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The sky above us was serenely tender,
    The moon shone softly gleaming through the trees,
Clasped heart to heart in Love's complete surrender,
    Life seemed an island in enchanted seas.

Dim longings, vague desires, like breaths from
    Thrilled all our being with a strange unrest,
And all the finest strings that God hath given,
    Trembled to voiceless music in the breast.

Your hand's electric fire again ran through me;
    I breathed the hyacinth odour of your hair;
Your soul in long sweet kisses clung unto me,
    'Till Love's full rapture we could scarcely bear.

Your voice had ceased, yet still around me fluttered
    The visions that your songs had raised in me;
When, "Mr. Jones!" cried Jeames; " Curse Jones!"
    I muttered;
And you, "Bring in the lights!—'tis time for

I was again an old hard-hearted sinner,
    And you were fifty, and you wore a cap;
Laughing, you said to Jones, "After his dinner,
    You see the old man likes to take his nap."


THE shabbiness of our English capital, as
compared with Paris, Bordeaux, Frankfort,
Milan, Genevaalmost any important town on
the continent of EuropeI find very striking
after an absence of any duration in foreign parts.
London is shabby in contrast with Edinburgh,
with Aberdeen, with Exeter, with Liverpool,
with a bright little town like Bury St. Edmunds.
London is shabby in contrast with New York,
with Boston, with Philadelphia. In detail, one
would say it can rarely fail to be a disappointing
piece of shabbiness, to a stranger from any of
those places. There is nothing shabbier than
Drury-lane, in Rome itself. The meanness of
Regent-street, set against the great line of
Boulevards in Paris, is as striking as the abortive
ugliness of Trafalgar-square, set against the
gallant beauty of the Place de la Concorde.
London is shabby by daylight, and shabbier by
gaslight. No Englishman knows what gaslight
is, until he sees the Rue de Rivoli and the Palais
Royal after dark.

The mass of London people are shabby.
The absence of distinctive dress has, no doubt,
something to do with it. The porters of the
Vintners' Company, the draymen, and the
butchers, are about the only people who wear
distinctive dresses; and even these do not wear
them on holidays. We have nothing which for
cheapness, cleanliness, convenience, or
picturesqueness, can compare with the belted blouse.
As to our women;—next Easter or Whitsuntide,
look at the bonnets at the British Museum or
the National Gallery, and think of the pretty
white French cap, the Spanish mantilla, or the
Genoese mezzero.

Probably there are not more second-hand
clothes sold in London than in Paris, and yet
the mass of the London population have a second-
hand look which is not to be detected on the
mass of the Parisian population. I think this is
mainly because a Parisian workman does not in
the least trouble himself about what is worn by
a Parisian idler, but dresses in the way of his
own class, and for his own comfort. In London,
on the contrary, the fashions descend; and you
never fully know how inconvenient or ridiculous
a fashion is, until you see it in its last descent.
It was but the other day, on a race-course,
that I observed four people in a barouche
deriving great entertainment from the contemplation
of four people on foot. The four people on
foot were two young men and two young
women; the four people in the barouche were two
young men and two young women. The four
young women were dressed in exactly the same
style; the four young men were dressed in
exactly the same style. Yet the two couples on
wheels were as much amused by the two couples
on foot, as if they were quite unconscious of
having themselves set those fashions, or of being
at that very moment engaged in the display of

Is it only in the matter of clothes that fashion
descends here in Londonand consequently in
Englandand thence shabbiness arises? Let
us think a little, and be just. The "Black
Country" round about Birmingham, is a very
black country; but is it quite as black as it has
been lately painted? An appalling accident
happened at the People's Park near Birmingham,
this last July, when it was crowded with
people from the Black Countryan appalling
accident consequent on a shamefully dangerous
exhibition. Did the shamefully dangerous
exhibition originate in the moral blackness of the
Black Country, and in the Black People's
peculiar love of the excitement attendant on
great personal hazard, which they looked on at,
but in which they did not participate? Light
is much wanted in the Black Country. O we are
all agreed on that. But, we must not quite
forget the crowds of gentlefolks who set the
shamefully dangerous fashion, either. We must
not quite forget the enterprising Directors of
an Institution vaunting mighty educational
pretences, who made the low sensation as strong
is they possibly could make it, by hanging the
Blondin rope as high as they possibly could
hang it. All this must not be eclipsed in the blackness
of the Black Country. The reserved seats
high up by the rope, the cleared space below it,
so that no one should be smashed but the
performer, the pretence of slipping and falling off,
the baskets for the feet and the sack for the
head, the photographs everywhere, and the
virtuous indignation nowhereall this must not be
wholly swallowed up in the blackness of the jet-
black country.

Whatsoever fashion is set in England, is
certain to descend. This is the text for a perpetual
sermon on care in setting fashions. When you
find a fashion low down, look back for the time
(it will never be far off) when it was the fashion
high up. This is the text for a perpetual