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were empowered to punish such as practise
without having proved themselves before the
masters of that art.


I THROUGH the city on a summer's day,
Hot, sweltering, airless, sunless, bent my way:
Black were the streets, black the dull houses all
Beneath the soot's dim universal pall,
And dun the stifling air, and dun the sky,
Where here and there a patch I might descry.
Filth, squalor, noxious vapours, round me teemed,
The faces of the wretched children seemed
Hanging about the windows, where vile food
By sight and smell awoke their languid blood
More gaunt and ghastly with the reeking heat
That bathed their frail limbs with enfeebling sweat:
Their shrewish mothers' voices seemed more loud,
More dense, oppressive, the unresting crowd.
   Languid and sick and faint, I struggled on.
"Oh for a space to breathe and rest alone!"
I cried, when, straight emerging from the maze,
An open space allured my tired gaze:
Quickly I reached it. There before me spread
One of the pestilence-holes, whence London's dead,
Not by night only, but by broadest day,
Send murderous ghosts, whose mission is to slay
Her living, and to poison air and earth
And water, so that children from the birth
Imbibe, bathe in, inhale, with every breath,
The germinating seeds of sickness, death,
Vice, poverty, corruption, till their brief
And evil days at length obtain relief
In " cold obstruction."

                                Leaning 'gainst the rail,
Musing I gazed within the loathsome pale
A chaos of corruption. Festering bones
Lay here and there among the tumbling stones
That seemed themselves too sick to stand erect,
O'erpowered by the constant, sure effect
Of that malignant influence. 'Mid the dank
And venomous vapours grew a dark and rank
And unclean vegetation, often stirred,
Not by child-footsteps or the wing of bird,
But by the furtive rat, whose presence there
Suggested dreadful thoughts as to the fare
He battened on.

                       And while I gazed there grew
Upon my mind the memory, still new,
Of a discourse, movingly eloquent,          [image:curly bracket over 3 lines]
In which religion and sweet sentiment
And dear traditions all were fondly blent,
To prove 'twas holy, wholesome, good and wise
That still beneath God's heaven there should rise
These hotbeds of the foulest and the worst
Afflictions with which man by man is curs'd.
"God's acre," he, the preacher, called it. "God's!''
The devil owns each inch of all these sods,
And hath no richer heritage. O Lord
Of love, and life, and purity! that word
Revolts my spirit!

                           Take Death at the best,
What is it? When the soul has sought her rest,
What then remains? A cold, stiff, senseless heap
That hourly fades, soon losing e'en the shape
And outline of the creature who, when spirit
Inhabited this clay, did then inherit
A spark of God's own nature. Now, behold
This thing from which I shrink, whose clammy-cold
Grey pallid brow I shudder e'en to touch
And cannot kiss, although I would, so much
Does my soul feel that nothing here is left

Of the loved lost of whom she is bereft,—
If then in this I feel I have no part,
I, fellow-mortal, whose weak human heart
Must shortly still its pulses, and become
Like to this corpse's, that the self-same doom
Awaits us both,—can I suppose the Immortal
Who greets our souls at Heaven's eternal portal
Claims aught in that worn tenement which we
Have spurning left behind, no more to be
A hindrance and a burden?

                                          But I'm told
That from these human ruins good red gold
May still be won, and that each charnel-field,
Each devil's-acre gives a goodly yield,
So 'tis "God's acre" called by men whose ease
Is purchased chiefly by fat burial-fees.


"THE hy├Žnas and wolves were roaring all
night outside my tent, but I kept up a good
fire, and rose from time to time to look to it,
and to the priming of my guns, and so got
through the dark hours without accident."—
Vide Travels of anybody, anywhere, at any page
you like to turn to.

I venture to take the above quotation as a
motto to my modest article, because it is
appropriate to the matter of which I design to treat.
I too have heard the hy├Žnas and wolves howling
outside my tentif I may call it soI have
risen from time to time to relieve my restlessness,
and though I have neither looked to my
fire or my gun, I also have got through the dark
hours without any accident whatevereven the
slightest. The fact being, that these sounds have
reached me without my stirring from home, or
forsaking the protection of Marylebone for so
much as a single day.

It is one of the romantic circumstances
connected with a residence in Lumbago-terrace,
Regent's Park, that the inhabitants of that moist
and reeking region are able, in certain states of
the wind, to hear in the dead of night the
roar of the lion and the yell of the tiger, without
apprehending any annoyance from the near
neighbourhood of these terrible animals. To
listen to such music, while lying comfortably
between the sheets, is not bad sport. It is having,
so to speak, the jungle brought home to one's
door. You have the excitement of a night
in the desert without any sense of insecurity, or
any of the inconveniences inseparable from
Eastern and Southern travel. And all this we,
the inhabitants of Lumbago-terrace, owe to
the happy chance which caused the Zoological
authorities of this country to fix upon the
Regent's Park as the spot best suited for the
exhibition of their collection.

I have often heard, then, from my abode in
Lumbago-terrace (to which residence I have
adhered through twenty years of rheumatism),
the roaring of the wild beasts in the Zoological
Gardens; but I never heard it so loud, I never
heard it break forth with such a sudden frenzy
of violence, as it did at midnight on Wednesday,
the twenty-sixth of June of the present year.

I have said that I have frequently heard these