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had any brains. They not only earned more,
but spent less at the public-house. Wholesome
cottages, which they are made to keep clean,
continue on the lessons learned in the fields.
The Squire Wagerman's wife helps and assists
all she can, although with this generation it
is up-hill work. To do what has been done
required a resolute and wealthy person, who
fully understood how to treat men, and how
to use machinery. Mr. Wagerman tells me
he looks forward to rest in future, when the
generation now learning in the infant-schools
shall be at work."

There are many men with estates, who mean
well, but know not how to execute. Many
who do not discover that it is for their interest
to make those under them intelligent,
sober, industrious. A great landowner can do
more than a great prince; he can inoculate a
whole county with a good example, if his good
wishes are carried out with radical good sense.

This is no fiction; Wagerman is a real man.
An estate cultivated in a most barbarous, unproductive
manner has been made fertile by
simple means. A village where dirt, ignorance,
idleness, intemperance, were chronic, has
been rebuilt, sewered, and cleansed: schools
have been established for the young, industry
has been made essential to the labouring,
independence has been cultivated among all.
And this, by a man, who thought it worth
his while, not less than his duty, to sink some
years of a large income, in restoring a moral
tone to degraded labourers, as well as fertility
to an exhausted soil.


THERE are few subjects that present to the
psychologist more curious traits, and more
subtle enigmas than lady poisoners. The
character is so opposed to all our ideas of
feminine feeling and affection, that, except
under circumstances of extreme excitement,
resentment of slighted attachment, blind
jealousy, or revenge of injured honour, its
existence would seem hardly possible. If we
search for motives, we find them to be generally
of the most selfish and grovelling kind.
They are, commonly, to put out of the way
some or all of the people around who have
money to leave. Other base passions come
into play, but Mammon, the basest spirit that
fell, is generally at the bottom of their career.
It is amazing the variety and amiability of
character that is worn for years, to cover the
foul fiend within. For long periods these
female vampyres live in the heart of a family
circle, wearing the most life-like marks of
goodness and kindness, of personal attraction
and spiritual gifts; caressed, fêted,
honoured as the very pride of their sex,
while they are all the time calculating on the
lives and the purses of those nearest, and who
should be dearest, to them.

Some of these modern Medeas have played
the part, of the fashionable, or the æsthetic;
some, of the domestically amiable; some, of
the devoted attendant on the sick and the
suffering. Heaven defend us from such devotion!
May no such tigress smooth our
pillow; smile blandly on us in our pains
which she cannot take away, though she
has the satisfaction of knowing that they
will take us away; and mix with taper
fingers the opiate of our repose! Amid
the most stealthy-footed and domestically
benign of this feline race, were the Widow
Zwanziger, and Mrs. Gottfried, of Germany.
They were amongst the most successful,
though not the most distinguished, in this art
of poisoning. They went on their way, slaying
all around them, for years upon years,
and yet were too good and agreeable to be
suspected, though death was but another
name for their shadows. Funerals followed
these fatal sisters as certainly as thunder
follows lightning, and undertakers were the
only men who flourished in their path.

The Widow Zwanziger was an admirable
cook and nurse. Her soups and coffee had a
peculiar strength; her watchful care by the
sick bed was in all hearts; she kissed the
child she meant to kill, and pillowed the
aching head with such soothing address that
it never ached again. Mrs. Gottfried was so
attractive a person that her ministration was
sought by people of much higher rank than
her own; she was so warm a friend, that she
was a friend unto death, and one attached
soul after another breathed their last in
her arms. Husband after husband departed,
and still her hand was sought, and still it
practised its cunning. At length, in her
four-and-fiftieth year she was detected, and
arrested. In prison, she walked amid the
apparitions of all her victims, wept tears of
tenderness over their memory, and finished
by desiring that her life might be written;
so that, having lost everything else, she
might yet enjoy her fame.

All women of this class have had an extraordinary
degree of vanity,—and, what is
more, they have had a perfect passion for
their art. The Marchioness de Brinvilliers
was an enthusiast in the composition of the
rarest poisons, of which her accomplice,
Sainte-Croix, was so eminent a compounder.
The admiration of her beauty, the distinctions
of her rank, afforded her but a feeble satisfaction
in comparison with that of watching
the operation of some subtly lethal essence.
She certainly was not the mere marchioness,
but the princess of poisoners; and yet it
remained for Madame Ursinus to give additional
touches of perfection to this peculiar
character. She was at once a lady of fashion,
a pietist, a writer of  useful tracts, a poetess,
and a poisoner. Through all the dangers of
these various careers, she lived to the good
old age of seventy-six, and diedlamented!
Brinvilliers, Zwanziger, and Gottfried
confessed that they were conquered by their
crimes; but Madame Ursinus, branded in

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