The Project Gutenberg eBook of Portraits of Children of the Mobility, by Percival Leigh
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Title: Portraits of Children of the Mobility
Author: Percival Leigh
Illustrator: John Leech
Release Date: January 30, 2014 [eBook #44806]
[Most recently updated: December 18, 2022]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: David Widger


By Percival Leigh

Drawn From Nature By JOHN LEECH



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PLATE I. Miss Margaret Flinn, Master Gregory Flinn, Miss Katherine O'Shaughnessy, and Master Donovan

PLATE II. Master Jim Curtis, Master Mike Waters, and Master Bill Sims.

PLATE III. Master "Young Spicy," and Master "Tater Sam."

PLATE IV. The Family Of Mr. And Mrs. Blenkinsop

PLATE V. Master Charley Wheeler, Master Moses Abrahams, Master Ned

PLATE VI. Master Bob White and Master Nick Baggs.

PLATE VII. Miss Moody and her infant sister Miss Martha Moody, Master George Dummer, and the Misses Ann and Sarah Grigg.

PLATE VIII. Master Tom Scales and Master Ben Potts.


Armorial Bearings op the Mobility, viz:—


1, Azure, a Tile dilapidated, or shocking bad Hat, Argent, banded Sable, for TAG.

2, Gules, between two Clays in saltire Argent, in base a Pot of Heavy, frothed of the second, for SWIPES.

3, Sable, & Bunch of Fives proper, for RAG.

4, Or, a Neddy Sable, passant, brayant, panniered proper, cabbaged and carroted.

Gules, for BOBTAIL.

Motto.—Kim aup.

Crest.—On a wreath a Bull-dog's head guardant proper, issuant out of a Butcher's tray, surmounted by & scroll with the motto BOW WOW.



The Mobility are a variety of the human race, otherwise designated, in polite society, as "The Lower Orders," "The Inferior Classes," "The Rabble," "The Populace,"

"The Vulgar," or "The Common People." Among political philosophers, and promulgators of Useful Knowledge, they are known as "The People," "The Many," "The Masses," "The Millions." By persons of less refinement, they are termed "The Riff-raff," and "The Tag-rag-and-bobtail." Figuratively, they are also denominated "The Many-headed;" although in England, in common with the other members of the body politic, they have but one head. May it be long before that one is replaced by another! In some foreign countries, as in America, they change their head very often; and in a neighbouring kingdom (where they are called "The Canaille"), their head is, strange to say, their target.

We write solely for the benefit of the superior classes, that is to say, of the Nobility, Gentry, Clergy, and so many of the Public in general as will condescend to patronise our work. These individuals, if we may so call them, inhabiting a different sphere from that of the Mobility, are not (with the exception, of course, of the Magistracy and the Clergy,) in the habit of meeting them; some account, therefore, of this little-known class, introductory to an exhibition of their offspring, may be reasonably expected of us. Our gentle readers, we apprehend, have but little regarded the Mobility in passing through our public thoroughfares. When employed in taking the air, they move in a loftier line than that of the pavement, and, occupied with the momentous cares of the Senate, the Opera, and the Ball, are too deeply absorbed in meditation to cast their eyes below.

The Mobility are the antipodes to the Nobility: the one race of men being at the top of the world, the other at the bottom of it. The word Mobility is said to be derived from the Latin term Mobilis, fickle, or moveable; as Nobility is from Nobilis, noble. But what can be more fickle than fashion, what more vulgar than constancy? The heads of society, too, are quite as moveable as its tails. The Nobility are continually in motion; moving in good company, moving in Parliament, moving about the world. If we are to take up the Mobility as vagrants, we must set down the Nobility as tourists; * if the former are moved by Punch and Shakspere, the latter are equally so by Rubini and Bellini. There are some who think that Mobility comes from Mobble, to dress inelegantly; a surmise more ingenious than correct. The humbler classes were perhaps originally named, as in former times they were governed, by arbitrary power. As to an opinion that the opposite term, Nobility, is derived from Nob, a word which in the vocabulary of certain persons signifies head, we only mention it to show the horrid ideas of etymology which some minds are capable of forming.

* There are some real travellers among the Mobility, though most of their journeymen lead a sedentary life.

The property most common to all the Mobility is poverty; that is to say, no property at all. It is not usual to describe them as a respectable body, but they are an influential one, and their influence has, of late years, been much augmented. Perhaps, also, as they constitute the operative part of the community, and its physical force, they may be regarded as being, in a national point of view, of some little importance: but all who have any pretensions to delicacy look upon them as disagreable persons. Those of them who are, so to speak, at large, inhabit the huts and hovels of our villages, and the fearful dens in the less known and more unpleasant regions of our towns and cities. Here they are chiefly to be found, according to medical men and other adventurous travellers, in places analogous to those in which our wine is kept, and where our menials repose, the garrets and cellars. Many thousands of them are contained in ships and barracks, and also in penitentiaries, prisons, workhouses, and other places of punishment for indigence and dishonesty.

The difference between the words Mobility and Nobility is merely a letter. So, between individuals belonging to the two classes, a single letter may constitute a distinction. There are some names peculiar to the Nobility, and some to the Mobility. Jenkins, for example, is one of the names of the Mobility, but it assumes an aristocratic character by being spelt Jenkyns. The addition of a letter, or the addition of one and the alteration of another, is sometimes necessary to effect this change. Thus, Brown and Smith are ennobled by being converted into Browns and Smythe. Persons who have acquired their property by dealing in cheese and so forth, are, some of them, aware of this fact, and hence it is that the butterfly state of a sugar-baker is often denoted by such a transformation, and that Gubbynses and Chubbes enrich the aristocracy of Tooting.

Castlemaine, Mortimer, Percy, Howard, Stanley, Vere and Conyers, are well known as being among the names of the Nobility. In like manner, Tupp, Snooks, Pouch, Wiggins, Blogg, Scroggins, and Hogg, are names characteristic of the Mobility. Dobson, Jobson, and Timson, are appellations of the same order. How shocking it would be to impose any one of them on the hero of a fashionable novel! Johnson may now, perhaps, be tolerated; but we think Johnstone decidedly preferable.

The names which the Mobility derive from their sponsors may be Christian names; but some of them are, nevertheless, very shocking. No refined grammarian could venture to call them proper names; and to dream of disgracing a scutcheon by them would horrify any one but a savage. The mind shrinks, so to speak, at the bare idea of such an association of names as Ebenezer Arlington, Jonathan Tollemache, Moses Montague, Jacob Manners, or Timothy Craven. An attempt to emulate the higher ranks in the choice of Christian names is sometimes made by the Mobility, but their selection is chiefly confined to the theatrical or romantic species; as Oscar Pugsley, Wilhelmina Briggs, Orlando Bung, and the like. The Mobility, moreover, have seldom more than two names; though some of them, under peculiar circumstances, assume several, pro tempore, with the intervention of an alias. They very generally, too, neglect a practice universally adopted in the exclusive circles, of christening a child by a surname. It is to be wished that they would adopt this custom, for such combinations as Brown Green, Tubb Waters, White Smith, or Bull Bates, would certainly be highly amusing.

The Mobility are also in the habit of using abbreviations in addressing each other, as Jim, Bill, Dick, &c.; an eccentricity which, we are sorry to say, has proved contagious.

It is frequently said of the Mobility that they are houseless and homeless, and so, we believe, many of them are. But all of them are houseless, as contradistinguished from proper characters, and particularly from the Nobility, each of whom can boast of belonging to a house, although no house should belong to him.

Whereas the Nobility, without exception, have coats of arms, the Mobility, with some few exceptions, have none; and the arms of their coats are often out at elbows.

The costume of the Mobility, though not elegant, is in general picturesque; but for this it is indebted, like a ruin, more to the hand of Time than to that of the builder. And, as in the case with ancient edifices, it is diversified by various repairs of a later date, which, while they detract a little from its uniformity, considerably augment its effect. When, too, it is most remote from graceful, it is usually, for an obvious reason, airy.

There is one dreadful omission in point of dress of which the Mobility are universally guilty, that of going about the streets with their hands naked; an enormity which we hope will soon be put a stop to by law. It is not customary with them to dress for dinner; and although they talk of going sometimes to court, they do not always on such occasions consider it necessary to change their habiliments; notwithstanding which they aspire to a higher honour than that of kissing hands.

The commanding presence, beautiful features, eagle eyes, chiselled lips, aristocratic noses, and silken tresses of the Nobility, are matters of daily observation. In personal appearance the Mobility do not resemble them. Among the lower classes, lusus naturae (a Latin phrase which signifies objects or frights) are very common. We are inclined to consider these people as a sort of step-children of Nature, who now and then indulges herself in a little jocosity at their expense, for the diversion of the better orders. She gives them funny legs and great hands and feet, she twists their lips about, and makes their eyes converge, with a whimsical look towards the nose, and the latter she turns up in a manner quite ludicrous. In short, to venture a bold expression, she snubs them. We beg, however, to observe, that the Nature who is a step-mother, is what is said to be a second Nature, Use; and that the singularities above mentioned are a kind of heir-looms which the habits of preceding generations have entailed upon their remote posterity. Besides, too many of the Mobility, insensible of the advantages of an agreeable exterior, imprudently venture into chimneys and other places, handle hard and rough substances, and go about in huge heavy boots, from which incautious behaviour their appearance in many respects sustains great detriment.

The use of the Mobility is, to produce food, habitation, and clothing, for the superior classes, and to perform for them those various offices, which, though essential to existence, are not of a dignified quality. Like some of the canine tribes, they are also employed for purposes of defence; for which, with some little drilling and correction, they may be rendered eminently serviceable. During war-time, they are caught and trained for the water; but on the expediency of this proceeding there is some difference of opinion.

The manners of the Mobility are neither sweet nor refined; there is none of the lump-sugar of humanity in them. It is true that one laundress will address another as "Ma'am," and that the driver of a public cabriolet will speak of a locomotive vegetable vender as "that other gentleman;" still people of this description, when they salute one another at all, do so in a very inelegant manner. It is a great pity that they do not take a lesson in this respect from the French, as they would then relinquish their strange practices of nodding and winking, and poking each other in the side. But on points like these we must be brief; a glimpse only of the horrible is always sufficient. Will our readers believe it? the Mobility, in conversation, accuse each other without scruple, in terms not to be mistaken, of wilfully erroneous assertions! and, not content with this, often accompany the insult by a backward movement of the left thumb over the shoulder! But what can be expected of those who smoke pipes of tobacco in the open streets?

The taste of the Mobility is not delicate. As regards aliment, it is one which Louis Eustache Ude never, we are sure, thought of consulting. Their diet is said to include such articles as tripe, cow-heel, (?) &c. if any one knows what those things are. Their literary appetite, that, at least, of those who can read, tends chiefly to certain publications which come out weekly, are mostly sold for the small charge of one penny, and are filled with vituperation of the higher orders. The Mobility are also very fond of "Last Dying Speeches and Confessions;" indeed they regard all information, connected with the administration of the criminal law, with a peculiar interest.

The Mobility have various amusements, most of which are exceedingly low, and which have been in these enlightened times judiciously curtailed by the Legislature. Indeed they can scarcely indulge in any of them without impropriety; for they are supposed, during six days, to be continually occupied, and on the seventh to be enjoying, like the better classes, the sweets of domestic life. Instead of that, they go, on Sundays, to a public-house, provided there may be no pecuniary obstacle to their doing so. There, it is said, they used to play at skittles, bowls, and nine pins; in lieu of which, those games being now illegal on all but working days, they content themselves with getting inebriated. Occasionally, on evenings during the week, some of them repair to the theatres, where those of our readers who may chance to have honoured the performances with their presence may have heard them, high aloft and far back, in a place allotted to them, making a noise. Their leisure, also, when they have any, is sometimes beguiled by dramatic and musical entertainments, paid for on the voluntary principle, and appropriately performed in the open air. These exhibitions are transferable from place to place; a very fortunate circumstance, as the crowds which collect to view them might otherwise incommode the higher orders, by obstructing their carriages. The Mobility, in certain amusements of theirs, present a curious and humiliating parallel to those of a portion of the Nobility. They are slightly addicted to games of chance, although instead of throwing dice, they usually toss pence, and for rouge et noir, engage in what is termed blind hookey. We could mention some persons who appear to have learned one of these delightful sports from them; we mean, the thimble rig. They are prone, too, in their way, to the pleasures of the field; for instance, the pursuit of the rat, which, although not a noble recreation, like the chase of the fox, is yet a species of hunting. The badger likewise contributes, occasionally, to their fund of harmless enjoyment. They do not, it is true, perform nocturnal gymnastics on knockers and bell-wires, such presumption on their part being severely punishable; but it must be confessed that at an election or an illumination they evince a strong predilection for very similar exploits.

The language of the Mobility is very incorrect in point of grammar, and rather abounds in strong and forcible, than in soft and elegant terms. Perhaps, in treating of the Children of the Mobility more particularly, we shall unavoidably be forced to quote a little of it; but we shall be as chary as a Poor Law Commissioner of what we put into their mouths, recollecting that those introduced by us are intended as companions to the Children of the Nobility. For, as the moralist informs us in the copybook, "Evil communications corrupt good manners."

The Children of the Mobility are distinguished by a remarkable circumstance, at their very birth, from those of the Nobility. The latter are said to enter the world with a certain silver implement in their mouths; at all events, they have one placed there so soon as almost to warrant the idea that it was really bestowed on them by Nature. The former, on the contrary, are endowed with no such thing; and if they were, it would infallibly be transferred, with all possible expedition, to the hands of a particular relative. In short, it would be made a means of procuring the nutriment which a less costly article would serve as effectually to insert.

Further, the Children of the Nobility, justly compared in various poetical effusions to delicate plants and tender flowers, are, with great propriety, reared in a nursery. But the Children of the Mobility, who are the subjects of no effusions but those of indignation at their appetite or their cries, vegetate, many of them, like kitchen stuff, in the open air, and are never grown, if under shelter at all, in any place resembling a hot-house.

It is, perhaps, to the supply of moisture which, in consequence of their exposure, they receive, that their preservation is owing; for we might otherwise reasonably question how they are induced to live.

The Children of the Mobility are not, in early infancy, interesting creatures; they are invested with none of those angelic attributes so peculiar to the aristocratic babe. It will be well, therefore, to pass over this period of their lives, and to consider them as they exhibit themselves, at a somewhat more advanced age, in the streets.

Those talented artists who have so laudably devoted their lofty energies to the delineation of the youthful forms of the Children of the Nobility, have correctly represented them as replete, in all their actions, with elegance. Sleeping on banks of flowers, sitting on rocks and musing o'er flood and field, contemplating with youthful but reflective eye, the beauties of a leaf or rose-bud, standing self-enraptured and Narcissus-like in some exquisite attitude before a mirror, or playing, in unconscious boldness, with a large dog, they seem to us like the denizens of a brighter sphere. Such, indeed, they may with truth be said to be; for, in the spacious park, the fragrant parterre, and the splendidly furnished drawing-room, their delicious existence glides away. This, together with their innate refinement, accounts, perhaps, for that beautifully indescribable something that mingles with all they do. So, conversely, the inherited bias, and surrounding circumstances incidental to the Children of the Mobility, may be supposed to explain the very opposite "something" so peculiar to them. We find them perched on stiles and gates, and loitering about lanes and ditches, peering into periwinkles, hopping up and down the steps of door-ways, or setting a couple of mongrels together by the ears. They are not gentle—they are not sylph-like—we search in vain for a nameless grace in their steps, and a depth of hidden meaning in their young eyes. They have never been taught to dance, and their complexions have been sadly neglected.

Aided by Mr. Leech's pictures, we shall now take the liberty of introducing our young plebeians into the drawing-room.

PLATE I. Miss Margaret Flinn, Master Gregory Flinn, Miss Katherine O'Shaughnessy, and Master Donovan

These young persons are the Children of a Mobility said to be the finest in the universe. The scene of their existence is a place denominated the Rookery, a region situated in those obscure territories among which Oxford Street terminates. This district is very appositely named, and we are surprised that there is no corresponding neighbourhood, of an aristocratic character, denominated an Aerie. It is a place remarkable, like an actual abode of rooks, for the noisy, pugnacious, and predatory character of its inhabitants, who however, unlike those birds, are not very active in feeding their young. Their building propensities, however, are just as remarkable. Humble as they are, it cannot be denied that they have much to do in the raising of the noblest houses; and if any part of the Mobility may lay claim to heraldic honours, these, as well as the proudest landlords, are entitled to bear the "Bricklayers' Arms." Their children display a peculiarly imperfect state of costume, owing to a practice, too common among their parents, of devoting the family revenues to the purchase of a certain spirituous liquor, and of converting, for this purpose, their wardrobes into ready money; conduct highly reprehensible, since, if oppressed by ennui, or incommoded by the calls of appetite, they ought to have recourse to the consolations of philosophy.

The Flinns, the O'Shaughnessys, and the Donovans are, as we have hinted, of Hibernian extraction. Miss Margaret Flinn was born January 10, 1824, and is now consequently in her eighteenth year. Her brother, Master Gregory Flinn, is in his ninth; his birth took place on December 28, 1832. They are the sole remaining issue of Cornelius and Mary Flinn, the remainder of whose family, amounting to ten, all died in their infancy, with the exception of their sixth son, Michael Flinn, whose afflicting death at the age of five, in St. Bartholomew's Hospital, in consequence of his clothes catching fire, was lately recorded in the journals. Miss Katherine O'Shaughnessy (born June 10, 1834) is the eldest of the seven children, the remainder of whom are males, of Judith and Terence O'Shaughnessy. It will be recollected that the late Mr. O'Shaughnessy was killed in scaling a chimney. Master Patrick Donovan is virtually an orphan, his parents, Jane and Peter Donovan, being necessitated, from some mistake with respect to property, to pass their existence in exile. He was born March 18, 1830.

The sensitive mind is condemned to meet with some things in this sublunary scene which are cruelly harrowing to its delicate susceptibilities. We intimated, a little above, that the Children of the Mobility, generally, have no pretensions to beauty; there is no rule, however, without an exception, and Miss Margaret Flinn is an exception here. Her mild dewy eyes, of a bright lustrous grey, softly shaded by her dark and pencilled brows; her small and exquisitely-formed nose; her sweet lips, well-turned chin, graceful neck, lovely complexion, and almost perfect figure, form a tout ensemble decidedly prepossessing. Now is it not distressing to see such charms in so uncultivated a state? Who does not breathe an anxious wish that a wreath of roses should encircle that brow,—that gems should deck those petites oreilles,—that the gentle coercion of the corset should add the one thing wanting to that admirable but untutored waist? And then those feet—now so disgraced!—Would we could see thee, fair Child of the Mobility, arrayed in hues of beauty by the hand of Fashion, and irradiating with the beams of thy loveliness the circles of Ton! But it may not be! the decrees of Destiny are inscrutable, and we weep in

There are few, we apprehend, to whom the following beautiful lines are not familiar:—

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone,
In the ranks of death you'll find him;
His father's sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him."

Now, girding on, or putting on their fathers' things, appears to be a national peculiarity of the Minstrel boy's young countrymen. So, at least, it would seem from the coat of Master Gregory Flinn; though it is very possible that the said vestment may properly belong to some other young gentleman's papa. Our readers may, perhaps, have read of a set of people called Socialists, whose chief characteristic is a community of property, and of almost everything else; and who, besides, live huddled together in colonies, and are not very scrupulous in their behaviour. This description applies so closely to the Rookery, that we cannot but think that it is actually one of these people's establishments. Its inhabitants evidently possess their clothes in common; no private individual having any of his own, but putting on, as occasion may require, the first thing that he finds lying about. Hence it happens that, as the pairs of shoes, for instance, in the settlement, do not nearly equal the number of wearers, some are obliged to go without any shoes at all, and others, as in the case of Master Gregory Flinn, to be content with one. In this latter predicament, also, is Master Patrick Donovan; while in the former is Miss Katherine O'Shaughnessy. The excellence of the Social system is further exemplified by this interesting group, not only in respect of their apparel, but also in what they exhibit of the domestic economy of their connexions. The loaf which Miss Katherine O'Shaughnessy is carrying is the family loaf, and the tankard at her lips contains the family beverage, of which, in the simvainplicity of innocence, she is taking her little share. Master Patrick Donovan has just obtained possession of a herring—probably on Social principles, and is conveying it, with the kettle, which the fire of some neighbouring Socialist has warmed, homewards for breakfast. He is a youth of a lively turn, and the jest that hangs on his lip is called forth by the contemplative look,—(oh that such eyes should rest on such an object!) with which Miss Margaret Flinn is regarding his finny prize. He is facetiously inquiring whether she would like a soldier; that term being, in the language of the Mobility, applied to the delicacy in question.


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Master Gregory Flinn, to whom Master Patrick Donovan's sally seems to have given great amusement, is provided, it will be observed, with a hoop. It is fit that the superior classes, who are so apt to be guilty of misplaced charity, an amiable but fatal weakness, should know, that the Children of the Mobility are in many instances possessed of the superfluity of toys; which, of course, if they were really hungry, they would dispose of, and get something to eat. We certainly think that the country should not be saddled with the expense of maintaining those Children of the Mobility who can afford to keep hoops.

There is one circumstance which, in considering the Children of the Mobility in general, and particularly this part of them, strikes us very forcibly indeed. We mean, the style of their chevelure. How easy it would be to part Master Gregory Flinn's hair in the middle, or to bid waving ringlets to stray down the shoulders of Miss Katherine O'Shaughnessy, instead of allowing elf-locks to dangle about her ears! and what an improvement would thereby be effected in the personal appearance of both! To require farther attentions to this department of the toilet on the part of such persons as the Mobility, may perhaps appear a little unreasonable; but we must say, that did we belong to that description of persons, we would decidedly debar ourselves of the common necessaries of life, as long as Nature would permit us so to do, in order to procure those (to us) indispensable articles on which the gloss and brilliancy of the hair depend.

Another little improvement, and one unattended by the slightest expense, might so easily be made in the condition of the Children of the Mobility, that we wonder that no benevolent individual has hitherto endeavoured to effect it. A glance at the group now under consideration must convince the most tasteless observer that the youthful personages therein depicted are supporting themselves on their feet in the most ungraceful posture imaginable. Whoever looks at the portraits of the Children of the Nobility, will see that some are represented as standing in the first; others in the second position; while others again are resting, with all the elegance of a Cerito, upon the very tips of their very little feet. Dove-like in everything else, they are as unlike that bird as possible in their attitudes. Why should the young Mobility tread the earth like pigeons, when the opposite mode of standing and of progression is so much more becoming?

Before we take leave of these young,—we might say unfledged,—inhabitants of the Rookery, we may remark, that they are much addicted to an amusement greatly conducive to the advantage of the pedestrian, that of displacing the superfluous matter which is apt to accumulate upon crossings. They also pursue an employment which, were it a legal one, we might compare to that of the Solicitor General. Or we might describe its followers as probationers belonging to the Society of Mendicants; an order, it would seem, which Henry VIII. could not entirely suppress.


Hadst thou, by Fortune's hest, been born
Th' Exclusive Circles to adorn,
Thy beauty, like a winged dart,
Had pierced my unresisting heart!

Those charms should grace the lordly hall,
The gay salon, the brilliant ball,
Where Birth and Fashion, Rank and Style,
Might bask enraptured in thy smile.

There, there, methinks I see thee glide,
Distinguish'd Persons at thy side;
Illustrious Foreigners around,
Whose gentle hearts thy spell hath bound.

Thee, fair one, meeting haply there,
While flutt'ring o'er the gay parterre,
This fickle bosom then might be
Perchance attun'd to Love and Thee!

PLATE II. Master Jim Curtis, Master Mike Waters, and Master Bill Sims.

Youths in full, such prolixity being, among the Order of Mobility to which they belong, a thing entirely unknown. The group last described, we might have represented as taken from the genus, "Ragamuffin;" this, in like manner, we may consider as pertaining to the tribe, "Varlet." Masters Curtis, Waters, and Sims, are members of that numerous republic of boys frequenting, like the canine race, (indeed it is not unusual to hear them described as "young dogs,") all manner of public walks, squares, streets, and alleys. Pot-boys, butchers' boys, bakers' boys, errand-boys, doctors' boys, and all other boys whose professed character is that of being generally useful, but whose real one is that of being generally idle, come under this head. Our readers, while in their breakfast-parlours, have no doubt often heard them notifying their presence at the area railings by noises peculiar to each. Our refined taste revolts at the idea of having to describe such characters; but the task, however repugnant to our feelings, must be performed. We will endeavour to do this with as much delicacy as the nature of the subject will admit of; and we hope that while apparently sinning against Refinement, we shall be earning the palliative merit of a stern fidelity to Truth.

"Happy Land!—Happy Land!—Hallo, Bill?" Such is the greeting with which Master Mike Waters, pausing in his song, and halting in his trot, accosts Master Bill Sims, whom he meets at the turning of a corner in a place called Bloomsbury Square. "How are yer, my tulip?" exclaims Master Jim Curtis, who, arriving at the same moment, completes the group. We have not expressed the Christian names of the above-mentioned.


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Of the parentage of these young gentlemen we shall say nothing. Master Jim Curtis, we learn from undoubted authority, to any question touching the name of his father, would infallibly answer "Hookey Walker;" a reply, to say the least of it, of an evasive character. As certainly would Master Bill Sims respond "Vot odds;" while Master Mike Waters would only notice the demand at all, by applying the tip of his thumb to the end of his nose, and twiddling his fingers.

Master Jim Curtis and Master Mike Waters, but particularly Master Curtis, are amusing themselves by chaffing, or, according to their pronunciation, "charfin," Master Bill Sims. Chaffing, translated into intelligible language, signifies, "quizzing," "rallying," or "persiflage" Thus understood, it will at once be recognised as a species of intellectual diversion often indulged in by those moving in good society. No one, for example, who has paid attention, either temporary or permanent, to a young lady, can be otherwise than aware of this fact. "Chaffing," indeed, is a very venerable recreation. Shakspere represents it as practised among the ancient Romans. Witness his "Antony and Cleopatra," Act II. Scene 7.

Lepidus (supposed to be in a state of wine)—"What manner of thing is your crocodile?"

Antony. "It is shaped, Sir, like itself; and it is just as broad as it hath breadth; it is just so high as it is, and moves with its own organs; it lives by that which nourisheth it; and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates."

See also Henry IV. (first part) Act II. Scene 4.

Our readers may perhaps wish to know what the nature of the "chaffing," of which Master Sims is the object, may be: hoping that in attempting to gratify their curiosity, we shall not outrage their feelings, we present them with the following scene:—

Master Mike Waters. "Crikey, Bill!"

Master Bill Sims. "Well; Wot?"

Master Jim Curtis. "My eye, Bill, wot a swell we are!"

Bill. "Wot d'ye mean? I dessay you think yourself very clever,—don't yer now?"

Jim. "I say, Bill, do your keep that 'ere collar button'd ven you has yer grub?"

Bill. "Wot odds?"

Jim. "That 'ere letter of yourn's post-haste, I s'pose, Bill?"

Bill. "Do yer? How long have them muffins bin 'All Hot? '"

Jim. "As long agin as half. I 'll bet you I know who that letter's for." Bill. "I 'll bet yer you don't!"

Mike. "My eye! what a plummy tile!"

Bill. "It's as good as yourn any day, spooney!"

Jim. "I say, Mike, twig the yaller."

Mike. "Ho! ho! ho!"

Bill. "Wot a pretty laugh!"

Jim. "Do your Missus keep a buss, Bill?"

Bill. "Find out."

Jim. "Cos you'd do uncommon well to get up behind—wouldn't he, Mike?"

Mike. "I b'lieve yer. Benk! Benk!"

Jim. "Helephant! C'tee, C'tee!"

Mike. "Now, Sir! Now, Sir!"

Jim. "Now, marm, goin' down! goin' down!"

Bill. "I tell you wot, you fellers; you'd just best cut your stick. I ain't goin' to stand bein' bullied by you, I can tell yer."

Jim. "I say, Mike, his monkey's up."

Mike. "Don't you stand it, Bill; pitch into him—punch 'is 'ed."

Jim. "Lor bless yer, his Missus won't let him spile his beauty; she's too fond of him."

Bill. "Yaa! you great fool! You've got enough to do to mind your own business. There's them people at 24 a-waitin' for you. Won't you catch it!—that's all."

Jim. "See any green, Bill? Good b'ye."

Mike. "Never you mind, Bill, Good b'ye—Happy land! happy land," &c.

Master Jim Curtis is one of those youths whose office it is to supply the tea-tables of the higher classes with muffins and crumpets, nominally all hot, but really, owing to the colloquial propensities of the bearers, in general not at all hot. Among his compeers he is considered a peculiarly accomplished lad. He is always sure to be acquainted with the last new song, for shocking as the idea appears, there are "last new songs," in streets as well as in drawing-rooms—we are informed that the present popular favourite is "Happy Land;" it having succeeded "Sitch a gittin' up stairs;" previously to which the alleys were taught by our young Mobility to echo the atrocious "Jim Crow." These various airs Master Jim Curtis is also in the habit of whistling as he runs along; his execution being characterised by great power, particularly in the higher notes; though his compass, perhaps, is not very extended. He is likewise a first-rate performer on that classical instrument the Jews'-harp. In all those various games of skill which consist in tossing coins and buttons about in gutters, his attainments are unrivalled; and he is equally expert at the pastime called "leap-frog," and similar gymnastic exercises. Genius, it is said, is shown in striking out new paths; and Master Curtis, in the language of his acquaintance, is an "out-and-outer" (a low term for a person of talent) at striking out a slide. In a general way, so remarkable is his intellectual acumen, that he is said by all who know him to be perpetually—we cannot avoid the phrase—wide awake. In disposition he has somewhat of a satirical turn, and his caustic powers are not only evinced in "chaffing" his equals, but also, whenever an opportunity occurs, at the expense of his superiors.

Master Mike Waters is connected with the press, in the capacity of an acting distributor of diurnal literature. He is a cultivator, to a certain extent, of those elegant pursuits in which Master Curtis has made such striking progress. His natural endowments, indeed, are not of so brilliant a class as those of the latter; as a vocalist, for instance, he does not rise much above mediocrity, his notion of a tune being generally not quite perfect, and his memory seldom serving to retain more than the first line of a song. He appears, however, to be very diligent in his musical studies, and what he does know, is almost continually in his mouth. There is, too, one particular science for which he certainly has a decided taste; namely, Natural Philosophy, and he may frequently be seen on a day fit for the purpose, that is, on a wet one, performing pneumatic experiments on loose stones and cellar plates.

Of the nature of these experiments it may be necessary that we should give a brief description. Their object is to elevate the paving stones or plates from the situation which they occupy, and is thus effected:

A disc of leather is procured, and to its centre is fixed a strong piece of cord or string of about a yard in length. The leather, having been deposited at the side of the kerb-stone, a sufficient time to effect its perfect saturation with moisture, is applied, in its wet state, to the body intended to be raised, and trodden flat on its surface. The experimenter, then, pressing down the circumference of the leather with his feet (a process requiring peculiar dexterity), raises the centre of it by means of the piece of string. A vacuum is thus produced between the leather and the stone; and the pressure of the atmosphere retains them, with considerable power, in contact. By repeated efforts the stone is at length loosened, and at last, sometimes, actually displaced. This scientific recreation is now and then suppressed by the hand of authority: and certainly, were it ever practised in a fashionable neighbourhood, the interference of the Executive would be necessary; as, for obvious reasons, it is highly detrimental to the chaussure.

To return, however, to Master Waters. Notwithstanding the moderate nature of his abilities and acquirements, he occupies a respectable place in the esteem of his associates; as there is scarcely any matter of amusement which he is not ready to promote, and in which he is unable to share. Naturally, too, of a placid disposition, he is ever desirous of shining himself, or of taking the shine, as his comrades express it, out of others. He thus avoids exciting envy and resentment in their breasts; a misfortune which his friend Master Curtis does not always escape. A circumstance, also, which strongly tends to render him a general favourite, is, that though not very witty himself, he has a great capacity for appreciating wit,—that species of it, at least, which he is in the habit of hearing among his acquaintance. Nor is a sally, of which he is himself the object, less pleasing to him than one directed against another party; he receives it with an open, tranquil, reflective, and cheerful countenance, indicating that he is on the best terms with all around him, and on better still, if possible, with himself. There is one peculiarity in his disposition which must not be forgotten,—he is a youth of a very large appetite. This fact seems, on inspection of his mouth, to confirm the phrenological axiom that size is, other circumstances being equal, a measure of power.

Master Bill Sims rejoices in the prettily-sounding title of Page. We say, rejoices, only by a figure of speech; for the various remarks which his appearance calls forth from his extensive circle of young friends, render his situation a not very pleasant one. He is not aware, moreover, of the romantic associations connected with the office which he holds, and, if he were, the circumstance that he is a Page, not to a Noble Lord, but to an elderly lady, would rather serve to embitter than to sweeten his reflections. What makes him so keenly alive to animadversions on his costume, is, that on being first inducted into it, he felt particularly proud of his exterior, which certainly underwent at that time a change for the better, as he was then a newly transformed Charity Boy. We should mention that before he had been three months in place, his altered diet made it necessary that he should have a fresh suit of livery; that with which he was at first invested having become much too small to accommodate his increasing proportions. The notion that he is happily situated as to alimentary comforts, has much to do in provoking the taunts of his juvenile acquaintances, who take a rather invidious view of his good fortune in that respect. They do not consider that this is very dearly purchased. Master Sims being forced to forego, almost entirely, all those little gratifications in which they, during their leisure hours, can indulge without limitation. In particular, he is precluded, both from the tenseness of his attire, and the necessity which he is under of keeping it clean, both of which circumstances prohibit kneeling, and—we believe we express ourselves correctly—knuckling down—from partaking of the diversion of marbles, of which he is passionately fond.

We have now a few observations to make, generally, on that particular set of the Children of the Mobility with which Masters Curtis, Waters, and Sims are connected, which may tend, perhaps, to place the characters of those young gentlemen in a clearer light; though we fear that many fine minds have been already sufficiently tried by the picture which we have drawn.

Their curiosity is remarkable. Any person who attracts their attention by a conspicuous dress—as, for instance, a Highlander in full costume—is sure to be followed by a crowd of them, and very likely, provided they are certain of impunity, to be assailed by them with stones and other missiles. A delinquent of any kind, proceeding, under the auspices of the Executive, to his state apartments, is invariably pursued by a train of them. They never fail, also, to collect around the subject, whether human or brute, of a street accident.

It is desirable that their manners should be a little more respectful than they at present are. In the use of all titles of honour they are exceedingly economical, seldom dignifying any one with the term, "Sir," but a Policeman.

Strangely enough, they are, in their way, votaries of Fashion. Besides their songs, they have various phrases, which have, as dogs are said to do, their day. Many of these will not bear mentioning; but the last in vogue, which embodies an inquiry after the health of the Mamma of the person addressed, is not, perhaps, so objectionable as the majority.

They have, also, particular seasons for their various amusements. Thus, "hop-scot," or "hop-scotch," is "in," as the phrase is, at one time; marbles, or "dumps," at another. Now hoops, then kites are all the rage. There is one species of recreation, however, which is practised among them at all times, denominated "overing a post;" for which Charity Boys are especially renowned; a certain peculiarity of their singular attire, combined with the remarkable lightness of their limbs and bodies, rendering them particularly adroit at this feat.

In connection with the genus of the Children of the Mobility now under consideration, we beg to call attention to their habit of hopping alternately from side to side during a conversation. From this the philosophical observer will perhaps infer, that the graceful accomplishment of dancing is the offspring of an instinct of Nature.

PLATE III. Master "Young Spicy," and Master "Tater Sam."

These hopeful scions of our Mobility are engaged in "an affair of honour." We apprehend that the names by which they are above designated, and by which they are commonly known, are not, bona fide, their own, but have been imposed upon them by the suffrages of their acquaintance, probably with reference to the occupations of their respective parents, and partly, perhaps, in conformity with the custom which generally attaches a sobriquet to fistic proficiency. Master "Tater Sam" is attended by Master "Lanky Tim," a student attached to a parochial seminary. Master "Young Spicy"—for street encounters are not always characterised by the strictest regularity—has no professed second; though the place of one may be considered as supplied by the exhortations of the spectators generally. As to the young gentleman midway behind the two combatants, a retainer of one of the Knights of the Azure Vest, his attentions are bestowed alternately on both; his object being, to enjoy to the full what he regards as a "prime lark;" the reciprocation of as large an amount of blows as possible. The extremity of the by-standers' delight may be read in their animated and dilating eyes; even the soul of yonder small boy in the corner, who, but for the evident care with which he has been enveloped in his cloak, might have been suspected of having left his home without maternal cognisance, is on fire. The contrast presented by the vivacious ardour of the juvenile group to the subdued complacency with which the approving elders overlook the scene, is as interesting as it is remarkable.


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The hostile encounter may be supposed to have originated, and to proceed in the following manner. The parties are at first engaged in that particular game at marbles technically termed "shoot ring."

Tater. "Now then, Spicy, knuckle down; 'fend dribbling."

Spicy. "Come, then, stand out of the sunshine."

Tater. "In! Three clayers and a alley. Game! Hooray!"

Spicy. "Oh ah! I dare say. It's no go; play agin."

Tater. "No, no, it's my game."

Spicy. "I say t'an't."

Tater. "I say 'tis."

Spicy. "You'm a story!"

Tater. "Y ou'm another!"

Spicy. "Come, give me my alley, will yer?"

Tater. "No I sharn't!"

Spicy. "Won't yer though?"

Tater. "No I won't, frizzle wig!"

Spicy. "Won't yer, puggy nose? Come, I say, leave go!"

(Here a scuffle ensues.)

Tater. "Don't yer wish yer may get it?"

Spicy. "You'm a strong feller, arn't you?"

Tater. "D 'ye think I'm afeard o' you?"

Spicy. "D 'ye think I'm afeard o' you then?"

Tater. "Ah! jist you hit me!"

Spicy. "You hit me first; that's all!"

Tater. "Well, there then!"

Spicy. "Here's at yer!"

(The contest now commences.)

Cries of "Hallo! here's a mill!"

"Here's a scrimmage!"

"A battle, a battle! 'tween two sticks and a rotten apple!" &c. from various quarters. (A ring formed.)

Butcher Boy. "Now then! Fair play! fair play! Go it!"

A Boy. "'It im ard; he've got no friends."

Second Boy. "Give it im, Spicy! 'It im a peg in the mouth!"

Third Boy. "At im, Tater!"

Charity Boy. "Fetch im a wipe 'tween the heyes!"

Butcher Boy. "Well done, little un, great un's biggest!"

First Boy. "Well done, Tater! My eye wot a whop!"

Second Boy. "Brayvo! Spicy. Had im there!"

Hackney Coachman. "A nasty vun, that ere!"

Cabman. "Rayther."

Charity Boy. "Go in at im, Tater,—that's it!"

(The combatants close and wrestle. Both fall; Spicy under. At this stage of the proceedings a sanguine stream is seen escaping from Spicy's nose; his eyes, too, are in a state of incipient tumefaction. The size of Tater's lip appears considerably augmented; and he bleeds copiously at the mouth. After a short pause, hostilities are resumed.)

Butcher Boy. "That's the time o' day. 'It im, Spicy! Skiver im, Tater. That's it, my cocks!"

Third Boy. "One for his nob! That's the ticket!"

Charity Boy. "Under the ribs! Well done!"

First Boy. "That's a vinder for im!"

Third Boy. "Tater, keep your pecker up, old chap!"

Butcher Boy. "Right and left! Hooroar! Fake away!"

All science is now abandoned, and they rush together, pell-mell; but in the heat of the conflict a Policeman appears, and advancing to the scene of action, separates, with some difficulty, the incensed opponents. After a little additional altercation, they are persuaded to shake hands, and each gathering up his cap from the field of battle, returns home, accompanied by his partisans, the victory remaining undecided.

The horrid scene which we have profaned our pen in describing suggests a few reflections which it may behove our readers to consider. In the first place, with reference to the coarse practice of boxing among the Children of the Mobility, we think it decidedly objectionable. It tends to eradicate from their minds all those fears and susceptibilities with regard to personal safety, by means of which, alone, they are manageable; and to replace them with those unamiable qualities which render them, when grown up, offensive to the genteel and the delicate. It also enables them to repay any little playfulness in which a distingué youth may happen to indulge with them, such as tilting off their caps, or knocking their marbles out of the ring, with rude and painful blows. The frightful violence, too, which their street broils do to the ears and eyes of any of the superior classes who may have the misfortune to witness them, ladies for instance, in their carriages, is such, that we are shocked to think of it. Some people say that it is best to let them have their quarrels out, as they express it, that they may be prevented from bearing malice. We hear, too, a great deal about the danger of stabbing becoming prevalent, were pugilism discountenanced, among the lower orders. Still, being beaten about with great hard knuckles, is very horrid; and the knife, if more sanguinary than the fist, is decidedly more romantic and piquant.

But what shall we say of the Children of the Nobility learning, at public schools, to emulate the boys of the street, transforming themselves from innocent and interesting lambs, into ferocious bull-dogs, if we may use so strong a metaphor, and making one another perfect frights? What must be the feelings of their Mammas?

PLATE IV. The Family Of Mr. And Mrs. Blenkinsop

Among the Mobility, the Blenkinsops are what in the more elevated ranks would be termed, parvenus. Two generations back they were very respectable people; but a series of misfortunes, commencing with the failure of Messrs. Flykite and Co. which occurred some years ago, has reduced them to their present position. We shall not dwell on the steps of their descent. Tales of distress, unless they are invested with a certain je ne sais quoi, which gives them an air of elegance, are extremely uninteresting.

Suffice it, then, to say, that Blenkinsop,—that is to say, the father of our Blenkinsops,—was a mechanic, in a country town. In his early youth his conduct was exemplary; but yielding at length to the force of temptation, he was so unfortunate as to be guilty of—matrimony. For a time all went well; but punishment is sure, sooner or later, to overtake the evil-doer, as, one fine morning, it overtook Blenkinsop. An improvement in machinery threw him suddenly out of employ, and after ten years' reckless indulgence in domestic felicity, he found himself with a wife and six children, and without wages. He was now, of course, obliged to break up his establishment. The Union offered its benevolent institution for his accommodation, but the asylum was proffered in vain. Its salutary regulations were repugnant to his fastidious taste. Among other things, its corrective arrangements displeased him. The rod of affliction, he impertinently said, he could kiss, but not that which was to flog his children.

He had also an unreasonable objection to the system of separate maintenance, and put a most perverse construction on a certain moral precept which seemed to forbid it; as if that applied to paupers! He therefore spurned the parochial paradise, and betook himself, in hopes of finding something to do, to London. The only piece of good fortune that befell him there was, that the small-pox provided for three of his family. The same complaint, too, affecting the eyes of his wife—

But we are violating the principle which we have prescribed to ourselves. Let us be brief. Mrs. Blenkinsop labours under a privation of vision; her husband under a paralytic state of the extremities; and the whole family are mendicants.

It is the divine Shakspere who thus sings:—

"Sweet are the uses of Adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head."

The jewel of adversity, therefore, is the moral which it furnishes to the reflective mind: as in the persons of the young Blenkinsops it offered to the pretty little Adeline, daughter of Sir William and Lady Grindham. The elegant child was exercising her observant and contemplative faculties at the window of the magnificent drawing-room in ———— Street.

The fond eye of her Papa was resting, in tranquil admiration, on her graceful proportions; that of her Mamma, which would otherwise have been similarly employed, was directed towards an expensive mirror.

"Oh! dear Papa," suddenly exclaimed Adeline, "look, do look!"

"At what, my love?" replied the doting parent.

"Oh! Papa—those poor children!"

"What of them, dearest?"

"Poor little things!—how they shiver! Do look at them."

Sir William advanced to the window, and, elevating his eye-glass, directed his attention on the objects which had so powerfully excited the sympathy of Adeline:—they were the Blenkinsops!


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"Oh!" said Sir William; "ah!—yes, I see, love."

"See, Papa" pursued Adeline, "that poor little boy holding the girl's cloak,—he is all in rags! And look how the girl is crying! And the tall boy—how wretchedly ill he looks!"

"I see, dear."

"Oh, but, Papa, those two have no shoes nor stockings; and they seem so hungry. May I give them this shilling, Papa? to go and get something to eat?"

"My dear Adeline," answered the Baronet, "those children are beggars."

"Yes, Papa, I know that; do let us give the poor things something."

"Beggars, Adeline, ought never to be encouraged, we should soon be eaten up by them if they were. They have no business there, it is contrary to law; and I am surprised that the policeman does not take them up.

"Take them up, Papa?" said Adeline, the phrase producing an association of ideas in her youthful mind; "Dr. Goodman said in his sermon that we ought to take poor people in."

"Dr. Goodman is a—that is, dear, he means that the poor should be taken in—charge by the—I mean that they should be properly provided for."

"What did you say, Papa?"

"Provided for; taken care of. There are places, you know, on purpose for them. That large building that we passed yesterday in the carriage is one of them. It is called a workhouse."

"What, that place where the funny man with the great cocked-hat was standing at the door, Papa?"

"You mean the beadle? Yes, dear."

"And do they give them food there?"

"Certainly; that is, a coarser kind of food, fit for such people."

"And things to put on?"

"And things to put on, too. They have clothes made on purpose for them. That man that you saw sweeping in front of the house was wearing a suit."

"But what a fright he was, Papa. He looked as if he had been dressed up to be laughed at. I should not like to be dressed so if I were a man."

"No, dear, nor is it meant that he should. It would never do to make a workhouse too delightful; for one great use of such places is to prevent people from becoming poor, just as houses of correction are intended to keep them from turning thieves. So the persons who go into one are not dressed and fed, and otherwise treated, so as to make their situation at all enviable. The consequence is, that those who know what they have to expect in such an asylum, learn not to be extravagant and careless, for fear they should become poor themselves."

"But can all people help being poor, Papa?"

"Most of them, my love; and those who cannot—can't be helped."

"But those poor children, Papa,—why don't they go into the workhouse?"

"Why, perhaps, they prefer remaining where they are. To be sure, they ought not be allowed to do so. Still, however, they are of some use. Everything has its use, you know, Adeline." Sir William was connected with the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

"But what use are beggars of, Papa," demanded Adeline, "when they do not work?"

"Do you not recollect, dear," responded Sir William, "what Farmer Gibbs puts up in his corn-fields just after they have been sown?"

"Yes, Papa, he fixes one of those great birds, those rooks, to a stick, to frighten the other rooks away from coming and eating the wheat."

"Just so, my love. Well; many years ago, before you were born, a man who had been guilty of highway robbery or other very bad things, used to be dealt with much in the same way, that is, he was hung up on a tree in chains, after he was dead, for a warning to other thieves."

"Oh, Papa! how dreadful!"

"Yes, my love, it was very unpleasant; and, besides, as the man could no longer feel, it was no punishment to him; and so, you know, the example was in a great measure lost. When bad people see other bad people suffering for what they have done, that it is that terrifies them. Now when you see a beggar in the streets, all cold and naked and uncomfortable, what do you say?"

"I say, 'Poor man! how I wish I could relieve you.'"

"Well, dearest, it is always proper to be kind, and all that; but what you ought to say, too, is, 'How glad I am that I am so well off, and have a nice house and good clothes, and plenty to eat and drink; and how dreadful it must be to stand shivering in the snow without any shoes, selling Congreve matches! I will take care to keep all the money I get, and not to spend it like an extravagant little girl, for fear one of these days, I should come to be like that person.' Beggars, my sweet, are—shall you remember, do you think, what beggars are, if I tell you?"

"Yes, Papa."

"Beggars, Adeline, are Living Scarecrows."


Alas! I faint, I sink, I fall I
Some fragrant odour quickly bring;
What could thy bosom thus appal?—
Dost ask?—Behold yon little thing!

Art thou a father's darling joy?
Art thou a tender mother's hope?
If so, oh how, my little boy,
How are they circumstanced for soap?

Thy hands—thy face—in what a state!
In what a shocking plight thy head!
Oh! cease my nerves to lacerate
Imagination,—Demon dread!

Cease to suggest that Zephyrs mild
Mid these luxuriant tresses straying,
Have met, perchance, that horrid child,
And with its tangled locks been playing!

Away, distracting thought, away,
That e'en these fingers fair might close
On some infected coin, which may
Have haply passed through hands like those!

Augustus Montague Fitzroy,
Illustrious infant! Can it be
That such an object of a boy,
Is made of flesh and blood like thee?

PLATE V. Master Charley Wheeler, Master Moses Abrahams, Master Ned Crisp, Master Dick Muggins, and Master Joe Smart.

No, no, Moses, old birds arn't to be caught with chaff." The speaker, Master Joe Smart, means, that young tigers are not to be caught with cocoa-nuts,—particularly those which have been tapped at the "monkey's nose," and of which the fluid contents have been replaced by water. Such a cocoa-nut is Master Moses Abrahams endeavouring to dispose of; but he is regarded by the group around him with eyes of jealousy,—from which, however, according to their proprietors, the hue so characteristic of that passion is peculiarly absent. He is, therefore, unable, as we should say, to sell his fruit, or, as his companions would express themselves, to sell them. To no purpose does he pledge the immortal part of him as an assurance that his commodities have not been tampered with; they have no confidence in the security.

Some little doubt, perhaps, may be entertained with respect to the propriety of classing Master Abrahams with the Children of the Mobility; he belonging, in a more especial manner, to the Children of Israel. His habits, manners, education, language, and dress, clearly warrant us in so disposing of him; although, on the one hand, we have placed him where his company may be scarcely considered an honour; and, on the other, his peculiar connexions, though celebrated, in one sense of the word, for taking everybody in, are reputed to be of an exclusive character.

Those who know any thing of the Mobility are aware, that one very frequent expression of theirs, indicating a desire to occupy the station of such and such a person, is, "I wish I was in his shoes." Now Master Moses, and his case is a common one with his tribe, is in the boots, at least, of one of the superior classes; nay, it is questionable whether the same thing may not also with justice be asserted of the remainder of his costume.


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We intimated that Master Joe Smart is what is vernacularly termed a tiger: and he is sharp enough, were he a child of an order higher than the Mobility, for a lion. His jacket has no stripes upon it, certainly; which perhaps (at times, at least) it deserves to have: but his waistcoat has. He belongs to a menagerie, consisting chiefly of individuals of the equine and canine species. It will be seen at a glance what striking advantages our young tiger has derived from his contact with aristocracy. His attitude, gestures, and expression of countenance, indicate a knowledge of the world and of the usages of Society much beyond that of his comrades; and although it is undoubtedly very improper to smoke cigars, as he is doing, yet there is a certain air of committing an offence, which greatly palliates its enormity; and such an air he displays. A cigar, too, is infinitely preferable to a nasty pipe. He is moreover wearing what we at once recognise as a hat, coat, intervening garments, and boots, whereas rude imitations of these articles of attire are all that most Children of the Mobility appear in. The cultivation which his intellectual faculties have received, has given him a vast superiority over his acquaintance. None of them dare—we have already explained the word,—to "chaff" him. His felicity of expression, particularly as regards terms of raillery, would render the contest hopeless; even if the aggressor were not, at the first onset, disarmed by his speaking eye. We mean, his left eye, which he causes to speak very eloquently on proper occasions, by closing it in a peculiar manner.

The best place for the social education of youth is the drawing-room.

PLATE VI. Master Bob White and Master Nick Baggs.


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Behold those two chimney-sweeps; glance at their attire and their complexions; and think for one moment of the state of the thermometer. Who does not remember, among the legends of his earlier days, a pathetic but harrowing story of an interesting child who was stolen, in a highly fashionable neighbourhood, from under the maternal roof, and subsequently brought up by his kidnappers to the sooty employment of Masters White and Baggs? The touching conclusion of the tale, where the young gentleman comes at last to sweep his own Mamma's chimney, has beguiled many a fair eye of a pearl or two. Is it possible,—can it be,—that we may have too hastily included those youths among the Children of the Mobility; and that they also may have been snatched, by some felonious hand, from the mansions of their distinguished,—perhaps noble parents? Can we have unwittingly indulged in a smile at aristocratic misfortune? No, no; away with such a fear! Instinct, as unerring as that which at once enabled the tender mother to recognise her disguised cherub, would have revealed to us lustre of birth in spite of obscurity of skin. Whatever may be the similarity of their external circumstances, there is always an essential difference, which we filter ourselves we can instantly detect, between patricians and plebians, Cholmondeleys and Chummies.

The following piece of impassioned poesy, forming the "Thoughts of a Young Gentleman," suggested by their situation and appearance, may not be unacceptable to our feeling readers:—

Ye sable youths, ye reck not
How sweet and sad a train
Of thoughts which I can check not,
Ye rouse within my brain.

Sweep on!—and join the light ones—
Yet no: a moment stay;
I would not have that bright one's
Fair image swept away!

Oh! do not look so darkling!
The sight I cannot bear—
Methinks I see them sparkling
Those eyes! that raven hair!

And are ye chill'd and frozen?
Alas! and so am I;
And she—my loved,—my chosen—
Congeals me with her eye.

Gaze not, with orbs of sadness,
On Nature's mantle white;
Her heart,—oh! thought of madness,—
Is just as cold and bright.

That bell—oh! mournful token!—
Ye vainly seek to ring,
For ah!—the link is broken;—
Frail, fickle, faithless thing!

And you and I, deceived ones,
What waits us here below,
But sighing, like bereaved ones,
To murmur "Herb 'sago!"

PLATE VII. Miss Moody and her infant sister Miss Martha Moody, Master George Dummer, and the Misses Ann and Sarah Grigg.


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The juvenile personages above enumerated are represented as they appeared in the Hampstead Road, when, on a late occasion, they honoured the performance of the young Italian instrumentalist, Carlo Denticci, with their presence. So deeply were their infant minds absorbed in the harmonious entertainment, that mute attention, during its continuance, rested, almost without interruption, on their lips; a situation where it does not usually love to dwell. Miss Moody was occasionally heard to address a few words, or rather syllables, but only a few, to her infant sister; and even Master Dummer, to whom the attire and personal appearance of the tuneful stranger seemed almost as interesting as his art, once only murmured, in an under tone, as he contemplated his hat, "My eye, what a rummy tile!"

The performance, which occupied upwards of half an hour, included several of the airs most fashionable at the Mobility's concerts. The well-known gem from "Jack Sheppard" was productive of its customary effect; even the younger of the Misses Moody was seen to beat time, unequivocally, to the air. The ever new American melodies elicited smiles of universal approbation; and the little party appeared to be much delighted with the Caledonian March, "The Campbells are coming," although they had previously had the advantage of hearing this piece performed on a somewhat perhaps more appropriate instrument. But what made amusement bliss and converted interest into ecstacy,—what opened not the ears only, but also the mouth of Master George Dummer, and lighted the glow-worm fire of enthusiasm in the eyes of Miss Ann Grigg, was the beautiful, the mellifluous, the voluptuous "Cachucha." Oh! had they heard it in a brighter scene, where Rank and Fashion melt at Music's breath, where mingled sighs and perfumes load the air;—that atmosphere of Love and rose-water;—in short, at Her Majesty's Theatre; and had they there seen the graceful Fanny! But whither are we borne away? No! Such rapture—almost too intense for the ethereal spirits of the Children of the Nobility,—could not have been felt by them.

During the piece of music last-mentioned, a Terpsichorean impulse seized on a small boy, who was standing at some little distance from our group. Cracking a couple of bits of slate together in imitation of castanets, he went through a succession of eccentric movements which we should imagine must have really been what is termed the Sailor's Hornpipe. This exhibition appeared greatly to divert the surrounding Mobility, who are much better judges, it would seem, of the humour, than they are of the poetry, of motion; and whose bosoms would not be very likely to heave the sigh, even at the pathos of Taglioni.

Miss Moody appeared without a head-dress; as most of the Children of the Mobility are seen at their Promenade Concerts. In this place may be noticed the social soirées which take place annually about the end of December among the inferior circles, and which are principally sustained by juvenile performers. We mean those Concerts D'Hiver commonly known as Christmas Carols.

The Misses Grigg were in bonnets, from which circumstance, and from that of Miss Sarah Grigg carrying a basket—would we could say reticule!—on her arm, and displaying in her small hand what seemed to be a street-door key, it was conjectured that they had been shopping.

The presence of Master Dummer at the performance was occasioned by his being en route to the Academy, at which he is a diurnal student. The interruption of his progress to the Seminary may be attributed rather to a disinclination for arithmetic than to a love of harmony; his genius, we understand, being more of an observant and contemplative, than of a mathematical or literary tendency, and music being interesting to him, merely, to use a common expression, as "something going on." His steps, when directed towards the abode of learning, are not remarkable, generally, for rapidity; and are very apt to be arrested by a variety of little occurrences; in short, he has a strong natural inclination for the philosophical amusement improperly termed lounging. The remark which he was heard to make with reference to a peculiarity in Denticci's dress, may be considered as an example of his reflective turn. This, too, is very decidedly observable in the expression of his eye, whose appearance is the more striking for the contrast which it presents to that of his cheek,—a part in which he strongly resembles the young gentleman alluded to in "As You Like It," who is represented.

Indeed, if for satchel, we read slate, we shall find Master Dummer, taken altogether, to be no bad representative of the second of Man's "Seven Ages,"—viewing Man as he exists in the Mobility. His slate may be said, in one sense, though not perhaps in that which his preceptor would approve of, to be his amusement, being usually covered with hieroglyphics rather than figures, and exhibiting much stronger indications of a predilection for "Tit-tat-to," than of proficiency in the Rule of Three.

...............With his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

The young Denticci, who had the honour of entertaining our philharmonic group, perhaps it would be more in keeping to say, batch, of plebeian minors, is the child of a foreign Mobility. To us, however, he is an object of greater interest as a Child of Song, and as exciting in our breast all those deep and delightful associations with which all that ends in "icci" and "ini", is so intimately and powerfully connected.

PLATE VIII. Master Tom Scales and Master Ben Potts.

Have any of our readers heard an introductory lecture on the Practice of Physic? Or have they ever looked through the preface of a medical book. In either case, the importance of the practitioner, considered as are topics which they must have found enlarged upon. The hero preserved for his country, the father for his family, the child for the parent, all are represented as having to thank the doctor. The sufferer, perhaps a delicate female, stretched on the bed of sickness, is described as hailing his approach as that of some ministering spirit, listening anxiously for his footstep, and hearing in the creaking of his shoes, (provided it be not too loud,) a sweet and soothing music. All this is as it ought to be. But let praise be awarded where it is due, and let us not, while we appreciate the claims of the doctor, be unmindful of those of the doctor's boy. His instrumentality in the restoration of health, at least among the higher orders, cannot be denied, any more than can that of the organ bellows-blower in the production of harmony. And yet, while the thundering rap of his master at the front door, falls so harmoniously on the ear, his gentle ring at the area, and the softly-whistled air with which he beguiles the time until it is answered, are no more regarded than the idle wind.

He is observed speeding on his way to the abode of sickness, without interest, and loitering on it without indignation: he acquits himself, without admiration, of his high responsibilities; he violates them, and excites no horror.


Original Size

Masters Scales and Potts are, respectively, the subordinate assistants of Mr. Graves and Mr. Slaymore. The latter of these gentlemen, with whom Master Potts is situated, dispenses health from a private surgery; the former from a more public establishment. The difference in point of grade between these two disciples of Galen is very plainly discernible even in their dependants, the two Children of the Mobility now before us. The uniform of Master Scales is much less aristocratic, and much less professional also, than that of Master Potts, who looks, particularly about the feet and legs, as if he had been intended by Nature for a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries, rather than for the servant of one.

Mr. Graves and Mr. Slaymore being two out of half-a-dozen medical men residing in the same street, their young auxiliaries are in the habit of coming frequently in contact, and dialogues of a characteristic nature often take place, on these occasions, between them. We hope the following colloquy may seem less in need of abbreviation to the reader than it might be to a patient dependent on its termination for his dose of calomel.

"Hallo! old feller, where are you off to in sitch a hurry?" The querist was Master Scales, who in sauntering along the neighbouring square was passed by Master Potts, walking at a rapid pace, with his salutiferous burden upon his arm.

"Hallo!" replied Master Potts; and turning round he beheld his young acquaintance, Tom. "Well, young stick-in-the-mud!"

"I say, who's got the cholera, to make you stir your stumps like that 'ere?"

"Who do you think?—Mrs. Walker."

"Gammon! What's up tell us."

"Why it's the old gal at 42; she 's precious bad, I can tell yer."

"What's got her then? I see her the day 'fore yesterday, lookin' all right enough."

"Paralatic—least that's what maws'r says 'tis. He 'll be precious wild if she dies. My eye what a lot o' bottles I've a-took there! I warrand you ain't got sitch a good un!"

"Ain't we though; there's a old chap we've got from the East Ingies, as I'd back agin her any day."

"What! that old cove with the gamboge sneezer and swivel eye?"

"Aye; he've a-had the dropsy the last three months. Just haven't the guv'ner stuck it into im!"

"Look there, whose black job is that goin' along close by old Punch,—your guv'ner's?"

"Over the left—Come, I say, don't be orf jist yet."

"Must. I'm in for it as 'tis."

"No, no. Here! I 'll toss yer for a pint." As he made this offer, Master Scales deposited his basket on the pavement, and produced a halfpenny.

"Well, come, be quick then! Now! Heads, I win; tails, you lose."

"Heads! Heads 'tis!

"Come, I say, Master Ben, give us my change, will yer."

"Take your change out of that!" So saying, and suiting an appropriate action to the word, Master Potts turned rapidly on his heel; and before his professional brother could pack up his materia medica from the ground, had turned a corner and was out of sight.

Delays are proverbially said to be dangerous; and equally well-known is the maxim which recommends the attacking of a disease at its onset. Leaving our readers, according to their medical opinions, to calculate the damage, or estimate the good which the patients of Messieurs Graves and Slaymore derived from the amusements of their young subsidiaries, we shall now conclude our notice of those personages, and therewith, our labours. We hope that we have acquitted ourselves in a satisfactory manner; but in criticising the foregoing pages, let the fact be borne in mind, that it is very difficult to render the children of the Mobility interesting. It is easy to make a silk purse out of a proper material; but there is a substance from which it is impossible to construct it. Shall we be pardoned by the superior classes for thus distantly referring to a plebeian saying! Would we had had some nobler, some more inspiring theme! Such, Reader, had they not been already so fairlie done, we should have found in the Children of the Nobility.


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