John Bull's Womankind (Les Filles de John Bull) by O'Rell, Max

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Twenty-Fifth Thousand.

THE LEADENHALL PRESS

MAX O'RELL.

John Bull's Womankind _(Les Filles de John Bull)_

BY THE AUTHOR OF "John Bull and his Island"

_HALF-A-CROWN: CLOTH, THREE-AND-SIX._

[Decoration] _LONDON:_ =FIELD & TUER; SIMPKIN, MARSHALL & CO.; HAMILTON, ADAMS & CO.=

(English Copyright Edition. All Rights Reserved.)

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FIELD & TUER Ye Leadenhalle Presse, E.C. T. 4199.

TO MRS. JOHN BULL.

Dear Madam,

Now please not to frown, still less to cry out, "Shocking!"

I assure you, you may turn over the leaves of this book from beginning to end without fear of encountering a single piece of indiscretion.

I know that fresh air and cold water are your delight. You dearly love to shiver at the contact of a dripping sponge; but your door is carefully closed, and I have seen nothing.

It is not your undraped photograph that I publish, it is the litany of your good qualities that I sing.

May I be allowed here to say freely what I think?

Well, dear Madam, I think that, if the human race, including Mr. Bull your husband, felt for you half the admiration which your charms and virtues inspire in me, you would be justly proclaimed the goddess of conjugal felicity.

Now you ought to give me a smile for that, I think.

Open this little volume fearlessly, dear Madam, and if you should light upon any mention--I will not say of your faults, for most certainly you have none--but of some few little oddities perhaps, do not be offended; but remember that our real friends are those who tell us the truth--_en ami_, of course--but still who do tell it us.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

To Mrs. John Bull iii

Hors d'œuvre ix

I.

Flirtation--Sweethearting--Love in the Open Air--_Où il y a de la gêne il n'y a pas de plaisir_ 1

II.

Declarations of Love--Kisses--Disobliging Britons 8

III.

Love in Marriage--Mrs. John Bull's Bedroom--As you make your Bed, so you must lie on it--Young People, English and French--How it may sometimes be an economy to take your Wife with you when you travel on the Continent 12

IV.

The Marriage Ceremony in England--Civil Marriages-- Elopements--Marriage in Scotland--Show your Credentials--One word more about the _dot_ 22

V.

After the Ball--My Wife makes me a little Confidence (from the Diary of a Frenchman married to an Englishwoman) 30

VI.

The Beauty of English Women--Their Dress--Their Hair--Advice to French Ladies--Hyde Park--Interior of English Theatres--O Routine! such is thy Handiwork! 37

VII.

The Word and the Thing--Little Essay on the English Language--There is nothing like a good Telescope if you want to see well--Master Dubius--Puritan Parlance--Salvation Fair--May Meetings and Spring Cleanings--Are you _Pooty_ Well?--A Suitable Menu 46

VIII.

The Boas of the Aristocracy--The Prettiest Women in London--Shop Girls--Barmaids--Actresses and Supernumeraries--Miss Mary Anderson 58

IX.

The _Demi-monde_--Sly Dogs--The Disreputable World--The Society for the Protection of Women--Humble Apologies for Grave Mistakes 66

X.

Reflections of an Innocent upon Women in general and Englishwomen in particular--Epistle to John Bull--Women's Rights--A Stormy Meeting--Viragos and other British Guys of the Sisterhood of St. Catharine 72

XI.

Women at Home--Daughters, Wives, Widows, and Mothers-- Comparisons--The Hospitality of Mrs. John Bull--Provincial Life 83

XII.

Mrs. John Bull at Home on the .... _R.S.V.P._--An Intelligent Landlord--Meaning of the word "Concert"--The Conversazione--The Royal Academy 100

XIII.

Ladies of the Royal Family--Mrs. Christian--Minnie and Alec--The noble Lord the Poet-Laureate--Wanted an English Academy 110

XIV.

The Governess and other Servants of Mrs. John Bull's Household--Lady-Helps--English and French Servants-- Burglar Chase: the Policeman is successful for once 120

XV.

In the Smoking Room (_Causerie_) 136

XVI.

The Brune and the Blonde--Madame la Comtesse d'A. and Lady B. chat a little about their husbands, discuss their respective merits, and indulge in several little confidences 146

XVII.

The Teetotal Mania--Second Epistle to John Bull--The darling Sin of Mrs. John Bull according to a Venerable Archdeacon and a few Charitable Ladies--A free-born Briton, member of the Yellow Ribbon Army 164

XVIII.

New Salvation Agencies--Priestess Rubbers--_Asinus asinam fricat_ 176

XIX.

The Vicar's Wife (Fragments) I. 180 II. 187 III. 200

XX.

Apotheosis of the Daughters of John Bull 209

XXI.

John Bull and His Island (_Postscript_) 228

Appendix 234

HORS D'ŒUVRE.

In proposing the toast to the ladies at a City dinner, one evening, Lord Derby expressed himself in these terms:--

"Before appointing an Englishman to any post of importance, the first question the electors ask is:

"'_What kind of a wife has he?_'"

And, indeed, the English, who introduce diplomacy into everything, place discretion above all the qualifications that an English candidate sends to the members of an electing board, in the form of testimonials.

The chief thing required of a man who is to be placed at the head of a Society, an Institution, a College, is that he should know how to maintain order and good discipline: not with fuss and severity, but with calmness and discretion; and the English are quite right, for self-control and discretion are the two qualities that most fit a man for government. "Now," the electors say, "if Mr. _So-and-So_, who is one of our selected candidates, cannot keep his wife in order, how will he keep a thousand men or boys in order? If he cannot maintain good discipline in his house, how will he maintain it in our Society? If he is ruled by his wife, it is his wife and not he whom we shall be electing. Therefore Mr. _So-and-So_ will not do for us."

Very proper reasoning.

How many talented men could I name, who will owe to their wives, all their life-time, the honour of being and remaining obscure heroes!

What is the main cause of England's greatness and prosperity? Simply this:

The thousands of small republics, all independent each of the other, that are called Societies, Hospitals, Colleges, etc., are governed, not by idols that have hands and handle not, or by badly salaried potentates who have eyes and see not, but by energetic and clear-sighted men, who receive immense salaries, but who, in return, devote to the Institutions that they rule over, all the resources, all the force of their minds.

Take the schools and colleges for instance.

I am convinced that, in Paris, a _proviseur_ does not know the names of more than thirty or forty of the pupils attending his _lycée_. At any rate, there are not twenty of them that he could recognise in the street and call by their names. His emoluments range from five to six hundred pounds a year.

In England, the head-masters of the great Public Schools receive three, four, five, and even six thousand pounds a year. Well, I guarantee that these head-masters know individually every one of the thousand boys or so that are under their care. They know the place that each one occupies in his class. The pupils are placed by the head-master, according to their merit and aptitude, in such and such form, in such and such department. He will write to some parents, "Your son has no taste for classics. I will put him in our modern school to learn mathematics and science. I advise you to make an engineer of him, an officer," etc.

In France, work is generally in inverse ratio to the emoluments.

In England, work is in proportion to the salary: responsible work, at all events.

Take the Church.

English bishops are fortunate mortals, who receive emoluments amounting to something like eight and ten thousand pounds a year. But, over here, a bishopric is no sinecure.

In France, the clergy of a diocese receive from their bishop orders which they obey blindly; they all teach the same dogma, and have no competition to keep up; but, in England, everybody reasons and argues: the young clergyman, fresh from Oxford or Cambridge, has his own way of interpreting the Scriptures, and the bishop is constantly called upon to pacify, to conciliate all his little clerical world who are for ever dogmatising, discussing, disputing, in the pulpit, in meetings, in the newspapers, and keep him on the alert all the year round. If a French priest shows signs of independence of thought, he is treated as a rebel, and his case is soon settled; public indifference to religious matters consigns him to swift oblivion, when he has succeeded in making a little noise, which happens very rarely; but, in England, the priest who holds original views is backed up by partisans who immediately take up his cause; at any moment, he may set up for a martyr and become a source of continual annoyance to his bishop.

Above all things, the man in office must avoid a scandal, what the English call in slang, a row. So he must be discreet, conciliating, and an accomplished diplomatist: such, I repeat, are the qualifications of any man occupying a high and responsible position in England.

Take the man of business, the City man. Everywhere you find the same activity, the same feverish, high pressure kind of life.

Under these circumstances, the part that the English woman has to play is clear enough: to make her husband forget, in private life, the strain, the rebuffs, the deceptions, the snubs and kicks that he has to endure in public life; to prepare for him a retreat in the calm atmosphere of which he may refresh himself and acquire new strength; to do the honours of her house with that liberality, that generous hospitality, which are only met with among the English; in short, to be satisfied with a part which, when filled with that abnegation and devotion of which the women of all countries are capable, is no less beautiful for being a secondary one.

Now, dear reader, if you will once more do me the honour of accepting me as guide, we will visit together those beautiful girls a trifle too emancipated, those virtuous wives a little too much respected, those good mothers perhaps a little neglected; those women hospitable above all others, whose ingenious forethought for the smallest needs of life makes of a humble cottage a little palace of cleanliness, order, and comfort.

JOHN BULL'S WOMANKIND.

I.

Flirtation--Sweethearting--Love in the open air--_Où il y a de la gêne il n'y a pas de plaisir_.

Seeing that the word _flirtation_ seems to have been definitely received into the French vocabulary, it is natural to suppose that our language contained no equivalent for it, or that the thing itself never existed in France.

Flirtation is, in fact, an essentially English pastime. No one flirts in France: we are more serious than that in love affairs.

Some etymologists have thought that the verb _to flirt_ was formed from _fleurette_ in the expression _conter fleurette_; but the best authorities agree in thinking that it took its origin from _fleardian_, an Anglo-Saxon word which means _to trifle_; and thus it seems possible that it may have some connection with the verb _fleureter_, which, in old French, signified "to say little nothings," whence _plaisanter_, _badiner_.

However this may be, let us leave to _savants_ the task of deciding the matter, while we concern ourselves about the thing itself. What, then, is flirtation?

Flirtation is a very innocent little pastime. I have read in the confession albums of young ladies of good society, "What is your favourite occupation? Flirting." The answer is not in exquisite taste, even from the English point of view, I admit; but no one would think of taking it amiss ... all the more so, I should add, because these confessions are not meant to be taken very seriously.

Young girls who at a ball had made themselves specially agreeable to certain of their partners, and succeeded in drawing a few compliments from them, might say, "We had such flirtation."

_To flirt_, then, is to make a young fellow believe that "_on l'a remarqué, distingué_," as the Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein says; it is to encourage him by sweet smiles and tender wiles, to quit his reserve and carry his gallantry almost so far as to declare himself. This kind of thing would be very dangerous with a young Frenchman; it leads to no bad consequences with the young Englishman, for flirtation is "attention without intention," as some one--I forget whom--has very aptly put it; and an Englishman is able to pay a lady attentions without harbouring any intentions. I compliment him upon it.

A woman who flirted would pass in France for giddy, even fast: she knows her countrymen well, and is aware, when she coquettes with them, what she is exposing herself to. A young girl would never even think of it. But, in England, men are not so inflammable, and in flirting, a woman does not play with fire. Witness the following little scene, which gave me a quarter of an hour's diversion, at a conversazione given by one of the great learned societies of London.

A young girl, lovely as an Englishwoman knows how to be lovely, when she sets about it, stood in the corner of one of the rooms talking with a young fellow of eighteen or twenty.

You should have seen with what a mischievous delight this little angel, or rather this little demon, tortured the young booby, who appeared to me not to know what to do with himself, or which way to look, to escape the sight of a lovely and freely displayed _corsage_, that rose and fell, a few inches from his nose. "Poor dear child!" I thought to myself, "how oppressed you appear to be!" She seemed to be doing her utmost to sigh her life away; and what amused me most, was that, when the poor fellow appeared to have taken the firm resolution not to be tempted, his pretty torturer stopped her chatter, and set to work to fasten, with many careful and delicate touches, a rose that threatened, at one moment to escape, at the next to be swallowed in the heavy sea.

This little performance certainly lasted a quarter of an hour, and really I pitied from the bottom of my heart this poor Tantalus--if one may call Tantalus a young innocent who did not attempt to get nearer--when, to my great satisfaction, I saw him beat a retreat. I felt relieved. So did the poor fellow, I am sure.

A young Frenchman would soon have put an end to such a game by taking some liberty that the young girl, after all, would have only too richly deserved.

Sweethearting is a very different thing: we come now to love-making taken _au sérieux_. Sweethearts are two young people who have confessed their love to each other and have become mutually affianced, with or without the consent of their parents. This English word has an old-fashioned flavour about it. It corresponds very much to our _bon ami_ and _bonne amie_. In speaking of the intended husband of a lady of good society, you would now rather use the word _lover_.

Sweethearting could hardly exist in France, where the most firmly betrothed lovers scarcely ever have a chance of renewing their vows of love, except in the presence of a future mother-in-law. In England, sweethearting means to make love openly; to take one's choice about, to friends' houses, to concerts, to the theatre, to parties, for sentimental walks more or less solitary; to be allowed a thousand charming little liberties; it means, in a word, to play the comedy of love. Of course, accidents will happen, it is inevitable: carried away by the success of the play, the best actors may forget themselves. But it is far from being the rule: it is even a very rare exception, especially in the educated classes.

It is a curious spectacle, in a country where reserve, prudery, and propriety are carried to a point of uncomfortableness, to observe the couples of lovers walking about in the evening, holding each other by the hand, by the waist, around the neck, and, in rather deserted streets, forming regular processions. I am not speaking of the better classes, of course; but still I speak of the lower middle class--of clerks, shopmen, and shopgirls, very well dressed, and for the most part very respectable. These couples go "sober, sober," like the "poor man" in the nursery rhyme, and, with their eyes bent languishingly on each other, appear to find very little to say with their lips. When you pass and look at them, they seem to say to you: "You have been through it yourself, old fellow, haven't you? You know all about it: there's no need to mind you."

The seats in the parks and public promenades are occupied all the evening long by such couples. These seats are made to hold three persons, but, with a little management, they will accommodate six. The occupants are there by the hour together, each couple taking no notice of the others, but clasped in a silent embrace, motionless and rapturous. I have always admired these stoical young Englishmen who can thus undergo, for hours, this voluptuous treatment without any inconvenience.

One evening, in the month of March of last year, I crossed Hyde Park to get to the Marble Arch from Piccadilly. As I saw those couples reposing at their ease on the grass, and not attempting to disturb themselves for such a trifle as a man passing, I thought to myself, "O free England! to what lengths, after all, will thy love of liberty carry thee!"

As I was waiting at the Arch for my omnibus, a fine, good-humoured looking policeman was pacing up and down. I went up to him, and began by asking him if there would soon be a Bayswater omnibus passing. Seeing him disposed to be chatty, I said to him, "They seem to make themselves at home in the park, those lovers! They don't budge for anybody."

"No, sir; no, not they," he replied naïvely; "no fear!" _Où il y a de la gêne il n'y a pas de plaisir._

The policeman was evidently there at the entrance of the park to protect the sweethearts, and prevent anybody from disturbing them. I had always wondered why policemen were stationed outside the London parks, and never entered them after dusk. I understand at last: one does not take in everything at a glance.

II.

Declarations of love--Kisses--Disobliging Britons.

I never much admired our manner of making love declarations in France. We go down on our knees, in our nineteenth-century costume, at the feet of a woman whom we allow from her superior height to contemplate us in all our servility. With her sweet, downcast eyes, this little demon of observation takes an inventory of our slightest blemishes: of our hair, that is not so luxuriant as it was; of our rounded upturned eyes, that appear to be all whites; of a small wart, that we fondly fancied no one noticed; of our dignity, that we have abdicated in going on our knees, to implore favours that we are destined to pay enough for, Heaven knows, and which, after all, mean promotion for her who grants them; for I maintain that a woman who marries is promoted over her sisters. Well I say it plainly, our part in this little scene is a supremely ridiculous one. If you are not of the same opinion, gentlemen, put the following question to yourselves: Should I ever think of being photographed in such a position? I await your reply.

They manage these things differently in England. The favourite seat of young girls at home is a low chair, an ottoman, or very often a simple footstool. How often have I seen pretty daughters of Albion, and that in the best society, sitting Turkish fashion on the rug in front of the fire, on winter evenings, caressing one another, or listening, while some interesting novel was read aloud! These little scenes, full of charm, have often suggested to me sweet pictures of domestic happiness, in which each one plays the part that, according to my ideas, is most befitting.

Seated comfortably at your ease, you have near you, but a little lower than yourself, the beloved object of your dreams, or better still, the dear companion of your daily life; in whose ear, without dislocating your vertebræ, you can murmur sweet words of love. All your defects, if defects you have--and be sure of it, you are not without some--are out of the range of her eyesight. Over you, in perfumed waves, spread her beautiful tresses that you caress, knot, unknot, and never tire of playing with. With the eyes of a lover, and at the same time a protector, you admire the graceful contour of her form, that vibrates with pleasure at the sound of your voice, and her eyes that seem to implore your protection and thank you for the cloudless life you map out for her. Thus seated, you might even, without fear of annoying her, smoke your cigar while you hold sweet converse, and build your castles in Spain. I say, without fear of annoying her, for your wife will certainly allow you to smoke, if she is not a simpleton.

"Your husband in love savours somewhat of the pacha," some emancipated lady will perhaps exclaim.

Not in the least. We are not speaking of a master and his slave, but merely putting in their proper places the possessor and the possessed: the one who will have the battle of life to fight, and the one who will fit him for it, who will encourage him by her tenderness and love, rejoice with him in his joys, and cheer him in time of adversity: "a state not of slavery, but of exalted duty."

Ah! Madam, how I am filled with admiration for you, when, meeting your husband, I hear him say to me: "Excuse me, my dear boy, if I leave you so quickly, but I am in a hurry to get home; my wife is expecting me!" I know so many husbands who are in no hurry to go home, and for good reason.

The kiss on the lips is almost the only one practised in England.

Do not imagine, however, that this pleasant little pastime can be indulged in as freely as you might desire. No, here as elsewhere, the same difficulty presents itself: the people that you may kiss are those that belong to you; the people whose lips you are forbidden to approach, are those that belong to that stern Cerberus that the French call _Autrui_.

I would willingly initiate you further, dear inquisitive lady reader, into those little scenes of intimacy, always so interesting, no matter whether they pass amid English fogs or beneath Italy's pure sky; but, you see, in all the houses where I have had the honour of being invited, I have watched and observed in vain; I have scarcely seen anything worth noting down. Those provoking Britons always waited until I had left the house to proceed to business.

III.

Love in Marriage--Mrs. John Bull's bedroom--As you make your bed, so you must lie on it--Young People, English and French--How it may sometimes be an economy to take your Wife with you when you travel on the Continent.

John Bull owes his success in this world--and perhaps in the next also--to his indifference towards woman, an indifference that he is fortunate enough to owe to his peculiar organisation and the uniform temperature of his blood, and which not only enables him to keep a cool head before the charms of the fair sex, but also to maintain them in a complete state of submission.

The submission of woman to man is the basis of every solid social system.

In John's eyes, woman is almost a necessary evil; a wife a partner of the firm; love-making a little _corvée_ more or less disagreeable.

The Englishman is unquestionably well fitted for making colonies, but badly formed for making love: he has no _abandon_ about him, cannot forget himself, and passes his life in standing sentinel at the door of his dignity. It requires more skill to make love than to lead armies, said Ninon de Lenclos, who was an authority.

Go to the theatre and you will hear the young lover declare himself to his lady-love in about the same tone as we should use at table in asking our neighbour, "May I trouble you for the mustard?"

This "I love you" may be sincere, and is, I doubt not; but it certainly can never have the power of our "_Je t'aime_." The English language, in avoiding the second person singular, avoids familiarity. Here a man says _you_ alike to his mistress and his bootmaker. Who among us does not still feel a thrill of emotion and pleasure as he thinks of the moment when, for the first time, he grew bold enough to change _vous_ into _toi_? Where is the woman whose pulses did not quicken with love at the sound of those words, _Si tu savais comme je t'aime_, breathed low in her ear by her accepted lover. It is true that in our high society a man uses _vous_ in speaking to his wife, but if he loves her, _vous_ is only for the gallery: there are times when _toi_ is indispensable.

After all, perhaps _you_ sits better on an Englishman, with his respect for his wife: a respect of which she must be a little inclined to complain occasionally.

Only go and see John Bull's house, and once more, let me repeat that by John Bull I always mean the middle-class Englishman, with an income of from two to five hundred a year. You will find it all very comfortable: drawing-room, dining-room, library, breakfast-room. But the bedroom!

Ah! the bedroom! You see at a glance that you are not in the temple of love, but in a refuge for sleep and repose.

Of all the rooms in an English house, the bedroom is the least attractive looking, the one that has had the least care and money spent upon it: it always looks to me like a servant's room. No little cosy arm-chairs; no pretty furniture; no ornament. Few or no curtains.[1] You look in vain for a boudoir, that green-room of the little elf-god. No: six straight-backed fragile-looking cane chairs; an iron or brass bedstead; a dressing-table in front of the window; a chest of drawers; a washstand, and a sponge-bath.

[1] Many Englishmen are of opinion that curtains make a bedroom unhealthy. Health is the first thing to be considered.

Nothing more. What! my dear Mrs. Bull, not even a screen! Is John no longer a man in your eyes?

Better still. Would you believe that in very good houses, I have seen, and very plainly too ... yes, positively, I have seen _it_ on the floor under the washstand?... I have often noticed by the side of the English bed, a little piece of furniture, resembling a music-box in shape, which I think does not add much poetical charm to the couch of Mr. and Mrs. John Bull.

Such is the temple in which the Englishman sacrifices to Venus.

You have probably heard it said, dear reader, that a stranger never penetrates into the bedroom in England. That is true, and may easily be understood. However, should you call on an Englishman and be persuaded to prolong your visit a little, after some time he will be sure to ask you if you would not like to go upstairs and wash your hands. It is the formula.

When I say that the bedroom is quite devoid of ornaments, I exaggerate a little: the walls are adorned with illuminated texts from the Bible, hung by means of ribbons. They are texts chosen for their suitableness. "Thou God seest me," ... etc. The best was one that I saw thus posted up at the head of an English bed: "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation; for the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

One more word upon the English bedroom.

In making a bed in England, every covering is not taken off separately, as it is in France, to be replaced carefully one after the other, without the slightest crumple. Here the whole is taken off, or rather turned back, over the foot of the bed, the feather bed is shaken, and the clothes returned to their place as they came.

* * * * *

Cold as an Englishwoman, has said Alfred de Musset. And as the illustrious poet was an authority on women, we still say in France: _froide comme une Anglaise_. Don't believe a word of it; it is a calumny. You form your judgment from stiff collarettes that look as if they had never been crumpled. In my mind, one of the Englishman's greatest faults is his not appreciating at their proper worth such sweet charming women, all the more attractive for their little air of propriety and prudishness.

The finest Stradivarius would give forth but sorry sounds in the hands of an ignoramus. How can you expect women to look very lively when they have to pass the first fifteen years of their married life _enceintes_ or _en couches_, suckling all the little John Bulls destined one day to introduce cold beef and pickles in the four corners of the Globe?

* * * * *

When a Frenchwoman gets married, her good time begins; when an Englishwoman gets married, her good time is over. Within a year her case is settled: _comme mars en carême_. Thanks to the liberty that is allowed to young couples, there may be a little mistake in arithmetic made occasionally. As I do not wish to seem to calumniate for the pleasure of calumniating, I must hasten to add that it is a very rare thing to hear of an Englishman breaking faith where his attentions have been too successful.

French men and English women generally live very happily together in matrimony, often quite like lovers.

On the contrary, English men and French women seem to lead dull and wretched lives. Of course, I am speaking of those that I know; I do not wish to generalise, it would be absurd; and yet it seems to me one might say that there were never two beings who appeared to be less suited for each other; as well try to marry the day and the night.

Far be it from me to think of contesting the virtue of Englishwomen. Women are born virtuous all the world over: this is one of the firm convictions that I delight in holding. Is it simplicity or innocence on my part? I do not think so.

Only, I would remark that the virtue of an Englishwoman runs less risk in a country where young men are by temperament less enterprising, by education more reserved, and by natural awkwardness more shy with women than in Continental countries.

I do not say this in order to be critical, quite the contrary; and as, in making these observations, my intention is not either to please the French or to court the English, but simply to write conscientiously what I think and what I see, I will hasten to add, that I greatly prefer the young Englishman of twenty, shy, awkward, and childish as he may appear to our school heroes, with his cricket and his football, to the young Frenchman of the same age, who runs down women, and looks at them with a bold and patronising air, as he twirls his moustache.

The young English girl knows more of life than the young French girl; she may be as pure, but she is less innocent, less intact, and consequently knows better how to take care of herself. A young married woman will sometimes have a young sister not out of her teens, to stay with her, during her confinement. Such a thing would never be done in France. I do not say who is right; I merely draw attention to the facts.

Unless a married woman courts danger, she runs no risk, surrounded as she is by her children. All these things are so many safeguards for the Englishwoman of the middle classes. I say _middle classes_; for, if one may believe the reports of divorce cases published in the newspapers, it is evident that the English upper classes cannot cast the stone at their Continental neighbours.

As for the lower orders, I have resolved to speak of them as little as possible in this volume. The subject is as repulsive as it is stale.

* * * * *

Our worthy friend John Bull would doubtless like to have his virtue discoursed upon at length. He prides himself upon it not a little; he likes it talked about.

Yet one would be almost tempted to believe that he leaves all his superfluous stock of that commodity in the cloak-rooms at Dover and Folkestone, before embarking on board the boats of the South-Eastern Railway Company. Good heavens! But what an emancipated look he has in Paris! What a metamorphosis! How the corners of his mouth go up! How he throws his insular reserve overboard! Why, this can never be John! Somebody must have substituted an inferior article; he does not look half so good. And when he returns home to his island, what endless tales he has to tell about the immorality of Paris and Brussels! Shocking! Dreadful!

Funny constitution! When he has had his little round of a fortnight on the Continent, he seems to resume his quiet, godly habits for the rest of the year. How he must have improved each shining hour!

* * * * *

The virtue of an Englishman is bounded on the south by the English Channel; on the west by the Atlantic Ocean; on the east by the North Sea.

* * * * *

"Why do you employ so many Germans in your offices?" I asked one day of a great City man.

----"Because they speak several languages," he replied.

----"But could you not find Englishmen who have lived abroad, that would do as well?"

----"I could find plenty, no doubt; but I should have no confidence in their steadiness. You must not lose sight of an Englishman."

----"You don't mean it!" I cried. "Is that the opinion you have of your countrymen?"

----"I don't believe in the virtue of an Englishman on the Continent," he replied seriously.

----"What! You would not trust a...."

----"I would trust nobody."

----"Not even a bishop?"

----"Not even a bishop."

* * * * *

"Things are dreadfully dear in France; one spends no end of money in Paris," said another Briton to me one day.

----"Do you think so?" I replied. "When I am in Paris, and am staying at an hotel, I spend but about twenty-five francs a day, and I live like a prince."

----"Frightfully dear! I tell you."

----"And you talk of going again next month?"

----"Yes, but I shall have my wife with me."

----"What! you will take your wife! You will spend double as much then...."

----"Not at all, I...."

My islander checked himself; he felt he had gone a little too far, and a deep blush spread over his countenance.

"Oh! I beg your pardon," I cried; "of course you are quite right.... I was not thinking."

Was I not a simpleton?

IV.

The Marriage Ceremony in England--Civil Marriages--Elopements--Marriage in Scotland--Show your Credentials--One word more about the _dot_.

Marrying one of John Bull's daughters is not all honey.

One cannot help wondering how it comes to pass that the English, who for centuries have been reforming their religion in every sense imaginable, have never yet turned their attention to making the language of the Church as choice and euphemistic as is the language of good society. The Protestant Church alone seems to have retained the sole privilege of calling a spade a spade, or something worse still.

At the ordinary services, it does not so much matter. The clergyman is at a certain distance from the congregation, and when he reads you, from the Bible, a story that makes you tremble for fear of what he will read next, you can comfort yourself with the idea that the charming young lady at your side has perhaps not been listening. Besides, that which is addressed to everybody is addressed to nobody; witness, the effect upon Christians of all the sermons that have been preached to them for nearly two thousand years.

But when it comes to going through the marriage ceremony in church, it is quite another matter.

You are standing beside your bride, and close to the clergyman who is facing you. Six or eight bridesmaids, sometimes young girls twelve or fifteen years old, are grouped behind the bride. Breaking the profound silence, the minister thus addresses you, not in Latin, but in plain English: "Dearly beloved brethren, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honourable estate ... not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained." And then he goes on to say that it was ordained for the procreation of children, for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication, that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.

That is how the ball opens. It is promising, is it not? You would give the world to sink through the floor, or to be able to seize your dear little wife, and fill her ears with cotton wool. You blush, as you think of the sweet creatures in white, blue, and pink, who are just behind you biting their lips, and wondering what those brute beasts, that have no understanding, have to do with the ceremony, and you feel ready to fall on your knees and implore the forgiveness of the innocent young girl at your side, for having brought her there to hear such things. And that which strikes you with wonder, nay, with amazement, is that just after, when the minister says to her, "Wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband ... wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health?" she does not indignantly exclaim:

"No, indeed, not for the world!"

Thus have the English, in their rigid puritanism, managed to spoil a ceremony that might, and ought, to remain engraven on the memory among life's sweetest souvenirs.

And yet, what beautiful words might be said to young couples, and that, without going out of the Bible for them: the Bible, that finest monument of English prose, so poetical at times, so grand, yet so melodious always! Never was woman painted in colours so poetical; never were her duties traced with such a masterly hand as by the famous King of the Hebrews; and one might extract from the Proverbs and the Song of Solomon a most charming lecture to be addressed to young couples presenting themselves at the altar.

The language of the English Bible is incomparably superior to that of the Bible in any other idiom. It is like music, like trumpet blasts. With the exception of the finest passages of Bossuet, I know nothing, even in our splendid prose, that could be compared with this great national epic.

The foregoing remarks on the Bible will perhaps give pleasure to the English; not that I wrote them with any such intention: it is simply the exact truth.

* * * * *

Plenty of people in England do without the religious ceremony. They are not free-thinkers, for that; they are merely worthy people quite orthodox, but who prefer the civil marriage as being more simple.

They present themselves at the registrar's office. No need to produce any papers: the bridegroom gives his name and surname, as well as those of the young girl he means to marry; the couple declare their ages, in the presence of two witnesses, and state whether they are spinster and bachelor, or whether either or both have been through the ceremony of marriage before. The registrar's book is signed, and there is an end of the matter. By means of a licence, that may be obtained at Doctors' Commons for the sum of two guineas, the trouble of having one's banns published may be avoided.

It is scarcely necessary to add that, when the parents give consent to the marriage of their children, the ceremony generally takes place in church; but the registrar is a great resource, when the parents are so cruel as to stand in the way of the young folks' happiness.

* * * * *

Elopements are very common in England. Do not imagine, however, for an instant, that an elopement means anything very romantic. No signal or rope ladder at midnight; no carriage with two swift steeds waiting at the corner of the next street; no masked postillions, such as one is accustomed to at the Ambigu Theatre. Nothing of the kind. As I said in "John Bull and his Island," "A young girl goes out one fine morning to post a letter, and, on her return, informs her parents that she is married." Only; of course, it sometimes happens that she does _not_ return.

In the appendix will be found the account of a case that has recently been tried in Dublin.[2] The prisoner, aged forty-two, had been through the ceremony of marriage five times.

[2] See Appendix (a).

But for marriage made easy, Scotland is the place. There civil marriage, religious marriage, all is unnecessary. You gather together your parents and friends, present to them the young girl to whom you are engaged, and tell them: "This is the wife I have chosen." The matter is settled: you are married.

If I may believe certain Scotch novels, this presentation even may be dispensed with. It is sufficient for the young people to say to each other: "I take you for my wife;" "I accept you as my husband," in order to be able to consider themselves well and duly married. "A wedding is all very well," Sandy will tell you, "but for real fun and enjoyment, give me a good funeral."

I do not speak of these Scotch weddings with the least intention of laughing at them. I think those primitive customs simply admirable. Laws, contracts, and other impediments of all kinds are only made for rogues.

Compare this charming manner of getting married with the bothers and hindrances without end arising from the necessity for producing the papers exacted by the French bureaucracy, both religious and civil: certificates of birth, certificates of baptism, certificates of the death of parents you may have lost, written consent of parents who are unable to be present, _billets de confession_, and I know not what besides; until you wonder Red Tape does not demand your own certificate of existence. It would seem as though the marriage formalities in France had been invented with the express idea of making young people shun matrimony.

* * * * *

Dress coats are not worn at weddings in England; they are only used for evening wear, and are called evening coats. The bridegroom, his best man, and the other gentlemen, are in frock coats. The dresses of the bride and bridesmaids are similar to those worn in France on such occasions.

The bride is led to the altar by her father. When the clergyman says: "Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?" the father advances, and replies: "I do." The dear man always appears to me radiant on these occasions; with happy heart and beaming countenance he answers: "I do." It is true he gives his daughter, but as that is generally all he gives, it is a clear profit for him: one mouth less to fill.

A suitor never thinks of asking for a _dot_ with his bride, as I have said elsewhere. I even added: "Girls of the middle class in England have no _dot_; or when they have, it is the exception, and not the rule." This assertion brought down upon me a plethora of recriminations. "What, Sir," wrote the indignant British parents, "we give no _dots_ to our daughters! But, begging your pardon, we do so when we have the means."

All I can say is that the exceptions may be a little more frequent than I thought, although I doubt it; and whichever way the case may stand, I know personally a great number of Englishmen very well off, rich even, who have led their daughters to the altar, dowered them with a few chemises and handkerchiefs, and ... wished them good luck.

The young couple manage as best they may.

V.

After the Ball--My Wife makes me a little Confidence (from the Diary of a Frenchman married to an Englishwoman).

I am not jealous; yet, every time I reach home after a ball, I experience a certain feeling of relief and satisfaction: I cannot help it.

When you have seen your wife whirled round a room, in the arms of a score of men, who have plunged their eyes in her _corsage_, inhaled the perfume of her hair, held her waist and hand, felt her near them at the distance of a hair's breadth, you are happy to find yourself once more alone with her, and to feel that, after all, she is your very own. Besides, there is another sentiment that animates you. The dance has made your little wife radiant; it has brought a new glow to her cheeks; her eyes are brighter; her whole being seems to exhale I know not what intoxicating perfume; she is lovelier than ever in your eyes; and those thousand little jealous ideas that have been passing through your head have added fuel to the flame of your love ... in short, I know nothing more pleasant, more delightful, than to return from a ball with one's wife, to a cosy fire-side, to thrust her little feet into her satin slippers, to pull off her gloves, and ask her for a cup of tea.

We had had a little room arranged quite expressly for these _tête-à-tête_. We called it the _reposoir_. We only used it on returning from the play or a ball. What long confabulations we have had in it! What delicious little chats its walls have heard! And, thank Heaven, they often hear them still: I do not see why I should not put all my verbs in the present tense.

This sanctum is about the size of a nutshell: there is just room for two. The furniture consists of a table, a sofa, two inviting-looking arm-chairs, and a Pleyel piano of the sweetest tone. A Turkey carpet covers the floor, and two lamps with blue tulip-shaped globes throw a soft, most exquisite light over the room. When the curtains are drawn, we can imagine ourselves alone in the world.

My wife has more than once confessed to me that, to her, the greatest pleasure about going to a ball or a theatre, was the thought of the little _reposoir_ all ready to receive us on our return, and she never forgot to give strict orders with regard to it before setting out.

I have more than once, at a party, caught her throwing me little glances that seemed to say: "Have patience, darling; Parker is just lighting us a lovely little fire; in a few moments we shall be all alone, and I will soon drive that frown from your brow."

* * * * *

One evening we came home and went to the _reposoir_ as usual, my wife radiant and lovely enough to turn the head of a hermit, I a little sulky. I took off her pelisse, laid it carefully on the sofa, and threw myself dreamily into one of the chairs. My wife took possession of the other, gave me a wicked little glance, and unceremoniously burst out laughing in my face.

"I am sure you are jealous. Don't tell me you are not," she added, placing five glowing perfumed fingers on my lips.

----"Well, yes, I am; it was not nice of you to waltz with that great fop of a...."

----"Now don't talk about that; I was punished enough for it. I never saw such an awkward fellow."

----"It served you right."

----"Come, don't scold me. I had it in my head--I don't know why--that it was to be a polka. You know very well that I don't care to waltz with anybody but you. First of all, because you waltz beautifully, and then, with you there is no danger."

----"There is no danger? What do you mean?"

----"Did I say that?"

----"You did."

----"Oh! I don't know what I say. Yes, as I was remarking, you waltz beautifully ... only...."

----"Only...."

----"Only you go too fast."

----"Too fast! How can that be? The waltz should be rapid, giddy."

----"Oh! you silly! Ahem! I mean to say, you are wrong."

----"Explain yourself, sweet one."

----"Well then, I mean that I like a waltz to be slow, dreamy, sad, almost dying away; I should like them composed entirely of the kind of airs they generally begin with--slow and solemn."

----"What!" I exclaimed, "you don't like the intoxicating kind of waltz?"

----"You know nothing about it," replied she cunningly.

----"I tell you I am an inveterate waltzer."

----"That proves nothing at all."

----"I tell you a waltz should be an intoxicating whirl."

----"Just at the end, perhaps; though I am not so sure of that either. Listen, I'll show you the kind of movement I like."

And, seating herself at the piano, my wife began to play a few bars of the _Colonel_ waltz.

"That is a waltz," she said, seating herself on my knees, and laying her head upon my shoulder.

----"Indeed!" I replied, growing reflective. "I say, darling, if you don't mind--I don't know why I ask you that again, but more than ever ... I had rather you waltzed with no one but me."

----"Oh! you need not ask me; and if that poor fellow had not set about it so awkwardly, I should very soon have thanked him and excused myself.... Just time enough to perceive that it was a waltz: and that would have settled it, you may be sure."

----"I don't follow you at all."

----"It is so lovely to waltz with you! You are not afraid to hold me firmly, and besides ... when I get giddy, I just lay my head on your shoulder and close my eyes, and then I feel quite safe."

----"It's a curious thing. The waltz makes me a little giddy too, but still I...."

----"Well, you are not like me."

----"Does it make your head swim?"

----"What a dear old goosey you are!"

----"Not such a goose as I look.... Once more, what on earth is the effect that the waltz does produce upon you?"

----"I ... do not know."

----"Try to find out."

And as I foresaw that my wife was about to make me a little confidence, and my wife's confidences have always deeply interested me, I turned down the lamps, made her turn her back to the light, and applied an attentive ear to her pretty mouth.

"Now, come," I said to her; "do tell me."

----"I am sure, I don't know."

----"Oh yes, you do."

----"It's only nonsense...."

----"All the more reason why you should say it out. Go on, my own darling: there is nothing so dangerous as nonsense turned inwards."

----"Little shivers ... ever so small ... you know.... Don't kiss me in the neck: you'll make me shriek...."

----"Little _frissons_!... Where?"

----"All over...."

----"Humph! I begin to understand the danger you were speaking of just now.... Now, darling, explain yourself more clearly, you know; I have not got it yet."

----"I adore you!" she said rising, and, taking my head in her two hands, she kissed me tenderly.

We took a delicious cup of tea together, and it was agreed that in future my wife should only waltz with me.

It would appear that, when I waltz, I do not set about it too awkwardly. At any rate, it is the conclusion that I drew from our resolution.

VI.

The Beauty of Englishwomen--Their Dress--Their Hair--Advice to French Ladies--Hyde Park--Interior of English Theatres--O Routine! such is thy handiwork.

The French women are more graceful and more piquant than the English; but they are less healthy and less fresh-looking. Their eyes are brighter, their mouths much prettier, and their figures a great deal finer; but their complexion is not so clear, nor nearly so fine.

Regular walks and baths are the secret of the health and beauty of the English woman. She fears neither draught nor douche. She sleeps with her window open, and, on rising, inundates herself with cold water. In winter weather, the least hardy wrings a hard towel in water, and rubs herself with it from head to foot to promote the circulation of the blood, till her skin shrieks for mercy. The appetite thus awakened, she descends, fresh and vigorous, to breakfast heartily on eggs and cold meat, and then sets out for the lawn-tennis ground, or goes about her daily task.

It is in the fields, or on the lawns of their gardens; always in open air, that most Englishwomen pass six months of the year.

* * * * *

The neck is very freely displayed in England by ladies in evening dress; less so, however, than formerly, I am told. It would seem as if, starting from the head downwards, an Englishwoman did not mind how much she uncovered herself: provided she does not show her feet, she is happy. When the streets are muddy--and Heaven knows what black, dirty mud we have in London--you will never see the women lift their skirts as they walk; they seem by instinct to prefer getting them muddy to the waist. Consequently, the gentleman who follows a neat pair of ankles in Paris is never seen in London.

The Englishwoman's skin is generally fine, and beautifully white and smooth; satin and alabaster; a neck like the swan's. The shoulders and hips are frequently too narrow; and, unfortunately, the bosom is too often a _quantité négligeable_ in the enumeration of an Englishwoman's charms. But when there is something to display, good heavens, how proud they are of it! They carry it like church banners.

The first thing that strikes one in Paris on arriving from England is the embonpoint of the women. By the powers! they seem to be having a good time under the Republic. What development! What exuberance! Ladies, it is really alarming: a little moderation, pray, or you will soon have to throw your corsets over the hedge.

* * * * *

The Englishwoman walks on the flat foot, and lets her arms hang; the Frenchwoman puts her toes to the ground first, and her arms are folded in front of her: it is more graceful, but not so comfortable. The last time I visited Paris, I saw with pleasure that the high, pointed heels, that were stuck in the centre of the sole, had begun to give place to the English heels: this is a great progress.

And, _mesdames_, since you are beginning to imitate what is sensible in the English _toilette_, allow me to give you a piece of advice that your husbands will be very pleased to see you follow.

It is you who have the honour of setting the fashion to the civilized world. You wear your clothes so gracefully, and you are so charming, that even a frying-pan would look pretty on your heads. But I object to your hats and bonnets. Yes, those _tyroliens_, loaded with feathers, aigrettes, pompons, birds, fruit, and what not, are very dear and exceedingly ugly. You seek too much to attract to your hats that attention which should be bestowed entirely on your matchless eyes.

The wife of a clerk in Paris with about a hundred and fifty pounds a-year, will tell you that it is impossible to get a decent bonnet for less than forty or fifty francs. What folly! I know perfect ladies in England, who, for about five or ten shillings, make their own, and charming bonnets they are: simple, quiet, and most stylish. In England, only dealers in cast-off clothing would think of getting themselves up in those gigantic constructions, covered with currants, cherries--when shall we have the pumpkin?--that I noticed in the windows of the grand bonnet shops in Paris.

Come, _mesdames_, turn over a new leaf. Let me recommend you, for instance, the little "Princess" bonnet, so called because of the partiality shown for it by the Princess of Wales. It is a simple little form, made of straw, framed in velvet, that is not perched on the top of the head, but encases it, just leaving a small chignon visible at the back. How pretty women look in it! I would recommend also the Peg Woffington hat, which completely frames the face. Every picture needs a frame to throw up its beauty, as even a child in art knows. How else explain why the nun's head-dress, the hood, the turban, and the mantilla are so becoming to all young women?

Try these _coiffures_, ladies, and I assure you that you will find them charming. Real distinction consists in simplicity, as you know very well, and you are quite pretty enough to be able to do without those absurd piles of head gear, that do not suit you at all, and that must seriously interfere with your husbands' peace of mind. Do not wait until your milliners introduce the reform. It is to their interest to persuade you that the more furbelows you put on, the prettier you look. Take the matter into your own hands: put on a little Princess bonnet next Easter, and all the nymphs of the Bois de Boulogne will drive to their milliners, and order one of the same pattern, on their way home from the Avenue des Acacias.

* * * * *

Englishwomen wear their hair very simply dressed, even at balls. I admire that. To my taste, those locks, a little curly and rough on the top of the head, and coiled into a knot at the back of the neck, are much prettier than the complicated monuments that are the production of some fashionable hairdresser's brain, and need a hundred hair pins to keep them together. These edifices that have taken hours to build, seem to awaken no idea in the mind, unless it be the idea of the length of time it would take to undo them, and the danger of touching them, lest the symmetry should be spoiled. On the contrary, those loosely twisted knots suggest a thousand charming ideas to the mind. Everything about a woman should be suggestive. You fancy you are going to see two pretty round arms uplifted to fasten the swaying tresses. And that is the prettiest movement of a woman, much the prettiest, you will admit. Besides this, the unfastening is but the work of an instant, and "_o'er a neck's rose-misted marble_" flows a mantle of gold or ebony. Yes, decidedly the English way of doing the hair suggests many pretty thoughts.

Love feeds on suggestion: I had almost said on illusion. The greatest charm about a woman's dress lies less in what it displays than in what it only hints at. As an illustration, take the success of a dress that was a great favourite in England two years ago. It was fastened at the neck; but, lower down, it yawned open, as if burst through the pressure of _abondance de biens_, showing little, but leaving much to be guessed at. It was provoking and exceedingly piquant. Besides--let us say here all we think--this kind of bodice allowed a little cheating, and the dissimulation of a small salt-cellar here and there, which naturally made it very popular in England.

It is all very well for the fair sex to tell us that it is out of pure vanity they delight in dressing prettily. I do not believe a word of it. I should not dare to affirm that they did not take a secret delight in eclipsing or crushing a rival, but I am infatuated enough to believe that it is principally to please us that they study to look lovely. It seems to me then, that we ought to have a voice in the matter, a consultative if not a deliberative voice, and to be allowed to tell them the kind of attire that pleases us most.

The more so, fair ladies, that it is one of our privileges to pay the milliner's bills.

* * * * *

Just as glaring and showy as are the colours the lower class women array themselves in, just so quiet and simple are those worn in the street by ladies.

The dresses you see in the carriages, in Hyde Park, are noticeable for their sober tints and a studied, almost Puritan, simplicity.

There is something to the credit of Englishmen, which may aptly be added here, and that is, that, with the exception of the old or infirm, very few gentlemen accompany the ladies in the carriages: they are on horseback. You will see no young idlers of the order of St. Dandy and St. Dangler lolling among cushions, taking their solitary drive in Hyde Park to while away an hour or two. It would be going a little too far to say that in England every man works, although it would be very near to the truth; but what is perfectly sure is that they all have some occupation.

All display of toilette is reserved for the evening: for balls, theatres, and dinners.

The auditorium of a London theatre presents a very much more brilliant appearance than that of a Parisian one. It is an exceedingly pretty sight to see all the boxes, stalls, and dress circle full of gaily dressed ladies; in fact, if you except the Opera and two or three such houses as the Lyceum, the Haymarket, and the St. James's, it is, in my opinion, about the only thing there is interesting for a Frenchman to see in a London theatre, even though he may understand English well. Evening dress is not optional, it is compulsory; unless you are bound for the upper regions of the house, the attendants, before showing you to your place, conduct the ladies who may accompany you, to the cloak-room, where hats and bonnets are left.

Of course, most ladies drive to the theatre in evening dress, and have no hat to remove.

It is needless to say that in England, where routine is not so deep-rooted as in France, ladies are admitted to the stalls. And why should they not be? They are the best seats in the house, and why in most of our Parisian theatres they are still closed to ladies, is something that passes my comprehension.

Long ago: about two hundred years back, the pit was not supplied with seats, and naturally women did not go there. This is why the ground floor, although now provided with excellent accommodation, is still interdicted to ladies. It seems too idiotic, but nevertheless, it is in vain one looks for any other explanation.

Almost three hundred years ago men left off wearing belts. And yet, in spite of that, on the backs of our coats may still be seen the two buttons that served for their support--and it is probable we shall see them there many a year yet.

O Routine! such is thy handiwork.

VII.

The Word and the Thing--Little Essay on the English Language--There is nothing like a good telescope if you want to see well--Master Dubius--Puritan Parlance--Salvation Fair--May Meetings and Spring Cleanings--Are you _Pooty_ Well?--A suitable Menu.

It is the name of a thing that shocks an English woman, not so much the thing itself.

That which we call a pair of _indispensables_ goes by the name of a pair of _unmentionables_ over here. If you remark in a room, that the trousers Mr. So-and-so wears are always irreproachable, you will send all the ladies behind their fans. If you were to follow up the subject, you would soon create a veritable panic in the room. But go to any athletic meeting--to Lord's Cricket Ground, or Lillie Bridge--there you will see gentlemen who, for all covering, have on their skin a thin flannel jersey, and drawers of the same, about the size of a fig leaf; saturated with perspiration, these elementary articles of the toilette cleave to the form as if their wearers had come straight out of a bath. Nevertheless, all around the course, looking, admiring, and applauding, you will see a crowd of the fair sex, that will convince you that an Englishwoman's eyes are not so easily shocked as her ears.

In the room that contains the Elgin marbles, at the British Museum, I have seen young girls shading Apollos, whose nakedness was distressing. The glance of the passer-by did not disconcert them; with a firm hand, they continued their work unmoved. I have more than once run away blushing from those faithful reproductions.

Some English girls make studies from the nude figure, under the guidance of a male professor. I must add, however, in order to be just, that this latter does not make his observations directly to his pupils: the young ladies retire to another room, while the master writes on the margin of their drawings the remarks that their work suggests to him. I am told that Sir Frederick Leighton, the celebrated English painter, interdicts the undraped model to his pupils of the Royal Academy, of which he is President.

Everyone must still remember the indignation which was aroused among righteous upper circles by the revelations of the _Daily News_, when that paper had the courage to make known the atrocities that were being committed in Bulgaria. The ancient spinsters of philanthropic England have never forgiven the great organ of the Liberal party for having dared to enter into those details that froze the whole civilized world with horror and affright. "To think that I should have lived until to-day," wrote one of them to a Conservative paper, "to read such things in a newspaper! Have we lost all sentiment of shame? Must we women be exposed to see these hideous, revolting accounts in print? That such things should be is bad enough; but that they should be described in detail ought not to be allowed."

Thanks to the courage of the lamented Mac Gahan, the valorous correspondent of the _Daily News_, these atrocities were brought to light, too late, perhaps, to repair the evil already done, but not too late to hinder the utter annihilation of a poor nation, which was trying to shake off a shameful yoke that had weighed it down for four centuries. Let us hope that, in future, the worthy maiden lady will not venture to open any other paper than her _Myra's Journal_ and the _Animal World_.

I find the following anecdote in the _Pall Mall Gazette_:--

"A foreigner well known in English society sends us the following amusing account of his bathing experiences in England:--

"'I have been much amused by your suggesting to the ladies who object to bathers in the River Thames the use of their inevitable companion, the parasol. Let me relate what happened to me last year while a temporary resident in a quiet seaside place of great renown. I was in the habit of bathing off a boat, for which purpose I was rowed out a couple of hundred yards or so from the shore, where I divested myself of my "many" clothes and donned the "few" generally worn by bathers. I practised this favourite pursuit of mine unmolested for several days; but one fine afternoon I indulged in a game of tennis with the vicar of some parish or other in the neighbourhood, and he gravely "took the opportunity" to inform me that among his pious flock there were two venerable old ladies, who--having a house facing the sea and close to the spot whence I embarked for my daily revelry--were much distressed in their minds by my proceedings, and, as they had disburdened their souls to him for consolation, he earnestly begged me to see my way to relieve the old ladies from their dire grievance. I told him I should get myself rowed out a hundred yards further from shore, and the good priest much applauded this resolution which would in his opinion prevent any further mischief. However, the gods willed it otherwise. The next day the vicar informed me--not without a suspicion of a smile on his face--that the two "venerable dames" could still see me quite plainly ... by means of a "capital binocular."'"

We would rather not attempt to describe the despair of the noble foreigner.

There is nothing like a good telescope, if you want to see well.

That is evident.

* * * * *

The most striking feature of the English language is euphemism: it is its very genius. So, "to be taken in adultery" is in English law phraseology, "to be surprised in criminal conversation." Conversation! Charming, is it not? A cosy talk, a bit of a chat, you know.

If, in France, you must turn your tongue in your mouth seven times before speaking, in England, you must turn it at least eight. You get used to it in time.

In France, when something is offered us at table we say: "With pleasure," or "No, thank you, not any more." "Thank you," alone, is sufficient, if you wish to refuse. In England, _thank you_, alone, signifies that you are ready to allow yourself to be helped to such-and-such a dish, as I once or twice found to my dismay and the distress of my poor stomach.

However, these are not the usual ways of accepting or refusing. At the family table, when the master of the house asks you if you will have a little more of the dish he has before him, if you are still hungry, you reply: "I think I will." If you are satisfied, you answer: "I don't think I'll have any more," or, "I would rather not have any more."

A Frenchman, taking leave of his friends, says: "Well, I must leave you; so, good-bye," and he shakes hands and goes. An Englishman will say: "I am afraid I must go." He is _afraid_ it must be late; he _thinks_ he must leave you; he _fears_ so: anyhow, he is not very sure; and if you were to ask an Englishman if it is true that his nose is in the middle of his face, he would reply that he hopes and presumes it is in the place you mention:

"Dubius is such a scrupulous good man, Yes, you may catch him tripping if you can. He would not, with a peremptory tone, Assert the nose upon his face his own; With hesitation, admirably slow, He humbly hopes--presumes--it may be so."

I happened the other day to be travelling, in a first-class carriage, with half a dozen young people who were going to Hammersmith, to do a little boating on the Thames. One of the young men was smoking. Up comes the guard to the carriage door. "You are not in a smoking-compartment, sir," said he to the young fellow, "and I see you are smoking."

----"You make a mistake, I am not," promptly replied my smoker, who had taken his pipe from his mouth at the approach of the guard, and was holding it out of sight.

He was right: while he was answering the guard, it was his pipe that was smoking, not he.

In a nation that boasts of its truthfulness, that punishes perjury with transportation, but which is not more virtuous than its neighbours, it was necessary to find _avec le ciel des accommodements_, and so white lies were invented: lies more or less innocent.

How many good Englishmen do I know who would not for the world say, "My God," but who get over the difficulty by saying _mon Dieu_ or _mein Gott_, as if the Deity only understood English!

* * * * *

But it is the Puritans that you should hear, if you would form an idea of the genius of the English language. Their phraseology hangs about their tongues like so much treacle.

It is quite a study apart.

If you would be thoroughly edified, take a walk along the Strand in the month of May.

There stands in this thoroughfare an immense hall belonging to the Young Men's Christian Association. This building, which ought to be called Salvation Hall, is simply named Exeter Hall. It is in this place that, from the first to the thirty-first of May, the various angelical, evangelical, and archangelical societies, successively hold their annual conferences, called May Meetings.

It is Salvation Fair.

To Exeter Hall throng _la gent trotte-menu_ from all parts of the United Kingdom to do their souls' spring-cleaning.

For a whole month, the air of the Strand is impregnated with an odour of sanctity ... of which it stands sadly in need, to speak the truth: it is a spectacle thoroughly English, to see on one side of a street--the north side of the Strand--edifying groups, unctuous specimens of the most austere virtue; on the other side, a few yards off, groups of unfortunate, shameless women, dirty, intoxicated, daring specimens of the lowest debauch: on the right, hymns; on the left, obscene songs: on the right, the Bible and the Gospel; on the left, beer, gin ... and the rest.

In this pious society the note resembles the plumage.

Look at the Puritan, trotting along the Strand, going religiously to the meeting of his sect. He walks with light, short, jaunty steps, his head a little on one side. He is dressed in black shiny raiment, and a wide-brimmed felt hat covers his head: it is the uniform of piety in England. He wears all the imaginable symbols of English goodness, including a brand-new piece of blue ribbon in his buttonhole; and he carries his indispensable umbrella in his hand. The umbrella is the _fidus Achates_ of every true-born Briton. You will never see one of them so lost to the sense of propriety as to carry a walking-stick to these meetings of male and female cherubim.

Does he enter into conversation? he _trusts_ you are pretty well (pronounced _pooty well_). He will never push his presumption so far as to imagine that, in this world of trials and sufferings, you can be quite well. We must not expect too much; we must be content with the small mercies Providence sends. Does he give you an appointment for the morrow? "he _hopes_ to have the pleasure of seeing you, if the Lord will." If you are to meet together to pray, to dine, nay, were it only to take tea, the invitation invariably bears the proviso, D.V.

This prudent and wise person enters and leaves the tabernacle of the West-end noiselessly. He would walk upon eggs without breaking them. He casts right and left little grimaces that are so many forced smiles; then takes his seat, and says a short prayer in his hands or in his hat. It is generally in their hats that the Englishmen of Low Church and dissenting sects address their prayers to Heaven.

The secretary's report of the state of the Association's finances is read to the audience; some monotonous and endless hymns are sung; and an edifying conference follows, showing the flourishing condition of the society, and the benefits it confers upon humanity in general, and its ministers in particular.

The meeting then breaks up, and at the door, little groups are formed, a great deal of hand-shaking goes on, accompanied with felicitations on the subject of the success of the good cause. Here is a sample conversation that I caught one day in passing, and which I give word for word:--

1st _Cherub_ (male).--"How do you do, Mrs. Jones? Are you pooty well?"

2nd _Cherub_ (female).--"Pooty well, thank you; are you pooty well?"

1st _Cherub_.--"Pooty well. How is dear Miss Evans? Is she pooty well?"

3rd _Cherub_ (female).--"Not very well; she has such a bad cold!"

4th _Cherub_ (male).--"Has she really? This is a dreary world, is it not? Dear soul, I hope she will take care of herself."

5th _Cherub_ (female).--"Glorious meeting, was it not?"

_Chorus._--"Glorious, indeed!"

I make my way to the door of the Hall. The entrance and lobby are covered with advertisements: the programmes of the performances. In this steeple-chase of people, who know how to believe in God and make a snug little income out of it, it is the General of the Salvation Army that carries off the palm: he announces assets to the amount of over 350,000 pounds sterling, and an army of 500,000 soldiers, male and female, well disciplined, and devoted to the cause. He has outshone Messrs. Moody and Sankey, the American evangelists, who, in 1875, were preaching every evening to London audiences of thirty and forty thousand persons, and that for months running! It is all over. Mr. Sankey accompanies himself on a harmonium; the general has big drums, cymbals and trombones; long live the general! Since the imprisonment of Miss Booth, in Switzerland, the shares of the Salvation Army have gone up steadily: there is no more lucrative profession than that of a martyr, when it is properly carried out ... and the "General" knows how to _battre la caisse et la remplir_.

As in this weary world, people do not live on the word of life alone, Exeter Hall keeps a restaurant. I notice the bill of fare, posted up at the door. This bill of fare fills my soul with sadness and regret. My illusions vanish; I am no longer in paradise. I had expected something in this way:--

_Potage alleluia aux flageolets_, _Petit Agneau sauce Pénitence_, _Haricots bon jeune homme_, _Lentilles sauce Esaü_, _Crême à la Vertu_, _Soufflé aux petits Anges_, _Paradise pudding_.

But I was doomed to be disappointed.

VIII.

The Boas of the Aristocracy--The prettiest Women in London--Shop girls--Barmaids--Actresses and Supernumeraries--Miss Mary Anderson.

According to the account of Lady John Manners, this is how the ladies of the upper classes in England fare. As this _haulte dame_ should be an authority on the matter, not only will we accept her statements as perfectly correct, but we will also profit by her observations to draw some judicious conclusions.

"In well-appointed sporting country houses," says Lady John Manners,[3] "before the ladies--indeed, before most of the gentlemen--leave their beds, dainty little services of tea and bread-and-butter are carried to them. Sometimes the younger men prefer brandy and soda. Fortified by these refreshments, the non-sporting guests come to breakfast about ten. Four hot dishes, every sort of cold meats that might fitly furnish forth a feast, fruits, cakes, tea, coffee, cocoa, claret, constitute a satisfactory breakfast, often prolonged till within two hours and a half of luncheon. The important institution of luncheon begins at two. Again, the table is spread with many varieties of flesh and fowl, hot and cold proofs of the cook's ability, plain puddings for those who study their health, creations in cream for those who have not yet devoted themselves to that never-failing source of interest. Coffee is often served after lunch, which is usually over soon after three. If a shooting party has gone out, Norwegian stoves, crammed with hot dishes of an appetizing character, have been despatched to the scene of action. The ladies gather round the tea-table about five, usually showing much appreciation of any little surprises in the way of muffins, or tea-cakes, provided by a thoughtful hostess. When the shooters come in, some will probably join the ladies, perhaps a few may like a little champagne, but tea and talk tempt the majority. Dinner is served at eight or half-past, and two hours more are then spent at table. After dinner, coffee is brought into the dining-room, while the gentlemen smoke. It is whispered that some of the ladies enjoy a post-prandial cigarette. Liqueurs and tea are offered during the evening, and keep up flagging energies till the ladies ostensibly go to bed, after a little money has changed hands at poker or loo." The gentlemen then have whisky, brandy, claret, effervescing waters, and lemons brought them, to help them support existence till one or two o'clock in the morning.

[3] _National Review_, March, 1844.

Such is the ordinary of the aristocracy. Quite a choker this ordinary, is it not?

Now this prodigious voracity seems to account for many things.

But first, it is impossible not to admire the wisdom of Providence in arming these carnivora, I will not say with tusks of defence, but with those tusks of attack that betray their nationality in any part of the world.

We can understand now why English women over forty have shrunken gums; we can understand now why their poor teeth very sensibly protest against their superhuman task, and slant outwards, so as to get a little help from the gums in this gigantic work of mastication; we understand at last how it is that the eyes of most of the _habituées_ of Rotten Row seem to be starting from their sockets, and you need not smile, for your eyes would soon do the same, if your digestive apparatus were kept in perpetual movement of deglutition. It is a facial panic.

The fact is that, in the fashionable promenade of Hyde Park, you see very few pretty women. With the exception of some children that certainly are lovely, the majority of the faces you see in the carriages are sulky and stupid-looking; they have lobster eyes that throw you an indifferent and half-dead glance: they are the faces of digesting boas in a comatose state, the faces of women who seem to have not a pleasure in life. No smiles, no little graceful gestures of recognition from one carriage to another: it is Madame Tussaud's exhibition out for an airing: a solemn and stupid procession.

If you would refresh your eyes with the sight of pretty faces, young, rosy, plump and fresh,--if you would see them by the hundred, go and take a stroll, between nine and ten o'clock in the morning, in Regent Street, Oxford Street, New Bond Street, and Piccadilly. There you will see the prettiest national produce that John Bull has to show you. The finest specimens of Englishwomen are the assistants in the great drapery, bonnet and mantle shops. The English tradesmen of importance, who know their business, only employ women that are young, pretty, in face and figure, and well behaved; and the sight of these hundreds of independent, respectable, and well-mannered girls, going to their shops every morning, is one of the most refreshing and edifying to be seen in this immense city.

I have many times accompanied ladies to bonnet shops in the West-end, where I have sometimes witnessed very amusing little scenes. I have seen young spinsters of thirty-nine summers, make a pretty shop girl put on all the hats in the shop, and then go to the glass and try them on one after another. The disappointed looks of these poor dears were quite diverting. It is a curious thing, they seemed to say to themselves, making a wry face the while, none of these hats suit me as they do that girl! And with what a mischievous, wicked little smile, those pretty milliners of twenty-five--that pitiless age--said: "Oh! that hat suits you so beautifully!" I admired the angelic patience with which they tried the whole stock of the shop upon those ugly heads. This occupation cannot fail to be often very amusing, and in the evening, on returning home, what funny stories they must have to tell each other!

It was in a fashionable milliner's shop in New Bond Street. A scarecrow in petticoats had just chosen, after an hour's hesitation, a sweet little white hat, that a girl of twenty would have thought too childish for herself. Two pretty assistants bowed the lady out with a very grave look, and closed the door. "I think women ought to expire at forty, don't you?" said one of them to her companion. And the two wicked creatures were near exploding with fun.

The fashionable shops are not the only ones that keep a good stock of nice-looking English girls. Some of the finest specimens are to be seen in the restaurants and buffets. Messrs. Spiers and Pond have legions of them under their orders. These magnificent daughters of Albion are of an inferior social grade, but they are well behaved, and, for the most part, remarkably handsome. They are not so modest as to be unable to bear the gaze of the sterner sex, or to allow a few dandies to have a little flirtation with them over their glass of wine; but still women who consent to stand behind a counter from ten in the morning to twelve at night, for a salary of about thirty shillings a week, are evidently respectable. In the case of a young and handsome woman, a modest income is a certificate of virtue.

Once more, it is in the theatre that, in default of talented actresses, you may admire beautiful women. I am bound, however, to make an exception here in favour of Mrs. Stirling, the greatest _comédienne_ in England, who, in spite of her talent as a teacher, will leave no one after her to replace her; of Mrs. Bernard Beere, so _sympathique_, so refined; of silver-voiced Mrs. Bancroft, so gay, so sparkling with fun and mischief; of Miss Ellen Terry, so gracefully youthful, frolicsome, and coaxing; of Mrs. Kendall, the first among sentimental heroines of the English stage, with her delicacy, pathos, and irreproachable purity of diction.

With the exception of the actresses just mentioned, you will see very little to admire on the London stage but pretty women. And, after all, this is not to be despised; one may pass an evening very agreeably in looking at pretty faces and fine shoulders, especially after dining _à l'anglaise_. When you have partaken of the fifth repast spoken of by Lady John Manners, your intellect is not very exacting. So, I will not hesitate to advise you, when you come to London, to go and see the grand spectacular pieces, the Drury Lane pantomimes included, even if the great impresario (to do him justice, no one knows how to mount a play as he does) were to mention, in his next advertisements, that I gave you such advice.

It is impossible to speak of English actresses without mentioning the beautiful American lady who drew crowds to the Lyceum this year, in the absence of Mr. Irving and Miss Terry, who were at the time delighting the Yankees.

Miss Mary Anderson may boldly be proclaimed the champion beauty of the world.

Her acting is good, but her beauty is such as to make one oblivious of her talent. Her face is divinely sweet and beautiful; her gaze ingenuous, her grace indescribable, her sculptural lines classic in their purity; her proportions perfect: it is a feast for the eyes. Gérard would not have desired a more chaste or purer model for his Psyche receiving the first kiss of Cupid.

IX.

The _Demi-monde_--Sly Dogs--The Disreputable World--The Society for the Protection of Women--Humble Apologies for grave Mistakes.

In a country where, as M. Taine says in his _History of English Literature_, religion and morality are coins which you must have in your pocket either good or counterfeit, the _monde où l'on s'amuse_ is here the _monde où l'on se cache_. The _demi-mondaine_ is not a prominent personage over here, and the Englishman who glides into her house at nightfall, with his coat-collar turned up to his ears, and his hat lowered over his eyes, would never think of taking her to a theatre or of putting her into his carriage in Hyde Park. For this, I think he deserves a good mark. Call it hypocrisy if you like; it is deference to public opinion, and I prefer the vice that hides its head to the vice that gives itself airs.

I heard with my own ears, a few years ago, in a Parisian drawing-room, a lady of good society compliment a young man on the pretty sinner she had seen him with in a box at a theatre. And the receiver of the compliment seemed mightily pleased. His look said, "Yes, it is So-and-So, who is on the best of terms with me."

Men do not meet around the dining-table of the English _cocotte_, nor in her drawing-room. They do not go to her house to have a chat, much less to pay her court: her sittings are held within closed doors. It is not Aspasia nor Lais, it is a fine animal of a girl that friend John pays a visit to, when he has not time to go to Boulogne. He returns home, and no one, not even his most intimate friend, is the wiser for his little nocturnal expeditions. Next day, with rosy cheeks and downcast eyes, he accompanies his mother and sisters to church, bearing a goodly number of books of devotion under his arm.

Hypocrisy! you will cry. No, it is not. Unless you accept La Rochefoucauld's definition of hypocrisy: "homage that vice renders to virtue;" for, thanks to this hypocrisy, the virtuous woman has not in public to yield her rightful place to the other, who, conscious of her degradation, keeps in the shade. The virtuous woman can reign, her rights undisputed; and, in the inner family circle, the conduct of the young men is rarely a subject of scandal for the ladies, who are the honour of the house, and who certainly have a right to exact a little consideration for their feelings.

I know a good Englishman, whose abode is about nine miles distant from Brighton. Every Saturday he pays a little anonymous visit to this town.

"What on earth takes you to Brighton every Saturday?" said one of his sisters laughingly to him one day.

----"My dear child, I go to have my hair cut," replied the sly dog, without wincing.

Next best to the whole truth, is the truth.

I know another, who, Briton though he be, begins to feel the effects of the motion of the Ocean, as he invests in a railway ticket at Charing Cross. Yet this does not prevent his passing a couple of days at Boulogne about once a fortnight. He has never satisfactorily explained the reason of these little trips to me. All I know is, that if you want to tease him, you have only to say to him: "You have been to Boulogne, I think?" or, "Do you know Boulogne?"

* * * * *

There are no recognised houses of ill-fame in England, a fact of which the virtuous John is immensely proud. Not that there is much cause for it. If English law refuses to officially recognise vice and to regulate it within four walls, it tolerates it in the open air, in the streets, and above all, in the parks; and I cannot see what public morality gains by it, unless it be the encouragement to deny, even in the face of evident facts, something which is not recognised by law, and the satisfaction of knowing that Nemesis follows the nocturnal frequenters of the parks, in the shape of colds in the head ... and the rest. I have spoken elsewhere of the processions of Regent Street and the Strand, of the fair that is held in the shameless crowd that swarms about the Haymarket and in the parks, from sunset to two in the morning. I will not return to the subject; it would be out of place to dwell long on the matter and enter into sickening details. Thanks to the efforts of Lord Dalhousie, one of the most popular and intelligent members of the House of Lords, it is probable that before long one of the most hideous sights of London--a sight certainly unique in Europe, will no longer meet the eyes of people unfortunate enough to be out of doors after nightfall. Lord Dalhousie will, I think, succeed in passing an Act of Parliament which will close the career of the streets to girls under sixteen. That will be a grand improvement.

By-the-bye, it is high time that I should repair, whilst I think of it, a grave error that I committed. I said, alas! I even put it down in black and white, that there was a Society in England for the protection of animals, and I was ill-inspired enough to add, "a Society for the protection of women does not yet exist." Well, it appears it does. You would never have thought it, would you? Nor I either. Nothing is more certain, however: this Society has existed for years, it appears. Consequently, the other day, on taking up my paper, I was not surprised to see that a London magistrate had not feared to fine a brute of a husband ten shillings, for having smashed his wife's head with the tongs.[4] My compliments to a Society that inspires such terror in a magistrate of the great city. After such an example as that, few husbands will be opening their wives' heads to see what there is inside. Let me hasten to make my most humble apologies to the Society.

[4] See Appendix (b).

All writers of books upon England mention the fact that, in the lower classes, a man gets rid of a lawful wife for the sum of a few shillings, and the critics never fail to cry "Exaggeration!" "Caricature!" Of course I did not escape the usual diatribes on the subject. I can understand being charged with having exaggerated, for I have remarked this year in the papers, two cases of wives having been sold for sixpence and a pint of beer respectively, whereas I had said that the price of the transaction varied from half-a-crown to ten shillings.

The article is going down, it is evident.

These cases must be much more frequent than they would appear to be from newspaper reports. Such transactions are naturally settled by private contract, and, as the English take very good care to keep at a respectable distance from these gentry, unique in the world, there is no means of knowing much about the matter. Now and then, some idiot, who has got rid of his wife in this unceremonious fashion, is simple enough to imagine that he can go and marry another directly. Then, accused of bigamy, he is sent to the Court of Assizes, the papers publish the case, and the affair thus comes to light.

The other day, a man who had married again after having sold his first wife, said to his judge: "My former wife is very happy with her new owner, my Lord; set me free, let me go home to my new wife, and I promise your Lordship that I will feed her." (_Sic._)

The appeal was a touching one.

The judge condemned him to six months' imprisonment.

Truly his Lordship had no bowels of compassion.

X.

Reflections of an Innocent upon Women in General and Englishwomen in Particular--Epistle to John Bull--Women's Rights--A Stormy Meeting--Viragos and other British Guys of the Sisterhood of St. Catharine.

Woman is an _objet d'art_ to be handled with circumspection, and when one has a few little truths to say to this last great gift of the Creator to man, one must set about it carefully, I admit.

Nevertheless, seeing that woman was given to us for our companion, more or less with our consent, why should we not be able to say to her politely, amiably, but frankly, addressing her collectively in her person: Come, ladies, let us see if we cannot arrive at some understanding. What do you want? I hear you constantly loudly demanding the emancipation of your sex. You can do without us; and as for our protection, henceforth you'll none of it. For you, in times past, have we drawn the sword; to-day you hold us scarce worthy to draw cheques at your bidding. You would be man's equal, as if you ought not to be amply content with being incontestably his superior. You have graces of body and mind, in a word, you are angels, men pay you a homage that falls little short of worship. Do you crave fresh duties that you may place man under new obligations? He will go bankrupt, I assure you. Your first duties are to be tender, true, and fair to see. You have every intention of continuing to be the latter, we have no doubt, but you mean to be tender and sweet no longer. You mean to strike, as your sisters did in the days of Aristophanes. Now, on what terms will you reinstate us in your good graces? Will you change lots with us? I do not suppose we should offer much opposition to that; for if we Frenchmen have the bump of amativeness, we pay dearly enough for it to prevent our being likely to be proud of it. Does it not seem to you that, all things considered, you have the more enviable lot? Dispensers of happiness, have you not the world at your feet?

You want to be learned? But you are learned, in the heart's lore, by nature. You want to be free? But we are your slaves confessed. You want to make the laws? But your lightest word is law already. And besides, between ourselves, do you not make your husbands vote pretty much as you please, in the Chamber of Deputies? You want to have more influence in the higher councils? But are you not satisfied with knowing that it was a woman who was the cause of the fall of the human race; that a woman has been the cause of every great catastrophe from the siege of Troy down to the Franco-Prussian war; that, in a word, woman has ever inspired our noblest actions and our foulest crimes?

You are proud of saying that to your sex belonged Joan of Arc, Jane Hachette, Charlotte Corday, Madame de Staël, and George Sand. Quite true; but, as I have had the honour of telling you before, woman was intended to be a companion for man. Now could you find me many gentlemen who would have been happy to take to wife anyone of the ladies I have just mentioned?

The rights of woman! what a fine phrase! what a pretty farce! what a sonorous platitude!

No, dear ladies, be not led away by those spectacled blue-stockings who seek to estrange us from one another. The more you try to resemble us, the more you lose your charm: electric fluids of the same name repel one another; electric fluids of opposite kinds attract each other.

The name of woman will ever be glorious so long as it is synonymous with beauty, tenderness, sweetness, devotion, all the sacred troop of virtues; it will be glorious, thanks to the Lucretias, the Penelopes, the Cornelias, ancient and modern, to the devoted daughters, the loving wives, the adorable mothers, to the thousands of obscure heroines who remind us, in the words of the poet of Antiquity, that the most virtuous women have been those whom the world has heard least of.

* * * * *

A witty French lady, who has also the talent of being pretty and very amiable, reminded me the other day that Madame de Girardin had said, that out of a hundred women, you would find but two stupid ones. If England possessed, or had ever had a Madame de Girardin, we might possibly read in some book, that out of a hundred English women, you will find two witty. But this does not prevent John Bull from getting on in the world. Very much the contrary: England made all her great conquests at a time when her women were treated with about as much consideration as the inmates of an Eastern harem, and it is to this masculine independence, this indifference towards women, that the success of the English may partly be ascribed. Our mothers in France are matchless; but they tie us to their apron-strings too much: they make us more supple and more amiable, but they enervate us. From our mother's yoke we pass, after a short liberty, more or less capable of improving us, to that of our wives. I will repeat it, cry it upon the house-tops: from the cradle to the tomb we allow ourselves to be led like lambs by women. The chains are charming, the servitude is of the sweetest! that I do not wish to deny; but servitude it is none the less; and if we are to go and found colonies, empires, in Africa, China, and I don't know where else, we must have pioneers, and it is not the fine young fellows, of whom the mothers of the present day are so proud and so careful, that will go and transplant our civilisation outside our dear fair country.

The Englishman leaves his mother without more emotion or more ceremony than we should show in taking leave of our landlord. If he be married, he announces to his wife that he has decided to set out next week for Australia. She gets his trunks packed, an operation less lengthy in England than in France, and off they go.

In our country, a woman follows her husband by law; here she follows him by instinct. In France, woman is a dream; in England she is a necessity, a habit.

Condé and Turenne were led by women; Wellington and Nelson ill-treated their wives.

Corneille's heroines are Roman women, with hearts of gold, and wills of iron, full of sublime devotion. Shakespeare's heroines are, for the most part, slaves or simpletons: Juliet is a spoilt child, Desdemona a kind of submissive odalisque, Beatrice a pretty prattle, and Ophelia a goose.

"Madam," said a polite prince of the House of Wasa to his wife, "we married you that you might give us children, not advice." A remark worthy of Napoleon I. The Englishman says the same thing to his wife. So Mrs. John Bull gives her husband plenty of children, but very little advice.

But things are altering. Thanks to the higher education that is being administered to young Englishwomen; thanks to Girton College, Newnham College, the High Schools, and other institutions that are being founded day by day, with the object of stripping woman of the attributes that render her so attractive in our sight, all that has been said and repeated about the reserve, the modesty, the innocence of the Englishwoman, the virtues that made of her a model wife and housekeeper, all this, I say, will soon be quite out of date.

Formerly girls were sent to receive their education at the hands of some good women who did not teach them much, I am prepared to admit, but who did not fail to fit them to be good wives, good mothers, and good housekeepers. Now they are taught Latin and Greek, mathematics and natural philosophy, political economy and medicine, yes, medicine, and no one knows what besides. They wear men's hats known as wide-awakes (much too wide awake to please most of us), and masculine looking coats, and they stare you in the face in manly fashion. When are the trousers coming?

Take care, friend John, you are on a downward and dangerous path. I see you presiding over meetings of blue-stockings and hear you adding your voice to theirs in their demand for women's rights. It seems to me that it is your future happiness that you stake. You will have a wife who will know the differential and integral calculus, but will be all unskilled in the art of making those nice puddings and pies you like so much. No more warm slippers awaiting you by the fender; instead of the song of the kettle on the hob, that sweet household melody, you will hear the litany of the Rights of Woman; no more kisses on your wife's half-closed eyelids, she will wear spectacles. You will be able to console yourself, by taking refuge in your club, and grumbling there to your heart's content, or by going to a restaurant and, at the price of a tip, buying the right of blowing up the waiter. But remember that, to have a good grumble in, there's no place like home; and if your dinner is not to your liking, why, you can blow up your wife for nothing.

* * * * *

Some English ladies are moving heaven and earth to get Parliament to pass an Act which will allow them to vote. They will, perhaps, one day go so far as to demand seats in the House of Commons.

What is to be done with the women? Owing to the emigration of the men, this is indeed a problem that England will ere long have to solve in one way or another.

"The emigration of two or three hundred thousand of our women would be a great boon to us," said Lord Shaftesbury the other day; "it would even be the greatest blessing that could happen to England." The wish is not a gallant one, but it is sensible and practical.

It is even calculated that, if this wish could be realised, the number of women that would remain, would still surpass by 500,000 the number of her Britannic Majesty's male subjects.

Now, supposing that one day or the other every man enters the holy estate of matrimony, the above figures prove that, in this realm, about 800,000 ladies are condemned to a condition of single blessedness. Miss Miller, Miss Cobbe, and other leaders of the Sisterhood of St. Catharine would quickly remedy this sad state of things, if they were allowed to vote, and one day to change the _Parlement_ into _Bavardement_.

Miss Cobbe, the destroying angel of Man's rights, exclaimed at a meeting held in London, on the 13th of June, 1884, that "she regretted that she could not fight and pull down park railings to accomplish her object."

This is promising, is it not?

At the same meeting, Miss Miller announced her intention of paying no more taxes.[5] "I will force the tax collector," she said, "to break into my house and sell my goods by auction, when I shall have a gathering of friends to protest against the injustice done to women, with the full intention of making my resistance more forcible and myself more disagreeable and troublesome to the authorities every year."

[5] To the great amusement of the peaceful inhabitants of London, this lady has just carried out her threats. You will, however, be glad to hear that her friends managed to restore to her the distrained goods, so that the little performance did not tell much on the lady's purse.

This is energy worthy of a better cause.

It is needless to add that such ladies are mostly unclaimed blessings, and that none of them set up as professional beauties. When a woman is beautiful, she is generally content with playing a woman's part; when she is a mother, this sublime _rôle_ is sufficient for her. These tedious persons embrace the thankless career of advocates of woman's rights, because they have never found anything better to embrace. And these excellent ladies must not put it into their heads that they have created the part, for it existed in the days of Aristophanes: Praxagora was neither more nor less ridiculous than the present champions of Women's rights.

It would be the reverse of generous for a man to reproach a woman with being an old maid. When a man does not marry, it is for want of an inclination; when a woman does not marry, it is for want of an invitation.

However that may be, the old maid is a social failure, and, in England, almost a social evil. At all events, she is a social nuisance, when she sets up as an institution, a system, and claims the right of being placed at the helm _ex-officio_.

It is quite right that the old maid should be respected, when she consents to remain an obscure heroine, and to devote to doing good the energies that it is not her lot to be able to devote to the sacred duties of a wife and mother; let her be tolerated when she pounces upon her fellow-creatures, in their houses, in omnibuses, and in trains, to try to convert them; let her be pitied, when she is reduced to the necessity of wasting her treasures of love on her cat and her parrot. But when she talks of devoting her spare energies to striking terror into the breast of man, it is high time that some Member of Parliament should see if there is no possibility of passing a bill through the House (before she gets in) to dispose of her, as widows are disposed of in Malabar.

XI.

Women at Home--Daughters, Wives, Widows, and Mothers--Comparisons--The Hospitality of Mrs. John Bull--Provincial Life.

The young girl is the heroine of English society. Free and accessible, she is more attractive as a woman, but perhaps less tempting as a future wife, than the timid and sweet young French girl.

She walks out alone, travels alone, and gives you a shake of the hand that is enough to put your shoulder-blade out of joint.

Her favourite occupations are walking and riding, and the game of lawn-tennis, which develops her form and her taste for flirtation. She carries her head erect, her shoulders square, and, as you look at the pump-handle swing of her arms, you feel that if occasion required, she would be able to defend herself and give the man, who treated her with disrespect, a sound box on the ears.

Her frank and fearless bearing is her surest protection: it is the bearing of confidence and security.

The young married woman is much more fascinating in France than in England.

The Frenchwoman gains her liberty when she marries, the Englishwoman loses hers. The latter becomes a minor for the rest of her days, from the moment she has pronounced the fatal _I will_. The former is, on the contrary, emancipated by these magic words.

If the Frenchwoman has her own way in the household, she has very often richly earned it. It is, unfortunately, not rare to see parents offer to their child, as a companion of her joys and sorrows, a man of forty, bald and unwieldy, who, after having run through health, fortune, and all the romance he ever had about him, is willing to bestow the rest upon her in exchange for her dot, her youth, her beauty, and her virtues. It is a fact, though a sad one, that the husband a French mother most ardently desires for her daughter, is a staid, serious man, a man of experience, a notary, for instance. The notary is quoted very high in the French matrimonial market.

It is a man of sound, ripe qualities, Madame, that you want for your daughter. Ripe! sleepy, you mean, no doubt. And your charming daughter, who has perhaps woven her little romance, built her bright castles in Spain, as she danced with some handsome young cavalier of twenty-five, accepts your choice without a murmur. He is still brisk, he is well preserved, you say to yourself: a quiet, steady man, who will have only my daughter's happiness at heart. But, Madame, does it never occur to you that the idea of the fair young head of a girl of eighteen, pillowed beside that bald or grey one, is nothing short of revolting? When will you cease preaching to your daughters the theory that a husband is a stupid animal, created and sent into the world to buy dresses and diamonds, and that it is seldom he is in a position to acquit himself properly in this respect at the age of twenty-five? A husband of forty who places diamonds in his wife's ears, that may be very nice; but a husband of twenty-five who lodges lovely kisses in his wife's neck, that is much nicer still. Give your daughters liberty to make their own choice, as is done in England, and you will soon see the kind of article they prefer. Give your charming girls to fine young men who love them; and, hand in hand, they will bravely fight the battle of life, bring up numerous families of robust children to brighten your declining years, and will grow old together, always young and handsome in each other's eyes, as on the day of their betrothal.

In England, a woman marries whom she likes. This system is not without its drawbacks. Thus the sister of a well-known titled lady has become a simple baker's wife; and not long ago, I read in the papers that a baronet's daughter, who had married one of her father's grooms, sought to be separated from her husband, because he did not exactly treat her with the kindness he had always shown to his master's horses.

Every rule has its exception, every medal its reverse side; but this does not prove the rule to be a bad one, or the medal to be made of base alloy. The liberty and confidence accorded, in England, to youth and even to childhood, are much better calculated to instil into them the sentiments of independence, self-respect, and responsibility, than the system of watchfulness and mistrust, in which French children, whether at home or in school, are brought up. When I spoke of youth and childhood, I might have added that even the very babies have their liberty; for, in England, they are not swathed and transformed into little mummy-like bundles; their heads are left uncovered, their limbs unconfined, they can stretch and kick to their heart's content. Up to four or five years of age, they wear no long stockings, but their little calves are allowed to grow brown and hardy with exposure to the summer's sun and winter's wind; yet, I am not aware that the English are less straight about the legs or more bald about the head, than the French, whom I would remind that Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote, "The countries in which the children are swathed, are the ones which swarm with hunchbacks, and cripples of every description."

Air, air, more air! is the constant cry of our children.

* * * * *

English girls rarely marry before they are twenty-two or -three years old; many make very good marriages, when they are close upon thirty.

In this country, marriages are not knocked up in a few days, nor in a few months. A young man of about twenty will engage himself to a girl of eighteen, and the lovers remain thus engaged for two, three, and four years.

For the young girl, it is a delightful time. During her engagement, she enjoys almost all the pleasures of matrimony, knows none of its cares; moreover she is free. It is no wonder she often does her best to make the pleasure last as long as possible. She had rather murmur sweet nothings with her lover, than shut herself up with him in a semi-detached, and murmur against the price of coals and butter.

The day she marries, she is said to be settled, that is, established, extinguished.

I do not wish to imply that, in an English household, the wife does not find happiness awaiting her; nothing is further from my meaning. On the contrary, I should say that she could enter upon her new life with more confidence than her French sister, because the responsibility she assumes is smaller, and because she has invariably been taught how to keep house.

In France, the wife is the confidante, and, I say it to her honour, the mistress of her husband. In England, she is only the mistress of the household, the housekeeper.

In France, it is generally the wife of a tradesman who has charge of his books and his cash-box, and never were either intrusted to better guardianship than that of the goddess of order and economy that men call _la Française_. If she happens to lose her husband, she is capable of carrying on the business without him, and I could name a great number of important houses of business that are managed by widows--the famous BON MARCHÉ among others. The emancipation of woman, in France, is proclaimed by the frequency of the inscription _Mdlle. So-and-so_, and _Mdme. Vve. So-and-so_, over the shop doors. It is independence.

In England, a wife knows nothing of her husband's affairs--not more than a clerk knows of the affairs of his employer, and it would often be hard for her to say whether he is on the road to riches or to ruin. At the death of her husband, an Englishwoman, who has not enough to live on, becomes a governess, a lady companion, a housekeeper, or a nurse. It is servitude.

An Englishman gives his wife so much a month for the expenses of the house, and a certain sum for her dress: her wages. It is without much astonishment she learns one fine morning that her husband is about to take her to a sumptuous new home, or that circumstances, over which she has no control, make it expedient that the removal of their goods, by the back door, shall take place next evening: she follows the furniture.

The Bohemian temperament of the Englishman contrasts strangely with his habits of industry and his reserve: it is a curious blending of the ant and the grasshopper.

The Frenchman has but one aim, as he works: to put by some money that shall bring him in a little income, and allow him to retire from toil.

The Englishman spends as he goes. The workman and the peasant, though they earned two pounds a day, would be satisfied with the provision made for them by the parish, should they outlive their working days. The English house shows that its inmates take little thought for the morrow: few cupboards, no wine cellars. I speak of London houses, with rents rising to £100 a-year. The Englishman orders in a dozen of wine at a time, and keeps it in his sideboard. In France, the ordinary provincial house is a veritable ant's store. Even the modest cobbler has a dark dry corner, where he can put his hand upon a dusty bottle of old Bordeaux the day that he has one of his family to nurse, or an old friend to feast. The cellar is to the Frenchman what the linen-press is to the Frenchwoman, a sanctuary.

* * * * *

I am constantly hearing on all sides complaints of the stagnation of business. The farmers make loud lamentations: the earth refuses to yield them her increase, and they can no longer make a living on British soil.

Here is a great social problem that I should not care to undertake to solve. However, from the few observations that I have made, it seems to me that many English farmers have not to seek very far to find the cause of their want of success.

The farmer's wife of other days was a worthy unpretentious woman, who looked to everything connected with the farm, rose at five in the morning, superintended the servants, did her own dairy work, and did not even disdain to feed the pigs. The farmer's wife of the present day is often a lady who, under pretext of not being able to pay frequent visits to her friends, keeps open house and does the honours of the farm with a grace and liberality worthy of the princely hospitality of an English country-seat. She rises at nine, or has her breakfast taken to her bedside; she has horses and carriages, ponies for the children, wagonettes for pleasure parties, all the accoutrements of an English nobleman's house. Her time is passed in picnics, drives, visits, and receptions. She aims at keeping pace with the squire's wife, but has this difficulty to contend with, that whereas the squire takes up his rents whether farming be paying or not, the farmer must pay them, let the year be a good or a bad one.

The tradesmen's wives outshine the women of the upper classes in the luxury of their toilette. They are caricatures loaded with chains, necklets, lockets, long earrings and feathers, as many as they can carry. These ladies must be impatiently awaiting the day when liberty or fashion will allow them to wear two hats at once, and rings in their noses. These walking feather-brooms form a curious contrast with the pretty little Princesse bonnets and simple attire of the English ladies of good society.

My conscience almost reproaches me for having found fault with the kind of existence led by many farmers' wives, for I think I may safely affirm that to their hospitality I owe the most delightful hours of _jucunda oblivia vitæ_ that I have ever passed in my life. O conscience!

* * * * *

Just as extensive and varied as are the possessions of John Bull, Esquire, just so restricted is the domain of his wife.

When she has given her husband her heart and its few little dependencies, her assets are reduced to the incontestable qualities with which nature, as a generous mother, has gifted her. It is true that since the passing of the Married Women's Property Act, she has a right to possess property; but if she sets the least store by her peace of mind and the tranquillity of the household, she quickly gives up to her husband the rights which he considers as already his own in his quality of husband. You see, he takes a wife _for better, for worse_, and if he is no fool, he manages that it shall be for better. It is very simple.

The Englishman is an astute diplomatist; he knows how to rob the enemy of the sinew of war, and consequently of all liberty of action. He knows, too, how to make his wife understand in order that she may take great care of him, that his will is only to be made in her favour, if she has served him well.

A well-known American lady said not long ago, that of all the ways of earning a living, marriage was the hardest, most thankless, and least lucrative for a woman. In justice, I should add, however, that for one reason or another this lady had never tried it.

I know of an Englishman who, about fifty years ago succeeded in winning the hand of a rich girl, and supplanting a lover to whom she had previously plighted her troth. After having passed his life in reproaching his wife for her infidelity ... to the man she had jilted for him, this domestic tyrant vouchsafed to depart this life last year, and a few years of widowhood and peace seemed in store for his wife. But alas! when the will of this love of a husband was examined, it turned out that though there was no mistake about the widowhood, the peace was not so clear. He left everything to his son, that is to say, his own fortune and that of his wife which he had taken possession of, and was not even polite enough to restore to her. At the same time he charged his son to pay that lady £100 per annum, as long as she remained a widow: liberal treatment, was it not? ... for a faithful old servant. As for the supposition that it could enter into the head of the good woman to marry again, it was a joke in very doubtful taste on the part of the worthy defunct. She is at present in her seventy-third year. Her son is fast ruining himself on the Stock Exchange and the turf, so that her pittance of £100 a year is not so safe as it might be. But, whatever may happen, there is no danger that the poor lady, urged by despair, will go and drown herself; she would be too much afraid of rejoining her husband.

If you would study John Bull as a will maker, open the _Illustrated London News_, which gives testamentary news every Friday. The dearly beloved wife--this is the formula--will often be the object of your lively compassion.

If one may trust epitaphs, there are widows who seem, however, far from having cause of complaint against their poor defuncts.

I read on a handsome monument in Kensal Green Cemetery:

"Here lies John Davies, The friend of the friendless, The most tender of husbands."

And lower down, on the same stone:

"Here lies Thomas Millard, The friend of the friendless, and the Tender husband of the Widow of John Davies above mentioned."

I religiously pay a visit to Kensal Green Cemetery every year. I am still young, and I live in hopes of seeing the complete list of the tender husbands of this exemplary widow.

* * * * *

A French widow remains the head of the family: her authority is unquestioned.

On the death of her husband, the English widow becomes a dowager: she abdicates the little power she ever possessed in favour of her eldest son. She has rarely been initiated into the affairs of her husband, therefore it seems quite natural to her that her son, a man, should take the reins of government into his own hands.

The head master of a French _lycée_ will tell you that the sons of widows are generally the most docile and hard-working pupils; the head master of an English public school will tell you that widows' sons are generally lazy and wilful. An English banker will also tell you that there are two classes of clients with whom he does not care to have dealings: widows and clergymen. "They know nothing about business," said the manager of one of the large London banks to me one day.

"I fancy you calumniate the clergymen," said I.

I know a French widow who, a year before sending her son to school, set herself to work to learn Latin and Greek, that she might help him in his studies.

Having thus gained a year's start of her son, she went with him till he reached the highest class. Every French reader will recognise this French Cornelia, when I say that, on the occasion of her son's carrying off the first prize at the _Grand Concours de la Sorbonne_, she would not let him receive a wreath of laurels at the hands of the Prince Imperial who was presiding over the distribution of prizes.

I know an English widow who, upon my remarking to her that mothers in England seemed to have scarcely any authority over their sons, replied that it was quite natural it should be so; each sex had its _rôle_ in this world; men were made to command, and women to obey. _Look here, upon this picture, and on this._

* * * * *

It is needless to say that when we affectionately caress our mothers, we appear highly ridiculous in the eyes of Englishmen. But so long as we love our mothers, tenderly as we do; so long as we make them our guides, confidants and consolers, we shall have no need to be jealous of the English.

The mother's influence, so great in France, so insignificant in England, explains the difference in the men of the two countries. In the Frenchman, you find, mixed with his manly qualities, qualities and defects which are essentially feminine: quickness of perception, amiability, the love of the graceful rather than of the beautiful, a taste for _causerie_,[6] or even a little gossip occasionally; in the Englishman, the qualities and defects are not tempered by the art or the desire of pleasing; they have free play; whence inundations, avalanches of virtue or vice.

[6] This pastime cannot be English, since the English language has no word for it.

The Englishman is the worshipper of practical common sense, and if I had to give him a title, I should call him His Solidity Master John Bull.

The Englishman is modelled on his father; the Frenchman is modelled rather on his mother.

* * * * *

If I had to name the most eminently English quality, without hesitation I would name--hospitality.

And as it is difficult, when making observations on a foreign country, not to be led into comparisons, I will add, at the risk of being taxed with want of patriotism by those good French jingos who believe the English to be semi-barbarians living in a kind of eternal darkness--I will add, I say, that English hospitality is much more thoughtful and generous than French hospitality. The Frenchwoman is a human ant; she is no lender: she only half opens her door. The Englishwoman is like the grasshopper: she flings wide the doors of her hospitality.

Go and pay a call in a French provincial house ... if you should faint, your hostess will offer you a glass of _eau sucrée_; if she invites you to a dance, she will offer you a cake and a cup of chocolate. To be allowed a seat at her table, you must be one of her own: her hospitality does not extend beyond the family circle. She calls regularly on her friends, who religiously return her visits; but they are dry, state calls; and arrived home, each one shuts herself in, and double locks her door.

No one, who has lived long in the French provinces, can wonder at the home life being a closed letter for foreigners. The absurdities, retailed about us in books which pretend to describe our manners, prove it abundantly.

English provincial life is much more intellectual and gay; people are more sociable, and intercourse is freer. The young people of the well-to-do classes belong to lawn-tennis and other athletic clubs, and are constantly meeting together for recreation in the environs of the town. These daily meetings are the occasion of frequent pleasure parties and picnics. People dine, take tea or supper, at each others' houses. The inhabitants of a little English town always seemed to me like but one family. And the impromptu dances, the musical evenings, the pleasant meetings of all kinds! Not a week passes without some pretext arising for a sociable gathering. I know many a little town in which, all through the winter, the inhabitants meet together in the church schoolroom every Saturday. Some sing, others make music, good readers read extracts of some amusing book. The price of admission is one penny: the sum thus gathered pays for lighting and warming the room; if there is any surplus, it is given to the poor. These penny-readings are always well patronised.

This is a critical study which takes very much the form of a panegyric, will perhaps exclaim some of my compatriots, on reading these lines which have but one ambition, that of being faithful.

But I would remark to these compatriots, who, I must say, are not numerous, that there are two kinds of patriotism, blind patriotism and intelligent patriotism: that which will learn nothing from, nor praise anything in, others, and that which seeks edification and enlightenment, and knows how to recognise qualities of which no nation is wholly destitute.

It is to the latter patriotism that my remarks are addressed.

XII.

Mrs. John Bull at Home, on the .... R.S.V.P.--An Intelligent Landlord--Meaning of the word "Concert"--The Conversazione--The Royal Academy.

When you hear the postman's loud rat-tat at your door, do not rush with joy to your letter-box, for instead of a reply which you have been impatiently awaiting, you may find a little snare, conceived in the following terms:

+-----------------------------------------------+ | | | _Mrs. John Bull | | requests the pleasure | | of Mr. X's. company._ | | | | _Music at 9 o'clock._ | | _R.S.V.P._ | | | +-----------------------------------------------+

R.S.V.P.! The hint is good, act upon it: _Résistez Si Vous Pouvez._

Use a little diplomacy, of course: "Mr. X. presents his compliments to Mrs. John Bull, and regrets exceedingly that an engagement already made by Mrs. X. will prevent him from availing himself of her kind invitation for the ....." That's it. Do not forget to name Mrs. X., and to make her responsible for your deep disappointment; by so doing, you will allow Mrs. John Bull to suppose that if you had made the engagement yourself, you would have done everything in your power to get out of it, in order to be able to go to her _soirée musicale_.

In these matters, you must imitate the English, who are unequalled in diplomacy: when they have something disagreeable to say to you, they will invariably say it through their wives. For instance, ask your landlord to do some repairs for you; tell him it rains in his house; that you are subject to rheumatism, and that his cardboard barrack will be your sepulchre, if he does not forthwith send you the mason and the carpenter. Perhaps you think he will take pity upon you and come to the rescue. Not he: not so silly. He sends his wife instead. That lady makes her appearance, looking anything but agreeable, and not over polite. She tells you that tenants are always full of complaints and there is no satisfying them, that she wishes the house were at Jericho, that the draughts are necessaries of existence, and if there were none, you would soon be poisoned by the exhalations from the bricks, and that it is evident you do not know when you are well off. She wishes you a more contented mind in the future, and takes her departure. Furious, you write to your landlord to complain of the unsatisfactory result of the interview, and receive a reply somewhat in this style: "Sir, if it only rested with me, you should not have to complain long, but this is how the matter stands: the rent of the house you occupy is my wife's pin-money (there is a good kind fellow for you now!), and these matters concern her alone. I have done my best to try and persuade her to do the repairs in question, but I regret to have to tell you, without success." So, as the law in England favours the landlord, and if your house should collapse while you held an unexpired lease on it, your landlord would not be bound to rebuild it, rather than be frozen or drowned within doors, you have the repairs done at your own expense, and there is an end of it.

But let us come back to our _soirée musicale_, or rather let us go to it, since, not suspecting what was in store for us, we have accepted the invitation.

At nine o'clock you present yourself. Your hostess comes forward, shakes hands with you, and makes you welcome.

"How good of you to come, Mr. X--."

----"It's very kind of you to say so."

----"Do you sing?"

----"No, I'm afraid I do not."

----"I congratulate you then," Mrs. Bull has more than once whispered to me in reply.

----"Excuse me, but it is I who congratulate you. I should be sorry to spoil your charming evening...."

----"I must leave you, the music is going to begin."

The executants follow one another with a rapidity that is bewildering. I have sometimes witnessed prodigious feats at these private concerts. I have heard as many as twenty-five songs in less than two hours, and when I thought of the number of little black dots on all those pages that had been turned over, and of the seeming inability of the performers to hit one of them right, I have said to myself: "It is really too unlucky; never was there anything so perverse. It is wonderful when one comes to take into consideration the theory of chances."

"_Concert_," says Littré, "is _action d'agir ensemble_." Not so in England at musical parties: rather _the act of running after one another without being able to catch one another_. These good folks in their duets always seem to me to be singing vigorously at each other: "You can't catch me, you can't catch me!"

The piano is generally good, I mean the instrument; although the French piano has more sonority, and certainly more limpidity.

"_Nos pianos sont un peu sourds_," said an amiable hostess to me one day in French.

"They are lucky," thought I.

The best thing to be done, when you find yourself in for an evening's music of this kind, is to put a good face upon it, and keep quiet. After all it is but an affair of ear scratches. One survives it.

I was ill-inspired enough one evening to move out of my corner. I had been in torture for about two hours. "Come, old fellow," I said to myself, "this will never do: you must rouse yourself and move about a little, you are getting tipsy listening to this noise."

A young man, with a coppery, metallic voice, had just completed the massacre of that beautiful song of Tito Mattel's "_Non è ver_." The execution over, I rose, thinking the moment favourable, and advancing to where the singer stood, I said to him,

"What a lovely song that is, to be sure! and how exquisitely you sing it."

----"It is my favourite," he said to me, with a triumphant glance.

----"You sing it with such taste too. Do you know it in Italian?"

----"Sir! But I have just sung it in Italian."

----"Really? I beg your pardon, I was so much under the influence of the melody that I was not listening to the words."

"I am not in luck to-night decidedly," I said to myself as I returned to my seat, feeling rather silly. "But, after all, I brought it on myself."

A quarter of an hour later, my Briton seated himself at the piano, and played a nocturne rejoicing in the title of "Evening Breeze," or something equally original. I was told in confidence that it was a piece of his own composition. He played it correctly enough to satisfy a mathematician, without putting more expression into it than a musical-box would have done. For that matter, if you would please a drawing-room audience here, you must sing or play like a machine; no refractory muscle must compromise the British dignity.

The Englishman who shows his feelings loses his self-control, and becomes an object for the contemptuous pity of his compatriots. It is bad form.

The sympathetic voice is unknown: people sing more or less loudly, more or less out of tune. When the hostess comes and tells you: "This gentleman is going to sing; he has a magnificent voice," that means that he has the voice of a Stentor.

If I had to describe the nearest approach to the effect produced on one by Mrs. John Bull's _soirées musicales_, I should say, intense pains which I can only compare to toothache in the intestines. Imagine yourself to be having a molar tooth extracted from the depths of your stomach.

* * * * *

The musical evenings, _passe encore_: people make a good deal of noise, and you have the satisfaction of feeling that you are alive. Besides, when the row is over, you sup; and, as I have told you, Mrs. John Bull's suppers are very good.

But there is something worse than the musical party; it is the _conversazione_, so called, because at this entertainment, you walk about a great deal and converse very little.

On your arrival, you go and shake hands with your host and hostess, then off you go: your card of invitation is as good as a _feuille de route_. You walk at a funeral pace, with slow and solemn steps, until your knees give way, or your head swims. Then you steer for the buffet, and if you know how to use your elbows, you get a cup of tea or coffee, an ice, or a few biscuits. The buffet, being generally the great attraction of the evening, sustains a formidable siege, and you will not get at it without a struggle or even a few bruises. But after your first stage, you feel you must halt and take some refreshment, even though it cost you two or three blows: it is a case of necessity.

As soon as the inner man is refreshed, you must put your best foot foremost and be off once more. England expects every man to do his duty. As to passing the evening at the buffet, it is not to be thought of. You cast a sad glance at the ices _à la vanille_ and other nice things that you turn your back on regretfully, and you start on your second round, hoping on the way to be introduced to some lady and to have an occasion to return to the buffet with her. No whist tables at the _conversazione_, few chairs, some albums to turn over. These meetings, called conversazioni, but which might as appropriately be called walking parties (or _ambulazioni_?), are very favourite forms of amusement. If they were not so crowded, you might perhaps feel inclined to give your calves a good rubbing, and start ahead to do in an hour the three or four miles that are expected of you. When you feel your legs becoming a prey to thousands of needles and pins, you seek out the master of the house, and say to him, "Thank you so much for a very charming evening." He invariably answers, "I am so glad you have enjoyed yourself." It is good form to make these remarks without bursting out laughing in each other's faces.

John Bull, consummate master of the _art de s'ennuyer_, never invented anything duller than the conversazione; it is the _ne plus ultra_ of the art.

* * * * *

The Royal Academy of Paintings, the London _Salon_, opens on the 1st of May. If you call on Mrs. John Bull during the months of May or June, the first thing she will ask you is: "Have you been to the Academy? What pictures did you like best?" Now, the English are very good judges of painting, and I am ashamed to say that, for my part, I do not know a Van Dyck from a Van Daub. As I might venture to reply: "I noticed such and such a picture," and create a poor impression, I have found a way out of the difficulty by the following very simple means. I get some artist friend to point out to me a score of the best pictures in the collection; I have a good look at them, carefully commit their names to memory, and set off to pay my calls.

"Have you been to...?" says Mrs. Bull.

----"Oh! yes.... By-the-bye, did you notice such and such a picture...?"

Thus I spare myself a great deal of trouble and many blunders: first, two whole days looking at the pictures, a stiff neck ... and, last but not least, the annoyance of passing for an ignoramus, which is always unpleasant ... especially when it is the case.

I suspect many a worthy Englishwoman of going to the Academy to see the new summer fashions. As to the sons of Old Merry England, I have often seen them take up their position at the buffet, and devote their attention to the whisky and brandy until the return of the ladies they brought with them. By this means they are enabled to see at the Academy twice as many pictures as the hanging Committee have admitted.

XIII.

Ladies of the Royal Family--Mrs. Christian--Minnie and Alec--The Noble Lord the Poet-Laureate--Wanted an English Academy.

Say to an English Conservative that Gladstone is an old rascal, and Chamberlain a dangerous demagogue, and he will exclaim: "You are right."

Say to a Liberal that Salisbury is a humbug, Stafford Northcote an old woman, and Randolph Churchill a political _gamin_, and he will reply: "You have the measure of them."

But venture to speak jokingly of the Queen, and your Englishman, be he Liberal or Conservative, will fly at you like a bull-dog.

The reason is simple enough.

According to the Conservatives, a Liberal Government never has done, and never will do, anything right.

According to the Liberals, a Conservative Government never accomplished, and never will accomplish, anything but blunders or atrocities.

But in insulting the Queen, who can do nothing wrong, and is thus placed in a position of safety, removed from all party jealousies, you are insulting England, and on this point the Englishman is not to be trifled with; and indeed, be not deceived, this is the very secret of his strength.

Happy the country that has sons ready, when the hour of danger comes, to forget their own quarrels, and rally as one man around her standard!

Go to a theatre, a concert, to the athletic sports of schoolboys, and when the band strikes up "God Save the Queen," to announce that the entertainment is at an end, you will see every man and boy bare his head, every face grow serious, and, in the midst of this imposing silence, this solemn attitude, you will be struck with admiration and respect for this nation in whom the sound of a monotonous hymn can awaken the deepest feelings of love for the mother-country.

Yet this boundless respect is less an act of homage to the monarchy than to a court, which is untainted by the breath of scandal, and a virtuous Queen who understands the duties of a constitutional sovereign so well, that the best informed statesmen, whether Liberals or Conservatives, declare that they know not to which side her heart leans.

Not that the Queen's conservatism is not known to be of the strongest kind; but she has always had enough tact, and respect for the convictions of her subjects, to dissimulate her personal sentiments so far, that a statesman may always pretend not to know them without seeming to insult the common sense of his audience.

To read the speeches and decrees of the Queen, studded as they are with the phrase "_it is our royal pleasure_;" to hear her royal assent given to bills passed by both Houses of Parliament under the formula of _La reyne le veult_, you would believe yourself in the Middle Ages, or at least in the seventeenth century, under a despotic, absolute monarchy. All these vestiges of old royal prerogatives are carefully preserved in England, but they are merely empty forms: the will of the Queen is not more terrible than the Tower of London, from which you can now emerge as easily as you enter, and more easily too, for you must pay sixpence to go in, and you can come out for nothing at all. If a photograph could sign documents, the Queen's would replace her quite well.

"Gouvernement facile et beau, A qui suffit, pour toute garde, Un Suisse, avec sa hallebarde, Peint sur la porte du château."

The royal speeches and decrees are ratified and signed by the Queen, and no doubt she previously reads them or has them read to her, but not one phrase is hers, and if you would form an exact idea of her as a woman, it is not her speeches and decrees that will help you.

In the second volume of the Queen's "Life in the Highlands," published this year, you will look in vain for the slightest allusion to politics; it is the journal of a country gentleman's wife, who takes but small interest in anything outside the family circle. It is the diary of a queen that gives her people but one subject of complaint, which is that they do not see enough of her.

Happy queen! happy nation!

With the exception of _table d'hôte_ colonels' widows, and Polish counts, who, in England as in every other country trodden of man, know all the secrets of all the royal families in the world, and will tell you with a mysterious look: "Oh! the Princess of _So-and-So_? I know on excellent authority that she had to be married in all haste." Or: "You know that little baby the Countess of ... had the other day? Dear child! it will never know what it owes to His Royal Highness;" with the exception, as I say, of these worthies, you will never hear anyone in England tell you shady stories about one of the ladies of this court, so pure and strict on the subject of conduct, that it is said the Queen will not suffer a woman separated from her husband to be presented to her, even were she a marchioness or a duchess.

It is by setting the example of a pure life; by allowing her people to govern themselves as they think fit; by sympathising in the joys and sorrows of her humblest subjects; by creating bonds of affection between the cottage and the throne, that this Queen, this model mother, has inspired in her subjects a love that is akin to worship.

* * * * *

The Queen's daughters are artists. One has exhibited at the Royal Academy; another has published some of her sketches in a monthly magazine. You see them constantly visiting picture galleries and painters' studios.

Their education has been such as a careful middle-class mother would give to her daughters, and everyone knows that at the Swiss Cottage, at Osborne, the young princesses learned to sew and keep house.

In 1866, Princess Alice, the wife of Prince Louis of Hesse, who in 1877 succeeded to the grand-ducal throne of Hesse-Darmstadt, wrote to her mother, the ruler of the greatest empire in the world: "I have made all the summer out walking dresses, seven in number, with paletots for the girls, not embroidered, but entirely made from beginning to end; likewise the new necessary flannel shawls for the expected. I manage all the nursery accounts and everything myself, which gives me plenty to do, as everything increases, and, on account of the house, we must live very economically for these next years."

The letters of the Princess Alice, in which the house-mother is seen in every line, were published in German a few years ago. Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein has just given them to the world, in English. The letters reveal in all its beauty the character of this Princess, who lavished the care and tenderness of a heart full of filial love upon her father in his last illness, and exactly seventeen years after, fell a victim to the devotion with which she nursed her husband and children through the terrible malady that was raging at the time throughout the Grand-Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt.

I was one day in Soho Bazaar with two or three English ladies. A few steps from us the Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, accompanied by her husband, was making some purchases. After having chosen what she required: "You will send me these things," she said to the young person who had served her.

----"To what address?"

----"To Buckingham Palace."

----"What name, madam?"

----"Oh!... Mrs. Christian!" cried the Princess gaily, at the same time glancing at her husband, with an expression that betrayed her enjoyment of the fun of the thing.

Marie Antoinette, the haughtiest of queens, loved to play the shepherdess.

* * * * *

In the month of September, 1883, the Poet Tennyson saw a little of the King of Denmark's Court. Seated one evening near the young Empress of Russia and her sister the Princess of Wales, he felt ill at ease, not knowing by what title he ought rightly to address those royal ladies: "I do not know," he said to them, "what I ought to call you?"

"Oh!" cried the charming Princess of Wales, "there is no difficulty: Minnie and Alec, to be sure!"

The Princess's name is Alexandra, and that of the Empress of Russia Marie Fedorovna.

Surely this was a very pretty answer, and such as one would expect from the Princess _en vacances_.

Poor Tennyson! Mr. Gladstone has raised him to the peerage. The Poet Laureate of England has consented to change his glorious name into that of Lord Tennyson. For a long while, the news was treated by the republic of letters as a hoax or a poor joke; but, alas! the report was only too true. The graceful Saxon bard, who has so sweetly sung of King Arthur and his knights of the Round-Table, takes his seat in the House of Lords, just like Mr. Guinness, the manufacturer of double stout. _Ah! quel honneur, Monsieur le Sénateur!_

It is a very shabby trick Mr. Gladstone has played him.

The word _esquire_ seemed quite ridiculous enough after the two names: Alfred Tennyson; but Lord Tennyson! No, it is almost too much for one's ears.

Where is the Frenchman who says _Monsieur_ Victor Hugo in speaking of our immortal poet? And yet imagine, if you can, something still more unseemly, fancy he had to be called _Monsieur le baron_ Victor Hugo, and you will be able to form an idea of the public feeling here, when it was known that Tennyson was going, of his own free will, to stick the title of Lord in front of his name.

No one ever thought of reproaching Lord Byron for being titled: it was an accident; he was but eleven years old when he inherited the title and property of his great uncle. It is said that he wept for joy on learning the honour that the accident of birth had conferred upon him. What bitter tears Tennyson must have shed upon seeing himself, at the close of his brilliant career, _the noble lord the Poet Laureate_! It is a perfect suicide.

There was, too, in the genealogy of Alfred Tennyson wherewith to satisfy the most ardent craving for distinction: among his ancestors are to be found princes, kings, and even saints.

The Laureate's descent from John Savage, Earl Rivers, implies descent from the first three Edwards, Henry III., John, the first two Henrys, William the Conqueror, Edmund Ironsides, Ethelred, Edgar, Edmund I., Edward the Elder, Alfred, Ethelwulf, and Egbert: then Edward III., being the son of Isabelle, daughter of Philip the Fair, one may count Saint Louis, Philip-Augustus, and Hugh Capet, among the Laureate's ancestors. And these are not all. The _St. James's Gazette_, which a short while ago gave the entire genealogy, showed that to the above names might be added those of Ferdinand III., King of Castile and Leon, canonised by Pope Clement X., the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and several Scottish kings.

This is a grand array of noble names, or I am no judge. What can have demoralised the descendant of such men?

Was it the voyage to Denmark?

Could it be a visit to the Court of Copenhagen, at a time when the Czar of all the Russias, the Czarina, and the Princess of Wales were there? Surely, even that was not enough to turn the head of the most illustrious son of Albion.

What is Lord Tennyson going to do in the House of Lords? Will he vote, he who has never mixed in politics, except perhaps when he was about twenty (a long time ago), and the tone of his writings was decidedly Radical? His presence in this august and venerable assembly will prove once more that it is of no use looking upon the House of Lords as a serious legislative body.

But, alas! England has no National Academy. Almost the only rewards she has to offer a man of genius are a pension, a seat in the House of Lords, or a corner at Madame Tussaud's.

XIV.

The Governess and other Servants of Mrs. John Bull's Household--Lady-helps--English and French Servants--Burglar Chase: the Policeman is successful for once.

In an English home the governess is a little more than a servant, a great deal less than a guest. Her wages are inferior to those of the cook, who seldom fails to remind her of it when she has a chance. The butler patronises her, and if he sees her looking a little pale, he will gallantly offer her a glass of port on his own responsibility. The word _sir_ almost rises to the lips of the poor outcast when she addresses this important personage. Her position is humiliating and wretched. Everyone in the house seems to have a definite place, except the poor governess. There is no welcome for her in the drawing-room; there is no room for her in the kitchen. The family find her presence a restraint; the servants think her proud and cordially hate her. With none is she at her ease. She regrets that she did not take an engagement of simple nurse; then she might have had an occasional chat with the lady's-maid, and her existence might have been tolerable.

I read the following advertisement in my newspaper: "A young lady, daughter and sister of clergymen, desires to enter a good family as governess to children from eight to twelve years of age, to teach English, drawing, music, arithmetic, French and German (acquired abroad). A salary willingly accepted."

There is nothing startling for me in this advertisement. I know governesses who have turned themselves into walking encyclopædias in return for their washing and the right of partaking of scanty fare at the family table; and many are there, who, disgusted with their thankless calling, turn shop girls, earn from £50 to £70 a year, and are well treated by their employers.

Many young girls belonging to families in easy circumstances go out as morning governesses for the sake of adding a little to their pocket-money. They have their homes and are independent; they are not subjected to the constant mortifications the poor resident governess has to endure.

A few certificated ladies, knowing how to command respect and good salaries, manage to render their position pretty tolerable.

Offer to give an Englishman lessons at two shillings an hour, and he will look upon you as a poor, needy wretch, and tell you "It's too dear." Put on a high and mighty look, and ask him for a guinea, and his eyes and mouth will grow round with respect; he will probably make you a respectful bow and, with a few flattering words, pay what you ask: _experto crede_.

I extract the following from the report of a case which was lately heard at the Court of Queen's Bench.

A young governess claims the sum of £7 10s. for six months' lessons. Her mistress refuses to pay her, because she left before the expiration of the term; upon which the plaintiff states that she had been struck by her mistress in the presence of the children, and had left in consequence. The case is tried:

_Judge._--"Did you sign a twelve months' engagement?"

_Governess._--"No, my lord, I should never think of signing such a thing."

_Judge._--"Why?"

_Governess._--"Because at the end of six months I always need a rest."

_Judge._--"I can understand that. I don't doubt that before long you will find engagements of three months' duration quite long enough to satisfy you." (Laughter).

_Governess._--"Neither do I, my lord." (Renewed laughter).

Later on the Judge addresses the defendant.

_Judge._--"Do you admit having struck the plaintiff?"

_Defendant._--"Yes, my lord, I gave her a slap."

_Judge._--"In the presence of your children?"

_Defendant._--"Yes, my lord; the plaintiff had insulted my little boy."

_Judge._--"In what way?"

_Defendant._--"She had called him 'rude little fellow' and 'little idiot.' Your lordship will quite understand that I could not put up with such conduct in a governess."

And, as she pronounced the words _in a governess_, the look of disgust on the face of the excellent lady must have been a sight to be seen. It would have been a charity to offer her a glass of water to rinse her mouth.

Who would be a governess and highly educated?

But unfortunately the fact is that in England a governess rarely is very highly educated. She becomes a governess much as many a man becomes a schoolmaster: to take revenge on the backs of a rising generation for mortifications endured in the battle of life.

Private teaching is a _pis aller_; it is a career, not lucrative it is true, but that you can embrace ... when you have tried all kinds of employments without succeeding at any, and things are looking bad.

When England possesses a teaching body recognised as professional; when no one will be permitted to teach without having previously obtained a certificate of capacity, a thing required of the apothecary's assistant; when the law forbids the dispensing of adulterated instruction, the governess will be able to hold up her head: she will have in her pocket a certificate of superiority over the mother of the children confided to her care; she will no longer have to blush for her calling, but, on the contrary, will be able to take a pride in it.

* * * * *

Correctly speaking, there are few servants in England; there are young ladies (pronounced _laïdies_) who, for a certain indemnity which they seldom deserve, consent to black your boots, clean your knives, wash dishes, and at the price of your tranquillity, save you the trouble of doing some rather disagreeable things, which you could easily do for yourself, if you had been taught better principles of equality in your youth, and had been brought up in habits more in accordance with the progress of democracy.

In America, among John Bull's cousins, you find no more servants: there are lady-helps whom the mistress of the house treats on terms of equality. The negro alone still consents, for a consideration, to lend the boots of the Yankee a little of the brilliant ebony of his own ugly muzzle. The lady-helps require references. Before engaging themselves, they make inquiries of the lady-helps who have preceded them, as to the character of the lady of the house, who, it is to be hoped, will soon have to keep her character book. The consequence is that many American ladies have given up house-keeping and taken to living in hotels.

A friend of mine visited America in 1876, the year of the Exhibition in Philadelphia. Provided with letters of introduction to several important personages in Washington, he looked forward to passing a pleasant time in American society. He soon received an invitation from a senator to go and pass a few days in his country-house near Washington. My friend accepted with alacrity, and repaired to the senator's residence on the following Saturday: it was a fine country house, it appears. After a very pleasant evening, spent with the family, he retired to his room, and went to bed, charmed with the two pretty daughters of his host, between whom he had had the pleasure of sitting, at table. Next morning, he rose, and after making an irreproachable toilette, gently opened the door to seize his boots. Great was his surprise to see them just in the same condition as they were the night before, when he had put them outside the door. They had not been touched. Was it an oversight or a mystification? What was to be done? My good friend was lost in conjecture, when the senator happened to come up, and seeing his guest's rueful countenance, tapped him lightly on the shoulder, and said: "My dear fellow, how careless I am! I quite forgot to tell you last night where to find the brushes and blacking."

But let us return to the daughters of John Bull.

In France, a servant is recognised by her little clean and coquettish-looking muslin cap; here she is known rather by her feathers. The Frenchwoman of the lowest classes has the love of linen, it is her ambition to have her cupboards full of it; not so the Englishwoman, she ignores it: while she is washing her chemise, she has none to put on her body. The French servant, in the provinces at all events, puts by her wages, so as to be able one day to retire to her native village and live on her little income. The English servant spends her modest wages on feathers, furs and furbelows of all sorts. It is in the blood.

A French lady of my acquaintance had a young housemaid, in whom she took an interest. Seeing that the girl spent all her earnings on worthless finery, and that the remonstrances she addressed to her on the subject produced no effect, she wrote to the mother, begging her to give her daughter some good advice: "Your daughter may perhaps one day marry some steady workman: you should teach her to be economical and careful," said she. The mother came in a furious state. "Mind your own business," cried she to my friend; "my daughter is as good as you, I suppose. Can't she be free to spend her money as she likes? I wonder what next! She does your work and doesn't interfere with your affairs! It's a pity you don't stay in your parlour and leave the kitchen alone." And this excellent mother, indignant, immediately took her daughter away.

In England, servants must be kept at a distance if you care in the least for your comfort; you give them their orders, you do not talk to them.

In France, we still have good old servants whom we can treat familiarly without fear of their taking any liberty on that account. In our good homely provincial life, which is not sufficiently admired and appreciated abroad, because it is ignored, it is not rare to see an old cook living on her five or six hundred francs a year, and to whom the children of her former master and mistress send a dainty dish or a bottle of old wine, whenever there is a _fête_ in the family. No, our home life is not understood. Because we are light-hearted and see the sunny side of things, we are called frivolous: we, the most economical and hard-working nation in the world. If we are not colonists like the English, it is because we are too fond of our homes, it is because we cannot bear to leave our beloved country. No, our family life is a closed letter for foreigners; I repeat it. Yet, it is of our homes that we may justly be proud, for it is there that beat some of the warmest hearts on earth. In the humblest French families, we find love, freedom and happiness, thanks to the cheerfulness and charming _bonhomie_ of the father, thanks to the kisses of the adorable mother; and it is not the coldness and solemnity of the British family circle, that a son leaves without a tear, or the slightest emotion, to go and settle in New Zealand or some other colony at the other end of the world, that can compare very advantageously with the charm of intimacy and unrestraint which reigns around the French hearth. The great problem to solve in life, is not only how to make colonies, but how to be happy and make happy those who live with us in the hallowed family circle.

This problem we have solved.

But there I am digressing again, I am very much afraid, and forgetting that I was going to talk to you, gentle reader, about English servants. Forgive me, but really I have my head stuffed full of all the things that I hear said about us by English people who study French life on the Boulevard des Italiens between eleven o'clock and midnight, or in novels of which all the heroes and heroines are stock exchange _roués_ and disreputable women.

* * * * *

Upper servants ask from £30 to £50 a year. In an ordinary middle-class house, where you have to be content with the general servant, that is to say the maid-of-all-work, who does none properly, and that you pay from £15 to £20 a year, the ladies of the house have to make the beds and cook the dinner. Her acquaintance with culinary art seems to be confined to the boiling of potatoes, and she appears to pass the greater part of her time in scrubbing the kitchen floor and cleaning the steps in front of the house. This latter operation is performed, kneeling, by means of a stone _ad hoc_, and damp cloths that are dipped in a pail of water and wrung out with the hands. Why this hard work is not done with a broom, which would save half the labour, and all the lumbago and diseases of the knees that are the consequences of it, I cannot imagine.

There is no affection whatever between mistress and maid, not even the slightest attachment, and it is rare to see a servant longer than twelve months in the same house. According to the servant, one place is as good as another; according to the mistress there is not much to choose between the maids. For the slightest reason a change is made, "This won't suit me. Good-day, good-bye."

When the servant is ill, she is promptly despatched to the hospital; when the mistress is ill, a sister, a friend, or a nurse is called in, so that between drawing-room and kitchen there exist none of those sentiments of gratitude which might hinder the growth of that great English virtue--independence of the heart.

Of all the girls of the lower classes, servants are the most sought after for wives: and the reason is not far to seek. Generally smart-looking and well-dressed, with a little cap of lace and ribbon, that adds greatly to their comeliness, coquettishly stuck on the top of the head, and the bust generally well-developed by the exercise of the arms, these girls are much more attractive than the sluts of the English lower orders; but accustomed in service to spend their earnings upon unbecoming finery, and to waste coals they have not to pay for, they must make but very poor wives for artisans.

As I said just now that the English servant is known by her feathers, I must explain that the little lace head-dress of which I have just spoken is only worn in the house. If a servant has to go out, were it but to cross the road, she takes off her cap and puts on her hat and plumes.

* * * * *

Every English servant, in fact, every English girl who is not hunchbacked, has her lover, and ladies think it quite natural that she should ask permission to go walking about with him, and sweethearting one or two evenings in the week. The permission is invariably accorded, unless the "young man" happens to be a grenadier or some other red-coat in the service of Her Majesty, of whom the English lady is just as suspicious as the _Parisienne_ is of the _cousin_ or the _pays_ of the French servant. You see, these fine fellows of six feet high are irresistible, with their hair parted in the middle and well plastered with pomade, with their tight trousers and their odoriferous penny cigars! Besides, in the army, there is no trifling with time: love affairs are managed much like Her Britannic Majesty's enemies: _tambour battant_.

* * * * *

Of all the sweethearts of the domestic servant, the policeman appears to me to enjoy his good fortune the most quietly and securely. This peaceful official has admirable facilities for making a good choice. As he stalks leisurely up and down the street on duty, he is not long in discovering the prettiest pair of eyes on his beat; and one of the surest protections against burglars in London is to have a pretty servant. I can assure you the policeman will take the safety of your house to heart. He will even, in his zeal, go so far as to come and see, between ten and eleven at night, whether your door is well fastened. If you should be keeping late hours any evening, and he should perceive a glimmer of light through the venetians, his guardian of the honest and peaceful citizen will not hesitate to knock discreetly at your door. On your presenting yourself, he will apologise: "He was afraid some one might have got in." You thank him warmly, congratulating yourself that the payment of your income tax, which is partly devoted to recompensing the policeman for his trouble, insures you the full and undisturbed enjoyment of your goods and chattels, and does away with the necessity for your sleeping with one eye open. As you watch him retire with a smile on his lips, you have no hesitation in ascribing his radiant look to the satisfaction born of a sense of duty fulfilled; and, as a Government official is always glad to have an opportunity of showing the zeal with which he accomplishes his duty, you doubt not that the worthy fellow was delighted you opened the door to him yourself, for this opportunity he would have lost if your pretty servant had gone to the door instead, and, most decidedly, it was not in the hope of seeing her that he paid you this little nocturnal visit.

* * * * *

It was in the month of March of last year.

I was sitting in my study reading one evening, when the door opened suddenly and my servant entered breathless.

----"Oh! sir," she cried, "there is a burglar in the house; the policeman is below, if you would come and speak to him!"

I did not wait to be asked twice, but ran downstairs as fast as I could. The policeman was at the area door, his bull's eye in his hand.

----"I have just seen a man on the roof of your house, sir," said he to me. "If you will go up and watch to prevent him from getting in at the windows of the upper story, while I search the garden and go round the house, he can't escape us."

It seemed to me that the gallant policeman assigned me a more dangerous post than the one he reserved for himself; but after all, as I had more interest than he in preventing the robber from entering my house, I went upstairs and lay in ambush, having taken care to arm myself with the strongest stick I could find in the hall.

I remained at my post of observation for a good quarter of an hour.

Tired of awaiting my burglar, who gave no more sign of life than a corpse, I returned at last to the kitchen to see what success the policeman had met with. He had caught nobody.

----"I can't see anything of him, sir; the rascal must have got away."

----"But how?" I exclaimed; "burglars have not the power of rendering themselves invisible like Mahdis."

----"I can't make it out at all," replied the worthy guardian of the public peace evidently embarrassed. And taking up his lantern, that he had placed on the kitchen table, he wished me "Good-night" and retired.

----"Did you see anyone or hear any noise," I asked the servant.

----"No, sir."

----"You have had a fright all the same; you are looking quite excited."

----"Oh! yes, sir, I was rather frightened," said she.

I went back to my study a little bit reflective. Policemen, like gendarmes, are all alike. And yet it seemed to me that the face of the one I had just spoken to was not unfamiliar to me, and that it was he that I had espied one evening from behind my curtain, taking the measure of my servant's waist as they stood at the gate together.

The end of this true story of brigands is, that the girl left my service in the following month of May to get married, and that in the end of the same year, a lusty little policeman made his entry into the world, crying: "Stop thief!" at the top of his voice.

I always consider that policeman as wanting in the first duties of politeness and gratitude in not asking me to stand godfather to the youngster.

It was the least he could have done.

XV.

In the Smoking-room--_Causerie_.

(_John Bull, Esquire, and Monsieur, his neighbour, talk on matrimonial matters._)

_J. B._--"So, my dear fellow, you are going to be married, it is quite decided."

_Monsieur._--"Yes, quite."

_J. B._--"And who is the lady, if I may be so bold?"

_Monsieur._--"A charming English girl."

_J. B._--"Ah! charming, of course.... But what else?"

_Monsieur._--"What else? But that is already a great deal, it seems to me. What would you have, my dear sir? A pair of heavenly blue eyes...."

_J. B._--"I congratulate you."

_Monsieur._--"A lovely figure...."

_J. B._--"A lovely figure! My dear fellow, my countrywomen get all that over from Paris. The _Bon Marché_ supplies any amount of lovely figures at six or seven francs apiece.... For a Frenchman, you seem to be going in for matrimony rather young."

_Monsieur._--"That is true; but a bachelor's life is so dull and so dear in England! I am getting tired of it. Besides, I don't know, but I fancy there is something about the English life that induces one to marry. Existence in England is wretched, unless you have a house of your own. There are no cafés ... your clubs and restaurants are dismal ... and your women are delightful ... how can one hesitate long? In one of the suburbs of London, I have discovered a dear little house, hidden under linden-trees, and covered with virginia creepers, jasmine, and honeysuckle. It took my fancy, and as I looked at the two big bolts on the front door, I thought to myself that, after paying the rent and taxes, it must be pleasant to push over the bolts and feel oneself master of something.... The feeling grows, and sets one thinking that it is time to be getting a little property together.... Yes, decidedly the best thing to be done in England is to marry."

_J. B._--"The young lady has money, I presume?"

_Monsieur._--"I don't know in the least, my friend. You do not imagine, I suppose, that I went to my future father-in-law, and asked him what he was going to give his daughter on her wedding day, as the custom is in France."

_J. B._--"No, of course not. Ah! you Frenchmen are bad diplomatists. There is no need to ask such questions point-blank ... you can make inquiries ... satisfy yourself."

_Monsieur._--"I am quite in the dark on the matter."

_J. B._--"And if your wife proves to be penniless?"

_Monsieur._--"Well, in that case, we must live carefully, that is all."

_J. B._--"My dear fellow, I am very much afraid you are going to make a fool of yourself."

_Monsieur._--"Why, how many times have I heard you speak of marriage as a duty, a sacred institution!"

_J. B._--"Yes; but I don't see why it should not be a useful one at the same time.... For my part, I have a weakness for the Three per Cents, I don't mind owning it."

_Monsieur._--"And I have a weakness for pretty women."

_J. B._--"You'll get over it. And if your wife is pretty now, she will not be so always. Englishwomen are not so talented as their French sisters in the _art d'accommoder les restes_, you know."

_Monsieur._--"I shall have a clever wife."

_J. B._--"Her cleverness will cease to strike you, when you have lived with her a little while."

_Monsieur._--"An excellent pianist."

_J. B._--"Before six months are over, you will know all her pieces by heart.... There is nothing serious about all these things. Marriage improves a woman's position from a social point of view; a man is wrong who does not take care that it improves his, from a financial point of view."

_Monsieur._--"I am no speculator."

_J. B._--"Neither am I, and this is the very reason why I like the Three per Cents. Beauty fades, ephemeral charms disappear, and solid qualities remain. Girls that have money want to be married as well as those that have none; it would be unfair, my dear boy, to pass them over, because they have money. Your Balzac says that a man who sets foot in his wife's dressing-room is either a philosopher or a fool. I go further than Balzac, and maintain that a man who marries must be a philosopher or a fool, unless he takes advantage of it to improve his position. You speak of love, my dear fellow, but matrimony is the very profanation of love. It is only in Eastern countries that love and woman are properly understood. It is habit that kills love; in the East, women are slaves that do not live with men from morning to night: they appear before their husbands only from time to time, and exhaling the most exquisite perfumes. But, in Europe, upon my word, they believe themselves their husbands' equals.... In England, they take cheese and stout before going to bed. You see them with their heads covered with curls, and you think how pretty they look, don't you? But, my dear innocent fellow, don't you know that to obtain those lovely curls, the sweet creatures must go to bed with their heads loaded with waving-pins and curl-papers? Yes ... it is thus that your wife will probably adorn herself for the night in order to be beautiful ... not for _you_ at the moment, but for other people, you perhaps included, on the morrow. _On the morrow_, mark you, my boy! When you have undergone this kind of treatment for a few months--I give you twelve, if you are a good diplomatist--you will penetrate into your wife's apartment with about as much emotion as you would enter the 'bus for the Bank. No, matrimony is dinner without dessert; no little delicacies, no luxuries: a continual, eternal, sempiternal _pot-au-feu_.... Respect, esteem, if you like...."

_Monsieur._--"Whose fault is that, my dear Mr. Bull? A woman is what her husband makes her; it is Balzac who says that too. In love, as in cookery, you have but one sauce.... It is possible to respect a woman, and at the same time to be in love with her: respect and esteem are the daily bread of matrimony; but a little honey on it now and then does no harm."

_J. B._--"Moonshine--childishness--nonsense--my dear sir!"

_Monsieur._--"Call it nonsense and childishness, as much as you like; but happiness is made up of all kinds of nonsense, _abandon_--a word, by-the-bye, for which you have no equivalent in English--hearty laughter, good kisses and the like; such nonsenses have a far more pleasant sound to my ear than the _sacred bonds of matrimony_, the _gravity of family life_...."

_J. B._--"_Mon cher ami_, it is easy to see that you come from a frivolous country, where the women lead the men by the nose...."

_Monsieur._--"And the men enjoy it."

_J. B._--"A social system that is not built upon the submission of woman is shaky."

_Monsieur._--"And what about happiness ... and joy? Where do you look for them? In your banking account?"

_J. B._--"One would think you had a supreme contempt for banking accounts, upon my word."

_Monsieur._--"Not I. Peace of mind may come from a good banking account, I admit, but joy comes from the heart.... Matrimony seems to me to be the finest institution going, I assure you; and I think it a great fault of novelists to end their stories with the marriage ceremony.... If ever I turned novelist--Heaven protect me and the public from such a calamity!--my story should open with orange blossoms and old slippers, and I should not disdain a pretty little plump mother in her thirties, as a heroine for the middle chapters of my book."

_J. B._--"I was congratulating you just now upon the news of your marriage ... but it is the young lady that I should like to congratulate from the bottom of my heart. My dear fellow, if you get spreading those ideas of yours about this country, we matter-of-fact Britons shall soon look in vain for women who will marry us.... And whilst you are on the chapter of confidences, you might initiate me into your secret and tell me how you do away with ... the little drawbacks of matrimony."

_Monsieur._--"I do not do away with them, but I foresee them and am prepared to meet them."

_J. B._--"Very good; but how?"

_Monsieur._--"I cannot say that I have plans of campaign well marked out ... but, in my own mind, I say to myself: In matrimonial life, a little diplomacy is necessary to prevent its becoming humdrum, and I fully intend that my conjugal life shall not be humdrum. The bond and habit are the two mortal enemies of love. _Bonjour, contrat! adieu, amour!_ Well, since legal marriage was invented by some idiot or scoundrel, it is for a sensible man to make the best of it, and to forget, as quickly as possible, all the incongruous nonsense that has been dinned into his ears, about marriage being a stern reality and a rather disagreeable undertaking. I am going to try it; but I start with the firm intention of being and remaining my wife's lover. I shall do my best to forget that I am married. The illusion of the stage is all gone for him who penetrates behind the scenes. We shall each have our own quarters. Madame will sometimes allow Monsieur to conduct her to his room; sometimes it will be Monsieur who will glide into Madame's, when all around is hushed in slumber. We shall each have a room that will be closed to the other: the boudoir for Madame, the study for Monsieur. These two retreats I look upon as the strongholds of love in matrimonial life."

_J. B._--"Well done."

_Monsieur._--"Let me explain. A man who would continue to inspire esteem and love in a sensible wife, must not live constantly in her society. To keep up a certain prestige in her eyes, he must lead a busy life, and if ever he has nothing to do, he must be able to appear as if he had. Therefore, when I have nothing particular in hand, I shall lock myself into my study. There I shall read the paper and smoke a cigar; but before shutting myself in, I shall be careful to ask my wife to kindly see that I am not disturbed, as I shall be busy all the morning, or all the afternoon, as the case may be. On the other hand, when Madame has her vapours, or does not feel very sociable, she will retire to her boudoir and send me word that she is indisposed. In this boudoir, that I shall have coquettishly furnished, she will receive a friend, read a novel, rest and dissipate her ill humour. By this arrangement, we shall only be together when we feel attracted towards each other, and I shall not be doomed to pass whole evenings yawning in my wife's society. Why should a man do before his wife that which would be considered the height of rudeness, if she were any other woman?"

_J. B._--"Ah! my dear fellow, it is a fine thing to be young! Your illusions are wonderful. I rather like that growlery idea of yours, though: never show your wife that she is entitled to expect amiability from you at all seasons, without having any effort to make to obtain it. People get none the worse served for being a little hard to please, in all circumstances of this life. I suppose you have not informed the lady in question of these plans of yours?"

_Monsieur._--"Indeed I have, my dear Mr. Bull, and what is more, she approves highly of them...."

_J. B._--"Well, my dear fellow, since you have made up your mind to go in for matrimony, I am glad to see that you are preparing to rob it of its drawbacks. When a man has entered into a compact that he cannot draw out of, he is a fool if he does not do his best to turn it to his own advantage.... But I fancy the ladies must be expecting us in the drawing-room."

_Monsieur._--"Let us go and join them."

XVI.

The Brune and the Blonde--Madame la Comtesse d'A. and Lady B. chat a little about their husbands, discuss their respective merits, and indulge in several little confidences.

(_The scene is laid in a small drawing-room. The two friends are seated, engaged in needlework._)

_Lady B._--"How beautifully you embroider, dear! You use your needle to perfection. That little pink bird is exquisitely shaded. I should never get to blend my colours as you do. And how your fingers fly!"

_La Comtesse._--"_Ah ça!_ you think, I daresay, that we Frenchwomen only know how to read novels."

_Lady B._--"Indeed I don't; on the contrary, I know very well that you are wonderfully clever with your needle. But what you are doing there is too delicate for slippers, don't you think so? Those colours will be so quickly soiled, especially if the Count has my husband's trick of crossing his feet when he is sitting or lounging in his easy chair."

_La Comtesse._--"They are only for the bedroom. I don't like men in slippers, it makes them look shorter, and authorises them to take little liberties in one's company--to cross their legs, and so on; I shall have heels put to these, I will not have my husband lose a particle of his height in my eyes. And you, dear, what is that you are about?"

_Lady B._--"A kind of calotte. We call it a smoking-cap in English."

_La Comtesse._--"You don't mean it?"

_Lady B._--"Why not?"

_La Comtesse._--"How old is Lord B.?"

_Lady B._--"Thirty-two."

_La Comtesse._--"And you are going to let him wear a cap like that? (_Laughing heartily._) But, _ma chère_, the forehead is the finest part of a man. If you tolerate a skull cap, we shall soon see you knitting him night-caps. It's a sloping and dangerous path you are on. There's divorce ahead...."

_Lady B._--"Oh! I like to see men at their ease about the house."

_La Comtesse._--"At their ease! And supposing you do, that's not a reason for making them frights. They are quite ugly enough as they are. Besides, you will make that poor Lord B. horribly susceptible to cold in the head. Do you know anything more ridiculous than a man with his nose turned into a noisy trumpet? I should never be able to help laughing in his face; it would be no use my trying."

_Lady B._--"For shame!"

_La Comtesse._--"It takes such a trifle to spoil a man. Just take the case of the Marquis de P.; he is a splendid-looking man, a gentleman every inch; the carriage of a king. Would you believe it, the marchioness, who, it is said, is as much in love with him as when they were first married, lets him wear spectacles? He looks for all the world like a German doctor in them."

_Lady B._--"But what if he is short-sighted?"

_La Comtesse._--"A fine reason that! _Les lunettes sont des remèdes d'amour._ As if he couldn't wear a _pince-nez_ or an eye-glass. I rather like an eye-glass, don't you?"

_Lady B._--"No, indeed, I think them horrid."

_La Comtesse._--"Do you really? Now, I think they give a man a little air of impertinence that is not disagreeable. On young fellows, I admit, they are detestable; but on a man over thirty, I assure you, I rather like them.... Why, dear, nearly every gentleman wears an eye-glass in England!"

_Lady B._--"That is true, but they do not use them to stare rudely at every woman they meet. I consider Frenchmen dreadful offenders in that respect."

_La Comtesse._--"Englishmen are indifferent towards women."

_Lady B._--"That's quite a mistake, my dear; their apparent indifference is really respect, and, thanks to that respect, we can go where we like in peace and safety. I don't mind telling you that I have my doubts about the real motives of the politeness of Frenchmen."

_La Comtesse._--"How can you talk like that? you, who come from a country where a man thinks nothing of pushing past a lady and making her stop in the street, or of entering a railway carriage before her! No matter where he may be, a Frenchman will always stand aside to let a woman pass...."

_Lady B._--"Yes, to have a better look at her. Now, at the theatre, for instance, to me they are particularly annoying, your Frenchmen. Between the acts, they come and stand about in the corridors and near the boxes, and there, a yard or two from you, they will examine you in detail through their opera-glasses. You may think yourself lucky if they do not forthwith pass all sorts of remarks about you. That kind of thing annoys and insults a woman. You may call it gallant, if you like; I call it rude."

_La Comtesse._--"Rather impertinent, I will admit."

_Lady B._--"Impertinent, indeed! that is a mild word for it. Do you know, one evening--it was at the Opera--I was in a box ... a little _décolletée_ ... _en losange_, you know ... it was very fashionable in 1880."

_La Comtesse._--"It will come in again, you may be sure, _c'était mutin en diable_."

_Lady B._--"What did you say it was?"

_La Comtesse._--"I said it was _mutin en diable_. Does that shock you?"

_Lady B._--"Yes, a little: it reminds me of an expression of my husband's."

_La Comtesse._--"What expression?"

_Lady B._--"I don't like to tell you."

_La Comtesse._--"What nonsense, dear; it's only between ourselves: nobody else can hear."

_Lady B._--"Well then, it was one evening on coming home from a banquet, he told me I was _damned_ pretty."

_La Comtesse._--"Did he? (_kissing her._) Well, so you are."

_Lady B._--"How would you say that in French? Would you say _jolie à faire ... damner_?"

_La Comtesse._--"_Jolie en diable_ would be better."

_Lady B._--"I forgave him that night; he had been dining, as only our husbands in England know how to dine.... When my husband comes home late, I always wait up for him. Do you for yours?"

_La Comtesse._--"Of course I do, always. Besides, when the Count has dined out, he is so entertaining."

_Lady B._--"I cannot say the same of Lord B.: he is a little bit dull in his cups."

_La Comtesse._--"Well, dear, you were saying that you were at the Opera one night in a low-necked dress, and that...."

_Lady B._--"Yes, true. I was forgetting; do lend me a needleful of your pink silk.... Oh! that is soon told: it was neither an event nor an adventure. As I told you, I was seated in my box.... Well, during one of the _entr'actes_, two gentlemen came and took up their position in front of me, and never took their eyes off my _corsage_ the whole time. I was indignant."

_La Comtesse._--"You were wrong. When we indulge our coquetry to satisfy our vanity, we ought to be willing to put up with the consequences."

_Lady B._--"To satisfy our vanity! How do you mean?"

_La Comtesse_ (_smiling_).--"Come now, I appeal to you: is it simply to be a little cooler that we have our bodies cut low?"

_Lady B._--"No, of course not; we like to be _décolletées_, because it is the fashion; because, if we did not, we should appear ridiculously prudish and outlandish. Alas! we are the slaves of fashion!"

_La Comtesse._--"My dear, if your form resembled the poor little Baronne de S.'s, do you believe that any fashion in the world would make you wear a low-necked dress?... You would soon reconcile to yourself the thought of appearing prudish, ridiculous, and outlandish."

_Lady B._--"Then you excuse those two impertinent creatures?"

_La Comtesse._--"I am almost inclined to do so. I do not see why a man should not take a pleasure in looking at that which it seems to give us pleasure to show."

_Lady B._--"Well, I can only tell you that such a thing would never have happened to me in England."

_La Comtesse._--"I can quite believe that. I have seen your countrymen look at Vesuvius as unmoved as if they had been looking at the chimneys of St. Etienne or Birmingham.... Besides, my dear, had you not a fan with you to protect you?"

_Lady B._--"I have taken note of what you said just now, you know; that if women are coquettish, it is to satisfy their vanity. Perhaps you will succeed in explaining to me why there are women who carry their coquetry as far as _la galanterie_?"

_La Comtesse_ (_seriously_).--"A coquette satisfies her own vanity; a woman who misconducts herself satisfies the vanity of a man. She is a fool."

_Lady B._--"Ah! that is better (_a few moments' silence_). By the bye, have you seen Lady G. lately? Poor little woman! is she not an inconsolable widow?..."

_La Comtesse._--"I saw her last Tuesday. I found her better ... she was beginning to be a little more reasonable."

_Lady B._--"I saw her the day after Lord G.'s death. She was in a pitiable state."

_La Comtesse._--"So did I; but that was nothing ... it was on the day itself that you should have seen her.... She was beside herself ... she had completely lost her reason.... You should have heard her reciting the litany of her husband's good qualities. What qualities, what virtues people discover in their dead relatives, to be sure: did it never strike you so?... They say Lord G. has left her all his fortune, at least all that he could leave her.... It is no light matter being left a widow in England: ... your husbands are very shrewd, do you know! English wives have a great interest in taking every care of their husbands."

_Lady B._--"Such is not Lady G.'s case, however. Her husband leaves her his fortune on condition she remains a widow. If she re-marries, she loses all her rights."

_La Comtesse._--"Well, well, that is tyranny, or I never understood the word. Not content with having been a despot all his life, he must continue after his death to make his wife feel an authority that he can only exercise by proxy. There! really, it is only in England that you find husbands of that stamp."

_Lady B._--"I don't agree with you. I think a husband shows his wisdom in protecting his wife against the fortune-hunters that might be attracted by her money."

_La Comtesse._--"But a woman is not a baby that does not know one thing from another ... and if your husbands did not treat you as minors...."

_Lady B._--"Besides, after all, you must admit that if a man loves his wife, it is not pleasant for him to think that there is perhaps an individual who is only waiting for him to die, in order to marry his widow and enjoy comfortably a fortune that has perhaps cost him great trouble to amass."

_La Comtesse._--"I do not admit any such injunctions. A woman is capable of devotion and fidelity. But as for imposing upon her a sacrifice for which she is to be paid, I call it insulting. I should never feel anything but contempt for the memory of a husband who had treated me in such a way.... I should marry again and have done with him and his money."

_Lady B._--"I can forgive jealousy in those who love deeply; at least I excuse it."

_La Comtesse._--"And so can I, but what you were speaking of a moment ago is not jealousy, it is vanity, the vanity of a tyrant.... _A propos_ of vanity and wills, have you heard about the will of M. de R.... No? Well then, this is the kind of vanity I admit of: M. de R. kept up his reputation of a humorist and a good husband to his last moment. What did he do the night before his death but send for his notary, and, before his friends and relatives who were present, dictate to him the following will: 'I have loved my wife dearly, and I know that my wife has loved me dearly, and will regret me. I leave her all I have, to do as she pleases with, without having to consult anyone. I authorise her to marry again; I even advise her to do so; I do not fear competition.' Now, I can assure you that though Madame de R. is only thirty-five, and very pretty, she will never marry again. That is a French husband, my dear."

_Lady B._--"I am very willing to believe all you tell me about French husbands, and love in married life, but why do not your novels show us something of that domestic happiness?"

_La Comtesse._--"Ah! I stop you. You are going to speak to me of novels that treat of impossible society, of _blasé_ men and light women: but we have others, my dear Lady B. If we have 'Nana,' we have also 'Le Roman d'un Brave Homme,' 'L'Abbé Constantin,' 'Le Maître de Forges;' ... I could name them by the hundred. By the bye, have you ever read 'Monsieur, Madame, et Bébé'?"

_Lady B._--"Have I read it! Ten times at least, and I shall read it many times more yet."

_La Comtesse._--"I congratulate you."

_Lady B._--"It was Lord B. who made me read it."

_La Comtesse._--"Lord B. is a sensible man. That delightful book ought to be in every household ... like the Bible: it is a regular treatise on happiness in married life. How many times have the Count and myself passed delightful hours together reading a chapter or two of those charming descriptions!--My husband is a very good reader.--And how many chapters have we put in practice! How many of those lovely little scenes have we played!"

_Lady B._--"How fond of you your husband must be!"

_La Comtesse._--"It is twelve years ago that we were married: twelve years of cloudless happiness.... The Count grows handsomer every year. He is rather stern-looking, you know, but I like that in a man. When he frowns, he is superb ... and then, it is so easy to chase his frowns away: he is so good, so generous, ... so attentive. Would you believe it? he makes me a regular declaration every time he sees me in a new dress."

_Lady B._ (_laughing_).--"Really! He must have a pretty milliner's bill to pay at the end of the year! Ha! ha! ha! There now, positively, I have broken my needle. Lend me another, dear, will you?"

_La Comtesse_ (_giving her a needle_).--"There is one."

_Lady B._--"Thank you! Oh! what a lovely _marquise_ you have on. Those diamonds are magnificent; I never saw you wear it before."

_La Comtesse._--"No, it is one of the Count's last follies. I must tell you that yesterday I had a little shopping to do at the Louvre. The Count proposed to accompany me. I accepted with joy, and we set off. But just as we arrived at the door of the shops his heart failed him, he hesitated. 'After all, my dear,' he said to me, 'I will not go in, I will come and fetch you. Do you think you will be long getting what you want?' 'I don't know, two hours perhaps; what are you going to do all that while?' 'Don't trouble about me, I shall be here at five o'clock exactly ... do not keep me waiting.' A _rendez-vous_ with my husband is something sacred; I have never yet kept him waiting. Men always hate to be kept waiting, military men especially, it makes them horribly ill-tempered. So at five o'clock I came out and found my gallant husband at the door. 'Where have you been?' I asked him. 'Oh, I have been strolling about dear.' He looked a little bit mysterious; I immediately guessed that he had been up to mischief. Between you and me, men are not very clever you know in hiding their secrets. The Count betrays his like a child. His eyes publish them immediately: you can read there as in an open book. He did not attempt to defend himself long. Monsieur had been strolling in the galleries of the Palais Royal and had bought me the ring that you see: the diamonds are worth at least a hundred pounds. Now I ask you, my dear Lady B., if after that one dare trust one's husband out of sight an instant?... It did not prevent his having a good kiss when he reached home though, I can assure you. Heaven knows how near I was to giving it to him in the _Place du Palais Royal_."

_Lady B._--"How delightful it is to hear you talk like that; it does one good (_looking at her embroidery_). This cap is horrible ... just do look at that blue and green: ... do they not clash?"

_La Comtesse._--"Take my advice, and put it aside. Embroider a cigar-case for Lord B. I did a beauty for the Count: his initials and coronet in dark blue on a pearl grey ground...."

_Lady B._--"That is a good idea.--(_Drawing nearer the Countess._)--Has the Count ever taken you to a _cabinet particulier_?"

_La Comtesse._--"Many times."

_Lady B._--"Lord B. says a man cannot take his wife to a _cabinet particulier_."

_La Comtesse._--"My dear, you are not forced to exhibit your marriage certificate to the waiter. The Count considers that a lady can go anywhere with her husband, and, for my part, I don't see why all the nice places should be reserved for certain characters, and the honest women have to content themselves with the Bouillons-Duval. Those are my ideas, you know."

_Lady B._--"They are mine, too, to a certain extent, but I fear that...."

_La Comtesse._--"I fear, _ma belle_, that your husband respects you a little too much. I don't dislike the Count's making me ... blush ... sometimes."

_Lady B._--"Oh! Lord B. would never do that.... It is I that have made him blush several times."

_La Comtesse._--"Yes? You are charming. Tell me all about it!"

_Lady B._--"That would be very hard."

_La Comtesse._--"Do send me your husband's photograph. I should so like to have in my album the portrait of an English lord who blushes when his wife shocks him."

_Lady B._--"By the bye, you have not told me what a _cabinet particulier_ is like."

_La Comtesse._--"Oh! they are nothing very wonderful: little rooms coquettishly furnished ... all the pleasure is in the novelty, the strangeness of the thing; ... it is droll to disguise oneself as ... the mistress of one's own husband."

_Lady B._--"Oh! do tell me more about it."

_La Comtesse._--"You want me to shock you, then?"

_Lady B._--"All women enjoy being shocked ... a little, you know ... not too much."

_La Comtesse._--"Well, then, dear--it was nearly ten years ago--I was at a ball with my husband. About one o'clock in the morning, I had just been waltzing with him, we saw there was going to be no supper ... and we were getting as hungry as wolves.

"'I say, darling,' said the Count to me, 'I am terribly hungry; don't you think it is time to go home?'

"'But, my dear, we shall find nothing to eat at home.'

"'No?--never mind, we will find a way out of that difficulty pretty soon; we are _en carnaval_; we will go and sup at the _Maison Dorée_.'

"No sooner said than done; we left the ball-room, jumped into the brougham, and in a few minutes we were ... in a _cabinet particulier_. The Count had a little sardonic, triumphant expression, that made me feel a little uneasy, but what was to be done? I tried to look as dignified as possible, when the waiter came in to receive his orders. With his wife, a man does not commit great extravagances: the Count ordered oysters, a lobster salad, some cold chicken, ices, and a bottle of iced champagne. I had never seen my husband so gay, so bright, so witty.... Oh! how lovely it is to be adored by one's husband!... At dessert the Count became somewhat enterprising ... I mean very enterprising! Fortunately the waiter came in...."

_Lady B._--"Without knocking?"

_La Comtesse._--"Without knocking; they are accustomed to it.... They see such things, you know."

_Lady B._--"It must be high fun for them."

_La Comtesse._--"Not at all ... habit, you see ... they would much rather be in bed, I can assure you. Well, as I was telling you, the waiter came in for my husband's orders. 'Waiter,' said he, 'you can go now. Bring some coffee ... when I ring.' The waiter bowed and retired. You should have seen with what ease the Count gave him this order.... Oh! you know, it was easy to see he had had ... a little experience ... it was not the first time he had supped in a _cabinet particulier_."

_Lady B._ (_seriously_).--"How can you suppose such things?"

_La Comtesse._--"How can I? (_kissing her._) Dear child, how refreshing you are! However, what is perfectly certain is that, although rather light-headed with the two glasses of champagne that the Count had poured out for me, I saw quite clearly that he was locking the door."

_Lady B._--"Oh! I should have screamed."

_La Comtesse._--"I had a great mind to; but what was the good? No law protects a woman from her husband; you know that. We have no Woman's Protection Society in France yet; _you_ have, you see.... I had risen indeed, but the Count had seized me in his arms.... By the way, don't you think there is something curiously fascinating in the idea of a woman in the strong arms of the man she loves and who adores her ... as they stand, she helpless, almost _perdue_ ... _perdue_ in the arms of your husband, it is not dangerous ... _on se retrouve_, you know ... he, holding her up, and gazing into her face with eyes that seem to devour her...."

_Lady B._--"Don't talk about it."

_La Comtesse._--"Then...."

_Lady B._--"Call the waiter, and let us have the coffee, my dear Comtesse: it is high time."

_La Comtesse._--"I will do something better than that: I will give you a cup of tea ... _à l'anglaise_." (_She rings._)

XVII.

The Teetotal Mania--Second Epistle to John Bull--The darling Sin of Mrs. John Bull, according to a venerable Archdeacon and a few charitable Ladies--A free-born Briton, Member of the Yellow Ribbon Army.

The Blue Ribbon Army numbers at the present time more than 600,000 soldiers, it is said. A little patience, and the water drinkers will soon be as numerous as the drunkards. What spectacles of eccentric contrasts! Picture to yourself children, urchins of three or four years old, decorated with the blue ribbon; men and women persuaded into pledging themselves in writing that they will never touch wine, beer, or any other alcoholic drink. What folly! and, at the same time, what a confession of weakness! Is it not, in fact, asking them to sign that, since they do not know how to stop when they have quenched their thirst, they will swear to touch no drink whatever? And you, John, my friend, you are satisfied with this progress; you rub your hands with pleasure and admiration; you are going to close your taverns, and forbid your grocers to sell wines, beer, and spirits: are you simple enough to imagine that a people is to be made virtuous by Act of Parliament? Your parsons and old maids, who know that about a hundred million pounds sterling is annually spent upon alcohol, move heaven and earth to divert this golden stream into the coffers of the Church, to take it out of the devil's clutches and give it _to God_; and you take all they say for Gospel, without perceiving that you are simply working for a few shrewd speculators, who are delighted to have an opportunity of trading upon your pretensions to virtue, in order to cover themselves with both profit and honour.

Do you remember, for instance, that a little while ago, the Gospel Temperance Society of Edinburgh was hard up, because it had to pay a hundred pounds sterling to a gentleman who, during a whole month, had talked himself hoarse in trying to prove to the inhabitants of Auld Reekie that, if they would ensure their welfare in this world ... and the next, they must drink nothing but water, and that the said Society had also to pay the hotel bill of this good apostle, a bill that amounted to £52 13s.? By Jove! More than fifty-two pounds for a month's board and lodging! Water is expensive in Edinburgh!

Do you not think that your working classes would look much healthier, if instead of weak tea and bread more or less buttered, you made them breakfast off good soup, or even drink a glass of sound home-brewed ale? It is not total abstinence, but moderation, that should be preached: moderation,[7] a word that seems to be fast dying out of your vocabulary. It is not wine, but vice, that makes the drunkard, says the Chinese proverb; it is not the wine or the beer then, but the vice, that it should be your effort to suppress.

[7] _Temperance_ means _moderation_ (_temperare_), and not _total abstinence_.

_In medio veritas et virtus_; but the motto of your island unhappily seems to be _In extremis dementia_. Your arms carry too far, and you kill nothing.

All those insensate doctrines make a few fanatics and hypocrites, but comparatively few serious proselytes, and, moreover, they tend to produce the most violent reactions. Besides, do not forget that your tea which you swallow in such quantities, your lemonade, and all the tribe of artificial and teetotal drinks, have made you bilious, old fellow; yes, bilious, dyspeptic, hypochondriac, morose, and crabbed; and you ought to know that no Divine law forbids us to enjoy the good things that Providence has strewn around us for our use, though the law of Nature does teach us to use them with discretion.

You laugh at us because, when we are at table with our family, we do not scruple to cover our chest with our _serviette_; you are much amused at our commercial travellers, who, at a _table d'hôte_, bravely tie it around their necks, and set to work as if they meant to do serious execution, and you exclaim, "What gluttons! How they eat!"

But you are a little bit jealous, dear boy, that is all. Yes, at table, we set aside our cares, we are happy, we talk and laugh with our wives and children, and make the pleasure last as long as we can. And if we have found the secret of happiness and gaiety, we inspire more envy than pity, believe me; and if you had not ruined your digestion with your tea and other unhealthy slops, if you were to forget a little of your insular dignity while you are at table, and make a little progress in your cookery, you would probably find that, after all, gaiety is an excellent thing, even if it should come from a good digestion.

I know very well you will reply that your only aim in this world is to secure your salvation in the next. I know this takes up a great deal of your time; but as it does not prevent your taking a great interest in your banking account, and a thousand other little mundane matters, I conclude that, if you, like ourselves, hope to reach paradise one day, like ourselves also, you are not in a hurry to set out. Really, _do_ leave us alone with your tea, cocoa, and other salvation potions. Drink water, if it suits your taste; for England is a free country. But for goodness' sake, let other people drink what they like.

Anyhow, take care: do not overshoot your mark. Drunkenness no longer exists in a deep-rooted, hideous form, except among the lower classes of your great towns, and this is a much better state of things than existed when Members of Parliament were called to order for putting their feet on the table in front of the Speaker. And it should be added that, thanks to education, even your lower classes are becoming more sober. As for asking for an Act of Parliament, to prevent peaceful citizens from going to buy a bottle of cognac of their grocer, it is utter folly.

Finally, John, remember that one of your bishops, not long ago, refused to sign a similar petition to the House of Commons, saying that he had rather belong to a nation of drunkards than a nation of slaves.

It was in the coquettish town of Torquay, in the month of March, 1884.

I was present at an immense _tea-and-bread-and-butter-meeting_, held under the auspices of the Temperance Society, and presided over by a venerable archdeacon. As I looked around me at the long Lenten-looking faces, silent and damned, to use the energetic expression of the poet Shelley, swallowing their tea in little sips, and nibbling their bread and butter with their eyes lifted heavenward, I thought to myself: Yes, I have said and will maintain it: nothing is more beautiful, nothing is more edifying, than to contemplate John as he imbibes this angelical beverage.

I had duly partaken of a slice of bread and butter, and swallowed my two cups of tea, as stoically as any of the members of this edifying congregation, when an old maid, sitting next me, who, since the proceedings began had not opened her mouth, except to yawn at regular intervals like a machine, ventured to break the solemn silence:

"Oh! sir," she said, addressing me, "what a grand meeting this is! Ours is a glorious cause!"

----"I do not doubt it, madam," I replied. "When this interesting tea party is over, there is to be an address, I believe?"

----"Yes; Archdeacon ... will say a few words."

----"What is the object of this meeting? The closing of public-houses on Sundays, I presume?"

----"Oh, dear no! we want to do something better than that. The public-house is not the greatest evil we have to fight against. We want to send a petition to Parliament to get the law repealed that allows grocers and pastrycooks to sell wine, beer, and spirits."

----"Really!" I exclaimed.

----"Yes, the public-house is only frequented by the lower classes; their sphere of action is, therefore, limited; but drunkenness among the women of the middle classes is greatly on the increase. Under pretence of buying a cake at the confectioner's, they enter the shop with the intention of drinking wine; under the pretext of sending their servants to buy groceries, they send for brandy, and get tipsy at home. So we have said to ourselves: The confectioner and the grocer are the enemies we have to fight."

----"I am afraid you calumniate your countrywomen," I suggested.

----"It is the sad truth; you will hear the Archdeacon presently: he has terrible tales to tell. Yes, sir, the grocers do more harm to our cause than the publicans. It was Mr. Gladstone that granted the grocers their licences, because it is well known that most grocers are Liberals."

----"I see," I said to my neighbour. "And as the publicans are Conservatives, you would like them to enjoy the monopoly of the sale of alcoholic poisons. It is a little electoral manoeuvre. Excuse me if I do not quite appreciate your philanthropical sentiments. But I see that the company is rising to go to the meeting; I will do myself the pleasure of going to hear what the Archdeacon has to say."

The proceedings began with prayer and the singing of the hymn, "Rescue the perishing."

When the hymn was finished, the venerable Archdeacon who presided rose, and began to deliver his address, from which I give you the following passages:--

"Over and over again, we have had it in evidence that the secret drinking of the home has been traceable, not to habits picked up in the public-house, but rather to the means of intoxication supplied through the grocer's shop. Of this there is not the slightest doubt, and when we remember that one of our famous judges, not long ago, traced most of the terrible wife-murders, not to the drunkenness of the husbands, but to the drunkenness of the wives, who had made their homes so wretched that their husbands were aggravated into committing the crime; when we remember further that, from all sides, there comes evidence that, however successful our other efforts are in the temperance cause, drunkenness is increasing amongst a certain class of the population, and that this is more or less traceable to the grocers' licences, we shall conclude that we are bound to try and do something to remove this special cause of temptation from the homes of our brothers and sisters. Not long ago, I was taking part in a mission in a town some distance from Torquay, and, in a very poor neighbourhood, I met the wife of an artisan coming out of one of the grocer's shops. She had a basket upon her arm, and in it were the usual groceries. The woman allowed me to look into the basket, and there underneath all was the unmistakable bottle of spirits. I went into the shop under the pretence of getting change for a sovereign, and during the short time I was there, six or eight women came in and purchased spirits."

"Between ourselves," I whispered to my neighbour, "it would have been more generous of the very reverend gentleman, if he had made a little purchase of the grocer he was getting up evidence against, instead of asking him for a favour."

I continued to lend an attentive ear.

"In a railway station refreshment room, before half-past nine in the morning, the following scene passed before my eyes:--Three very respectably-dressed good-looking shop girls, evidently going out for a holiday, went straight to the bar and ordered, in the most unblushing way, a glass of bitter beer. Shortly afterwards, a fourth girl joined them, and she as unblushingly asked for three pennyworth of spirits, which she drank on the spot.... Not long ago, in this very town, I was in a well-known refreshment shop, and whilst I was there, a lady, respectable in appearance, with a child by her side, and a carriage waiting outside to take her home, consumed no less than three glasses of sherry one after the other. This was utterly unnecessary in the middle of the day, and it was probably unknown to the lady's husband.... You will help us, I am convinced, to put a stop to this state of things; you will sign the petition we are about to send to Parliament, and in which we ask our representatives to remove a very great cause of temptation from the homes of many of our brethren by withdrawing the grocers' licences."

The Archdeacon was followed on the platform by some ladies, who gave the audience the benefit of their own experiences with regard to the drunken habits of Englishwomen; after which the hymn, "To the work," was sung; for if, in France, everything ends in songs, in England everything ends in hymns.

"Why," I said to my spinster friend, "there is no common sense in all this. What! no more arguments than that! Because a few women have been to buy a little brandy of their grocer, with the most innocent intention perhaps, you are going to ask Parliament to prevent free and honest citizens, who object to going to the public-house, from getting a bottle of wine with their groceries. It is absurd."

----"Not at all," she replied; "I have been drinking nothing but water for forty years and more, and the day we all become water drinkers, we shall be a holy nation."

----"A nation of lunatics," thought I; and getting out of this atmosphere as quickly as I could I jumped into a cab and drove to the station. As I alighted, I noticed that my cabby had a bit of yellow ribbon in his buttonhole.

"Hallo!" I said to him, "what decoration do you call that?"

----"Ah! you have been with the water drinkers, to the Blue Ribbon meeting, sir; I belong to the Yellow Ribbon Army, I do."

----"Indeed," cried I; "and what do they do in the Yellow Ribbon Army?"

----"Why," he answered; "you eats what you like, and you drinks what you like, and you don't care a damn for nobody."

By Jove! it was quite a treat to see a _man_ again after having passed the evening with such a lot of old women.

"Here, old fellow," said I to this free-born Briton, who had one of those good open faces such as you see so often in Devonshire, "take this, and go and drink my health;" and I turned away to the ticket office, reconciled with mankind.[8]

[8] I know a clergyman who has just been obliged to give up an excellent living, for having refused to comply with the request of the squire of the neighbourhood, that he should adorn himself with that certificate of stupidity, that decoration of reformed drunkards, the Blue Ribbon.

The clergyman is a simpleton. To get or keep a good living, I would not hesitate to put a piece of blue ribbon in my buttonhole: it is so easy to put it in one's pocket, while one takes a glass of grog or generous Bordeaux.

XVIII.

New Salvation Agencies--Priestess Rubbers--_Asinus asinam fricat_.

Whitaker's Almanack for 1884 announces sixteen new religious sects or associations certified to the Registrar-General.

To my great regret, I notice the disappearance of the Rational Christians. This leaves a net gain of fifteen associations: a very respectable figure, it must be admitted. Here are the names of the sixteen new sects or associations in question:--

Children's Special Service Association; Christian Soldiers; Church Army; Church of England (unattached); Free Salvation Army; Gospel Army Mission; Gospel Band; Israel, New and Latter House of Jews; King's Own Army; Latter-Day Saints; Members of the Church of England; Methodist Army; Mission Army; Pilgrim Band; Positivists; Young Women's Christian Association.

Do not be surprised, if before long you see, figuring on the list of new religious sects, the Materialists and the Atheists or Bradlaughites. I say _religious sects_, for in this country, even the Atheist raises his unbelief to the dignity of a religion, and builds, or rather gets built--which is more intelligent--a little conventicle of his own.

In France, religion is a monopoly; in England, it is a race, a steeple-chase.

In France, a new idea, a theory that sees the light and meets with success, is the foundation of a new school; in England, the foundation of a new church.

You will soon hear also of a sect that will be immensely popular, I do not doubt: it is the sect of the Rubbers, or to give them a more technical name, the _Frictionary Christians_. That it is of American importation, it is scarcely needful to add. This is what the English papers of the 5th February, 1884, say on the subject:--"A writer in the _Boston Advertiser_ (U.S.) of January 18th, gives an account of what he considers to be a new development of a very common form of hysteria. This new development is the latest doctrine of a sect founded some years ago in Park Street, Boston, under the name of Christian Scientists; the meeting being attended by devout if not strictly philosophical or scientific ladies. The new doctrine is this: Matter in itself, they say, is inert, insensate, lifeless, and unpotential; the power which animates matter is divine. Illness is want of vital power, therefore want of divinity. A mind healer is a person who is full to superabundance upon his own cognizance of the Almighty, and who is willing to allow his, or more generally her, superfluity or abundance to overflow into the person of some patient in whom it is declared the presence of disease proves the absence of the Lord. The process is of the simplest. The healer sits down with her back in contact with the corresponding portion of the patient's person, and for the moderate price of a dollar an hour allows the supposed divine influence to filter from vertebræ to vertebræ."

Now this is what I call easy and convenient, and I might even add, most pleasant; you rub and rub until your salvation is an accomplished fact. If your priestess is a nice smooth-backed plump young woman, the operation cannot fail to be pleasant as well as novel.

As you see, it is the embrocation of salvation, and nothing more. Success warranted after a few applications.

If the Rubbers are in search of a motto or a trade-mark, I would suggest: _Asinus asinam fricat._

XIX.

THE VICAR'S WIFE.

Fragments.

I.

The Reverend Bartholomew Goodman, vicar of E... was the only representative of orthodoxy in that pretty little town of Devonshire. Though rheumatic, this salaried believer in apostolic succession was, correctly speaking, neither saint nor martyr. He had a wife and children, and, one year with another, his living brought him in about five hundred pounds.

He dogmatised but little, he would have feared to fail in respect towards his _Alma Mater_, the Anglican Church, in seeking to defend her, or prove that she only had the sole monopoly of the salvation of souls. Being no great theologian, but endowed with a simple soul and decidedly middling abilities, he contented himself with preaching to his flock the old story, as he was pleased to call the doctrine of Christ.

His sermons were very mediocre productions of the mind, in spite of the time he spent over their manufacture; and when his wife would pity him for all the labour they cost him, he would answer with a sigh: "My dear, it is true my sermons do take up a good deal of my time, but it is those who are obliged to listen to them that you should pity, and not me."

This excellent man had his hobby, as indeed every Englishman has, especially if he be a bit of a theologian; he firmly believed that the English nation was none other than the ten tribes of Israel, who disappeared after the destruction of Jerusalem. The matter formed a never-ending subject of discussion for him, and when he chanced to come across a good soul ready to listen to him, he grew animated and almost eloquent over his theme. The idea was ever present with him, and if he retired to rest at night, beside his virtuous spouse, without having discovered some new proof of the identity of the House of Israel with the British nation, he would exclaim with Titus, "I have lost a day."

Of all the domestic animals that drew breath about the vicarage there was not one more docile and useful, in the eyes of Mrs. Bartholomew Goodman, than the reverend gentleman, her husband.

The worthy lady had taken the management of the parish into her own hands. In her estimation, her husband was a good, well-meaning vicar, incapable of anything beyond the writing of his sermons. As these sermons were dull enough to send one to sleep standing up, and it was usual to listen to them in a sitting posture, their chance of doing good was but small. Besides, added Mrs. Goodman to herself, sermons never converted anybody yet. The blackest sinner does not recognise his own portrait in the descriptions of the lost that fall from the preacher's lips. No, when the sermon is over, each hearer goes away very well satisfied with himself, simply reflecting on his homeward way: "Poor Smith! or poor Brown! how straight the vicar preached at him this morning!" It is always to one's neighbour that the satires of the stage or the diatribes of the pulpit apply, and that is why no one thinks of getting angry at church or in the theatre.

To produce any effect upon the sinner, you must adopt arguments _ad hominem_; you must beard the animal in his den. This _rôle_ of champion of the Church militant Mrs. Goodman had marked out for herself. Satan never found himself confronted with a more formidable enemy.

Mrs. Goodman, it should be explained, seemed to be built for battle: six feet high, alert and thin as a greyhound, with little piercing eyes, a complete and formidable-looking cage of teeth, an aquiline nose, curving boldly downward towards a long flat chin that it seemed to threaten one day to join; everything about this soldier of the faith denoted a resolution equal to the most arduous undertaking, a resolution that neither rebuffs, ridicule, nor danger could shake.

At the voice of his wife, the good vicar was wont to tremble with respect and apprehension.

In England, where wives are so docile, so respectful and submissive to their husbands, the wife of the clergyman seems to be an exception to the rule. It is easy to understand why. It is always more or less the garb that makes the monk. For us, the priest means the black cassock and the white surplice, that is to say austerity and innocence. Whether it be prejudice or not, it seems difficult to reconcile the idea of a priest's life with that of a husband, even the most saintly husband on earth. You may call your wife your chaste spouse as much as you like, it will always mean that she is chaste towards others, that she is faithful to you; but after all, how shall I explain myself? Well ... I never heard that the children of the clergy fall from the moon into their mother's arms: that is all I can say.

I never could understand that curious being, a married priest. I mean the veritable priest by vocation, the pastor of souls, the evangelist. We are not treating here of those clergymen who are _savants_, professors, writers, perfect gentlemen indeed, thorough men of the world, taking the expression in its best sense; still less are we treating of those clergymen who enter Holy Orders because it gives a good standing in life, and increases their chance of making a rich marriage, and who do not turn Mahometans, because the Mahometan faith is not fashionable in England, and would open up to a man no lucrative career.

The evangelical parson, who would be horrified at the idea of taking his glass of whisky without first having said grace over it, and who, in our opinion, can scarcely fail to accord to the bliss of matrimony less anticipated gratitude than he bestows on his glass of grog;[9] this man must appear strange indeed, incomprehensible to a woman who is witness of all his little failings--taking for granted that he has no defects, and of course no vices--to a woman, that little Argus-eyed observer, who is, I say, witness of a thousand actions which prove to her that this priest is only a man ... like other men. For us, on the contrary, a priest is not like other men; scarcely is he a man in our eyes. No, I cannot realise the idea; it is beyond my conception. The slit-up surplice that I dare not name, for, in shape, it is the most ridiculous-looking garment of a man's wardrobe.... No, no! in the bedroom, this oracle and his wife must certainly be unable to keep their countenance.

[9] See Appendix (c).

This is not all.

The wife of a Protestant minister has a thousand and one occupations which render her important, and these occupations are more manly than those of her husband: she puts his theories into practice. He makes sermons and collections; she distributes alms, visits the sick, organises associations, _fêtes_, bazaars, concerts, lectures, tea-parties at a shilling a head; she is the dispenser of all the favours of the vicarage.

Now, place woman on a footing of equality with man, and her natural instinct will soon place her on a pedestal from which she will exercise authority overbearingly. I say _overbearingly_, for woman being born to be protected, when she takes the upper hand, does so like a _parvenue_; that is, fussily, indiscreetly.

This natural instinct Mrs. Goodman possessed in the highest degree; her husband could have given evidence upon the point.

The vicar's wife had other reasons for believing herself superior to her husband. She was of aristocratic origin, and pretended to be descended from the Irish kings. For that matter, we may take the opportunity of remarking that we have not yet met with any Irish people that were not descended, in a straight line, from the ancient kings of Ireland. If we were to believe the excellent Hibernians, our Louis XII. never half so well earned the title of _Father of the People_ as these old monarchs of Erin. The exploits of Hercules are mere child's play by the side of the _tours de force_ of those lusty Celts.

Proud of her ancestors, Mrs. Goodman often reminded the poor pastor of his obscure birth. "I ought to be the wife of a bishop," she would sometimes say to him, when he did not seem sufficiently lost in admiration before her. "Alas, would that you were, my dear!" thought the worthy man. And as he was good-natured and had no reason for wishing harm to the chief of his diocese, the wish died on his lips and was almost inaudible.

We believe we have said enough to prove that the Rev. Bartholomew Goodman found his purgatory in this world, which must have been, for his Christian soul, a great consolation and even a source of joy, since the Protestant religion does not admit of the existence of this place of purification in the next.

II.

One morning in the spring of the year 188... Mr. Goodman, vicar of the parish of All Angels, sat in his study writing his two sermons for the following Sunday.

As we have said elsewhere, sermons are read from the pulpit in England; at least, this is the practice of Anglican clergymen, and we have explained the reason why.

Now, as for centuries past, the hundreds of religious reviews, magazines, and newspapers, have been publishing sermons, when a clergyman has a rather limited allowance of imagination, these periodicals furnish him with the materials for edifying the faithful on Sundays; he has but to copy old sermons. For proof of this, you need only take a peep at the great reading-room of the British Museum any Saturday of the year. Every seat is monopolised by the ministers of the hundred and odd religious sects who have set themselves the task of wiping out from the registers of the next world the thousand and one little stains that John Bull has contracted in this. It is a sight worth looking at to see them poring over old dusty volumes, from which is to be extracted the balm that is to give fresh life to the flocks confided to their care. While listening to the scratching of these hundreds of quills as they flew over the paper I have sometimes said to myself: "Some folks earn their salaries easily." And yet the public good should be the first consideration, and, after all, I do not know that there is any harm about copying a sermon. On the contrary, why not follow the advice that Voltaire gives in the _Dictionnaire Philosophique_, at the chapter of Eloquence? This is what he says after having spoken of Massillon: "Such masterpieces are very rare; besides, everything has become common-place. Those preachers who cannot imitate these great models would do well to learn them by heart, and (supposing they have that rare gift, a talent for declamation) recite them to their congregation, piece by piece, instead of holding forth in a wearisome manner upon themes as stale as uninstructive."

The regular Saturday visitors of the British Museum are quite of the same opinion, only, as to commit to memory two sermons a week, and sometimes more, would take up too much of the precious time that they owe to the spiritual family that have to be fed with the Word of Life, they copy them off, and read instead of reciting them: it is an economy of labour.

"Whenever I wish to move my hearers," said a worthy parish priest one day, "I repeat some Massillon to them."

But the fact is that pulpit eloquence is not much encouraged in England. A really eloquent preacher would approach too nearly to the actor to please a people so susceptible in religious matters. He would not inspire confidence. The Englishman likes dogma before all things; torrents of eloquence, _à la Bossuet_, would make him look askance at the preacher; phrases polished and studied like those of Flechier, expressions elegant and graceful, like those of Massillon, would awaken suspicions in his mind; what he prefers is argument pure and simple, and leaves to the lower orders the pleasure of being terrified by revivalists.

We were speaking of English pulpit eloquence one day to an important member of the political world. "English pulpit eloquence!" said he to me, "we have none."

----"Yet, I heard Canon X. preach in the Abbey the other day," I said, "and I assure you I never heard anything more graceful; he fascinated me. He is an eloquent preacher at all events."

----"Yes," replied he, "Canon X. is a very good speaker, it is true ... but, my dear sir, if he could only hold his tongue, he would be a bishop."

The canon in question has just been made a bishop after all; but only a colonial bishop at the antipodes. If our English readers recognise him, I offer them the _primeur_ of the anecdote.

* * * * *

Our good Vicar had just copied out his morning sermon; but as he wanted, in the evening, to thunder from the pulpit against romanism, ritualism, methodism, socinianism, secularism, materialism, and all those evils in _ism_, which, added to his rheumatism, rendered his existence almost intolerable, he was, at the moment mentioned at the opening of the chapter, just in the fire of composition. He wanted to take his congregation by storm, and, like Calchas, he was preparing his thunder.

But it was chiefly the Salvation Army that aroused his ire; it was for these Sabbath breakers, that would come and shout and gesticulate under his very windows, yelling blasphemous songs, accompanied by trombones, cornets, concertinas, drums, and tambourines: it was for these that he reserved his most powerful batteries and his avalanches of anathemas.

He had chosen as his text for the occasion, the fifth verse of the sixth chapter of the gospel according to St. Matthew: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men."

The good clergyman would have liked to take for his text merely the latter part of this verse, for in the depths of his honest heart, it seemed to him that this verse in its integrity ought to be interpreted thus: "When thou prayest, do not as the hypocrites do, neither pray in the temples nor in the streets," that is to say, "Pray not in public to be seen of men." And he knew very well that this interpretation of it was corroborated in the following verse, which says: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and pray to thy Father which is in secret."

The Holy Scriptures in English seem to be so written that each sect shall be able to take that which suits its theories, and reject all that does not. It is thus that the hundred and eighty-four religious beliefs of England are founded upon the Scriptures, and that out of the same Scriptures each of them condemns its hundred and eighty-three rivals.

Yet, in spite of this, all these self-styled seekers after the truth live in peace, in perfect harmony. The nation is so accustomed to liberty that religious eccentricity appears to them a simple and natural thing. But the ministers of all the denominations agree to differ from the Gospel on the matter of meeting together in public to pray. Their unanimity on this point is easy to understand. Indeed, what would become of the priests and the lawyers, if every man were free to plead his own cause before God and men? Besides, so long as man is human, he will always be pleased to have an occasion of advertising his virtue, and he who would make a short prayer in his closet with the door shut, makes a very long one in the temple, before his fellow-creatures whom he edifies with his piety.

* * * * *

The Vicar, with his head buried in his hands, was absorbed in the deepest reflections, when the door of the library was opened suddenly, and Mrs. Goodman entered hurriedly, a book in her hand.

This book was a copy of the New Testament, revised and corrected by the Commission for the revision of the Holy Scriptures.

"Well, this is a pretty state of things!" cried that lady breathlessly, as she dropped into an easy chair.

----"What is the matter, my dear?" asked the Vicar.

----"What is the matter! What is the matter indeed! A pretty question to ask! The matter is that we are ruined; that before very long, thanks to the bishops and the rest, whose business it is to look after the interests of our Holy Church, the country will soon be full of materialists and infidels."

----"Come, come; what is all this about, my dear?" said the reverend gentleman quietly.

----"What is it about! Ah! my dear, it is easy to see you are paid by the State, from the way in which you take things. There, read that, and see what you think of it. It's a very pretty state of things truly! What is it coming to? Who is to be trusted? We are betrayed, swindled, lost...."

----"But, my dear, once more, who is it you are so bitter against? I cannot see what can have put you into such a state of mind."

----"Ah! really! You don't see that, instead of keeping that precious phrase that sums up Christianity: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul,' the New Version has: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own life'?"

----"I see it very well; but read the reference: _or his soul_. You have not looked at the foot of the page."

----"That hesitation only makes the matter worse. The translators had much better have said frankly what they mean."

----"The Greek word _psuche_ signifies _soul_ as well as _breath_, _life_."

----"Much I care for your Greek," cried Mrs. Goodman, indignant. "Do your congregation know anything about Greek? What will they think of us? That for centuries past, the Church has been deceiving them and making them pay tithes for nothing. Can't you see that this change is tantamount to saying there is no hell? Just as well say that our Saviour never spoke of the other world, that everything He said applies to the life here below, and that His precepts were only given to teach the people to be happy in this world. It is frightful to think of! We must not be surprised at anything after this. The next thing I shall expect to see, is the bishops rallying round the Unitarians and denying the divinity of Christ. That there is no such place as purgatory, I am quite ready to admit; but if there is no hell, while I am in Heaven, where will the sinners be, my poor Barty? where will the sinners be?"

This little pet name, that the worthy lady only called her husband by on great occasions, made the good Vicar feel sure that his wife had come to him to seek some consolation. He accordingly set about trying to pour balm on her wounds.

"Calm yourself, my dear wife," he said to her; "calm yourself. To tell you the truth, I attach but a secondary importance to the New Testament, and you know it; this is between ourselves. We are Christians undoubtedly; but our glorious origin, traced from the Old Testament, is a title much more sacred to us. So that we are descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that we are the chosen people of the Lord, what matters anything else to us?"

And in this matter the reverend gentleman was right. The religion of the English is more Jewish than Catholic, and it might safely be affirmed that an Englishman of the old school would sooner suffer one to speak jokingly of any of the saints than of one of the characters of the Old Testament, even though it might be Mrs. Potiphar, or one of the ladies of the Lot family.

"No, my dear," continued the Vicar; "be sure that no harm can befall us. We are the just and holy nation, the heritage of the Lord."

----"That is all very well ... for the future world," replied Mrs. Goodman; "but for the present, I do not see how you are going to explain to the congregation a change that appears to me to overturn the structure of our Church completely. If we do not maintain our precepts, we are done for. The Church should be consistent. Look at the Pope: with his dogma of infallibility, he is still on his throne."

----"After all, my dear, if one did away with hell, there would be no great harm done, and our greatest dignitaries of the Anglican Church are of this opinion, you know."

----"Do away with hell!" cried Mrs. Goodman; "if you take that line, we may as well shut up the Church."

----"You excite yourself for nothing, my dear, and you are wrong to express yourself in such a way."

----"Protest then."

----"Against whom, against what would you have me protest? The authorities of the Church have decided the alteration; we subalterns have but to bow to their decision. Besides, I shall tell my congregation that in the New Version _life_ means future life."

----"Very good, Barty; a good idea, for, be sure of it, you can't get on without any hell: it is the fear of the devil that keeps the masses in submission."

----"My dear wife, I assure you once more, that if there is a hell, it matters not to us: the House of Israel--that is to say, the British nation--will be saved to the last soul."

----"And the others?"

----"What others?"

----"Why, the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Chinese, and the rest. What will become of them? Won't there be any of them in Paradise?"

----"A few perhaps, but in very inferior places, you may be sure."

----"Who dies will see," said Mrs. Goodman.

----"Just so; make yourself comfortable; calm yourself, and have no fear for the future. And now let me finish my sermon for to-morrow."

----"Don't talk to me of your sermons; you have enough of them, there in your cupboards, to preach from, for the rest of your days."

----"My dear, it is a sermon of my own composition that I am preparing."

----"That will be a treat for the congregation! Come, put away all that, and drive me to the station; the carriage is ready."

----"It is impossible, my love; I have several letters to write."

----"You can write them to-morrow."

----"You would not have me write letters on a Sunday!" cried the Vicar.

----"Can't you date them the day before? Really, Barty, I did not think you were so simple as that."

----"Besides," added the worthy Mr. Goodman, "I have several places to go to, a lot of bills to pay: the tradesmen are bothering me...."

----"Send them some tracts to remind them that humility and patience are Christian virtues."

----"That does not pay in these days."

----"Whose fault is it? How can you expect that those people will believe in you, when you don't believe in yourselves?"

----"My dear, my dear, I beg you will not renew that subject. You give me a headache. Come, you are right to make me go out; I will drive you to the station."

* * * * *

Of all the tasks Mrs. Goodman set her husband, the one the reverend gentleman dreaded most was driving out his model wife. The thought of being able to return alone, and finish his sermon in peace, however, made him put a cheerful face upon it.

The station was four miles distant from the vicarage, and part of the journey consisted of a long steep hill to climb.

Mrs. Goodman, in her quality of member and agent of the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, never failed to make her husband alight at the foot of the hill. "You are not going to make poor Bob drag you up?" said she: "get down and walk: you get stouter every day; a walk will do you good." The poor Vicar, heavy and asthmatical, alighted, and puffing, coughing, and breathless, he followed as best he could to the top of the hill, regretting as he went that husbands were not included among the animals protected by the Society.

Arrived at the station, he took a ticket, placed his wife comfortably in the corner of a carriage, and was about to quit the station, when that lady called out to him: "Barty, be sure you don't forget to walk when you come to the hill."

"Certainly, my dear," said the good parson, whom the sight of his wife, starting in a direction opposed to that of the vicarage, rendered facetious; "if you like, I'll put Bob in the carriage, and push behind ... and the Society for the Protection of Animals will award you a gold medal at least."

The engine whistled. The Vicar waved his hand to his wife, and returned to his carriage, promising himself to do the return journey at a good pace.

At the foot of the hill, Bob turned his head, according to his wont, to see if his load were going to obey the injunctions of his benefactrice; he even went so far as to bring up, in order to allow the Vicar to get down more comfortably; but that gentleman pretended not to understand the proceedings of the intelligent animal; he even administered to Bob two or three sharp strokes of the whip, which made him grow reflective. Mrs. Goodman's _protégé_ thought it prudent to step out a little more smartly, and in less than half an hour he had got over his four miles.

The Vicar had his horse put in the stable, the carriage in the coach-house, ordered tea to be taken to him in his library, and to his great satisfaction, was able to terminate the sermon that had been ruminating in his mind so long.

III.

In the parish of All Angels, the children of the poor went every Sunday to a Bible-class held in the church schoolroom.

The first class was under the direction of the Vicar's wife. Proceedings commenced at three with prayer; then a hymn was sung, and the classes began.

In these Sunday classes, passages of the Bible are read and explained to the children by the teacher.

On the Sunday in question, Mrs. Goodman had chosen as the subject of her lesson the twenty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. As soon as the hymn was over she began to read:

"_Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower...._

"_Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand._

"_The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet._"

"You have heard the marvellous words of the great prophet," cried the worthy lady. "Well, my dear children, Isaiah meant to say, that God would punish man's wickedness, vanity and sensuality, and all these prophecies have been fulfilled. That city of gold means Paris, the new Babylon; the crown of pride means France. The strong and mighty one is the Emperor of Germany, who, ever since the day on which he married his son to the daughter of our beloved queen, has had the blessings of the Lord showered upon him.

"This interpretation of the passage I have just read you was the one presented by the dear lamented Dr. Macleod to our gracious sovereign, and Her Majesty was pleased to consider that the words of Isaiah were quite wonderful for the way in which they seemed to describe France. What need have we of a surer authority?

"And, indeed, is it not easy to recognise at a glance that proud and perverse nation which does not even keep the Sabbath holy? Do you know, my dear children, that these Sabbath-breakers hold horse-races and go to theatres on Sundays? Yes, you can scarcely believe it--our upright, honest minds refuse to believe in such monstrous iniquity--yes, newspapers are printed, bought, and read on Sundays. I even saw once, though I could scarcely believe my eyes--I positively saw in the public gardens, on that sacred day, little boys and girls of the better classes playing with their hoops and dancing in front of their parents, who seemed to see no harm in it whatever. It is the abomination of desolation, and I do not hesitate to say it: the Jews and Mussulmans are better than such people; for, after all, if they do not worship the Saviour, at least they worship God. I prefer the savages, who worship the sun, to these infidels who worship nothing at all, and just go down on their knees before a few candles to save appearances."

----"Please, 'm," said one little maid timidly, "papa says that the French are Christians."

----"No, my child, they are papists, which is quite another thing. Most of them are nothing at all. Those who believe in the Pope give him money and receive of him, on a certain day fixed in advance, plenary indulgences that allow them, up to that time, to offend God as much and as often as they please. I am sure your papa would not apply the name of Christian to such pagans. But, make your mind easy, dear; I will go and talk with your papa one of these days.

"Then," continued Mrs. Goodman, "see what is the result: the day of vengeance and chastisement arrives. A handful of English soldiers annihilates millions of the French: the hordes of Bonaparte are overwhelmed by the few soldiers of the Duke of Wellington.

"And why?

"Ah, why! Because our noble soldiers believed in God and prayed to Him."

----"Oh! ma'am," then cried another little girl, "haven't those wicked French people any prayers?"

----"I can scarcely tell you, my dear child, but I doubt it very much. And even if they had," said the worthy lady, not in the least disconcerted, "you may be sure that the Lord has something else to do besides listening to such rubbish. For prayer to have any effect, the supplicant must have grace, that is, he must have received permission to lay his supplication at the feet of his Maker. And this grace we only,--we, a God-fearing nation, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we the chosen children of the Lord, have in abundance. We are the allies of the God of Israel who has said: 'The children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.' And again: 'Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.'

"Now, I ask you, who is it that observes the Sabbath? First, there are the Jews. Then the English and Americans. As I have already explained to you, and as the Vicar has many times proved to you in the pulpit, the Americans are none other than the tribe of Manasseh, and the Jews are all that remain of the perverse tribes of Judah and Levi. The English are therefore the children of the house of Israel. Yes, my children, it is a glorious fact, and you may well be proud of it. So keep your covenant with the Lord who will always recognise you by this sign. I know wicked children who laugh and play on Sundays. Avoid their bad example, and you will one day go to the realms of the blessed, where there reigns an eternal Sabbath."

The last phrase did not produce in Mrs. Goodman's pupils the enthusiasm she looked for. Many of them grew reflective over it, as visions of scoldings, punishments, solemn silence, stern looks, and tract-reading, presented themselves to their memory and formed anything but an attractive subject of contemplation.

One little girl even went so far as to burst into a torrent of tears on reaching home.

"What is the matter, my darling?" asked her mother.

----"Oh! mamma," cried the poor child, bathed in tears, "Mrs. Goodman says in heaven it's Sunday all the week."

----"Well, what then?"

----"Oh!" sobbed the distressed innocent, "if I am a very good girl all the week, shan't I be allowed to go down to hell to play with the little devils on Saturdays?"

* * * * *

It is time I should say that Mrs. Goodman is not at all an imaginary character. I have had the pleasure of enjoying the excellent lady's company many times. On these occasions, I have had explained to me how the history of Napoleon can be plainly read in the Apocalypse of Saint John, how all the great historical events, from the battle of Hastings down to that of Tel-el-Kebir are spoken of as inevitable by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets.

You can explain everything with the help of the Bible: as its name indicates, it is the book _par excellence_. I have heard educated people, apparently in possession of their mental faculties, tell me that the victories of General Wolseley in Egypt were foretold in the third chapter of Jeremiah and the eighteenth verse. I must tell you that this was before the successes of the Mahdi.

However, among all the prophets, it is Isaiah that bears off the palm. The Vicar of All Angels passed a whole evening in showing me the French Revolution under quite a novel aspect, by the aid of the sixty-six chapters of Isaiah.

Mrs. Goodman also taught history to her Sunday School class, after the same fashion, Bible in hand.

* * * * *

It seems to me an error to seek to put the religious convictions of children to the proof. Those castles of abstractions that they build out of obedience must give way at the first shock. The thousand little fibs that are told to children, with a worthy intention, no doubt, cannot fail sometimes to sow in their souls profound impressions and doubts that are not easily uprooted. I speak from the experiences of my own childhood.

It was on a Sunday, in the month of June, 1856, at the time of the grand _fêtes_ at Cherbourg. I was to make my first communion the Sunday following! Heaven knows how I prepared for it with all the fervour of my young soul; how I prayed constantly for faith; how I returned to the tribunal of penitence twice and thrice daily, fearing lest I might have left some small peccadillo unconfessed. On the Sunday in question, we were about thirty children assembled in the church for catechism. The _curé_, who was present, begged the priest to let him say a few words to us: "My dear children," he began, "I have a great piece of news to announce to you. His Majesty the Emperor is at present in Cherbourg. Next Sunday, the day of your first communion, he will be passing through this town, and he invites you all to dine with him." We looked at each other in silence, and if we had not been in such a sacred place, we should certainly have jumped with joy. As soon as I got home, I imparted the great news to my mother. My good mother, who saw that I was almost smacking my lips in advance over the thought of the _tartes à la crême_ that the Emperor could scarcely fail to offer us, and who was always of opinion that you should never disappoint children if you would gain their confidence, merely replied: "Really? it is an extraordinary thing! After all, it is a capital idea of the Emperor's! But unfortunately, emperors are folks whose time is very much occupied, and it may happen that he should have to return to Paris before being able to keep his engagement. But, make your mind easy, we will invite your aunt, godmother, and our friends, and we will celebrate the day worthily, so that you may not forget it, I will promise you that." My dear mother knew that we had been deceived. I had swallowed the pill confidently.

On the following Thursday, we met together again for catechism. Seeing the _curé_ among us, we expected he had come with some fresh announcement, and we lent an attentive ear to what might be coming. And indeed, no sooner had we all taken our seats, than he rose, and, addressing us, said: "My dear children, I have a great and glorious piece of news to tell you to-day. I told you last Sunday that the Emperor invited you all to dine with him on the day of your first communion. Well, it is something better than that: it is not the Emperor, it is God who on Sunday next will receive you at His table."

Was it the fault of the priest, or of children eleven years old, that, at this announcement, all our little round faces lengthened visibly? We had been imposed upon. That was the idea that we dared not confess to ourselves, though it was undoubtedly present in our minds.

I remember hearing my mother say, years afterwards, that she had never forgiven that priest for sowing seeds of doubt in my mind, at an age when confidence is unlimited and deceptions so acutely felt.

XX.

APOTHEOSIS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF JOHN BULL.

(Scenes of disappointment in Paradise in the year 19..)

_Jennie._--"My dear Susie! At last! How glad I am to see you!"

_Susie._--"At last! my dear: why _at last_? I came straight up ... without any hitch, as you may imagine."

_Jennie._--"Oh! of course ... I only thought ... that is, you used to long so after Paradise ... that I began to wonder that you were so long making up your mind to leave the vale of tears and misery: ... would you believe there were moments when I used to be almost afraid you would put an end to yourself?"

_Susie._--"Well, yes: I certainly used to long to be gone. But it is so hard to be sure that one is ready. No, I used to pray that I might be permitted to serve Him long on the earth, where He has so few servants; and I would say to myself: The longer I live the more good I shall be able to do."

_Jennie._--"Yes, I quite understand you, dear ... besides, between ourselves, it is all very well to run down that poor Earth, but it has its redeeming points, you know.... By the way, I must tell you, I have such an anxiety on my mind. Do you know, I have been searching everywhere for my husband for years ... I have been into every corner of the place, and there is not a soul whom I have not asked if the poor fellow had been seen.... He has not arrived yet, that is evident; ... and I can't help telling you that I begin to be dreadfully afraid...."

_Susie._--"Your husband, my love? He is getting on capitally: he is the picture of health, and seems to grow younger every day."

_Jennie._--"You don't mean it! Is it possible! I had been told he was inconsolable, and was wasting away. Poor dear! I fancy I see him now as he stood by my bedside. 'If you go, I shall not be long for this world,' he said to me."

_Susie._--"Ah! well, my dear, make your mind easy, he is better, he has got over it."

_Jennie._--"Heaven be praised! And yet--I know it's selfishness--but I should like to have him here with me."

_Susie._--"But has nobody told you he is married?..."

_Jennie._--"Married! I don't believe a word of it."

_Susie._--"It is true enough, though. I took tea with his wife not more than a fortnight ago."

_Jennie._--"Fancy the wretch! What a set the men are to be sure!... And what woman has been mad enough to tie herself to him? the old grumbler, old tyrant, old miser ... the...."

_Susie._--"Hush, my love; remember where you are.... Besides, between ourselves, I don't believe he is over happy."

_Jennie._--"Serve him right ... the idea ... at his age too.... Perhaps he thought he was going to be married for his good looks, the idiot!"

_Susie._--"At his age! He calls himself fifty-five...."

_Jennie._--"He tells falsehoods; he is sixty, and over.... Oh! if ever I come across him here!... I...."

_Susie._--"He has married a very religious woman ... she makes him go to every service ... he is a pattern to all his townsmen."

_Jennie._--"It just serves him right! but who is the woman?"

_Susie._--"Sarah Robinson."

_Jennie._--"What! the widow of Robinson, the chemist of High Street?"

_Susie._--"Just so."

_Jennie._--"And you say she is religious! Well well, she must have changed since my time, and no mistake. Of course, you know the stories that used to be told about her.... She was no better than she should be, my dear, that is certain ... and...."

_Susie._--"Well, she is a model of piety now."

_Jennie._--"Oh! enough of this subject. There, let us talk of something else.... Let me see, when was it you arrived here?"

_Susie._--"Yesterday morning, at twenty past eight. Everything seems so strange to me ... this calm ... but what I can't get over is to see the negroes, the Chinese, the savages; what a number of them are here! ... those that our missionaries converted, I suppose. What a blessed work, our foreign missions! Only I fancy all those converts ought to have a place ... how shall I explain myself? ... marked out for them. To speak candidly, I quite expected to see our glorious nation treated with a great deal more consideration than it seems to be."

_Jennie._--"Yes, isn't it strange? I can't understand it at all."

_Susie._--"Would you believe it, I had to wait two mortal hours at the gate yesterday morning, and, when at last my turn came, Saint Peter never even got up to welcome me ... and pay me a compliment or two?... It would have been nothing but polite, I am sure; for, after all, where would Paradise be without us? Who is it that proclaims the glory of God at the four corners of the universe, I should like to know?"

_Jennie._--"Yes, indeed; who but ourselves? I can assure you I am very disappointed. Where is the realisation of all the promises our dear minister used to hold out to us?... The kingdom of heaven is England's inheritance; we are the chosen of the Lord ... and I don't know what else.... It looks to me as if anybody could get in.... It is very mixed, to say the least. We are treated just like anybody else ... positively if I was not seated between a Cardinal and a Zulu at the Seraphim's concert last night!"

_Susie._--"Can it be possible?"

_Jennie._--"It is a fact ... I have even been assured ... but I'll never believe it unless I see it ... that there were.... But, just look how everyone is crowding towards the great entrance gate ... who can have arrived?"

Surely enough the noise of trumpets, tambourines, cornets, concertinas, a frightful hubbub, had just burst on the ears of the elect, who were rushing to the gate to find out the meaning of these sounds, so strange in those regions of rest and harmony. In the midst of the crowd of new-comers was to be seen a woman brandishing an umbrella, gesticulating, vociferating, and appearing to be in a state of great indignation. Saint Peter had just made his way through the agitated crowd.

_Saint Peter._--"My children, calm yourselves, I beg. And you, madam, come in quietly, please; we allow no such noises here. What is it you want?"

_Mrs. Bull._--"Well, I never! you seem to take a very high tone with me, I fancy; who are you to speak to me like that?"

_Saint Peter._--"I am Saint Peter; and you?"

_Mrs. B._--"Indeed! and what if you are? Do you think you are going to have it all your own way here? Do you know that I am a Field-Marshal of the Salvation Army?"

_Saint Peter._--"Madam; not so loud, pray."

_Mrs. B._--"Six thousand soldiers under my orders. We will see if I am to be treated anyhow. The idea! A pretty reception for a woman like me!"

_Saint Peter._--"Will you listen to me a moment?"

_Mrs. B._--"A contributor to the _War Cry_, the official gazette of the elect ... a million copies printed every week ... three-hundred thousand pounds receipts ... original inventor of the _blood-and-fire_ pomade and tooth paste ... admiral of the Salvation Fleet."

_Saint Peter._--"Can you spare a moment that I may put in...."

_Mrs. B._--"Barracks all over England ... allies all over the world."

_Saint Peter._--"Will you allow me to...."

_Mrs. B._--"It is easy to see that nobody reads the papers here, or you would all know who I am. Who am I indeed! (_turning to her suite_). Did you ever hear such a thing? Who am I?"

_Saint Peter._--"But, once more, madam...."

_Mrs. B._--"Wait a minute, I will just introduce you to my staff ... you will see who I am ... who we are.... Sallie, speak to the gentleman."

_Saint Peter._--"But I have no time to listen to...."

_Happy Sallie._--"I am the American tambourinist.... I rescue souls _tambour battant_."

_Mary Ann._--"I am Captain of the 4th detachment ... allow me to play you a hymn of my own composition" (_takes up her cornet_).

_Betsy._--"I am the solo-singer of Clapton Barracks; let me sing you something."

_Saint Peter._--"My good people, do you take these sacred regions for a Whitsuntide fair? Dear, dear! who sends me all these folks up here? Will you have done this moment; it's horrible!"

_Mrs. B._--"Now then, make room for my followers, and let us be shown to the Seraphs' Hall...."

_Saint Peter._--"My worthy friends, I am ready to forgive you. You have got into the wrong train: your tickets are for Bedlam.... Have the goodness to retire."

_Mrs. B._--"Retire! Ah! if the General were only here, we should not be treated like this. We call upon you to show us to the places that are reserved for us."

_Saint Peter._--"I do not know you."

_Susie._--"I play the Alleluiah trombone."

_Saint Peter._--"There they are, at it again! Go to Jericho, with your Alleluiah trombone, your tambourines, your field-marshal, your captains, and blood and fire soldiers.... Those English people will drive me mad.... Once more, will you move on? You see very well that you are causing an obstruction, there are elect behind you who cannot pass in.... Upon my word, those English people look upon Paradise as a British possession. (_All at once the sweetest music is heard; the sound of harps becomes more and more audible._) My friends, have the goodness to stand quite still for a few minutes in a respectful attitude, whilst these blessed ones are passing." (_Twelve seraphs, resplendent with light, advance, preceded by lutes and harps; they smile as they pass before Saint Peter; they continue on their way._)

_Mrs. B._--"Who are those blessed ones so dazzling with light?"

_Saint Peter._--"They are six-winged seraphs of the first hierarchy, who have been here nearly five hundred years; and I may take the opportunity of telling you that they have never given me the slightest trouble. Gentle, peaceful...."

_Mrs. B._--"But who were they on earth? To what sect did they belong?"

_Saint Peter._--"They are Incas, of the ancient empire of Peru."

_Mrs. B._--"What! savages! people who wear rings in their noses! Well, I never thought to be insulted like this."

_Saint Peter._--"A more virtuous people never existed on earth, madam; it is virtue put into practice that we reward here, and not fine-sounding theories. In our eyes, he who has given a drop of water and a morsel of bread to a poor fellow-creature is more worthy than he who has discovered a new interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. He who has done a good deed without ostentation, stands higher here than he who has sounded a trumpet, and gone to publish his virtue in the streets and temples. But I should only be wasting time if I tried to explain these things, which do not seem to be in your line. Consider yourselves very fortunate not to be turned out of doors with your trumpets, your drums, and all your noisy and warlike trappings ... and I will trouble you to pass on into the gardens to repose yourselves after your journey, and meditate upon the indulgence of...."

_Mrs. B._--"Well, this is the climax! A sermon to me...! (_to her companions_): Let us go in, my friends; and we must have patience, I suppose. The General cannot fail to be here before very long. We will then form a committee, and call an immense meeting of all the English people that are here ... we will see if it is not possible to place the keys of Paradise in better hands. (_To Saint Peter_): _Au revoir_, Saint Peter, we shall meet again."

* * * * *

While this little scene had been passing at the entrance of Paradise, two of our old friends had just met at the corner of one of the prettiest groves in the realms of the elect.

_Mrs. Goodman._--"My dear Bartie! It is you, at last!"

_The Reverend B. Goodman._--"Ah! my love, you here! How good it is to see a face one recognises! Come and sit with me a little on this seat. (_They sit down._) What a lot you must have to tell me!... Well?"

_Mrs. G._--"Well?"

_Rev. B. G._--"What a disenchantment, eh!"

_Mrs. G._--"If we had only known!"

_Rev. B. G._--"If we could only send a messenger down to tell all those worthy people!"

_Mrs. G._--"Well! and how about your theory of the ten tribes found? To hear you talk, my poor Bartie, there was going to be no room here for anybody but ourselves...."

_Rev. B. G._--"I can't make it out at all; it bewilders me. Just fancy, my dear, I arrived here last week in the company of a bishop. At the gate, Saint Peter asked us for our names and qualifications. I was not long getting through mine, of course; then up speaks the bishop, in his finest tones, and says: 'John Thomas, lord-bishop of * * *' 'Bishop!' replies Saint Peter, 'well ... never mind, you may come in all the same.' Now, what do you think of that _all the same_?"

_Mrs. G._--"Insolent in the extreme. Ah! my dear, that's nothing.... Ever since I have been here, I have had constant mortifications; my nerves are irritated every moment by what I see and hear--it is to be hoped I shall get used to it--but it is very trying.... Turn this way."

_Rev. B. G._--"What for?"

_Mrs. G._--"Don't look, I tell you; there are the Watsons just passing; I don't want to speak to them.... Fancy their being here! I am sure I always thought they would be cooked! ... rolling in riches, and yet putting threepenny bits in the collection-box! ... and refusing to subscribe to the old spire restoration fund. They got in cheaply, and no mistake!... It is all very well to talk, but the best way of proving your interest in a good cause is to put your hand in your pocket.... Ah! one sees strange things here.... I hope you mean to speak at the meeting, Bartie dear?"

_Rev. B. G._--"What meeting, my love?"

_Mrs. G._--"What meeting? Ah! my poor dear, don't you know anything about it? Really, one would think you had just fallen here from the moon.... How like you!... Alas! always the same apathy; you have not changed a bit. But thanks be, there are energetic people here, who have the grievances of their countrymen at heart ... we shall protest against the indifference that we meet with on all sides here. We shall call attention to all that we have done on earth, stand upon our rights, and get up a petition."

_Rev. B. G._--"I suppose you belong to the organising committee?"

_Mrs. G._--"I have placed all my energy at the disposal of the committee. Ever since I have been here I have been longing to devote my feeble powers to the revindication of our rights to the undivided heritage of the highest abode in the realms of the blessed.... Saint Peter, who, I am bound to say, is very obliging, has kindly consented to take the chair.... I have had such a great deal to do."

_Rev. B. G._--"As secretary?"

_Mrs. G._--"Exactly: the part of organising secretary is one that I have always had a great taste for, as you know ... one does not change at my age. Do you see all those people going towards the orange gardens? it is there that the meeting is to be held.... There are the Watsons coming back this way; ... they are evidently going to the meeting. Well, all I can say is, they must be bare-faced enough to go and protest ... however!... Look! positively, they have espied us.... Let us get up ... it is impossible to avoid them now."

_Mrs. Watson._--"Ah! it is our dear vicar! dear Mrs. Goodman, what a happy thing! at last, thanks to the initiative taken by zealous compatriots, we are to carry our complaints before the tribunal of justice.... In an hour the meeting begins.... Shall we walk together?"

_Mrs. G._--"With pleasure."

_Mrs. W._--"On the way we shall be able to talk of old times and the friends we left in our dear little town.... Ah! Mrs. Goodman, they little dream of what we are doing on their behalf."

_Mrs. G._--(_Aside to her husband_)--"What impudence! _we_ indeed!"

(_The group, now followed by an immense crowd, proceeds towards the orange gardens._)

GRAND DEMONSTRATION. INDIGNATION MEETING.

Saint Peter took the chair at eight o'clock precisely. In a few graceful and feeling remarks he explained the object of the meeting and then called upon the secretary to read to the audience the minutes of the last meeting of the organising committee.

_Mrs. G._--(_This lady on rising was greeted with three rounds of applause._)--"Blessed Saint, ladies and gentlemen. At its last meeting the temporary committee of organisation arrived at the following decision: 'Whereas from time immemorial, those of the elect who are of British origin have made fruitless complaints on the subject of the treatment which they meet with in Paradise, the committee decides upon holding a meeting of the said elect to take into consideration the best means of putting an end to such a regrettable state of things, a state of things which threatens to disturb the harmony of these blessed realms.'"

_The President._--"I call upon Miss Evvins to address the meeting."

_Miss Evvins._--"Against the fact that all nations seem to reign here, we have nothing to say. That the divine mercy should embrace even the most irreligious people, we can comprehend, and we bow to such a decision; but when we see people who were converted by our own paid missionaries, for instance, occupying places here higher than our own, and treated with respect that is not bestowed upon ourselves, we think it our duty to protest against such a state of things. If each one is to be rewarded according to his work we certainly do not receive our due. We might as well be mere Zulus." (_Groans and hisses._)

_A Zulu._--"My ancestors, it is true, practised virtue; but I can assure the honourable speaker, that since we made the acquaintance of the English, we have not been much better than they."

_Several voices._--"Turn him out!" (_The Zulu is seized upon and ejected._)

_Miss Evvins._--"It is by persuasion, and not by violent means, that we wish to obtain redress for our grievances...."

_Mrs. B._--"I ask to be allowed to say a few words."

_Miss E._--"We have drawn up a petition to this effect, which we shall ask you to sign, and which is worded as follows: 'Considering that the British nation is the most virtuous on earth, and that she alone sets an example to the world by her piety, her religious researches, her religious associations, her respect for petty nations, her chivalry towards oppressed peoples, her contempt for filthy lucre, her sobriety, and other no less virtuous qualities; the undersigned members of the great and glorious British family humbly ask that such virtue may receive the reward it deserves.'" (_Hear, hear._)

_The Rev. B. Goodman._--"I should like to propose an amendment, or rather to suggest a change in the wording of the petition that we have just heard read."

_The President._--"The Reverend Mr. Goodman will propose an amendment."

_Mrs. B._--"I asked leave to speak before the reverend gentleman."

_The President._--"We will hear you after."

_Mrs. B._--"I want to speak at once...."

_The President._--"I tell you that...."

_Mrs. B._--"I protest. It's a shame!"

_The President._--"But I tell you, you shall...."

_Mrs. B._--"I will speak all the same. You make a grand mistake, if you think my mouth is to be closed in that fashion. I can tell you all, that we shall obtain nothing by persuasion. Here, as well as in the world we have left, it is by strong measures and threats that one obtains one's ends." (_Order, order._)

_The President._--"You have already despised my authority. If you use threats, I shall refuse you permission to speak further...."

_Mrs. B._--"It is a swindle!" (_Order, order._)

_The President_ (_rising_).--"Retract the word _swindle_. Do you imagine yourself in Seven Dials?"

_Mrs. B._--"I shall retract nothing. If in a week's time, I am not placed on a throne resplendent with light, I shall make myself objectionable: I shall break the park railings, pull up the flowers, trample on the beds, and turn everything upside down.... I will keep you busy, I promise you. I have only just come.... I'll get up a meeting of my own, by-and-bye...."

_The President._--"I order the expulsion of the interrupter." (_After a great struggle, in which the lady, looking like a destroying angel, strikes out right and left, she is turned out, not without difficulty._)

_The President._--"Now that order is restored, I call upon the Reverend Mr. Goodman to address the meeting."

_Rev. B. G._--"In place of the words, 'Considering that the British nation is the most virtuous on earth,' I propose that the following be substituted: 'Considering that the British nation is none other than the lost ten tribes of the House of Israel, the holy nation chosen of the Lord.' Ladies and gentlemen, I am thoroughly convinced that...."

_A voice_ (_interrupting_).--"But, as the Lord reigns in these realms, would it not be much more simple to ask Him if we really are, as the reverend gentleman declares, His chosen people? It seems to me that, by adopting this course, a great deal of time and trouble might be saved."

_Several voices._--"Let the amendment be put to the meeting."

The amendment is voted almost unanimously.

The President announces that thirty millions, four hundred and ninety-five thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four persons have expressed the desire to address the meeting for the purpose of enumerating the different virtues of the British people in general, and the meritorious deeds of each one in particular. But, seeing that the hour is advanced, and that, besides, the petition is agreed to, he proposes to declare the meeting at an end.

After a unanimous vote of thanks to the President for the courtesy with which he acceded to the wishes of the Committee, and the kindness with which he promised to attend to the petition, the meeting broke up at a quarter to twelve.

XXI.

John Bull and his Island: Postscript.

Pauperism has been, for some time, the question of the day in England, the burning question, as they say over here. John is making theories.

Theories! he was wont to exclaim, the British nation can afford to laugh at theories. This is the remark that a Conservative, possessed of more pretension than foresight, made one day before Thomas Carlyle.

"My dear sir," replied the apostle of force in England, "the French nobility of a hundred years ago said they could afford to laugh at theories. Then came a man and wrote a book called the 'Social Contract.' The man was called Jean Jacques Rousseau, and his book was a theory, and nothing but a theory. The nobles could laugh at his theory; but their skins went to bind the second edition of his book."

Yes, John, my friend, you are quite right to make theories: it is high time. But do not neglect to put them into practice: open your museums and picture galleries on Sundays, and shut a few public-houses;[10] do not rest content with sending missionaries to your poor, to tell them that they, like you, may one day dwell in the mansions of the blessed; make them taste a few of the sweets of this life, amuse them, help them to shake off the stupefying influence of drink; teach them little by little that you do not mean to support them in idleness and drunkenness, and that Unions and other houses of refuge for old age are not instituted to encourage them to be careless and thoughtless for the morrow. Try to make thinking men of them; at present they are but slaves. Unfortunately for you, all these people can read. Beware of the day on which they get sober. Take care of your skin: it is not impossible that there may be yet a good deal of binding to be done.

[10] See Appendix (d).

* * * * *

"At the four corners of Trafalgar Square, the London _Place de la Concorde_, four pedestals are to be seen. Three are surmounted by statues, the fourth is waiting."[11]

[11] _John Bull et son Ile_, p. 85.

It is waiting still.

If England is short of heroes, let her install General Booth on the fourth pedestal; but for goodness and symmetry's sake, let her set someone upon it.

* * * * *

The statue of Queen Anne, that stands in front of St. Paul's Cathedral, in the heart of the City, has been wanting a nose for the past five or six years. For a shilling she might be provided with a beauty. Yet no; the fat aldermen of Beefsteakopolis, who dine at three or four guineas a head, and have lately spent twelve thousand pounds upon a ridiculous and hideous monument that stands at the entrance to the part of London that is under their jurisdiction, refuse a nose to the sovereign in whose reign lived the great Marlborough, hero of Blenheim and Malplaquet. Yet nobody can doubt that a nose would be very useful to the poor thing, neglected by John Bull, and stuck up there, in one of the most furiously draughty spots in London.

* * * * *

"One of the largest tea houses is not ashamed to publish the following advertisement in all the public thoroughfares and railway stations of England:--'_We sell at three shillings a pound the same tea as we supply to dukes, marquises, earls, barons, and the gentry of the country._' The poor viscounts are left out in the cold: it is a regrettable oversight."[12]

[12] _John Bull et son Ile_, p. 61.

The oversight has been repaired; I congratulate both the viscounts and the firm. Who says books serve no purpose? Why, princes and bishops have been added. If only Her Majesty would be kind enough to give Cooper Cooper's tea a trial!

* * * * *

"The day the House of Lords reject any important measure passed by the Liberals, it will have dealt its own death-blow."[13]

[13] _Ib._, p. 242.

The operation is being performed the House having just rejected Mr. Gladstone's Franchise Bill. If it has not dealt its own death-blow, it has had a narrow squeak!

How ill-inspired the lords must be in seeking a quarrel with John Bull, who has no wish to do them any harm! If I were a peer of this realm, I fancy I could make myself the most amiable and submissive being in the world. I would again say to John: "Now, look here, my dear fellow, you know the House of Lords is convenient in one way, because it spares you the trouble of holding two elections. It will always be my endeavour to make myself agreeable. I have forty or fifty thousand a year, and if you think I am going to be angry at anything the Commons may do, why, you make a huge mistake. I know I am a fifth wheel to the State coach, but you are too gentlemanly to remind me of it, if I do not make you feel that a fifth wheel can sometimes play the part of a _bâton dans les roues_. I will imitate the good example set by the Queen: when you want the Liberals, you shall have them; when you want the Conservatives, you shall have them. You, on your part, must continue to hold me in respect, and call me the _noble lord_ as hard as ever; I shall, as before, take precedence of intellect and wealth; I shall patronise literature and art, by scattering among my countrymen--for a consideration--the valuable libraries and art treasures left me by over-conservative forefathers, and protect the drama by keeping more actresses than ever. Surely, old friend, we ought to be able to rub along together."

If the House of Lords should succumb, it will have the consolation of knowing that its ruin has been wrought by its most ardent friends, and not by its enemies. For that matter, a Government or Constitution generally does die at the hands of its friends _à outrance_.

I also said: "The two great political parties are of about equal strength.... The Irish party however, grows more national every day, and the Government may before long have to reckon seriously with it."[14]

[14] _John Bull et son Ile_, p. 243.

The failure of the Egyptian campaign has greatly diminished the popularity of the Liberal party, and it is more than probable that, if it obtain the victory in the next election, its majority in Parliament will be reduced to about a score. The partisans of Irish autonomy number forty: it therefore seems pretty clear that Mr. Parnell, the head of the Irish Home Rule party, will ere long be Viceroy of England. Friend John will have to choose between two rather bitter pills: granting Ireland her independence, or conquering the Sister-Isle _vi et armis_. The prospect is not a brilliant one.

THE END

APPENDIX.

(_A._)--At the Dublin Commission Court, before Mr. Justice Lawson, on Saturday, the 7th June, 1884, Brian Dennis Molloy, a wretched-looking man of 45, son of a magistrate for the Co. Mayo, and who, on the death of his father, will become entitled to £1,000 per annum, was indicted for bigamy. The prisoner has married five times, the last person with whom he went through the ceremony being his own first cousin, a lady of about 40, Miss Robertina Greene, who has an income in her own right of £400 per annum. There was only one formal charge against the prisoner. Several of his wives were in court, and towards them he assumed a most amusing expression, pretending affection for them by sighing audibly as he recognised them. He said, "My Lord, might I sit down? I feel very weak; I am not able to stand; I have been in prison for the last two months." This permission was accorded. Mr. Stephen Curtis, barrister, appeared for the accused.--Mr. M'Caffrey, assistant clerk of the Crown, then read the indictment against the prisoner for having on the 16th August, 1871, at Brownlow-hill, Liverpool, married Elizabeth Mary Clancy while his lawful wife, Jane Molloy (_née_ Murray), was still alive. The latter was in court--a grey-haired woman, who seemed to feel very much her position. The prisoner pleaded not guilty. Mr. Curtis said he would be able to shorten the case, for substantially their defence was that the prisoner was insane. He had always been a person of weak intellect, and had often been in a state of dangerous lunacy, having been four times in lunatic asylums, both in this country and on the Continent. The prisoner belonged to a most respectable family, amongst whom there had been instances of insanity.[15]--Dr. Banks was examined, and deposed that he had been physician to the Prisoner's family for a number of years. He declined to answer with regard to other members of the family; but with regard to the accused he said that at one time he was labouring under symptoms of insanity, and had been placed in a private lunatic asylum. He also understood that he had been confined in two lunatic asylums in Bruges, and that he escaped from one recently.--Mr. Justice Lawson: What do you think of his mind now? Witness: I think he is an imbecile. He is of very weak mind.--Mr. Curtis: Do you think he is capable of discerning right from wrong?--Witness: Certainly not as regards his matrimonial alliances (laughter).--Serjeant O'Brian:--Oh, we believe the man to be insane; but I never heard of a more captivating character (laughter). No less than four ladies have succumbed to his winning influence. Here Miss Greene, who had been intently reading a newspaper during the proceedings, looked up and smiled, whilst another of the ladies, Miss Cassidy, laughed aloud.--Mr. Justice Lawson: There is no accounting for taste (laughter).--Serjeant O'Brian: You know, my Lord, when men are afflicted women are the ministering angels (laughter).--Mr. Justice Lawson directed the Jury to find that the Prisoner was insane.--The Prisoner was found guilty of the charge alleged, and on the verdict being entered the Jury found that the Prisoner was insane at the time he went through the ceremony of marriage. He was then ordered to be detained in an asylum during the pleasure of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant.--When leaving the dock Molloy, who himself looked the picture of misery, smiled to each of the women.--An extraordinary passage at arms took place between two of Molloy's "wives" during the interval when the Court was at luncheon. When the Prisoner was sent down to the cells Miss Robertina Greene, the last of the ladies who changed her name for Molloy, requested permission to speak to her "husband," but the request was refused. Miss Clancy, another of the ladies, had been on a similar mission, and with like ill-success. She was standing outside the cell, close to Miss Greene, when the latter turned round and poured a torrent of abuse on her. She said that most of Miss Clancy's clothes belonged to her (Miss Greene). Miss Clancy, a good-humoured looking girl, merely smiled at this statement, several of her friends joining in the laughter.

[15] No doubt a man who marries five times is mad; but for the comic facility with which marriage can be contracted in England, such scandalous scenes would never happen.

(_B._)--HOUSE OF COMMONS (1884).

_Assaults on Women._

Mr. Macfarlane asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention had been called to a case tried at the Thames Police-court, in which a man named Joseph Dennis was found guilty of assaulting Norah Driscoll by striking her in the right eye and knocking her down. While on the ground he lifted her head up by the hair and dashed it on the pavement, and kicked her on the left side. She became unconscious, and was discovered in that condition by a policeman. At Poplar Hospital it was found that two of her ribs were bent in. Mr. Saunders fined the prisoner ten shillings and ten shillings compensation; and, if he proposed to amend the law relating to brutal assaults.

Sir W. Harcourt.--I am not aware that there is any defect in the law. Judges and magistrates have the power to inflict severe sentences in cases of brutal assaults, but, of course, they are not compelled to do so unless circumstances require; and I have no power to overrule their discretion by saying that magistrates or judges should pass higher sentences than they think fit to do.

Mr. Macfarlane gave notice that when the Bill of the hon. member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals got into Committee, he should move to include women in the schedule (laughter).

(_C._)--In case it should appear incredible that an Englishman should say grace before taking a glass of grog, I give the following anecdote, the veracity of which I vouch for.

A clerical friend of mine, Vicar of the Parish of ----, and late professor of mathematics at one of the great English military colleges, was one evening taking a glass of whisky and water with a Presbyterian minister. Before carrying his glass to his lips, the latter suggested to his companion that one of them should repeat grace.

"Not over whisky and water, my friend, it would be a farce," answered the Vicar.

----"My congregation would be ashamed of me if I took a glass of whisky without first saying grace," said the Presbyterian.

----"Now, just see how congregations differ," said the other; "mine would be ashamed of me, if I said a prayer over a glass of toddy."

Another anecdote, while I am on the subject of grace-saying. This one is an old English veteran.

An evangelistic parson and a Quaker were seated at table together in the dining-room of an hotel. The evangelist, seeing a chance of displaying his piety, said to the quaker: "Had we not better say grace?"

----"Friend," replied the quaker, "if you like, we can be silent a few moments."

Be silent a few moments! that is rather out of the line of the evangelist; he does not like to hide the light of his piety under a bushel.

(_D._)--SOUTHWARK POLICE COURT.

(_8th August, 1884._)

A respectable-looking working man applied to his Worship under the following circumstances. He said he had been working with a number of other men at a wharf in the neighbourhood of Tooley-street, and at the finish of their labour they were paid, and they were given two tickets for beer to be obtained at a public-house in the neighbourhood. He demanded his full wages, as he had no wish to go to a public-house; but the foreman refused to give him the money. He wanted to hear whether it was a legal transaction.--Mr. Bridge asked him if he was paid in a public house.--Applicant replied in the negative. They were paid in the office.--Mr. Bridge asked if the publican refused to give them money for their tickets.--Applicant replied that the clerk had told them the tickets were for beer. They were made out for a certain public-house.--Mr. Bridge advised them to go to the proprietor of the works and demand the money.--Applicant said they had done so, and the foreman had refused to pay it; he told them they should keep the tickets. He considered it a great hardship upon sober workmen that they should be compelled to accept beer tickets as their wages.--Mr. Bridge thought so too, and told him he might have summonses against the foreman and the publican, but he could not promise him success, as he had doubts as to the construction of the Act of Parliament.[16]

[16] _In harvest time, it is still legal for farmers to make their labourers drink part of their wages._

PRESS OPINIONS OF _John Bull and his Island._ (FIFTY-SECOND THOUSAND.)

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==> +----------------------+ | Midget folio.] | | Quads | | _For | | Authors, Editors | | & Devils_ | | edited by | | AND: W. Tuer. | | ---- | | 1884 | | ---- | | London: | | Field & Tuer; | | Simpkin: Hamilton. | +----------------------+

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+--------------------------+ | | | Field & Tuer, | | | | PRINTERS & PUBLISHERS, | | | | The Leadenhall Press, | | | | _LONDON_. | | | +--------------------------+

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MYRA'S JOURNAL of DRESS and FASHION

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=MYRA'S JOURNAL= is the most ladylike and economical Fashion Magazine in the world; its increasing circulation in the United Kingdom, the Colonies, Empire of India, and the United States, attests its success and popularity.

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=ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM PARIS.= By the Comtesse de B----.

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=HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR THE ALTERATION OF DRESSES= in a Fashionable and Economical manner.

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[Illustration: TRADE MARK]

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[Illustration: China Painting COLORS and MATERIALS]

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GREENSILL'S celebrated MONA BOUQUET

[Illustration: TRADE MARK]

THE ONLY GENUINE, THE SWEETEST & MOST DURABLE PERFUME EXTANT.

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Just Published, New Edition, revised and extended, price 2/-, handsomely bound.

JOHN BULL'S NEIGHBOUR IN HER TRUE LIGHT.

_Being an Answer to some recent French Criticisms._ By A BRUTAL SAXON.

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THE GOLDSMITHS' HALL-MARKED JEWELLERY COMPANY, 95, STRAND, and at BEAUFORT BUILDINGS, LONDON, W.C.

Warranted Real Gold, Hall-Marked.

[Illustration]

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Price 21/-, registered, post free.

Warranted Real Gold, Hall-Marked.

[Illustration]

WARRANTED REAL DIAMONDS.

No. 6a.--Lady's Buckle Ring, real gold, hall-marked, set with two real diamonds of singular purity and great lustre.

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THE THOROUGH WASHER With Wringer & Mangler Combined.

[Illustration]

Will wash from three to ten times as many clothes in a given time as any other Machine in the Market.

Thirty Shirts, or a mixed quantity, twelve or fourteen pounds in weight, can be THOROUGHLY and EASILY Washed in three or four minutes in the THOROUGH WASHER by any Child ten years old.

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The THOROUGH WASHING MACHINE COMPANY, BURNLEY, LANCASHIRE.

[Illustration]

PATENTED.

An Eminent Medical Practitioner Writes:--

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Approved for accouchement and general use. A desideratum of the highest importance for health. Increased cleanliness. Less liability to chill. Diminution of risks of disease. No washing. Convenience in travelling. The Towels are sold at 1/- and 2/- per dozen, and can be obtained of Ladies' Outfitters the world over, or sample packets of one dozen will be forwarded by Parcels Post for 1/3, or 2/3, and of six dozen, 6/6 and 12/6, from the Patentees:

SOUTHALL BROS., Bull Street, BIRMINGHAM. Wholesale Agents: SHARP, PERRIN & Co., LONDON.

_For protection against useless and injurious imitations, the label on each packet bears the signature of the Patentees._

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"THE BLOOD PURIFIER."

Old Dr. Jacob Townsend's SARSAPARILLA

[Illustration]

Has been long used by the Medical Profession in all Skin and Blood Diseases. Pimples, Gout, Scurvy, Sores on the Neck and Legs, Dropsy, Impaired Health, and for cleansing the system of all impurities, which, when suffered to remain, surely destroy life.

[Illustration]

G. C. Kernott M.D., London, says:--"I strongly recommend it in cutaneous diseases and all impurities of the blood."

Read the following letter of a distinguished Churchman:--"The Hon. the Dean of Lismore requests Dean, Steel & Co. will send him two bottles of their Old Dr. Jacob Townsend's Sarsaparilla. The Dean has no objection to their publishing that he has found their Sarsaparilla very useful in his family."

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OLD DR. JACOB TOWNSEND'S SARSAPARILLA PILLS

Are highly recommended for Bilious Affections, Indigestion, Liver, and Stomach Complaints.

1s. 1½d., 2s. 9d., and 4s. 6d., of all Chemists.

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TURNER'S TAMARIND COUGH EMULSION.

"_It is a Pleasant and Elegant Preparation._"

1s. 1½d. and 2s. 9d. per bottle.

[Illustration]

Saving 7½d. in larger size.

EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.

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AGENTS--BARCLAYS, 95, Farringdon Street; HOOPER, London Bridge; SANGERS, 489, Oxford Street; DUNCAN, FLOCKHART & CO., Edinburgh; APOTHECARIES CO., Glasgow. All Wholesale Houses, and any Pharmacist or Chemist in the kingdom.

J. A. TURNER, Pharmacist, LIVERPOOL.

BEWARE OF IMITATIONS!

BROWN'S PATENT "DERMATHISTIC" CORSET

BONES, BUSKS AND SIDE STEELS PROTECTED BY LEATHER.

[Illustration]

SOLD EVERYWHERE. Avoid Worthless Imitations.

The _QUEEN_, November 17th, says: "'There is nothing like leather,' and the novel idea of covering with kid those parts which wear out first, seems a most practical idea. The DERMATHISTICS are shapely, neatly sewn, and the leather adds but little to their weight."

_MYRA_, December 1st, says: "An ingenious method for ensuring durability. The leather adds in no way to the bulk, while it gives a decided added support to the figure, besides preventing wear. They are very comfortable."

_YOUNG LADIES' JOURNAL_, May 1st, says: "The DERMATHISTIC CORSET is elegant in form, light in weight, and marvellously strong, and is particularly adapted to Ladies who ride, play at Lawn Tennis, or who are fond of Boating."

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BLACK AND ALL COLOURS,

No. 1. No. 2. No. 3. No. 4. 5/11. 7/11. 10/6. 15/6.

EVERY PAIR STAMPED.

CATALOGUE FREE.

BY ROYAL

[Illustration]

LETTERS PATENT

[Illustration]

CATALOGUE FREE.

_For Measurement: Circumference of Abdomen and Hips._

BAILEY'S PATENT ABDOMINAL BELTS.--Highly commended by all the Medical Papers. Several hundred unsolicited testimonials have been received from Medical men and others. Undoubtedly the greatest improvement ever effected. The hips are free. "Cannot shift or ruck up." Self-adjusting. Price 45_s._, 35_s._, 25_s._--Address the Superintendent, the Ladies' Department. New Catalogue free.

BAILEY'S ELASTIC STOCKINGS.--Accurately fitted, upon which the utility of these articles entirely depends. Strong, light, and porous. Cotton, 5_s._, 6_s._ 6_d._; Silk, 7_s._ 6_d._, 10_s._ 6_d._, 14s. 6_d._, 17_s._ 6_d._ each. For measurement send the circumference at calf, ankle, and instep. New Catalogue free.

BAILEY'S TRUSSES.--Covered in Gum Elastic, indestructible, perfectly impervious, and very cheap, suitable for Infants or the bath. (The necessity of wearing a Truss, especially in a warm bath, is not generally understood.) Trusses with or without springs. Every known description manufactured on the premises. Trusses repaired and recovered. The most difficult cases are courted. New Catalogue free.

BAILEY'S IMPROVED CHEST-EXPANDING BRACES.--Invaluable for growing children. Price 12_s._ 6_d._ State age. New Catalogue free.

BAILEY'S AIR AND WATER BEDS.--On Sale or Hire. Crutches, Enema Apparatus, &c. New Catalogue free.

W. H. BAILEY & SON, 38, Oxford Street, London, W.

[Illustration] <== REGISTERED TRADE MARK.

DIRECT FROM THE LOOM TO THE CONSUMER

AT A GREAT SAVING TO THE PURCHASER!

Ladies, send letter or post card, and you will receive, POST FREE, Sample Patterns, with Prices, of all the LEADING NOVELTIES OF

DRESS FABRICS BY THE BRADFORD Manufacturing Company, BRADFORD, YORKSHIRE.

The B. M. Co., by trading direct with the public, have effected a revolution in the Styles and Fabrics of Dress Materials. Carriage Paid to any part of the United Kingdom on all orders over £1. The Century Cashmeres, as exhibited at the Health Exhibition, are in ever-increasing demand. Be particular to address in full; please write at once, mention John Bull's Womankind.

DINNEFORD'S MAGNESIA

[Illustration]

For over Forty Years the Medical Profession have approved of this pure Solution as the best remedy for Acidity of the Stomach, Heartburn, Headache, Gout and Indigestion; and as the safest aperient for delicate Constitutions, Ladies, Children and Infants.

_SOLD BY CHEMISTS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD._

CAUTION--See that "DINNEFORD & Co." is on every Bottle and Label.

_The Best, Quickest, & Most Agreeable Remedy for_ RHEUMATISM, BRONCHITIS, SORE THROAT, NEURALGIA, LUMBAGO, &c., IS

SMEDLEY'S CHILLIE PASTE.

IT GIVES INSTANT RELIEF AND DOES NOT BLISTER.

If applied when the first symptoms appear, one application will usually effect a complete cure and avert what might otherwise be a severe illness.

In 1s. 6d. and 2s. 9d. Bottles of all Chemists, or post free from the Sole Proprietors,

HIRST, BROOKE & HIRST, LEEDS.

SMITH'S COLCHESTER DIGESTIVE OR LIVE-LONG ==> CANDY. <==

No Household should be without this most valuable and PALATABLE DIGESTIVE STIMULANT. A small piece taken after a meal is an effectual PREVENTATIVE to INDIGESTION, or taken at bed-time, by its warmth-giving and Stomachic properties, PROMOTES SLEEP. A small piece dissolved in the mouth when exposed to damp and cold WARMS the CHEST, and prevents those injuries which arise from CHILLS. It is invaluable to all SPORTSMEN.

The Marquis of Waterford writes (in 1884):--"I find your Candy most useful."

_At 1s. 1½d., 1s. 9d., and 4s. 6d. (post, 1s. 4d., 3s., and 5s.), of all Chemists._

Be careful to buy only that prepared by

J. C. SHENSTONE, Manufacturing Chemist, COLCHESTER.

SOLD BY THE PRINCIPAL DRUGGISTS.

JACKSON'S =INCENSE= SPILLS.

A sparkling means of incensing a domicile, and of exorcising evil smells.

An Enchanter's little wand, that on being fired becomes to the receptive as a Medium which quickens the fancy, be its mood grave or gay, kindly leading the captive to that ladder, the top of which reaches through the clouds to the borders of Fairyland.

IN BOXES AT 6d., OR BY POST SEVENPENCE.

JACKSON'S CEMENT

'A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.'

[Illustration]

JACKSON'S CHINESE DIAMOND CEMENT

FOR BROKEN CHINA, GLASS, EARTHENWARE, ORNAMENTS, TOYS &c.

IN BOTTLES AT 6d. & 1s.

[Signature]

Grandma's China.

JACKSON'S _CHINESE DIAMOND_ =CEMENT=.

Surpasses in neatness, in strength, in cheapness, and retains its virtues in all climates. It has stood the test of time, and in all quarters of the Globe.

In Bottles at 6d. and 1s., by post 1/2.

JACKSON'S =RUSMA=.

For the removal of Hair from the Arms, Neck, or Face, as well as Sunburn or Tan from the Skin.

The activity of this depilatory is notable. It works without noise. It leaves a whole skin and a clean complexion.

In Bottles at 1s., by post for 1/2.

_FROM THE LABORATORY OF THOMAS JACKSON, Strangeways, MANCHESTER._

Window Blinds! Window Blinds!

==> Use the Patent Metallic Enamelled <==

=Venetian Window Blind=.

ALWAYS CLEAN. PREVENTS INFECTION. CHEERFUL.

MORE DURABLE THAN ANY OTHER.

By Washing can be made to look Equal to New after Years of Wear.

_Send for Testimonials, Prices, and Estimates to_

Hodkinson & Clarke, Limited,

WHO ARE MANUFACTURERS OF

The Latest Improved and Most Artistic Window Blinds.

Venetians, Rollers, Cane, and Stained and Painted Glass Blinds.

----------------------------------------------------------- Canada Works, | 2, Chiswell St., | Minster Buildings, Small Heath, | Finsbury, | 12, Church St., BIRMINGHAM. | LONDON. | LIVERPOOL.

"WHEN GEORGE THE FOURTH WAS KING,"

Gold Medal, Adelaide, 1881.

=Needham's Polishing Paste.=

Order of Merit, Melbourne, 1880.

Diploma of Merit, Vienna, 1873.

Was first introduced to the Public.

[Illustration]

It is the Oldest and Best Preparation in the Market for Cleaning and Polishing

=BRASS, COPPER, TIN, BRITANNIA METAL, ETC.=

Pickering's Furniture Polish, Plate Powder, Knife Powder, Brunswick Black, Razor Paste.

SOLD BY CHEMISTS, GROCERS, IRONMONGERS.

_Joseph Pickering & Sons, SHEFFIELD._

"=JOHN BULL'S WOMANKIND="

who buy Cod Liver Oil should always have Peter Möller's.

=Peter Möller= is the Inventor of the Process used, and Manufacturer of =Cod Liver Oil= _only_. His attention is given solely to the preparation of this invaluable medicinal food in its highest state of perfection, and the measure of his success is shewn by the award of NINETEEN FIRST PRIZES at FIFTEEN EXHIBITIONS. PETER MÖLLER was THE ONLY MANUFACTURER to whom TWO GOLD MEDALS were awarded at the International Fisheries Exhibition for =Cod Liver Oil=.

It is sold in _Capsuled_ Bottles _only_ by Chemists, Grocers, &c.

Newest Invention! Greatest Novelty!

THE =Y & N= PATENT DIAGONAL SEAM =CORSET=.

[Illustration]

_Patented in England and on the Continent. Will not split in the Seams nor tear in the Fabric. Exquisite Model. Perfect Comfort. Guaranteed Wear._

MADAME MARIE ROZE writes:--"I have very much pleasure in stating that the two pairs of Corsets you have made for me are a great success. They fit perfectly, and are far superior in every way to all the English and French Corsets I have tried."--Yours truly, MARIE ROZE MAPLESON.

_LE FOLLET_ says:--"A novel invention in Corsets admirably calculated to prevent the very disagreeable occurrence of split seams. The cut is very good and becoming, and may be adapted to any figure with advantage."

_THE QUEEN_ says:--"These Corsets are a new departure. The material is cut on the cross, and the component parts being also arranged diagonally, the seams have no strain. They are admirably modelled, exquisitely neat and strong, and the workmanship all that could be desired."

Beware of worthless imitations.

Every genuine Y & N Corset is stamped "Y & N Patent Diagonal Seam Corset, No. 116" in oval.

Gold Medal, New Zealand Exhibition, 1882; GOLD MEDAL, HIGHEST AWARD FOR CORSETS, LONDON INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION, 1884.

Sold by all Drapers and Ladies' Outfitters.

Corner's Patent

=Cinturon de Cuero= =CORSET.=

[Illustration]

LADIES who appreciate a GOOD FITTING CORSET, that will bear any strain without stretching in the waist, or becoming unshapely through wear, will find that the "CINTURON DE CUERO," or LEATHER WAIST CORSET, has been admirably designed to meet both these requirements.

The LEATHER is used in such a way that it forms a BAND OR BELT, and, while rendering the waist perfectly unstretchable, imparts a charming sense of comfort to the wearer; the original size and shape of the Corset being thus always retained, gives an elegant appearance to the figure, and considerably increases the durability.

BLACK AND ALL COLOURS, 5s. 6d. to 15s. 6d.

_From Drapers and Ladies' Outfitters throughout the Kingdom, through the principal Wholesale Houses._

=SWEARS & WELLS'=

CELEBRATED OUTFITS FOR SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES.

MESSRS. S. & W. (Prize Medallists Paris Exhibitions, 1867 and 1878) respectfully draw the attention of Parents and Guardians to the unrivalled facilities their Establishment affords for fitting out Young Gentlemen for Private and Public Schools and Colleges, as the Stock on view comprehends every requisite first-class article of attire and utility, and the well-known reputation of the Firm as Juvenile Outfitters is a guarantee that the goods, specially selected and enumerated in the following list, possess all the necessary qualifications for their various purposes:

Socks Knickerbocker Hose Underclothing Bathing Drawers Sponges and Bags Shirts Collars, Cuffs Collar Boxes Gloves Boots and Shoes Travelling Rugs Portmanteaus Ties, Scarfs Neckerchiefs Scarf Pins Studs, Links Braces, Belts Hand Bags Towels, Sheets Pillow Cases Leggings Pocket Handkerchiefs Umbrellas Knives Suits for Best Wear Suits for School Wear Suits for Cricketing Suits for Boating Suits for Football Suits for Riding Pea Jackets Overcoats Dressing Gowns Hats, Caps Hat Cases

S. & W.'s Students' Celebrated Solid Leather Dressing Cases, with Warranted Fittings,

27s. 6d. and 34s. each.

Inventory of Clothes required for the various Public Schools, Fashion Sheets, Patterns of Materials, and Measurement Forms forwarded Post Free.

=NEW DEPARTMENT FOR BOOTS AND SHOES.=

(Boots and Shoes for Infants, Children, Ladies and Gentlemen.)

MESSRS. SWEARS & WELLS, in compliance with the continuous request of many of their Patrons, have the gratification of announcing to their Customers the opening of a SHOW ROOM for the Sale of Boots and Shoes. This arrangement completes their series of Departments, and thereby enables them to supply entire Outfits for Schools and Colleges, also for their numerous connections in India, the Colonies, the United States, and Foreign Countries.

DEPARTMENTS:

Hosiery (Children's, Ladies', and Gentlemen's), Glove (Children's, Ladies', and Gentlemen's), Shirts and Collars (Children's and Gentlemen's), Tie and Scarf, Parasol, and Umbrella; Juvenile Tailoring, Hat & Cap; Girls' Costume; Infants' and Ladies' Underlinen; Children's, Ladies', and Gentlemen's Boots and Shoes.

192, REGENT STREET, W.

_MORSONS'_ _PREPARATIONS OF_ =PEPSINE=

Highly recommended by the Medical Profession

=FOR INDIGESTION.=

As Wine in Bottles at 3s., 5s. & 9s.; Lozenges, 2s. 6d. and 4s. 6d.; Globules, 2s., 3s. 6d., and 6s. 6d.; and Powder as "Medicinal Pepsine," at 2s. 6d. and 4s., and "Porci," a more concentrated preparation than the Medicinal, at 4s. 6d. each. Sold by all Chemists.

The popularity =Pepsine= has acquired as almost a specific for =Chronic Dyspepsia=, =Indigestion=, =&c.=, is due to the fact that it is the nearest possible production of the active principle of the gastric juice of the stomach. Unfortunately, like all other inventions of a like nature, =Pepsine= has been not slightly discredited by the spurious Manufactures that have been issued from time to time; it is therefore necessary as a guarantee of its efficacy to see that each bottle bears the Makers' name.

THE MOST EFFICACIOUS TONIC.

=FER BRAVAIS=

TASTELESS, AND NEITHER STAINS NOR INJURES THE TEETH.

DOES NOT CONSTIPATE or DISTURB THE DIGESTION.

[Illustration]

_London Medical Record_, March 15, 1877, says:--"'Bravais' Iron' is tasteless, free from styptic character, and appears in the most simple state of combination, that is to say, merely united with oxygen and water, without the presence of acids. It is a most energetic preparation. It is the beau ideal of a ferruginous tonic. We regard it as a therapeutic of great value."

Invaluable in all cases of general weakness or debility, and is taken with the greatest facility on a small piece of sugar or bread, or in a glass of wine before meals.

Sold by all the PRINCIPAL CHEMISTS and DRUGGISTS, in Bottles in portable Card Cases, with Drop Measure complete, =3s.= and =4/6= each.

_Pamphlets, with full Particulars and Testimonials, Post Free on application to the_

=Agency and Wholesale Depot, 8, IDOL LANE. LONDON, E.C.=

Allen & Hanburys' "Perfécted" =COD-LIVER OIL=

"Is as nearly tasteless as Cod Liver Oil can be."--_Lancet._

"Has almost the delicacy of salad oil."--_British Medical Journal._

"No nauseous eructations follow after it is swallowed."--_Medical Press._

It can be borne and digested by the most delicate; is the _only_ oil which does not "repeat," and for these reasons the most efficacious kind in use.

_In Capsuled Bottles only, at 1/4, 2/6, 4/9, and 9/. SOLD EVERYWHERE._

=ALLEN & HANBURYS, Plough Court, Lombard Street, LONDON.=

The "=Nonpareil=" is the richest, softest, and most becoming Fabric ever produced, and is pre-eminently suited for Ladies' indoor and outdoor Costumes, Boys' Suits and Children's Dress. Of all Drapers everywhere. Every yard is stamped on the back

==> "NONPAREIL"

[Illustration]

"NONPAREIL" VELVETEEN

==> The _finer qualities are_ equal in appearance and wear better than the very best Lyons Silk Velvet, and _cost only a quarter of the price_.

Can be purchased of all leading retailers at from =2s. to 6s. per yard=.

Wholesale Agents: J. H. Fuller, 92, Watling Street, London. John R. Taylor, 51, Miller Street, Glasgow.

By Special Royal [Illustration] Appointment.

=Spearman's Devon Serges=

Thousands of Customers testify that no other article woven equals this in general utility.

According to the _Queen_ "It has no rival."

On Sale all the Year round. Pure Wool only. New Colours, Checks & Mixtures.

For Ladies' wear, beautiful qualities, =1/6= to =4/6= the yard. For Children's wear, capitally strong, =1/3= to =2/= the yard. For Gentlemen's wear, double width, =2/6= to =10/6= the yard.

The Navy Blues and the Blacks are fast dyes. On receipt of instructions samples will be sent post free.

_N.B.--Any length cut, and Carriage Paid to principal Railway Stations._

_SPEARMAN & SPEARMAN, PLYMOUTH._

ONLY ADDRESS. NO AGENTS.

"Bi } } Cycles" "Tri }

Hillman, Herbert & Cooper, Premier Works, Coventry. (The Largest Cycle Factory in the World.)

14, Holborn Viaduct and 5, Lisle Street, Leicester Square, LONDON.

All the great =Road= Races for either Bicycles or Tricycles have been won on Machines of our make.

One Stamp for Catalogues, List of Patrons and Testimonials.

_BAYLISS, JONES & BAYLISS._

SAMPLES AND LOW PRICES ON APPLICATION.

IRON FENCING, GATES, &c.

[Illustration]

Catalogues free on application BAYLISS, JONES & BAYLISS WOLVERHAMPTON London Offices, 3, Crooked Lane, King William St., _E.C._

SAMPLES AND LOW PRICES ON APPLICATION.

Catalogues of Solid & Tubular Bar Fencing, Iron Hurdles, Gates, Wire Fencing, Rick Stands, Chain Harrows, Dog Kennel Railing, Galvanized Wire Netting, &c., &c., free on application.

BAYLISS, JONES & BAYLISS, VICTORIA WORKS, WOLVERHAMPTON, And 3, CROOKED LANE, KING WILLIAM STREET, London, E.C.

_Please mention John Bull's Womankind._

Wm. POLSON'S CORN FLOUR.

The Original and First Manufactured in Great Britain.

UNRIVALLED FOOD OF HEALTH FOR CHILDREN AND INVALIDS.

The Best Known Material for PUDDINGS, CUSTARDS, CAKES, BLANC MANGE.

==> Ask for =MOIR'S= <==

TABLE JELLIES. SOUPS IN GLASSES. CURRY POWDER. POTTED MEATS, &c.

Purveyors to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

TOUGHENED GLASS

CELEBRATED FOR ITS EXTRAORDINARY STRENGTH.

Proprietors:-- THE TOUGHENED GLASS COMPANY, Limited, 75, LEADENHALL STREET, E.C.

TO THE DAUGHTERS OF JOHN BULL!

Save Time, Labour, Temper, and Money by Using

BRUCE'S OIL COOKING STOVES

[Illustration]

The Cheapest and quickest method of Cooking known. Absolutely Safe. No Smoke, Smell, Dirt, or Danger. Portable. No Flues or Fixing. The "_Household Friend_," the latest invention, and most successful Oil Stove ever offered to the Public. It cooks a joint 10 lbs., dinner for 6, with 3 courses in 3 hours, cost 2½d. Complete, with ½-gall. Kettle, Saucepan, Steamer, Fry-pan, Meat Tray and Grid, Funnel and pair Scissors, fitted with 4 large moveable Burners, Indicators, and the new Plate Warmer to heat 1 doz. Plates, securely packed in strong Box, 35s. The well-known _BAZAAR_ says: "We have no hesitation in recommending it; trustworthy, well finished, a marvel of cheapness, and =The Best Oil Stove= of its kind in the Market. The Maker, with great fairness, offers to change it or return the money if not approved of." Send for Descriptive Illustrated Price Lists of all kinds of Petroleum, Cooking and Heating Stoves, and Lamps specially suited for residents in the Country and Abroad, where the difficulty of obtaining a trustworthy article is so much felt, post free, to any part of the World. Buy direct of the Maker, and save 30 per cent.

J. B. BRUCE, Wholesale, Retail, and Export, 90, BLACKMAN STREET & 74, LANT STREET, LONDON, S.E.

Annual Sale over Half-a-Million.

McCall's Paysandu Ox Tongues.

SOLD BY ALL GROCERS.

_In various sizes, 1½ to 3½ lbs. in Tins._

Delicious for Breakfasts, Luncheons & Suppers.

LIEBIG COMPANY'S EXTRACT OF MEAT.

==> The ONLY BRAND WARRANTED GENUINE by BARON LIEBIG.

[Illustration]

CAUTION!

Numerous inferior and low-priced substitutes being in the market with misleading titles, labels, and portraits of the late Baron Liebig, purchasers must insist upon having the

LIEBIG COMPANY'S Extract of Meat.

THE FINEST MEAT-FLAVOURING INGREDIENT.

Invaluable & efficient Tonic for Invalids.

N.B.--Genuine ONLY with facsimile of Baron Liebig's Signature, in Blue Ink across Label.

Cooper, Cooper & Co.

SELL THE FINEST TEA

[Illustration]

THE WORLD PRODUCES AT

3s. _Per Pound_.

And Magnificent =TEAS= at =2/6= and =2/-= a Pound, as supplied to Princes, Dukes, Marquises, Earls, Viscounts, Barons, Bishops, and the County Families of the United Kingdom.

_Samples and Book about =TEA= post free on application to_

Cooper, Cooper & Co.,

CHIEF OFFICE-- 50, KING WILLIAM STREET, LONDON BRIDGE.

BRANCH ESTABLISHMENTS-- 63, BISHOPSGATE STREET WITHIN, E.C. 268, REGENT CIRCUS, W. 35, STRAND (near Charing Cross), W.C. 7, WESTBOURNE GROVE, W. 334, HIGH HOLBORN, W.C. LONDON.

HEAL & SON.

BEDSTEADS.

3ft. IRON FRENCH from 10s. 6d.

3ft. BRASS FRENCH from 48s.

200 FIXED FOR INSPECTION.

BEDDING.

MATTRESSES, 3ft., from 11s.

A NEW SPRING MATTRESS, warranted good and serviceable, at a very Moderate Price.

3ft., 28s.; 3ft. 6in., 32s.; 4ft., 36s.; 4ft. 6in., 40s.

THIS WITH A TOP MATTRESS--

3ft., 20s.; 3ft. 6in., 23s.; 4ft., 26s.; 4ft. 6in., 29s.

Makes a most comfortable Bed and cannot be surpassed at the price.

HEAL'S PATENT SOMNIER ELASTIQUE PORTATIF of which 30,000 have been sold, is the best Spring Mattress yet invented, 3ft., 40s.; 5ft., 63s.

GOOSE DOWN QUILT, 1 by 1¼ yds., 10s.

BLANKETS, 2 by 2½ yds., 9s. 6d. per pair.

_BEDDING CLEANED & REMADE._

BEDROOM FURNITURE.

PLAIN SUITES from £3.

DECORATED SUITES from £8 10s.

ASH and WALNUT SUITES from £12 12s.

300 SUITES ON VIEW.

SCREENS, suitable for Bedrooms, 21s.

EASY CHAIRS from 35s.

COUCHES from 75s.

DINING TABLES from 70s.

DINING-ROOM CHAIRS in Leather from 24s.

BOOKCASES from 38s. & BOOKSHELVES from 7/6.

WRITING TABLES from 25s.

OCCASIONAL TABLES from 10s. 6d.

_CHAIRS & SOFAS RESTUFFED & RECOVERED._

English and Foreign Carpets. A Bordered Seamless Carpet from 26s.

_Illustrated Catalogue of Bedsteads and Bedroom Furniture with Price List of Bedding, free by post._

HEAL & SON, 195 to 198, TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD

New Patterns, Post Free, with other Fashionable Fabrics in all the Newest Tints.

Under the Direct Patronage of the Courts of Great Britain, Germany, Russia, France, Austria & Italy.

EGERTON BURNETT'S ROYAL SERGES

Include the Best Makes of this Indispensable Material, and can be relied on to =stand Wind and Weather on Land and Sea, in Summer or Winter, for LADIES', GENTLEMEN'S, or CHILDREN'S WEAR=.

They can be had in any Colour or Quality, from the finest and lightest, suitable for Tropical Climates, to the warm heavy makes capable of Resisting an Intense Degree of Cold.

_Any Length Cut. No Agents._

[Illustration]

Egerton Burnett, the navy serge man, sells excellent stuff, wear it out if you can.

_All Orders are executed direct._

Prices for Ladies, 1/2½ to 4/6 per yard.

Extra Strong for Gentlemen and Boys' Wear.

(54 in.) from 2/11 per yard.

_The QUEEN_ says:--"It is pre-eminently useful, and recommends it to practical minds and purses of all lengths."

Carriage Paid on Orders over 20s. to any Railway Station in ENGLAND, IRELAND, or SCOTLAND.

EGERTON BURNETT, No. 12, Wellington, SOMERSET.

Dr. J. COLLIS BROWNE'S

CHLORODYNE

ORIGINAL AND

[Illustration]

ONLY GENUINE.

CHLORODYNE

Is the Best Remedy known for COUGHS, CONSUMPTION, BRONCHITIS, ASTHMA.

Effectually checks and arrests those too often fatal Disease known as DIPTHERIA, FEVER, CROUP, AGUE.

Acts like a charm in DIARRHŒA, and is the only specific in CHOLERA and DYSENTERY.

Effectually cuts short all attacks of EPILEPSY, HYSTERIA, PALPITATION and SPASMS.

Is the only palliative in NEURALGIA, RHEUMATISM, GOUT, CANCERS, TOOTHACHE, MENINGITIS, &c.

The Right Hon. the EARL RUSSELL has graciously favoured J. T. DAVENPORT with the following:--"Earl Russell communicated to the College of Physicians that he received a despatch from Her Majesty's Consul at Manilla, to the effect that Cholera had been raging fearfully, and that the ONLY remedy of any service was CHLORODYNE."--See _Lancet_, December 1st, 1864.

CAUTION.--The extraordinary medical reports on the efficacy of Chlorodyne, render it of vital importance that the public should obtain the genuine, which bears the words "Dr. J. Collis Browne's Chlorodyne."

Sole Manufacturer--J. T. DAVENPORT, 33, Great Russell Street, London, W.C.

AT HOME OR ABROAD,

I ALWAYS HAVE WITH ME

_Lamplough's Pyretic Saline_,

Which forms a most Invigorating, Vitalising, and Refreshing Draught.

Drs. PROUT, MORGAN, TURLEY, GIBBON, SPARKS, DOWSING, STEVENS, and many other Medical Men, have given unqualified Testimony to the importance of the discovery and the immense value of

THIS GREAT REMEDY

[Illustration]

As possessing elements most essential to the restoration and maintenance of health, with perfect vigour of Body and Mind.

It gives instant relief in =Headache=, =Sea= or =Bilious Sickness=, =Constipation=, =Indigestion=, =Lassitude=, =Heartburn=, and =Feverish Colds=; and prevents and quickly relieves or cures the worst form of =Typhus=, =Scarlet=, and other =Fevers=, =Smallpox=, =Measles=, and =Eruptive= or =Skin Complaints=, and various other altered conditions of the Blood. It is the cure for =Cholera=. "It

'SAVED MY LIFE,'

For the Fever had obtained a strong hold on me. In a few days I was quite well."--Extract from Letter of C. Fitzgerald, Esq., formerly Correspondent of the _Manchester Guardian_ in Albania.

=CAUTION.=--Dr. Wilson writes:--"We all know how much rubbish is put into the market in imitation of it."

_In Patent Glass-stoppered Bottles, 2s. 6d., 4s. 6d., 11s., and 21s. each._

To be obtained of any Chemist or Patent Medicine Dealer, and of H. LAMPLOUGH, 113, HOLBORN, LONDON, E.C.

By and H. I. and R. H. Special Appointments [Illustration] the Crown Princess to H. M. the Queen, of Germany.

CAMBRIC POCKET HANDKERCHIEFS

_ALL PURE FLAX. SAMPLES AND PRICE LISTS POST FREE._

Children's, hemmed for use, 1/8 per dozen. Ladies' 2/11 per dozen. Gents' 3/11 per dozen.

Hemstitched.

Ladies' 5/6 per dozen. Gents' 7/3 per dozen.

"The Cambrics of Robinson & Cleaver have a world-wide fame."--_Queen._

IRISH LINENS.

Real Irish Linen Sheeting, fully bleached, 2 yards wide, 1/11 per yard; 2½ yards wide, 2/4½d. per yard (the most durable article made, and far superior to any foreign manufactured goods).

Roller Towelling, 18 in. wide, 3½d. per yd.

Surplice Linen, 8½d. per yard.

Linen Dusters, 3/3; Glass Cloths, 4/6 doz.

Fine Linens and Linen Diaper, 10d. yard.

_Samples post free._

IRISH DAMASK TABLE LINEN.

Fish Napkins 2/11 per dozen. Dinner Napkins 5/6 per dozen. Table Cloths, 2 yards square, 2/11½d. each. Table Cloths, 2½ yds. by 3 yds., 6/11 each. Kitchen Table Cloths 11½d. each. Strong Huckaback Towels, 4/6 per dozen.

_Monograms, Crests, Coats of Arms, Initials, &c., woven & embroidered. Samples post free._

_Robinson & Cleaver, Belfast._

HIGHEST AWARDS WHEREVER EXHIBITED.

[Illustration: "British."]

[Illustration: "Apollo."]

[Illustration: "'Xtraordinary."]

_SINGER & CO., COVENTRY._

LONDON: 17, HOLBORN VIADUCT.

[Illustration: "Traveller."]

FROM 70s. UPWARDS.

[Illustration: "Carrier."]

LARGE ILLUSTRATED CATALOGUE FREE ON APPLICATION.

Who are the Really Great and <== ==> Successful Men in this World?

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Huxley wisely says:--"Those who take honours in nature's university, who learn the laws which govern men and things and obey them, are the really great and successful men in this world.... Those who won't learn at all are plucked; and then you can't come up again. Nature's pluck means extermination." The simple meaning is, when ailing, pay no attention to the regulation of your diet, exercise, or occupation; attempt no conformity to the laws of life, or when you have drawn an over-draft on the bank of life, &c., avoid the use of ENO'S FRUIT SALT and you will be surprised to learn of the body what

A Frail and Fickle Tenement it is, which, like the Brittle Glass that Measures Time, is often Broke, ere half its Sands are Run.

THE FESTIVE SEASON.--Experience shows that porter, mild ales, port wine, dark sherries, sweet champagne, liqueurs, and brandies, are all very apt to disagree, while light white wines and gin or whisky, largely diluted with soda-water, will be found the least objectionable.

ENO'S FRUIT SALT is particularly adapted for any constitutional weakness of the liver. It possesses the power of reparation when digestion has been disturbed or lost, and places the invalid in the right track to health. A world of woe is avoided by those who keep and use Eno's Fruit Salt; therefore no family should ever be without it.

USE ENO'S FRUIT SALT.--Or as a health-giving, refreshing, cooling, invigorating beverage, or as a gentle laxative and tonic in the various forms of indigestion, USE ENO'S FRUIT SALT.

ALSO GOUTY OR RHEUMATIC POISONS from the blood, the neglect of which often results in apoplexy, heart disease, and sudden death.

USE ENO'S FRUIT SALT, prepared from sound, ripe fruit. What every travelling trunk and household in the world ought to contain--a bottle of ENO'S FRUIT SALT. Without such a simple precaution, the jeopardy of life is immensely increased.

"All our customers for Eno's Fruit Salt would not be without it upon any consideration, they have received so much benefit from it."--Wood Brothers, Chemists, Jersey.

FROM ENGLAND TO SYDNEY, on board the _Samuel Plimsoll_.--"Dear Sir,--I have just received a letter from my daughter, who sailed for Sydney last April as assistant matron of the _Samuel Plimsoll_, in which she says: 'I am sorry indeed, dad, to hear how the winter has tried you. Make up your mind and come out here. You will never regret it, and don't forget to bring some ENO'S FRUIT SALT. It was the only cure on board for sea-sickness. I gave it nearly all away to those who were ill, which seemed to revive them, and they soon began to rally under its soothing influence.'--I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully, Truth. 6, Asylum-road, Old Kent-road, S.E., Sept. 14, 1883--Mr. J. C. Eno."

DIRECTIONS IN SIXTEEN LANGUAGES HOW TO PREVENT DISEASE.

SUCCESS IN LIFE.--"A new invention is brought before the public and commands success. A score of abominable imitations are immediately introduced by the unscrupulous, who, in copying the original closely enough to deceive the public, and yet not so exactly as to infringe upon legal rights, exercise an ingenuity that, employed in an original channel, could not fail to secure reputation and profit."--Adams.

CAUTION.--Legal rights are protected in every civilised country. Examine each bottle, and see the capsule is marked ENO'S FRUIT SALT. Without it you have been imposed upon by worthless imitations. Sold by all Chemists.

PREPARED ONLY AT ENO'S FRUIT SALT WORKS, HATCHAM, LONDON, S.E., By J. C. ENO'S PATENT

Transcriber's Note

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired.

Hyphenation has been made consistent.

The following amendments have been made:

Page 70, footnote--c amended to b--See Appendix (b).

Page 124--disageeable amended to disagreeable--... the trouble of doing some rather disagreeable things, ...

Page 216--Sukie amended to Susie--_Susie._--"I play the Alleluiah trombone."