+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

"I usually attended divine service; at
eight I sorted and stamped the letters and
dispatched the mails; at nine I had done my
work; all this I did myself and never dreamed
of being assisted. The rush of business is
now, I understand, so great on the arrival
of the Saturday afternoon mails, that every
assistant and Post-Office clerk will wish Lord
Ashley safely imprisoned in the Whited

"Your, very obediently,


Judging from the tone in which the earnest
remonstrances from all kinds of people that
pile our tables are couched, we fear that,
during the last few Sundays, the bulk of the
disappointed public in the provinces has
benefited very little by the change in a
moral point of view. Vexation has, we fear,
taken the place of that religious, calm, and
beneficent state of mind in which the Sabbath
ought to be passed. The object, therefore,
of the promoters of the measureincreased
veneration for the first day of the week has
failed; for of course their whole and sole
object in the affair has been the furtherance of
the cause of religion, and not a desire to get
quits with Mr. Rowland Hill for the calm,
manly, triumphant manner in which he caused
truth to vanquish them in the recent agitation
on the same question.



ON a murky morning in November, wind
north-east, a poor old woman with a wooden
leg was seen struggling against the fitful
gusts of the bitter breeze, along a stony
zigzag road full of deep and irregular cart-ruts.
Her ragged petticoat was blue, and so was
her wretched nose. A stick was in her left
hand, which assisted her to dig and hobble
her way along; and in her other hand,
supported also beneath her withered arm, was a
large rusty iron sieve. Dust and fine ashes
filled up all the wrinkles in her face; and of
these there were a prodigious number, for she
was eighty-three years old. Her name was
Peg Dotting.

About a quarter of a mile distant, having
a long ditch and a broken-down fence as a
foreground, there rose against the muddled-
grey sky, a huge Dust-heap of a dirty black
colour,––being, in fact, one of those immense
mounds of cinders, ashes, and other emptyings
from dust-holes and bins, which have
conferred celebrity on certain suburban
neighbourhoods of a great city. Towards
this dusky mountain old Peg Dotting was
now making her way.

Advancing towards the Dust-heap by an
opposite path, very narrow and just reclaimed
from the mud by a thick layer of freshly
broken flints, there came at the same time
Gaffer Doubleyear, with his bone-bag slung
over his shoulder. The rags of his coat
fluttered in the east-wind, which also whistled
keenly round his almost rimless hat, and
troubled his one eye. The other eye, having
met with an accident, last week, he had
covered neatly with an oyster-shell, which
was kept in its place by a string at each
side, fastened through a hole. He used no
staff to help him along, though his body
was nearly bent double, so that his face
was constantly turned to the earth, like
that of a four-footed creature. He was ninety-
seven years of age.

As these two patriarchal labourers
approached the great Dust-heap, a discordant
voice hallooed to them from the top of a
broken wall. It was meant as a greeting of
the morning, and proceeded from little Jem
Clinker, a poor deformed lad whose back had
been broken when a child. His nose and chin
were much too large for the rest of his face, and
he had lost nearly all his teeth from premature
decay. But he had an eye gleaming with
intelligence and life, and an expression at
once patient and hopeful. He had balanced
his misshapen frame on the top of the old
wall, over which one shrivelled leg dangled,
as if by the weight of a hob-nailed boot that
covered a foot large enough for a plough-

In addition to his first morning's salutation
of his two aged friends, he now shouted out
in a tone of triumph and self-gratulation, in
which he felt assured of their sympathy––
"Two white skins, and a tor'shell-un."

It may be requisite to state that little Jem
Clinker belonged to the dead-cat department
of the Dust-heap, and now announced that
a prize of three skins, in superior condition,
had rewarded him for being first in the field.
He was enjoying a seat on the wall in order
to recover himself from the excitement of his
good fortune.

At the base of the great Dust-heap the
two old people now met their young friend
a sort of great-grandson by mutual adoption
––and they at once joined the party who had
by this time assembled as usual, and were
already busy at their several occupations.

But besides all these, another individual,
belonging to a very different class, formed
a part of the scene, though appearing only
on its outskirts. A canal ran along at the
rear of the Dust-heap, and on the banks of its
opposite side slowly wandered by––with hands
clasped and hanging down in front of him, and
eyes bent vacantly upon his hands––the forlorn
figure of a man in a very shabby great-coat,
which had evidently once belonged to one in
the position of a gentleman. And to a gentleman
it still belonged––but in what a position?
A scholar, a man of wit, of high sentiment, of
refinement, and a good fortune withal––now by
a sudden " turn of law " bereft of the last only,
and finding that none of the rest, for which
(having his fortune) he had been so much