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democracy, still presided over by a sovereign,
still with Lords and Commons, still with a
hale constitution.


UP many flights of crazy stairs,
Where oft one's head knocks unawares;
With a rickety table, and without chairs,
And only a stool to kneel to prayers,
                               Dwells my sister.

There is no carpet upon the floor,
The wind whistles in through the cracks of the door;
One might reckon her miseries by the score,
But who feels interest in one so poor?
                               Yet she is my sister.

She was blooming, and fresh, and young, and fair,
With bright blue eyes, and auburn hair;
But the rose is eaten with canker care,
And her visage is mark'd with a grim despair.
                               Such is my sister!

When at early morning, to rest her head,
She throws herself on her weary bed,
Longing to sleep the sleep of the dead,
Yet fearing, from all she has heard and read;
                               Pity my sister.

But the bright sun shines on her and on me,
And on mine and hers, and on thine and thee,
Whatever our lot in life may be,
Whether of high or low degree,
                               Still, she's our sister.
                               Weep for our sister,
                               Pray for our sister,
                               Succour our sister.


THERE is a certain unscrupulosity abroad
as regards the rights of generations departed
this life, and unable to help themselves.
There is a species of craze afloat for knowing
the little ways and habits of those who have
gone on before. The public roads of literature
have grown to be infested with bands of
Free Lances, ranging the whole country for
such booty as the defunct may have left
behind them. That an Englishman's house is
his castle appears to be sound and accepted
doctrine so long only as the castellan is in
the flesh and able to make good his right.
Let the Englishman, or generation of Englishmen
for they have their keeps and castles
toohave slept but a decent interval under
ground, and these lawless condottieri have
set forth on their unholy errand, and have
drawn a cordon round the stronghold, and,
before long, have made their way in. Then
may be seen streaming up the broad staircase
floods of antiquarian spoilers, who
forthwith disperse about, prying curiously
into choice cabinets and secret drawers, and
fingering greedily all relics of the departed.
Not even the blue chamber, or famed
skeleton closet, is held sacred; no, nor
defunct's private escritoire and papers and
faded writings. For such are the very spolia
opima of the raid, to be rifled feloniously,
borne away, and deciphered, and imprinted,
and brought forth into the light of day. It
is very certain that facts exhumed in this
questionable fashionfacts that concern the
innermost life of a deceased Respectability
have always been desiderated exceedingly.
Such, when wrought into book-shape, may
be looked for, not in the dusty banishment of
the library, but in the snug retirement of the
study, on the table by the fire, to be taken up
at choice moments. Where, too, with eternal
patent of precedence, shall repose the famous
Boswellian chronicle, in company with sundry
of the Anas, and some few others, wherein
men's minds have been most exactly
photographed. And very natural it is, that men
should turn from bare, angular traditions
the dry bones, as it were, of historyto such
waifs and strays and chips of great men's
talk, still breathing life and vitality, giving
to us the very shape and complexion of their
garments, what they delighted to have about
them, with a hundred other strokes that
raise them up again before us, even as they
were in the flesh. It was some such feeling,
no doubt, that made the caustic satirist of
our day yearn to have been born some centuries
back, that he might have looked on the
face of Shakespere, and run his errands for
him, and been his shoeblack.

But there is a pleasant people separated
from us but by a strip of sea, whose "vie
intime," as it may be called, of some seventy
or eighty years back, we would gladly know
more of. There is a gorgeousness and
abundance of detail belonging to that time;
a crowd of figures, in costly raiment, ever
crossing and re-crossing; galaxies of beauty;
strange shows and pageantries; sparkling
mots, wit, and wealth; which render that
fairy-like season a tempting oasis for all
explorers of treasures of past history. Though
such matters would seem to have been treated
copiously in the mémoires of the time, still it
is mostly the little schemes and intrigues, the
incomings and outgoings that are set forth in
their pages, while the minute touches before
spoken of, which lend true vitality to the
picture, are passed by. Thus, reading over
that entry in Mr. Filby's ledger concerning
Dr. Goldsmith's bloom-coloured suit, and
tracing out the history of those vestments;
how they were ordered to do honour to a
bright festive occasion long looked for; how
he hoped with their aid to render his queer
ungainly little person more acceptable to the
cherished Jessamy Bride: this simple entry
in Mr. Filby's ledger seems to bring him
back before us, with all his gentle foibles,
more effectually than a whole diary of his
life and actions. Were points like these,
relative to that French generation, preserved
to us in some Boswellian note-book, how near
a prospect would it help us to of that gay and
garish period of French life. Even so has
the great Whig chronicler, from ballads,