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by-the-by, might remain just as it is under the
iron arcade, and would be a pleasant refuge in
rainy weather.)

Now something of this sortI am not
bigoted to my own schemebut something of
this sort will have to be done. Even when I
was a gentleman at large, some two years ago
now, I have waited and waited at some of the
principal crossings in London for an opportunity
of getting over, till my poor nerves got into such
a state that I could hardly take advantage of the
chance when it did come. Of course the thing
is much worse now, and what will it be five
years hence? Modern nerves are more delicate
and susceptible than ancient nerves, and yet they
are in some respects more severely tried. I am
told that already people collect in groups at
some of the London crossings waiting till the
police come to their assistance. What will this
come to, I ask again, five years hence?

So much for that idea. Now for the next.
Let me see, what is the next?

When I kept housean undertaking of such
fearful difficulty, and surrounded with such
severe mental trials, that my having anything
to do with it is one of the causes of my being
here, by mistakewhen I kept house I observed,
for my occupation led me to look out of window
a good deal, that the street in which I resided
was much frequented by a class of gentry with
greasy hair, wearing caps instead of hats, with
a general second-hand look about everything
they had on, with villanous faces, and with bags
or sacks slung over their shoulders. Sometimes
these individuals carried work-boxes or tea-
caddies in their hands: the boxes in question
being held open, in order to show the splendour
of their interiors. Now, I remarked that these
men were always looking down into the areas, that
they always appeared to be communicating by
signs, or sometimes by word of mouth, with the
servants, and that everything they did was done
in a furtive and sheepish manner, very disagreeable
to witness. Their communications with the
servants would often terminate in a descent of
the area steps, but it was always remarkable
that no one of the individuals of whom I speak
ever opened an area gate, or, indeed, did
anything else without first glancing over his shoulder
to right and left, looking first up the street and
then down the street. On emerging from the
area, that same look was repeated before the
man would venture out into the street.

Sometimes it would happen, naturally enough,
that one of these men would, in the course of
his day's workwhat work?—arrive at the
house then tenanted by me, and, little suspecting
that I was hiding behind the wire blind and
listening with all my might, would go through his
usual manœuvres in front of my dining-room
window. Watching till one of the servants
chanced to approach the kitchen window, he
would try to attract her attention by gently
rattling a tea-caddy against the railings, and
then, attention once caughtit was easily done,
Heaven knowshe would begin cajoling the
women, and calling the cook "mum:" an offence
in itself which ought to be visited with

"Want a nice work-box, mumnice tea-
caddy, mum?" the sneak would begin.

The servants, I suppose, answered only by
signals: at any rate, I could hear nothing of
their replies. The sneak looked up and down
the street again, and then crouched down so
as to be nearer the kitchen window. He also
swung the bag off his shoulder, to be able to
get at its contents.

"Nice work-box or caddy, mum! very
reasonable, mum. Nice ribbings of all colours!
Bit of edging, ladies, for your caps."

The telegraphing from below would seem to
be in the negative, though not sufficiently so
to discourage this wretched sneak. He got
nearer to the gate, and again looked up and
down the street.

"Make an exchange, mum, if you like! A
old pair of gentleman's boots, if you've got such
a thing, mum, or a gentleman's old 'at or coat,
ladies. Take a'most anythink in change, ladies,
if it was even so much as a humbrella, or an
old weskit, or a corkscrew."

And what business, pray, had my female
servants with boots, hats, waistcoats, or
corkscrews, in their possession? If these articles
were given to that disgusting sneak, who, at
the conclusion of the last sentence quoted,
made his way furtively down the kitchen steps,
where could they possibly come from? Women
servants do not wear coats and waistcoats and
hats, nor do they generally have corkscrews of
their own in their possession.

Why are these area sneaks allowed? They
may be identified by anybody, but by a policeman
especially, at a single glance. Why are
they allowed to pursue their avocations?
My beloved friend Featherhead here, who has
continual information from outside the walls, tells
me that lately several robberies have been traced
to these detestable creatures. Featherhead has
a bee in his bonnet, poor fellow, but he is truth
itself; I can depend implicitly upon what he
tells me, and it really seems to me, that if you
go on allowing these area-sneaks to spend their
days in wandering about the less frequented
streets, corrupting the servants, and making
them as great thieves as they (the sneaks) are
themselves, you must be much madder than any
of us poor fellows who are living——well, in

I want to know, not that this has anything
to do with the last subjectwhy should it? I
suppose I may adopt a disjointed style if I
chooseI want to know why, among you
outside, the young men, the bachelors, are made
so much more comfortable than they ought
to be? You cannot keep them out of some
of their luxuries and comforts, it is true. They
live in central situations at trifling rents.
They take their meals at clubs, where they are
provided with such food as is hardly to be
obtained anywhere else. They have no
responsibilities, no anxieties worthy of the name.
And, as if this was not enough, what else do