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leave society to take care of itself. No; that
is just what we should endeavour to prevent
society from doing. The world is growing too
wise for us, gentlemen. Accordingly, this
Interments Bill, by which our interests are so
seriously threatened, has been brought into
Parliament. We must join heart and hand
to defeat and crush it. Let us nail our colours
–––which I should call the black flag–––to the
mast, and let our war-cry be, "No surrender!"
or else our motto will very soon be, "Re-
surgam;" in other words, it will be all up
with us. We stand in a critical position in
regard to public opinion. In order to determine
what steps to take for protecting business,
we ought to see our danger. I wish,
therefore, to state the facts of our case clearly
to you; and I say let us face them boldly, and
not blink them. Therefore, I am going to
speak plainly and plumply on this subject.

There is no doubt––between ourselves––that
what makes our trade so profitable is the
superstition, weakness, and vanity of parties.
We can't disguise this fact from ourselves, and
I only wish we may be able to conceal it much
longer from others. As enlightened undertakers,
we must admit that we are of no more
use on earth than scavengers. All the good
we do is to bury people's dead out of their
sight. Speaking as a philosopher–––which an
undertaker surely ought to be–––I should say
that our business is merely to shoot rubbish.
However, the rubbish is human rubbish, and
bereaved parties have certain feelings which
require that it should be shot gingerly. I
suppose such sentiments are natural, and will
always prevail. But I fear that people will
by and by begin to think that pomp, parade,
and ceremony are unnecessary upon melancholy
occasions. And whenever this happens,
Othello's occupation will, in a great measure,
be gone.

I tremble to think of mourning relatives
considering seriously what is requisite–––and
all that is requisite–––for decent interment, in
a rational point of view. Nothing more, I am
afraid Common Sense would say, than to carry
the body in the simplest chest, and under the
plainest covering, only in a solemn and
respectful manner, to the grave, and lay it in
the earth with proper religious ceremonies.
I fear Common Sense would be of opinion
that mutes, scarfs, hatbands, plumes of
feathers, black horses, mourning coaches, and
the like, can in no way benefit the defunct, or
comfort surviving friends, or gratify anybody
but the mob, and the street-boys. But
happily, Common Sense has not yet acquired an
influence which would reduce every burial to
a most low affair.

Still, people think now more than they did,
and in proportion as they do think, the worse
it will be for business. I consider that we
have a most dangerous enemy in Science.
That same Science pokes its nose into
everything–––even vaults and churchyards. It has
explained how grave-water soaks into adjoining
wells, and has shocked and disgusted
people by showing them that they are drinking
their dead neighbours. It has taught parties
resident in large cities that the very air they
live in reeks with human remains, which
steam up from graves; and which, of course,
they are continually breathing. So it makes
out churchyards to be worse haunted than
they were formerly believed to be by ghosts,
and, I may add, vampyres, in consequence ot
the dead continually rising from them in this
unpleasant manner. Indeed, Science is likely
to make people dread them a great deal more
than Superstition ever did, by showing that
their effluvia breed typhus and cholera; so
that they are really and truly very dangerous.
I should not be surprised to hear some
sanitary lecturer say, that the fear of churchyards
was a sort of instinct implanted in the
mind, to prevent ignorant people and children
from going near such unwholesome places.

It would be comparatively well if the mis-
chief done us by Science––Medicine and
Chemistry, and all that sort of thing stopped
here. The mere consideration that burial in
the heart of cities is unhealthy, would but
lead to extramural interment, to which our
only objection––though even that is no very
trifling one––is that it would diminish
mortality, and consequently our trade. But this
Science––confound it!––shows that the dead
do not remain permanently in their coffins,
even when the sextons of metropolitan
graveyards will let them. It not only informs
Londoners that they breathe and drink the
deceased; but it reveals how the whole of the
defunct party is got rid of, and turned into
gases, liquids, and mould. It exposes the way
in which all animal matter––as it is called in
chemical books––is dissolved, evaporates, and
disappears; and is ultimately, as I may say,
eaten up by Nature, and goes to form parts
of plants, and of other living creatures. So
that, if gentlemen really wanted to be interred
with the remains of their ancestors, it would
sometimes be possible to comply with their
wishes only by burying them with a quantity
of mutton––not to say with the residue of
another quadruped than the sheep, which
often grazes in churchyards. Science, in
short, is hammering into people's heads truths
which they have been accustomed merely to
gabble with their mouths––that all flesh is
indeed grass, or convertible into it; and not
only that the human frame does positively
turn to dust, but into a great many things
besides. Now, I say, that when they become
really and truly convinced of all this; when
they know and reflect that the body cannot
remain any long time in the grave which it is
placed in; I am sadly afraid that they will
think twice before they will spend from thirty
to several hundred pounds in merely putting
a corpse into the ground to decompose.

The only hope for us if these scientific views
become general, is, that embalming will be
resorted to; but I question if the religious