British Workman Vol. 1, No. 17 (1856)


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No. 17]

Published for the Editor by S, W. PARTRIDGE, at the Office of the “British Workman,” No. 9, Paternoster Row, London.

[Price One Penny.


JOHN ABERCROMBIE, a horticultural writer of some celebrity, to whose taste and writings the science of gardening is considerably indebted, was originally a ! working gardener, near Edinburgh. To increase his knowledge in the different branches of gardening, he came to London at the age of eighteen, and worked at Hampton Court, St. James’s, and Kensington Royal Gardens. He commenced his literary labours by the publication of a work entitled “Mawe’s Gardener’s Calendar.” The flattering reception which this experienced induced him to publish “The Universal Dictionary of Gardening and Botany,” under his own name. This was followed by “The Gardener’s Dictionary,” “The Gardener’s Daily Assistant,” “The Gardener’s Vade Mecum,” “The Kitchen Gardener, and Hot-bed Forcer,” “The Hot-house Gardener,” &c., &c. He died in 1806, in the eightieth year of his age.

WILLIAM AITON, an eminent botanist “and gardener—born in Lanarkshire, in 1731. Having been regularly trained to the profession of a gardener, he came to England in 1754, and was engaged as an assistant by the superintendent of the physic gardens at Chelsea. His industry and abilities recommended him to the Princess Dowager of Wales, and he was appointed in 1759 to manage the botanical garden at Kew, where he became a great favourite with His Majesty George III. Here it was that Mr. Aiton formed one of the best collections of rare exotic plants in the world, an account of which he published in 3 vols., 8vo., entitled Hortus Kewensis, the result of many years’ labour. In 1783 his merit was properly rewarded with the lucrative office of managing the pleasure and kitchen gardens of Kew, which he was allowed to retain with the botanical department. Mr. Aiton’s private character was highly estimable for mildness, benevolence, piety, and every domestic and social virtue. He died in 1793, and was interred amidst a large concourse of influential friends, in the churchyard of Kew.

WILLIAM FORSYTH, an able horticulturist, was born at Old Meldrum, in the county of Aberdeenshire, in 1737, and having been early initiated in the science of horticulture, came to London, in 1763. Shortly after he became pupil to the celebrated Philip Miller, gardener to the Company of Apothecaries, at their botanic garden at Chelsea, and succeeded him in that situation in 1771. He was subsequently appointed by the King chief superintendent of the Royal Gardens at Kensington, and at St. James’s, which appointments he held until his death in 1804. He invented a composition to cure the wounds and diseases of trees, and his two principal works are entitled “Observations on the Diseases, Defects, and Injuries of Fruit and Forest Trees,” and “A Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit Trees.”

GEORGE DENIS EHRET, a celebrated self-taught botanical painter, the son of a gardener, was born at Durlach, in Germany, and died at London, in 1770. His greatest works are “The Hortus Cliffortianus,” and a Collection of Flowers and Butterflies. He was a friend of Linnaeus, and a member of the Royal Society.
EDMUND STONE, an eminent mathematician, son of the Duke of Argyll’s gardener, was born in Scotland, towards the close of the seventeenth century. Before he was nineteen he taught himself arithmetic, geometry, Latin, and French, without any assistance. He wrote a Treatise on Fluxions; and a Mathematical Dictionary; translated Bion on Mathematical Instruments; and published an edition of Euclid, with a Life. He died 1767.

JULIUS ALBERONI, the son of a poor gardener in the suburbs of Placentia, was born in 1664, and by his great abilities rose from this humble station of life to the exalted post of prime minister of state at the court of Philip V. of Spain. He roused that kingdom out of the lethargy it had sunk into for a century previously, and awakened the attention, and raised the astonishment of all Europe by his projects. He died in 1752, at the age of 87.
LANCELOT BROWN was originally a kitchen gardener, but raised himself to be the most eminent landscape-gardener of his day; and also acquired reputation by his skill in architecture. He was born at Kirkharle, in Northumberland, in 1715. By his industry and talents he realized a handsome fortune, and was appointed High Sheriff for the county of Huntingdon; he died in 1773.

SIR JOSEPH PAXTON One of the most interesting illustrations of perseverance and success that our times can furnish is found in the history of Sir Joseph Paxton. The son of parents in humble life—one of the people, he now possesses a name known the world over, and a fame which history will be glad to chronicle. Not being born “with a silver spoon in his mouth,” the instruments of horticulture were early put into his hands, and by the spade and mattock he earned subsistence as a working gardener. His way was opened, however, to the employment of the Duke of Somerset, at Wimbledon, as a landscape-gardener, from whose service he passed into that of the Duke of Devonshire, at Chatsworth. Here he laid out those beautiful gardens, famous throughout England. The vast conservatory, which the King of Saxony graphically compared to a tropical scene with a glass sky, was contrived by him; and in 1848 his fertile mind originated the idea of the glass and iron building for the reception of the splendid plant called the Victoria Regia. This was of a light and airy appearance, and was in fact, the parent of the Crystal Palace. His grand and original conception for that wonderful palace was realized in 1851, and admired by the thousands from all countries who met under its extensive roof. It gained for him the honour of knighthood. Sir Joseph also added much to the glories of the new Crystal Palace at Sydenham, the grace and beauty of which so well harmonize with its artistic contents, and the prescribed objects of its projectors. Sir Joseph is a distinguished Fellow of the Linnaean and Horticultural Societies, and has produced a Botanical Dictionary of accredited worth, besides editing the “Flower Garden,” and other botanical and horticultural works. He was elected a member of Parliament for the ancient and celebrated city of Coventry in 1854.

SIR CHARLES LINNiEUS, the most celebrated of modern naturalists, was born at a village in Smaland, Sweden, in 1707, where his father was then vicar. He studied at the Universities of Lund and of Upsala, and between 1731 and 1738, explored Lapland, where he obtained the materials for his “Flora Lapponica.” Like many famous men, however, he had always been in narrow circumstances, and in a tour through Holland, which he undertook for scientific purposes, found himself reduced to the necessity of labouring for his bread. Linnaeus at once accepted the situation of kitchen gardener in the establishment of Mr. Clifford, under the simple name of Charles Linne, and while engaged in his duties there was one day recognised by Count Carlsberg, the Ambassador of Sweden, as his teacher when a student at the University of Upsala. Linnaeus, after this became an inmate of Mr. Clifford’s mansion for some years, and published, with the assistance of his patron, his far-famed system of nature. After his return to Sweden, in 1738, he settled as a physician at Stockholm, and his subsequent career was uniformly prosperous. His fame spread through every part of the civilized world, scientific bodies eagerly enrolled him amongst their members, he was ennobled by his to purchase a princely estate, on which he resided for the last 15 years of his life. He died in 1778.

SIXTUS V., Pope of Rome, was the son of a gardener, and was born in Ancona, in 1521. When very young, he was employed as a swineherd, but early showed a

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a veneration for learning, and a priest, passing through the village where he resided, was so struck with his appearance and solicitations, that he took him under his protection, and opened the way for him into the church. Having become a monk, he rose rapidly by various preferments, till he became cardinal, and finally pope. In the latter capacity he became celebrated for his reformation of abuses, impartiality in the administration of justice, and generosity in patronizing learning and the arts. He died in 1590.

KING CYRUS, a gardener.—When Lysander, the Lacedaemonian general, brought magnificent presents to Cyrus, the younger son of Darius, who prided himself more on his integrity and politeness than on his rank and birth, the prince conducted his illustrious guest through his gardens, and pointed out to him their varied beauties. Lysander, struck with so fine a prospect, praised the manner in which the grounds were laid out, the neatness of the walks, the abundance of fruit planted with an art which knew how to combine the useful with the agreeable; the beauty of the parterres, and the glowing variety of flowers, exhaling odours throughout the delightful scene. “Everything charms and transports me in this place,” said Lysander to Cyrus; “but what strikes me most is the talent,taste, and industry of the man who planned these gardens.” Cyrus replied, “drew the plan, marked out the ground, and many of the trees which you see were planted by my own hands.” “What!” exclaimed Lysander, with astonishment, and viewing Cyrus from head to foot, “is it possible that, with these purple robes and splendid vestments, those strings of jewels, and bracelets of gold, those buskins so richly embroidered—is it possible that you should play the gardener, and employ your royal hands in planting trees?” “Does that surprise you?” said Cyrus; “I assure you that, when my health permits, I never sit down to my table without having fatigued myself, either in military exercise, rural labour, or some other toilsome employment, to which I apply myself with pleasure.” Lysander, still more amazed, pressed Cyrus by the hand, and said, “You are truly happy, and deserve your high fortune, since you unite it with virtue.”

ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, a happy imitator of the old Scotch ballads, and a man of various talents, was the son of a gardener, and was born at Blackwood, near Dalswinton, Dumfriesshire, in the year 1784. Mr. Cunningham had few advantages in his early days, unless it might be the residence in a fine pastoral and romantic district, then consecrated by the presence and genius of Burns. He was at first apprenticed to an uncle, as a mason. In 1810 he came to London, and his name first appeared in print as a contributor in the collection of Cromek’s “ Remains of Niths-dale and Galloway Song.” This collection, though purporting to be Nithsdale and Galoway relics, was entirely recast, and much of it written by Allan Cunningham. For some time after his arrival in London, he maintained himself by reporting for newspapers, and contributing to periodicals, especially the London Magazine. In 1814 he entered the workshop of Chantrey, the sculptor; and the situation he obtained in his studio, as clerk of the works, enabled him to prosecute his literary taste without hazard. Besides his poetical and other works, he contributed to Murray’s Family Library, “The Lives of Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects,” in six volumes, and completed, just two days before his death, the Life of Sir David Wilkie, in three volumes. He died on the 29th October, 1842, aged 58.

JAMES DICKSON, a botanist, a native of Scotland, commenced life as a working gardener, and rose by his own exertions. He was one of the founders of the Linnaean Society, and a vice-president of the Horticultural Society. Besides several papers in the “Transactions” of these societies, he is the author of “Fasciculi Quatuor Plantarum Cryptogamicarum Britannise.” He died in London, in 1822.

ROBERT FORTUNE, a living author and botanist, was born in the county of Berwick, about 1813. Sprung from the border peasantry, and educated on the rough benches of a village school in the Merse, he early exhibited the spirit of perseverance which has rendered his labours so useful and important. With industry and intelligence for his heritage, he selected horticulture for his occupation ; and, after some preparatory training, obtained employment in the botanical gardens of the Scottish capital, from which he was promoted to a post in the gardens at Chiswick. In his new sphere he acquitted himself with so much credit, that in 1842, when news of peace with China reached England, the Botanical Society of London appointed him its collector of plants in Northern China. While there, besides collecting and sending home some of the choicest plants that ever reached this country, he familiarized himself, with all the zest of an enterprising traveller, with the varieties of Chinese life, which he gave to the world on his return to England in his “Three Years’ Wanderings in China.” This book attracted much attention, and its author, while acting as curator of the physic garden, at Chelsea, was, in 1848, entrusted by the East India Company, with a mission to make investigations respecting the tea plant. After an absence of more than three years, Mr. Fortune again set foot on the shores of England; but on giving to the public his valuable work entitled, “Two Visits to the Tea Countries of China,” he sailed forth once more, to pursue his adventurous career, and prosecute his scientific researches. Occasional glimpses of him may be had meantime in his too unfrequent communications to the “Athenaeum.”

Gardening is excellent employment for the sedentary person. The celebrated Boerhaave was exceedingly fond of this relaxation. President Dwight, the great theologian and scholar, attributed much of his mental vigour to daily labour in his garden.

It is in small things that brotherly kindness and charity chiefly consist. Little attentions; trifling, but perpetual acts of self-denial; a minute consultation of the wants and wishes, taste and tempers, of others; an imperceptible delicacy in avoiding what will give pain;—these are the small things that diffuse peace and love wherever they are exercised, and which outweigh a thousand acts of artificial civility.

God might have made the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small—
The oak tree, and the cedar tree,
Without a flower at all.
He might have made enough, enough,
For every want of ours.
For luxury, medicine, and toil,
And yet have made no flowers.

Our outward life requires them not,
Then wherefore had they birth?
To minister delight to man—
To beautify the earth;
To whisper hope, to comfort man,
Whene’er his faith is dim;
For whoso careth for the flowers,
Will care much more for him.

Mary Howitt.


In the garden the mechanic finds a sort of relief from his toils of mind, which he can nowhere else find so cheaply. Let it not be thought strange that I speak of toils of mind. Every physician knows that it is the jaded mind, no less than the jaded body, which brings to his house the pale and tremulous working-man. This may be seen in comparing different trades. The house carpenter, who works here and there, in every variety of situation, and most of all in the open air, or the well-ventilated shed, shows a very different complexion from the tailor, the shoemaker, or the printer, who tasks himself from morning to night in the same spot. No man is called upon to spend all his hours at one sort of work. He who does so, works too much, and injures both mind and body. We all need elbow-room, resting-places, and breathing-times, in every part of the journey of life.

“Ay, but I am already behind-hand, and I must husband every moment to bring up arrears.”

Perhaps so; and this is only an evidence of bad management somewhere, in time past. Necessity has no law; but you ought to plan such a life as, by the blessing of Providence, may keep the wolf away from the door, and not leave you the prey of urgent necessity. You have already lost days by ill health; and this ill health was brought on by neglect of the laws of your animal economy; for one of these fundamental laws is, that a machine, always running in gear, and never oiled nor refitted, must go to pieces. Take your spade and hoe, and rake, and come with me into your garden.

“I have no garden.”

No garden! why, what is that little enclosure, which I see behind your cottage?

“O, it was once a garden—but—but—.”

Yes, I see how it is; it was once a garden, but you have made it a rubbish heap. See there, your cow is actually devouring a row of good spinach, this instant. Yes, yes— where your garden should be, you have a vile hog-stye; and there is your swill-tub dripping away in the prettiest corner of your yard.

“Why, to be sure, we have let matters go rather at sixes and sevens at the back here; my wood and coal are thrown over the fence, and we have chopped our fuel in the old garden path; but then nobody ever comes to see this part of the establishment.”

Surely, your wife and children see it; you see it yourself; I am afraid you would never wash your face, if no one were to see you. This will never do. Take your spade and come out of this stupor.

“To tell you the truth, I have no spade.”

The more shame for you! Then throw off that apron, and go with me to the hardware shop, and I will pick you a good one, and we will get Burney to sharpen it, and go to work.

“I feel weary and dull—-I have a headache from leaning over my work so long; I am not fit to dig.”

Yes, you are dull enough; and duller yet you will be, unless you amend your ways. Your skin is dry and sallow; your eyes are heavy; you are getting a sad stoop in your shoulders; you are not the active, cheerful man you once were. In fact, you are this moment ten years older than you have any right to be.

“I know it—-I know it! My wife has said so every day for a twelvemonth. I know it-—but what can I do? I have eaten half a hundred of bran bread; I have taken three boxes of pills.”

Miserable man! I wonder you are not a great deal worse than you are.

“But, dear sir, what must I do?”

Do! Take your spade, as I have been telling you. Here, I will show you how to begin. You have a very decent plot there; only it has seven or eight boards off the fence.

“Yes, they have been coming off all the winter.”

And you have slept over it all this time! Call out your lads for five minutes. John, run to Mr. Deal’s for his saw. Jacob, pull out that pile of old boards from under the wheelbarrow; I’ll take my coat off, and if your strength allows, perhaps you had better take yours off too. We shall have this breach stopped in ten minutes, if you can produce a handful of nails.

“Well, Mr. Quill, I really never thought of this way before!”

I should like to know what other way there is!

“Off coat, and at it,” is the only way I am acquainted with.

“Now you have the fence up, what next?”

Clear away this rubbish. Rake together these stalks of last year’s weeds, and burn them. Gather out the thousand and one sticks, and stones, and old shoes. Get a bit of old cord, and mark out some walks. Furnish yourself with tools, and begin to-morrow morning by sunrise to dig up the ground. I will be ready to give you seeds and plants; and by this day week, my word for it, you will show some circulation in your wan cheeks, and not look so black under the eyes. The only pity is, that you should not have had your peas and beans in ten days ago ; but better late than never.

When God made man, he placed in his hand the spade and pruning hook. When God restored man to the beautiful earth, after the flood, he promised not to curse the ground any more, and to give seed-time and harvest as duly as day and night. When God spoke to man, he condescended to use the language of the gardener; for the gentlest invitations and incitements of Holy Writ come to us breathing the odours of the “rose of Sharon,” “the fig-tree and the vine,” and the “lily of the valley.” And I am fain to believe that in the cool morning hour, when, with devout thankfulness, the father of an humble family, with his little ones about him, blithely tills his plot of ground, training his fruit-trees, and watering his tender herbs, God often condescends in the secrecy of a heart brought into harmony with nature, to whisper words of sweetest grace.

I entreat my friends of the labouring classes to cultivate the earth, and take advantage of every little nook of ground about their dwellings. Flowers are the gems of the soil; we ought to nurture, to gather, and to enjoy them. I shrink from the man who has outlived his early love of flowers. Better have a gay garden than a gay parlour; better keep a bed of tulips than a horse and chaise.

“When ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely; as if gardening were the greater perfection.” So saith my Lord Bacon.



O true British goodwife, a word in your ear.
To help your home-comfort and gladden its cheer.
That husband, and children, and neighbours, and you.
May all be more happy, and tender, and true.

When marriage bloom’d first in the garden of bliss,
God led up to Adam an Eve such as this—
A woman obedient, gentle, and wise,
A wife full of love in her heart and her eyes!

And some such there be in all stations and ranks,
For whom their glad husbands give Providence thanks;
The Queen of three kingdoms and factory Jane
Make Edens of Windsor and Lilliput Lane.

But, woe! that corruption, which ruins us all,
Has dropt in the honey-cup wormwood and gall—
That many an Adam and many an Eve
In hot married misery grumble and grieve!

I wot there be women that quarrel and scold,
And rage in their room like the wolf in the fold,—
I wot there be men that are brutal and base.
And homes that are homes of despair and disgrace!

And many a Workman will wearily come
From the toils of the day to a curse-stricken home,
Where worries and jealousies, temper, and tongue.
Like adders and brands, on his pillow are flung!

And often, O horror! the demon of drink
Drops in to allure to the precipice-brink,
Till brutalized husband and termagant wife
Arouse the whole lane with their murderous strife.

O touch not, O taste not! let bitterness cease!
Make home, better housewife, the palace of peace;
Let order, and comfort, and quiet be there,
And cheerful contentment and charity fair;

Then, credit me, goodwife, no husband will lack
Of kindness or truth, if you so win him back;
If homes are made happy by wives with a will,
Then husbands are Adams in Paradise still!


We wept—’twas Nature wept—but Faith
Can pierce beyond the gloom of death,
And in yon world of joy and peace
We know all sin and trouble cease!
We miss thee here, yet Faith would rather
Behold thee with thy Heavenly father.
Nature sees the body dead —
Faith beholds the spirit fled;
Nature stops at Jordan’s tide—
Faith beholds the other side;
That but hears farewell, and sighs,
This, thy welcome in the skies;
Nature mourns a cruel blow—
Faith assures it is not so:
Nature never sees thee more—
Faith hut sees thee gone before:
Nature tells a dismal story—
Faith has visions full of glory;
Nature views the change with sadness—
Faith contemplates it with gladness;
Nature murmurs—-Faith gives meekness,
“Strength is perfected in weakness;”
Nature writhes, and hates the rod—
Faith looks up and blesses God;
Sense looks downwards—Faith above;
That sees harshness—this sees love.
Oh let Faith triumphant be—
Because thou liv’st eternally!
But thou art gone! not lost, but flown,
Shall I then ask thee back, my own?
Back—and leave thy spirit’s brightness?
Back—and leave thy robes of whiteness?
Back—and leave thine angel mould!
Back—and leave those streets of gold?
Back—and leave the Lamb who feeds thee?
Back—from founts to which He leads thee?
Back—and leave thy Heavenly Father?
Back—to earth and sin?—Nay rather
Would I live in solitude!
I would not ask thee if I could;
But patient wait the high decree.
That will my spirit bring to thee.

A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, and not with the wind. Even a head-wind is better than none. No man ever worked his passage anywhere in a dead calm. Let no man wax pale, therefore, because of opposition. Opposition is what he wants, and must have, to be good for anything. Hardship is the native soil of manhood and self-reliance.
NEHEMIAH PLEDGING the people to observe the sabbath. See Nehemiah viii.

MOSES reproving the sabbath gatherers of manna. See Exodus.

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It was with a strange feeling, half of fear and half of curiosity, that Patty left the workhouse for her first place. She had hear terrible stories of cruel treatment to helpless young servants, and yet the thought of earning her own living strengthened her heart as she rode along to her destination for the grocer who had the contract for supplying the workhouse, had kindly given her a lift in his cart, and dropped her at the door of her new abode. It was a numerous household that little Patty came to serve. There were six children under ten years of age, their father and mother, and a young man in the shop, the nephew of the master Patty soon saw that the person who worked the hardest, both in the house and the shop was the mother. From morning till night she was always toiling, and her looks were so worn and anxious, that it was easy to see she had some secret source of sorrow that preyed upon her and made life a hard struggle. The master was a very easy-going man, and much more generally liked than his wife. He seemed to have two distinct characters, like two coats, one for out-door and one for in-door wear. Out, he was reckoned a cheerful companion, and much sought after by the choice spirits, as they called themselves, of the town. Every evening this man, Mr. Vineer, was to be seen in the parlour of “The Friend and Pitcher,” where his song, his joke, his bet, and his opinion were sure to be well received by the group of topers and smokers who took up their evening quarters there. At home, Mr. Vineer was either dull or fretful, always complaining and never pleased; he lounged in the shop, and dosed at his desk, and his conversation, if such it might be called, was made of yawning and grumbling. For an hour in the afternoon, when the letters had to be stamped, he generally made a great bustle, and wrangled with his wife. Meanwhile, Mrs. Vineer was scraping and saving with the right hand of toil, that her husband might scatter with the left hand of waste. Jasper Smug, the nephew, in reality managed the business, and as he knew the importance he was of, he contrived to let his aunt feel that he was a very indispensable person. And while he exacted from her great and constant assistance in the shop, he planned that all the most important part of ordering and arranging should be his. Mr. Vineer was not an early riser, and, as he disliked the noise of children, he always had his breakfast and his newspaper at half-past nine, when four out of the six little ones were gone to school. Jasper Smug contrived to be so busy in the shop previously, that he came in for his morning meal just after the master had risen from breakfast, and lounged into the shop; so that Patty found a house, where, without any comfort, meals were always on the table, and yet, poor as her fare had been in the workhouse, it was Worse here. It is strange that mothers who are full of kindness and consideration for their own children, and who, in the main are not hard-hearted women, so often forget that young servants are ever tired. Patty was up the first in the morning, making the fires and clearing up the house; then she had to wash the children and get them ready for school, and to run errands, nurse, and’ clean all the day long, and until late in the evening, and when, at length, she sat down for a minute she would be so drowsy, that she often dropped asleep eating a bit of bread; and then if she was found dozing, Mrs. Vineer would say, “Patty! you have one great fault, you are a very drowsy girl;” and Jasper Smug whose nature it was to delight in having something to torment, gave her a nickname of “Humpy-dosey,” and thought himself so very witty in having made that name, that he repeated it to all his companions, who thoughtlessly caught it up, and so our little Patty was not only hard-worked but laughed at. The words of her old friend in the workhouse, came to Patty’s mind, “Though you have no friend on earth you have a friend in heaven.” This had taken root in her heart, and often when she went crying to her hard bed, the thought of the “Father of the Fatherless,’ came into her lonely soul and comforted her.

When she had been about two months in her place, she was roused to observation by a strange circumstance. One night, when she was sleeping the heavy sleep of exhaustion, she was suddenly awakened by a noise in her little room, and as she opened her eyes, at first without any distinct consciousness, gradually, she thought she saw jasper Smug get in at the window, and pass through the chamber, out on to the stairs. As soon as she could recall her thoughts, she felt sure it was not a dream, and she rose, went on the stairs and listened; she was certain she heard the creak of a stealthy tread in Smug’s room. But her fear of him was so great that she retreated to her bed, and after lying for an hour or more sleepless, she rose earlier than usual, and her first care on getting down was to look at her window on the outside. The room she slept in was a little lean-to chamber over a shed at the side of the house. And she noticed that there were footmarks on the mould of the little garden-patch that surrounded the shed, and scratches in the wall as of some one having climbed up. While she was looking- at this, she was frightened to notice Jasper coming towards her with a spiteful look. “You careless creature,” said he, “what have you done with the house door key? I saw you take it out of the door last night.”

Patty, aghast, said truly, “I never touched the key.”

“You’re so sleepy and stupid,” he replied, “you never know over night what you do. I’m sure I saw you take it, and I thought aunt sent you for it.”

In vain she repeated she had never touched it; he still, while pretending to look for it, accused her. At length she said, quite innocently, “Please was you looking for the key in the night, when you got through the window of my room?”

“What’s that you say?” exclaimed Jasper, coming close up to her with a savage expression of face. “I get through your room! you say that again if you dare, that’s all!”

“Why I’m sure I saw you as I woke out of my sleep,” said she, “only I wasn’t enough awake to speak.”

“You!” said he, bursting into a taunting laugh, “you, Humpy-dosey! that’s hardly awake now? you pretend that anything woke you, indeed! why a cannon-ball wouldn’t wake you. You’ve been dreaming—but mind, I advise you, don’t you dream about me, and pretend such stuff because you’ve lost the house-key, or I’ll have you turned out. You or I shall go.”

So saying, he turned into the garden, and Patty saw him digging round some roots just where the foot-marks had been.

It was in vain Patty protested her innocence of the loss of the key; the assertion of Jasper that he saw her take it was believed, and Mrs. Vineer, though she did not think patty meant to do anything wrong, believed that in a drowsy way, she had fetched it and put it in some place she had now forgotten. From that time, either Patty got used to the work, or she grew stronger, or her faculties were rendered active by the belief that something wrong was going on, and a desire to find out Jasper’s doings.

A fortnight after the incident related, Patty had been walking in the fields with the children, when she saw a boy crossing the field path that she knew was her brother Tom. It was a great pleasure to her to see him but Tom would not tell her what had brought him there. He was very dirty and ragged but looked strong and well. He said the younger children were ill, and that the father drank as much as ever, and then with a hop, skip, and a jump, he scampered off towards the town. As Patty looked after him, she thought what a good thing it would be, if so strong and hardy a boy would go to sea in a merchant ship, for she felt sure he would come to harm idling about, and though Tom had been a tyrant to her, yet she had a sister’s love for him. But yet how was she to help him when all her hard work scarcely procured food and raiment for herself?

That night one of the children was troublesome, and Patty sat in the room with it until it fell asleep. The window looked into the street, and she saw her brother Tom waiting and watching at the opposite corner. Soon after, she noticed her master going with a languid step towards “The Friend and Pitcher,” and then Tom darted across and entered the shop, as she thought. Presently after, she noticed him carrying a heavy bundle, recross the road, and go down the street opposite that led to the beach. Patty was certain that something very wrong was going on, and in her great grief for her brother she felt an impulse to run out of the house and fetch him back, or watch him; her mistress’s voice however recalled her to the fact that she must not run out without asking leave. Mrs. Vineer was sorting some damaged stationery in the shed at the back, and when she called Patty, she gave her a note and sent her to “The Friend and Pitcher,” to give it to her master, and wait an answer. It was a long run for her, and after she gave it, she stood waiting near the bar for a considerable time, until, indeed, she thought herself forgotten; she observed a passageway at the side of the house that seemed a short cut to the beach, and was, in consequence, a much frequented thoroughfare. After a long waiting the pot-boy came to her, and said, “ There’s no answer, your master ai’nt a coming home yet.”

With this unsatisfactory result she set off home, and caught sight of her brother Tom running through the passage. He passed her in his haste, but she kept up with him, and saw him turn down a dark entry to a low court. She followed, and hid herself under the door-way of a house that opened into the court, and she noticed Tom peeping and looking up and down. Presently her heart beat quick, for Jasper Smug stepped into the court, and stood just before her; she saw Tom put some silver into his hand and say “They’ve got paper and stationery enough, they can’t do with any more—oh! and here’s the door-key you left t’other night, behind there.”

“Well! that’ll do, and now you be off, there’s a shilling for you, and mind you come and wait about at dusk, and I may often have a job for you.”

So saying, they separated, and Patty crept out of her hiding place, returned home, fully resolved to tell her mistress about the key, and not knowing what to make of the parcel and money her brother had charge of. She entered the house at the back door, and noticed that her mistress had been crying.

“How long you have staid, where’s your master?”

Patty told her unsuccessful errand, and cleared her husky throat to tell the rest, when Mrs. Vineer hastily desired her to go to bed, and, as Patty turned to leave the room, she saw her poor mistress sink into a chair, bury her face in her hands and sob bitterly.

During that night, sound as Patty slept, she was disturbed. She heard passionate words — and heavy sobs — and a great struggling going on in the house; the next morning she noticed Mrs. Vineer had her arm in a sling, and her face tied up, and she heard Jasper Smug tell a customer that his aunt had missed her footing, and fallen down stairs. Patty thought, however, that “ The Friend and Pitcher,” and the jocose Mr. Vineer, who was such good company, had more to do with the matter than the stairs; and she was right. Yes, it’s not the poor battered women who appear at police offices, that are the only, or the worst sufferers from the brutality of drunken husbands—-many a breaking heart never reveals its sorrows, or its wrongs; and Mrs. Vineer was one of these silent sufferers, of whom there is a great multitude.

This event, and the compassion it excited, drove the history of the street door key out of Patty’s head, but she felt wretched; and when, as it was the children’s half-holiday, she went into the fields with them, and they strayed about finding wild flowers, Patty sat down at the side of the hedge and thought of her mistress and her brother, until the tears fell fast down her cheeks.

“Holloa my lass! what’s the matter?” said the cheery voice of a stout respectable sea-faring man, who came into the field since Patty had been lost in thought. The manner of the stranger seemed to compel reply.

“Please sir, I was crying about my brother.”

“What of him, girl, is he sick?”

“No, sir; but he has no work, and no mother to teach him to be good; and I am afraid sir, while he’s idle he’ll do some bad thing.” The secret of poor Patty’s heart was out now, and she trembled and wept more than ever.

“Where is he? Would he go to sea. Is he a shrimp of a thing, like you?” said the stranger.

“Oh sir! he’s a deal bigger than me, and yet he’s two years younger, and if you would take him I’m sure, that is, I think, he’d be glad to go.”

“Well! you’re a brave little piece of goods,” was the reply, as he fumbled in his pocket and gave her out a card. “Tell him to come to me there, and I’ll see what can be done.

“To think of her crying, not about herself, but about her brother! Well, there’s nobody in the world left, now, to shed a tear about Jacob Drift,” muttered the stranger as he sauntered off.

In an hour after, the falling dews warned Patty to collect her charge and return home. When she reached the shop, the first person she saw was the stranger who had spoken to her, and whose name on the card she saw was Mr. Drift. He was inquiring about, two letters he had sent, directed to Mrs. Drift, Blue Anchor Lane, that had each contained money, and to neither of which, had he ever received any reply. Nor had he been able to find out the person they were addressed to, for some new docks had been built on the house where she had lived, and all trace of her was lost. Jasper Smug, however, said he clearly remembered a young farmer looking man coming for the letters, and taking them both away.

That evening, Patty caught a glimpse of Tom lounging about in the dusk, and she told her mistress she saw her brother, and asked leave to speak to him. Taking him a little distance from the house, with an earnestness of entreaty that struck home to the boy’s heart, she told him of the offer, and gave him the card of Mr. Drift, who was master of a vessel that traded to St. Michael’s for fruit. “Tom, you’ll be ruined if you stay here; that Smug’s a bad young man—he toll’s lies, Tom—and so he can’t be honest and right—now do go out of his wicked way, that’s a dear boy, do, for poor mother’s sake.” Tom was moved, he promised in his rough way, and Patty had the comfort of seeing him go off to Mr. Drift’s lodgings.

On her return, a great surprise awaited her.

A policeman and two gentlemen were in her master’s shop, and a cab was at the door, round which a crowd was gathered—she was just in time to see her master and his nephew given up to the police, and hurried off in the cab, on charge of robbing the post office. Before she recovered her surprise, the cab drove away — and the empty shop, and desolate house, rang with the shrieks of the heart-broken mother and her affrighted little ones.

(To be continued.)
With Illustrated cover and upwards of 120 engravings, may now be had, price 1s. 6d. We hope that this first yearly part will have a place in many Reading-rooms, Railway Stations, Barbers’ Shops, &c.

Just published,
(By the Editor of the British Workman.
In five yearly parts, price one shilling each, or, in one volume, price 5s., gilt edged, 6s. 6d.
“The best Picture Book we know.—Mother’s Friend.

Ye birds that fly through the field and air,
What lessons of wisdom and truth ye bear:
Ye would teach our souls from the earth to rise;
Ye would bid us all grovelling scenes despise.
Ye would tell us that all its pursuits are vain,
That pleasure is toil—ambition is pain,
That its bliss is touch’d with a poisoning leaven,
Ye would teach us to fix our aim in heaven.

Beautiful birds of lightsome wing,
Bright creatures that come with the voice of spring,
We see you arrayed in the hues of the morn,
Yet ye dream not of pride, and ye wist not of scorn;
Though rainbow splendour around you glows,
Ye vaunt not the beauty which nature bestows;
Oh! what a lesson of glory are ye,
How ye preach the grace of humility.

Swift birds, that shine o’er the stormy deep,
Who steadily onward your journey keep,
Who neither for rest nor for slumber stay,
But press still forward by night or day—
As in your unwearying course ye fly
Beneath the clear and unclouded sky,
Oh! may we, without delay, like yon,
The path of duty and right pursue.

Sweet birds that breathe the spirit of song,
And surround Heaven’s gate in melodious throng,
Who rise with the earliest beams of day,
Your morning tribute of thanks to pay,
You remind us that we should likewise raise
The voice of devotion and song of praise;
There’s something about you that points on high.
Ye beautiful tenants of earth and sky.

Uncorrected OCR-PAGE 68



By Dr. BAKER, Inspector of Factories, Leeds.
(Continued from page 62.)

It’s nobbut a Minute.

How commonly we say that, without much regarding: whether it is a minute of our own, or a minute of any body else’s; and yet, whosoever it is, we have no right to waste it or despise it.

Minutes are the sands of life running through the hour-glass of time, and are, therefore, of all things the most precious. Once gone, they are always gone; and every beat of the clock ticks time into eternity, and adds to the sum of human knowledge, human happiness, human misery, life and death. “To-day is yesterday’s pupil, and has only twenty-four hours in which to make great advances;” and, “Time is a file, which is perpetually rubbing off all our sharp edges,” and that so inaudibly that we are generally unaware of what he is doing.

Let us calmly look at a life of seventy years. It is made up of 37,000,000, of minutes, to give it its fullest amount of measure. These drop away at the rate of sixty in an hour, and steadily go on, night and day, summer and winter, without let or hindrance. But do not let us suppose that we ever have the full and actual employment, so to speak, of these 37,000,000 of minutes! On the contrary, 5,000,000 of these minutes are expended before any contribution of ours is worth anything to society, and before, therefore, we can be said to have been of much use. This is at the beginning of life; at the close, 5,000,000 are all that are left to us, when the wine is run out, and nothing but the lees remain; when civilized society tolerates us only for the past, and when we have to be indebted to natural affection to lay us gently down, instead of leaving us to be pushed down. 12,000,000 of these minutes bubble away whilst we are asleep—dead, in fact, to active life—and being refreshed for new exertions. Lastly, there are only 15,000,000 left for active exertion, deep reflection, anxious care, honour, greatness, or struggling dependence in this life, and in preparation for another.

But even from these last 15,000,000 of minutes, we have still some further deductions to make. We must take 5,000,000 for eating, drinking, dressing, and undressing, and holidays; so that there remains but a small proportion of the whole sum of human life in which we have to learn, on any subject that we choose to study, what everybody has known before, or to do, what everybody else has done, before we can originate a new idea, or develop a single improvement worthy of a name. We began with 37,000,000 of minutes, and we end with 10,000,000. Alas!

It’s nobbut a Minute.

Let us value the time of a professional man, who makes a clear thousand a year by his practice. Say that he works from ten to four every day; every minute of his that you occupy, is worth twopence and a fraction. Can you wonder, then, that if you make an unusually long and perhaps an unnecessary call on such a one, at the end of the year you are presented with a long bill.

But take another instance; in many parts of Yorkshire as many as forty, fifty, sixty, or one or two hundred persons are employed in a room, at an average wage, say, of eight shillings per person. If we reckon the sixty persons at an average wage of eight shillings, the wages per week come to £24 for the work of sixty-two hours, or seven and nine-pence an hour.

But the value of the time to the employer, who has to make a profit of it, in return for the risk he runs, and the capital he employs, may be three times that sum, or £1 3s. 3d., depending entirely upon the quantity of production made by the punctual employment of every minute of every person engaged. The loss of a minute, therefore, a day, to the employer, by all the persons employed, would be £1 3s. 3d.; of a minute every day in the week, of £6 19s. 6d.; of a minute a day every day in the week throughout the year £362 14s.

So, you see how it is that time is money to the master. We shall shortly see also, how it may be money to the workman.

We are indebted to Miss Landon for the saying, “that a minute taken from the life of every person, and added together, would make an age.” When, therefore, you are consuming your own time in useless conversation with another person, spare his courtesy the pain of telling you, that you are dribbling away a precious part of that 10,000,000 of minutes of his, on which you can have no possible claim; and remember, that if you have nothing to do, perhaps he has, and give him the opportunity of doing it.

And how many of you sell your time, and receive compensation for it, at so much an hour, for so many hours daily? Well, after these hours are over, there are still more which remain to you before the day is done, which, if you like, you may still further dispose of.

“Oh,” I fancy I hear you say, “what, is it to be all work?”

It must be either work or waste. It may not be the same work. Change of work is the true rest of the mind. The farmer who puts his land to an idle fallow, in order to give it rest, will find before the summer is over, that it is covered with weeds, and that it wont be idle even if he would let it. So with the land, so with the mind; give it change of occupation, and in that way rest it. Simple physical rest is managed by laws, which, in a healthy body, take care of themselves. Thus time is also money to the workman, for he who can earn fivepence an hour for his time, at the rate of ten hours a day, and idles the remaining four, robs himself of twenty pence a day, robs his mind of twenty-penn’orth of improvement, which might otherwise, if he had had it, have served his future purpose, and been of the greatest benefit to him.

It’s nobbut a penn’orth.

Ah! how often have these words been sown, as the seeds of repentance, remorse, and regret; childhood utters them in play, and they are said in earnest in old age.

A penn’orth to-day, will, unless abandoned, become sixpenn’orth by this time next year, a shilling’s worth the year after, and reckless ruin a few years hence.

Tell me, when is it nobbut a penn’orth? Is it in the morning before breakfast, or in the middle of the forenoon, or just by way of a finish after dinner, or with a cosy pipe at night? Where is is it nobbut a penn’orth? Is it in the dram shop at the street corner, in and out like a stealthy coward, through a door that daren’t creak if it would, or through a private entrance round the corner, lest the sun should look upon you, and put you out of countenance? Is it at the workshop among young companions, who look up to you for example, and whose boyish hearts are yearning to look like men, and to copy examples which may give them such a bearing and appearance ? Is it away from the domestic hearth, where there should be solace and sympathy, and self denial, and mutual love ? Are these the gardens of your pleasures, in which the seeds are sown, hereafter to produce such abundant and bitter fruit?

Alas, in too many cases it is even so!

It’s nobbut a penn’orth!

In early life, a young man of cheerful and confiding temperament was apprenticed to a business which threw him in the way of great temptation to drink. At first, little drams were supplied to him till he became inured to them, and in two years he drank spirit of wine, neat. His associates were all of the same congenial character; they, however, all drank brandy and water. Twenty of them sat down in 1821, to brandy, tobacco, and three card loo. In 1826, the first died of brandy and water, and not one of those gay companions lived to be thirty. “It’s nobbut a penn’orth!”

What volumes might be written of families disinherited, hopes destroyed, laws broken, punishments awarded, by the beginning of a penn’orth!

There was an old soldier in one of the midland counties, who, at the age of thirty-six began to drink gin and water; at forty, he drank a bottle of gin a day, and smoked sundry pipes of tobacco; and during the day he also had sundry glasses of ale and wine. He died at sixty-six, and reckoning the ale and wine as a bottle of gin, on the days when his gin was out, it was computed that he had, in the last twenty-six years of his life, drunk twenty-eight hogsheads, or between fourteen and fifteen hundred pounds worth of spirits, independent of tobacco! At 30, he was a staid and sober man, and a poor man, who had never been known to taste spirit in his life. First he took to penn’orthing, and these brought him up to the mark, when he became rich, and that which was only a drop at first became an ocean.

But see what the saving of a pipe and a pot will do for a family: He who drinks but one pint of beer a day, and smokes but one pipe of tobacco, wastes that which would have educated six children in any of the best national schools of the country, schools of which any age of the world might have been proud—and the learning acquired in them would have built up for those children houses of adamant, solid and imperishable ; whilst he who drinks water drinks that which never yet made a man sick, nor in debt, nor his wife a widow, nor his children beggars.

It’s nobbut once!

Well, if it were “nobbut once,” we shouldn’t so much mind; but the great danger is, of its being once and always.

Mark the proverbs which indicate the danger.

“Once a case, and always a custom.”

“In for a penny, in for a pound.”

“Try a hair of the same dog as bit him.”

“He who has done ill once, will do it again.”

And scores of others of the same kind.

What is it that’s “nobbut once?”

Is it a debt, a slander, a theft, or a quarrel?

Let the debtor remember, that once in debt, he is no more a freeman, for “Happy is he that owes nothing,” and he who puts by, every night, a penny over and above his expenditure, is on the high road to independence and liberty.

Is it a slander?

What have you to do with another person’s affairs? There is a passage among the sayings of the wisest of men, which it will only be necessary to quote.

“Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought, and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber, for a bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall carry the matter.”

Is it a theft?

Do you remember the story of the boy who stole the horn-book at school, and who taking it home to his mother, so far from being reproved by her, was rather commended, in that he had saved her the cost of buying one. When, however, he was about to be hanged in later life, for a theft of a higher character, he wished to whisper to his mother before he was turned off, and in so doing, bit off her ear, saying to her these words, “ If you had corrected me when I was young for stealing the horn-book, I should not now have disgraced your old age by ending my life on a scaffold.”

Thieving, like debt, begins with the merest trifles ; and many a man owes to his schoolboy days the propensities of his after-life— it may be “ nobbut once,” but what care it requires to combat and antagonize that once. In fact, there are few things more important than an inquiry into the little possessions of our children, which we have not given to them ourselves; where they got them, and how they came by them ; and there is more difficulty in accomplishing a voluntary restoration of such things, than in providing substitutes. In fact, “nobbut once,” unheeded, leads to many a time, and many a time is a habit which is all but incurable 1 Thank God it is not all out, as the following instance will show. There is at present going on in society an attempted reformation if criminal offenders, which as an experiment is one of the most interesting, as well as one of the most philanthropic that can be imagined.

In one of the prisons of the south of England, in 1855, a benevolent magistrate, greatly interested himself in this important work. He practically knew, that human nature may be found in a barbarous state, even in the midst of civilized life, but still be susceptible of cultivation, and by cultivation, of higher perception, even though these may be a long way off from the average standard of human excellence.

So he made it his business to visit prisons; set up for himself a reformatory institution; expended upon it £300 a year of his own, and adopted, as it were, any felon on whom he imagined a benefit might tell.

It chanced, among other persons, that there was committed to one of the prisons to which he had access, an offender, incorrigible by any of the punishments which can be awarded by the law; a man who had never known an industrious life, who was from birth a thief, and who had spent the greater part of his life in prisons. To him he addressed i himself one day, casually asking him what he would do for a living if he were liberated.

“Do, sir,” said the thief, “do, sir; steal, nothing else.”

“What,” said the magistrate, “is that all you could do? were you never taught a trade?”

“Trade, sir, living, sir—never! I never knew what it was to do anything but steal, I was born a thief!”

“Well, and are you not tired of it? would you not like to know a trade, whereby to earn an honest livelihood like other men, instead of being hunted down everywhere as you now are?”

The poor fellow looked the magistrate in the face very earnestly, and said, “Sir, sir, I would give anything, do anything of which I am capable, to know the smallest means of honest labour!”

“Listen to me, my friend,” said the magistrate, “I have an institution, in which such persons as you are taught a trade, and hereafter to live by their own exertions. But there is a condition attached which must be by no means violated; if that is broken, the candidate is reconveyed to his cell, and no further attempts are made for his recovery.” “And what, sir, is that condition?” inquired the robber.

“It is simply this,” replied the magistrate, “that you will be removed to another room, the door of which will be left unfastened, there you will be fed on bread and water for a fortnight; and you must never pass the threshold of the door till you are permitted. Can you conform to these conditions, do you think?”

“Willingly, sir, most willingly, for two months, if you please, instead of weeks.”

“No,” said the magistrate, “ two weeks will suffice, you shall be tried.” My friends! that unfortunate felon has been tried. He has kept his preliminary conditions well; he has been removed to another room, and is learning a trade, and bids fair to become not only a changed but even an exemplary character.

It’s nobbut once.

Is it a word unkindly spoken, or a quarrel? It has been well said, that there would never be a quarrel, if one side would determine not to be angry. And to me it seems a great folly to be angry with a person who runs against you because he can’t see.

But one quarrel, if not checked, may lead to further outrage; and it is necessary therefore that if once, it should be nobbut once, and even that once should be avoided if possible.

There is a quarrel, which once arising, is productive of endless misery, and that is a quarrel between a man and his wife about money matters, for domestic purposes. When it does begin, it generally commences about the second or third month of matrimony, and is at its height by the seventh, and if once it gets deep root, it is very difficult to eradicate. There is, in fact, only one cure for it, and that is to begin again, and act differently. Let a man calculate his household expenses, just as he likes to live, and can live for a week; then add to that a small sum for wear and tear, and another small sum for sundries and casualties, and give his wife that sum every week, fortnight, or month, as he can afford it or prefers, and never ask her what she does with the overplus, so long as his comforts are attended to. This is the cure for the quarrel to which I have referred.

A woman who confides her happiness to a man, should never be under a suspicion of extravagance or mismanagement, except upon long trial and abundant proof. Trial should always be granted for experimental wisdom, and proof should never be looked for with expectation, for a young wife may not wish to show her ignorance; and as the engagement is for life, it is far wiser to build her a bridge over the river, than to pull her through the water. It must be remembered that a woman has many calls for money, which, though they are too insignificant for a husband’s consideration, they greatly diminish her little means; “ and as a constant dropping wears away a stone,” so, a constant asking for every shilling sours the best of tempers, and eventually leads to the most unfortunate results.

My friends, there should be no slavery at home, whatever there may be abroad; and there is no greater slavery than poverty, and no greater disparity, than a well-to-do husband and a poor wife. In fact, he may be said to have fallen into a happy vein who is himself frugal without being stingy, and who trusts his wife unconditionally, because he has the same opinion of her forethought and prudence that he has of his own. Depend upon it this is a pretty world; but all things go by contrasts in it, and therefore there without, remembering, if he carries then inside with him

“That greater fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs to bite ’em;
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
And so, ad infinitum.

(To be concluded in the next number.)
“Willingly, sir, most willingly, for two months if you please.”