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column and page after page of forbidding-looking
figures, printed in the smallest and
closest of type. Yet these account-books, in
which the business done by the great
destroyer is posted up from day to day, and year
to year, contain some highly curious and
important facts.

The average of a thousand deaths a week in
London is by no means evenly distributed over
the year, or over all parts of the metropolis.
Each season and each parish has its
peculiarities. Nor is mortality spread evenly over
the various years of life, for the grim tyrant
has a special appetite for humanity at
particular ages.

We have already, in some words about
weather wisdom, spoken of certain diagrams
in which the changes of our English seasons
have been delineated, and in which the cha-
racteristics of succeeding years are shown by
curved lines. At the Registrar-General's
sanctuma quiet office in the quietest part of
Somerset HouseMr. Farr has reduced those
curves to circles, and the results display
themselves in the shape of coloured diagrams,
showing the varying temperature of years, and
the degree in which temperature influences
mortality. The mean temperature of the year
arrives in spring about the 115th day, and
in autumn about the 293rd day of the year.
The coldest period is the first three weeks in
January, the hottest days being from about
the 200th to the 220th of the year. In the
diagrams that exhibit these facts, certain
spaces represent each one hundred deaths, and
we soon see how much more favourable to life
in England warm weather is than cold. In
hot countries the reverse is the rule, hot
seasons being fatal seasons, because excess at
either end of the scale it is which does the
mischief. In England the plague and other
epidemics, which made such havoc amongst
our forefathers were brought to killing
intensity, in unusually hot seasons. But deficient
as our sanitary regulations now are, they have
been so greatly improved within the last century
or two, that summer is no longer our period of
greatest average mortality, unless we suffer
from some terrible visitant like cholera, and
then, of course, all ordinary calculations are
set at nought. Moderation suits all human
beings. Our excess of heat or of cold raises
the mortality; moderate warmth being more
favourable, however, than moderate cold.

Mortality in the Metropolis seems regulated
by a variety of circumstances, the principal
being the elevation of each district above the
level of the river Thames; the number of
persons who live in the same house; the
size and character of the house as regards
ventilation and cleanliness; the state of the
sewerage; the number of paupers in the
neighbourhood; and the abundant and good,
or scanty and bad, supply of water. Each
London parish has its rank and value in the
registrar's records of health and death;
and the figures are so exact, that there is no
evading the verdict they pronounce. At first
thought, one might be inclined to expect that
all the health would be found where all the
wealth and fashion are congregated. But it
is not so. As a rule, those districts stand well
whose inhabitants are most blessed with the
good things of this life, but, running through
the catalogue as arranged in the order of their
salubrity, we find some localities above the
average of healthnay, one at the very top
which fashion knows nothing of.

In these statements of the registrar, the
different districts of the Metropolis are placed
in a list according to their healthiness, those
in which the fewest persons die in a year
out of a given equal number, standing first,
followed by those next in sanitary order,
until we come down to those which are but
just above the average for all London. Passing
that Rubicon, we see the names of those
parishes in which death gets more than his proper
proportion of victims every year; and then,
one after another, down, down the list, until
we reach its lowest depths, in those places
where filth and fever reign paramount, and
where such a destroyer as Cholera finds
hundreds of victims already weakened by previous
unhealthy influences, and ready to fall a rapid
and easy prey.

Let us go through this graduated scale, that
shows how health and disease struggle for the
mastery, and how death turns the balance.

First on the list stands Lewisham, a large
parish stretching from Blackheath across the
open hilly fields towards Norwood, and
including the hamlet of Sydenham. Its rural
character, scattered population, and good
water, explain its pre-eminence on the sanitary
scale. The second name on the list carries us
at once from a green suburban parish to one
of the centres of fashion and aristocracy,— to
St. George, Hanover Square. The presence
of this parish, so high up on the scale, is due
to several circumstances; and its claims to
such prominence are more artificial than those
of its rural competitor for the palm of healthfulness.
The scale is made out from the
census of 1841, which was taken during the
height of the London season, when St. George's
was of course much fuller than it is on the
general average of the year. Its population,
too, is to a great extent composed of servants
"in place," and, there fore, generally young
and in good health, and who, when dangerously
sick, are sent to the hospitals, or to the country
to die. The masters and mistresses of St.
George's, also, are so circumstanced, that when
in bad health they can try the sea-air, or
retire to country seats. All these facts tend
to lessen the mortality of the district, and
thus tend to place it high up on the sanitary
scale. Its advantages are, an average elevation
of forty-nine feet above the high-water mark
of the Thames; its neighbourhood to the
parks; its wide open streets; a supply of
water drawn from a Company whose system
of filtration is very good; a comparatively