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unless a collection was made in advance
which never succeeded. Conjurors and
strong men strayed among us, at long intervals;
but, I never saw the donkey go up
once. Even costermongers were shy of us,
as a bad job: seeming to know instinctively
that the neighbourhood ran scores with Mrs.
Slaughter, Greengrocer, &c., of Great Twig
Street, and consequently didn't dare to buy a
ha'porth elsewhere: or very likely being told
so by young Slaughter, who managed the
business, and was always lurking in the Coal
Department, practising Ramo Samee with
three potatoes.

As to shops, we had no shops either, worth
mentioning. We had the Norwich Castle,
Truman Hanbury and Buxton, by J.
Wigzell: a violent landlord, who was constantly
eating in the bar, and constantly coming out
with his mouth full and his hat on, to stop
his amiable daughter from giving more
credit; and we had Slaughter's; and we had
a jobbing tailor's (in a kitchen), and a toy
and hardbake (in a parlour), and a Bottle
Rag Bone Kitchen-stuff and Ladies'
Wardrobe, and a tobacco and weekly paper. We
used to run to the doors and windows to look
at a cab, it was such a rare sight; the boys
(we had no end of boys, but where is there
any end of boys?) used to Fly the garter in
the middle of the road; and if ever a man
might have thought a neighbourhood was
settled down until it dropped to pieces, a man
might have thought ours was.

What made the fact quite the reverse, and
totally changed the neighbourhood ?  I have
known a neighbourhood changed, by many
causes, for a time. I have known a
miscellaneous vocal concert every evening, do it; I
have known a mechanical waxwork with a
drum and organ, do it; I have known a Zion
Chapel do it; I have known a fireworkmaker's
do it; or a murder, or a tallow-melter's.
But, in such cases, the neighbourhood
has mostly got round again, after a
time, to its former character. I ask, what
changed our neighbourhood altogether and
for ever ?  I don't mean what knocked down
rows of houses, took the whole of Little Twig
Street into one immense hotel, substituted
endless cab-ranks for Fly the garter, and
shook us all day long to our foundations with
waggons of heavy goods; but, what put the
neighbourhood off its head, and wrought it to
that feverish pitch that it has ever since been
unable to settle down to any one thing, and
will never settle down again? THE RAILROAD
has done it all.

That the Railway Terminus springing up in
the midst of the neighbourhood should make
what I may call a physical change in it,
was to be expected. That people who had
not sufficient beds for themselves, should
immediately begin offering to let beds to the
travelling public, was to be expected. That
coffee-pots, stale muffins, and egg-cups, should
fly into parlour windows like tricks in a pantomime,
and that everybody should write up Good
Accommodation for Railway Travellers, was
to be expected. Even that Miss Frowze
should open a cigar-shop, with a what's-his-name
that the Brahmins smoke, in the
middle of the window, and a thing outside
like a Canoe stood on end, with a familiar
invitation underneath it, to "Take a light,"
might have been expected. I don't wonder
at house-fronts being broken out into shops,
and particularly into Railway Dining Rooms,
with powdered haunches of mutton, powdered
cauliflowers, and great flat bunches of rhubarb,
in the window. I don't complain of three
eight-roomed houses out of every four taking
upon themselves to set up as Private Hotels,
and putting themselves, as such, into Bradshaw,
with a charge of so much a day for
bed and breakfast, including boot-cleaning
and attendance, and so much extra for a
private sitting-roomthough where the private
sitting-rooms can be, in such an establishment,
I leave you to judge. I don't make it
any ground of objection to Mrs. Minderson
(who is a most excellent widow woman with
a young family) that, in exhibiting one empty
soup-tureen with the cover on, she appears to
have satisfied her mind that she is fully
provisioned as "The Railway Larder."  I don't
point it out as a public evil that all the boys
who are left in the neighbourhood, tout
to carry carpet bags. The Railway Ham,
Beef, and German Sausage Warehouse, I
was prepared for. The Railway Pie Shop, I
have purchased pastry from. The Railway
Hat and Travelling Cap Depot, I knew to be
an establishment which in the nature of
things must come. The Railway Hair-cutting
Saloon, I have been operated upon in; the
Railway Ironmongery, Nail and Tool
Warehouse; the Railway Bakery; the Railway
Oyster Rooms and General Shell Fish Shop;
the Railway Medical Hall; and the Railway
Hosiery and Travelling Outfitting Establishment;
all these I don't complain of. In the
same way, I know that the cabmen must and
will have beer-shops, on the cellar-flaps of
which they can smoke their pipes among the
waterman's buckets, and dance the double
shuffle. The railway porters must also have
their houses of call; and at such places of
refreshment I am prepared to find the Railway
Double Stout at a gigantic threepence in your
own jugs. I don't complain of this; neither
do I complain of J. Wigzell having absorbed
two houses on each side of him into The
Railway Hotel (late Norwich Castle), and
setting up an illuminated clock, and a vane
at the top of a pole like a little golden
Locomotive. But what I do complain of, and
what I am distressed at, is, the state of
mindthe moral conditioninto which the
neighbourhood has got. It is unsettled,
dissipated, wandering (I believe nomadic is the
crack word for that sort of thing just at
present), and don't know its own mind for
an hour.