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by the mere sound of the letters L. s. d.: and
here let us mention that the imaginative
projector of that scheme must in no way be
identified with Mr. Lloyd, the indefatigable
promoter of the Finsbury park.


    A BANQUET is spread for small and great,
       A feast for the world of men;
    Where the monarch reclines in purple state,
       And the famished within his ken.
   The blushing red wine flows freely around,
        And tinges the veins of all;
    And the same merry notes of sweet music sound
        Through the breadth of the world-wide hall.

    There are infants of days, and the aged in years,
         The silver and raven tress;
    There are eyes that are swimming deep in tears,
         And that sparkle with joyousness.
     There are features of beauty and forms of grace,
         And smiles like the rays of stars;
     And many a scarred and lowering face
         Is seamed with hideous scars.

     The viands are rich for the favoured few,
         And dainties allure their taste;
     And the same are spread for the humbler crew,
         But for many are spread in waste.
     They fatten the first into lusty health,
         And lighten their hearts with mirth;
      But they poison the blood of the latter by stealth,
         And plenty is worse than dearth.

      Ye happy ones! how, since my riddle is said,
          Can this marvellous difference be?
      Ye falteringly tell me, the riddle is read
          Of this poisonous revelry.
      Ay! life is a banquet that's spread for all,
          Of which all must perforce partake;
       But its dainties are turned into wormwood and gall,
          For the hearts that are heavy and ache.


WAS the "poor Peter" of Cranford the
Aga Jenkyns of Chunderabaddad, or was
he not? As somebody says, that was the

In my own home, whenever people had
nothing else to do, they blamed me for want
of discretion. Indiscretion was my bugbear
fault. Everybody has a bugbear fault; a
sort of standing characteristica pi├ęce de
r├ęsistance for their friends to cut at; and in
general they cut and came again. I was tired
of being called indiscreet and incautious; and
I determined for once to prove myself a
model of prudence and wisdom. I would
not even hint my suspicions respecting the
Aga. I would collect evidence and carry
it home to lay before my father, as the
family friend of the two Miss Jenkyns's. In my
search after facts I was often reminded of a
description my father had once given of a
Ladies' Committee that he had had to preside
over. He said he could not help thinking
of a passage in Hood, which spoke of a
chorus in which every man took the tune
he knew best, and sang it to his own

So, at this charitable committee, every
lady took the subject uppermost in her mind,
and talked about it to her own great contentment,
but not much to the advancement of
the subject they had met to discuss. But
even that committee could have been nothing
to the Cranford ladies when I attempted to
gain some clear and definite information as
to poor Peter's height, appearance, and
when and where he was seen and heard of
last. For instance, I remember asking Miss
Pole (and I thought the question was very
opportune, for I put it when I met her at a
call at Mrs. Forrester's, and both the ladies
had known Peter, and I imagined that they
might refresh each other's memories); I asked
Miss Pole what was the very last thing they
had ever heard about him; and then she
named the absurd report to which I have
alluded, about his having been elected great
Lama of Thibet; and this was a signal for
each lady to go off on her separate idea.
Mrs. Forrester's start was made on the
Veiled Prophet in Lalla Rookh, whether I
thought he was meant for the Great Lama,
though Peter was not so ugly, indeed rather
handsome if he had not been freckled. I was
thankful to see her double upon Peter; but, in
a moment, the delusive lady was off upon
Rowland's Kalydor, and the merits of cosmetics
and hair oils in general, and holding forth so
fluently that I turned to listen to Miss Pole,
who, (through the llamas, the beasts of burden)
had got to Peruvian bonds, and the Share
Market, and her poor opinion of joint-stock
banks in general, and of that one in
particular in which Miss Matey's money was
invested. In vain I put in, "When was it
in what year was it that you heard that
Mr. Peter was the Great Lama?" They
only joined issue to dispute whether llamas
were carnivorous animals or not, in which
dispute they were not quite on fair grounds,
as Mrs. Forrester (after they had grown
warm and cool again,) acknowledged that she
always confused carnivorous and graminivorous
together, just as she did horizontal
and perpendicular; but then she apologised
for it very prettily, by saying that in her day
the only use people made of four-syllabled
words was to teach how they should be spelt.
The only fact I gained from this conversation
was that certainly Peter had last been heard
of in India, "or that neighbourhood;" and
that this scanty intelligence of his whereabouts
had reached Cranford in the year when
Miss Pole had bought her India muslin
gown, long since worn out;—we washed it and
mended it, and traced its decline and fall into
a window-blind before we could go on; and
in a year when Wombwell came to Cranford,
because Miss Matey had wanted to see an
elephant in order that she might the better