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ing to rattle in my pocket. Howsomever, my mind was made up; and brightening up, and looking as cheerful as it" I 'd six-and-thirtv shillings to take on Saturday, I says to her as was by my side, —
•• Polly, my lass, I 'm a-going up to London!"
u Going where?" she says, lifting up her head.
u London," I says; and then I began to think about what going to London meant. For, mind Vit, it did n't mean a chap in a rough jacket making up a bundle in a clean blue handkeroher, and then shovin' his stick through the knot and sticking it over his shoulder, and then stuffing his hands in big pockets, and taking the road uppards, whistlin' like a blackbird. No; it meant something else. It meant breaking up a tidy little home as two young folks—common people, in course — had been a swim, up for years, to make snug; it meant half breaking a poor simple lass's heart to part with this little thing and that little thing; tearing up the first that took so long a-building, and was alius so ■«ii» arter a cold day's work. I looked at the clean Blue winders, and then at the bright kettle on the shiny black hob, and then at the worry small fire is there was, and then fast at one thing, and then at another, all so clean and neat and homely, and all showing how proud my lass was of 'em all, and then I thought a little more of what going up to London really did mean, and I suppose it must have been through feeling low and faint and poorly, and I m almost ashamed to tell it, for I 'm such a big strong chap; but truth 's truth.
Well, somehow a blind seemed to come over my Ctos, and my head went down upon my knees, and I cried like a school-boy. But it went off, for my las was kneeling aside me in a minute, and got my thick old head upon her shoulder, and began a-doing all she could to make believe it was all right, and 'i* would n't mind a bit, but we 'd get on wonderMi well up there; and so we talked it over for long enough, while she made believe to be so cheerful, •ml knelt at my side, a-ciphering away, — a-putting down naught for herself, and a-carrying I don't know W much for me, — till I glowed up, under the discotery that whether work was plenty, or whether work was slack, I, Bill Stock — christened William —was rich in my good wife.
That was something like a thought, that was, and wined to stiffen me up, and put bone and muscle »to a fellow till he felt strong as a lion; so we set to tiliing over the arrangements; and two days arter, My and I was in a lodging in London.
Next morning I was up at five, and made myself Matt ; not fine, but clean, and looking as if I war n't -".lid of work; and I finds my way to one o' the big r*bbops, where the bell was a-ringing for six '''clock, and the men was a-scuffling in ; while a Hap with a book was on the look-out to time the St ones, for stopping on pay-day out of their •ages,— which is but fair, yer know, for if two ''adred men lost a quarter of an hour apiece in '**ek, it would come to something stiff in a year. "dl, there was a couple more chaps like me standag «t the gate, come to see if they could get took '»; and one of 'em slips in, and comes out again iiwtly a^wearing and growling like anything, and *■ f other goes in, and he comes out a-swearing **i and then I feels my heart go sinking down over *fc». So I says to the fust,—
'Any chance of a job?" I says.
* Go to —" somewhere, he says, cutting up rough; »I asks t' other one.
"Any chance of a job ?" I says.
"Not a ha'porth," he says, turning his back, and going off with the first one; and I must say as they looked a pretty pair of blacks.
So I stood there for quite five minutes wondering what to do; whether I should go in and ask for myself, or go and try somewheres else. I did n't like to try, arter seeing two men refused. All at once a tall sharp-eyed man comes out of a side place and looks at me quite fierce. "Now, my man," he says, " what's your business? What do you want?"
"Job, sir," says I.
"Then why did n't you come in and ask?" he says.
"Saw two turned back," I says.
"O, we don't want such as them here," he says, "but there's plenty of work for men who mean it"; and then he looks through uie a'most. "I suppose you do mean it, eh'!"
"Give us hold of a trowel," says I, spitting in both hands.
"Bricklayer?" says he, smiling.
"Right," says I.
"From the country ?" says he.
"Yes," says I.
"Work slack there ?" says he.
"Awful," says I.
"You 'll do," says he. "Here, Jones, put this fellow in number four lot."
If you 'll believe me, I could have taken hold of him and hugged him; but I did n't, for I kep' it for Polly.
• Well, — I wonder how many times I 've said well, since I begun ! — I was in work now, and I meant to keep it. Did n't I make the bricks and mortar fly ! My hodman did his day's work that day, if he never did it afore. Then some of the men began to take it up, and got to chaffing; one says there 'd soon be no work left; and another says, I 'd better have a couple o' Paddies to keep me going, one for bricks, and another for mortar; while one fellow makes hisself precious unpleasant, by keeping on going "puff! puff! puff!" like B steam-ingin', because I worked so fast. But I let them chaff as long as they liked; and bime-by I comes to be working alongside of my steam-ingin' friend, and jest as he 'd been going it a little extra, I says to him quietly, —
"Ever been out o' work, matey?"
"Not to signify," he says.
'• 'Cause if ever you are, and come down worry close to ground, you 'll be as glad to handle the trowel again as I am." He did n't puff any more that day, not as I heerd.
London work was something fresh to me. I used to think that I 'd been about sonic tidy buildings down our way, but what was the tidiest on 'em to the London jobs I was put on! Jobs where the scaffolding must have cost hundreds upon hundreds of pounds more than the house, land, and everytliiiijr else put together, of the biggest place I had ever worked upon. 1 used, too, to think I was pretty strong in the head; but I soon began to sing small here, — specially when I had been up about a week and was put on at a big hotel. Right up so high that one turned quite creepy, and used to get thinking of what would be the consequences if a sharp puff of wind come and upset one's balance. I could never have believed, neither, that such a Jacob's Ladder of scaffold-poles could have been built up to stand without crushing and snapping those at the bottom like so many reeds or tobacco-pipes; but I suppose them as builds them knows best what should be done, and what they 'll bear. But though I did not like it much, I took good care not to mention it to my lass, for I knew she 'd have been on the fidget all day if I had told her.
By degrees I got to stand it all pretty well, and we began to feel a bit settled in our one room. Not that we much liked it, but then it was werry pleasant to go in the crowd on pay-day and draw your week's wage. — good wage too, jest as I had seen it when settin' in my own place at home. We still called it home, for we could n't get to feel that we were at home in London, and Polly she said she never should, after having a little house of her own; but, as there was only our two selves, we made things pretty comfortable.
The big hotel was getting on at a tremendious rate, for there was a strong body on us at work, and it used to make me think and think of the ioads upon loads of stuff the hotel swallowed up, and how much more it would take before it was finished. One day when I was bricklaying up at the top, — I don't know how many feet from the ground, and I never used to care to look to see, for fear of turning giddy, — one day it came on to blow a regular gale, and blew at last so hard that the scaffold shook and quivered, while wherever there was a loose rope, it rattled and beat against the poles as if it was impatient of being tied there, and wanted to break loose and be off.
It blew at last so werry hard, that I should have been precious glad of an excuse to get down; but I could n't well leave my work, and the old hands did n't seem to mind it much, so I kep' at it. Whenever the wind blows now, and I shut my eyes, I can call it all back again: the creaking and quivering of the poles, the rattling of the boards, the howling and whistling of the gale as it swept savagely by, in a rage because it could not sweep us away.
A high wind is pretty hard to deal with, sometimes, on the ground; and I have seen folks pretty hard driven to turn a corner. So it may be guessed what sort of fun it is right up on a spidery scaffold, where a man is expected to work with both hands, and hold on by nothing, and that, too, where a single step backards would be — there, it's a thing as alius makes me nervous to talk about.
It was getting to be somewhere about half past three, and I was working hard, so as to keep from thinking about the storm, when all at once I happened to turn my head, and see that the men was a-scuffling down the ladders as hard as they could go. And then, before I had time to think, there was a loud crash, and a large piece of the scaffolding gave way, and swept with it poles, boards, and bricks, right into the open space below.
I leaped up at a pole which projected from the roof above me, just above my head, caught it, and hung suspended, just as the boards upon which I stood but an instant before gave way, and fell on to the next stage, some twenty feet below. Tightly clasping the rough fir-pole, I clung for life.
Think? I did think. I thought hundreds of things in a few seconds, as I shut my eyes and began to pray, for I felt as I could not hold on long, and I knew as I should fall first on the stage below, when the boards would either give way, or shoot me off again with a spring, and then I knew there would be a crowd round something upon the ground, and the police coming with a stretcher.
"Creep out, mate, and come down the rope," cried a voice from below. I turned my head, so that I could just see that the pole I was hanging to had a
block at the end, through which ran a rope for drawing light things up and down to the scaffold. For an instant I dared not move; then, raising myself, I went hand over hand towards the pulley, and in another instant I should have grasped it, when I heard a rushing sound, and the creaking of a wheel, as the rope went spinning through, and was gone: the weight of the longer side having dragged the other through. As I hung, I distinctly heard it fall, perhaps a hundred and fifty feet.
As the rope fell, and I hung there, I could hear a regular shriek from those below; but nobody stirred to my assistance, for I was beyond help then; but I seemed to grow stronger with the danger, though my arms felt as if they were being wrenched out of their sockets, and my nerves as if they were torn with hot irons. Sobbing for breath, I crept in again till I was over the stage first; then close into the face of the building; and there I hung. Once I tried to get some hold with my feet, but the smooth bricks let my toes slip over them directly. Then I tried to get a leg over the pole, so as to climb up and sit there; but the time was gone by for that I had hung too long, and was now growing weaker every moment.
I can't describe what I felt. All I know is, that it was horrible, and that long afterwards I used to jump up in bed with a scream; for so sure as I was a little out o' sorts, came a dream of hanging to that scaffold-pole, expecting every moment to be one's last.
I can't say, either, how long I hung; but feeling at length that I was going, I made one last try for it. I thought of my poor lass, and seemed to see her a-looking at me in a widder's cap; and then I clenched my teeth hard, and tried to get on to where the end of the pole was fastened. I got one hand over the hard bricks, and hooked my fingers, and held on; then I got the other hand over, and tried to climb up, as a cheer from below encouraged me; but my feet and knees slipped over the smooth bricks, and in spite of every effort they hung down straight at last, and I felt a sharp quiver run through me as slowly, slowly, my hands opened, my fingers straightened, and, with eyes blinded and bloodshot, I fell.
— Fell what seemed to be an enormous distance, though it was only to the next stage, where boards, bricks, and tools, shaken by the concussion, went with a crash below. The deal planks upon which I lay, still kep' in their places, but with their ends jolted so near the edge that it seemed- to me that the least motion on my part would make them slip, and send me off again. I was too exhausted and frightened to move, and lay there for some time, not knowing whether I was much hurt or not. The first thing as recalled me to myself was the voice of a man who came up a ladder close at hand; and I could see that he had a rope and pulley with him, which he soon had hooked on to the ladder.
"Hold on, mate," he says. "If I throw you the end of the rope, can you tie it round you V"
"I 'll try," I says. So he makes a noose, and pulling enough rope through the block, he shies it to me, but it was n't far enough. So he tries again and again, and at last I managed to ketch hold on it. But now, as soon as I tried to move, it seemed as if something stabbed me in the side, and, what was more, the least thing would, I found, send the boards down, and of course me with them.
"Tell them to hold tight by the rope," says I; and he passed the word, while I got both arms through the noose, and told him to tighten it, which
he did by pulling, for I could not have got it over my head without making the boards slip.
"Now then," he says, " are you ready?"
"All right," I says, faintly, for I felt as if everything was a-swinumng round me; but I heard him give a signal, and felt the snatch of the rope as it cut into my arms above the elbows, and then I swang backwards and forwards in the air; while, with a crash, away went the boards upon which I had been a-lying.
I could n't see any more, nor hear any more, for I seemed to be sent to sleep; but I suppose I was lowered down and took to the hospital, where they put my broken ribs to rights in no time, and it wasn't so wcrry long before I was at work once more; though it took a precious while before I could get on to a high scaffold again without feeling creepy and shivery; but, you know, "use is second nature."
Polly showed me the stocking t' other day, and I must say it has improved wonderful, for wages keep good, and work's plenty; and as for those chaps who organize the strikes, it strikes me they don't know what being out o' work is like. But, along o' that stocking, one feels tempted very much to go down in the country again, but don't like to, for fear o' things not turning out well; and Polly says, " Let well alone, Bill." So I keeps on, werry well satisfied, and werry comfortable.
The Egyptian government has adopted the use of postage-stamps. They came into use on the first of January.
M. Fraxtz, a metallurgist, and M. Henri Faure, editor of the France Me'atcale, announce that they have discovered a method of transmuting silver, copper, and mercury into gold, " which," they say, "are only one and the same metal in different dynamic states."
According to a correspondent of the Nord, of Brussels, the ex-King Otho is employing his leisure in translating the works of Homer.
After all the circumstantial penny-a-lining as to Victor Emmanuel's grief for the death of his morganatic spouse, the Countess Millcfiori, the report of her demise would appear to have had no foundation. The people of Turin, who had believed her dead, according to the Pall Mall Gazette, were surprised the other morning by her appearance in an operabox at one of Mddle. Patti's last performances.
The gaming tables are, before long, to be suppressed at Baden-Baden, Monaco, and Geneva. An amendment of an article of the Swiss Constitution was lately submitted to the Helvetic Diet, the effect of which will be to prohibit public gambling throughout the Swiss Confederation. A Paris journal, La Libtrlc\ says the French government is negotiating »ith all the governments which tolerate the existing public gambling tables, with a view to their suppression.
Sir E. Bclweh Lttton publishes a volume of poems pleasantly designed to reproduce, from Hellenic myths not treated by great poets of antiquity, narratives that should represent what seems to nave been the lively dramatic character of the lost Milesian Tales. In his form of verse he attempts, without rhyme, several new combinations of rhythm,
suggested by, not imitated from, the metres in use by the ancients.
A Letter from Loupoigne, in Belgium, says: "The venerable General Wautier, who, notwithstanding his ninety-five years, went to meet his new sovereign Leopold H. when making his entrance into Brussels, would be perhaps surprised if he knew that there still lives at the village of Viesville, near Gosselies, a former cantiniere of La Tour's Dragoons, now 102 years of age. She is in the enjoyment of all her intellectual faculties, takes long walks, and even danced the first quadrille at the fete of Thimdon, a village near Viesville, in September last. She is fond of relating her life of adventure, passed in the midst of camps and battles. She was at Fleurus in 1794, and, during the battle gave birth to a son. She only quitted the army after the death of her husband, to return to her native village."
At a sale, not long since, in Vienna, small busts of Charles the Bold and the Duchess, his wife, carved in wood, by Holbein, fetched 30,000/. An agent of Baron James Rothschild bid 25,000/ for them, but eventually they were knocked down to a Vienna dealer in pictures and other objects of art. Seven small tablets, carved in relief, by Holbein, fetched 5,000/.; and a little head, not more than an inch high, 500/1 A wooden figure of Adam, by Albert Durer, fetched 4,000/; a wooden crucifix, 1,200/.; and three small figures, all by the last-mentioned master, 2,000/. "Christ on the Cross," a small but exquisite painting, was bought by an agent of the Dresden Picture-Gallery for 10,000/
The London Review observes that the author of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table " is at present obtaining popularity in a new field. Dr. O. W. Holmes once prescribed a remedy for asthma to Washington Irving; in the late "Life of Irving," this fact is mentioned by the biographer, and the extract is now being extensively advertised in the American press by a patent-medicine vender, in connection with his remedy. The vender commences his announcement in this fashion: "The last days of ex-President Martin Van Burcn were made comfortable by the use of Jonas Whitcomb'a Asthma Remedy." Then follows Dr. Holmes's advice to use the " Asthma Remedy, — a teaspoonful in a wine-glass of water, to be taken every four hours."
"Ye Historic of ye Pro-Historic Manne," is the title of a facetious pamphlet recently published in Liverpool. A year or more since some discussion took place in certain scientific and gtuutt-ecientific coteries with regard to the antecedents of a human skeleton ,which was discovered, at the beginning of 18G4, in a bed of peat-bog, at Leasowe, Cheshire, on the estate of Sir Edward Gust. The two parties by whom the discussion was mainly carried on fought bravely for their respective views; the one maintaining that the bones had served the purposes of some son of Adam at a comparatively recent date; the other assigning-the skeleton to a remote period in the career of our race, and even venturing to assert that it was "pre-historic," — a term which the editor of this pamphlet explains to the unlearned by observing, "that is to say, that it lived and moved and had its being before the art of writing was found out or printing brought into use "; by which unfortunate arrangement of words the learned editor exposes himself to an imputation of thinking that the invention of printing preceded the discovery of the art of writing. As a man of science, Sir Edward
Cast appears to have warmly supported the prc-historic theory; whilst as a man of property he was no less earnest in asserting that, since the bones were found on his land, they belonged to him as completely and unquestionably as, at a date prior to their interment in his peat-bog, they had belonged to the person for whom nature provided them as the framework of a mortal tabernacle. Resisting Sir Edward's scientific arguments and territorial pretensions, the spirit which formerly animated the skeleton, taking for his motto Hood's lines,
"It's very hard them kind of men
exclaims against the violation of his discarded body's resting-place, argues that Death has not deprived him of all rights of ownership in the remains of his earthly covering, and assures the curious that, instead of being the ghost of a prc-historic man, he is but the spiritual essence of a luckless sailor, who not many years since, was drowned at sea and washed upon the coast of Cheshire. With inconsiderate frankness the artless autobiographer says,—
"Now this is just my origin: —
I was a sort of mate
That carried ooals and slate.
Before it gayly ran,
When off the Isle of Man."
Further the deponent observes :—
"What's told of me by learned folk
Creates in me disgust,
My friend, Sir E C;
For he declared, when I was found,
That my poor withered phiz
My skeleton was A is.
Bnt why I cannot see: —
'T was making game of me.
Of paying court to thrones,
By his Jlouriik on the bones.
I pray what right had he
When not my leg-a-tee?
Or hand, I do entreat": —
To walk off with my feet."
A humorous artist has assisted the humorous writer of this ridiculous trine, which, in sprightliness and piquancy, excels the average of jocular squibs upon the ways and failings of scientific men.
A Short time ago a soiree which had been given at the Hanover Square Rooms by a certain number of British hair-dressers excited some remark, and since that period an institution has been formed under the title of the British Hair-dressers' Academy, which is intended, however, to be open to all nations. The first soirfe and the ball since the establishment of this academy took place at the Hanover Square Rooms on Tuesday evening, on which occasion similar arrangements were carried out to those at the former gathering. The object of the soiree was to afford the company an opportunity of witnessing the skill with which the practical coiffeurs of this country are capable of dressing the human hair in every variety of form; and, for this purpose, some forty ladies were led into the large room by
the like number of coiffeurs, and were immediately seated at a long narrow table, on which were placed as many hand-mirrors as were necessary to meet the requirements of the moment. On the former occasion the ladies and the "expositors" (as they were then called) did not amount to twenty; and the increase in the number can scarcely be regarded as presenting any increase of advantages, for the effect was less simple and concentrated; and to make the comparative result still less imposing, a series of handsome looking-glasses, which on the inaugural night decorated the table, were on this occasion dispensed with. The ladies, therefore, sat very demurely, with their eyes fixed on the table, and with nothing to look at but the white cloth which covered it, and the boxes of hair-powder and head decorations with which the aspiring "dressers " (as they are now called) had provided themselves. As each operator completed his task he was greeted with applause, and he stood blushingly by the side of the fair damsel whose locks he had been manipulating and adorning.
In some instances the dressers had discharged their responsible duty in a brief space of time, while in many others they were not so rapid at their work; but no signs of impatience were for a moment exhibited; and when at length the last lingering "expositor" had finished his task, the chairman of the academy, Mr. Carter, requested that the ladies might be conducted twice round the table, in order that the spectators might see from all parts of the room what wonders had been wrought. This was a very interesting part of the exhibition; and, as it took place to an accompaniment of music [" Play me that gentle hair again "], it brought the hair-dressing part of the soiree to a very agreeable termination. Much satisfaction was expressed at many of the results produced. Each young man adopted a separate and distinct style of creating the effect he desired, so that there were no two heads of hair which, when they escaped from the hands of the decorator, presented the slightest similarity in appearance. The committee of the academy propose to have a general practice night once a week, and a club or general meeting on the following evening, where all novelties in the trade, whether in hairdressing, new ornaments, or inventions connected with false hair, perfumery, brushes, combs, in short, everything practically beneficial to the trade, will be exhibited and their merits discussed. They also hope that they may be enabled to engage "subjects" for each practice night, as they consider practising upon blocks to be worse than useless; and they further propose a succession of soirees, when the operation of "dressing " will be systematically gone through. They trust that by these various means they may realize a large return, to be placed in furtherance of their ultimate object, — "a hairdressers' club-house of all nations." That the proposed benefits have long been wanted, they contend, is shown by the fact that England has lagged behind her French neighbors in not having an institution devoted to the elevation of this branch of art; and in order to achieve the "lofty aim" in view, the committee confidently appeal to the support of the employers and the employed. That they have made a successful commencement was amply proved by the exhibition of last night, and the ball which followed the soiree showed that a spirit of friendship and good feeling, as well as of honorable rivalry, prevails among the members of the Hair-dressers' Academy.
Bid the darkness come and seal
J. R Ciiorley.
FRANCE, THE UNITED STATES, AND MEXICO.
The speech of the Emperor Napoleon at the opening of the French Chambers, and the recently published despatches of Mr. Seward, place in a very clear light the position of the two governments in regard to the much-vexed Mexican question. His Majesty is, and evidently feels himself to be, in a position of great embarrassment. He has proceeded throughout on a series of miscalculations which are now telling upon him with cumulative force. When be originally embarked on the scheme of founding a Mexican empire, he relied confidently upon obtaining the co-operation of England and Spain, which, in truth, he intended to secure by something very like fraud. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for themselves, those powers discovered in time the design which he concealed under an ostentlile purpose of obtaining satisfaction for injuries 'lone to French subjects. They withdrew their '■•mi and left him to proceed by himself. Still, the project appeared not only practicable, but easy of execution. The United States were torn by a civil war which almost every one expected to end it the independence of the South. Dependent as England was supposed to be upon her cotton manufactures, it seemed scarcely within the range of posttility that she should not sooner or later be forced »to intervention on behalf of the Confederate states. Both these anticipations were, however, ^appointed, and the Emperor now finds himself compelled to face alone the anger and the power of tie reunited Northern Republic. That would K* be a light matter, if it were all. But it is not.
He must be perfectly conscious that France looks not only with coldness, but with disfavor, on his Transatlantic policy. The idea of restoring the empire of Montezuma in the person of an archduke of the house of Hapsburg never took the slightest hold upon the popular imagination; while every one could see that French blood and French money were being lavished upon an object in which France was but very slightly interested.
At the present moment all intelligent Frenchmen are perfectly aware that the expense of the expeditionary army in Mexico is the main cause of the unsatisfactory condition of their finances, and that its presence on American soil not only involves them in constant danger of collision with the United States, but cripples and hampers their action on many European questions in which they take a deep interest A war with the United States for the protection of the throne of Maximilian would be so costly and so unpopular, that his Majesty must be anxious to avail himself of any decent mode of escape. He cannot, however, adopt the easy and obvious course of immediately recalling his army without incurring a different but almost equally serious danger. To do this under existing circumstances would amount to a confession of defeat. In the eyes of his own people, and of the whole world, it would be a palpable act of deference to the wishes, if not the commands, of the United States. Frenchmen would feel the tricolor dishonored; and both with them and with other nations the Emperor would suffer a damaging loss of that prestige which he has so laboriously built up, and which forms so large a part of his power and influence. This is a sacrifice which he cannot safely make; but it is not difficult to see that he is heartily tired of the whole business, and that he is sincerely desirous to wash his hands of it, if he can only do so with honor.
In October last M. Drouyn de Lhuys frankly stated that the Imperial government desired to withdraw their forces from Mexico; and that all they wanted was some assurance that, after they had retired, no other foreign power would intervene to impede the consolidation of the order of things which they had tried to establish. The most effectual way in which that assurance could be given, was, in his opinion, the recognition of the Emperor Maximilian by the United States. If his Majesty's throne was not really founded on the assent of the people it would then fall; if, on the other hand, it had their support it would stand. In the former case the United States could not justly take exception to the existence of a government which, not being based on foreign bayonets, could involve no