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curtains, muslin dresses, or linen airing before
the fire, we need not speak, as the dangers are
too obvious by the results; nor of carelessness
with lucifer-matches; nor the very common
practice of raking out the fire at night from
the grate (where it would be safe) down upon
the hearth, and leaving the hot embers, which
perhaps ignite by the air of the closing door,
as the careful person retires to bed. Carelessness
with a cigar or pipe is also an obvious
cause. Working men often put their pipes,
half-extinguished, or alive at the bottom of
the bowl, into their jacket-pocket at night;
and then hang up the jacket, and go to bed.
Children, also, being left alone, near a fire,
may generally be expected to play with fire,
either because it is beautiful, or because the
play is interdicted.

With respect to 'sparks,' that a house
should take fire, had always been regarded by
us with no small degree of scepticism. A
gentleman of our acquaintance carried his
disbelief much further. Sitting with a party
of sporting friends round a winter's fire, and
these dangers being the subject of conversation,
he offered to empty the whole contents
of the grate on the carpet in the middle of
the roomhe to pay all expenses if the house
took fire; his opponent simply to pay for the
carpet and the charred floor. They were all
to sit round, and watch the result. It was
agreed. 'Now,' said a friend, 'I will bet you
ten to one this house will take fire, provided
we all go out of the room, lock the door, and
leave the house.' The other would not
venture on this.

Mr. Braidwood's speculation on the question
of sparks, in reply to our doubts, is very
curious and practical. He estimated the
number of houses in London at 300,000.
Allowing two domestic fires to each house, we
have 600,000 in the day; and these multiplied
by 7, give 4,200,000 in a week. That one
spark, therefore, from 4,200,000 fires should
fly out upon some materials easy to ignite,
once in a week, is far from difficult to credit;
and this would fully bear out the number on
the list that are declared to have occurred
from this cause.

The number of fires and alarms of fire
that occurred in London during the fifteen
years ending in 1847, present a continual
increase. In 1833 they amounted to 458; in
1834, to 482; and so on, down to 1847, when
they amounted to 836. This gives a total of
9662 fires during the fifteen years. The
average of this is 644. We next find that
in 1848 the number of fires amounted to 805;
showing an increase beyond the previous
year of 161. In 1849 the number amounted
to 838, being an increase of 33 beyond the
previous year.

How are we to reconcile this increase with
the extraordinary efficiency of the Fire-
Brigade, and the improvements in measures
of precaution? Partly by the regular
increase in the numbers of houses. But Mr.
Braidwood frankly declares that this does
not meet the increase of fires and alarms of
fire that reach the Office. We can only
account for it, therefore, by the great
increase of scientific combustibles, not merely
in our shops, but in our domestic arrangements
especially gas, and lucifer-matches
and yet more to the fact that, in former years,
nany slight fires caused no alarm to be given,
while now the arrangements are so complete,
that probably almost every slight alarm of fire
that occurs is carried to the Office, and duly

With respect to Fire-Escapes; precautions
against fire, that should be adopted in houses;
arrangements to meet the accident; and
the best means of extinguishing fires
(particularly with reference to Mr. Phillips'
Fire-Annihilator, which possesses an undoubted
power over flames), we cannot now afford the
space their importance merits; but we shall
bear them in mind for a future number.


EVERY book-hunter, whose connection with
paper and print has more of individuality
than of fashion in itmust in his time
have met with scores of small volumes of
rhyme forced out with a care and pains of
which the heart aches to think, prefaced
with the bad taste of immoderate deprecation
on the part of the author,—or with the worse
appeal of extravagant commendation on the
part of the patronnone of which shall merit
a place on the shelf by the side of Crabbe, or
Wordsworth, or Burnsnone of which can
be denied the possession of some sparks and
breathings of true poetry.

Sometimes, however, it must be owned,
that the difficulties under which the rhymester
has laboured, are the bestnay the sole
evidences of his genius. In the verses of
Phillis Wheatly, the negro girl, for instance,
there is not a line that is not the stalest of
the stalenot an image that is not the most
second-hand of the second-hand. Yet, that
sixty years since, a woman of her condemned
colour and oppressed racein America, too,—
should find spirits to sing, and power to
attract an audience,—in that fact was a
poem of no common order.

Years ago, there passed through the writer's
hand a small collection of verseif verse it
might be calledin quality, the most dreary
and antipathetic, possiblesectarian hymns,
full of phrases, the intimate sense of which can
never have pierced to the mind of their
maker. This was a poor creature in a
hospital, who had been found on a harsh
January night, frozen into the kennel where
she had fallen, and who paid for that night's
lodging with a lingering death of cruelly long
duration. Her vital powers gradually
retired one by one. For many years she was
unable to move a limb; latterly could scarcely
speak audibly, or take barely sufficient food