The Project Gutenberg eBook of Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, Fifth Series, No. 23, Vol. I, June 7, 1884

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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, Fifth Series, No. 23, Vol. I, June 7, 1884

Editor: Various

Release date: July 7, 2021 [eBook #65785]

Language: English

Credits: Susan Skinner, Eric Hutton and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)






No. 23.—Vol. I.




He is nothing if not omniscient; and, like Othello, his occupation’s gone if he be not the first to spread the news and carry the fiery cross of scandal to the front. For the Newsmonger does not care to carry good news so much as bad; the latter having a dash of spice in it, wanting to the former—as red pepper titillates the palate more than does either honey or sugar. The Newsmonger knows everything, and foresees as much as he knows. When A’s sudden bankruptcy takes the world in general by surprise, he, on the contrary, is not the least astonished. He knew it weeks ago. He can put in black and white the exact sum for which he has failed—for all that the books are still in the safe, and the accountant has not begun to score up the items; and he knows who is the largest creditor, who the most implacable, and what is the bad debt which has caused all the mischief. He takes care, however, not to state plainly all these things. He only says he knows; and people are found to believe him. When Mrs B runs off with Mr C, and thus exposes the hollowness of the domestic happiness of the B’s, which was considered so complete; he knew all about that, too, long before it happened. Indeed, he had warned C that he was going too far, and that harm would come of it, Mrs B being but a feather-head at the best; and he had even thrown out friendly hints to B, advising him to be a little more strict in his guard and watchful in his care. But no man is so deaf as he who will not hear, nor so blind as he who will not see; and B was bent on his own destruction, and would not be enlightened. Whom the gods would destroy, they first madden; and what is the use of hammering your head against a stone wall? Again, when Edwin and Angelina come to an abrupt rupture, and the engagement which promised so well and looked so satisfactory all round, is broken off in a hurry, to the open-mouthed amazement of society—though the cause remains a profound mystery to all the rest, Our Newsmonger winks knowingly when he gives you the story, and tells you that he is in the confidence of both parties, and understands the whole thing from end to end. How should he not, when he has been consulted from the beginning, and himself advised the rupture as the only thing left to be done? Whatever happens, he has been at the back of it; and no event takes place of which he has not been cognisant or ever it was made manifest to the crass public. This must needs be, seeing that he is the general adviser of the whole world, and taken into every one’s confidence, from the laying of the egg to the strutting forth of the full-plumaged fowl.

It is the same thing with political matters. To hear him, you would say Our Newsmonger had a telephonic communication with all the courts in Europe; and that he and the secret things of the future lay together on the knees of the gods. He has the insight of Tiresias, and the prophetic vision of Cassandra. Russia cannot make a spring of which he had not seen the secret silent combining. France cannot pass a law which is not the logical outcome of the position he explained not so long ago. That insurrection at the back of unpronounceable mountains among tribes of whom no one but a few nomadic experts know, or the existence, or the aims, or the wrongs—did he not foretell it?—that tightening of the Bismarckian gag—did he not foretell that too? No one remembers that he did foretell any one of these things; but if he says so? As it is impossible to doubt the word of a man who is also a gentleman, and whom you ask to dinner four times in the year, we must take Our Newsmonger at his own showing, and assume that we have been deaf, not that he was—mistaken. When Major Corkscrew, however, twits him with that drop made in Panslavonic Unifieds, of which Our Newsmonger was a rather large holder, and asks him, why, knowing the turn things were sure to take, he did not go in for the fall, and sell out while stock was steady?—he puts on a grave air and says he thinks confidential communications ought to be sacred, and that it would be highly{354} dishonourable on his part were he to use his private information for his own private gain. Whereupon Major Corkscrew rubs up his three hairs and a quarter, and whistles, in that low way he has. ‘Only give me the chance, that’s all!’ he says, swelling out his chest. ‘If I knew a quarter as much as you say you do, my good friend, I would be a rich man before the year was out. Hang me else!’

And after all, it was strange, was it not? that, knowing of this coming insurrection at the back of the unpronounceable mountains, Our Newsmonger should have gone in for a rise, when Panslavonic Unifieds were so sure to come down with a rattling run, as soon as the first gun was fired by the obscure tribes aforesaid? Those who like it can accept the explanation as gospel truth and sure; but a healthy scepticism is not a bad state of mind for the more wary to cultivate, and the doctrine of infallibility is not so fashionable as it used to be.

On all the undiscovered mysteries of history and the undisclosed secrets of literature, Our Newsmonger has opinions as decided as on other things. Sometimes he follows one authority out of many—as when he supports himself on the dictum of Voltaire, and maintains that the Man in the Iron Mask was the twin-brother of Louis XIV., and that all other hypotheses do not hold water. And sometimes he asserts, but forgets to prove—as when he ascribes the Letters of Junius to Lord George Sackville, and scouts the reasoning of experts which gives them to Sir Philip Francis. In modern times, he knows all the ‘ghosts,’ and spots all the Anons. He does not give their names, because that would be dishonourable, you know, as he has been told by the people themselves in confidence, and he must not betray his trust. He would give them if he chose; but he must not; and you must be content with this vague flash of a dim light before your eyes. If you are not, you will have nothing better; for Our Newsmonger is above all a man of honour where undiscovered secrets are concerned. When they are made public, then he can say that he knew them all along—thus betraying no one.

This reticence in large matters where no one would be hurt by free speech, unfortunately does not influence Our Newsmonger in those small things of private life which do a great deal of harm and cause much personal pain when blurted abroad. It would not signify more than the buzz of a fly on the window-pane if the unknown inhabitants of an obscure village in the west of England were told the name of the person who wrote Democracy, for instance; or that of the Russian woman of high rank who played ‘La Dame aux Camellias’ in a mask; if they had the true key to one of Daudet’s novels, or could dot the i’s of all the ‘Queer Stories’ in Truth. No one would be substantially the wiser for knowing that the hero of the midnight escapade recorded in the one was the Duke of Sandwich or the Prince of Borrioboolagha. Nor would it be of the least consequence to any one whatever, inhabiting the pretty district of Pedlington-in-the-Mud, if the name of the young gentleman who fell among thieves when he went to the Jews, and had to pay eighty per cent. for a loan which included bad champagne and worse pictures, were George Silliman or Harry Prettyman. But things are different when it is said of Mrs Smith—the wife of the rector who rules over things spiritual, and directs things temporal too, in Pedlington-in-the-Mud—that she dyes her hair and corks her eyebrows; of Miss Lucy, the daughter of the Squire, that she paints her face and flirts with the footman; and of Major Corkscrew, that he tipples—and his housekeeper knows it. Such things as these carried from house to house as so many black beetles to infest the kitchen—so many moths to eat into the ermine—do an incalculable amount of damage. But Our Newsmonger, who would not sell a hundred pounds-worth of stock on information received, nor tell the name of Louis Napoleon’s private counsellor, has no scruple in letting fly all these dingy little sparrows to peck at the golden grain of local repute, and to do irremediable harm to all concerned.

There is nothing that does not pass through the alembic of the Newsmonger. He knows the exact spot in the house where each man keeps his skeleton, and he can pitch the precise note struck when the bones rattle in the wind and the poor possessor turns pale at the sound. Mrs Screwer starves her servants; but then Mr Screwer gambles, and the family funds are always in a state of fluctuation which makes things too uncertain to be counted on. Mrs Towhead scolds her household till she maddens the maids and dazes the men, so that they do not know which end stands uppermost. But then Mr Towhead sends the poor woman mad herself by his open goings-on with that little minx round the corner. And if Mrs Towhead takes it out in a general conflagration, is it to be wondered at, seeing the provocation she has? The Spendthrifts are out at elbows, and no one can get paid, for all they gave that magnificent ball last week on the coming of age of young Hopeful, who inherits more debts than rents, and has more holes in his purse than coin to stop them with. Miss Hangonhand is taken to Paris for the chance of a husband, those in London proving shy and the supply not equalling the demand; and Dr Leech’s bill was exorbitant, and a lawsuit was threatened if he would not abate just one half. And then that Mr Fieri Facias—have you not heard that he has been dealing with his clients’ securities, and that if matters were looked into he would be now standing in the dock of the Old Bailey? I assure you they say so; and for my part I always believe that where there is much smoke there must be some fire! The Bank, too, is shaky; and you who are a shareholder, and you who are a depositor, had both better get out of it without a day’s delay.

All these things, and more, Our Newsmonger will say with a glib tongue and a light heart; and whether what he says has a grain of truth, or is pure unmixed and unmitigated falsehood, troubles him no more than if the wind blows from the south-west or the south-south-west with a point to spare. He can retail a bit of gossip which will make his visit pass easily and keep the conversation from lagging; and which also will put him into the position of one who knows, and thus place him on rising ground while his friends are only in the shallows. And what matters it if, for this miserable little gain, he obscures a reputation, breaks a heart, destroys a{355} life? He has had his pleasure, which was to appear wiser than the rest; and if others have to pay the bill, the loss is theirs, not his!

A Newsmonger of this kind is the very pest of the neighbourhood where he may have pitched his tent. A fox with silent feet and cruel flair prowling about the henroost where the nestling chickens lie—a viewless wind laden with poison-germs, and bringing death wherever it blows—a lurking snake, hidden in the long grass and discovered only when it has stung—these and any other similes that can be gathered, expressive of silent secret wrong-doing to innocent things, may be taken as the signs of the Newsmonger in small places where propinquity places reputations at the mercy of all who choose to attack them. From such, may the good grace of fortune and the honest tongues of the sturdy and the upright deliver us!—for if all the evil that is said of men were tracked to its source, that source would be found to lie, not in fact, but in the fertile imagination of the Newsmonger. After all, we know nothing better than each other. And as we have to live in human communion, it is as well to live in peace and harmony, and in seeing the best, and not the worst. The Newsmonger thinks differently. But then those who are wise discard him as a nuisance and a mischief-maker; and their way in life is all the more peaceful in consequence.




Mr Beecham returned.

‘The young people are crowding in now; and Mrs Joy and the schoolmistress with some of their friends are trying to place them comfortably, so that the smallest may have the front benches. Come along and help them.’

The long narrow hall was already well filled, the faces of the children shining with the combined effect of recent scrubbing and excitement. Some of the youngest faces wore a half-frightened expression, for the only magician they knew about was the wicked one in the story of Aladdin, and they did not know what the magician they were to see to-night might do to them. But others had seen this conjurer performing on the village green in open daylight on fair-days, and were able to reassure the timid ones, whilst regaling them in loud whispers with exaggerated accounts of the wonderful things he had done.

In the background were parents, on whose heavy and usually expressionless faces a degree of curiosity was indicated by open mouths and eyes staring at the still unoccupied platform on which the performance was to take place. Along the side, near the front, was a row of chairs occupied by Mrs Joy and her friends, who were presently joined by Mr Beecham and Wrentham, and later by Dr Joy. One of Mr Beecham’s ideas was not to overawe the children by the presence of too many of the ‘gentry;’ consequently, he only invited those who were to help him in making his young guests comfortable.

The whispering ceased suddenly on the appearance of the conjurer.

Wrentham leaned carelessly back on his chair, so that Mrs Joy’s bonnet hid his face from Mr Tuppit.

The latter looked quite smart in his well-brushed black frock-coat, his white collar, his lavender-coloured tie, secured in a large brass ring with a glass diamond in the centre, which glistened in the lamp-light and at once attracted the children’s eyes. The professor of wonders had a long solemn face, and black hair brushed close to his head, where it stuck as if pasted on with oil. His voice had a pleasant ring, and he began by merrily informing his audience that he intended to explain to them how all his tricks were done. Every boy and girl who watched him attentively would be able—with a little practice, of course—to do everything he did. This was delightful information, and secured immediate attention. But it was a little dashed by the intimation that they would first have to learn how to spell the mystic word ‘Abracadabra.’ However, he would teach them how to do that too; and he pinned on the wall a scroll bearing the word in large red letters. This was a clever dodge to divert too quick eyes from his sleight of hand.

Then, chattering all the time, he began his tricks. Pennies were transformed into half-crowns and back to the poorer metal, much to the regret of the grinning yokels—one of them denounced it as ‘a mortal shame;’ handkerchiefs were torn into shreds and returned to their owners neatly folded and uninjured; a pigeon was placed under a cap, and when the cap was lifted there was a glass of water in its stead; cards seemed to obey the conjurer like living things—and so on through the usual range of legerdemain.

The great feat of the evening was the last. Mr Tuppit advancing with a polite bow—an excessively polite bow—begged Mr Wrentham to be so good as to trust him for a few minutes with his hat, which should be returned uninjured. Wrentham stared at the man, as if privately confounding his impudence, and complied with the request. Another polite bow and a smile, and the conjurer returned to his rostrum. The glossy hat was placed on the table: flour, water, raisins, and all the ingredients for a plum-pudding were poured into it amidst the laughter and excited exclamations of the youngsters, who could scarcely retain their seats. The whole was stirred with the magic rod, then covered with a cloth, and when that was removed, there arose a column of steam as from a caldron. A waiter brought a huge plate, and the conjurer tumbled out on it a piping hot plum-pudding from the hat. The wonder was not over yet. The pudding was quickly cut into hunks, and two waiters were employed to serve it to the astounded audience. But how that pudding came to suffice for the supply of all those young folk and their parents was a mystery which only the conjurer, Mr Beecham, and the hotel cook could properly explain.

The hat was restored to its owner in perfect condition. Wrentham said ‘Thank you,’ and again stared at the man, who again bowed politely, and retired after saying good-night to the children,{356} whose cheers were not stifled even by mouthfuls of plum-pudding.

‘There is another of my sources of happiness,’ said Mr Beecham as Wrentham was going away; ‘doing something to make others happy.’

Wrentham had not gained the particular information he had been seeking as to Beecham’s antecedents, but he had learned several things.

‘Bob is becoming troublesome. I must arrange with him either to sail in the same boat or not to run foul of me in this way.’

His report to Mr Hadleigh was brief and decisive. ‘I can make nothing of Beecham except that he is a harmless, good-natured chap, who likes to spend his money in standing treat to all the youngsters in the parish. There is no sham about his philanthropy either: never a bit of fuss. Take last night, for instance. Nobody knew anything about it barring those who were invited. I can’t make him out; but Miss Heathcote may be able to help you. He corresponds with her.’

‘Corresponds with her?’

‘Yes; I saw a letter addressed to her on his desk. They seem to be great chums, too, as I hear—and he is not too old to be a lover.’

‘That is curious,’ said Mr Hadleigh thoughtfully, but not heeding the jest with which Wrentham concluded his remarks.


Philip was a little bothered by what Madge had told him. In honest dealing he was unable to comprehend how man or woman could have any knowledge or design which might not be communicated to the person who was nearest in affection to him or her. He took for granted that he must stand nearest in affection to Madge. If the knowledge or design was not intended to hurt anybody, why should there be any mystery about it? The more light that shone upon one’s work, the better it would be done. Those who by choice worked in the dark must be trying to deceive somebody—maybe themselves. He had as little liking for mysteries as Aunt Hessy herself, because he could not see the use of them.

Had he consulted his brother Coutts on this subject, he would have learned from that City philosopher that the business of every man was to cheat—well, if the sound was more pleasing, overreach—every other man. Only a fool would make plain to others what he was going to do and how he meant to do it—and the fool paid the penalty of his folly by going promptly to the wall. He would have learned that in the race for Fortune there are many runners who want to be first to reach the winning-post. Therefore, it behoved every racer to keep the qualities of his horse dark, and to keep his fellows ignorant of the turns on the course where he purposed to put on an extra spurt and outwit them.

‘A clever lie,’ Coutts would have said with his cynical smile, ‘often saves much trouble, and wins the game. Most of the losers grin and bear, and whilst congratulating the winner, laugh at the “truthful James” who grumbles that he has lost because he did not understand or could not submit to the recognised rules of the course.’

‘But how can a lie be necessary?’ Philip would have asked—‘how can it be useful unless you mean to cheat?’

That was his great stumbling-block: he could not understand the use of a lie, any more than he could understand a captain in a fog running his vessel straight ahead without regard to compass or charts.

Coutts would regard him pityingly, and answer with the calmness of one whose principles are founded upon established law:

‘Why I tell a lie is because I wish to gain an advantage over somebody. If gaining this advantage be cheating, then I must cheat, because everybody else is doing the same thing; or I must submit to be cheated. However, in the City it is vulgar to talk about cheating and lies in connection with respectable business transactions. When we profit by the ignorance of others, we call it rules of trade, custom, and may occasionally go so far as to speak of sharp practice; but so long as a man keeps on the right side of the law, we never use such rude language as you do. When he gets to the wrong side of the law, however—that is, when he is found out—we are down upon him as heavily as you like. You had better not meddle with business, Philip, for you will be fleeced as easily as a sick sheep.’

Philip turned away in disgust from the ethics of selfishness as expounded by his brother, and refused to believe that the primary rule for success in business was to do the best for yourself no matter what others lose, or that any enterprise of moment had ever been carried to a successful issue under the guidance of such a theory. People might hold their tongues when silence meant no harm to any one and possible good to somebody. That was right, and that was what Madge was doing.

So, after the first sensation of bother—for it was not displeasure or suspicion of any kind: only a mixed feeling of regret and astonishment that there could be, even for a brief period, a thought which they might not both possess—he proceeded with the work in hand. She gave him what is most precious to the enthusiast, sympathy and faith in his visions.

‘People of experience,’ he told her, ‘say that I am aiming at an ideal condition of men, which is pretty as an ideal, and absolutely impracticable until human nature has so altered that all men are honest. Besides, they say, I am really striving after community of interest, which has been tried before and failed. Robert Owen tried it long ago—Hawthorne and his friends tried it—and failed. I answer, that although my object is the same as theirs, my way of reaching it is different. It is certainly community of interest that I seek to establish, but under this condition—that the most industrious and most gifted shall take their proper places and reap their due reward. Every man is to stand upon his own merits: if fortune be his aim, let him win it by hard work of hand and brain. The man who works hardest will get most, and he who works least will get least. I think that is perfectly simple, and easily understood by any man or woman who is willing to work. There are to be no drones, as I have said, to hamper the progress of the workers.’

Madge could see it all, and the scheme was a{357} noble one in her eyes, which ought to be workable—if they could only get rid of the drones. But that ‘if’ introduced Philip to his troubles.

The question as to the price of the land Philip desired to purchase had been settled with amazing promptitude after he had, in the rough but emphatic phrase, ‘put his foot down.’ Wrentham came to him with looks of triumph and the exclamation, ‘See the conquering hero comes.’ He was under the impression that he had done a good stroke of business.

‘I treated the greedy beggars to what I call the don’t-care-a-brass-farthing style. I was only an agent, and my principal said take it or leave it. I didn’t care which way they decided, at the same time I had a conviction that they were throwing away a good offer—cash down. We had some fencing—I wish you had been there—and at last they agreed to accept a sum which is only two hundred beyond what you offered, so I closed the bargain.’

The difference was not of much consequence; but for a moment Philip thought it strange that Wrentham had been able to conclude the bargain so easily after what he had told him. The thought, however, passed from his mind immediately.

Now came the business of starting the work. Here Caleb Kersey proved useful, not only in organising the labourers but in dealing with the mechanics. The difficulty was much the same with the skilled and unskilled workers—namely, to enable them to understand that it was better and honester to employer and employed to be paid for the work done than for the time spent over it. Prospective profit did not count for anything in the minds of most of the men; and the ‘honesty’ that was in the system was regarded as only another word for extra profit to the employer.

‘Gammon!’ was the general remark; ‘you don’t take us in with that chaff. We get so much an hour, and we mean to have it.’

In spite of this, however, Philip, aided by Caleb, collected a band of workmen sufficient for his purpose. For a time all went well. There were grumblings occasionally; but most of the men began in a short time to comprehend how they could improve their own position by the amount of work produced. But these presently found themselves hampered and scoffed at by those whose chief object was to ‘put in time.’ That was the grievance of the real workers: the grievance of the master, which was not found out until too late, was that the highest market price for the best materials was paid for the worst. The groans became more numerous, and their outcries louder, as their pay decreased in accordance with their own decrease of production. But they said they had ‘put in time,’ and ought to be paid accordingly. They were completely satisfied with this argument, which proved to themselves beyond question that they were being injured by the man who pretended to be their friend.

Next the unions spoke, and all the men who belonged to them were withdrawn. Those who remained were picketed and boycotted until Philip took what was considered by his friends another mad step.

‘Look here, lads, you who are willing to stand by me—you shall have your home in the works, and before long we shall have help enough. I am sorry that we should have had this breakdown; but I expected something of the sort; and when I started this scheme of mutual labour for mutual profit—I ought to say the system of individual work—I was prepared to encounter much misunderstanding, but I was inspired by the hope that in the end I should find real help amongst the real workers. I am convinced that there are plenty of men willing to work if they can find it. Now, why should we not work together? The principle is a very simple one, and easily understood. You want to get as much as you can. So do I. But in getting it, let us try to deserve it by really earning it. I am trying to earn my share of the profit that ought to come from the capital that I hold in trust. At the same time, I will not allow any man to share with me who says he cannot produce, but must be paid for the time he spends inside our gates.’

He was striving to bridge that troublous sea which lies between capital and labour; and the great pillars of his bridge were to be productive labour on the one side and honest buyers on the other. The men applauded these sentiments, satisfied that nothing was wanting except the honest buyers.

‘The real capital of the world is Brains,’ he said; ‘and to carry out the work which they devise, the labourer of all degrees is as necessary as the man with money.’

‘Hear, hear!’ cried a grim-visaged fellow who was leaving Philip’s service; ‘and, consequently, the labourer ought to have share and share alike in the profits with the money-man.’

‘Undoubtedly; and he should, likewise, take his share in the losses,’ was Philip’s reply; and he endeavoured to explain his projected scheme of the regulation of wages by results.

But this was not easy to understand. So long as he talked of sharing profits, the thing was clear enough; but when it came to be a question of also sharing losses, the majority could not see it. Philip was impatient of their stubborn refusal to believe in what was so plain and simple to him—that when a man was paid for what he produced he would be the gainer or loser according to the degree of his industry.

However, Philip persevered eagerly with his scheme, and in his character of honest buyer of labour he met with many surprises.

Work was scamped: he detected it, and dismissed the scampers. They went to join the clamorous crowd of incompetent or lazy workmen who cry that they only want work, but do not add to the cry that they want it on their own terms.

The few real workers who remained became disheartened because they were so few, and some of them were frightened by vicious crowds outside. They had wives and families dependent on them; but they must obey the inexorable majority, although in doing so they would have to accept charity or starvation. They accepted the charity, and clamoured more loudly than ever against the tyranny of capital which left them no other alternative. They loafed about public-houses, drank beer, discussed their grievances, whilst their wives went out charing or washing. And they called themselves over their pewter{358} pots the ill-used, down-trodden people of England!

‘I wish you could get rid of all that sham,’ Philip said, irritated at last with himself as much as with the men. ‘So long as you are mean enough to live upon the earnings of your wives, and what you can borrow or obtain from charity, and thus supported, refuse to work unless the terms and the nature of your work be exactly what you choose to accept, you will never have the right to call yourselves honest sellers of labour. I want you to understand me. I say that if a man wants work, he should be ready to take up any job that is offered him, whether it is in his line or not. The nature of the work is of no consequence so long as a man can do it, for all work is honourable. What is of consequence is that a man should be independent of the parish and the earnings of his wife. I say, here is work; come and do it: you shall not only have payment for what you do, but a share in whatever extra profit it may produce.’

That speech settled the whole affair so far as the men were concerned. All, except some half-dozen, left him, and filled their haunts with outcries against the new monopolist who wanted them actually to produce so much work for so much pay. Meanwhile, they got on comfortably enough with the earnings of their wives and the parish loaves.

‘God forbid that we should call such creatures workmen!’ cried Philip in his desperation; ‘but the country is crowded with them—a disgrace as much to legislation as to human nature. Let us see how we can do without them.’

He could have done without them if he had been allowed a fair chance. But in the first place, there was Wrentham’s frankly declared objection that the scheme was all nonsense, and could never succeed until all men ceased to be greedy or lazy. And then there was the hardest blow of all to Philip in the sudden change which came over Caleb Kersey.

Caleb had entered upon the work with an enthusiasm as strong as that of Philip himself, although not so openly expressed. There was a glow of hopefulness and happiness on his honest brown face when Philip first laid the plans before him. Here was the Utopia of which he had vaguely dreamed: here was the chance for poor men to take their place in the social sphere according to their capacities and without regard to the conditions under which they started. Here was the chance for every man to have his fair share of the world’s wealth.

‘I hadn’t the means to work it out as you have, sir, but my notion has always been something of the kind that you have got into ship-shape form. I’ll try to help you.’

And he kept his word. There was no more earnest worker on Shield’s Land (that was the name Philip had given to the estate he purchased) than Caleb. Example, advice, and suggestions of the practical advantage each man would secure if he faithfully followed out the rules Philip had laid down, were given by him to all his fellow-workmen.

Suddenly the enthusiasm disappeared. The light seemed to fade from his eyes; and Caleb, who had been the sustaining force of the workers, became dull and listless.

About Wrentham’s opposition there was a degree of lightness; as if one should say, ‘Just as you please, sir; I don’t believe in it, but I am entirely at your command,’ which did not affect personal intercourse. With Caleb it was the reverse, because he felt more deeply. Wrentham could be at his ease because he regarded the whole affair as a matter of business out of which he was to make some money. Caleb thought only of the possibilities the scheme suggested of the future of the workman.

Philip had given up all hope of persuading Wrentham to believe in his theories; but he could not give up Caleb. So he resolved to speak to him.

‘What is wrong, Kersey? You have not lost heart because those fellows have left us?’

‘No, not because of that’ (hesitatingly and slowly); ‘but they were not so much to blame in leaving us as you may think, sir.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, they did not understand you; and when they saw things coming in in the raw state at higher prices than could be got for them when made up, they didn’t see where the profit you spoke of was to come from.’

‘Oh——!’ murmured Philip, curiosity aroused, and the note passing through the stages of surprise and perplexity to suspicion. ‘Why have you not told me about this before?’

‘It weren’t my place, sir; Mr Wrentham has charge of these things.’

A pause, during which Philip tried a paper-knife on the desk as if it were a rapier. Then: ‘All right; I’ll see about that. But you have not answered me as to yourself. You are sulking for some reason. You say it is not the loss of the men which has put you out of sorts; I know it is nothing connected with me, or you would tell me. Then what is it?’

There was no answer; but Caleb bowed his head and moved as if he wished to go.

‘You have not heard anything about Pansy?’ said Philip suddenly, moved by a good-natured desire to discover the cause of the man’s depression, in the hope that he might be able to relieve it.

There was a lurch of the broad shoulders, and Caleb’s dark eyes flashed like two bull’s-eye lanterns on his master. ‘No—have you?’

The question was an awkward one for Philip, remembering what he had thought about the attentions of his brother to the gardener’s daughter. He was immediately relieved from his unpleasant position by Caleb himself. ‘No—I won’t ask you that, sir; it ’ud be hard lines for you to have to speak about’——

The rest was a mumble, and Caleb again moved towards the door. Philip called him back. ‘I won’t pretend not to know what you mean, Kersey,’ he said kindly; ‘but if you listen to what is said by envious wenches or spiteful lads, you are a confounded fool. Trust her, man; trust her. That is the way to be worthy of a worthy woman.’

‘And the way to be fooled by an unworthy one,’ said Wrentham, who came in as the last sentence was being uttered. Then seeing Philip’s frown and Caleb’s scowl, he added apologetically: ‘I beg your pardon. I thought and hope you were speaking generally, not of any one in particular.’


‘Come to my chambers this afternoon, Kersey; I want to speak to you.’

Caleb gave one of his awkward nods and left the office.


In a former paper (September 1879) we briefly reviewed the growth and progress of the art of glass-staining and painting, and described the various processes necessary to its prosecution, and practised at the present day; and, after tracing its career in its application to the purposes of ecclesiastical decoration, hinted at its capability of adaptation to ornamental requirements beyond those pertaining to the embellishment of the sacred edifice. We propose in the present paper to deal more exhaustively with this branch of an art, and to endeavour to point out, as succinctly as possible, the more prominent and obvious cases where its introduction would be desirable in secular ornamentation.

Public buildings of course demand the first attention; and in a country like our own, owing its prosperity to its commercial enterprise, its political organisation, and its unequalled system of municipal government, we have witnessed in the course of the last few years the commencement, progress, and completion of costly and magnificently adorned buildings. Upon these noble buildings have been lavished the utmost resources of decorative art; and latterly, stained glass has formed an important element in the general scheme of decoration, and it is to its adaptation to this class of domestic architecture that we would first draw attention.

One of the first, as it is one of the most natural, motives prompting the enrichment of the ornamental accessories of a building, is discovered in a desire to see perpetuated the memory of its founder or founders. The most natural expression of this feeling is, of course, the desire to permanently retain a record of their features and personal characteristics in the shape of a pictorial representation. This desire at first sight seems to be susceptible of immediate gratification by a portrait, either on canvas or in marble; but further consideration will tend towards the conviction that the use of these media is not altogether free from objection. Little, perhaps, can be said against the statue in itself; but the elaborate and gorgeous decoration of our more sumptuous buildings is likely to be unpleasantly marred by the marble pallor of sculpture; and after all, dignified and stately as are many of our statuesque memorials, they convey little more than an idealised impression of the features of the person commemorated.

The employment of oil portraiture is also open to certain objections. It must be remembered that modern decoration means a great deal more than a mere picking out in gold and colour of the salient lines of a cornice, or the stencilled powdering of a conventional pattern over the area of a wall or a ceiling; it has advanced far beyond the province of the builder and house-painter, and demands no inconsiderable proportion of the genius of the artist. If the decoration of a room or hall is designed to constitute in itself a complete work of art, its effect may be grievously injured by the injudicious introduction of a heavy gold frame, and colours, which while admirably accomplishing the purpose of the artist, may in a great measure interfere with the surrounding harmony of colour. We have, then, no other place left but the window, and the problem seems to be in a fair way towards solution. The perfection to which the painting of glass has attained leaves no room for doubt as to the fidelity of the likeness; but apart from this fact, a far more extensive recognition of the virtues or services of the subject of the memorial is to be obtained by various devices and emblems, appropriate to the character and life of the person honoured, which could hardly with propriety be introduced into an oil picture. One example, recently erected, may serve to more clearly demonstrate our meaning. The lately erected town-hall of Lerwick has been enriched by two windows illustrative of persons and scenes connected with some of the primitive traditions of Orkney. In one window, divided by a central mullion into twin-lights, is represented the figure of Archbishop Eystein, one of the earliest of Orcadian prelates, clad in his archiepiscopal vestments; while a panel beneath the figure illustrates his consecration of King Magnus. Side by side with the figure of the archbishop stands Bishop William, the founder of the venerable cathedral of Kirkwall, the formal ceremony itself being depicted in the panel below. The corresponding window displays the gigantic form of the Norse warrior Harald Haarfager, with his landing in Zetland shown in the lower panel; and Jarl Rognvald, whose investiture as Earl of Orkney, 870 A.D., is represented in the panel beneath. In the ‘tracery’ above the two windows are shown respectively the Orcadian and Norwegian coats-of-arms. Now, a combination of such historical and traditional interest could hardly be otherwise so successfully treated, while the glowing colours and fine design materially add to the effect of the neighbouring beauties of the structure.

There is another consideration not without importance in connection with the establishment of a complete scheme of internal decoration. Light is one of the most important essentials in a building where exact and extensive business is transacted, and the presence of large and frequent windows is a necessity. But how painfully is the harmony and continuity of the ornament interrupted by the constant recurrence of these patches of white light. The eye, in following the progress of the decorative design, grows weary of the constant loss and recapture of its thread; and that which would otherwise have pleased and charmed by its beauty as a whole, only perplexes and tires by its division into parts. Here, then, is called into requisition the art of the glass-stainer; without any vital diminution of light, the scheme of colour is no longer disturbed, a perfect chromatic harmony is established, and the window serves a double purpose, by admitting the necessary illumination from without, and enhancing the beauty of the building within.

The foregoing remarks naturally have reference to all public buildings of more or less importance, though we have instanced the town-hall as a representative building, associated with the more imposing class of secular edifices.


There is an institution and building, without the existence of which the writing on subjects of beauty and art would be a serious waste of time—namely, the school; and here the introduction of stained glass may be found of beneficial effect. It is not to be denied that when the watchful eye of the master relaxes its vigilance, the youthful eye will wander too, and the direction of nearly every eye will be towards the window; and principals of schools and their subordinates are fully aware of the fact. They are also aware of the attractions or distractions presented by the tempting spectacle of green trees and spreading meadows in summer; or falling snow and ice-bound stream in winter, or even at all times the freedom of the open street; so, to remove the cause of temptation, the glass is made opaque by painting it over with a dull white mixture which effectually conceals the dangerous landscape. But by the introduction of cathedral glass, of the simplest patterns and pleasing tints, the unsightly whitewashed panes would be replaced by panels of unblemished glass more or less ornamental, perfectly effectual in their primary purpose, and at the same time affording some relief to the eyes from the monotony of the barren school walls. Tinted glass leaded in various geometric or flowing patterns might be made most useful as an excellent substitute for drawing copies of the elementary stage; the rudiments of freehand drawing could all be acquired from the glazed patterns; while, under competent hands, it could afford most valuable assistance in the teaching of the laws of the harmony and artistic contrasting of colours. The trifling initial expense would be speedily saved, as there would be no wear and tear of copies; there could be no measuring, most disastrous to the student; the copy would be always clean; the colour would be refreshing to the eye; and much labour would be saved to the teacher, as he could demonstrate his teaching to the whole class at once.

Passing from the consideration of public requirements to those of the private home, the increasing cultivation and appreciation of the fine arts, and their application to domestic necessities, are sufficient encouragement for the advancing of the claims of stained glass to hold a place in the general scheme of internal decoration. Of course, with such diversity as necessarily exists in the comparative size and extent of family abodes, from the lordliest mansion, standing in the midst of its own far-stretching grounds, to the more humble dwelling, forming a unit among the many that go to constitute a street, or terrace, or ‘gardens,’ it would be impossible to lay down any precise suggestions for their ornamentation; but it may be possible to offer a few general and broadly elastic ideas, capable of being expanded or contracted according to the means and wants of all.

The more pretentious of the mansions of the nobility and gentry are pretty sure to boast of at least one fine, large, and imposing window, affording ample scope for artistic design, and, whether in the family tracing its pedigree for centuries, or the nouveau riche who began life with a struggle, heraldry and its concomitants seem to be held, more or less, in equal reverence. It needs little apology, therefore, for suggesting the blazonry of shield, helmet, crest, mantling, motto, supporters, and other resources of the gentle science, as affording a most appropriate exercise of the glass-stainer’s skill. Making use, as heraldry does almost exclusively, of the five most prominent colours, as well as white and gold, it is admirably adapted for its reproduction in stained glass, whose exquisite and transparent tints are seen to fine effect in heraldic compositions. The matter of expense is of course an important consideration; but the treatment of heraldic design can be almost endlessly modified or elaborated; so that, while within easy reach of the only moderately affluent, it may, on the other hand, be raised to such a height of gorgeous enrichment as to form no unworthy element in the decoration of a palace.

Nor is a large and finely proportioned window an absolute necessity. At Rydal Hall, Westmoreland, the seat of the family of Le Fleming, a window, the heraldic blazoning of which was designed by the present writer, consisted merely of nine upright oblong square panels, each about two feet high by eighteen inches wide, arranged three, three, and three; and separated by mullions and transoms. But this unpromising rigidity of construction was not only overcome, but made subservient to the general design, in the following manner: the arms of the Le Fleming family, in a shield of nine quarterings, occupied the centre panel; the quarterings (all divisions of a shield above two, no matter how many in number, are called quarters) being those respectively of Le Fleming, of course in the place of honour, the dexter chief; and of eight ancestral and collateral branches of the family; and each of these quarterings, thus brought together in one shield to form the perfect ‘achievement of arms’ of the present representative, was displayed separately on single shields occupying the eight surrounding panels.

One of the principal documents in the muniment rooms of the great is the genealogical tree, duly set forth on musty parchment, in itself a guarantee of its own antiquity. How admirably could this be executed in glass! The tree, very conventionally designed, trained over the whole surface of the window; the quaintly hung shields depending from its branches at intervals; the whole forming an interesting study for antiquary and genealogist.

But in less ambitious dwellings, stained glass under various forms may be introduced with picturesque advantage. It will be acknowledged that very often, while the front of a house may look on a well-kept garden, or form part of the side of a spacious and beautiful square or public garden, the back may very likely look out on equally spacious but not equally beautiful or savoury mews. We know it may be contended that most back-rooms are bedrooms, and only used at night. This is true enough. But in nine cases out of ten, in houses of this class, there is a staircase window on the first landing, which, as a rule, looks out on the back, and is continually calling the attention of those passing up or down the stairs to the interesting spectacle of an equine toilet, or some similarly delectable operation. In this case, a window, though consisting of only two or three tints of rolled cathedral glass, and leaded in geometric or ornamentally flowing lines, would completely shut out the offensive prospect, while in no way{361} interfering with the necessary lighting of the stair, nor the opening or shutting of the window-frame; and the expense would be scarcely if any more than glazing the sashes with plate-glass, which, moreover, to look commonly decent, requires infinitely more frequent cleaning than the other. This, of course, is almost the simplest form of treatment; but, according to the length of purse of the householder, the window may be more or less ornate in its design. The owner’s arms, or monogram; floral painted devices, heads, or figures representing the four seasons, field-sports, fables, nursery rhymes, and numberless kindred subjects, are all most appropriate for delineation, and can be obtained at far less cost than a doubtful ‘old master,’ or piece of Brummagem bric-à-brac. A very pretty effect is obtained at night by filling the sides of a hall-lamp, or any large conspicuous lamp, with painted glass of design according to the owner’s fancy; the old-fashioned clumsy window-blinds are now frequently superseded by leaded glass screens, more or less ornamental in their details; and a great objection to the use of stationary firescreens hitherto—that while they screen, they also hide the fire, is removed by the use of screens of glass, leaded and painted according to the taste and purse of the buyer.

A great and most important consideration in the adoption of stained glass is the great variety of design of which it is susceptible, its range of artistic production being so extensive and pecuniarily elastic as to bring it, in one form or another, within the reach of almost any one occupying a house; while for cleanliness, durability, and pleasing effect, whether in the comfortable dwelling of the thriving tradesman, or adorning the noblest monuments of private munificence or national philanthropy, it cannot fail to charm the eye by its intrinsic beauty; while from the artist’s practised hand, the jewels of design shed their lustre on the illuminated walls.




One evening—a pitch-dark evening in autumn—a girl stood at one of the doors in a row of old houses in the neighbourhood of Crutched Friars, watching. It was difficult to see many yards up or down the street, for it was only lighted by three widely-separated gas-lamps. Under one of these lamps, at a corner of the street, there presently appeared a little old man. He came along slowly, but with a jerky step like a trot; his head was bent and his shoulders raised; and he seemed to be rubbing his hands together cheerfully and hugging himself from time to time, as though his thoughts were of a congratulatory nature.

‘Why, grandfather,’ said the girl, descending into the street as soon as she caught sight of this figure—‘why, grandfather, how late you are!’

The old man came jogging on, still in his jerky manner, though faster, at the sound of her voice. ‘Ay, ay!’ said he, shaking out his words, ‘ay, Rachel, my dear. Always late. Don’t you take any notice of that. It has been so for years—fifty years; ay, more than fifty.’

‘Fifty years, grandfather, is a long time,’ remarked the girl as they passed in at the doorway together, her arms placed protectingly around him—‘a very long time.’

‘Ay, Rachel; so it is, my dear,’ continued the old man—‘so it is.’

They entered a small front-room on the ground-floor. An oil-lamp was burning on the mantel-shelf; it threw a dim light upon bare and dingy walls, upon an old deal table, two wooden seats without backs, and a well-worn leathern armchair near the fire. Towards this chair the girl now led the old man as one might lead a child. Then she began to lay the cloth for the evening meal. She was a pretty, homely-looking girl of about eighteen; perhaps a little too pale; and with eyes, though large and lustrous, somewhat sad and weary for one so young. But as she busied herself about the room preparing the supper, her eyes gradually brightened; and her face, growing more animated, gained colour, as though to match the better with her red lips.

The old man, crouching in his armchair before the fire, took no notice of the girl. His look had become deeply thoughtful, and he seemed to be gaining a year in age with every minute that was passing. The wrinkles increased, and covered his face like the intersecting lines in cobwebs; the white eyebrows drooped thick as a fringe, and meeting over the brow, seemed to be helping to hide some secret, vaguely expressed in the small gray eyes. His head was bald, except at the sides, where scanty locks of snowy white hair hung about his neck. His long lean fingers were occasionally spread out upon his knees, though sometimes the hands grew restless when an incoherent word escaped his lips. The workings of the mind indeed were expressed in the nervously shaped figure as much as in the face. There were moments when the fingers clawed and clutched perplexedly; then there came into the eyes a look of avarice, and the whole form would seem busily engaged in solving mysterious problems. There was something almost repellent in the workings of the mind and body of this strange old man.

‘Come, grandfather!’ cried the girl, when the meal was presently spread. ‘The supper is ready now; and I hope,’ she added, assisting him to a place at the table—‘I hope you have a better appetite than usual.’ She spoke in a cheerful tone, though looking doubtfully the while at what she had spread on the board. There was a small piece of cheese, part of a loaf, and a stone pitcher filled with water—nothing more.

The old man eyed the food keenly. ‘No, Rachel, no,’ said he; ‘not much appetite, my dear.’

The girl sighed, and took her place opposite to the old man. ‘I wish,’ said she, ‘that I could provide something more tempting. You must be almost famished, after all these hours of work. But’——


‘But we cannot afford it. Can we?’

‘No, my dear, no,’ said the old man, very shaky in voice; ‘we can hardly afford what we have.’

Rachel cut her grandfather a slice of bread.

‘Too much, my dear!’ cried he, with a wave of his hand—‘too much! I’ve no appetite at all.’

The girl divided the bread, a painful look{362} passing over her face. The old man, although there was a ravenous glance in his eyes strangely contradictory to his words, began to eat his bread slowly.

Presently the girl, as though expressing her thought impulsively, cried: ‘Grandfather! why are we so poor?’

The old man, who was munching his crust, and staring abstractedly at the morsel of cheese, looked up with bewilderment at Rachel.

‘I cannot understand why,’ she continued, forcing out the words—‘why we are so very, very poor! I cannot understand why such a wealthy House as Armytage and Company, where you have been a clerk for more than fifty years, should pay you such a small salary.’

‘Small, Rachel?’ asked her grandfather. ‘Fifteen shillings a week, small?’

‘Well, it does seem so to me,’ the girl replied in a modest tone.

The old man rubbed his knees nervously and bent his head, and deep furrows gathered on his brow. ‘Small, eh? Fifteen shillings a week, small? Why, Rachel, you talk as though you knew nothing of this hard-working world. How many clerks are there in this old city who would go down on their knees and thank Armytage and Company for fifteen shillings a week!’

‘Many—very many,’ said the girl sorrowfully. ‘I know that too well. But, grandfather, not one like you—not one who has served a great House for more than fifty years.’ She placed her hand upon the long lean hand of her grandfather. ‘No,’ she continued; ‘not so long as you have. And,’ she added, ‘surely not so faithfully? The House of Armytage and Company—I have often heard you say—place every confidence in you as their head-cashier. Thousands and thousands of pounds in the course of the year pass through your hands: piles of bank-notes, bags and bags of bright sovereigns, have been paid by you into the bank’——

‘Ay, ay!’ cried the old man, looking straight before him, as though at a vision—‘ay, ay! Bright sovereigns—bags and bags of them—bags and bags of bright sovereigns!—ah! how they shine!’ While speaking, he rose from his seat, rubbing his hands slowly together and hugging himself, as he had done on his way through the dark street. He began to pace the room, still staring at the vision, and muttering: ‘Ay, ay! how they shine!’

Rachel, watching him with a wondering expression, said in a low voice, as if speaking aloud her thoughts rather than addressing her grandfather: ‘What a blessing, if only some of those shining sovereigns were ours!’

The old man stopped suddenly, staggering as though he had received a blow, and looked fixedly at the girl. ‘What can have put that idea into your head?’

Rachel hung her pretty head as she replied: ‘I want them, grandfather, for you! I want to see you placed at your ease.’

The old man was silent. His eyes remained for a moment bent upon the girl’s face; then he sat down before the fire, and gradually seemed to fall back into his thoughtful mood, his face wrinkling more deeply, and the nervous movements of his hands answering to the constant plodding of his brain.

Rachel now rose from her seat to clear the table, moving silently about the room. When she had finished, she seated herself at her grandfather’s feet, upon the threadbare patch of carpet before the hearth, and raising her eyes to his face, she said: ‘You are not angry with me, grandfather, for speaking my mind?’

The old man placed his hand tenderly upon the girl’s head. ‘No, my child—no. There is nothing in your words to make me angry. But you know little of the world. You think that we are poor. You do not know, Rachel, what poverty is. Does,’ he added, with a sudden glance at the girl’s face—‘does starvation threaten us?’

‘Why, no, grandfather.’

‘Is there any danger,’ he demanded, ‘that we shall be turned out of our old home?’

‘None, grandfather, that I know of.’

‘Then, my dear, do not let us say that we are poor. It sounds as though we were in sight of the workhouse; and that, you know,’ he concluded, ‘that is not true: no, no—not true.’

These words seemed to pacify the girl; and the two remained silent for a while. Rachel retained her place at the old man’s feet, her head drooping on his knee, his hand laid protectingly around her shoulder.

‘You are tired, Rachel,’ said the old man presently, noticing that her eyes were half-closed with sleep. ‘Go, my dear, get to bed. I shall find my way to my room soon. Don’t mind me.’

‘Shall you stay up, grandfather?’ asked Rachel, looking at him with surprise.

‘A little while, Rachel—a little while.’

The girl lingered, and looked reluctantly around the room. ‘Are you sure you would not like me to stay with you?’

‘Quite sure, my dear.—Good-night.’

The girl kissed her grandfather. Deep affection was expressed in her whole demeanour as she bent over him to say good-night. Then she placed a very ancient-looking candlestick on the table and left the room.

When she was gone, a striking change came over the old man—his face became more animated; he was younger in look and manner. Presently, he rose from his seat with surprising ease for one so old. He stood for a moment in the middle of the room, leaning forward and listening, with keenness and cunning expressed in his eyes. There was not a sound. The street outside, little frequented even during daylight, was silent. The old man lit the candle, blew out the lamp, and went up the old staircase noiselessly. On one side of the landing above there were two rooms—the first the bedchamber of the grandfather, the second that of the girl. Reaching the landing, he entered his room and closed the door very cautiously, and always listening.

The room was grotesquely furnished. In one corner was a large bed, with four black, bare, oaken posts, with spikes, nearly touching the low ceiling. The bed-coverings were neat and clean; and beside the bed was a strip of carpet. But here all appearance of comfort began and ended. The contrast gave to the rest of the room a dreary aspect: the sombre walls, the patched-up window-panes, the uneven floor, suggested nothing beyond abject poverty and decay.

Still in a listening attitude, and frequently{363} glancing keenly about, as though the fear of being taken by surprise amounted almost to terror, the old man placed the candle on the drawers, and taking a bunch of keys from his pocket, unlocked a cupboard in the wall and took out sundry articles. Firstly, a thick long overcoat, into which he disappeared, leaving only his head visible; secondly, a large fur-cap, which he drew down to his eyebrows and over his ears; thirdly, he brought forth a dark-lantern; this he carefully trimmed, lighted, and closed. These strange proceedings completed, he threw the bedclothes, with evident intention, into some disorder, put out the candle, and left the room. For a moment he stood on the landing, listening at his grand-daughter’s half-open door. It was dark within her room, and a soft regular breathing, as from one who sleeps, fell upon the old man’s ear. Apparently satisfied, he nodded his head slowly; and then he began to descend the dark staircase. Step by step he crept down, casting at intervals a trembling ray of light before him from the lantern which he held in his shaky hand. When he reached the passage, he opened the front-door and went into the night, closing the portal without a sound. As he had come, when his grand-daughter stood waiting for him on the doorstep, so he went, hugging himself, and moving with a jerky trot along the silent, lonely way, under the dim lamps fixed in the walls over his head. So he went, like a mysterious, restless shadow. Where? The old city clocks are striking midnight; they awaken echoes in tranquil courts and alleys; their droning tones die out, and break forth again upon the night, as though demanding in their deep monotonous voices—‘Where?’

When Rachel arose at an early hour on the following morning, her pretty face expressed no surprise when she found that her grandfather was up and away without awakening her. The same thing had occurred so often in her young life, that although she felt regret at not seeing him at the breakfast-table, she took for granted that the important affairs of the great firm of Armytage and Company had called him away to the counting-house; so she made herself as happy and contented as might be under the circumstances. She lit the fire, breakfasted, and then busied herself about the old house until towards noon, when she sat down by the window in the sitting-room with her work, looking out upon the dismal row. A dismal place, even upon a bright autumn morning. The row faced a plot of waste ground. On this plot there had once stood, in all probability, a row of houses similar to the row in which Rachel and her grandfather lived; but nothing now remained except the foundations of houses, filled with rubbish of every description in the midst of broken bricks. In the centre of the place there was planted a wooden beam with a crossbar, like a gibbet, from which was suspended a lantern, broken and covered with dust. Whether this lantern had ever been lighted, may be doubtful; but that some one had placed it there with the intention of warning people who had some regard for their shins against trespassing after dark, and had afterwards forgotten to light it, is the probable explanation of the matter. Be this as it may, Rachel sat regarding this scarecrow-looking lamp dreamily, as she had often done, without being conscious that it was there, with the piles of dark houses in the background, when the figure and, more especially, the handsome face of a young man on the opposite side of the street, somehow got in front of the lantern and blotted it out.

As Rachel’s eyes met the eyes of the young man, a smile of recognition crossed the girl’s face. She threw open the window. ‘Good-morning, Mr Tiltcroft.’

To which the young man answered, as he stepped across the road: ‘Good-morning, Miss Rachel.’

‘Have you come from the counting-house?’

‘Yes; I’m on my “rounds,” you know, as usual,’ replied the young man; ‘and happening by mere accident to be passing this way on matters of business for Armytage and Company, I thought it would scarcely be polite to go by the house of Silas Monk without inquiring after the health of Miss Monk, his grand-daughter.’

‘You are very kind. Won’t you come in?’

The young man willingly assented. The girl opened the front-door, and they went in together, and sat down side by side near the fire.

‘You have always been such a kind friend to my grandfather and to me, Walter,’ said the girl, ‘that although it may seem strange to you that I should put the question I am going to ask, still I am sure you will believe I have a good reason for doing so. Tell me, if you can, why it is that my grandfather, who has served the House of Armytage and Company so many years—so many, many years,’ she repeated with emphasis, ‘and so faithfully too, should receive so paltry a salary? Can you explain it?’

The young man looked up with some surprise expressed in his frank eyes. ‘Paltry, Rachel?’ asked he. ‘I call it princely!’

A look of disappointment, even of regret, came into the girl’s face. ‘That is what grandfather says. He talks as though he thought it princely too. He always reminds me, when I mention the subject, that there are hundreds of poor clerks in this old city of London who would be only too glad if they could make sure of a like remuneration.’

‘So I should think,’ cried the young man, laughing. ‘Why, Rachel, if I had a salary half as large as your grandfather, I’d ask you to marry me to-morrow!’

‘Be serious, please.’

‘So I am serious! What astonishes me is, that Silas Monk, with the fine salary—in my opinion, very fine salary—which he draws from Armytage and Company, should live in a back street like this. It’s downright incomprehensible!’

‘What can you mean?’ The girl uttered the words in a hurried voice, as though a sudden thought had crossed her mind. She placed her hand upon Walter’s arm and said: ‘Don’t speak!’

What troubled her was the discovery that her grandfather had deceived her. There was no truth in what he had led her to believe about their intense poverty. They were perhaps rich, and had been for years, while she had remained in ignorance of the fact. What was his object in concealing this from her? She could not doubt that it was a good one. He knew the world and{364} all the horrors of poverty; how often he had spoken of that! He wished to leave her in a position of independence; and doubtless he had the intention of telling her this secret as an agreeable surprise.

‘Walter,’ said she, looking up into the youth’s face after this pause, ‘you must think me strangely discontented to speak as I have just done of Armytage and Company. I value my grandfather’s services to the firm perhaps far too high. But he was a clerk in the House before the oldest living partner was born. No salary, not even the offer of a share in the business, would seem to me more than he merits.’

‘Exactly what we all say in the office,’ replied Walter. ‘But then, you know, five hundred a year is not so bad. I shall think myself lucky if I ever get within two hundred of it—I shall indeed.’

Could she be dreaming? Five hundred pounds a year! Ever since her earliest childhood, she had implicitly believed that fifteen shillings a week was the amount her grandfather earned—not a farthing more.

Rachel rose from her seat and went to the window. Her perplexity was too great to allow her, without betraying it, to utter a word. Yet she wished to speak; she wanted to question Walter in a hundred ways. There were perhaps other mysteries—at least so she began to think—which he might assist her to solve. Calming herself as best she could, she turned to him, and said: ‘Can you stay a moment longer? There is something I should like to know about my grandfather.’

‘There are many things, Rachel, that I should like to know,’ said the young man, laughing. ‘Many things that most of us at the office would like to know about the dear, eccentric, old fellow!—Well, Rachel, what is it?’

The girl, hesitating a moment, replied: ‘One thing puzzles me greatly—why is grandfather kept so very late every evening at the office?’

Walter Tiltcroft looked round quickly. ‘What do you call late, Rachel?’

‘Ten o’clock, eleven, sometimes midnight.’

‘No one remains after six.’

‘No one?’ asked the girl—‘not even grandfather?’

‘That,’ replied the young man, ‘no one knows. He is always the last. He locks up the place. He is First Lord of the Treasury. He looks after the cash: he stays to see that all is safe in the strong-room. That has been his office for years. He is, some of them think, getting too old for the post. But that’s a matter for the partners to settle. He is still hale and hearty. There is, therefore, no reason why he should be superseded—at least, none that I can see.’

‘But surely, Walter, the mere matter of locking up the strong-room cannot occupy grandfather from six o’clock until even ten, much, less until midnight.’

‘That’s the mystery,’ said the young man thoughtfully.

Rachel clasped her hands and turned her pale face towards Walter. ‘What you tell me, makes me very anxious,’ said she. ‘Indeed, I know not why, but I begin to be seriously alarmed. What can all this mean?’

‘What, indeed? That’s the mystery,’ repeated the young man, in a still more meditative tone.

‘Then again, Walter, I cannot understand why grandfather leaves home for the counting-house, as he tells me, at five o’clock in the morning. Can that be necessary?’

‘Oh, no, no! The hours are from nine till six,’ cried Walter. ‘But at what hour Silas Monk arrives, no one knows, or ever did know. We always find him seated at his desk in the morning when we come, just as we leave him there when we go in the evening.—Do you know, Rachel,’ added Walter, ‘if I was ignorant of the fact that he had his home and this little housekeeper, I should be disposed to agree with the fellows at the office who declare Silas Monk haunts the counting-house all night long.’

Rachel started. These words, uttered by the young man half in jest, brought thoughts into the girl’s head which had never entered there before.

‘Good-bye, Rachel,’ said Walter. ‘Armytage and Company will be wondering what has become of me.’

The lovers went together to the front-door, where Walter hastily took his leave. He looked back, however, more than once, as he went down the street, and saw Rachel standing on the doorstep watching him. So, when he reached the corner, he waved his hand to her, and then plunged into the busy thoroughfare.




There are but two species of seal permanently resident on our coasts—the Common Seal (Phoca vitulina) and the Great Seal (Phoca barbata). The Greenland seal has occasionally been seen in Shetland, and even shot; but these were only stragglers, not improbably floated far southward on small icebergs or floes of ice from the Arctic regions. The two species named, the common and the great seal, are very much alike in appearance, and not easily distinguished by a casual observer; but a Shetlander who has frequent, if not constant, opportunities of seeing them, is never at a loss to recognise them. In many respects, especially in their habits, they are distinguished by well-marked characteristics. The common seal is called in Shetland Tang-fish—that is, shore or bay seal; and the great seal is vernacularly the Haff-fish, or ocean seal. The male and female of both species are distinguished by the prefix ‘Bull’ and ‘She’—Bull-fish, She-fish.

The common seal is gregarious, and appears to be polygamous. In herds of from ten to a hundred they frequent the small uninhabited islands, holms, and skerries, where the tideways are strong, but the ocean swell not great; and they do not seem to stray far from such favourite haunts, resting for several hours each day from the commencement of the ebb-tide on small outlying rocks, or stony beaches on the lee-side of the little islets, but almost always in such a position as to command a pretty extensive view, in case of surprise. Their food consists chiefly of piltocks{365} and sillocks—vernacular for the young of the saithe or of the coal-fish—small cod, flounders, and crustacea. In June, they bring forth their young, never more than one at a birth, and in the same season, on the low flat rocks close to the sea, and immediately lead them to the water, where they seem at once perfectly at home, disporting themselves amongst the waves with ease and grace equal to their seniors. For some time previous to this, the sexes separate into different herds; and during the two succeeding months in which they suckle their young, the females affect a somewhat solitary life. After that, they again become indiscriminately gregarious. The adult common seal sometimes attains the size of six feet, measured from the point of the nose to the end of the tail. It is obviously a mistake to measure to the end of the hind flippers, as is sometimes done. The males are considerably larger than the females, but I have never seen one exceeding six feet.

On the other hand, the haff-fish grows sometimes to eight or nine feet, and such venerable ocean patriarchs will weigh from six to seven hundredweight. This species is much less numerous than the tang-fish. They appear to be monogamous, and are not gregarious, being commonly met with in pairs. They frequent the wildest and most exposed of the outlying rocks and skerries along the coast where there is free and immediate access to the ocean, and are very seldom seen in the bays or amongst the islands, which are the haunts of their less robust congeners. They seem to luxuriate in the roughest sea, and delight to sport in the broken water and foam at the foot of steep rocks and precipices when the waves are dashing against them. They bring forth their young in caves, open to the sea—called in Shetland hellyers. These hellyers are natural tunnels in the lofty precipices, running or winding inwards, sometimes two hundred yards, into darkness, and generally terminating in a stony or pebbly beach. Some of these hellyers can be entered by a small boat, but only when the sea is perfectly smooth; others are too narrow for such a mode of access; and the openings to others are entirely under water.

It is in these wild and for the most part safe retreats that the female haff-fish, about the end of September or beginning of October, brings forth her young; and here she nurses it for about six weeks, all the time carefully and affectionately attended by her lord and master. Not till the baby haff-fish is nearly two months old does it take to the water. If thrown in at an earlier age, it is as awkward as a pup or kitten in similar circumstances, and does not seem to have the power of diving. In these respects, the two species differ markedly. Nor is the haff-fish so often seen basking on the rocks; and when he does take a rest on shore, he does not appear to mind what is the state of the tide or wind. But probably his usual and favourite resting and sleeping place is his hellyer, where he will feel secure from intrusion. His principal food is cod, ling, saithe, halibut, and conger-eel. Both species are exceedingly voracious, but can endure a very long abstinence. A tame one we once had never tasted food for three weeks before he died. They always feed in the water, never on land, tearing large pieces off their fishy prey, and swallowing it without almost any mastication. They do not migrate, but remain in the vicinity of their breeding-places throughout the year. Formerly, seals’ flesh used to be eaten by the natives of Shetland, but not now. I have eaten a part of a seal’s heart, and found it by no means unpalatable. It was offered to me as a special delicacy by an old gentleman who could not have been induced to taste a crab or lobster. By-the-bye, why is it Shetlanders won’t eat these delicious crustacea? I once put the question to an old fisherman, and his reply was: ‘They’re unkirsn—they eat the human,’ meaning the dead bodies of sailors and fishermen. (Unkirsn is the vernacular for unclean, in the sense of being unfit for food.)

I believe seals’ flesh is still sometimes salted and eaten by the Faroese and Icelanders; but if one may judge from the very strong coal-tarry smell of the carcass, it cannot be particularly savoury. It is different, however, with whale-flesh, that of the bottlenose at least. Shetlanders don’t eat it; but the Faroese do, and esteem it highly. I remember, many years ago, being in Thorshavn shortly after a shoal of about twelve hundred bottlenoses had been driven ashore, and the houses of the little town were all covered with long festoons of whale-flesh hung up to dry and harden in the sun. The natives call it grind, and regard it as excellent, palatable, and nutritious food. I ate some of it. It looked and tasted very much like good coarse-grained beef, and had no unpleasant, fishy, or blubbery flavour.

Seal-hunting is splendid sport—superior, I confidently affirm, to every other species of sport in this country at least, not excepting deer-stalking and fox-hunting. The game is a noble animal, large, powerful, exceedingly sagacious, intensely keen of sight and hearing, suspicious, shy, and wary. You have to seek him amid the wildest and grandest scenery, where you will sometimes encounter danger of various kinds. To be a successful seal-hunter you must be acquainted with the habits of the animal. You must be cool and cautious, yet prompt and fertile in expedients, a good stalker, a good boatman, and a good cragsman; and you must be at once a quick and a steady shot. It is not enough to strike a seal; you must shoot him with a bullet through the brain, and thus kill him instantly, or you will in all probability never see him again. He may be lying basking on a rock within forty yards of you; you may put a bullet through his body; he plunges into the sea and disappears. But a seal’s head is not a large object at any considerable distance; and if he is swimming, you have probably only a part of his head in view. If you are in a boat, your stance is more or less unsteady, however smooth the sea may be. Then, however close he may be to you, it is needless to fire, if, as is usually the case, he is looking at you; for he is quite as expert as most of the diving sea-birds in ‘diving on the fire,’ or rather throwing his head to a side with a sudden spring and splash. Further, if you kill him in the water, the chances are at least equal that he instantly sinks, fathoms deep, amongst great rocks covered with seaweed, where dredging is out of the question; and other expedients that may be tried, equally, in nine{366} cases out of ten, fail. At other times, however, a seal shot in the water will float like a buoy. It is not very clear why one seal should float and another sink. It is certainly not referable to the condition of the animal. Fat seals sink as readily as lean ones; and lean seals float as readily as fat ones. Probably they float or sink according as their lungs are or are not inflated with air at the moment they receive their death-wound.

Besides a thoroughly trustworthy weapon, the seal-hunter requires to provide himself with a ‘waterglass,’ a ‘clam,’ and a stout rod twelve to twenty feet long, with a ling-hook firmly lashed to the end of it, making a sort of gaff. These are for use in the event of a seal sinking. The waterglass is simply a box or tub with a pane of glass for its bottom. Placed on the surface of the water, it obviates the disturbing effect of the ripple. Looking through it with a great-coat or piece of cloth thrown over the head after the manner of photographers, you can see down as far as sixty feet if the water is pretty clear; and even to a hundred feet or thereby if it is very clear. The ‘clam’ is an enormous species of forceps, with jaws of from two to three feet width when open. Two stout lines are attached—one for lowering the clam with open jaws; the other for closing the blades over a dead seal that, by help of the waterglass, has been discovered lying at the bottom, and hauling him to the surface. Many a seal is secured in this way, which, but for these simple appliances, would inevitably be lost. The long-handled gaff is used for raising a seal that may have sunk in very shallow water where the rod can reach him, and sometimes is found very useful when he is just beginning to sink, if you have shot him from your boat. For a few seconds after being shot, he usually floats. Instantly, you pull up to him, but find him sinking slowly—only as yet, however, a foot or two beneath the surface. You at once and easily gaff him, and then he is safe enough.

The largest haff-fish I ever shot I lost from not having a seal-gaff in the boat. I was not seal-hunting, but shooting sea-fowl along the lofty precipices on the east side of Burrafirth, in the island of Unst. Suddenly a big haff-fish bobbed up close to the boat, but instantly disappeared with a tremendous splash. Seals are very inquisitive animals; and as he had not had time to gratify his curiosity, I thought it very likely he might show face again. We always carried two or three bullets in our pocket, to be prepared for such chances. One of these I quickly wrapped round in paper and rammed home above the shot, with which my fowling-piece—a long, single-barrelled American duck-gun—was charged. Again selkie broke the surface of the water, this time at a more respectful distance, but still within easy range. After taking a good look at the boat, and at me doubtless, who just then covered him with the sights, he turned fairly round and gave a contemptuous sniff of his nose skywards, preparatory to making off. Fatal and unusual hardihood; it cost him his life, for just then I pulled the trigger, and sent the bullet through his head. I was in the bows of the boat. ‘Pull men, pull hard!’ I shouted. As we came up to him, I saw he was beginning to sink. A rod there was in the boat, but it had no hook at the end. I seized it, and stretching forward, got it under him, and raised him close to the surface. I tried to keep him up, but he slipped and slipped several times, and at last sank. I could have secured him easily enough, had there been a hook on the end of the rod. The water was very deep, and not clear; and although I spent that evening and the next day searching for him with the usual appliances, I was unsuccessful. All these conditions, contingencies, and uncertainties make the sport of seal-hunting surpassingly exciting and captivating.


A singular question has arisen within the last few months in reference to the education of young children in our public and National Schools, and that is the somewhat startling query: Is not the present system of ‘cramming’ very young children not only inexpedient, but dangerous to brain and life, in trying to force too much ‘book-learning’ into small minds ill fitted for its reception? Many thoughtful people have of late given much attention to this interesting question; but the whole subject has at last been forced upon the notice of the public in a manner as tragic as it was unexpected. Two young children have lately suffered miserable deaths in consequence of overwork, in other words, over-education. One of these children, in the delirium of brain-fever, continually cried out, with every expression of pain and distress: ‘I can’t do it—I can’t do it!’ alluding, of course, to the difficult sum or long lesson which had been given her; and so the poor little overtaxed brain gave way, fever set in, and death speedily put an end to her sufferings.

Now this is very sad, and surely need not, and ought not, to be even possible. To put a higher and better class of education than was meted out to our forefathers within the reach of all, is one of the grandest systems of the present enlightened age—a system to which no sane person could possibly object. But even this blessing may be overdone, through the indiscreet zeal of teachers, until it becomes a curse, instead of what it really ought to be, a blessing. The body of man, acted on by the unerring laws of Nature, plainly rebels against all overdosing, whether it be in food, drink, exercise, heat or cold, and clearly indicates a limit—‘Thus far, and no farther.’ So it is with the brain. Children are not all constituted alike, and it is certain that all should not be treated in the same manner in the training either of their bodies or their minds. One boy will develop great muscular strength, and distinguish himself in athletic games and gymnasium practice. But will it be pretended because A and B can do this to their advantage, that C and D, who do not possess the physical requisites, should also be compelled to go through the same course? What must be the consequence? An utter breakdown. So is it with the mental organisation; a point which seems to be the last thing that many teachers take the trouble to study, or even to think of. All the children who attend the school—to use a homely but truthful saying—must be ‘tarred with the same brush,’ no matter what their capacity or ability. The weak sensitive{367} mind, lacking both ready intelligence and quick perception, is to be ‘crammed’ and overdosed with learning for the reception of which it is unfitted; whilst no allowance is made for want of ability. And all this in obedience to the Revised Code of the Education Department, the principles of which have been denounced as not seldom producing more evil than good, and serving only to degrade the higher aims of true education. The consequences of this system, when it is overdone, are that the mind gives way, and brain-fever and death are the painful results. As far as the public have heard as yet, only two deaths of children have been recorded as having been produced by over-pressure of the brain in schools; but it is not improbable that if two have occurred in this way, that these are by no means all. It is also possible that a child may sicken and die from this overwork without its parents at all suspecting the real cause.

The question is now fairly before the public; and a large and influential meeting was held on the 27th of March last in Exeter Hall, under the presidency of the Earl of Shaftesbury, ‘to protest against the existing over-pressure in elementary schools.’ The most remarkable resolution was moved by Dr Forbes Winslow, a gentleman who, from his great professional experience, was well able to give a fair opinion on a question of brain-work and brain-pressure. This resolution was to the effect: ‘That, in the opinion of this meeting, a serious amount of over-pressure, injurious to the health and education of the people, exists in the public elementary schools of the country, and demands the continued and serious attention of Her Majesty’s government.’ The resolution then goes on to condemn the Revised Code, adding, that ‘if the recent changes even alleviate, they will not remove, this over-pressure.’

Other resolutions passed at this meeting also referred to the excessive brain-pressure exercised in schools, and deprecated the Code generally, especially the inelastic conditions under which the Education grant is administered, the excessive demands of the Code itself, and the defects of inspection. The system of ‘classification’ was also severely condemned by one speaker, who added these remarkable words: ‘Ingenious cruelty could not have provided a more ruinous system than that of payment by results. All the children were ground upon the same grindstone, without reference to their capacity; and accordingly as they were ground up or ground down to the very same level, so was the percentage of public money handed over.’ It was also insisted that teachers should classify according to ability, and not merely according to age; a wise and salutary suggestion, which, if carried out, would undoubtedly save much useless over brain-work, for it would follow that, where a child was found to be of a low order of intellect, cramming and over-pressure would be futile, and therefore not attempted, as being simply loss of time. But where children are placed according to age only in one particular class, it follows that all constituting that class—dull or bright—are to be crammed exactly alike, whether they can bear it or not, and the consequence must be that whilst the intelligent advance rapidly, the stupid break down entirely. Such a system, added to the principle of payment by results, can be productive of nothing but disaster.

The question has recently been before both Houses of Parliament; but Mr Stanley Leighton unfortunately lost his motion by a majority of forty-nine. His motion was to the effect, that children under seven should not be presented for examination—that greater liberty should be given to teachers to classify according to abilities and acquirements, and not age only—and that a large share of the grant should depend on attendance, and a smaller upon individual examinations. Mr Leighton concluded by saying that ‘the existing over-pressure was killing not only children, but teachers as well.’

As this important subject has at length been fairly ventilated, it will probably not be allowed to drop until something has been attempted to modify and re-arrange much that now exists in the objectionable Revised Code. Nothing, however, will accomplish this much-desired result but agitation and pressure in the right quarters, and public opinion must make itself both heard and felt.



A short time ago, it was feared that the electric light would quickly and entirely supersede gas as an illuminating agent; and whether it eventually did so or not, there was no doubt that in the future it would prove a formidable rival. Those who were most interested in gas, foreseeing the inevitable change, whilst improving the positions they occupied so prominently and so long, sought new fields for the application of gas, in which they might hold their own, and probably more than their own, against the conquering rival. The application of gas to cooking purposes was one of the results, and, as experience has since proved, was a very useful and beneficial one. The writer has had a gas cooking-stove for some time in his possession, and offers, therefore, for the benefit of others the results of personal experience.

The gas-flame used in gas cooking-stoves differs essentially from the ordinary gas-flame used for lighting purposes. It is necessary to bear this in mind, for some persons object to gas-cooking because they are only acquainted with gas in the form used for illumination, in which it is capable of giving off so much soot and other objectionable products of combustion. In the gas cooking-flame the combustion is more perfect, and consequently the temperature is very much higher, so that by this simple change an extraordinary saving of gas is effected, while the objectionable products before mentioned are almost entirely eliminated. To effect this change, all that is necessary is to mix the gas with a sufficient quantity of air before it reaches the flame, and to subdivide the flame itself. This mixture of gas and air has been for a long period in use for heating purposes in the laboratory of the chemist under the form of the Bunsen burner, and also in the blowpipe, and is almost indispensable to him.

The advantages which gas possesses over coal and peat for cooking purposes may be summed up as follow: (1) It is always ready, and can be turned on and off in a moment; (2) It is{368} very clean, deposits no soot if properly lighted; (3) The heat can be regulated to the requirements of the occasion; (4) It requires no attention; (5) It is cheap and economical; (6) It preserves the flavour of meat; and (7) It saves time and labour.

Any person who considers the amount of labour and time expended in connection with ordinary fires—the comparative difficulty of lighting them—the frequent attention necessary to maintain them, and the waste of fuel when not in use—the amount of soot they discharge about the compartment, and deposit, more particularly in open stoves, on the utensils used in cooking—the absence of any means by which the heat can be properly regulated—cannot fail to be convinced that coal for cooking purposes has a great rival in gas. That gas is economical cannot for a moment be disputed, even when the question of labour is not included. Of course the comparison will vary in different localities; but wherever the price of gas is in proportion to the price of coal—that is to say, wherever no exceptionally high price is charged for the cost of manufacturing gas—the cost of cooking by the latter will compare favourably with that of coal. A few figures taken from actual trial will make this clear. A ton of Wallsend coals in London costs twenty-six shillings, and will feed a small kitchen stove for two months; making the charge thirteen shillings a month. To this must be added one shilling a month for firewood, which costs in London three shillings and sixpence per hundred bundles. This amounts to fourteen shillings a month. The cost of gas for doing the same amount of cooking amounts, at three shillings per thousand cubic feet, to, say, fourpence a day, or ten shillings a month; to which eightpence a month for rent of gas-stove has to be added. This amounts to ten shillings and eightpence; making the saving per month upwards of three shillings. Where stoves can be had for hire from the Gas Companies—and they can now be had from most Companies—hiring is cheaper than purchase. Moreover, the Company keep them in repair without extra cost.

The advantages of gas are felt chiefly in summer, when coal-fires are not only not required for heating purposes, but when kept lighted all day, are positively objectionable; and to the workers in the kitchen almost intolerable. The atmosphere of a kitchen where gas is used at this season contrasts strongly in temperature with that of one in which coal is burned. When coal-fires are kept up only for the preparation of each meal, the cost of relighting is somewhat considerable.

There are many objections offered to the use of gas for cooking. It is very commonly said that an offensive smell is imparted to the victuals cooked by gas—that gas is really more costly in the end—and that the statements made by gas and gas-stove manufacturers in respect to working cost are lower than can be obtained in practice. If the stove be a good one, the victuals are generally better cooked than by the ordinary method; there is no objectionable smell, and no objectionable taste. The flavour of meat roasted or baked in a good stove is superior, because it can be done quickly, and is not allowed to toughen, as frequently happens before a low kitchen fire. That gas is not more costly than coals is proved by the figures given above.

We will conclude by saying a few words about stoves. It should be seen that means are provided for supplying a sufficient quantity of air for admixture with the gas before it reaches the flame. The air is admitted through a number of holes or slits opening into the tube through which the gas passes, and in rushing forward under pressure the gas draws the air with it into the flame. To realise a maximum amount of heat out of a given quantity of gas, it is necessary to add to it a definite proportion of air. When the gas rushes rapidly towards the flame, a greater quantity of air is drawn in through the orifices provided for that purpose than when the gas passes more slowly. This to a certain extent regulates the supply of air; but it sometimes happens that too much or too little air is admitted. A small quantity of gas passing through the pipe cannot exercise the force necessary to create a partial vacuum into which the air would be drawn, and as a consequence, the heat derived from the flame is far below what might be expected—in short, it ceases wholly or partially to be a blue flame, and becomes a luminous and comparatively cold, or perhaps a smoky one. The other provision is made for the proper control of the supply of air; and since an excess is the lesser of the two evils, it is wiser to adopt the precaution of having holes or slits in the pipe large enough to admit a sufficient quantity of air. The larger the oven or roaster, the more convenient it will be. This oven should be provided with movable ‘grids’ or trays, and should have one metal tray for the reflection of heat, by which the tops of pies, &c., may be browned; and also with a ventilator, to allow the gases to escape. A gas-stove with a small oven, or with one divided into a number of parts without the means of being enlarged, will be found very inconvenient if it is required to roast a large joint.


Fair creature of a few short sunny hours,
Sweet guileless fay,
Whence flittest thou, from what bright world of flowers,
This summer day?
What quiet Eden of melodious song,
What wild retreat,
Desertest thou for this impatient throng,
This crowded street?
Why didst thou quit thy comrades of the grove
And meadows green?
What Fate untoward urges thee to rove
Through this strange scene?
Have nectared roses lost their power to gain
Thy fond caress?
Do woodbine blooms, with lofty scorn, disdain
Thy loveliness?
Oh, hie thee to the fragrant country air
And liberty!
The city is the home of toil and care—
No place for thee!
Edwin C. Smales.

Printed and Published by W. & R. Chambers, 47 Paternoster Row, London, and 339 High Street, Edinburgh.

All Rights Reserved.

[Transcriber’s Note—the following changes have been made to this text.

Page 357: boycoted to boycotted—“picketed and boycotted”.]