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the deck in those ten days. At an equally
moderate calculation, each whale was worth
four hundred pounds. Their gross value was,
therefore, one hundred thousand pounds!"


"CHARMING place this," said a mad lady to
us while looking out of a window of the
finest Lunatic Asylum in North Britain;
"so retired, so quiet, so genteel, so remote
from the busy hum of men and women. The
view you perceive is lovelyquite sylvan
(there were two trees in the remote distance).
'Silence reigns around,' as the poet says, and
then you see, Sir, we do not allow street bands
to come here."

On inquiry, we were told that this patient
was a London literary lady. Her mania, like
Morose in Ben Jonson's Epicure, was against
noise. She constantly prayed for deafness.
She walked in list shoes, and spoke in a whisper
as an example to others. The immediate
cause of her confinement had not been
ascertained, but we have no doubt that she had
been driven stark mad by the street discord of
the Metropolis. We firmly believe her case
is not singular. Judging from our own
experience of the extremest brink of insanity,
to which we have been occasionally driven by
the organic and Pandean persecutions to which
we have been subjected, we should say that
much of the madness existing and wrought in
this County of Middlesex originates in street
music. If Dr. Connolly cannot bear us out in
this opinion, we shall be rather astonished.

A man of thoughtful habit, and of a timid,
or nervous temperament, has only to take
apartments in what lodging-house-keepers
wickedly call in their advertisements, "a
quiet neighbourhood," to be tolerably sure of
making his next move in a strait waistcoat
to an asylum for the insane. In retired streets,
squares, terraces, or "rows," where the more
pleasing music of cart, coach, and cab wheels
does not abound, the void is discordantly
filled up by peripatetic concerts, which last
all day long. You are forced, each morning
to shave to the hundredth psalm groaned out
from an impious organ; at breakfast you are
stunned by the basses of a wretched waltz
belched forth from a bass trombone; and
your morning is ruined for study by the
tinkling of a barrel piano-forte; at luncheon
acute dyspepsia communicates itself to your
vitals in the stunning buldering of a big-drum;
tuneless trumpets, discordant cornets, and
blundering bass-viols form a running
accompaniment of discord to your afternoon walk:
hurdy-gurdies, peradventure, destroy your
dinner; fiddles and harps squeak away the
peace of your whole evening; and, when you
lay your distracted head on your pillow you
are robbed of sleep by a banditti of glee
singers, hoarsely croaking, "Up rouse ye
then, my merry, merry men!"

Yet this is a land of liberty, and every
man's house is his castle!

A man may have every comfort this world
can affordthe prettiest house, the sweetest
wife, the most unexceptionable cook, lovely
children, and a good librarybut what are
these when the enjoyment they afford is
destroyed by an endless charivari; when
domestic happiness is made misery by street
discord; when an English gentleman is denied
what is insured to every Pentonville prisoner
peace; when a wise legislation has
patented the silent system for convicts only, and
supplies no free-born Briton with a defence
from hideous invasions of his inmost privacy:
a legislature which, here, in London, in the
year of grace eighteen hundred and fifty,
where civilisation is said to have made some
advancespermits bag-pipes!

This is a subject upon which it is impossible,
without the most superhuman self-control, to
write with calmness.

Justice is supposed in this country to be
meted out with an even hand. A humane
maxim says, "Better let ten guilty men escape,
than one innocent man suffer." Yet what have
the public, especially of "quiet neighbourhoods,"
done; what crimes have we committed;
what retribution have we invoked; that we
are to be visited with the indiscriminating
punishment, the excruciating agony, squealed
and screeched into our ears out of that
instrument of ineffable torture, the Scotch
bagpipe? If our neighbour be a slanderer,
a screw, a giver of bad dinners, or any other
sort of criminal for whom the law has provided
no punishment, and a bag-pipe serenade be
your mode of revenge on him, shut him up
with a piper or pipers in the padded room
in Bedlam, or take him out to the Eddystone
lighthouse; but for the love of mercy, do not
make us, his unoffending neighbours,
partakers of his probably just, but certainly
condign, punishment!

We have, however, a better opinion of
human nature than to believe in such extreme
vindictiveness. We rather attribute these
public performances of sonorous savagery to
the perverted taste of a few unfortunate
individuals, who pretend to relish the discords,
and who actually pay the kilted executioners
of harmony. The existence of such wretched
amateurs might be doubted if we did not
remember that the most revolting propensities
are to be found among mankind. There
are people who chew tobacco; a certain tribe
of Polynesian aborigines deem assafœtida the
most delicious of perfumes; and Southey, in
his Travels in Spain, states that the Galician
carters positively refused to grease their
wheels because of the delight the creaking
gave them. Yet although the grating of
wooden axles, or even the sharpening of saws,
is music to the pibroch, it appears from a
variety of evidence that bad taste can actually
reach, even in the female mind, to the acme of
encouraging and patronising street bagpipers.