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desperate throw for luxury and riot at the best,
or at the worst for the comfortable gaol, the
warm convict's dress, and the snug cell with
its hot-water pipes?

Leaving Cheapside, the magnificent; avoiding
the omnibuses in the Poultry as best we
may; skirting the huge Mansion House, where
a feeble gleam from an office on the basement
suggests that Messrs. John and Daniel
Forrester are yet wide awake, while the broad
glare of light from the windows in Charlotte
Row proclaims jolly civic festivities in the
Egyptian Hall; striking through Cornhill, the
wealthy; crossing Gracechurch Street, and
suppressing a lingering inclination to take a
stroll by the "Old Flower-pot," and older
South Sea House, into old Bishopsgate Street,
just to have a vagabond quarter-of-an hour or
so of thought about Baring Brothers, Crosby
Hall, Great St. Helen's, Sir Thomas More,
and Mr. Ross the hairdresser:—Supposing this,
I say, our party boldly invades Leadenhall
Street. Opposite the India House I must stop
for a moment, however. Is there not Billiter
Street hard-by, with that never-dying smell
of Cashmere shawls and opium chests about
the sale-rooms? Is there not St. Mary Axe,
redolent of Hebrew London? Is there not the
great house itself, with all its mighty associations
of Clive and Warren Hastings, Nuncomar,
and Lally Tollendal, Plassy, Arcot, and
SeringapatamSheridan, thundering in
Westminster Hall on the case of the Begums
and the mighty directors, with their millions
of subjects, and their palaces in Belgravia and
Tyburnia, who were once but poor hucksters
and chapmen of Trichonopoly chains and
indigo ballsmere buyers and sellers of rice,
sugar, and pepper? But my companions are
impatient, and, dropping a hasty tear to the
memory of Mr. Toole, the great toastmaster
and beadle—(dost thou remember him,
Eugenio, in that magnificent cocked hat and
scarlet coat?)—we leave Leadenhall Street
the broad for Leadenhall Street the narrow;
and where the tortuous Fenchurch Street
also converges, emerge into the open space by
Aldgate pump. We have no time to dilate
on the antiquity of the pump. A hundred
yards to the left, and here we are, not absolutely
in Whitechapel itself, but at the
entrance of that peculiar and characteristic
district, which I take to be bounded by Mile-end
gate on the east, and by the establishment
of Messrs. Aaron and Son on the west.

First, Aaron. Gas, splendour, wealth,
boundless and immeasurable, at a glance.
Countless stories of gorgeous show-rooms,
laden to repletion with rich garments. Gas
everywhere. Seven hundred burners, they
whisper to me. The tailoring department;
the haberdashery department; the hat, boots,
shawl, outfitting, cutlery department. Hundreds
of departments. Legions of "our
young men" in irreproachable coats, and
neckcloths void of reproach. Corinthian
columns, enriched cornices, sculptured panels,
arabesque ceilings, massive chandeliers, soft
carpets of choice patterns, luxury, elegance,
the riches of a world, the merchandise of two,
everything that anybody ever could want,
from a tin shaving-pot to a cashmere shawl.
Astonishing cheapnesswonderful celerity
enchanting civility!  Great is Aaron of the
Minories!  Of the Minories? of everywhere.
He pervades Aldgate; he looms on Whitechapel;
an aërial suspension bridge seems
to connect his Minorial palace with his
West End Branch. Aaron is everywhere.
When I came from Weedon the other day,
his retainers pelted me with his pamphlets
as I quitted the railway station. Aaron
has wrenched the lyre and the bays from
our laureate's hands; he and his son are the
monarchs of Parnassus. His circulars are
thrown from balloons and fired out of cannon.
I believe they must grow in market gardens
somewhere out of townthey are so numerous.
Of course, Aaron is a great public benefactor.

Crossing the Minories, and keeping on the
right-hand side of the road, we are in the very
thick of "Butcher Row" at once. A city of
meat!  The gas, no longer gleaming through
ground-glass globes, or aided by polished
reflectors, but flaring from primitive tubes,
lights up a long vista of beef, mutton, and veal.
Legs, shoulders, loins, ribs, hearts, livers,
kidneys, gleam in all the gaudy panoply of
scarlet and white on every side. "Buy, buy,
buy! " resounds shrilly through the greasy,
tobacco-laden, gas-rarefied air. There are
eloquent butchers, who rival Orator Henley in
their encomiums on the legs and briskets they
expose; insinuating butchers, who wheedle
the softer sex into purchasing, with sly
jokes and well-turned compliments; dignified
butchers (mostly plethoric, double-chinned
men, in top-boots, and doubtless wealthy),
who seem to think that the mere appearance
of their meat, and of themselves, is sufficient
to ensure custom, and seldom condescend to
mutter more than an occasional "Buy!"
Then, there are bold butchersvehement
rogues, in stained frockswho utter frantic
shouts of "Buy, buy, buy! " ever and anon
making a ferocious sally into the street, and
seizing some unlucky wight, who buys a leg
of mutton or a bullock's heart, nolens, volens!

Bless the women!  how they love marketing!
Here they are by scores. Pretty
faces, ugly faces, young and old, chaffering,
simpering, and scolding vehemently. Now,
it is the portly matronhousekeeper, may
be, to some wealthy, retired old bachelor;
she awes the boldest butcher, and makes even
the dignified one incline in his top-boots. And
here is the newly-married artisan's wifea
fresh, rosy-cheeked girl, delightfully ignorant
of housekeeping, though delighted with its
responsibilitiescharmingly diffident as to
what she shall buy, and placing implicit, and,
it is to be hoped, not misplaced, confidence in
the insinuating butcher, who could, I verily
believe, persuade her that a pig's fry is a

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