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corrupt body and soul-is to utter only simple , we discover our cellar-dwellers emasculated truth. To assert that its endemic influences by the dank and putrid emanations of their add forty per cent. to our bills of mortality, living tombs. sixty per cent. to our pauperism, seventy per A traveller visiting Lyons, in France, will nocent. to our local crime, would be but the itera- tice long lines of stumps bordering on the river; tion of truisms. To describe it as a gangrene remains of giant trees, which formerly adorned of the social membrane, as a "goitre” (so to the landscape. Their naked, blasted appearspeak) upon our community's body, would be ance might indicate the locality of a great conbut a suggestion of superficial venon and flagration, or the scene of conflict during war. hideousness. For our tenant-house cancer is But on inquiry it was found that the fumes of not merely protrusive; in fact, it does not pro- a neighbouring vitriol factory have silently, trude enough, therefore we lose sight of it; but stealthily, but with deadly influence, destroyed it is a polypus, secretly and constantly renew the trees, as effectually as if a cannonade had ing its virus—tatally expansive for mischief, I levelled them to the ground. and accretive of all mischievous elements. “It Within the limits of our city there exist face doth make the meat it feeds on."
tories of poison more malignant than the fumes We do not propose to deal rhetorically with of vitriol, and their tendency, nay, their constant our tenant-house, its incubations, or its pro- effect is to dwarf, stunt, and kill--not trees, but genies. Here it is, in our midst, quite equal to human beings; more actively destructive than the task of telling its own story eloquently, in the Lyons laboratory, and operating every hour, mortality-bills, crime-dockets, and the records | both of day and night. of pauperism. We are content to marshal facts In many localities it appears as if no superand array statistics, letting them fight their own / vision were ever contemplated. Entire streets battle against prejudice or indifference. Be seem to be given over to the dominion of dirt, ginning at the social base, we encounter thou- “ Fever-nests," where typhoid infection is bred sands of dwellers in cellars six feet or more un- | by miasmatic sewers, and “small-pox circles," derground-cellars that are not simply dark, where loathsome contagion riots on foul house impure abodes, but clammy, mouldy, obscene gases and decomposed garbage, horrify the exs abysses, invaded periodically by tide-water, or plorer in these quarters. Filth destroys each year submerged by drainage of the soil. Life rots its thousands of men, women, and children in in them: seventy per cent. of children born in our city, as surely as vitriol killed those trees in their gloom perish within five years; many of Lyons. Thirty per cent. of our whole mortality the residue survive only as victims to future rises from preventible disease. What army, typhoid, rheumatism, hip, or bowel affections. I even in an open country and well fed, would These cellar-born children have pallid skins not be ravaged by disease under such condirickety limbs, watery blood. Hygrometric tions? But we have numberless aggravations scrutiny of the holes they inhabit shows a con- of the packing process. All descriptions of dition of atmosphere actively destructive by noxious surroundings besiege our tenant-house night and by day-day, indeed, with its air-population. Slaughter-houses, fat-boiling concurrents and sunshine, is unknown to our city cerns, and similar nuisances, are scattered in the troglodytes. Crawling out of their burrows, vicinity of populous neighbourhoods. Vegetainto narrow lanes, close-pent by high walls, ble decay, animal putrefaction, quite as delethey may catch occasional glimpses of the blue terious as vitriol exhalations, are heaped sky, just as the cretins and cagots of sunless in dust-bins through many of our streets Alpine chasms may get sight of a heaven far and back-areas. There are no vigilant police to above them. Indeed, our cellar-dwellers have remove them: no officer of the day responsible much in common with the cretins. They for their extirpation. We have no Sanitary are not afflicted with goitre or elephantiasis; | Department in the city at all commensurate they do not transmit leprosy and idiocy ; with what the name implies. but they exhibit the incipient effects of the We are, with good reason, alarmed at the same destitution of sunlight and proper air occasional encroachments upon local health and which engenders cretinism and its revolt- comfort by the erection of chemical works, ing monstrosities. Darkness, moisture, and furnaces, glue-factories, and kindred nuisances squalor in our subterrene tenements are con- near our private dwellings. We feel properly stantly operative, producing scrofula, rickets, aggrieved when one of the slaughter-houses disophthalmia and erysipelas. We need no subtler tributed through densely populated neighbour. agent of disease than darkness alone. All foul hoods casts forth its noisome stenches " betwixt or loathsome forms of life or decay multiply the wind and our nobility." We can trace a under its curtain. Where heaven's sunbeams fatal connection between the slow fever which enter not, health cannot survive. Epidemics robbed us of a darling child or a dear wife, and are sure to fasten, with deadliest gripe, on the that sickening effluvium of which our beloved inhabitants of dark, close localities. The sunny one had so often complained, as invading the side of a street has been known to escape a windows. We have a right to complain of the pestilential visitation which decimated the official neglect which allows compost grounds, population opposite. As we find the negro and brickfields, &c., &c., &c., to be permanently Indian drinking strength from the solar rays located within a few hundred yards of our which they delight to bask in, so surely may 1 decent and respectable dwellings. But though all these nuisances are intolerable, and, in their church-yard alone, in London, received more measure, deadly foes to public health, they can- | than fifty thousand bodies in twelve months of not be compared, for a moment, with the inces the disease, Boccaccio ascribes its origin to santly-active, ever-malignant forces of death that | India; but like other epidemics we find it are ejected constantly from those "laboratories following a previous great conflict. Bloody of poison," the tenant-houses. Not isolated, civil wars in France and Italy „a fierce struggle like factories, but agglomerated in certain dis. in Flanders, the battle of Crecy, the siege of tricts, these building-anomalies not only com- / Calais, were all immediate forerunners of the press, torture, and murder their wretched great plague. And nearly two centuries after inmates, but actually have power to make those this, in the middle of the Thirty years' War, inmates the involuntary murderers of their in- another plague arose, Still another succeeded nocent fellow.citizens who dwell elsewhere. the wars of the Fronde, in France. Then came Through the potent chemistry of stagnant air, the great plague of 1664, when there perished, in darkness, damp, and filth, these terrible struc, London and its parishes, 68,000 between April tures are able to create miasmatic poisons that and October. This awful infliction followed beleaguer both the daily and nightly existence the English civil war, which had been ended by of their unhappy occupants. Entering every the Restoration, pore, fastening on every sense, clinging to every | And the cholera! how closely its shrouded tissue, these tenant-house poisons, thus chemi- form glided after revolution! how its ghastly cally combined, become prolific agents of dis-death-dance attended the red carnival of war! ease; developing whatsoever morbific germs may Its birth may have been Asiatic, but its funeral already lurk in the human system. The germs, foot-prints traced the map of European battlein their turn, become a portion of the local fields—from Jemappes to Moscow, Are these poison. Disease multiplies its agencies. Cor- facts only curious coincidences, or is there an ruption, decay, mortality, give out their atoms. / appalling connection between war and pestiAll these forces concentrating under tenant. lence? Is there a mysterious lex talionis in house roofs, working latently within the precincts Nature, revisiting on man the plagues which he of parrow dens, which the sun enters not, where | inflicts upon earth through his bloody contenthe air cannot circulate--constituting in their tions? Are battle-plains, with their reeking combination a battery of subtile gases-does it dead, hospitals, with their fecund exhalations, require a scientific disquisition to demonstrate camps, and their contagions, 80 many voltaic what must be their natural effects upon all sur piles, charged with the subtle fluid of latent roundings ? Let our local epidemics, our pestilence? Do wasted fields, abandoned of chronic diseases answer.
husbandry, nurse the germs of a future corrupIt is a fact, that long and bloody national tion, which floods shall liberate and winds disconflicts are usually precursors of virulent and seminate broadcast over the land? We care fatal visitation of disease. Epidemics encamp not to speculate concerning agencies like these; behind armies. Pestilence is the rearguard of but if they exist, are we secure against the invar In the pages of Thucydides we find noculation of their deadly principle? harrowing pictures of that dread infection which It is an inquiry fraught with vital significance. clung to the skirts of Athens during her Pelo- | At this very hour, the “cloud no bigger than a ponnesian war, fulfilling the oracular prediction man's hand” may be densifying over some that
aceldama of carnage, or some fever-den of war; "A Doric war shall fall,
the cloud which, imbosoming malarious infecAnd a great plague withal.”
tion, shall hereafter launch its viewless bolts
into the reservoirs of carbonic-acid gas; the Calvisius writes in Latin of a terrible storehouses of sulphureted hydrogen; the magaplague that scourged the Roman world for zines of putrescent exuviæ, that, in crowded fifteen years, about the period when Gallus cities, await but a communicating virus, to bereigned; a period marked by savage intestinal come death-dealing batteries of pestilence. conflicts, resulting in the elevation, successively, Here at the commercial gate of the of fifty usurpers to the imperial throne, Still nation, a point to which converge the later, Procopius describes a pestilential visita most diverse business-highways, and from which tion which traversed the Eastern Empire, just radiate the most extended lines of human interafter the Persian war of Justinian, and the course-here must pestilence, should it arise, sanguinary popular quarrels of Red and Green | find pivot and fulcrum, We have built up here factions in Byzantium-an epidemnic so fatal our warehouses, and piled them with flour that ten thousand deaths are reported to have and meats; but we have here, likewise, conoccurred daily in Constantinople alone. Fol-structed our tenant-houses, and stored them with lowing the Roman invasion of Britain, a plague pabulum for death. We fill our public squares broke out, in Vortigern's reign, of so fierce a with gay equipages, and our walks with retype as to sweep off more victims than the fined and brilliant strangers and citizens; but survivors could bury. In 1347 began the “six we crowd our narrow lanes and hidden courts year plague"-known through the pages of | with diseased, stifled, and stunted outcasts. We Boccaccio as the “Plague of Florence”- which appropriate miles of palaces to luxurious oc“ so wasted Europe," says Calvisius, “ that not cupancy, but we confine thousands of souls the third part of the men were left alive. One I under ground in cellars, and in airless dens and sunless rooms--there to sin, there to suf- | teeming marsh, manufactures plague on a large fer, there to rot, and there to die, unregarded. and fearful scale. Poverty, in her but, covered
In the city of York, the cholera of 1832 with rags, surrounded with her filth, striving broke out in a crowded court, known as the with all her might to keep out the pure air and “Hagworm's Nest.” In that locality raged to increase the heat, imitates nature but too the plague of 1664. In the same court first ap- successfully; the process and the product are peared the pestilence of 1551. During nearly the same; the only difference is in the magni. three centuries, that horrid “nest” had kept tude of results.” intact its eggs of pest. Generation after gene- To this testimony, a hundred authorities add ration dwelt around it, heedlessly, as we dwell weight. Another English medical man says around our “ fever-nests” of the metropolis. that he has encountered localities from which
In following the track of pestilence through fever is seldom absent. “We find spots where different climes and ages, we encounter coinci- spasmodic cholera located itself are also the dences which establish the fact that epidemics chosen resorts of continued fever." "In damp, have an affinity for endemics; or, rather, that dark, and chilly cellars of our city, severs, rheuthe former usurp the dominion of the latter, matism, contagious and inflammatory disorders, claiming the localities wherein they flourished, affections of the lungs, skin, and eyes, too often and the subjects which they swayed. Thus, in successfully combat the skill of the physicians.” the passage of the great plague of 1346 over Again: “T'he degraded habits of life, the de. Europe, and in subsequent visitations of similar generate morals, the confined and crowded apartdiseases, the small town of Aigne Morte, in ments, and insufficient food, of those who live Languedoc, was repeatedly made a centre, or ( in more elevated rooms, comparatively beyond point d'appui, whence the distemper radiated to the reach of the exhalations of the soil, ensurrounding districts. This town has always gender a different train of diseases, sufficiently been noted for its local disorders, arising from distressing to contemplate; but the addition to the malaria which overhangs, and the stagnant all these causes of the foul influence of the inwater that encompasses it. Milan and the cessant moisture and more confined air of unhealthful mountain-ranges were notably as derground rooms, is productive of evils which exempt from this plague as the coasts and humanity cannot regard without shuddering.” marsh-lands of Italy were ravaged by it. And, How would our "sever-nests” and “choleraas in plague, so in cholera and typhus, the holes” be quarantined, should the “pestilence crowded purlieus of great cities have ever been that walketh at noon-day” Aing his yellow shadow the seats of infection.
over this great metropolis ? What charmed cir. When low fevers and their concomitants cle around the “tenant-house" neighbourhood become naturalized in certain localities, they shall taboo its deadly gases, its subtle infections, serve as nuclei for the sporadic propagation of from contact with the palaces of luxury? kindred diseases, whenever season and material Here, under our nostrils, the virus of small. combine to feed it. The distinctive type of the pox continually eats into society. It is at this endemic may merge and be lost in its more time fearfully on the increase, and its dreadful virulent successor, but it will have performed emanations penetrate to the rural districts. its mission; it will have absorbed and given They cling to waggons and steamboats; they out the principle of poison which constitutes its are dispensed through personal contagion; they affinity with plague or cholera. “ It appears," | lie-in-wait among second-hand garments sold in says Dr. Southwood Smith, “that in many our slop-shops; they nestle in bed-clothes 80 parts of Bethnal-green and Whitechapel sever | plenty after periodical epidemics. But smallof a malignant and fatal character is always pox is only one of the myriad agencies of death in more or less prevalent. In some streets it has our midst. prevailed in almost every house; in some courts, Now, it is better for us, as Christians and in every house; and in some few instances, in good citizens, to hear sober truth occasionally, every room in every house. Cases are recorded though it be unpalatable, than to listen always to in which every member of a family has been “the voice of the charmer, charm he ever so wiseattacked in succession, of whom, in every such | ly.” We may ignore the fact of there being latent case, several have died. Some whole families and horrible evils in our midst, or we may, for have been swept away. Six persons have been a season, shirk our responsibility regarding found lying ill of fever in one small room." them ; but, sooner or later, we shall invoke, and
Here we bave the point d'appui of a pestilence ! must abide, the consequences of their protracted movement. It was said that early plagues existence. There is an oriental story, which remight be traced to fætid exhalations from dead lates that a certain tyrant used to clothe his locusts; and Dr. Smith, above quoted, says fierce soldiers in the skins of tigers, wolves, and that “the room of a fever-patient in a small, other wild beasts, and set them to hunting poor heated apartment in London, with no perflation people out of their beds at night, and driving of fresh air, is perfectly analagous to a standing them into the highways and fields, to worry and pool in Ethiopia full of bodies of dead locusts. tear them, while the old king rode bebind, enThe poison generated in both cases is the same; joying the sport. But in punishment of this the difference is merely in the degree of its cruelty, as the legend runs, the disguised solpotency. Nature, with her burning sun, ber diers were suddenly changed into real wild stilled and pent-up wind, her stagnant and beasts, and made to turn on the wicked monarch himself, who perished miserably under their the debris of mortality was allowed to ac cumteeth and claws. We are pursuing a like late for ages, and where, at different epochs, atrocious chase in this city at this day; hunting | bands of thieves and outlaws sought hiding. not only the bodies but the souls of human places, and thence emerged to plunder and kill beings out of the pale of comfort, repose, and the inhabitants above. Happily, in our day, decency, to the highways of pauperism and the science and progress have converted these subcommons of crimes. We are making practical terranean crypts into viaducts for sewer-drains, the oriental legend, in our heathen neglect of gas and water-pipes. The ancient golgothas the rights, claims, and sore necessities of hun- are now become media of benefits to society, dreds of thousands of the poor inhabitants of instead of remaining vaults of corruption, shelthis mighty emporium of traffic.
tering disease and crime. We also have our Traffic, did we say? And must we repeat catacombs, not underground, but on the surface that it is traffic, and traffic only, which has as distinct and loathsome as were the old tombs become rule and gauge for our action as mem- beneath Seine and Tiber. Our back-streets, bers of a great community? We traffic not only alleys, and confined areas, over-populated with in silks, and cloths, and jewels, and spices, but decaying humanity, and fecund with all foul in the health, honour, and life of men, women, things bred from slime and malaria, are nothing and children. We traffic not only in bricks and more or less than social graveyards in our midst, mortar, but in the light of heaven, the sweetness harbouring death and sheltering evils that are of air, and the purity of earth. We huxter the actually worse than death. We cannot deny free sunshine, doling it to human cravings as this. Facts are palpable. Figures will not lie. grudgingly as misers dole out their gold. We It needs but a short turn from countries of civil. compute the minimum of air and space wherein ization to stumble upon barbarous and savage morial existence may linger, and make our cal- | districts, given over to society's deadly enemies calation the basis for money-making out of -squalor and reckless poverty. Is it not time mortal suffering. All this we do in a spirit. of to do something with our catacombs? If capi. traffic which invests its lucre, not in the broad, tal can erect its miles of massive store-houses noble fields of mercantile adventure, that builds and palaces, can it not build, likewise, miles of up states and plants colonies, but in a narrow, renovated, comfortable, christianized dwellings muckworm track of speculation, wherefrom for the people who bear all social and political arise those cells and dens of mason-work that burthens- that mighty mass who are the subbrood over our filthy streets and foul alleys structure of our city, our state, and our kings. like unclean buzzards over some loathsome If capital can call navies, and armies, and govlazar-yard. With our billions of capital - ernments, and colonies into being, can it not that fulcrum on which the lever of enterprise, also create HOMES? The field is broad in our rightly adjusted, can move the world—we ex- city. Millions of people are interested directly hibit no commensurate expansion of generous in the result, public spirit such as made the Medici of Flo. rence princes as well as merchants, and the Van Horns and Egmonts of Holland sovereigns as well as traders. We emulate not those grand old traffickers of Tyre, who reared colossal cities
RECEIPT FOR A HEAD. whenever they halted their caravans or anchored their galleys; cities whose very ruins astonish the beholder; but we rather imitate the grovel.
BY R. E, THACKERAY. ling Egyptians, who worshipped that creeping thing, the beetle, which ever toils to accumulate
Take a head which wears no bonnet, a muck-ball, to roll before it, as its wealth.
A head with lots of hair upon it: Hence, we never ask if there be relationships connecting spacious streets with public health,
The head, though neither young nor old, or if there be affinities between decent homes Must then be dyed a splendid gold ; and popular morals. We are satisfied to roll
Then take a brush, and scrub it round, up our individual muck-balls to the proportions
Until no silken spot is found; of stately warehouses and mansions, and are
Then draw it backward through a hedge! equally content to let other human scarabei en
Till ev'ry hair stands out on edge; large their own filthy piles to the bulk of tenanthouses filled with all uncleanness. So, then,
Then turn the ends to make them curl, our gorgeous marts, our splendid churches, our
And ornament with flower or pearl. stately public edifices, tower above brilliant The head, when it goes out, must wear thoroughfares, while leagues of shipping line A hat in shape to make you stare ! our wharves, and untold treasures are borne, as A rabbit, pheasant, or a wren, on triumphal cars, over the iron roads of our
Sewn to the brim, must stare again! commercial prosperity. But, all the while, we
While two bright eyes complete the charm have mildew at the heart, consuming flame under regal garments, a “carrion death” in the
They may do good, they may do harm ! golden casket of our seeming.
But, be they black, or blue as Heaven, Under Paris and Rome are catacombs, where! Heads have bright eyes in Şixty-seven !
MIRIAM GILBERT'S SORROW.
(4 Story told in a Train.)
Business rather that pleasure obliges me | singular, and I may say romantic, than any frequently to travel by rail, and in very different which are usually put in the papers." directions. One week I am away among the I pressed him to tell the story, and even the wolds and moots of the North, with long tracts other passengers joined in my request, the young of blackened ground, roaring furnaces, and man being apparently half-bored to death by his clanging hammers; nêxt I am gliding swiftly own vacuity, and the other completely overaway among the bright flower-dotted meadows | powered by the intricacies of Bradshaw's agreea. and sloping hills of the western counties; and ble tome. abon I am above the grimy housetops and “The story is a mere trifle," said the banker, poisonous chimneys which hedge in the metro." but I can vouch for its truth, and such as it is politan railways. In these frequent journeys I you are very welcome to it. Some of you, if have not failed to notice many people whose you know London, may have noticed, some appearance seemed to entitle them to the soine years ago, a woman who used daily to stand · what doubtful denomination of “a character," near the entrance of the Bank of England. It and I have tiot unfrequently gathered strange is a busy noisy spot, as you know, and few peostories and anecdotes from their talk.
ple linger about there, but everyone is running Although Englishmen, especially travelling to and fro, bent on some pursuit or other. Day Englisbmen, are not a communicative race, yet after day, however, and week after week, no a long railway journey is usually productive of matter how hot the sun was on the glaring conversation from the most taciturn, and I have pavement, or how dismally the November fog seldom been obliged to take refuge in a book and rain descended, the same female form, or a newspaper during my many journeys. dressed in a quaint suit of black and with a It was about two years ago that I had occasion head-dress resembling à fun's veil, was ever to travel to a place about sixty miles from Lon seen standing, or wandering disconsolately up don, and found myself, on entering the train at and down before the great gates of the Bank of Euston Square, in company with three other England. Few people noticed her, except those travellers. They were all common-place enough, who frequented the same place daily, and they and not very promising company. In one cor- often looked curiously at the pale, sad face, with ner, remote from me, sat a vacuous-looking | its large and melancholy brown eyes, and the youth in a stiff collar and alarmingly loud tie, strange funereal dress which enveloped the wowho gazed thoughtfully at nothing out of the man's body. window, and seemed to be thinking about it. They noticed too that she carried a small Next to him was a sickly man in spectacles, basket with her always, and that she would who seemed to be hopelessly bewildered by his sometimes come forward hastily and murmur “ Bradshaw," and, knowing the extremely lucid something about “her papers," and then shrink character of that work, there is no reason to back with a wild frightened look. Many sur. suppose that I was wrong in my conjecture. mises were current about her. Some said she The remaining traveller sat opposite to me, and had been ruined in a law-suit and that it had was a stout, benevolent-looking man, with a turned her brain; others thought her money shrewd twinkle in his eye, and a certain metho- had been lost in some bank-failure, and that she dical way about his dress, his hair, and his lingered near the great bank, from a sort of whole person, which led me to the conclusion | fascination; one belief, however, was universal, that he was a “business-ipan," probably in and that was, that the poor woman was mad. some of those mysterious places known as “I was at that time one of the senior clerks “houses in the city." When we had gone in the bank, and I felt a singular interest in the some distance I drew the shrewd man's atten- strange, sad-eyed woman, whom I saw daily on tion (for I had mentally christened him the my way home. I noticed that punctually at a shrewd man) to a singular case of bankquarter past four she left her place and started forgery recorded in the day's newspaper. off in an easterly direction, doubtless to her
“It is a singular case, certainly," said he, in home; and on one occasion I determined to a cheerful, pleasant voice, when he had glanced follow her. She took no notice of me among over the account, “but I haveknown many such : the crowd, and I was enabled to trace her to a twenty years of banking life initiate a man into small house in a mean street in Whitechapel. many such facts."
Having seen her enter, I knocked after a few “Do you mean that you have yourself wit-moments' consideration, and was received by a nessed as strange attempts at fraud as this?” clean-looking old woman, who asked my wishes asked I,
very civilly. I told her that I had been much “Certainly, sir, I know of one case far more struck by the continual appearance of the pales