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four shillings of poor's rate against as many
pence contributed by those who drive their
labourers into the Norwich lanes, and throw the
burdens of their occasional distress and sickness
on the Norwich rates. Yet they take from the
town all that can be taken. They thrive mainly
by reason of the town, which opens to their
corn and beef and milk an ample market. I say,
sir," my friend continued, perhaps fancying
himself in the House of Commons, "that the
root of a thousand griefs that may be readily
destroyed is to be found in this question of the
inequality of rating for the relief of the poor. I
do not wish to see any great national system
under central government. But I am sure that
men of the same county could maintain for this
purpose of rating some machinery within their
own control for the establishing of uniform
assessment. The general issue of that would be,
that, instead of a rate of fourpence, sixpence, or
a shilling charged upon the rich, and of three,
four, or eight shillings charged upon the poor,
there would be an equal rate of eighteenpence,
or two shillings."

"Oh, if you please, sir, will you come and
speak to Thomas, sir? He's had a letter." So
said a bright little parlour-maid, suddenly opening
the study door.

"A letter! Well, what then?"

"He's crying, sir; I wasn't to come and tell
you; but I ought." The little maid was energetic
about that. It afterwards appeared that she was
in the confidence of Thomas, and having views
of her own in addition to her sympathies, seized
this occasion of betraying him, not to his enemy,
but to his strongest friend.

The letter was from his sister in Leicestershire,
whose husband had not mended as she
hoped, but had sunk slowly and died. She had
buried him herself with Tom's help. Then she
had, after the long strain on her mind was
suddenly withdrawn, fallen sick, so that she and her
children needed tending until she was strong
enough to earn her living, as she knew she
should, for she had made many good friends in
that part of the country. At last, therefore, she
went to the parish for a few weeks' sustenance,
and by the parish had been packed off with her
children into Warwick, where her husband had a
settlement. She was in Warwick workhouse,
where her heart would break, for how could she
go out of it into a strange place without a living
soul who knew her story and was ready to help
and cheer her in endeavouring to be a free, true
mother to her children.

The little parlour-maid was privileged to read
this letter, and knew all Tom's grief. Then she
committed the great crime of fetching master.
She made a clean breast of it while she was about
it, and I may as well own that I helped to be
Tom's deputy confessor.

Thomas Part is not of an unforgiving temper:
he has been discharged his master's service and
put into a little shop. His sister and her two
children have been fetched from Warwickshire,
to the half-satisfaction of the traitress, and the
sister is housekeeper for him and his mother. He
has been suddenly forced into the full bloom of
all his hopes. Susie is being petted by my
friends' domestics, and is commonly supposed to
be in training for the place of parlour-maid, which
is expected in a few months to become vacant.

It is in the power of a good man to make this
or that household happy. It is the higher
privilege of a good law to increase happiness
throughout a nation. Many a labourer who now
comes from afar, already weary, to his work,
many a Lazarus, half-fed by the pauperised
community which yet yields up no small share of its
bread to his support, will find rest, comfort, and
hope in an act of justice that has yet to be
accomplished. Call it an act for the more even
distribution of the burden of the poor-rate and
the consequent suppression of the cruelties
arising from the law of Settlement and Poor


LATE in the autumn of the year eighteen
hundred and fifty-one, Mr. Baldwin Möllhausen, a
Prussian traveller, pursuing his investigations in
Northern America, had occasion to make a return
journey across the Rocky Mountains to the
Missouri. He started with one companion only,
and with three horses and a mule, for riding and
for carrying the baggage.

Scanty fodder, Indian treachery, and the fearful
cold of those snowy regions, produced the
first disasters of the travellers, by depriving them
of the services of all four animals. Their last
horse was killed by exposure to an icy gale, at a
spot in the miserable wilderness called Sandy
Hill Creek. Here, now that their last means of
getting forward had failed them, they were
compelled to stop, at a period of the year when every
succeeding day might be expected to increase
the horrors of the cold, and the chances of death
by starvation in the prairie wastes.

They had a little Indian tent with them, and
they set it up for shelter. They had also a small
supply of bad buffalo meat, rice, and Indian corn.
On this they existed miserably for a few days,
until the Post from Port Kearney to the Flat
River happened to pass them.

With all the will to rescue both the travellers,
the Post did not possess the power. It was
barely possible for the persons in charge of it
their own lives depending on their getting on
rapidly, and husbanding their provisionsto
make room for one man in their little vehicle
drawn by six mules. The other man would
have no help for it but to remain behind
with the goods, alone in the wilderness, and to
keep himself alive, if it was possible, in that
dreadful position, until the Post could send
horses back for him from the Catholic Mission,
eighty or a hundred miles off.

In this emergencyan emergency of life or
death if ever there was one yetthe travellers
agreed on drawing lots to decide which man was
to be rescued, and which man was to remain.
The lot to remain fell on Mr. Möllhausen.