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peoples by the stern Saxonspirit with which,
the default proved and the wrong done, we
have tracked down and punished the
defaulter and wrong-doer. And I do here
declare my solemn belief, founded on much
I have seen, that the remembrance of
our frightful failures within the last three
years, and of our retaliation upon Nobody,
will be more vivid and potent in Europe
(mayhap in Asia, too, and in America)
for years upon years to come than all
our successes since the days of the Spanish

In civil matters we have Nobody equally
active. When a civil office breaks down, the
break-down is sure to be in Nobody's department.
I entreat on my reader, dubious of
this proposition, to wait until the next
break-down (the reader is certain not to
have to wait long), and to observe, whether
or no, it is in Nobody's department.
A dispatch of the greatest moment is
sent to a minister abroad, at a most important
crisis; Nobody reads it. British subjects
are affronted in a foreign territory; Nobody
interferes. Our own loyal fellow-subjects,
a few thousand miles away, want to
exchange political, commercial, and domestic
intelligence with us; Nobody stops the
mail. The government, with all its mighty
means and appliances, is invariably beaten
and outstripped by private enterprise; which
we all know to be Nobody's fault. Something
will be the national death of us, some day;
and who can doubt that Nobody will be
brought in Guilty?

Now, might it not be well, if it were only
for the novelty of the experiment, to try
Somebody a little? Reserving Nobody for
statues, and stars and garters, and batons,
and places and pensions without duties,
what if we were to try Somebody for real
work? More than that, what if we were to
punish Somebody with a most inflexible and
grim severity, when we caught him pompously
undertaking in holiday-time to do work, and
found him, when the working-time came,
altogether unable to do it?

Where do I, as an Englishman, want
Somebody? Before high Heaven, I want
him everywhere! I look round the whole
dull horizon, and I want Somebody to do
work while the Brazen Head, already hoarse
with crying "Time is! " passes into the
second warning, "Time was! " I don't
want Somebody to let off Parliamentary
penny crackers against evils that need to be
stormed by the thunderbolts of Jove. I don't
want Somebody to sustain, for Parliamentary
and Club entertainment, and by the desire
of several persons of distinction, the character
of a light old gentleman, or a fast old gentleman,
or a debating old gentleman, or a dandy
old gentleman, or a free-and-easy old gentleman,
or a capital old gentleman considering
his years. I want Somebody to be clever in
doing the business, not clever in evading it.
The more clever he is in the latter quality
(which has been the making of Nobody), the
worse I hold it to be for me and my children
and for all men and their children. I want
Somebody who shall be no fiction; but a
capable, good, determined workman. For, it
seems to me that from the moment when I
accept Anybody in a high place, whose function
in that place is to exchange winks with
me instead of doing the serious deeds that
belong to it, I set afloat a system of false
pretence and general swindling, the taint of
which soon begins to manifest itself in
every department of life, from Newgate
to the Court of Bankruptcy, and thence
to the highest Court of Appeal. For
this reason, above all others, I want to
see the working Somebody in every
responsible position which the winking
Somebody and Nobody now monopolise between

And this brings me back to Nobody; to
the great irresponsible, guilty, wicked, blind
giant of this time. O friends, countrymen,
and lovers, look at that carcase smelling
strong of prussic acid, (drunk out of a silver
milk pot, which was a part of the plunder, or
as the less pernicious thieves call it, the
swag), cumbering Hampstead Heath by
London town! Think of the history of
which that abomination is at once the beginning
and the end; of the dark social scenes
daguerreotyped in it; and of the Lordship of
your Treasury to which Nobody, driving a
shameful bargain, raised this creature when
he was alive. Follow the whole story, and
finish by listening to the parliamentary
lawyers as they tell you that Nobody knows
anything about it; that Nobody is entitled
(from the attorney point of view) to believe
that there ever was such a business at
all; that Nobody can be allowed to demand,
for decency's sake, the swift expulsion
from the lawmaking body of the surviving
instrument in the heap of crime; that such
expulsion is, in a word, just Nobody's business,
and must at present be constitutionally left
to Nobody to do.

There is a great fire raging in the land,
andby all the polite precedents and
prescriptions!—you shall leave it to Nobody to
put it out with a squirt, expected home in
a year or so. There are inundations bursting
on the valleys, andby the same precedents
and prescriptions!—you shall trust to Nobody
to bale the water out with a bottomless
tin kettle. Nobody being responsible to
you for his perfect success in these little
feats, and you confiding in him, you shall go
to Heaven. Ask for Somebody in his stead,
and you shall go in quite the contrary direction.

And yet, for the sake of Everybody, give
me Somebody! I raise my voice in the
wilderness for Somebody. My heart, as the
ballad says, is sore for Somebody. Nobody
has done more harm in this single generation