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not do so, he (Mr. W.) had taken a friend with

"Mr. Thornintheside would like to know
what refreshments were charged for.

"Mr. "Willinghorse had charged refreshments
for himself only.

"Mr. Thornintheside would like to see the

"Messrs Brutus and Cassius quite differed
with Mr. Thorniutheside, and thought that
instead of censuring Mr. Willinghorse, a vote of
thanks ought to be passed to him for doing the
work of the overseers while they were engaged.

"Mr. Cromwell said Mr. Willinghorse went
to look after his own freehold land at Camberwell.

"Mr. Brutus was surprised that Mr. Cromwell
should impute any motive to a guardian
who had kindly done that which very few people
would like to do, for accompanying a lunatic
could not be a very pleasant thing.

"After a few observations, the resolution
that a vote of thanks be passed was put and
carried by 4 to 2.


"Mr. Thornintheside called attention to the
fact that he had been informed the inmates
were in the habit of having boiled tea. He
should think it might be easily arranged so that
tea could be made in messes for six or seven

"Several guardians spoke to the incorrectness
of the assertion. The tea was fit for any one to
drink, and Mr. Thomintheside ought to give
his author of such an erroneous assertion."

If all this discussion had taken place in my
own, or my imaginary reader's parish, I have
no doubt we should have both regarded Mr.
Thornintheside as a very vigorous reformer.

In another case, the same reader will doubtless
smile at the importance given to an annual
parochial operation, called "beating the bounds."
It has its descriptive account, in the style of
"our own correspondent," accompanied by a
list of the persons composing the procession:

Two Police Constables.
Lamplighters with Ladders.
Parish Engineer. Fire-Escape Conductor.
Beadle in Livery. Beadle in Livery.
Headborough and Constables.
The Master of the St. Solomon's Boys' School.

(Two and two.)
Boys from the Workhouse.
Constable of the Vestry.
The Vestry-Clerk.
(Two and two.)
(Two and two.)
Members of the Vestry.
(Two and two.)
Members of the Board of Guardians.
(Two and two.)
(In file: two deep.)
(Two and two.)
Police Constables.

These things may appear very small, but
life is made up of small things. We are not
all destined to shake the world; and, those who
are so distinguished, are not always shaking it.
There is a popular idea that every vestryman is
an oratorical greengrocer, or a discontented
tailor, with mean views, a loud voice, and an
abusive tongue. Some vestrymen may be of
this order, like some members of parliament;
but, underlying this sort of scum (scum always
floats to the top), there is often a solid
substratum of sound sense and discretion. The
faculty of ready utterance is generally possessed
by small minds which have little in them to check
volubility. It is the mere parochial orator who
brings ridicule upon the good old system of local
self-government; while those men who do
credit to it, and who are the working bees
amongst the buzzing drones of the parochial
hive, are seldom heard. It is they who do the
work: the others talk about doing it, but
really obstruct it; and are, happily, the minority.
The revenues of the larger London parishes
amount to sums which many a full-blown
Continental State looks upon with envy. Yet, on
the whole, these are collected and dispensed with
reasonable accuracy and judgment. The majorities
in vestries must, therefore, consist of men
of unsullied principles and active business
accomplishments, who work hard and talk little;
otherwise, parochial affairs could not be so
well carried on as they are. It must always
be remembered that the short-comings of local
administrative bodies depend, not upon the
noisy ungrammatical speech-makers, but upon
those who elect them. Parish government is
representative government, and the ratepayers
pull the strings. They, above all others, should
support the local paper; for the local paper
adds to their ability not only to pull the strings
well, but to keep the springs of their parochial
puppets in good working order.


I WANDER forth this chill December dawn.
Frost and his tiny elves are out, I see,
As busy as the fairy world can be,
Clothing a world asleep with fleecy lawn;
'Mid the blue silence of the evening hours
They glimmered duskly down from skyey bowers,
And featly have they laboured all night long,
Cheering their labour with a half-heard rhyme
Low as the burthen of a shepherd's song
When Echo moans it over hills of thyme.

There is a hush of music on the air
The white-wing'd fairies faltering everywhere;

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