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You won't let me begin that Natural
History of you, eh? You will always be
doing something or other, to take off my
attention? Now, you have begun to argue
with the Undertakers, have you? What next!

Ugh! you are a nice set of fellows to be
discussing, at this time of day, whether you
shall countenance that humbug any longer.
"Performing " funerals, indeed! I have heard
of performing dogs and cats, performing goats
and monkeys, performing ponies, white-mice,
and canary-birds; but, performing drunkards
at so much a day, guzzling over your dead,
and throwing half of you into debt for a
twelvemonth, beats all I ever heard of.
Ha, ha!

The other day there was a person "went
and died" (as our Proprietor's wife says) close
to our establishment. Upon my beak I
thought I should have fallen off my perch,
you made me laugh so, at the funeral!

Oh my crop and feathers, what a scene it
was! I never saw the Owl so charmed. It
was just the thing for him.

First of all, two dressed-up fellows came
trying to look sober, but they couldn't do it
and stuck themselves outside the door. There
they stood, for hours, with a couple of crutches
covered over with drapery: cutting their
jokes on the company as they went in, and
breathing such strong rum and water into our
establishment over the way, that the Guinea
Pig (who has a poor little head) was drunk
in ten minutes. You are so proud of your
humanity. Ha, ha! As if a pair of respectable
crows wouldn't have done it much better?

By-and-bye, there came a hearse and four,
and then two carriages and four; and on the
tops of 'em, and on all the horses' heads, were
plumes of feathers, hired at so much per
plume; and everything, horses and all, was
covered over with black velvet, till you
couldn't see it. Because there were not
feathers enough yet, there was a fellow in the
procession carrying a board of 'em on his
head, like Italian images; and there were
about five-and-twenty or thirty other fellows
(all hot and red in the face with eating and
drinking) dressed up in scarves and hat-bands,
and carryingshut-up fishing-rods, I
believewho went draggling through the
mud, in a manner that I thought would be
the death of me; while the "Black Jobmaster"
that's what he calls himselfwho
had let the coaches and horses to a furnishing
undertaker, who had let 'em to a haberdasher,
who had let 'em to a carpenter, who had let
'em to the parish-clerk, who had let 'em to
the sexton, who had let 'em to the plumber
painter and glazier who had got the funeral
to do, looked out of the public-house window
at the corner, with his pipe in his mouth, and
saidfor I heard him—"that was the sort of
turn-out to do a gen-teel party credit." That!
As if any two-and-sixpenny masquerade,
tumbled into a vat of blacking, wouldn't be
quite as solemn, and immeasurably cheaper!

Do you think I don't know you? You 're
mistaken if you think so. But perhaps you
do. Well! Shall I tell you what I know?
Can you bear it? Here it is then. The
Black Jobmaster is right. The root of all
this, is the gen-teel party.

You don't mean to deny it, I hope? You
don't mean to tell me that this nonsensical
mockery isn't owing to your gentility. Don't
I know a Raven in a Cathedral Tower, who
has often heard your service for the Dead?
Don't I know that you almost begin it with
the words, "We brought nothing into this
world, and it is certain that we can carry
nothing out"? Don't I know that in a
monstrous satire on those words, you carry your
hired velvets, and feathers, and scarves, and all
the rest of it, to the edge of the grave, and get
plundered (and serve you right!) in every
article, because you WILL be gen-teel parties
to the last?

Eh? Think a little! Here's the plumber
painter and glazier come to take the funeral
order which he is going to give to the sexton,
who is going to give it to the clerk, who is
going to give it to the carpenter, who is going
to give it to the haberdasher, who is going to
give it to the furnishing undertaker, who is
going to divide it with the Black Jobmaster.
"Hearse and four, Sir?" says he. "No, a
pair will be sufficient." "I beg your pardon,
Sir, but when we buried Mr. Grundy at
number twenty, there was four on 'em, Sir;
I think it right to mention it." "Well,
perhaps there had better be four." "Thank
you, Sir. Two coaches and four, Sir, shall