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he may die off like a fly in November and be no more thought of. But only let him do some devil's deed-do a bit of murder as coolly as he 'd pare a turnip and what he says, whether he takes coffee, or brandy-and-water "cold without;" when he sleeps, and when he wakes; and when he smiles, and when he grinds his teeth,—all of this is put down as if all the world went upon his movements, and couldn't go on without knowing 'em. To a man who wants to make a noise, he doesn't care how, all this is very tempting. I hope I mayn't come to be cut in wood, but still one would like to make a rumpus some way before one died.
There's commonly an Old Bailey fashion, the same as a St James's fashion. Just now-as you want to know all the domestic news-poison's carrying everything before it. 'Twould seem as if people suddenly thought their relations rats, and treated 'em accordingly. I never yet tried my hand upon a book, but I do think that I could throw off a nice little story with lots of arsenic in it-a sort of genteel guide to Newgate. I've been reading about a lady, one Tofana, who made a great stir some years ago. She could give arsenic in such a manner that she set people for death as you'd set an alarum. She got a good many pupils, young married ladies, about her, who all of 'em put their husbands aside like an old-fashioned gown. Now, I
do think that a novel called "The Ladies' Poisoning Club," or "Widowhood at Will," would just now make a bit of a stir. I don't mean to say that I could write a book, that is, what folks call write; but I've a knack: I know I could imitate writing, just as an ape imitates a man. The subject grows upon I certainly think I shall make a beginning. However, of this you shall hear more by the next packet. I do think I could make a hit in what I call arsenicated literature. There's arsenicated candles, why shouldn't there be arsenicated books? In haste, your affectionate brother,
P.S.-If I do the book, I shall follow it up with a sort of moral continuation, to be called "The Stomach-Pump."
LETTER VI.-To Mr Jonas Wilcox, Philadelphia.
DEAR BROTHER-IN-LAW,-As my last letter was to sister, it is but fair that you should have the next dose of ink. Well, Parliament's opened; and Sir Robert's made a clean breast of it-that is, if a Prime Minister can do such a thing. There never was such harmony in the House of Com
mons! After Sir Robert had spoken out, you might have thought all the House was holding nothing but a love-feast. I was in the gallery-I won't tell you how I got in-and never saw such a sight in all my life. All the papers, I can't tell why, have oddly suppressed an account of the matter; therefore, what you get from me will be exclusive-from your "own" correspondent. Treasure it accordingly.
When Sir Robert said he should keep on the income-tax for three years longer, almost the whole House fell into fits of delight at his goodness. You might have seen Whig embracing Tory, Radical throwing his arms about the neck of Conservative, and Young England with tears of gratitude rolling like butter-milk down upon his white waistcoat. When Sir Robert had quite finished his speech, there was a shower of nosegays flung upon him from the Treasury benches, just in the same way as now and then you pelt the actors at the playhouses! Sir Robert picked 'em all up, and pressed 'em to his heart, and from the corners of his mouth smiled the thousand thanks. Then sitting down, he very handsomely gave a flower apiece to what he calls his colleagues. He insisted-amidst the cheers of the House-on putting a forget-me-not in the button-hole of Mr Gladstone (who sobbed audibly at the touch of
friendship); and then he handed a lily-as an emblem of the Home Secretary's reputation-to Sir James Graham. At this, I needn't tell you, there were "roars of laughter." To be sure, at this season of the year these flowers were artificial; but for which reason, it was said by somebody, they were more in keeping with Sir Robert's measures. Two or three members-for form's sake-abused the income-tax, but nevertheless said they would vote for it. Lord John Russell called it a shameful, infamous, ignominious, tyrannical, prying impost: he would, however, support it. This is as if a man should denounce another as a coward, a ruffian, and a thief, and then-fold him to his bosom! But they do odd things in Parliament. Sir Robert says we are to have the income-tax for only three years longer. Nonsense! He intends that we should grow with it upon us. He'll no more take it off than a Chinese mother will take off the little shoe that, for the beauty of the full-grown woman, she puts upon the foot of her baby girl. The child may twist, and wriggle, and squall; and the mother may now and then say pretty things—make pretty promises to it to keep it quiet-but the shoe's there for the sufferer's life. Now John Bull-thinks Sir Robert Peel-will move all the better with his foot in the income-tax: all the better too,
because it most galls and crushes a lower member. However, we are to have the duty off glass; which, says Sir Robert, is much better than if the duty were taken off light. It is not for such as me to dispute with a minister, but I can't see how, if I'm to get my house glazed duty free, it's quite as good as if there was no window-tax. To be sure, if a man, as a householder, were to new glaze himself from top to bottom once a quarter, it might be another thing; he might save upon the glass what he now pays for the sun that, in London, tries to come through it. He may certainly afford to have more windows, but will, I say, the saving on the glass pay for the light? Besides, not light alone, but air is paid for. There is at the present time a secret agitation going on among the cats of England. The grievance is this: A man can't make a hole in his house for the cat to pass in and out to mouse or visit, without the said hole being surcharged as a window. This is a wrong done upon the cats of the country; but whether done. out of sympathy with the rats or not, let Sir James Graham answer. However, one comfort will come of cheap glass: folks who choose to visit museums and such public places, may break what they like of the material at a decreased cost, for the pleasure. Before it was bad enough, nothing, according to the law, being worth more than five