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Blue Dragon Arms, South Shields.


"I have just read in your 'Household
Words ' a pleasant enough account of
the 'Coal Exchange of London,' in which my
name is mentioned. I suppose I oughtand
therefore I doconsider it a great honour;
and what Captain of a collier-brig would not?
So, no more about that, except to thank you.
Same time, mayhap, there may be a trifle or
two in the paper to which I don't quite
subscribe; and, as I seem to be towed astern of
the writer as he works his way on, it seems
only fair that I should overhaul his log in
such matters as I don't agree to, whether so
be in respect of his remarks or reckoning.

"In the first place, the writer says the Coal
Exchange is painted as bright as a coffee-
garden or dancing-place on the continent.
Wellbelike it is. And what o' that? Did
he wish it to be painted in coal-tar? as if we
didn't see enough of this at homewhether
collier-men or coal-merchants! I make no
doubt he wanted to see all the inside just of
the same colour as your London buildings
are on th' outsidewalls, and towers, and
spires, like so many great smoke-jacks. Then
as to his taste in female beauty, he seems
more disposed to the pale faces of novel-
writers' young Indies than such sort of brown
and ruddy skins as some of us think more
mettlesome. I confess I do; and so he may
rig me out on this matter as he pleases.
Howsomever, I must say that I believe most
people will prefer both the bright ladies,
and the bright adornment of the building, to
any mixture of soot and blacking, which has,
hitherto, characterised the taste of my old
friends the Londoners. And it is my advice
to the artist, Mr. Sang, just to snap his
fingers at the opposite taste of your writer,
which is exactly what I do myself, for his
comparing my 'hard weather-beaten face' to
the wooden figure of a ship's head.

"I remain, respected Sir,

"Yours to command,


"P.S. What the writer of these coal-papers
says I told him about Buddle of Wallsend, is
all true enough; but why did he tell me, in
return, that his name was ' Gulliver? '"


THE following "Chip" is from the chisel of
a blacksmitha certain Peter Muller of
Istra, son of the person to whom it refers.
It was gathered from his forge by M. Stæhlin,
who inserted it in his original anecdotes of
Peter the Great, collected from the conversation
of several persons of distinction at St. Petersburg
and Moscow.

Among all the workmen at Muller's forge,
near Istria, about ninety versts from Moscow,
there was one who had examined everything
connected with the work with the most
minute attention, and who worked harder
than the rest. He was at his post every day,
and appeared quite indifferent to the severity
of the labour. The last day on which he was
employed, he forged eighteen poods of iron
the pood is equal to forty poundsbut though
he was so good a workman, he had other
matters to mind besides the forging of iron;
for he had the affairs of the State to attend
to, and all who have heard of Peter the
Great, know that those were not neglected.

It happened that he spent a month in the
neighbourhood of Istra, for the benefit of the
chalybeate waters; and wherever he was, he
always made himself thoroughly acquainted
with whatever works were carried on. He
determined not only to inspect Muller's forge
accurately, but to become a good blacksmith.
He made the noblemen who were in
attendance on him accompany him every
morning, and take part in the labour. Some
he appointed to blow the bellows, and others
to carry coals, and perform all the offices of
journeymen blacksmiths. A few days after
his return to Moscow, he called on Muller,
and told him that he had been to see his
establishment, with which he had been much

"Tell me," said he, " how much you allow
per pood for iron in bar, furnished by a
master blacksmith."

"Three copecks or an altin," answered

"Well, then," said the Czar, " I have earned
eighteen altins, and am come to be paid."

Muller went to his bureau, and took from
it eighteen ducats, which he reckoned before
the Emperor. " I would not think of offering
less to a royal workman, please your

"Put up your ducats again," interrupted
the Czar, " I will not take more than I have
earned, and that you would pay to any other
blacksmith. Give me my due. It will be
sufficient to pay for a pair of shoes, of which
you may see," added he, as he raised his foot,
and displayed a shoe somewhat the worse for
the wear, " I am very much in need."

Muller reckoned out the eighteen altins,
with which the Czar hurried off to a shop,
and purchased a pair of shoes. He put them
on with the greatest delight; he thought he
never had worn such a pair of shoes; he
showed them with a triumphant air to those
about him, and said, " See them; look how
well they fit; I have earned them wellby
the sweat of my brow, with hammer and

One of these bars of iron, forged by Peter
tho Great, and bearing his mark, was kept as
a precious relic in the forge at Istra, and
exhibited with no little pride to all who
entered. Another bar which was forged by
his hand is shown in the Cabinet of the
Academy of Sciences at Petersburg.