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another. All good pennorths. Why, Lord
bless your soul, just take 'em up and look for
yourself, and say if they ain't good pennorths!
Look what a lot of print in every one of
'em! My eye! What a lot of print for the
money!"

I never got any farther than this, try as I
might. And yet, I found the shopkeepers,
both men and women, ready enough to talk on
other topics. On each occasion, so far from
receiving any practical hints that I was
interrupting business, I found myself sociably
delayed in the shop, after I had made my
purchase, as if I had been an old acquaintance.
I got all sorts of curious information on all
sorts of subjects,—excepting the good
pennorth of print in my pocket. Does the
reader know the singular facts in connection
with Everton Toffey ? It is like Eau de
Cologne. There is only one genuine receipt
for making it, in the world. It has been a
family inheritance from remote antiquity.
You may go here, there, and everywhere, and
buy what you think is Everton Toffey (or
Eau de Cologne); but there is only one place
in London, as there is only one place in
Cologne, at which you can obtain the genuine
article. That information was given me at
one penny journal shop. At another, the
proprietor explained his new system of Stay-
making to me. He offered to provide my
wife with something that would support her
muscles and not pinch her flesh; and, what
was more, he was not the man to ask for
his bill, afterwards, except in the case of
giving both of us perfect satisfaction. This
man was so talkative and intelligent: he
could tell me all about so many other things
besides stays, that I took it for granted he
could give me the information of which I
stood in need. But here again I was
disappointed. He had a perfect snow-drift of
penny journals all over his counterhe
snatched them up by handfuls, and gesticulated
with them cheerfully; he smacked and
patted them, and brushed them all up in a
heap, to express to me that "the whole
lot would be worked off by the evening;"
but he, too, when I brought him to close
quarters, only repeated the one inevitable
form of words: "A good pennorth; that's
where it is! Bless your soul, look at any
one of them for yourself, and see what
a pennorth it is!"

Having, inferentially, arrived at the two
conclusions that the Unknown Public reads
for amusement, and that it looks to quantity
in its reading, rather than to quality, I might
have found it difficult to proceed further
towards the making of new discoveries, but
for the existence of a very remarkable aid to
inquiry, which is common to all the penny
novel-journals alike. The peculiar facilities
to which I now refer, are presented in the
Answers to Correspondents. The page
containing these is, beyond all comparison,
the most interesting page in the penny
journals. There is no earthly subject that it
is possible to discuss, no private affair that it
is possible to conceive, which the amazing
Unknown Public will not confide to the
Editor in the form of a question, and which
the still more amazing editor will not set
himself seriously and resolutely to answer.
Hidden  under cover of initials, or Christian
names, or conventional signatures, such as
Subscriber, Constant Reader, and so forth,
the editor's correspondents seem, many of
them, to judge by the published answers to
their questions, utterly impervious to the
senses of ridicule or shame. Young girls
beset by perplexities which are usually
supposed to be reserved for a mother's or an elder
sister's ear only, consult the editor. Married
women, who have committed little frailties
consult the editor. Male jilts in deadly
fear of actions for breach of promise of
marriage, consult the editor. Ladies whose
complexions are on the wane, and who wish
to know the best artificial means of restoring
them, consult the editor. Gentlemen who
want to dye their hair, and get rid of their
corns, consult the editor. Inconceivably
dense ignorance, inconceivably petty malice,
and inconceivably complacent vanity, all
consult the editor, and all, wonderful to
relate, get serious answers from him. No
mortal position is too difficult for this
wonderful man; there is no change of character
as general referee, which he is not prepared
to assume on the instant. Now he is a father,
now a mother, now a schoolmaster, now a
confessor, now a doctor, now a lawyer, now a
young lady's confidante, now a young gentleman's
bosom friend, now a lecturer on morals,
and now an authority in cookery.

However, our present business is not with
the editor, but with his readers. As a means
of getting at the average intelligence of the
Unknown Public,—as a means of testing the
general amount of education which they have
acquired, and of ascertaining what share of
taste and delicacy they have inherited from
Naturethese extraordinary Answers to
Correspondents may fairly be produced in
detail, to serve us for a guide. I must
premise, that I have not maliciously hunted
them up out of many numbers; I have
merely looked into my five sample copies of
five separate journals,—all, I repeat, bought,
accidentally, just as they happened to catch
my attention in the shop windows. I have
not waited for bad specimens, or anxiously
watched for good: I have impartially taken
my chance. And now, just as impartially,
I dip into one journal after another, on the
Correspondents' page, exactly as the five
happen to lie on my desk. The result is, that
I have the pleasure of presenting to those
ladies and gentlemen who may honour me
with their attention, the following members
of the Unknown Public, who are in a condition
to speak quite unreservedly for themselves.

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