+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

Shoreditch, boasts of the Shoreditch Observer
and the Shoreditch Advertiser; while the greater
parish of Lambeth, and the wide-spreading district
known popularly as "over the water," is
provided with the South London Journal, the
South London Nevvs, the South London Chronicle,
the Clapham Gazette, and the South-
Western District Times.

Of course, in organs giving full reports of
every meeting in the parish, and every discussion
in the vestry, there must, of necessity, be
much that is " personal." Such journals have
no right to alter the utterances of parochial
speakers, to make a vulgar vestryman genteel,
and a ridiculous vestryman dignified. What
their readers demand from them are exact, word-
for-word reports, and the public good is best
forwarded when these demands are complied
with. The vulgar and ridiculous vestrymen,
and the small jobbing contractors, are more
likely to bridle their tongues and curb their
rapacity, when they know that every word they
utter, and everything they do, will be brought
before their constituents.

A reader of average discernment and industry
may take up the advertisement sheet of a paper
like the Clerkenwell News, and, by reading its
contents, may obtain a fair idea of what life is
in that district. A leading article may instruct
or amuse him, a letter from a correspondent
may tell him something about a local grievance;
but a short pithy advertisement will give him
facts, and give them to him in as few words as
possible. There is seldom any of that stuff
which is known as " English composition" in an
ordinary trade advertisement; it is astonishing
what a check is exercised upon exuberances of
style when money has to be paid instead of
received for what is written and printed.

Such a reader, on looking over the local
papers of The Well (as it is familiarly called
in the neighbourhood), will always find a
thousand sacks of sawdust waiting his pleasure.
Whatever may be the high and rising price
of meat, of bread, of coals, coke, wood, and
potatoes, it is some comfort to know that
a quantity of material " fit for burning
purposes " can always be had gratis for the trouble
of fetching.

The same reader will also discover, what he
may not have been aware of before, that he can
have black eyesthe result of "accidents"—
"eradicated in half an hour, without pain or
injury." He will also see that credit is freely
offered to him by strangers, and that he never
need be without "bedding, furniture, boots,
hats, and clothes," as long as he can prove
himself to be " respectable." Cash loans he can
have in all directions, from twelve shillings to
two hundred pounds, " without delay," or " with
no office fees," either at taverns, public offices,
or private houses. If he wants to go into almost
any conceivable business, it is ready to his hand;
if he wants any conceivable kind of lodging, from
a drawing-room to a back kitchen, it is open to
receive him. If he has a fancy for bargains, he
can purchase pawnbrokers' tickets for almost
any article; and if he can work at almost any
mechanical trade, he is offered employment. If
he wants a servant, a number of boys, lads,
girls, young women, and " persons," press
themselves upon his notice. If he wants a
child's caul, a diving bell, a mangle, or a
printing-press, all are offered to him upon the
most reasonable terms. If he is not a graceful
dancer, the defect can soon be remedied;
for a dozen professors stand forward eager to
teach. If he wants recreation, he has a choice
of many " music halls," from the humble room
over a tavern bar where the visitor is expected
to contribute to the harmony of the evening, to
the more ambitious building with the Corinthian
portico, where the renowned Sam, Bill, Tom,
Harry, and Dick Everybody are to be heard
every evening at stated hours. If he lives in the
neighbourhood, and is desirous of destroying
bugs, a friend in need steps forward to " banish
them for ever." " A lady, after trying, without
success, numberless so-called remedies, has at
length discovered a speedy and never-failing
method of utterly destroying these insects," and
she kindly offers to communicate it for twelve
postage-stamps, " to defray expenses." If he is
in search of " happiness"—and who is not?—
he hears that "wandering husbands can be
reclaimed, recreant lovers brought to their
mistresses' feet, and happiness imparted to all
high, low, rich, and poorby an invaluable
remedy known to the advertiser. Tlie everlasting
twelve postage-stamps are still required, and
without them the secret can never be discovered.
Occasionally, he is addressed in a style of rude
familiarity, and reproached for his scanty
patronage, in some such terms as the following:
"* * * returns his thanks to those who did
support him in his unfortunate shop"—their
name was not legion—"and having completed
his schedule, has four oil-paintings, good
subjects, after Morland, Constable, Cooper, &c., and
one hundred and sixty books, all standard works,
to dispose of for nine pounds, so as to make his
passage through Portugal-street as easy as
possible. The goods can be seen at his venerable
father's, the working furrier." ....

If the same patient and discerning reader
were to wade through all the local newspapers
of London in search of amusement, he would
mostly find it in other parish organs than his
own. We can always laugh at the follies
of our neighbours. The following true report
(I have altered the names) of a meeting at
a " Board of Guardians" appears to me to put
the authorities in a rather ridiculous position,
because they are some one else's authorities,
aud not mine.

"Mr. Thornintheside got up and said he had
been informed that one of the guardians had
taken two lunatics to the asylum; surely, they
must have been remarkably quiet!

"Mr. Willinghorse admitted that he was the
guardian alluded to. He had fetched one lunatic
from Camberwell, and had taken another to
the asylum from the House. Another guardian
had promised to accompany him, but as he did