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July 1, 1882.]
CINDERELLA DOWN-STAIRS. AFTER telling us about an animal in its wild or natural state, Natural History sometimes adds the characteristics of its domestic condition. In like manner, we have all heard of Cinderella in her natural state, surrounded by the infinite possibilities of a fairy tale ; and also of Cinderella in her domestic state, in which her habits and aspects are somewhat different, and rather more interesting, than those of her former state, because they have the advantage of being real. Cinderella down-stairs has not a bountiful godmother; often the Parish' has been her stepmother, and she is an 'orfling,' like the handmaiden of the distressed Micawbers. She never gets a glass slipper, yet her shoes are transparent enough; and how the other Cinderella ever danced in glass slippers, is a marvel to us, when this poor Cinderella is always breaking glass that nobody touched, by means of an invisible cat that haunts the shelves, as other cats haunt the garden walls. But the domestic Cinderella is, at least in her occupations, like her prototype of the story. She does hard service, and is despised, and sits among the cinders. No godmother, no dressing for a ball, no mouse-horses and walnut-shell carriage, are before her, leading through a bright vista to her destiny and to a Prince with a shining shoe in his hand. This Cinderella has not even heard of fairy transformations; she was never in Fairyland; she was never a child as other children are. Hers is the most unromantic life in the world; she lives down-stairs in unromantic regions of scrubbing and rubbing, and soap and cinders.
The best description of the common domestic Cinderella is of course from the pen that described 'the Marchioness,' and from the hand that was always finding diamonds where we blind folks
chioness in every street of the shabby-genteel districts of all great towns. Tradesmen's wives and lodging-house keepers oppress and are oppressed by a long succession of them; and in the picture of the slavey' of the Dragon of Bevis Marks, lies only the strong-featured portrait of ten thousand elsewhere without the title and the cribbage. The Marchioness', as deftly drawn by Dickens, is an old-fashioned child who must have been at work from her cradle, afraid of a stranger, but cunning and clever 'a small slipshod girl in a dirty coarse apron and bib, which left nothing of her visible but her face and feet: she might as well have been dressed in a violin-case.' She does all the work of the house, is miserably lodged, scantily fed, and treated like a grown-up drudge; as the natural result of which hard treatment she acquires a habit of cooling her eye' at keyholes and generally developing her cunning. But deep down in her heart is a germ of love and selfforgetfulness and homely faithfulness, that the first touch of sympathy rouses into life once and for ever. There is something exquisitely touching in the half-sad, half-comic way in which this slipshod 'slavey,' aproned in her canvas violin-case, becomes an angel unawares. But under many a canvas bib there is a heart that is never found; poor Cinderella remains a cheap automaton; and whether she is a child, or a woman, or a witch, or a mechanical contrivance, there is no time to think, or nobody to care.
"The Marchioness' did not know how old she was; but she was in every way, except growth, an extremely-developed specimen of Cinderella. The age of these wonderful human creatures ranges from eleven to fifteen or sixteen. Most of them have had no household training, and come in the dullness of ignorance and in of miserable homes with the saddest surroundings. utter poverty out of the cheerless 'Union,' or out But the great marvel is-and it is one of the startling marvels that show on the ugly side of human nature-that these old children or diminutive women, whichever you like to call them, are expected to be perfection; and are turned adrift, as if they had come on false pretences, when their deficiencies appear are sent elsewhere for the joltings and hard rubs of life to knock into shape teach and train themselves, if they are not, as their character and acquirements. They are to every proper-minded Cinderella should be, readymade perfection; and if the jolts and hard rubs knock them to pieces, instead of knocking them into shape-again, nobody knows, and nobody cares.
Poor little Cinderella! only hired, and nobody's child. There is no one to believe she is a child at all; no one to care for herself and her future kindness and with patience; no one to remember for her own sake; no one to teach her with that when the cat and the mice cause mysterious disappearances, the fault, and not its doer, ought to be made to disappear; and that even when the china is broken, the ways of the breaker may be mended. Cinderella is at the most tractable age: she is the very same age as the boys and girls at school, or perhaps younger; nor can she be made a woman yet, by any amount of poverty, hurry, and drudgery all the weak through But
all that. Alas! the poor have but short childhood, or none; and Cinderella down-stairs is one of the old children. Pity her, then, the more; and remember, in her provoking failings, that but for her many lifelong miseries, she would be a child; that she sometimes needs rest enjoyment, sympathy; and that when any of us come across her, our kind word will not be thrown away upon the poor little ill-starred girl.
We have more sympathy with Cinderella of the kitchen, notwithstanding her tatters and untaught ways, than with her cousins who get a better start in life, as neat little maids in a nursery, or as the last and least in the divided work of a great house, where little country girls, rosy and fresh, fare plentifully in the servants' hall. Cinderella is much poorer, and often much younger; her life is far more laborious, and has less change or considerate treatment; and she is much more humble and grateful, which, after all, makes the strongest claim on our good-will. For Cinderella, though she grows up to be a SusanJane, seldom has a chance of becoming one of those upper servants who, in common with the gout and the powder-tax, are among the necessary evils of riches. She will never outrage Society by hinting a taste for blue china, or requesting leave of absence to attend a Language-of-Flowers Bee. She will never irritate us with the boast of the lady's-maid, who capped her list of qualifications by remarking that she had always marriedoff her young ladies satisfactory. She will never, in dearth of note-paper, offer her mistress 'a few sheets of mine, mum, if you won't mind using my monnygram,' Nor will she imitate that housemaid, with whose description and parting remark Mr Punch frightened the advertising public: the young person applying for a housemaid's situation where a footman was kep', who objected to children, was engaged to and visited by a most 'spectable young man in The 'Orse Artillery, and had a fortnight's character from her last place-but who, not exactly suiting the advertiser, retired observing: 'I really ham sorry, mum, for I rather like your appearance, mum !'
No; Cinderella down-stairs is not of the species from which these awful beings are selected; she is far more harmless and helpless. She is an overworked, unguarded, unloved specimen of those most pitiable of mortals, the Old Children; and, as such, if we think rightly, most pitiable, and sadly interesting. For every variety of the Old Child is interesting, as every one is pitiable. Of course, it is well for Cinderella down-stairs that she has her woman's work to do and her loveless hire to get; her poverty makes both a boon. But it is ill for her-and the knowledge of it marks a blot in our estimate of human nature— that once she gets into her fiddle-case of a canvas apron and bib, no one believes any more how young she is; and she might as well, for all practical purposes, be like Dick Swiveller's Marchioness, a little patriarch in pattens with no idea of her own age.
considerately taught, forgiven, cared for. down among the cinders. Your sisters are in bright homes, or pleasant school-rooms, or playrooms noisy with laughter. Or some of them, a little older, are thinking of coming out,' dressing gaily, driving to the balls and parties to which no fairy godmother will take you, and at which, indeed, if you were present, poor Cinderella, you would be but a sorry figure! This is every-day life, you see, you wizen-faced child of work; there will be no Prince, and no glass slipper; and if you envy your little sisters their kisses, no one is going to be kind to you; and if you have ever heard of the balls to which your big sisters are going, it is presumption in you to need pleasure of some sort too. You are one of the unchildish children growing into womanhood; and the world assumes, by some odd freak of reasoning, that all unchildish children born to work are able to take care of themselves with impish precocity, the moment they have got out of the cradle and laid hold of the broomstick!
LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.
No. 967.-VOL. XIX.
a daily paper and run his eye down the columns of 'Situations Wanted,' and he will find constantly repeated, 'Gentlewoman by birth,' or 'Widow of a professional man,' seeking for means of earning their daily bread as governesses or companions, and often for less wages than they in their prosperous days would have given to their cook; then let him reflect on the fact that in the vast majority of cases this is the sad result of the neglect of the head of a family to make provision for the future, and surely he will see to it that such a cruel fate shall not befall his own dependents.
Still, there are few men worthy of the name who do not mean to make provision for their children at some future time, and who would not indignantly repudiate the charge of deliberately intending to leave them dependent upon charity. Yet to most men, in the poorer and middle classes at anyrate, it is almost an impossibility to make an adequate provision for anything like a large family by means of simply putting aside a portion of their income, and this even where life is spared to its utmost limit. What we hold is, that no man has a right to be in such a position that were he to be suddenly removed, those remaining would be left destitute. Now, every holder of a life-policy for a reason
The subject of Life Assurance is one which has for over a hundred and fifty years been slowly but surely working its way and gaining ground in our midst. Beginning from the smallest seeds in the seventeenth century, it is now a mighty tree, bearing rich and ripe fruits of comfort and help to thousands. It is pleasing to find that in spite of much apparent extravagance and reck-able sum, has the comfort of reflecting that whatlessness in our present mode of living, this import-ever happen to him, even should he be cut off ant subject is attracting more and more popular suddenly and without warning, there need be no notice and favour. Yet, widespread as is the inte- crushing poverty and bitter struggle to be added rest in this important subject, it is by no means to the inevitable sorrow of bereavement. as universal as it should be, for there are indeed few heads of families who can afford to be indifferent to the possibility of making adequate and immediate provision for those dependent upon them, in case of their sudden removal. With the recent memory of such a catastrophe as that at Vienna, it behoves every man seriously to consider the fact as indisputable, that in the midst of life we are in death, and so to consider it that not a day shall be lost in securing wife and children against the bitter sufferings of grinding
SATURDAY, JULY 8, 1882.
A SAFE INVESTMENT. DURING the last two or three years, the attention of our readers has from time to time been called to the question of Thrift, its encouragements and discouragements. With regard to the subject of hospital relief, we have pointed out the weakness of that easy-going charity which gives indiscriminately, and does not pause to consider that to help the poor to help themselves,' and to teach them the lesson of making provision for a rainy day, is a far higher boon than any amount of mere alms-giving. The Provident Dispensary, which, it is earnestly to be hoped, will in a great measure supersede our present system of free relief, has the unspeakable advantage of inculcating habits of forethought and of preparation for the future. It is the object of the present paper to deal with a kindred question, which should commend itself to the careful consideration of every thoughtful man.
The nature and principles of Assurance may be briefly summed up in the old proverb, Union is strength;' and put into familiar language, may be termed an association of persons agreeing to do in company, what, to the individual alone, would be an impossibility. In every variety of insurance this is accomplished by each member paying a certain sum annually into a general fund, in which capital becomes gradually productive. This is done on the understanding that at some fixed time each will
interest and profit may have accumulated. In Life Assurance gives a decided impetus and
the case of Life Assurance, this fixed time is the help.
uncertain than the time of his death, as regards
This principle of average is by no means
Nor is it possible to exaggerate the difference it will make to a man himself and to those near and dear to him, whether he has been content to take as his motto, 'Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die ;' or whether, looking bravely into the future, he has made such provision as to enable those depending upon him to be at least beyond the reach of want, or better still, to continue their ordinary way of life, should they be left at any time to their own
But, apart from the primary object of making a provision for the future, there are other considerations in reference to this matter of Life Assurance which deserve to be brought forward. It will hardly be denied that of all things which tend to make a man happy and useful, nothing exceeds the formation of good habits-habits that will enable him to possess that greatest of blessings, a healthy mind in a healthy body; and towards this desirable end
In the first place, this act of providing for the future of others is in direct opposition to that natural selfishness which lies at The really selfish man who can see things only the root of so much of the misery of life. through his own spectacles, and who in all he says and does has only the gratification of self
in view, is he not also one of the most miserable
of men? For of all hard and exacting masters, Self is the most tyrannical, and the least easily pleased. Now, when a man comes out of himself sufficiently to look forward into the future for the sake of others, he is surely taking a step in the right direction towards unselfishness and happiness; for it is a distinct law of our nature that these two things shall go together; and if You want to find a truly happy man, look for one who forgets himself in thinking of others. This habit of unselfishness is, to say the least, likely to be encouraged by the keeping up of a life-policy; for it is not a single action performed on the spur of the moment and done with, but a thing to be remembered and provided for; and as each annual payment becomes he does not live for himself alone, and that he due, the man is reminded afresh of the fact that has certain duties in relation to others which he, and he alone, can fulfil.
Another point in connection with this yearly payment is the strong impulse it gives to the cultivation of habits of forethought, economy, and sobriety. In most cases, where the life is will need to be some careful looking forward and assured in a fair proportion to the income, there arranging of ways and means, in order to be able to lay aside the needful sum. And to this end there must be an exercise of that wise economy which is a blessing alike to rich and poor. Unhappily, this virtue is far too rare amongst us as a nation. It is perhaps most palpable in the case of the working-man who eats and drinks away his money whilst he has work, and then But starves in the time of enforced idleness. though most palpable here, it is no worse than the labouring, where the object in life is to pass the case happening constantly in the class above for being richer than is the fact, and where the earnings of the husband are spent in efforts to outshine the neighbours. The same folly may be seen on every hand, and anything that has a tendency to check this spirit, and to make income and expenditure accord, should have a hearty welcome.
the cause of half the misery to be met with is Again, amongst the lower classes especially, in that terrible want of sobriety which spreads ruin and desolation wherever it is found, and in the train of which follows the gloomy list of dishonesty, cruelty, and crime of every kind. Of those who fall under this sad temptation, a very large percentage are led astray through simple carelessness and want of thought. A young man earning good wages sees no reason why he should not do as he likes with his own, and forgets the fact that 'habit becomes second nature,' and cannot be laid aside at will and without a struggle. Now, it is an obvious fact that anything which tends towards making a man
steady and thoughtful, will have a most salutary effect in checking the formation of habits which, merely idle and careless at starting, have in them the germs of every sort of sin and crime. Surely, to face the future in such a manner as to induce
cost of prevention of crime. Meanwhile, we trust that enough has been said to commend the subject to the serious consideration of the thoughtful and unprejudiced reader.
him to provide for it on behalf of those who shall be dependent upon him, will help a man to study economy and thrift, and to shun a course which, at the very least, will drain him of his hardly-earned money, and will give him no chance of preparing for a rainy-day.
Another of the incidental benefits of Life Assur-To ance, and one to be by no means passed over lightly, is its tendency towards the strengthening of those family ties which so greatly sweeten life, and make so sacred the associations and endearments of home.
It is a natural and right instinct which makes us desire the respect and love of those about us, and the man must have sunk low indeed who would deliberately act in such a manner as to lower himself in the eyes of those who ought Yet to look up to him with reverent affection. what shall be said of those who are satisfied to live only for the present, and who are too thoughtlessly selfish to consider the possibilities of the future for those whom they profess to love and cherish? There are men, by the thousand, who seem to forget the fact that wife and children can think and feel for themselves, and that sons and daughters as they grow into men and women, will see through, and value at their true worth vague promises for the future which lead to no definite efforts in the present. On the other hand, it is scarcely possible to act rightly in this matter without much of benefit in the present, as well as of blessing in the future. They will be strange children indeed whose hearts do not warm towards the parent whose love shows itself in deeds as well as in words; and there are few wives who will not cling with a closer affection to the husband who shows himself anxious that she and her children shall never be left destitute, or exposed to the tender mercies of a world so often cold and cruel.
One other personal consideration well deserves mention, and this is the freedom from anxiety which security as to the future brings. There is no more prolific source of premature old age and death than the habit of worry, which in this competitive age is rather the rule than the exception. When to the inevitable anxieties of business is added the ghost of a future unprovided for, it is little wonder that body and mind sink under the strain, and that scarcely a day passes without its addition to the records of insanity and suicide. In how many cases might the reason and health be preserved, were it only the present difficulties that had to be met, and were there no need to live up to such high pressure, in the hope of being able to provide for the future! Of course, the mere fact of being insured will not save a man from the inevitable cares and anxieties of life; but what we maintain is, that it will save him from a burden which is otherwise almost too heavy to be borne.
In a further paper, we may speak of insurance under another aspect, in reference to the community at large, and show its decided influence in stimulating the productive industry of a country, in reducing the poor-rates, and in lessening the
A STORY OF THE PRIMROSE WAY.
CHAPTER XXVI.-'MY DEAR,' SAID THE OLD LADY,
'YOU ARE FRETTING ABOUT SOMETHING.'
Constance's mind, Val's precipitate flight spoke only of a longing and a despair which had grown unendurable. She saw him fighting for honour's sake, flying all he held dear, and going away into a void world which had no chance of solace for him. The true and honest ring of the old cavalier's verse was in her mind, with a meaning in it which was new to her, because she felt it echoing in fancy from her despairing lover's soul:
I could not love thee, dear, so much,
He had fled for honour's sake; and for that,
No word from Gerard. She besieged herself with questions as to the meaning of his silence, and could find no answer. Her lovely cheek paled with the inward conflict; and Miss Lucretia, who knew of nothing but happiness in her fortunate niece's lot, must needs send for a doctor, who prescribed a tonic. Constance