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

may secure the inestimable blessing of
constant fire at all seasons, and at all hours.
London buys this for ten thousand pounds

The excessive cheapness is produced by the
extension of the demand, enforcing the
factory division of labour, and the most exact
saving of material. The scientific discovery
was the foundation of the cheapness. But
connected with this general principle of cheapness,
there are one or two remarkable points,
which deserve attention.

It is a law of this manufacture that the
demand is greater in the summer than in the
winter. The old match maker, as we have
mentioned, was idle in the summerwithout
fire for heating the brimstoneor engaged in
more profitable field-work. A worthy woman
who once kept a chandler's shop in a village,
informs us, that in summer she could buy no
matches for retail, but was obliged to make
them for her customers. The increased
summer demand for the Lucifer Matches
shows that the great consumption is amongst
the massesthe labouring populationthose
who make up the vast majority of the
contributors to duties of customs and excise. In
the houses of the wealthy there is always fire;
in the houses of the poor, fire in summer is a
needless hourly expense. Then comes the
Lucifer Match to supply the want; to light
the candle to look in the dark cupboardto
light the afternoon fire to boil the kettle.
It is now unnecessary to run to the
neighbour for a light, or, as a desperate resource,
to work at the tinder-box. The Lucifer
Matches sometimes fail, but they cost little,
and so they are freely used, even by the

And this involves another great principle.
The demand for the Lucifer Match is always
continuous, for it is a perishable article. The
demand never ceases. Every match burnt
demands a new match to supply its place.
This continuity of demand renders the supply
always equal to the demand. The peculiar
nature of the commodity prevents any
accumulation of stock; its combustible character
requiring the simple agency of friction to ignite
itrenders it dangerous for large quantities
of the article to be kept in one place.
Therefore no one makes for store, but all
for immediate sale. The average price,
therefore, must always yield a profit, or
the production would altogether cease. But
these essential qualities limit the profit. The
manufacturers cannot be rich without secret
processes or monopoly. The contest is to
obtain the largest profit by economical
management. The amount of skill required in
the labourers, and the facility of habit, which
makes fingers act with the precision of
machines, limit the number of labourers, and
prevent their impoverishment. Every
condition of this cheapness is a natural and
beneficial result of the laws that govern


MR. WHELKS being much in the habit of
recreating himself at a class of theatres called
' Saloons,' we repaired to one of these, not long
ago, on a Monday evening; Monday being a
great holiday-night with MR. WHELKS and his

The Saloon in question is the largest in
London (that which is known as The Eagle,
in the City Road, should be excepted from the
generic term, as not presenting by any means
the same class of entertainment), and is situate
not far from Shoreditch Church. It announces
' The People's Theatre,' as its second name.
The prices of admission are, to the boxes, a
shilling; to the pit, sixpence; to the lower
gallery, fourpence; to the upper gallery and
back seats, threepence. There is no half-price.
The opening piece on this occasion was
described in the bills as ' the greatest hit of the
season, the grand new legendary and
traditionary drama, combining supernatural
agencies with historical facts, and identifying
extraordinary superhuman causes with
material, terrific, and powerful effects.' All the
queen's horses and all the queen's men could
not have drawn MR. WHELKS into the place
like this description. Strengthened by
lithographic representations of the principal super-
human causes, combined with the most popular
of the material, terrific, and powerful effects,
it became irresistible. Consequently, we had
already failed, once, in finding six square inches
of room within the walls, to stand upon; and
when we now paid our money for a little stage
box, like a dry shower-bath, we did so in the
midst of a stream of people who persisted in
paying their's for other parts of the house
in despite of the representations of the
Money-taker that it was 'very full, everywhere.'

The outer avenues and passages of the
People's Theatre bore abundant testimony to
the fact of its being frequented by very dirty
people. Within, the atmosphere was far from
odoriferous. The place was crammed to excess,
in all parts. Among the audience were a large
number of boys and youths, and a great many
very young girls grown into bold women
before they had well ceased to be children.
These last were the worst features of the
whole crowd, and were more prominent there
than in any other sort of public assembly
that we know of, except at a public execution.
There was no drink supplied, beyond
the contents of the porter-can (magnified
in its dimensions, perhaps), which may be
usually seen traversing the galleries of the
largest Theatres as well as the least, and
which was here seen everywhere. Huge ham-
sandwiches, piled on trays like deals in a
timber-yard, were handed about for sale to
the hungry; and there was no stint of oranges
cakes, brandy-balls, or other similar refreshments.
The Theatre was capacious, with a
very large capable stage, well lighted, well