+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

for a considerable time, after which it is
allowed to cool and again assume its crystalline
form. The process of squeezing in the press is
repeated, and when shaken out of the bags this
time the paraffine is seen to have changed from
yellow to dirty white, and is consequently so
much purer. The operations of dissolving and
straining are repeated till perfect pureness and
whiteness are obtained. This result achieved,
the odour of naphtha which clings to the substance
is driven off by steam, and the paraffine,
in a liquid state, is run into moulds, which
form it into thick round cakes. In this shape
it is sent off to the candle-makers.


           WITHIN this little shell doth lie
           A wonder of the earth and sky;
           Grasped in the hollow of my hand,
           But more than I can understand.

           A germ, a life, a million lives,
           If this small life but lives and thrives,
           And draws from earth, and air, and sun,
           The endings in this husk begun.

           A few years hence, a noble tree,
           If time and circumstance agree:
           'Twill shelter in the noonday shade
           The browsing cattle of the glade.

           'Twill harbour in its arching boughs
           The ringdove and its tender spouse,
           The bright-eyed squirrel, acorn fed,
           The dormouse in its wintry bed.

           Its stalwart arms and giant girth,
           Felled by the woodman's stroke to earth,
           May build for kings their regal thrones,
           Or coffins to enclose their bones.

           And looking further down the groove,
           Where Time's great wheels for ever move,
           We may behold, all sprung from this,
           A woodland in the wilderness.

           A forest filled with stately trees,
           To rustle in the summer breeze,
           Or moan with melancholy song,
           When wintry winds blow loud and strong.

           And;—would the hope might be fulfilled!
           A forest large enough to build,
           When war's last shattered flag is furled,
           The peaceful navies of the world.

           Such possibilities there lie,
           In this young nursling of the sky!
           We know; but cannot understand;
           Acorns ourselves in God's right hand!



I HAD been looking, yester- night, through
the famous Dance of Death, and to-day the
grim old wood- cuts arose in my mind with
the new significance of a ghastly monotony
not to be found in the original. The weird
skeleton rattled along the streets before
me, and struck fiercely, but it was never at
the pains of assuming a disguise. It
played on no dulcimer here, was crowned
with no flowers, waved no plume, minced
in no flowing robe or train, lifted no wine-
cup, sat at no feast, cast no dice, counted
no gold. It was simply a bare, gaunt,
famished skeleton, slaying its way along.

The borders of Ratcliffe and Stepney,
Eastward of London, and giving on the
impure river, were the scene of this uncompromising
Dance of Death, upon a drizzling
November day. A squalid maze of streets,
courts, and alleys of miserable houses let out
in single rooms. A wilderness of dirt, rags,
and hunger. A mud-desert chiefly inhabited
by a tribe from whom employment
has departed, or to whom it comes but
fitfully and rarely. They are not skilled
mechanics in any wise. They are but labourers.
Dock labourers, water-side labourers,
coal porters, ballast heavers, such
like hewers of wood and drawers of water.
But they have come into existence, and
they propagate their wretched race.

One grisly joke alone, methought, the
skeleton seemed to play off here. It had
stuck Election Bills on the walls, which
the wind and rain had deteriorated into
suitable rags. It had even summed up the
state of the poll, in chalk, on the shutters
of one ruined house. It adjured the free
and independent starvers to vote for Thisman
and vote for Thatman; not to plump,
as they valued the state of parties and the
national prosperity (both of great importance
to them, I think!), but, by returning
Thisman and Thatman, each nought without
the other, to compound a glorious and
immortal whole. Surely the skeleton is
nowhere more cruelly ironical in the original
monkish idea!

Pondering in my mind the far-seeing
schemes of Thisman and Thatman, and of
the public blessing called Party, for staying
the degeneracy, physical and moral, of
many thousands (who shall say how
many?) of the English race; for devising
employment useful to the community, for
those who want but to work and live; for
equalising rates, cultivating waste lands,
facilitating emigration, and above all things,
saving and utilising the oncoming generations,
and thereby changing ever-growing
national weakness into strength; pondering
in my mind, I say, these hopeful
exertions, I turned down a narrow street
to look into a house or two.

It was a dark street with a dead wall on
one side. Nearly all the outer doors of the
houses stood open. I took the first entry
and knocked at a parlour door. Might I
come in? I might, if I plased, Sur.

The woman of the room (Irish) had
picked up some long strips of wood, about
some wharf or barge, and they had just
now been thrust into the otherwise empty