” The pot boy entered the room, and the man spake. “Fill this pint!" and at the same time put silver into the boy's hand. When he returned, the wife said, “ Give me the change," and the boy looked inquiringly at the man, who merely said, “ Give it here !” and then having put it into his pocket, he resumed his hold of the pipe with one hand and the pint with the other. Lester grew alternately pale and red, and it was evidently his desire to interfere, but Belter prevented him by whispering, “ If you do he'll half-kill her to-night when he gets home.” The warning had the desired effect, but still the big tears stood in his eyes. It was his first view of life in a tap-room, and was so much darker than he had anticipated; that he felt completely overcome. We never saw him so deeply affected, and yet, as Belter remarked, this was nothing to "what he would sce if he were in the mind of visiting all the cribs and kens of Lonnon.” Presently, when his strange sickly condition had passed away, he turned, and said, " Barrington, I am ashamed of what we have been doing down in Crosswood, all busy raising, money for the benighted Africans, just as though we had no benighted English at home.” But his remarks were cut short by observing the woman in tears moving towards the door. “Let us go,” he said, “ for I should like to speak to her.”
The three reached the street: and the woman- -it was gold that glittered in her hand, the gift of the Crosswood Rector, and for a time it rendered her speechless. When they turned their faces toward Gower Street, Belter observed, " I'm afraid the gentleman will be killin' somebody with kindness, and he'll want all the gold in the Bank to serve the turn of all who are in her condition.”
* The continuation of the Lecture—“Theories of the Atoncment”-is unavoidably postpoued, but we shall iysert an additional fortion next week. It will be, of course, concluded in the present volume.
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY M. PATTIE, 31, PATERNOSTER ROW, AND GEOROE
GLAISHER, 470, New OXFORD STREET.
OUT OF THE CLOUD;
A TALE; BY P. W. P:
CHAPTER XXV I.
THE WORLDLY SOCIETY. The man who hopes to exhaust the wonders of London in a month—supposing him to be a thinker- finds, at its close, that he has only had time to examine a small portion of its outer wrappages, but has not plunged beneath the surface to see and know it as it really is. Lester and Barrington spent several days in visiting the wretched lanes and alleys wherein so many human beings manage to lengthen out a miserable existence, and their evenings were devoted to visiting the low public houses, and music rooms, in which the wretched inhabitants of those poor districts are in the habit of obtaining some measure of relief from their sufferings. The conclusions forced upon
them by what they witnessed and heard, were not favourable to the existing systems of either Church or State. Lester was bold enough to declare that, had circumstances compelled him to live in such places, he should feel himself not merely justified, but positively bound to make war upon society at large-he marvelled, too, not that the people gave way so freely to passion and lust, but that, having no teachers, they avoided so many sources of sin and shame. Upon the question of teachers, however, he obtained new light.
On one occasion, having entered into conversation with a working man, they were informed that there would soon be an explosion; things are not to go on long as they have done;" and when they enquired upon what he based his hopes of a change, it turned out that a new sect had come into existence, whose leader was sure to overturn the present order of things. Naturally anxious to obtain light upon this point, they pursued their inquiries, and discovered that a gentleman named Willow had founded a society known as the Anti-Religionists, whose theory and form of faith was summed the words, “Care only for the things of this world, and avoid all thought about an Hereafter.” The man went on to describe how earnestly the genlas VOL, VI. NEW SERIES, VOL. II.