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objectare all placed on record, exactly as they
happened, in the Journal habitually kept by Mr.
Candy's assistant.  In the pages of Ezra
Jennings, nothing is concealed, and nothing is
forgotten.  Let Ezra Jennings tell how the venture
with the opium was tried, and how it ended.


THE author of Ravenshoe informs his readers
that "the good people in this world outnumber
the bad ten to one," and backs his assertion with
a species of tip worded thus: "The ticket for
this belief is 'optimist.' "  Ah! it is not easy to
be a dweller in Queer-street and believe this!
That is to say, if by "good" we mean unselfish,
and by "bad" selfish.  I have been established
in Queer-street for more months than I care to
count, and I vow and declare that Queer-street is
making a pessimist of me.  "Who cares?"
Precisely so.  Who cares?  Nobody, if I don't.

I occasionally entertain myself in Queer-street
having only myself to entertainby singing
the one lineonly the one line; the neighbours
don't object:

"I'm very lonely now, Mary, for the poor make no
new friends!"

Make no new friends?  They must be
wonderfully sanguine poor who try to make new
friends. Putting new friends out of the question
as absurdly unmakeable, can they keep the
ready-made old?  An ironical Echo from the
dark arches of Queer-street answers, "Can

I remember the days when I would not have
scrupled to rehearse as my own, Mr. Henry
Kingsley's articles of belief.  Those were the
days of house and home; of lands and goods
and kindred; of health and wealth and superb
laziness; those were the days of balances
heavy balances; those were the days of
accounts hard to be overdrawn.  I was an
optimist in those days.  But in these?  Hit me
hard: I have no friends.  Pish! why exert
yourselves to hit me?  I shall fallI have fallen
without a blow.  I have no balance.  Friends
and balance are synonymous terms, ladies and

Stale, and flat, and common-place, all this?
Yes, stale, and flat, and common-place as
Queer-street.  Stale, and flat, and common-place,
and irksome, as the memory of days when
Queer-street was a pleasant myth, easy of study
in serial literature.  Stale as the daily want of
daily bread; flat as the water drunk
undiluted in Queer-street; common-place as the
scanty coat and pantaloons, the questionable
boots, the hat which cost threepence less than
four-and-ninepence; irksome as the incessant
effort to do your duty in, and not to scandalise
by your personal appearance, the establishment
where you don't earnhow should you?—
but where you have doled out to you, every
Saturday, at two o'clock P.M., enough to satisfy
your Queer-street landlady.

Your Queer-street landlady!  What do I care
for your landlady?  I notice that I have strayed
from "me" to "you," from "mine" to "yours."
Let me get back to me and to mine. How selfish
we are in Queer-street, eh?  We are: and,
unless my memory went with the rest of my
"belongings," we were slightly egotistical out
of Queer-street.

A man I know very well, and who knows me
not at all, said to me the other dayeyeing me
the while, distastefully, "But, hang it, I can't
make you out.  You have no friends!"  I
neglected to inquire what he meant by "it."
Unless his looks belied him he meant me. But
the disquisition is irrelevant.

I might have replied to that man as the
Dodger replied to Fagin in Oliver Twist:  "I
never heard you tell so much truth at a time,
before."  Not, you understand, that the man is
in the habit of stating that which is not; but
that his assertions made a profound impression
on me.  They were so exceptionally, and
ludicrously true.  No; he can't make me out.
And supposing he cared to make me out (which
he does not) I couldn't assist him: for I can't
make myself out. And I have no friends.  Of
all the numbers on all the doors of all the houses
in this London of ours, there is not one at
which I could halt, saying to myself, "I'll turn
in here and smoke a pipe with Tom, Jack, or
Richard, till the shower's over."  I get up in
Queer-street of a morning and make preparations
for my daily tramp in all weathers, from
the neighbourhood of Hampstead to the
neighbourhood of Westminster, and I get up with
the certain knowledge that throughout that day,
throughout that week, throughout an indefinite
period of time, I shall not see a face or hear a
voice that I care to see or hear, or whose owner
cares to see or hear me.  Shall I be denied the
right to inform Mary, with all the melody left
in my composition, that "I'm very lonely

Nevertheless, don't misunderstand me.  I
am not whining.  Not in my palmiest days did
I feel less inclined to quote Richard after his
bad dream, and to say:

I shall despair; there is no creature loves me;
And if I die no soul will pity me;

If I did commit myself to the couplet, I
should at least feel bound, in honour, to add
with Richard:

Nay, wherefore should they?  Since that I myself
Find in myself no pity for myself!

And I don't, because I find something too
ludicrousgrimly, but still piquantly ludicrous
in my anomalous position, to permit of any
self-commiseration.  Moreover, a conviction that
no creature loves you, and that if you die no
soul will pity you, is an excellent reason, I think
(speaking religiously), for hoping and living:
an execrable reason, I think (still speaking
religiously), for despairing and dying.

"Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die!"
very likely.  But wilt thou despair and die, to
oblige Harry the Sixth?  More especially if