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stubborn men to derive good from the decrees
of Rhadamanthus; but if the pastor himself
be the Rhadamanthus, and be more or less
lost in that character, can it be said that his
parish has the justice that belongs to it by
right, or ought to belong to it by right, in a
community of reasonable people?

It sometimes happens that the individual
may be, like the janitor of Rhadamanthus's
Court, three gentlemen in one. In not a few
instances the squire, the clergyman, and the
magistrate is one and the same magnate; and
there is no amount of parochial tyranny and
injustice which such a pluralist may not
inflict, should he be a harsh or ill-tempered


We have lately discovered an individual
who for the last twenty years has devoted his
life to the intellectual training of fleas. He
carries on his operations in a little room in
Marylebone Street, London: we enterthere
are fleas here, fleas there, fleas everywhere:
no less than sixty fleas are here imprisoned
and sentenced to hard labour for life. All of
them are luckily chained, or fastened in some
way or other, so that escape and subsequent
feasting upon visitors is impossible. A little
black speck jumps up suddenly off the table
whereon the performance takes placewe
walk up to inspect, and find that it is a
monster flea attiredla convict;" he is free to
move about, but, wherever he goes, a long
gilt chain, tightly fastened round his neck,
accompanies him.

Occasionally he tries to jump; the chain
soon brings him down again, strong as he is.
We were told, that if a flea be fastened to
the end of an unbroken wheat straw, he will
be strong enough to lift it right off the table
on which it is placed. This discovery was
first made by the flea-proprietor, and made him
turn his attention towards utilising the race.
One would think it were easy enough to
procure troops of fleas, and to train them to
perform; but it appears that neither is an
easy matter. It is not easy to procure a lot
of able-bodied fleas, and it is not every sort
of flea that will do. They must be human
fleas: dog fleas, cat fleas, and bird fleas, are of
no usethey are not lively enough nor strong
enough, and soon break down in their training.
Human fleas, therefore, must be
obtained, and our friend has created a market
for them. The dealers are principally elderly
females, who supply the raw material; the
trade price of fleas, moreover (like the trade
price of everything else), varies, but the
average price is threepence a dozen. In the
winter time it is sixpence; and, on one
occasion, the trainer was obliged to give the
large sum of sixpence for one single flea. He
had arranged to give a performance; the
time arrived; he unpacked the fleas; one,
whose presence could not be dispensed with,
was gone. What was to be done? the
vacancy must be filled. At last, an ostler,
pitying the manager's distress, supplied the
needful animal; but he required sixpence for
it, and sixpence he got.

While we were looking at the performance,
there came in a fresh supply of fleas; a
swarm of them, in a vial bottle, huddled
all together at the bottom. We gave them a
shake, and immediately they all began
hopping about, hitting their little horny heads
against the sides of the bottle (which was
held sideways) with such force that there was
a distinct noise, as if one had gently tapped
the bottle with the nail. They were not very
good friends, for they were perpetually
getting entangled in masses, and fighting with
their tiny but powerful legs, and rolling over
and over as if in mortal combat. It was not,
however, a case of life and death; for we
did not see one that was looking injured
or tired after the mêlée.

We then observed one fact, which gave us
great pleasure; namely, that fleas are at
enmity with bugs. There was one bug in the
bottle surrounded by many fleas, the poor bug
rushed continually from one end of the bottle
to the other, running the gauntlet of the
assembled fleas; every flea he came near
attacked him, and retreated immediately as
though half afraid of him; the bug, over-
whelmed by numbers, had the worst of it,
and beat an ignoble retreat into a bit of

Fleas are not always brought to market in
vial bottles. A flea-proprietor told us that he
got all his best fleas from Russia, and that they
came over in pill-boxes packed in the finest
cotton-wool. These fleas were big, powerful,
and good workers. We wonder whether the
Custom House authorities thought it worth
while to examine the contents of these pill-
boxes. When our friend in Marylebone
makes his annual tour into the provinces, his
wife sends him weekly a supply of fleas in
the corner of an envelope, packed in tissue-
paper. She is careful not to put them in the
corner where the stamp goes, as the post-
office clerk would, with his stamp-marker, at
one blow, smash the whole of the stock.

A flea cannot be taken up from its wild
state and made to work at once; like a colt
or a puppy, it must undergo a course of training
and discipline. The training is brought
about as follows: The flea is taken up gently
in a pair of forceps, and a noose of the finest
glass-silk is passed round his neck, and there
tied with a peculiar knot. The flea,
unfortunately for himself, has a groove or
depression between his neck, and his body,
which serves as a capital hold-fast for the
bit of silk; it can slip neither up nor down,
and he cannot push it off with his legs;
he is a prisoner, and is thus tied to his
work. This delicate operation is generally
performed under a magnifying glass; but,
after a time, the eye gets so accustomed to