Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter VI.: PRESS AND POST-OFFICE. - Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside)
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Chapter VI.: PRESS AND POST-OFFICE. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside) 
Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside) (London: Charles Fox, 1834).
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PRESS AND POST-OFFICE.
Owen promised, on leaving Arneside, not to forget the old place and his old friends; and though he soon became a prosperous man, he lost none of his interest in those who were proud of being regarded by him. Reports arrived of the importance of the young Arneside scholar in L—; in that large and busy town, which was like London to the imaginations of the villagers. Owen was Secretary to the Mechanics’ Institute there, in course of time, after having won two or three prizes, and introduced the study and practice of his favourite short-hand. A straggler from Arneside had met him in the streets of L—; had been with him when he was stopped by three people within a hundred yards, all eager to ask him something about the newspaper,—the Western Star; and had finally watched him into the hotel when, well dressed in black, he had passed in with several gentlemen who were attending a public dinner there. Owen must have grown into something very like a gentleman to be attending a public dinner, and to be consulted three times within a hundred yards about a newspaper. One of Owen’s tokens of remembrance was this weekly newspaper, a copy of which he sent down regularly to the landlord of the Rose, Mr. Chowne, to be circulated through the village when it had been read in the tap-room. This was considered a very handsome present; and, indeed, some of his careful friends, remembering that sevenpence-halfpenny a week is 1l. 12s. 6d. a year, consulted together about sending him word that he was too generous, and that they were scrupulous about accepting so expensive a remembrance from him. His mother, however, heard of this, and put an end to all scruples by expressing her confidence that her son would do nothing which he could not properly afford; and it afterwards transpired from some quarter that Owen had told somebody that this newspaper cost him nothing, an intimation which certain of the village politicians interpreted as meaning that he wrote the whole of it. From the moment that their version of the story was adopted, the eagerness with which the “Western Star” was received was redoubled; and those who could not read listened with open mouths while those who could told the news, and magnified as they went along. The gossip about the Turkish Sultan and his Ministers now became interesting, as well as the speculations about the magnetic pole; and there was no end to the astonishment at Owen’s learning, which seemed to extend from courts and cabinets down to razor-strops and Macassar oil. No day of the week passed without his being pronounced a wonderful young man.
The most incomprehensible thing to the whole village was that Owen sent down warnings in his letters, more than once, that the “Western Star” must not be trusted as if it told nothing but truth. Its reports were declared to be often unfair, and its politics wavering and unprincipled. There was some talk in L— of trying to get up another newspaper; and it would be a pity if (as was too likely) it could not be done; as an opposition might improve the “Western Star.” This declaration seemed to exhibit an unparalleled modesty and disinterestedness on the part of Owen. Nobody would have found out that his newspaper was not perfectly fair, if he had not himself said so.
One motive to such transcendent virtue might be discerned. The reports which, Owen said, were the least of all to be trusted, were those of Mr. Arruther’s speeches and conduct in the House. Owen was known to be no admirer of Mr. Arruther as a Member of Parliament; and, that the “Western Star” had always praised this gentleman, and called upon his constituents for gratitude, was supposed to be owing to the laws of good breeding, which might forbid any public blame of so rich and grand a person as Mr. Arruther. But Owen’s private letters spoke very plainly of the Member; of his idleness about his duty; of his prejudice in favour of the aristocracy; and of his constancy in opposing every measure which could tend to the relief and enlightenment of the working classes. He wished that he could give his old friends the means of knowing what grounds he had for saying all this; but the London papers took little notice of Mr. Arruther, and nothing would be found against him in the “Western Star.” He must beg any of the Arneside people who had votes to try to ascertain how Mr. Arruther had voted on such and such questions, and make up their minds for themselves whether they were properly represented.
On the days when the “Western Star” arrived, man after man dropped in at the tap-room at the Rose, to try for his turn, or to listen to any one who might be reading aloud. Nurse would never be persuaded to go and listen too, though a seat of honour would have been awarded her, by the window in summer, and near the fire in winter. She felt that she had rather wait; and a rule was made that she should have the first loan of the paper. Such was the rule, if it had but been kept. But when she had her proper turn, it did not always happen that Ambrose was ready to read, or that she was at home that evening; and she never chose to detain the treasure beyond a single day, when so many better scholars than herself were longing for it. And there was some underhand work about this matter. The newspaper had sometimes disappeared from the table at the Rose; which happened because some impatient person had bribed the pot-boy to let him or her have it first, or had slipped in through the open door, and carried it off: and then, by the time it came round to nurse’s cottage, it was so thumbed and dirtied and torn at all the creases, that poor scholars read it at a great disadvantage; so that, altogether, Nurse was not much enlightened by the “Western Star.” Yet, the first thing that she remembered on waking, every Saturday morning, was that this was the day of the arrival of the newspaper; and Ambrose was sure to be reminded of it by some gentle hint during breakfast.
He went in at the Rose, one Saturday evening, to see what was doing. There sat Farmer Mason, looking more shabby than ever; as he had done each time that Ambrose had seen him since the fire. He came to learn if the advertisement and list of subscriptions in his favour were in the “Star” to-day. Nothing like them appeared; and he was drowning his disappointment in a third glass of spirit and water. Some Job’s comforters were present who asked him how he could expect that his friends should consume the little money they had obtained for him in advertising; and added what they had heard about the unwillingness of many people to assist a man who had shown himself so imprudent as not to insure. Mason did not boast of any more patience than Job.
“As for the insuring,” said he, “it is all very well for the rich to talk. They insure themselves; having several properties which they make to secure one another; it being the last thing likely that all or many should be burnt down. But the very cause which prevents their insuring should teach them to excuse us poor men for not doing it.”
“Besides,” observed the landlord, “there are so many country people that do not think of insuring against fire! Indeed, I scarcely know a farmer that has done it; and why should Mason act differently from his neighbours?”
“And why don’t the farmers insure? Why does not every body insure?” cried Mason. “Because of the tax which the rich escape paying by making one estate insure another. As long as the government is to have 200 per cent. upon fire insurances, there will be plenty of people to keep me in countenance for what some few are pleased to call my neglect.”
“What business has the government to interfere with a man, when he is trying to provide against misfortune?” asked the shoemaker of the village. “It is a direct reward to carelessness to tax carefulness. And 200 per cent. too!”
“Yes: 200 per cent. If the premium is calculated at 1s. 6d., the government imposes a 3s. stamp. If you go and insure 1000l. worth of goods at 15s., we’ll say, you must pay a duty of 30s. to government. Where is the wonder that a man would rather trust to Providence to keep the fire from his roof than submit to such a tax? The true matter of wonder is, that any government could ever shut its eyes to this!”
“Something has happened about sea-insurances which might have opened their eyes, as I know from my brother, who is now master of a ship from the next port,” observed the landlord. “The last time he was here, he told me what I had no idea of before. While we have more and more ships passing in and out, the duty on sea-policies is falling off. Where the business transacted has increased one-fifth, the duty has fallen off two-fifths: that is to say, our merchants and ship-masters go and insure in Holland, and in Germany, and in the United States of America, or any respectable place where the stamp is not so high as in England. The government might as well take off this tax at once, with a good grace; for, in a little while, all the insurers will be driven across the water. Since the duty will soon yield nothing at all, they may as well let us keep a useful branch of business among us, instead of giving it away to foreigners.”
“I am sure,” said poor Mason, sipping from his glass, and recurring to the faults which had been found with him,—“I am sure it is no unreasonable thing of me to look for another advertisement or two, considering how little can be done by one. Only think how many people may chance to miss seeing the paper that once, or may overlook that particular advertisement, when they might be ready enough to give, if it did but come often enough before their eyes. And I suppose it cannot cost a great deal to print ten or twelve lines; and when once it stands ready for printing, I suppose they charge less each time, as is done in other cases where there is less charged in proportion to the greatness of the custom.”
The landlord knew that this was the way in America. His brother was in the habit of advertising the departure of his ship from an American port. He paid for his advertisement (which happened to be a short one) 2s. 2d. for one insertion; 3s, 3d. for two; and only 6½d. more each time, for as long as he chose. An advertisement of eight lines, which would have cost him two guineas in England at the end of a week, cost him in America only 5s. 5d. It is the advertisement duty which makes an advertisement as expensive the twentieth time as the first in England; and, bad as the duty is altogether, this is the worst part of it; for, as Mr. Mason was saying, repetition is all in all in advertising.
“There is talk of taking off a good part of the advertisement duty,”* observed the shoemaker.
“There will be less use in taking off a part than the government expects,” replied the landlord, “for the very reason that the principle of an advertisement duty interferes with the lowering of the price on repetition. If the government now make, as they say, 160,000l. a year by this tax, they would find their profit in taking it off altogether by—”
“The increase of the paper duty, from the multitude of advertisements there would be.”
“That would be true; but I would have the paper duty off too; and so I should look to another quarter for the compensation. Much more than 160,000l. a year would drop into the treasury from the increase of traffic of every kind which must happen in consequence of freedom of advertising. Our greater traffic of late years has not yielded more advertisement duty. We had better try now whether giving up that duty would not cause greater traffic, and so an increase of duties upon other things.”
“One might easily find out,” observed somebody, “whether the Americans advertise more than we do, from having no duty to pay. That would be the test.”
“The only test; and what is the fact? There are half as many again of advertisements in the daily papers of New York alone, as in all the newspapers of Great Britain and Ireland.”
“Without London. You leave out the great London papers.”
“Not I. I include the great daily papers of London. We have twice as many people as the United States, and more than twice as much business; yet we have only one million of advertisements in a year, and the United States have ten millions—that is to say, their advertising is to ours as ten to one. And when you further consider, as my brother says, how many of the Americans are busy on the land instead of in trade, and how many more we have occupied in trade, from which the greater part of advertisements come, it is hardly too much to say that their advertising is to ours as forty to one. Depend upon it, we are under the mark when we say that the duty suppresses nineteen out of twenty of those advertisements which would be sent to the newspapers if we had the same freedom as the Americans; and that no mere reduction will prevent the suppression of millions which it is for everybody’s advantage should appear.”
“Yes, indeed; and why we should be compelled to pay to the Government for making known that we have something to sell ten miles off, when a shopkeeper may freely put a bill in his window to tell what may be had within, it is not altogether easy to see.”
“There is one thing easy to see,” observed Joy, the builder; “and that is the figure that people make of our walls, sticking them all over with bills. I have more trouble than enough with pulling them down from the end of my master’s house; and as sure as I next pass that way, I find it all covered over again with red and black letters, and ugly pictures. My master calls it making a newspaper of his gable. And as for the chalking,—it is said that men and boys are hired to go about chalking all the walls in the country; and before ever our mortar is dry, there is some unsightly scrawl or another on the new red bricks. ’Tis too much for the temper of any builder. For my part, I make no scruple of threshing any one that I catch with the chalk in his hand, man or boy.”
Ambrose stood up for the practice of plastering the walls with bills; he having been often amused, and even led to read, by a tempting display of this kind. But it did not take long to convince him that he might be better amused, and more comfortably advanced in his reading, if he could but be supplied at his own home with a sufficiency of pictures and articles to study. He saw that it was pleasanter to sit down at his mother’s deal-table for such purposes, than to stand in a broiling sun or drizzling rain, looking up till the back of his neck ached like that of a rheumatic old man.
Mason was at first equally disposed to advocate the chalking. He had himself sent his poor boys about to represent on every conspicuous brick surface within five miles, a large house in flames, with the inscription underneath, “Remember Farmer Mason and his large young family, burnt out of house and home.” He believed that he owed nearly as much to this as to having employed Grice the crier to bawl his case through two or three parishes.
The shoemaker hoped that fellow Grice did not take anything from Farmer Mason for doing him this service. Grice was known to be prospering in the world; and it was a cruel thing to take money from a ruined man, the same as from a fortunate one. Mason signed, shook his head, and applied himself to his glass. Perhaps the landlord winced under the last remark, conscious of being now actually running up a score against Mason for drink, which he would never have thought of tasting if he had not been tempted to the Rose, for the sake of seeing the advertisement of his calamity. To have defended Grice would have been going rather too far; but Chowne ventured to show that Grice was no worse than some other people.
The Government, he said, took large sums of money from all distressed people whose calamities are advertised. When there was a famine in Ireland, several thousand pounds of the money subscribed for the relief of the famishing went to the Government in the shape of advertisement-duty; and when the floods of the last autumn had laid waste whole districts in Scotland, the profit which the Treasury made by the announcement would have rebuilt hundreds of the cottages which were swept away. And this profiting was not only on rare and great occasions. There was not a poor servant out of place who had not to pay to the Government for the chance of getting a service; and to pay exactly the same as the nobleman who wishes to sell an estate of ten thousand a-year, and to whom a pound spent in advertisement-duty is of less consequence than a doit would be to the servant out of place.
Mason sighed, and said that the thing most plain to him was that he was destined to be stripped of all he had, since there was a pluck on every hand,—first the fire, and then Grice, and the Government, and everybody. But though he was disappointed in what he came to see in the newspaper, he did not mean to go away without seeing it; and so he would trouble the landlord for another glass of spirit and water. It would be hard if he did not see the paper now, as he had no money to pay the pot-boy, like some people, for a sight of it. He did wonder, and he was not the only one that wondered, that the landlord chose to make a profit of what was sent him as a present,—taking one little advantage from one, and another from another; for nobody supposed the pot-boy put in his own pocket all the good things he got every week.
Chowne wondered what his friend Mason meant. If people chose to make presents to his servants, it was nothing to him: but,—as for his making anything by the paper,—he could tell the present company, if they did not know it already, that there was a law against letting newspapers. He should now take care to tell his pot-boy the very words of the law,—“that any hawker of newspapers, who shall let any newspaper to hire to any person, or to different persons, shall forfeit the sum of five pounds for each offence.” If, after this, the lad should choose to run the risk, it would be at his own peril; and nobody would now suppose that a prudent man like himself would run the risk of being fined five pounds, a dozen times over, every week.
O, but that must be an old, forgotten law, that nobody thought of regarding. Were there no newsmen in London, letting out newspapers at twopence an hour?
The law was not so very old, Chowne said. Our good King George the Third had been reigning just thirty years when it was passed. If it was disregarded in London, he supposed people had their reasons for disregarding it; and he was far from wishing to defend that bit of law; but, for his own sake, he should not break it. So, perhaps, friend Hartley, who had been getting the paper by heart, apparently, while the others were talking, would have the goodness either to read aloud, or to hand the sheet over to somebody who would.
The reader had been anxious to see what was said about Arruther’s being absent during two nights,—the most important of any in the session to some of his constituents,—and voting with the majority on another question, after having led people to suppose he was of an opposite opinion. But this paper was really ridiculous in its support of that man. Here were a hundred reasons for his doing as he had done; and not one good one. Hartley had no idea of being gulled as this paper would gull him, just for the sake of whitewashing Mr. Arruther; and he began to read what the paper said. A good deal of argumentation followed, which, however animating and wholesome it might be to the persons engaged, was dull and useless to Ambrose, from his knowing nothing about the subject discussed. Seeing no chance of the party arriving at the accident and murder parts in any decent time, he determined to go home and tell his mother that they must wait, and that he did not know whether the paper was entertaining or not, this time. All were too busy leaning over the table and listening, to take any notice of him when he went away; and, as he never drank anything, Chowne did not consider himself called upon to bestow more than a slight nod on Ambrose, as the lad made his rustic bow in passing out.
Whom should he meet at the next corner but Ryan? Ambrose’s wits were certainly brightened by some means or another; for he bethought himself of the use Ryan might be of to poor Mason, by serving as a walking advertisement of his misfortune. The moment he had heard that the rag-merchant was going to offer his company and his news to old Jeffery to-night, instead of always troubling nurse Ede to entertain him, Ambrose blurted out the story of the fire, the subscription, the rapacity of the Government in regard to advertisements, and the advantage it would be to Mason if the rag-merchant would take up his cause, and beg for him through the country.
“Ay; that’s the way,” said Ryan. “Always something for me to do as I travel the country! However, I’ll do it with all my heart. My errands are not all begging ones, as I will show you. I give as well as beg sometimes. Here, take this. This is Owen’s tract (I mean the tract that was put down) come to life again. I’ll give it to you this once; and if you can get anybody to join you in buying it at twopence a-week by the time I come again, I can order it for you. Not that you can have it weekly: the carriage would cost too much; but—”
“It can come by post, can’t it? The ‘Western Star’ always comes by post, and no charge.”
“Very likely; but this is not altogether like the ‘Western Star’ or other newspapers that come by post, as you will find when you look at it. But you can have four numbers together, once a-month, when the monthly things come for the clergyman and Mr. Waugh. Give my love to nurse, and tell her rags are down. She must take a penny a pound less if she has any to sell. The rags from the Mediterranean and the east are not all wanted, and the American paper-makers have come here to buy; and while that is the case, mine will be but a bad business. Our paper-making is a joke to theirs; and, for my part, if something does not happen soon to quicken the demand for rags, I think I shall give up going my rounds, and bid you all good bye.”
“No: don’t say that, Mr. Ryan. We should be sorry not to see you twice a-year, as we have done as long as I can remember.”
“Well; if you wish to help my trade, and so go on seeing me, do your best to spread this publication. If you will believe me, there are ten thousand a-week circulating of it already; and that requires a good deal of paper,—see!”
Ambrose was approaching, as slowly as he could put one foot before the other, the fifth time that his mother looked out for him from her door.
“So, here you are, my dear; and the paper, too!—and a picture at top of it to-day! That’s something new. I wonder whether it be Owen’s drawing. He could draw if he was to try, I’m sure.”
“ ’Tis not Owen’s paper, mother; but a much finer one, and not costing scarcely a quarter as much as Owen’s.”
And he told how he had got it; and helped his mother to make out the pictures, as she looked at them over his shoulder.
“Who is that lady, I wonder now,” said nurse, “with her hands fastened, poor thing! and a great arm out of a cloud whipping her? What fine feathers she has in her queer hat! and what a whip! with a man’s face at the end of every cord.”
“That is Britannia and her task-masters, mother. Those are her task-masters,—those faces in the whip; and they are our rulers: there are their names. And below there is—‘Many a tear of blood has Britain shed under those tyrants that make themselves a cat-o’-nine-tails, to bare the bones and harrow the feelings of the sons of industry.’ How cruel!—Then there is—here, in this corner—”
“A great chest all on fire. I see.”
“A printing-press, that is; but what the great light round about it means, I don’t know; but it does not seem to be burning away. Then, opposite, there is a black person, with an odd foot and a long tail; and see what is flying off from the end of his tail!”
“A crown, I do believe; and what is the other?”
“A mitre. The lines below are—
And do look behind! There is the church window, and two men hanging. I think the fat one is the parson. Who can the other be?”
“But, my dear, I do not like this picture at all. It seems to me very cruel and wicked.”
“Well, let us look at the next. Here is a man that has tumbled into the kennel; and a woman with a child in her arms falling over him; and nobody helps them up; but all the boys in the street are pointing at them. What is written over behind there? ‘Gin palace.’ Ah! those people are drunk, poor creatures!”
“My dear, don’t say ‘poor creatures!’ for fear I should think you pity them. They deserve all that may happen to them; and I hope the paper says so.”
The paper said something very like it. It told the story of a man who had beaten his wife, and turned her out of a gin-shop when she had followed him there, with her infant in her arms. In his drunken rage, he had pushed the door so violently as to squeeze the infant in the door-way, and cause its death. This was related very plainly, and followed by some forcible remarks on the disgusting sin of drunkenness. Mrs. Ede was much pleased with all this, and with more which Ambrose read when she had lighted her candle, and sat down to darn his stockings. There was a story of a master who was kind enough to offer to make another trial of a run-away apprentice; and the rebuke which a magistrate gave to a mean-spirited wretch who would have frightened his little daughter into telling a lie to save him from justice. Then came a short account of what was doing at the North Pole; and afterwards, directions how to keep meat from spoiling in hot weather. In the midst of this, Ambrose stopped, quite tired out. When he came to “wiped with a dry cloth,” his breath failed him, and the lines swam before his eyes. He had never before read so much in one day. Nurse was sorry not to hear what should be done next with the meat; but she hoped Ambrose would be able to go on to-morrow. Meantime, she spent a few minutes in glancing over what was to her an expanse of hieroglyphics.
“Ah! here is a song!” cried she. “This is the way the song was printed in Owen’s paper.—Never mind, my dear. You have done quite enough. Never mind the song now.”
Ambrose could not help trying, and for some time in vain, to make out this bit of apparent poetry. It turned out at last to be a list of country agents and their abodes: a list so long as to fill a quarter of a column.—When the laugh at this mistake was done, nurse began to tell her son what a very happy mother she considered herself. It was a pity, to be sure, that poor Mildred did not get home in time to hear all that her mother had heard; and, indeed, nurse sometimes wondered whether her girl did not stay out later than she need; and whether it was a fancy of her own that Mildred was not so fond of being at home as she used to be. But still, everybody knew Mildred to be a very steady, virtuous girl, unlike two or three at the mill who might be mentioned; and, while many mothers were anxious about their lads, not knowing whether they passed their evenings at the public-house, or playing thimblerig in the lane, or going into the woods after dark with a gun, nurse was wholly at ease about her boys. Owen was doing honourably, which partly made up for his being at a distance; and here was Ambrose improving his learning by finding out for her how meat should be kept in hot weather, and meeting with awful lessons about drunkenness. It made her feel so obliged to him! and she knew he had a pleasure in delighting her: a sort of pleasure that poor Mrs. Arruther and her son seemed never to have had together, for all his fine education. And there were many much humbler people than the Arruthers who were not near so happy as nurse. If she could but make out whether anything heavy lay on her girl’s mind—But the present was not a time to speak of the only great trouble she had. It would be ungrateful to do so to-night.—There was one more thing she should like to know, however; and that was why, when this paper blamed violence and falsehood in men that got drunk, and in bad fathers, it was itself so violent about our rulers, and told so much that she thought must be false about them. She had no wish to find fault with anything that Ryan had brought; but she had rather think the paper mistaken than believe that our rulers were so cruel as it declared.
Ambrose looked again at the pictures; thought the people who wrote the paper must be pretty sure what they were about before they printed such things; feared that the rulers and the church must be a bad set; and reminded his mother how virtuous this publication had proved itself about gin.
If nurse had known all, she would not have felt the surprise she had ventured to express; and if Ambrose had known all, he would not have concluded that because some vices were condemned and some virtues honoured in one page, the next must be pure in the morals of its politics. This newspaper was an unstamped, and therefore an illegal, publication. It was obnoxious to the law, and therefore an enemy to the law, and to all law-makers. Moral in its choice and presentation of police reports, and of late occurrences of other kinds, judicious in its selections from good books, and useful in those of its original articles which had nothing to do with politics, it was cruel, malicious, and false in its manner of treating whatever related to law-makers. It was what in high places is called inflammatory. Its tendency was, not to enlighten its readers about the faults of their representatives, errors in the practice of government, and the evils arising from former faults and errors; but to persuade the people that rich men must be wicked men; that the industrious must be oppressed; and that the way to remedy every thing was to strip the rich and hang the idle. Its object, in short, was to make its readers hate an authority which it chose to disobey.—If no injurious authority had interfered with the establishment of this paper, (which establishment it had not availed to prevent,) the political part of this paper would have been as moral as the rest. There is no abstract and peculiar hatred in men’s minds against rulers, any more than there is against poets, or jewellers, or colonels in the army, or any other class; and no one class would have been selected for reprobation here, if there had been no provocation, on the one side, to defiance on the other. If there had been no fear of punishment for saying anything at all, there would have been no temptation to say what was unjust and cruel, to the injury of every party concerned. But, for the sake of the four-penny stamp, a temperate and very useful publication had been put down; and there had arisen from its ruins,—another, not like itself, but seasoned high with whatever could most exalt the passions, and thereby enlist the prejudices of the multitude in its support against the law. This could have taken place only under an unwise and oppressive law; unwise in affording facilities for its own evasion; and oppressive in debarring the people from an immeasurable advantage, for the sake of a very small supposed profit to the treasury.
As Ambrose unfolded the paper, on being satisfied with what he had seen of two sides of it, two or three little papers fell out, and fluttered down to the ground. They contained a puff of the paper, and were to be circulated by him, no doubt.
“The best and cheapest Newspaper ever published in England.
“the twopenny treat, and people’s law-book.
“It shall abound in Police intelligence, in Murders, Rapes, Suicides, Burnings, Maimings, Theatricals, Races, Pugilism, and all manner of ‘moving accidents by flood and field.’ In short, it will be stuffed with every sort of devilment that will make it sell. For this reason, and to make it the poor man’s treat, the price is only twopence (not much more than the price of the paper.) So that even to pay its way, the sale must be enormous. With this, however, we shall be satisfied. Our object is, not to make money, but to beat the Government. Let the public only assist us in this, and we promise them the cheapest and best paper for the money that was ever published in England.
Why did not Ambrose read this announcement to his mother? Why did he not, the next day, give her some of the benefit of the other two pages of this paper? If nurse had been able to read for herself about the “devilment” with which the publication was to be stuffed, and about the nature of the contract between masters and workmen, she might, by a few words of parental wisdom and love, have saved her son and herself from future intolerable misery. One grief lay heavy at her heart already; a grief which had its cause in the gross ignorance of one of her children. Another was in store, arising from the imperfect knowledge and mistaken credulity of her second son. In the enlightenment of the eldest lay her only security for her maternal peace.
[* ] Since done.