§. ijtlusibe girtttorji
BY GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA
XIV. Tribulation-villas And Unsubstantial-grove, N.N.W.
Pray observe the point of the compass denoting the postal district in which the localities of which I propose to treat in this present paper are situated. That point is nor’-nor’-west, and if you add thereto by south, with a slight inflection towards the east, my purpose will be served, although he who is accustomed to con the shipman’s card in a rational manner may be puzzled. My aim, as regards the points of the compass, is mystification. I am particularly anxious that you should not know where Tribulation-villas and Unsubstantialgrove are really to be found; for I have lived in the first, and I still continue to reside in the second, and I don’t wish anybody to call on me. Why on earth should they? I never call on anybody. I never answer letters, when I can help it; yet people persist in calling and in writing.
There are the visitors hitherto totally unknown to you, and who come unprovided with any introduction save a statement of their own (entirely lacking confirmation), that they knew your grandmother, and that moreover they remembered you when you were a little boy in a frill, with blue eyes and auburn hair curling beautifully. You may happen to be as swarthy as General Othello, and, so far as you are aware, you may never have had a grandmother; but, granting your possession and your remembrance of such a relative, and that your visitor knew her—what then? My own grandmother has been dead these fifty years: why should a person, who puts his hat under the chair when (very reluctantly) I ask him to take a chair, and who brings with him into the room a faint but unmistakable odour of cold rum-and-water, make his acquaintance with my relative the plea for the request for a loan of seven shillings and sixpence, to be repaid punctually next Tuesday morning; and why, when I refuse to advance the desiderated three half-crowns, or any smaller amount (for the man who knew your grandmother is a most accommodating soul, and will descend so low as the ridiculous sum of one shilling), should my visitor, as he shambles out of the apartment, while I follow him into the hall, keeping as sharp a look-out as I am able on the hats and umbrellas, murmur between his teeth that the world has used him very harshly, that he should never have expected this from me, and that calmer reflection will teach me that my grandmother would never have treated a reduced gentleman in such a manner? I think my grandmother, who, I have been given to understand, was a woman of spirit, would have rung the bell for her black footman (it is always safe to brag of the grandeur of your family in bygone days; and who can prove that my grandmother hadn’t a black footman, and a coachman to boot?) to turn the reduced gentleman out of doors.
If you happen to see my name in the Court Guide or the Postoffice London Directory, with such or such an address affixed to it, don’t imagine for a moment that I live there. I don’t want you to call, whether you knew my grandmother or not. I am not in the least ambitious to receive post-cards containing the price-list of Messrs. Fouzel and Elderberry’s favourite wines, or an envelope full of little scraps of coloured stuff as samples of Messrs. Counter and Jumper’s newest spring fashions. I am not in the least interested in the report drawn up by the Reverend Mordecai MacCadger of the statistics of destitution in the parish of St. Sgybobbs-the-Martyr, with an (unstamped) envelope addressed to that reverend gentleman, and a neatly-printed form to be filled up with the amounts of my various anticipated donations to the Ragged School, the Blanket Society, the Coal and Coke Union, the Pickled-onions Club, the Young Men’s Association, and the Mothers’ Scanmag Meeting of Sti Sgybobbs parish. I have nothing to do with the Cosmogonic Bank, or the Garotters’ Mutual Assurance and Investment Society, or the Indian Archipelago Preserved Cats’-meat Company, Limited; nor am I desirous that the prospectuses of those doubtless flourishing, but to me indifferent, enterprises should cram my waste-paper basket. Yet to these, and hundreds of missives of a similar nature, you must needs be a victim, if you are foolish enough to have a local habitation and a name given to you in the greater or the lesser red-books. Auctioneers send you catalogues of sales which you have not the remotest idea of attending; booksellers pester you with lists of works you don’t wish to read, or copies of which are already on your shelves; ‘an admirer of literature’ writes from the Land’s End to ask you for your autograph; and ‘Euphrasta’ sends you six closely-written pages of mad poetry from the Giant’s Causeway, which (the verses, not the Causeway) she requests you to insert in the next number of the magazine of which you are no more the editor than you are an Elder Brother of the Trinity House. I say nothing of one’s legitimate friends, acquaintances, and duns; I say nothing of the scoundrels who send you anonymous letters. The circulars and the prospectuses are in themselves more than sufficient to drive the man who loves peace and quiet to live nowhere, or, at least, in so very imaginary a district of Imaginary London as that which comprises Tribulationvillas and Unsubstantial-grove.
I occupied apartments in the villas for nearly nine months, and I am delighted to think that not more than nine people, out of three millions and odd Londoners, were aware that I was a denizen of the tenements of Tribulation. I know that ‘too partial friends’ have followed me home; that traps have been set and espials made for me; that designing men have even paid for hansom cabs for me late at night, stating that they would drop me at my ‘crib.’ Ha, ha! They would have liked to know where the crib was. It was nowhere. ‘We are all going to the deuce,’ cried the dissipated student to Quevedo. ‘You are at the deuce already,’ answered the cynic. So was it with Tribulation-villas. While the vain and the unthinking volunteered to accompany me thither, I was there; for Tribulationvillas were in my own brain. They were imaginary, and nowhere.
Picture to yourself a broad, shabby-genteel suburban street, an omnibus route, but in which the appearance of a brougham was a rare occurrence indeed. This was Great Botherum-street. It was lined with multitudinous blocks of villas, interspersed with groups of shops, mainly public-houses, greengrocers’, butchers’, and newsvendors’. In all my experience I never abode in a community so much addicted to sending out, at all hours of the day and night, for pints of mild ale (in the jug), summer cabbages, scrags of mutton, and penny newspapers, as were the inhabitants of Great Botherumstreet and its many villas: among which last I remember Tribulation (mine own), Embarrassment, Deficiency, and Confusion. I think, too, there was a row of houses called Destitution-villas, high up towards the station of the Nor’-nor’-east Hopeless Junction Railway, but of this fact I am not quite certain.
Stay! commercial and architectural importance was given to Great Botherum-street by Keys and Peddles’ pianoforte manufactory —a commanding building, one wing of which abutted on Tribulationvillas. I am not aware whether it is a mechanical possibility to make second-hand pianofortes at the commencement of their manufacture; still I never saw an instrument come out of Keys and Peddles’ that had not a second-hand look. Several rather pretty girls in the district used to be pointed out to me as ‘silkers’ for Keys and Peddles’ ‘cottages’ and ‘cabinets’ and ‘upright grands;’ and by the process of ‘ silking’ I understood that process of fluting the crimson veil which hides the front of the upright pianoforte above the keys from the eyes of the profane vulgar. I always had an insane desire to know what there was behind that cosy fluted screen. Catgut, I suppose, or wire, or washleather, or something of that kind: but to me it has been an act-drop, and I have loved to fancy a number of small fantoccini or marionettes behind it, ready to come forward when the curtain rose, and dance to the movement of the keys and pedals. Absurd as is the notion, is it a very unnatural one? When you were a child, did you not cut open the bellows and punch a hole in your drum? and what solemn joy did you not feel in finding the back of the parchment inscribed with legends about ‘This Indenture’ witnessing, of whose nature you had not the remotest idea? To this day the *sheepskin dram-head has wellnigh as great an attraction as the silken pianoforte screen. It is but human nature. Don’t you want to know what there is inside the dome of St. Paul’s, behind that gate in the wall of Northumberland House, or in the centre of the huge gas reservoir at Blackfriars? In the last-named instance, reason should teach you that the receptacle contains gas; but fancy whispers to you that there may be something else there—spirits of the gas, or, perchance, elves of carburetted hydrogen. Are there not spirits of the lamp and gnomes of the gold mine?
A good many employes of Keys and Peddles’ lived in the lodgings in which Tribulation-villas were let out. The general report concerning these artisans was, that they could all earn wages of fiftyfive shillings a week, all the year round, and that they were all on the road to rain owing to ‘the drink.’ I never saw or heard any of them in a state of inebriety; but I suppose that they confined their bibulous practices to the domestic hearth, and that they were the customers who were continually sending out to the public-houses for pots of mild ale. Who the particular firm of Beer Kings may have been who brewed for the taverns of Great Botherum-street, I know not; but the stock always on hand of fourpenny ale was, to all appearance, enormous. What connection can there be between pianoforte-making and mild ale? Apart from Messrs. Keys and Peddles’ workpeople, the art musical was rather strongly represented in Tribulation and the cognate villas by a goodly number of pianoforte-tuners: meek, inoffensive people mostly, whose odd existence was spent in wandering up and down London, setting other people’s property to rights. I knew one of these tuners, Mr. Coop, very well:—a small, lithe, reedy man verging on sixty years, and who would have been silvery gray years before, if the persistent flaxen of his locks would have permitted him to take that liberty. He was one of those people who never perceptibly age till all at once they become superannuated. Until three-score or so they are boys; presto! of a sudden they are patriarchs. Coop had a small round pippin-like face, with very rosy cheeks and smiling lips, but the sweetness of his smile was marred somewhat by the fact of his having scarcely any teeth. His eyes should have been bright blue; but they were of that vacant, cheerless cerulean hue that is worn by the sky before the sun rises. There was no sun, there was no moon, in his firmament, poor fellow. There was total eclipse. Mr. Coop was blind. He had been brought up in one of the admirable asylums designed for the relief of the sufferers from one of the most awful afflictions with which the Almighty has visited his creatures, and had learned to weave baskets and mats, and all kinds of pretty nicknacks, and to read very deftly
with his fingers from embossed type. But these accomplishments, alas, are mastered by most blind folks, and when poor Coop left the asylum, there seemed a sad likelihood, in default of customers to purchase rice-straw baskets and particoloured mats, of his descending to the stage of a street-corner, and a dog with a string, and a tray in his mouth. He was fortunately saved from this, and the indignity of a placard with ‘Poor blind’ inscribed on his breast, by the kindness of a lady whose common sense happened to be in proportion—a very rare occurrence—to her charity. Coop had a taste for music: a faculty very-often and mercifully developed among the blind. He tried to obtain an engagement as an organist; but hislungs were weak, and the atmosphere of the chapel where he did manage to get temporary employment made him ill. Then his patroness, who was one of the congregation of the chapel, took him in hand, and had him taught pianoforte-tuning; and as a tuner he now does remarkably well, earning, perhaps, bon an, mal an, a couple of pounds a week. He is a very cheerful and resigned little man, and a confirmed bachelor: the last fact he accounts for by the difficulty of finding a ‘ dark’ or blind lady who would marry him. For my part, I think there are a good many young ladies, both ‘darkr and ‘fair’—I allude to their complexions—who would be very glad to wed the harmless pianoforte-tuner if he put the momentous question to them; but perhaps he is difficult to please; and, all things considered, perhaps the blind are best alone. ‘I love Spain,’ said John Hookham Frere, referring to the dehesas y despoblados of that half-desert but delicious land, ‘because God has got so much land there in his own holding.’ Thus is it with the desolation of blindness. There is nothing between you and Providence. You are in His hand; and with the eyes of your soul, which no blindness can obscure, you look to Him in cheerful submission for help. Man can do little for you; and a dog will render you more service than a duke can do. Let us pity the poor blind with all our hearts; but at the same time let us be thankful to remember the capital animal spirits with which the majority of those deprived of sight are blessed, and how very seldom they tumble down-stairs and break their bones. Fortunately the tuners did not exercise their useful but cacophonous vocation in Tribulation-villas; but went farther a-field to screw up flaccid strings to concert pitch; and indeed, in vindication, perhaps, of the immutable principle that the cobbler’s children are always ill-shod, and that the maker of birchbrooms never whips his offspring, there was a singular absence of actual harmonic sounds in this neighbourhood, where so many people earned their livelihood by some business more or less connected with music. Besides the tuners, there were professors of the pianoforte and singing at the villas. On the Tribulatory floor above me lived a German who taught the French horn; yet I never heard him attempt the performance of a solo on that instrument. Monsieur Baragouin, dealer in musical boxes, iEolian harps, accordions, and cuckoo-clocks (from Geneva), lived next door to me; and over the way the front parlours were in the occupation of Mr. Scrotty, who provided quadrille bands for evening parties. Nay, at certain times of the day you might perceive, loftily pacing along Great Botherum-street on their way to the not very far off cavalry-barracks in Beau Nash-street, divers stalwart and moustached gentlemen in military uniform, who were said to be musicians in the Life Guards pink. They never brayed away at the trombones or banged at the kettledrums in Great Botherum-street. Nobody played upon the pianofortes, and the loudest sound proceeding from Messrs. Keys and Peddles’ factory was that of a circular-saw. The cry of a child ‘spanked’ at No. 1 Tribulation could be heard at 97 Embarrassment villas, many roods off. No organ-grinders ever came to the place to play, although, oddly enough, they often resorted to musical craftsmen in the villas to have the newest popular melodies ‘set’ on the brass combs and pegs of their instruments. But it was elsewhere that these brown foreigners resorted to drive peaceable people distracted with the strains of ‘ God bless the Prince of Wales,’ ‘Down among the coals,’ and ‘A starry night for a ramble.’ Once, and once only, a ‘Green Baize’ or German band strayed into Great Botherum-street, and, with their usual stolidly Teutonic conceit, nattered themselves with the hope of creating a remunerative impression by the performance of the overture to Der Freischiitz. The typical Hans Breitmann of the gang—he was the varlet who played the French horn—had the impudence to knock at No. 9 and ask for money. Little did he reck—the vain German —that another Hans Breitmann dwelt there. ‘Twas Hans the second himself who, in his shirt-sleeves, and with a big meerschaum pipe between his blonde-bearded lips, opened the door to the impertinent summoner. He did not even condescend to answer him in their mutual tongue. He merely observed, ‘Ve make French horn here, and you blay him tarn bad; go fay, you beest Garman!’ and so slammed the portal in his countryman’s face. What sublime contempt foreigners, away from their own land, have for their compatriots! Did you never hear Sambo rail at Quashee as a dam blaok nigger? and would you be surprised to hear Mr. Montmorency de Lypey, whose mamma still sells fried fish in Petticoat-lane, denounce Mr. Plantagenet Shobbers as a ‘confounded Jew’?
But what was there, it may be asked, of tribulation in these villas of mine. I don’t know how it was, but the whole neighbourhood always seemed to be in hopeless difficulties. There was always something wrong in everybody’s domestic affairs. Speaking personally, I may admit that I was myself under one of the awfullest (imaginary) clouds conceivable when I went to lodge in the villas. I knew that my landlady was in even direr straits, and I thank her kindly for her friendly hint, late one Saturday night, to the effect that she expected the brokers in, on a matter of three quarters’ rent, the first thing on Monday morning, thus giving me the opportunity—it was prior to the passing of the Lodgers’ Protection Act—of preserving from the clutches of the Sheriff of Middlesex a folio copy of Bayle’s Dictionary, a skeleton clock, a cruet-stand, and a bust of Garibaldi: chattels which I much prized. The process-servers and bailiffs of the District County Court were always hanging about Tribulation-villas, and there was always somebody being summoned or sold up. As quarter-day approached, there was always, some tenant of a villa who was found to take time by the forelock by shooting the moon—a suburban euphemism for running away, without paying your rent, in the middle of the night, and with as much furniture as you can persuade the friendly proprietor of a spring van to cram into his vehicle. Among the landladies of Tribulation-villas who did pay their rent it was the custom, enforced by bitter experience, to exact payment in advance from their weekly tenants, lest the lodgers, when they went out for a walk, should forget their way home again and never come back. The public-house at the corner, by the station of the Hopeless Junction Railway, might have gone by the sign of the Cave of Adullam, so constantly frequented was its darksome bar by those who were in debt and those who were discontented. Three successive station-masters of the Hopeless Junction did I know, and they all came to grief. Drink was the perdition of the first, debt of the next, and dominoes of the last. Among those ladies of Great Botherum-street who were not ‘silkers,’ milliners and dressmakers abounded; but they never seemed to make or to sell any dresses or any bonnets. They merely announced their intentions on tarnished brass plates screwed on to their area railings, and waited for customers who never came. The tradespeople were not often bankrupt—they were too poor for that, and bankruptcy is still an expensive luxury—they merely ‘rubbed on,’ and borrowed money at usurious interest, or, shutting up their shops in their despair, went off to Queensland or to the Diamond Diggings. At last I thought it was time for me to go too. I found that I was acquiring a lurking furtive manner; that I was shy of being looked at by strangers; and that I had dreams about the District County Court. I didn’t owe anybody money in the neighbourhood; but I felt that, as an inhabitant of Tribulation-villas, I must either get into debt at the chandler’s shop, or run up a score at the Cave of Adullam, or order a bonnet without having the means to pay for it, or do something or another to fall into difficulties, as my neighbours had fallen, or else go away. I elected to adopt the last-named course. I ducked under, far beneath the waves of the great ocean of London life. I abode for a time, under submarine circumstances, down below Nathaniel, many times full fathom five, down among the coral reefs and the cray-fish and the mermaids and the mermen, and I came up again at last in Unsubstantial-grove.
That is where I am staying now; but I beg you to bear in mind that I am positively going away next week, and that there is absolutely no use in calling upon me. I am never at home; I am out of town; I am ill. The smallpox and typhoid fever are always rife in this neighbourhood; and a notorious gang of garotters have their headquarters in Deadman’s-thicket at the bottom of the grove. For goodness-gracious sake, don’t come and see me, and don’t write, especially through the medium of a post-card. Besides, there isn’t such a place as Unsubstantial-grove at all. It is as imaginary as Utopia, or the New Atlantis, or the kingdom of Cockaigne. When I say that I am ‘staying’ in this shadowy place, I use the term in preference to saying that I ‘ live’ there, seeing that nobody lives, properly so speaking, in Unsubstantial-grove. Families come like shadows, and so depart; and from Christmas to Lady-day, from Midsummer to Michaelmas, there is but one continuous course of flitting. I scarcely know myself whether I came to sojourn in the grove the day before yesterday or twelve months ago. I mean—as I announced on a previous occasion — to depart immediately. My trunks are packed, my boat is on the shore, and my bark is on the sea; the butcher has been satisfied, the baker settled with; an arrangement has been made with the laundress, and the milkman (after much difficult and delicate negotiation) has listened to reason. Yet, perhaps, am I destined to linger among the Unsubstantials until I die. Who has not packed his trunk, and taken his ticket, and shaken hands all round, and made as though to depart, and yet has never gone away at all?
It cannot, however, be urged as an objection against the denizens of Unsubstantial-grove that they manifest any want of alacrity in striking their tents and removing their encampment elsewhere. I have had five sets of next-door neighbours on my right since I came into the grove. Neighbour the first was a lady; the widow, it was announced, of a colonel in India, with four tall daughters, all with taller chignons of golden auburn air, and who, from the sprigged-muslin dresses they wore in summer time, and their generally dimly-towering appearance, bore a not remote resemblance to a quartette of camelopards. Mrs. Colonel Giraffe was, on the other band, a little dark woman, with sparkling black eyes and thickly arched black eyebrows and dusky yet rich red lips, who was generally visible—when I caught sight of her in the back-garden—in a riding-habit. I could never discern that she took any more equestrian exercise than a Doge of Venice might have done; unless, indeed, she kept a Shetland pony in the cellar or a rocking-horse in the front parlour. I know she had a horsewhip, at least I fancy so from the sounds of some little implement I have heard through the thin partition wall, accompanied by sundry shrill yelps in the human voice. I imagine that she and the four tall daughters fell out sometimes, and that the cravache was introduced as a peacemaker. At first I thought she was a fine lady; but after a while the inevitable placard, with ‘ Apartments furnished,’ appeared in the front window. It is just as likely, however, that Mrs. Colonel Giraffe had other designs besides lodging-letting, and that she was bent on the laudable design of marrying the four tall daughters to peers of the realm, officers in the Guards, members of the Stock Exchange, or indeed anybody else whom the Fates matrimonial might cause to stumble into Unsubstantial-grove. At all events, there was the printed announcement as to apartments furnished; but nobody, so far as my information (mainly derived from a communicative charwoman) extended, ever came to take the lodgings, save a man in a cloak and a white hat with a rusty black band round it, who engaged the first floor at a rent of two guineas a week for six months certain, but excused himself from paying a deposit or giving any reference on the plea that he had just arrived from the quicksilver mines of Ecuador; that his luggage, in nine packing-cases, was on its way from Southampton, per goods train, on the London and South Western Railway, and that he was first cousin to the Earl of Kailbrosery, then sojourning on his estates in Scotland. Saying that he felt faint, this eligible tenant was accommodated with ‘a slice of seedy cake and a glass of sherry wine;’ and on his departure he shook hands all round with Mrs. Colonel Giraffe and her four tall daughters, promising them all tickets for the Italian opera and invitations to Kailbrosery Castle. He did not return to occupy the first floor; but after he had left, it was found that he had taken a card-basket, a photographic album, and the cushion from a music-stool with him: under that cloak I presume. The articles could not have fetched much at the dollyshop; still they were something, and the rogue had not wasted his time. Ah, what busy bees these rascals are! Do you think this little story is utterly imaginary? My dear madam, there are people silly enough to be gulled by rascals as shallow and as impudent as he in the cloak every hour of every day in the year. But for the donkeys—heaven bless their simple hearts !—the rascals would all die of starvation; which would be a pity, for what would then become of the British drama and the three-volume novelists?
Mrs. Colonel Giraffe and her four tall daughters did not last long after the occurrence of this domestic episode. The charwoman told our housemaid that Colonel Giraffe had come home very late one night from India, in a hansom cab and in liquor, and that he ‘kicked up a shine.’ Whether he did or did not, or who or what he was, I ken not; the entire Giraffe family faded away into the indefinite unsubstantialities, and the grove knew them no more. Rarely do we ask any questions about the departed in this phantom locality.
When they come, we do not expect our neighbours to stop long; and when they go, we shrug our shoulders and say that we always thought it would turn out so. There is a vicious old spinster in the secondfloor opposite who is always reconnoitering my dining-room windows through a double-barrelled opera-glass. I suspect that she takes it very unkindly of me that I do not go away (I am going away directly, believe me), or that I do not jump on some member of my family, or attack the cook with a carving-knife, or at least commit suicide. If that vicious spinster could only see me come down the front-garden steps, with a detective in plain clothes on either side to escort me to the four-wheeled cab which was to convey me to Newgate,—if she could only espy a pair of handcuffed wrists ill-concealed beneath the cuffs of my coat,—and if she could only learn that I had been arrested for forging Turkish bonds or Russian bank-notes, or was to be handed over to the French police, under the provisions of the Extradition Treaty, for assisting in burning down the Tuileries and the Hotel do Ville,—her wicked old life would, I am certain-, be made supremely happy. But no, no, Miss Biddy M’Caw—she is an Irish old maid, I am persuaded; the most rancorous species of spinster extant—I’ll see you out yet; although, as I repeat, I really mean to quit Unsubstantial-grove the very moment that circumstances over which I have no control warrant my departure.
The Giraffe family next door were succeeded by a Baronet and his lady, a large family of young children, a lady’s-maid, a page-boy, and a French governess. That he was a real Baronet there could be no doubt, for I saw his name in Sir Bernard Burke’s Baronetage, to say nothing of the coat-of-arms, with the ‘main couped,’ on the page. Yet must Sir Ignis Fatuus Mirage, Bart., be accounted among the unsubstantials. His appearance was grand, his conversation charming, his deportment urbane. He was in every way adapted to adorn the high social station to which the favour of the Crown had called his distinguished ancestors, and Lady Mirage was the most elegant, the most accomplished, and the most magnificent of her sex, whose violet moire dresses used to train a yard and a half on the ground as she stepped into her hired brougham — the best that a grateful nor’-nor’-west by south livery-stable could provide her ladyship with. She never went abroad save in that brougham, with a Maltese terrier looking out of the window, and a Dutch pug, with his tongue hanging between his teeth, supporting his paws on the edge of the opposite casement, and the page-boy on the box. They gave receptions, dinners, thes dansantes, kettledrums, conversaziones, musical breakfasts, private theatricals, charades, tableaux vivants, spiritual seances, did the Mirages. I believe even that a semipublic meeting of the Association of Sympathisers with the Downtrodden Circassians, with the Marquis Wallsend in the chair, was once held at Sir Ignis’s house; but a few months afterwards, and all was in the dust. They were here to-day and there to-morrow. Here was Unsubstantial-grove; there was the Court of Bankruptcy; and from the narrative of the proceedings before that tribunal, it seemed that Sir Ignis Fatuus Jacquet Lantern Mirage, Bart., was not by any means a stranger in Basinghall-street. His last bankruptcy took place under the good old laws, when bankrupts were not expected to pay anybody, and, if they had a handle to their name, were frequently complimented by the commissioner on the promptitude with which they had wound up an estate of no value, and paid a dividend of nothing in the pound. I don’t know where the Mirages went after this catastrophe: the incidence of which, by the way, astonished nobody. We all expected that such a career could have but one termination, especially in Unsubstantial-grove. The liverystable keepers, the butchers and bakers and florists and fishmongers, and other trading people, made a vast outcry against the Bart., declared that he had got recklessly into their debt without any reasonable prospect of being able to pay them, and did not hesitate to apply to this member of a patrician order the opprobrious epithets of ‘adventurer’and ‘swindler;’ but take him for all in all, he was not such a very bad friend to trade, this bankrupt Baronet. He made business brisk; he caused money to circulate; he got many hard-working people into constant and remunerative employment. If he did not pay himself, he was the cause of payment to others; and if the livery-stable keeper got nothing for the hire of his brougham, somebody must have paid the coachman who drove the horses and the ostlers who groomed them; somebody must have bought the oats which they ate. What more would you have than that trade should be brisk and money circulate? The happiness of the greatest number is the grand desideratum; and for one complaining fishmonger, or butcher, or livery-stable keeper, how many deserving working men, with their wives and families, did the Baronet of Unsubstantialgrove indirectly, but still effectually, help to keep? Nor did the tradespeople, I fancy, take much harm by his bankruptcy; for the scandal had scarcely blown over before Lord Claude Neverpay, the Marquis of Soldup’s fifth son, took No. 17 in the grove, a furnished house, and had not the slightest difficulty in obtaining credit quite as extensive as that which had been enjoyed by my distinguished neighbour. Is it that tradespeople like to be cheated, I wonder, or is it that they prudently make the ready-money customers pay for the bad debts, and thus balance matters, so as to make both ends meet charmingly?