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A fitting emblem of the helpless child,
  Born in the darksome cellar or the den,
In some great city's low and secret haunts,
  The lurking-place of low and guilty men:
Each wholesome impulse stifled in its birth,
Choked down with all the guilt and sin of earth.

Childhood without its innocent delights.
  Reft of its happy mirth and healthy play,
The first and sweetest roses of its life,
  From cheek and heart alike have pass'd away.
The sallow face a type of all within,
Wither'd by hunger, suffering, and sin.

They know no wanderings in the russet woods
   For nuts and berries, nor can they explore
The haunts of bird or insect, closed to them
  The country urchin's ever-varied store.
They have no primrose, no first violet,
Nor are their hearts upon such treasures set.

Not theirs that holy season of the heart,
  That innocent childhood 'tis so sweet to see;
Early inured to poverty and toil,
  Not theirs the heritage of bird and bee.
But born of sin, and rear'd mid guilt and crime,
To a precocious evil e'er their time.

Not theirs the terrors of the happy child,
  Used to the sunshine and green leafy bow'rs,
Whose only insight of the world is gain'd
  By sweet companionship with birds and flowers.
While they no knowledge have of light and bloom,
Sadly unchildlike, conversant with gloom.

When summer's fruits are o'er, and autumn's grain
   Is garner'd in, still are the birds supplied,
The scarlet holly, and the coral hip,
  Are caterers for them, scatter'd far and wide.
The sturdy robin, welcomed and caress'd
Is to each window-pane an honour'd guest.

But the poor child, - half-starved from very birth,
  Feels the keen pangs of hunger, and is led,
With sharpen'd instinct, but a darken'd mind,
  To filch a mouldy crust,—his daily bread.
O God! to see those wild and wolfish eyes,
Where only earnest childish tears should rise!

Yet do their angels evermore behold
  The face of Him who once their likeness wore,
And solemnly commending childhood's state
  Bless'd it and sanctified for evermore.
"Woe unto him who causeth them offence!"
Dare we look up and plead our innocence?


THE church of Long Beckley (a large
agricultural village in one of the midland
counties of England), although a building in
no way remarkable either for its size, its
architecture, or its antiquity, possesses,
nevertheless, one advantage which the merchant
despots of London have barbarously denied
to their noble cathedral church of St. Paul.
It has plenty of room to stand in, and it can
consequently be seen with perfect convenience
from every point of view, all round the

The large open space around the church
can be approached in three different directions.
There is a road from the village,
leading straight to the principal door. There
is a broad gravel-walk, which begins at the
vicarage gates, crosses the churchyard, and
stops, as in duty bound, at the vestry
entrance. There is a footpath over the fields,
by which the lord of the manor, and the
gentry in general who live in his august
neighbourhood, can reach the side door of
the building, whenever their natural humility
(aided by a favourable state of the weather)
may incline them to encourage Sabbath
observance in the stables, by going to church,
like the lower sort of worshippers, on their
own legs.

At half-past seven o'clock, on a certain fine
summer morning, in the year eighteen
hundred and forty-four, if any observant stranger
had happened to be standing in some
unnoticed corner of the churchyard, and to be
looking about him with sharp eyes, he would
probably have been the witness of proceedings
which might have led him to believe
that there was a conspiracy going on in Long
Beckley, of which the church was the rallying
point, and some of the most respectable
inhabitants the principal leaders. Supposing
him to have been looking towards the vicarage,
as the clock chimed the half-hour, he
would have seen the Vicar of Long Beckley,
the Reverend Doctor Chennery, leaving his
house suspiciously, by the back way, glancing
behind him guiltily as he approached the
gravel-walk that led to the vestry, stopping
mysteriously just outside the door, and gazing
anxiously down the road that led from the

Assuming that our observant stranger
would, upon this, keep out of sight, and look
down the road, like the vicar, he would next
have seen the clerk of the churchan
austere, yellow-faced, dignified man; a Protestant
Loyola in appearance, and a working shoe-
maker by tradeapproaching with a look of
unutterable mystery in his face, and a bunch
of big keys in his hand. He would have seen
the clerk bow to the vicar with a grim smile
of intelligenceas Guy Fawkes might have
bowed to Catesby when those two large
gunpowder proprietors met to take stock in their
extensive range of premises under the Parliament
Houses. He would have seen the vicar
nod in an abstracted way to the clerk, and
sayundoubtedly giving a secret pass-word
under the double disguise of a common
remark and a friendly question—"Fine morning,
Thomas. Have you had your breakfast
yet? " He would have heard Thomas reply,
with a suspicious regard for minute particulars:
"I have had a cup of tea and a crust,
sir." And he would then have seen these
two local conspirators, after looking up with
one accord at the church clock, draw off
together to the side-door which commanded
a view of the footpath across the fields.

Following themas our observant stranger
could not surely fail to dohe would have