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cheese, how does it draw me out, when I
am frailest and most liable to tear, so tenderly
and delicately, that a woman's handno,
even though I were a man, very ill and helpless,
and she my nurse who loved mecould
never touch me with so light a touch, or with
a movement so unerring! How can I believe,
even on experience, that, being of itself
insensible, and only informed with intellect at
second hand, it changes me, in less time than
I take to tell it, into any sort of paper that
is wanted, dries me, cuts me into lengths,
becomes charged, just before dismissing me,
with electricity, and gathers up the hair of
the attendant-watcher, as if with horror at
the mischiefs and desertions from the right, in
which I may be instrumental! Above all,
how can I reconcile its being mere machinery,
with its leaving off when it has cut me into
sheets, and NOT conveying me to the Excise-
man in the next room, whom it plainly
thinks a most unnatural conclusion!

I am carried thither on trucks. I am
examined, and my defective portions thrown
out, for the Mill, again; I am made up into
quires and reams; I am weighed and excised
by the hundredweight; and I am ready for
my work. Of my being made the subject of
nonsensical defences of Excise duty, in the
House of Commons, I need say nothing. All
the world knows that when the Right Honourable
the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
for the time being, says I am only the worse
by a duty of fifteen shillings per hundredweight,
he is a Wrong Honourable, and either don't
know, or don't care, anything about me.
For, he leaves out of consideration all the
vexatious, depressing, and preventing
influences of Excise Duty on any trade, and
all the extra cost and charge of packing and
unpacking, carrying and re-carrying, imposed
upon the manufacturer, and of course upon
the public. But we must have it, in future,
even with Right Honourables as with birds.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer that can
sing, and won't sing, must be made to sing

My metempsychosis ends with the
manufacture. I am rags no more, but a
visitor to the Paper-Mill. I am a pleased visitor
to see the Mill in such beautiful order, and
the workpeople so thriving; and I think that
my good friend the owner has reason for
saying with an agreeable smile, as we come
out upon the sparkling stream again, that he
is never so contented, as when he is in rags.

Shining up in the blue sky, far above the
Paper-Mill, a mere speck in the distance, is
a Paper Kite. It is an appropriate thing at
the momentnot to swear by (we have enough
of that already) but to hope by, with a devout
heart. May all the Paper that I sport with,
soar as innocently upward as the paper
kite, and be as harmless to the holder as the
kite is to the boy! May it bring, to some few
minds, such fresh associations; and to me no
worse remembrances than the kite that once
plucked at my own hand like an airy friend.
May I always recollect that paper has a
mighty Duty, set forth in no Schedule of
Excise, and that its names are love,
forbearance, mercy, progress, scorn of the
Hydra Cant with all its million heads!

So, back by the green lanes, and the old
Priorya farm now, and none the worse
for thatand away among the lime-trees,
thinking of Sir John.


"COMPETITION is fast crushing us!" the
tradesman exclaims as he drives you out to
his elegant villa behind his seventy-guinea
gelding. "Wheat at forty shillings a quarter is
ruin!" groans the farmer, while dallying with
his champagne glass. "We are all going to
the workhouse."—"A diamond necklace, my
dear?" replies the mill-owner to a lovely
Lancashire witch, whose smile is on other
occasions law—"What? two hundred pounds
for a bauble, while calico is only three farthings
a yard, and cotton-spinning on the brink of
bankruptcy. Impossible!" Should these
gentlemen ever meet it is ten to one that on
comparing notes they resolve unanimously
that the whole country is going to the dogs;
but it is also ten to one that this resolution is
passed at a public dinner to which they have
each cheerfully contributed one-pound-one:
besides another guinea to the occasion of
the feast:—some plethoric, bloated, routine

Considering their patriotic despondency in
regard to the utterly hopeless condition of the
nation, it is wonderful to observe the
contented complacency with which these gentlemen
eat their filberts and sip their claret.
Neither is this stoic philosophy confined to
them alone. All sorts of predicted want and
impending misery are borne with exemplary
fortitude by all sorts of Englishmen. The
skilful artisan seldom allows a week to pass
without deploring the inadequacy of wages;
but, although he manages to get a good
Sunday's dinner some fifty times a year, and
once or twice in the twelvemonth indulges his
family with a healthful pleasure trip in the
country, he is able to scrape up a few pounds
in the savings' bank. Yet if you ask him
touching the state of things in his particular
line, he will tell you that "Times never were
so bad." So universally is the propensity to
depreciate things as they are, that if a
commission were appointed to inquire into the
state of the nation, their report, if derived solely
from the evidence of well-to-do witnesses,
would be lugubrious in the extreme. It is
only the very poor who gaze cheerfully into
the future; for their existence is a condition
of hope. They apprehend nothing, for they
have nothing to lose; whatever change
fortune may bring, must be, they believe, for
the better.

Happily, better testimony to the real