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into unprofitable gas. Look at me. It is the
genius of our nation to flare up!"

With that he emptied the flask into the
bowl, and set it on fire, and poured it over
the pudding. And the makers of the pudding
again danced round it in the blue flame; and
the pudding was nothing hurt by the flare-
up, but remained as sound and unscathed as
the land itself after a month's polemical fire.
And then Mr. Oldknow volunteered a song,
of which four lines remained in his memory;
for he had learnt it as a child, when England
was threatened with invasion:—

"Britain, to peaceful arts inclined,
Where commerce opens all her stores,
In social bands shall league mankind,
And join the sea-divided shores."

Mr. Oldknow opened his eyes. The kitchen
was in darkness, and his cigar smoked out.
"Bless my heart! " said he, " the Waits are
playing ' The Wooden Walls,' and the clock
strikes two!"


Out of the family parties, two millions and
a quarter strong, assembled in London, some
eighty or a hundred thousand have their
Christmas dinner provided for them by their
respective parishes. Their pauper-hood does
not sink them below the reach of the genial
season. Christmas finds them out, even in
their wards and their day-rooms. A cheerful
bustle betokens the welcome day. An extra
polish is seen on workhouse shoes; here and
there, a stray morsel of finery, or a special
evidence of neatness, is visible in workhouse
garments. The workhouse chapel has
a spray or two of the green emblems of the
season, and the sermon has an extra spice of
geniality. The dining-room has quite an
exhilarating polish. The white bare walls are
warmed up with their sprigs of holly, and the
tableswell scrubbed as usualare graced
by the promised feast. No skilly todaybut
beef! No hard dumplings, but plum-pudding!
The plums are not stoned, and there's no
brandy sauce; but the appetites are not epicurean.

But, the huge prandial army of eighty to a
hundred thousand paupers in London do not
all feast in the workhouses. In round numbers,
only about twenty thousand, young and
old, are so accommodated. The majority
are out-door poor, who enjoy anything they
may receive at their own lodgings. The
number of both classes had greatly diminished
last year as compared with the previous
twelve months. It is anticipated that
Christmas, 1850, will show a still greater
reduction in the number of persons dependent
on charity for their holiday meal.

Of the twenty thousand who usually partake
of workhouse beef and plum-pudding in
the metropolis, the largest party assemble in
Marylebone. In the workhouse of that parish,
last year, nearly two thousand paupers were
feasted. The City of London, in its establishment
at Bow, and at the Norwood Schools,
fed the next largest number: their ranks mustering
altogether some sixteen hundred. Third
in the list, stood St. Pancras, who fed on
Christmas Day, of young and old, sick and
well, more than thirteen hundred. To the
East of this Modern Babylon for the two
next great Christmas gatherings, and we
find them in Stepney and Whitechapeleach
gathering, together, upwards of a thousand
candidates for beef and pudding.

Across the river, we have the next strong
parties, in Lambeth, and the two Southwark
parishes; after these, follow a list of places
where snug sets of seven hundred, six hundred,
five hundred, assembled. Unfashionable
St. George in the East musters only two
hundred more than aristocratic St. James,
whilst such suburban places as Edmonton
and Kensington display the fewest candidates
for parish fare.

The largest party of children has always
assembled at the Norwood Schools, where
about a thousand of the progeny of London
pauperism open their young hearts on the
great festival of the English year.

From this chronicle of the pauper's Christmas,
let us now trace a faint outline of the
Christmas of the London sick. A dozen
large Christmas dinners are eaten in the great
general Hospitals of London, besides smaller
feasts in minor institutions for special diseases.
The income of these twelve Hospitals amounts,
every year, to upwards of one hundred
and forty-two thousand pounds, of which
large sum considerably over a hundred
thousand pounds is derived from property,
the balance only being made up from voluntary
donations. From this large fund three
thousand three hundred beds are kept, all
the year through, occupied by poor sick
persons, too ill to attend as out-patients.
This little army of invalids includes unhappy
people suffering from all the severest ills to
which humanity is subject. Frightful accidents;
hideous deformities; fearful and dangerous
operations, have been the lot of successive
unfortunates who tenant these Hospital
beds. To such, though Christmas may come,
it can bring little festivity. Yet, there are
many by whom the time of rejoicing may be
welcomed; and these, in all cases where
indulgences are at all permissible, find Christmas
beef and plurn-pudding at their bedsides.
Some, who are well enough, hobble from
their beds to the table of the ward; and there
the dinner of the day has even more of the
semblance of the season.

Though given with caution, and with the
kindliest of motives, and though it spread a
new air of cheerfulness in places full of pain
and painful thought, these luxuries do rather
harm than good within the walls of the
Hospitals; whilst, amongst the out-patients,

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