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" " That's just what I want to do; but how can I tell her, unless I know what to tell her?'
"I was laughing so heartily that I could only shout out, “ Tell her, teller,' but, fearing that my aunt might become exasperated, I ran down stairs, and for her editication uttered the magic word. Of course, the desired plate was produced, to her great amazement; but sho good-naturedly joined in my unrepressed merriment.”
Mr. Mowatt, in very ill health, joined them, and they went to Paris to consult Hahnemann, the celebrated discoverer of the homeopathic system, which visit Mrs. Mowatt thus describes :--
“Hahnemann, at that period, had become too fceble to visit his patients. He received them at his own residence. Mr. Mowatt being confined to his bed, the duty of calling upon the learned doctor, and of minutely describing the case, devolved upon me.
" It was scarcely nine o'clock when I entered Hahneinann's magnificent mansion ; but his saloons were already crowded, and one o'clock struck before I gained an audience. A valet, in gaudy livery, who had taken my card soinc four hours before, then approached, and informed me that I would now be received into the consultation chamber. I followed him through a succession of apartments, all richly furnished, and embellished with numberless busts of Hahnemann, of various sizes. A door was thrown open, and I entered the consultation
which opinions we shall not attempt to discuss, but allow each party to inveigh against her Juliet or eulogise her Lady Teazle as they list.
Mrs. Mowatt is unquestionably a woman of persevering industry, energetic application, and considerable literary ability, and far less interesting autobiographies have been frequently published than that of Mrs. Mowatt. Her book contains a variety of light and pleasing matter, among which, of course, egotistical gossip prevails, with anccdotes of popular persons scattered here and there, and a tolerable sprinkling of genial sentiment running through it.
We learn that Mrs. Mowatt is the daughter of Mr. S. G. Ogden, an Episcopal minister of New York. She was born at Bordeaux, one of a large family, with whom private plays and dramatic recitations appeared to be the principal juvenile amusement, and which probably inspired her with the early predilection for theatrical pursuits. At seven years of age she returned with her family to New York, and Miss Anna was sent to school, where she confesses to being “ too ungovernably gay to gain the highest lionours," and that “sums in the Rule of Three and French verbs were her childhood's misery.” Reciting and play-acting charmed her more than algebra or mathematics. Grammar and arithmetic were sent to the right about, and paper crowns and spangled gauzes highly cultivated. When thirteen, the young lady saw Miss Kemble in the Hunchback, which confirmed her stage propensity; and at the same age she made the acquaintance of Mr. Jas. Mowatt, a young barrister of New York, who first fell in love with an elder sister, supposing her to be single, but speedily transferred his affection to the disengaged maiden of thirteen, and at fifteen she was privately married to him. These American young people are rather“ fast " in such matters. They pay little hecd to the sensible advice of Cowper:-
Choose not alone a proper mate,
time to marry. Feeding, fighting, drinking, dying, courting, and wedding are all done on the "go a-head” principle by brother Jonathan. We do not believe that there are any "little girls and boys” in America. They seem to jump out of their long-clothes into bridal garments, and know few passages of existence between pap and “sherry cobbler.”
Mrs. Mowatt spent some few years in writing for public magazines and private gratification, when being prononnced consumptive, she visited London with her sister. After describing our “lions” in a nut particularly fresh or graphic style, she visited Germany, where the following somewhat amusing dilemma ensued through her aunt's ignorance of the language :
“One day she had gone to the cuisine to enact a series of pantomimic directions to the cook, while I was busy in my own room. By and by she called out to me, in great distress,
“Good gracious, Anna, what is the German for a plate ??
* Teller,' I replied, leaning over the stair. “Tell her what?' returned my aunt, not supposing that she had heard aright.
“ Teller,' I answered back at the top of my voice.
" "How can I tell her, unless you tell me what to tell her?' she retorted in a tone that betokened she was gradually becoming heated-and, indeed, the weather was sultry.
'Can't you hear me tell you to tell her teller?'
“At the head of a long table sat a lady, dressed in the most recherché demi-toilette, with a gold pen in her hand, and piles of books and papers strewed around her. She might have been forty years old ; but I am no judge of ages. Her form was finely rounded, and her face still fresh and handsome. Her brow was remarkably high, and the hair, thrown back from her temples, fell in long, light curls upon her shoulders. Her compexion was brilliantly clear, and her blue eyes had a deeply-thoughtful expression. She rose to receive me, and it was not until she resumed her seat that a shrivelled, little, old man became visible. He was reclining in a sumptuous arm-chair, with a black velvet skullcap on his head, and in his mouth a richly-enamelled pipe, that reached almost to his knees. His face reminded me of a ruddy apple that had been withered by the frost ; but the small
, dark eyes, deeply set in his head, could scarcely have glittered with more brilliancy in his lusty youth. As I took the seat which Mrs. Ilahnemam designated, he noticed me with a look rather than a bow, and removing the pipe from his mouth, deliberately sent a volume of smoke across the table probably in token of greeting.
“Mrs. Hahnemam addressed me, and wrote down my answers to her numerous questions, but at the conclusion of the interview declined prescribing, until the invalid made the effort to appear in person. Hahnemaun sat pufting away as though his existence depended upon the amount of smoke with which he was surrounded, and apparently intent alone upon his pleasant occupation. But when I spoke of our long visit to Germany, he suddenly took the pipe from his mouth. 'Sprechen sie Deutsche ?' were the first words he addressed to me.
“I had only to utter 'Ya wohl,” when a species of Promethean fire scemed to shoot throngh the veins of the smoking antoinaton ; he laid down his pipe and commenced an animated conversation in his own language.
“He spoke of Germany and her institutions with enthusiasm ; asked me many questions coucerning America, and expressed his admiration of the few Americans with whom he was acquainted. As soon as politeness permitted, I led back the subject to the point from which we had originally started--Mr. Mowatt's illness in Germany. At the first medical question, thc pipe returned to its former position, the expanded coun
tenance shrivelled up again, the distended muscles re- the closet. Lady Teazle (according to Sheridan) peeps
“Mr. Jones, the prompter, supposing that I had for“I afterwards heard the history of Mrs. Hahnemann. gotten my part, ran to one of the wings from which he She had been cured by her husband of a disease which
could obtain a view behind the screen. To his mingled other physicians pronounced necessarily fatal. Through diversion and consternation, he beheld Lady Teazle gratitude, she bestowed her hand upon the man who had placidly sleeping upon the floor. Of course, he could saved her life. Her husband taught her the science of
not reach her. I have aften heard him relate the frantic medicine. She made rapid progress, and he soon pro
manner in which hic shouted, in an imploring stage nounced his wife as skilful a physician as himself. When whisper, Mrs. Mowatt, wake up! For goodness' sake, he became infirm, his practice was left almost entirely in wake up! Charles Surface is just going to pull the her hands.
screen down! Wake up! You'll be caught by the "A few days after the first visit, I returned, accom- audience asleep! Wake up! Good gracious, do wako panied by Mr. Mowatt. Again we had to wait several hours in the antechambers; and, when admitted, the
“I have some confused recollection of hearing the interview was unsatisfactory. After but a short trial of
words' wake up! wake up!' As I opened my heavy the medicines prescribed, his sufferings were so intense eyes, they fell upon Mr. Joncs, making the most violent that homeopathy was abandoned."
gesticulations, waving about his prompt book, and almost On returning to America, Mr. Mowatts circumstances dancing in the excitement of his alarm. The hand of became reduced, and Mrs. Mowatt gave poetic readings
Charles Surface was already on the screen. I sprang with great success ; wrote the tolerably successful comedy to my feet, hardly remembering where I was, and had of Fashion, produced at the Park Theatre, New York, barely time to smooth down my train when the screcn and eventually made her debut there as an actress in the fell. A moment sooner, and how would the slumbering character of Pauline, in The Lady of Lyons.
Laly Teazle, suddenly awakened, have contrived to imActing is not such an entirely enchanted life as tinsel, press the audience with the sense of her deep contrition rouge, and footlights make it seem to uninitiated eyes. for her imprudence! how persuaded her husband that Hear what Mrs. Mowatt says of lier first year's ex
she had diseovered her injustice to him during her pleasant perience:-When I made my début I was only prepared in one
Here we find poor Mrs. Mowatt “ taking to drinking” part; yet, before the close of the year, I had enacted all in a frightful manner :the most popular characters in juvenile comedy and “One evening, the property man--so the individual tragedy. From this fact some estimate may be formed who has the charge of potions, amulets, caskets of jewels, of the amount of study requisite. Often after a pro- purses filled with any quantity of golden coin, and other tracted rehearsal in the morning, and an arduous per
theatrical treasures, designated as stage properties, is formance at night, I returned home from the theatre styled—forgot the bottle containing Juliet's sleeping wearied out in mind and body; yet I dared not rest. potion. The omission was only discovered at the moment The character to be represented on the succeeding night
the vial was needed. Some bottle must be furnished to still required several hours of reflection and application.
the Friar, or he cannot utter the solemn charge with Sometimes I kept myself awake by bathing my heavy
which he confides the drug to the perplexed scion of the eyes and throbbing temples with iced water as I com- Capulets. The property man, confused at discovering mitted the words to memory. Sometimes I could only his own neglect, and fearful of the fine to which it would battle with the angel who
subject him, caught up the first small bottle at hand, and
gave it to the Friar. The vial was the prompter's, and Knits up the ravelled sleeve of care
contained ink. When Juliet snatched thc fatal potion
from the Friar's hand, he whispered something in an by rapidly pacing the room while I studied. Now and under tone. I caught the words 'so take care,' but was then I was fairly conquered, and fell asleep over my
too absorbed in my part to comprehend the warning. books. I was often weary to exhaustion, even during
Juliet returns home---meets her parents--retires to her the performance. On one occasion my fatigue very
chamber—dismisses her nurse and finally drinks the nearly placed me in a predicament as awkward to me as potion. At the words --it would have been amusing to the audience. We were fulfilling a long engagement at Niblo's. I was playing Lady Teazle in the School for Scandal. When Lady I placed the bottle to my lips, and unsuspiciously swal. Teazle, at the announcement of Sir Peter, is concealed lowed the inky draft! The dark stain upon my handbehind the screen in Joseph Surface's library, she is and lips might have been mistaken for the quick works compelled to remain a quarter of an hour, or perhaps ings of the poison, for the audience remained ignorant of twenty minutes, in this confinement. I was dreadfully the mishap, which I only half comprehended. When the fatigued, and glad of the opportunity to rest. There scene closed, the prompter rushed up to me, exclaiming, was no chair. At first I knelt for relief. Becoming 'Good gracious! you have been drinking from my bottle tired of that position, I quietly laid myself down, and, of ink! I could not resist the temptation of quoting regardless of Lady Teazle's ostrich plumes, made a pillow thc remark of the dying wit under similar circumof my arms for my head. I listened to Placide's most stances—'Let me swallow a sheet of blotting-paper!' humerous personation of Sir Peter for a while ; but The frightened prompter, however, did not understand gradually his voice grew more and more indistinct, the joke.” melting into a soothing murmur, and then was heard no Mrs. Mowatt first appeared in England at the Manmore. I fell into a profound sleep. When Charles Sur. chester Theatre, and her career in London is tolerably face is announced, Sir Peter is hurried by Joseph into well remembered, we suppose. Mr. Mowatt died, and
Romoo! this do I drink to thee!
Mrs. Mowatt returned to America, where she still is. Her volume will prove amusing to general readers, and we shall have pleasure in returning to it for a lengthy and interesting extract or two at some future time.
IT CAN'T BE HELPED.
the empire of Napoleon. All commercial and friendly intercourse was interdicted by the deadly warfare which so long raged between us and the French; and an intense Anglicism, self-laudation of England, English institutions, and English virtues, more than ever characterised us during that time. Perhaps all this was natural and proper. We were driven into habits of self-assertion ; and we backed our boasts by marvellous pluck, courage, endurance, and self-sacrifice. The war braced the national mind, and developed much earnest and manly character. We had to struggle against a banded world in arms against us; and the world is ready enough to admit that we struggled gloriously and successfully.
Perhaps there was a dash of the savage in our manners then, of which we would now be somewhat ashamed. Mr. Wyndham did not hesitate to vindicate the ruffianism of the ring in his place in Parliament, and boldly held it to be a school in which the Englishman learnt pluck and “the manly art of self-defence." Bruisers were highly popular then; they were even the friends of lords. At every prize-fight there were crowds of the “best classes," and titled men were often found among the backers, sometimes even they were the bottle-holders of “the fancy.” To upset a watchman in his box--the watchman being then a public servant paid for sleeping in the open air--was regarded as a proper lark for a young gentle
To maul a Charley, break his lanthorn and his head, wrench off door-knockers, and pull down signboards, were not considered unbecoming. The “Mohawks” of fifty years back were, as their name imported, the savage Young Englanders of our large towns : they made night hideous, and when they were abroad at dusk, no modest young woman durst venture out. Tom-and-Jerryism was in full vogue then. Fifty years ago it was quite a popular nuisance, and at the theatres no play was so popular as Tom and Jerry.
Travelling was a very different thing fifty years ago from what it is now. England was land-locked throughout. The people of the country had little or no intercourse with the people of the towns, and the people of the towns had little or no intercourse with each other. The roads were so bad that nearly all travelling was put a stop to during winter, except on horseback. The roads were full of ruts, and the public vehicles were of the most lumbering and uncomfortable kind. The dilly was the vehicle of the few persons belonging to the middle class who then ventured to travel. It was a coarse strong kind of omnibus, suspended on leathern straps, and it swung about frightfully, often producing sickness. The coachman's box was not on springs, and the driver was so terribly jolted about, that twentyfive miles was considered a good day's work for the coach
"CAN'T be helped " is one of the thousand convenient phrases with which men cheat and deceive themselves. It is one in which the helpless and the idle take refuge as their last and only comfort-it can't be helped !
Your energetic man is for helping everything. If he sees an evil, and clearly discerns its cause, he is for taking steps forthwith to remove it. He busies himself with ways and means, devises practical plans and methods, and will not let the world rest till it has done something in a remedial way. The indolent man spares himself all this trouble. He will not budge. He sits with his arms folded, and is ready with his unvarying observation, “ It can't be helped !” as much as to say, “If it is, it ought to be, it will be, and we need not bestir ourselves to alter it."
Wash your face, you dirty little social boy; you are vile, and repulsive, and vicious, by reason of your neglect of cleanliness. “ It can't be helped.”
Clear away your refuse, sweep your streets, cleanse your drains and gutters, purify your atmosphere, you indolent corporations, for the cholcra is coming. " It can't be helped !” Educate your children, train them up in virtuous habits, teach them to be industrious, obedient, frugal, and thoughtful, you thoughtless communities, for they are now growing up vicious, ignorant, and careless, a source of future peril to the nation. “It can't be helped !”
But it can be helped. Every evil can be abated, every nuisance got rid of, every abomination swept away, though this will never be done by the “can't-be-helped people.
Man is not helpless, but can both help himself and help others. He can act individually and unitedly against wrong and evil. He has the power to abate and eventually uproot them. But, alas ! the greatest obstacle of all in the way of such beneficent action, is the feeling and disposition out of which arises the miserable, puling, and idle ejaculation of " It can't be helped !”
MANNERS FIFTY YEARS AGO.
The characteristic features of the genuine John Bull, as he exhibited himself some fifty years since, have now become very much toned down, refined, and, in a large majority of cases, almost obliterated. Fifty years ago we hated the French, who ate frogs and wore wooden shoes : indeed, we then indulged in a supreme contempt for all foreign nations ; we defied foreign modes and opinions, and indulged in the most intense feeling of self-admiration.
These peculiar characteristics of the Englishman of fifty years back were caused in a great measure by our isolated position as a people. At the beginning of the century there was an almost complete cessation of intercourse between the general publics of Great Britain and the continental states. Few vessels passed from our ports to the continent; travelling was very expensive, and the number of tourists was very small. Only the high aristocracy and a limited number of the wealthy classes could then afford a visit to Germany, France, or Italy; and to the great bulk of the middle classes the continent was almost as little known as China and Egypt are now.
This isolation of England was greatly aggravated during
The invention of macadamized roads then appeared as great a revolution as that of railways has since proved. T'he coaches were then set on springs, and got over the ground at the unprecedented rate of from eight to ten miles an hour, the previous rate of travelling having boen five. The fast coaches along the great high roads of the country then presented a gay appearance. Expresses and Highflyers, Tally-hcs and Enterprises, sped along the new turnpike-roads at a miraculous speed. Young lords and gents aspired to handle the ribbons, and the seat of honour for men of blood was beside the coachman on the box. And it was really a pleasant thing, on a fine crisp autumn or spring morning, to enjoy a drive across the bright landscape, by hedgerows, along avenues of old trees, through villages skirting the common green, through towns and cities, every here and there halting for a change of horses at some quaint old inn or publichouse, or alighting to walk up the hill and give the horses a breath, then on and away again at express speed. But these old times have passed, and however much we may
enjoy the recollection of many a delightful drive outside the coach, we would not have them back again.
But travelling by coach was not entirely agreeable fifty or sixty years ago. If you travelled inside, you were cramped up in a small compass, and soon felt utterly disgusted and exhausted, wishing the journey were suddenly at an end. What a frightful torment was a journey inside even the roomiest coach then, from York to London. But even outside you were no better off. It was not always fine weather then any more than it is now. And before the age of mackintoshes, a long ride outside a coach on a wet day was a horrible punishment, almost equal to that of the pillory. Plash, plash! and wet above and wet below, wet outside and inside, and wet all round. What a comfort is a railroad carriage, even the worst fourth class one, to the discomforts of travelling in the old times.
But “the road” had its terrors too. Highwaymen beset the roads fifty and sixty years ago. Even in the neighbourhood of London, the roads were considered unsafe after dark; and robberies were not unusual even in broad daylight. Hounslow and Bagshot Heaths were the frequent scenes of these exploits, and many a “gallant highwayman,” after levying public contributions there, caught at last, was swung off at Tyburn or the Old Bailey in company with half-a-dozen others in one morning. Rows of gibbets used then to ornament the banks of the Thames, the bodies of the executed malefactors being enclosed in frames of iron, not so closely, however, as to exclude the carrion crows which from time to time swooped down to their disgusting feast.
The pillory was one of our time-honoured institutions fifty years ago, and men and women used to be placed there for offences such as a wise legislature would have endeavoured to conceal from the public contemplation. The horrid scenes which then took place, when men, women, and children collected in crowds to pelt the offenders with missiles, were so disgusting, that no description of them can here be ventured on. The public obscenities of these good old times, on such occasions, would almost have disgraced the days of Nero. And not more seemly were the public whippings then administered to women in common with the coarsest male offenders.
This leads us to talk of the public amusements of those days, of which the pillory was one. In no respect do the new times compare more favourably with the old than in this respect of public amusements. What were they then? In the country the saturnalia of Plough Monday, which spread universal terror amongst the better classes of the community, the drunkenness and debaucheries of May Day, and the brutalities of bull-baitings. Pugilistic encounters and cock-fights, dog-fights, and badger-drawing were also amongst the cruel amusements of the public.
Bull-baiting was probably the most brutal of all these sports, “ calculated to stimulate the noble courage of Englishmen,” as the patriot Wyndham publicly declared them to be. The bull was secured to a stake in the market-place or the bull-ring (the name of which still survives in many towns), and there he was baited by all the rabble dogs in the neighbourhood. One may now but faintly imagine the savage nature of the sport -- the animal mutilations, the imprecations of the men worse than the brutes themselves—the ferociousness, and the drunkenness--the blasphemy, and the unspeakable horrors of the entire exhibition. The public mind of this day absolutely revolts at the brutality of fifty years ago. The bull-rings exist now only in name ; and no one desires to see the revival of the sport. Yet, only fifty-two years ago, on the 24th of May, 1802, a bill for the abolition of bull-baiting was lost in the House of Commons by sixtyfour to fifty-one,- Mr. Wyndham contending that horseracing and hunting were more cruel than bull-baiting or prize-fighting!
Cock-throwing on Shrove-Tuesday was then the amuse.
ment of school-boys. A number of cocks in succession were tied to a stake, and each boy was furnished with three sticks of about two feet in length. He then threw at the head of the cock, and he who killed him won the prize,--the highest prize being given to the boy who succeeded in knocking off the head at one stroke! Skill in the art of striking off a cock's head was as much esteemed as skill at cricket is now! But who, we would like to know, desires to see this school-boy amusement of fifty-years ago revived among us now?
Drunkenness even in the best circles was a manly vice fifty years ago. Drunken clergymen abounded. Not that it was considered proper for them to appear drunk in the pulpit or reading-desk, though even this was not an unusual thing; but they were notoriously jolly, fast livers, rough jokers, and often the most reckless of fox-hunters. To drink deep was the fashion of the day at squires' tables, and of course the squire's table was not complete without the presence of the clergymen. “ Fill your glasses, gentlemen-no heel-taps ! ” was the order of the day. When the company sat down to drink, it was usual for the hospitable landlord to lock the door, and put the key in his pocket; and to leave the house sober was regarded as a reflection upon the entertainer. Sometimes the guests were not allowed to leave until they were not able to walk! These things will seem so outrageous to our younger readers, that many of them will scarcely believe that they once were. Yet there are many men still living who remember them well enough.
But all this has gone by. The pillory and public whippings have departed; even the village stocks have rotted out. The bull-ring and the prize-ring have disappeared ; clergymen are sober and respectable, as becomes them ; drunkenness is disreputable, though still by far too prevalent. Churchwardens do not now toast "church and king" at orgies paid for out of the churchrates. The old bloated corporations of the borough towns do not now guzzle at the public expense, nor parade to church arrayed in their gewgaws, preceded by the corporation-beadle. Those jolly dogs have gone down before the assaults of low radicals and dissenters. The only remnant of the old corporation glories is to be found in “the City,” and “ the Lord Mayor's procession” and corporation dinners, are the last lingering records of those departed days. And even the London alderman is said now to be doomed : he is fast on his way to the limbo of all ignorance and corruption.
Fifty years have made vast changes in the manners of our people. Newspapers were then dear and few; now they are cheap and numerous. Then books were difficult to be had, and few could read them. Now they are so cheap that the poorest may buy them. Schools were very bad and inefficient fifty years ago, until Joseph Lancaster roused them into efficiency, and was traduced as a dangerous revolutionist for so doing. Schools then existed, as much to prevent education as to promote it. The most dangerous innovator was he who proposed that poor people should be taught to read. All that is changed now, and we have a competition amongst all classes in the work of popular enlightenment. The labourer has no other resources besides the public-house. In towns there are exhibitions and parks for him-steamboats and oinnibuses, reading-rooms and coffee-rooms, museums, gardens, and cheap concerts. Roger de Coverley has gone; the spinning-wheel has been laid in the lumber-store ; pewter and wooden trenchers have disappeared for “delf” ware ; tinder-boxes are supplanted by lucifer matches; tight breeches, shoe-buckles, queues, and hessians, have passed away; pattens are obsolete ; hair-powder is seen only on the stage or on the heads of flunkeys; these are small matters, and can be dispensed with. But in their place has come a healthier, sounder life ; greater enlightenment; more general sobriety; and a much huinaner spirit. We have in fifty years outgrown many of our savage tendencics. We are not less brave as a people, though less brutal. We are quite as manly, though much less gross. Mauners are much more refined, yet have we no less pluck, energy, endurance, and high qualities as a people. We respect ourselves more, and as a nation have become more respectable. We now think with shaine, and not without good reason, of the manners of fifty years ago.
We have on several occasions called attention to the improvident outlay in funcral expenses. The Times of April 3 thus sensibly speaks on this topic :
“It may not, perhaps, have altogether escaped the public recollection that some eighteen months or two years back we called attention to the subject of funeral expenses. What can be more monstrous than the taste which dictates these displays ? What more outrageous than the system of inflicting heavy burdens and difficulties upon the living, who are yet within reach of the world's troubles, for the sake of those who had just escaped from them? We sinile with pitying complacency at the poor Hindoo widow who ascends the funeral pyre of her dead lord; but esteem it a subject rather for praise than blame if a poor family is sacrificed at the grave of one of its members. It would be wrong to say that the sacrifice is made invariably or principally from ostentatious motives; it would be equally mistaken to suppose that in the majority of cases the grief of the mourners required any such alleviation as the clammy black gloves and long weepers of the undertaker could supply. To be alone with one's grief is the best until decent composure aud self-restraint have resumed their habitual sway. The black horses--the mutes, with their faces of three-andsixpenny commiseration, and all the usual paraphernalia of professional sorrow, simply serve to vulgarize, as far as it may be done, feelings which every nian would gladly confine within his own breast without any suggestive parade. It is not ostentation which demands—it is not grief which inspires such displays; it is the tyranny of custom which has rendered them necessary. In by far the greater number of instances—we will venture to say in 99 per cent. of the cases in which deaths occur in English families-it would be more agreeable to the feelings of the survivors, and far more in consonance with the wishes of the dead, if funerals were performed in a simple and inostentations manner, without ridiculous and vulgar pomp, without overwhelming expense. In all but a small proportion of the deaths which occur in Great Britain, the possession of £100 more or less, is of very vital importance to the surviving families. If we descend still lower in the scale, and take the case absolutely of the labouring classes, we shall find that upon them the tyramy of custom presses in a still more extravagant manner. A payment of £6, £10, £15, or £20, inay involve permanent embarrassment. They, will, however, incur it readily, in order to secure a fine funeral for one of their deceased relatives. The whole arrangement is one of fashion. As long as the class immediately above adheres to the custom of extravagant funerals, so long will the class below imitate their example. Change must come froin above. The poor have little option but to do as those around them do. The prejudices of others, and, still more, their own preju.
dices, leave them no alternative but to follow the herd. Even among people who should know better, we fear that the same feelings obtain to an extent almost inconceivable. In the middle classes a splendid funeral must be arranged when death occurs, really for no better reason than because persons more highly placed in the social scale, while living, have caused that-fashion to be followed, when dead, with respect to their interment. Thus, the pompous funeral of the wealthy peer is the cause of almost endless mischief, as it provokes imitations which, petty as they may be when compared with the sentimental npholstery of the original, are still sufficiently showy to necessitate great expense.
" To-day we have to record, with no ordinary respect, the directions left by the late Duke of Portland in his will. These were to the effect that he should be buried with as little ceremony as possible, in a country churchyard, and that the expenses of his funeral should be limited to £100. His executors have no discretion left; they are not directed to bury the corpse in a 'simple and unostentatious' manner. None of those elastic phrases are employed, which may be stretched at the pleasure of the interpreters; but they are bound down to a sum which they may not exceed. It should be mentioned that out of this sum the whole cost of the transport of the corpse from Welbeck Abbey to Bolsover churchyard must be taken ; so that, in point of fact, the sum named would be esteemed a small one for the funeral expenses of a man in humble circumstances. The Duke of Portland was a man of enormous wealth, of the highest station in the country, and yet, with singular good taste and propriety, he has made his own case the ineans of asserting the truth that when the jaws of the grave have closed upon a human being, there is an end of rank and distinction. The waste of £10,000, or £20,000, would scarcely have been felt by the heirs of his princely estates; but he was endeavouring to 'establish a principle,' and in this he will probably have succeeded. Even from his coffin he has dealt a heavy blow at the undertakers, which we trust they may long feel. Those who wish to range themselves on the side of discretion and good taste may henceforth strengthen themselves by his example, and refuse to follow in the beaten track of the mourning-coach and six, with all its heavy vulgarity and display. Unless, however, others situated, during their spell of life, as advantageously as was the late Duke of Portland shall follow his example, the effect of that example will soon pass away and be forgotten. It is to them more particularly we would address ourselves, for, as we before said, we should have little hope that any word of ours would act directly to eradicate so deeply-seated a prejudice as this from the minds of the vulgar rich or the ignorant poor. The Peers, however, and most notable men of the country must have seen too much in their time of worldly grandeur not to know its utter hollowness: their taste must be too refined not to shrink with disgust from the undertakers' fulsome displays; their minds, we trust, too enlarged to admit the supposition that any consequence can attach to them, any reverence light upon their memories, from the manner in which their poor corruptible remains are committed to the earth, or consigned to the funeral vault. The fashion they set would be followed, because it was the fashion. In hundreds, ay, in thousands of cases every year, poor families would be spared sacrifices which must end in their embarrassment, if not their ruin. For the worst feature about these funeral expenses is that they occur just at a time when they can be least afforded. The hand which should have carned thc bread has been long paralyzed, and is now for ever numb. The doctor must be paid, the nurse must be paid, the apothecary must be paid, and finally, to complete the ruin, the undertaker must be paid as well. Let all our dukes and marquises, and other such leaders of fashion, give these matters an