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near answering as the Gold-Maker's newest Projection-never quite answered. Rivals in the field were to be bought up (Mr. Slagg was a generous man: liberal to his rivals); confidential persons to be employed at high salaries (Mr. Slagg now can recount how so entire was his ascendancy, that no one employed by him over his discoveries ever once broke confidence). There was a ceaseless drain going on, which had to be fed from the hoards and the purses of all accessible persons. The family were put on a course of privation, for some twenty years ; more grinding, I will venture to assert, than the partial want of meat, clothes, and fire:-a minute, daily, hourly, economy-consistent with keeping up of the great house within the great gates ; a sacrifice of the smallest grace dulgence which made no show. The wife, who loved her husband dearly, and was too loving to compare her lot with any other merchant's or manufacturer's wife of her acquaintance—the husband's sister, their inmate, who never crossed the threshold for fifteen years of her life—the son, who, unfit for business, as early appeared, was to be brought up for college -- were each and all laid under contribution : and the willingness with which this was paid, seems to me, to double the cruelty of the levy.
Arden Slagg, the son, was, as I have said, a Poet—in his way a speculator—and a projector—like his father : delicate in frame - delicate in nature. To prepare him for College, he was sent to a large school, where rich men's sons only went. But, unnatural as it may sound—Mr. Slagg's filial affection allowed no margin for pocket-money. And the boy-with the spirit of a gentleman and the name of one—was compelled to run the gauntlet of youth, through a career of mockery and humiliation, which knew no intermission. Your Schoolboy, Sir, out of very thoughtlessness—out of ignorance of what is possible and impossible -can be the cruelest animal under the sun. Every dunce could flout Arden Slagg with his bright half-crown-or the talk of yesterday's treat, or to-morrow's pony ride. It was a favourite torment (and found too efficacious not to be repeated perpetually, when the victim was the head of his class) to pretend to borrow money of him—that the red shame might be seen, rising to the very roots of the sensitive boy's hair, when the truth was excruci-, ated out that he had no money to lend—that day ; nor expected, any next week. But enough. Do you .wonder that the youthearly initiated into the honour of keeping school secrets, and fancy-ing his misery his own fault, became shy, silent, dispirited-lost his
health, and wore out his spirit with strugglings to rise quicker than Nature and Chance willed ? that, breaking down under a failure, (for your Scholar is as little always a Porson, as your Poet proves to be a Tennyson,) sunk to a depth beyond the power of rally and recovery ? He was sent to College, under the same blessed conditions : with his school-day habits of mind upon him. wonder that he fell into the hands of the Rome-ward bound-the Fadgett faction ?-that, with all his hereditary enthusiasm, he went further than his spiritual guides and authorities. It is a thorn in the side of Mr. Slagg, to recollect that his eldest is now a monk ; has given up his very name, for some of their Eustatius-es or Ambrosius-es : and I fancy, occasionally, that I see pain in his eye, if he happens to meet me when my boy is with me. But who is to blame?
Then there was his sister, the invalid : a brave-hearted woman, if ever there was one—though so delicate, that a change of wind in the night made her cough—whence, as I said, she passed some
within the eight walls of two rooms, heated by a stove, and looking on that cheerful court-yard ;—with a mind as serene, and a temper as free from bitterness, as ever Saint could boast. How could any one guess the truth?—that she had been worth an independent fortune—some five hundred a year of her own; that her physicians had told her that she could only exist in our harsh Lancashire climate on the conditions above described—whereas two winters in the South might possibly establish her in sound, if not strong health? It was so : and she had resolved to do her part in educating her poet-nephew, by giving him this foreign journey. Evil was the day, when she arrived in Halcyon Row, to broach her plan. It was her doom. My Mrs. Bell never has any patience with her--calls her “a fool,” and the like ; but she does not know, I suspect, how it was all done ;-the mysterious consciousness that some care was in the house—the bit-by-bit explanationthe probable statement that “the money was only wanted for a month-two months—that it was for her own utmost advantage” -the strong appeal to her feelings,—strong in proportion as it was indirect—the solemn assurances (made, I doubt not, in solemn sincerity—the fact, only, being overlooked, that there were no certainties whereon to build them)—the sacrifice of her journey for a few months—the signature! Can you wonder that when men are wrong enough to undermine the independence of women, for their own purposes, (let me speak plain—to get their money to gamble NO, XXVI. - VOL. V.
with), women should not be strong enough to say “ Nay"_to examine argument by argument-point by point-detail by detailthat, after mistrusting disinclination as obstinacy—they should yield, to their own ruin? Ere the winter was out, Winifred Slagg had seen enough of her Brother-heard enough of his fireside talktested enough of his prophecies by their non-fulfilment — to be aware of what she had done. She lived fifteen years an inmate in her Brother's house : and was steady-hearted enough, I have reason to know, never once to upbraid him,—nor to say, in the hearing of living woman, · He ought not to have got my money from me!”
These were but two among ten cases. True it is, that Triumph came at last — that Slagg's Patents, at last, are making a fortune for Slagg—that the great gates are swinging open, that the lady of the mansion may travel where she will—has wintered at Rome, to be near her son—that Mr. Slagg is to have a piece of plate, as one whose Genius has cast a halo round Halcyon Row ; that there will be dinners, and speeches, and newspaper reports-and men of science from London—and a Knighthood, perhaps, (Miss Le Grand hopes no Baronetcy)—that Mr. Slagg is to build a church, and to stand for a neighbouring town,—that young men are brought to him, eager to listen to his stories, to lay their heads in the lap of his wisdom, and dream dreams ; that his portrait is to be hung in The Mechanics’ Institute ; that he can buy pictures now)
-has thrown poor Winifred's two rooms into one ; which he has made a handsome library. But I shall never forget the look on his own and his wife's face, the first day we were there, to admire and to congratulate ; when a blunderer of the party (Mrs. Bell desires me to say not her husband, of whose remarks out of season you may possibly have heard) said, “ Among your curious books, Mr. Slagg — I wonder you have not a Missal !”—And I thought, that if I must look as they two did, I would rather not be the Proprietor of Slagg's Patents.
A word ere we part. It is of consequence to my peace of mind, (Mrs. Bell says, perhaps, to my keeping my place) that I should explain, that I meditate no treason against your Railway Kings : no slander of the Strutts, no anger at the Arkwrights, nor petulance with the Peels, who build up fortunes and families, by those brilliant strokes of invention, which qualify some men to be Naval Commanders, and some Kings of Colonies—and one in a World's life-time, to be Shakspeare. Clerk as I am, I honour an enterprising spirit : Gladstone and Greatness, Ewart and Economy, are always, somehow or other, closely connected in my mind. If I were Her Majesty—which, God be thanked ! I am not: a private family being enough for any poor Bell to manage !--I would make Mr. Brunel a Peer, and Mr. Stephenson another: and Mr. Locke a Baronet at the least : since each, it seems to me, has done greater things for the world than influencing votes, presenting addresses, etc., etc. : and it is our union of force and imagination, of bull-dog perseverance and eagle-wingedness (excuse the last figure being French) which has made us what we are among the nations ! But it is a mistaken idea, that purpose in great aims excuses dereliction from duty in small things. Great purpose is self-sacrificing ; cares not how it shall stand with the world from hour to hour-secure that, at last, it shall win, if life last. Mr. Slagg should have had two pieces of plate--not one-with my goodwill, had I seen him willing to conform to his real circumstances, during the years when he was wringing, draining, grinding his family for the means to enable him to prosecute his schemeshad he left the great House with the great gates and confined the amount of risk within its smallest possible limits-had he stepped down, (or aside) for a while, in society: virtually saying to the world, “ Trust me for a while : Resurgam :" instead of keeping that unbroken appearance—that mocking of his child with a costly education ; that encouraging of him in every aristocratic association ; while the humiliating nakedness and scantiness had to be hidden by as close and continuous a system of watchfulness, as that of the Spaniard naked to the waist, save for the last relic of his hidalgo days,--the velvet cloak. It matters not that Slagg is a well-preserved, handsome man—that now, when the wine goes round, he charms listening youth, and bores his fine friends who must endure his histories in the hope of “ being put into some good spec," by fighting over his battles again-recounting * how he had all but failed " how he was within half a year of throwing up everything in despair" -and "how" (looking down the while on his superb diamond ring) “he is at last rewarded by a success of which he feels himself utterly unworthy.” I can never get rid, in that house, of the sight of a shaven crown--symbol in our days of a morbid or dispirited man ;-nor of the sound of a short hacking cough, and a drawing of an arm-chair across the floor, which told of Captivity in an upper chamber. And as I wonder whether the Head of the Family sees and hears these things (his Wife does, I am positive), a Voice keeps saying to me, again and again, as clearly, I am confident, as the Bow Bells prompted the Projector who had no one's happiness to risk save that of himself and Cat,-“ Was this rightly done ?"
THE ARCADIA OF THIS AGE.
ABOUT two-thirds of the population of Great Britain,-not of Ireland, which, on this point as on others, differs from the rest of the empire-are now closely packed in towns. At the beginning of this century, the proportions of the town and rural population were reversed, and then two-thirds of the whole gambolled at large over the country. The eight millions added to the population of our island between 1800 and 1841, the addition being nearly twice as great in amount as the whole population of England in the reign of the Virgin Queen, are all dwellers in our crowded, ill-ventilated, ill-drained, ill-built towns. Within that period, the rural population has, on the whole, scarcely augmented if it have not positively decreased, except in Ireland, and the character of the people there, does not inspire great hopes of permanent improvement from a large increase anywhere in the number of bog-trotters and clodhoppers. If we may with unerring certainty infer the future from the past, in the course of the next fifty years the inhabitants of our towns will be more than doubled and four times as numerous as the tillers of the ground. For our successors there seems no other prospect than to be more closely pressed together than we are. This, or decay is inevitable ; continual prosperity and a continual increase of people are identical. Town then will be added to town, street to street, house to house, till the whole island becomes one vast metropolis. Railways must pass amidst rows of buildings; such is almost our lot, such will undoubtedly be the lot of our successors. Densely-peopled cities constitute the Arcadia of the living generation, and still more densely-peopled cities must be the Arcadia of the next generation. Can we and they reconcile ourselves to such a fate? Can we so prepare the future for them, and them for the future, as to make