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sible, seemingly no less pleased than those domestic animals - cats—when they purt over a new-found sprig of valerian. There is soinething more in these sympathies than philosophy can inculcate.
Now albeit Mr. Read boasteth, not without reason, that his is the only Salopian house, yet be it known to thee, reader-if thou art one who keepest what are called good hours, thou art haply ignorant of the fact-he hath a race of industrious imitators, who from stalls, and under open sky, dispense the same savoury mess to humbler customers, at that dead time of the dawn, when (as extremes meet) the rake, reeling home from his midnight cups, and the hard-handed artisan, leaving his bed to resume the premature labours of the day, jostle, not unfrequently to the manifest disconcerting of the former, for the honours of the pavement. It is the time when, in summer, between the expired and the not yet relumined kitchen fires, the kennels of our fair metropolis give forth their least satisfactory odours. The rake, who wisheth to dissipate his over-night vapours in more grateful coffee, curses the ungenial fume as he passeth ; but the astisan stops to taste, and blesses the fragrant breakfast.
This is Suloop-the precocious herbwoman's darling—the delight of the early gardener, who transports his smoking cabbages by break of day from Hammersmith to Covent Garden's famed piazzas—the delight, and, oh I fear, too often the envy of the unpennied sweep. Him shouldst thou haply encounter, with his dim visage pendent over the grateful steam, regale him with a sumptuous basin (it will cost thee but three halfpennies) and a slice of delicate bread and butter (an added halfpenny)-so may thy culinary fires, eased of the overcharged secretions from thy worse-placed hospitalities, curl up a lighter volume to the welkin-so may the descending soot never taint thy costly well-ingredienced soups -or the odious cry, quick reaching from street to street, u the fired chimney, invite the rattling engines from ten adjacer' parishes, to disturb for a casual scintillation thy peace and pocket!
I am by nature extremely susceptible of street affronts ; the jeers and taunts of the populace; the low-bred triumph they display over the casual trip, or splashed stocking of a gentleman. Yet can I endure the jocularity of a young sweep with something more than forgiveness. In the last winter but one, pacing along Cheapside with my accustomed precipitation when I walk westward, a treacherous slide brought me upon my back in an instant. I scrambled up with pain and shame enough-yet outwardly trying to face it down, as
if nothing had happened—when the roguish grin of one of these young wits encountered me. There he stood, pointing me out with his dusky finger to the mob, and to a poor woman (I suppose his mother) in particular, till the tears for the exquisiteness of the fun (so he thought it) worked themselves out a' the corners of his poor red eyes, red from many a previous weeping, and soot-inflamed, yet twinkling through all with such a joy, snatched out of desolation, that Hogarthbut Hogarth has got him already (how could he miss him ?) in the March to Finchley, grinning at the pieman--there he stood, as he stands in the picture, irremoveable, as if the jest was to last for ever--with such a maximum of glee, and minimum of mischief, in his mirth—for the grin of a genuine sweep hath absolutely no malice in it—that I could have been content, if the honour of a gentleman might endure it, to have remained his butt and his mockery till midnight.
I am by theory obdurate to the seductiveness of what are called a fine set of teeth. Every pair of rosy lips (the ladies must pardon me) is a casket, presumably holding such jewels; but, methinks, they should take leave to “ air” them as frugally as possible. The fine lady, or fine gentleman, who show me their teeth, show me bones. Yet must I confess, that from the mouth of a true sweep a display (even to ostentation) of those white and shining ossifications, strikes me as an agreeable anomaly in manners, and an allowable piece of foppery. It is as when
“ A sable cloud Turns forth her silver lining on the night." It is like some remnant of gentry not quite extinct; a badge of better days; a hint of nobility: and doubtless, under the obscuring darkness and double night of their forlorn disguisement, oftentimes lurketh good blood and gentle conditions, derived from lost ancestry and a lapsed pedigree. The premature apprenticements of these tender victims give but too much encouragement, I fear, to clandestine, and almost infantile abductions ; the seeds of civility and true courtesy, so often discernible these young grafts, (not otherwise to be accounted for,) plainly hint at some forced adoptions; many noble Rachels mourning for their children, even in our days, countenance the fact; the tales of fairy spiriting may shadow a lamentable verity, and the recovery of the young Montagu be but a solitary instance of good fortune, out of many irreparable and hopeless defiliations.
In one of the state beds at Arundel Castle, a few years since--under a ducal canopy--(that seat of the Howards is
an object of curiosity to visiters, chiefly for its beds, in which the late duke was especially a connoisseur)—encircled with curtains of delicatest crimson, with starry coronets inwoven -folded between a pair of sheets whiter and softer than the lap where Venus lulled Ascanius--was discovered by chance, after all methods of search had failed, at noonday, fast asleep, a lost chimney sweeper. The little creature, having somehow confounded his passage among the intricacies of those lordly chimneys, by some unknown aperture had alighted upon this magnificent chamber ; and tired with his tedious explorations, was unable to resist the delicious invitement to repose which he there saw exhibited ; so, creeping between the sheets very quietly, he laid his black head upon the pillow, and slept like a young Howard.
Such is the account given to the visiters at the castle. But I cannot help seeming to perceive a confirmation of what I have just hinted at in this story. A high instinct was at work in the case, or I am mistaken. Is it probable that a poor child of that description, with whatever weariness he might be visited, would have ventured, under such a penalty as he would be taught to expect, to uncover the sheets of a duke's bed, and deliberately to lay himself down between them, when the rug, or the carpet, presented an obvious couch, still far above his pretensions—is this probable, I would ask, if the great power of nature, which I contend for, had not been manifested within him, prompting to the adventure ? Doubtless this young nobleman (for such my mind misgives me that he must be) was allured by some memory, not amounting to full consciousness of his condition in infancy, when he was used to be lapped by his mother, or his nurse, in just such sheets as he there found, into which he was now but creeping back as into his proper incunabula and resting-place.
By no other theory, than by this sentiment of a pre-existent state, (as ! may call it,) can I explain a deed so venturous, and, indeed, upon any other system, so indecorous, in this tender but unseasonable sleeper.
My pleasant friend Jem WHITE was so impressed with the belief of metamorphoses like this frequently taking place, that in some sort to reverse the wrongs of fortune in these poor changelings, he instituted an annual feast of chimney sweepers, at which it was his pleasure to officiate as host and waiter. It was a solemn supper held in Smithfield, upon the vearly return of the fair of St. Bartholomew. Cards were ssued a week before to the master sweeps in and about the metropolis, confining the invitation to their younger fry. Now and then an elderly
stripling would get in among us, and be
good-naturedly winked at; but our main body were 1. antry. One unfortunate wight, indeed, who, relying upon his dusky suit, had intruded himself into our party, but by tokens was providentially discovered, in time, to be no chimney sweeper, (all is not soot which looks so,) was quoited out of the presence with universal indignation, as not having on the wedding garment ; but in general the greatest harmony prevailed. The place chosen was a convenient spot ainong
pens, the north side of the fair, not so far distant as to be impervious tn the agreeable hubbub of that vanity ; but remote enough not to be obvious to the interruption of every gaping spectator in it. The guests assembled about seven. In those little temporary parlours three tables were spread with napery, not so fine as substantial, and at every board a comely hostess presided with her pan of hissing sausages. The nostrils of the young rogues dilated at the savour. JAMES WHITE, as head waiter, had charge of the first table; and myself, with our trusty companion Bigod, ordinarily ministered to the other two. There was clambering and jostling, you may be sure, who should get at the first table—for Rochester in his maddest days could not have done the humours of the scene with more spirit than my friend. After some general expression of thanks for the honour the company had done him, his inaugural ceremony was to clasp the greasy waist of old Dame Ursula, (the fattest of the three,) that stood frying and fretting, half blessing, half cursing “the gentleman," and imprint upon her chaste lips a tender salute, whereat the universal host would set up a shout that tore the conclave, while hundreds of grinning teeth startled the night with their brightness. Oh it was a pleasure to see the sable younkers lick in the unctuous meat, with his more unctuous sayings—how he would fit the titbits to the puny mouths, reserving the lengthier links for the seniors—how he would intercept a morsel even in the jaws of some young desperado, declaring it“ must to the pan again to be browned, for it was not fit for a gentleman's eating”—how he would recommend this slice of white bread, or that piece of kissing crust, to a tender juvenile, advising them all to have a care of cracking their teeth, which were their best patrimony-how genteelly he would deal about the small ale, as if it were wine, naming the brewer, and protesting, if it were not good, he should lose their custom ; with a special recommendation to wipe the lip before drinking. Then we had our toasts—"'The King”—The Cloth”—which, whether they understood or not, was equally diverting and flattering ; and for a crowning sentiment, which never failed, “ May the Brush supersede the Laurel." All these, and fifty other fancies, which were rather felt than comprehended by his guests would he utter, standing upon tables, and prefacing every sen timent with a “Gentlemen, give me leave to propose so and so,” which was a prodigious comfort to those young orphans; every now and then stuffing into his mouth (for it did not do to be squeamish on these occasions) indiscriminate pieces of those reeking sausages, which pleased them mightily, and was the savouriest part, you may believe, of the entertainment.
“Golden lads and lasses must,
As chimney sweepers, come to dust.” JAMES White is extinct, and with him these suppers have long ceased. He carried away with him half the fun of the world when he died-of my world at least. His old clients look for him among the pens; and, missing him, reproach the altered feast of St. Bartholomew, and the glory of Smithfield departed for ever.
A COMPLAINT OF THE DECAY OF BEGGARS II
The all-sweeping besom of societarian reformation-your only modern Alcides' club to rid the time of its abuses—is uplift with many-handed sway to extirpate the last fluttering tatters of the bugbear Mendicity from the metropolis. Scrips, wallets, bags-staves, dogs, and crutches—the whole mendicant fraternity with all their baggage are fast posting out of che purlieus of this eleventh persecution. From the crowded crossing, from the corners of streets and turning of alleys, the parting Genius of Beggary is “ with sighing sent.”
I do not approve of this wholesale going to work, this impertinent crusado, or bellum ad exterminationem, proclaimed against a species. Much good might be sucked from these beggars.
They were the oldest and the honourablest form of pauperism. Their appeals were to our common nature ; less revolting to an ingenuous mind than to be a suppliant to the particular humours or caprice of any fellow-creature, or set of fellow-creatures, parochial or societarian. Theirs were the only rates uninvidious in the levy, ungrudged in the as sessment.
There was a dignity springing from the very depth of heir