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which indicated a poetic temperament; he
was fat and florid, and his voice was thick,
coming through the nose. Yet was he,
perhaps, one of the most imaginative men that
ever breathed. His imagination was active,
not passive; it did not take the form of
dreams; it developed itself in a practical
business way. John Taster threw himself
and his capital into the Garden of Eden
Hallway Company (Limited). Some people
say he originated the scheme; but this I
cannot believe: one thing, however, is
certain, the company professed to be limited,
and it was limited, I am sorry to say, to
John, and John's capital. The mind that for
so many years had been devoted to the
uncongenial, but profitable, pursuit of selecting
and selling cheese, was now feeding upon
honey-dew, and drinking the milk of Paradise.
He gave up the business in Lower
Thames Street, and fixed his eyes with the
intensity and steadiness of an Indian fakir
upon the East. His fortune was lost; but his
faith was firm, and, as he cannot now feed ,
his darling scheme with gold, he has become,
like the rest, a man of paper.

My next house is compounded of the Etna
and Vesuvius Joint Stock Bank, Filch Lane,
London, and the great builders and
contractors, Messrs. Chaos, Rotbill, and Clay,
of Bankside. Mr. M'Vacuum, who was
installed as sole manager of the Etna and
Vesuvius Bank, with an enormous salary, is
one of those extraordinary men which the
City creates; men of wide experience, large
grasp of intellect, and great decision of character.
As a proof of his great influence in the
City, and the respect which was paid to him
by the commercial community, before the
doors had been opened for business two
months, the Bank numbered amongst its
clients the names of Messrs. Collaps, Vortex,
and Docket; Ignes, Fatui and Company;
Strawboy and Rag; Bibb and Tucker; Lacker,
Crane, and Company; Curry and Baggs
and, greater even still, the leviathan house
of Chaos, Rotbill, and Clay. M'Vacuum
being a man of a discerning mind, soon
discovered the peculiar ability of the latter
firm, and the result was an arrangement by
which, in consideration of M'Vacuum granting
the use of the Bank for unlimited facilities,
Messrs. Chaos, Rotbill, and Clay were
to begin the well-known building settlement
of New Babylonia, granting M'Vacuum a
secret share in the profits. Suddenly the
great marsh of East Babel sprang into life.
Suddenly upon the dismal swamp arose the
plan of New Babylonia. Suddenly shoals of
bills of exchange appeared in the Money
Marketand especially in the accounts of
the Etna and Vesuvius Bankdrawn upon
hodmen, carpenters, bricklayers, carters, and
labourers, whose names became as familiar
to capitalists as those of Messrs. Fossil, Ingot,
and Bagstock themselves. Suddenly came
the general crash, and paralysed enterprise
left New Babyloniathe hideous nightmare
the paper monsterwhich it remains at
the present time. There are the long streets
of carcases, with awful gulfs and pitfalls of
cellars; there is the outline of a grand square
filled with heaps of gravel, rubbish, old
broken bricks, pieces of iron, and slabs of
paving-stone half hidden in the yielding
clay; there are large rafters of timber, round
which the long clamp grass has grown; and
there is a deep pool of rain-water, in which
float rotten planks that venturesome urchins
have formed into a raft; there is the
fragment of a church, and a frontage that might
have been intended for a chapel or a literary
institution; there are large ghastly shells of
mansions, some with broken, weather-beaten
stucco fronts, some with ruined porticoes
half completed, some with cloud-capped
garret window holes, staring far away across
the misty country; and there are frameworks
of shops through which the distant fields are
seen as in a picture. It is the home of the
rag-picker and the tramp; silent and awful
as a city of the dead; silent as the grave of
sunken capital should be; silent and undisturbed
as when, in the middle of a summer's
day, three thousand workmen streamed slowly
from the place, never to return.


The magnificent collection of Art-Treasures,
recently on view at Manchester, naturally
recalls to our remembrance another
exhibition of a very different character.
An accumulation of rare objects perfectly
exceptional. A Gallery of paintings, gems,
and sculpture, such as had never before been
grouped together, to be ultimately scattered.
One, in all human likelihood, of which mankind
may never again have the opportunity
of witnessing the repetition.

It was a collection numerically smaller, but
intrinsically far more costly: and, in some
respects, far more remarkable than even that
wonderful gathering of pictures, jewels, and
statuary, stored up lately in our manufacturing
capital, in that new palace of glass,
—"one entire and perfect chrysolite!" The
Manchester display of Art-Treasures, however,
possessed this one incontestible pre-eminence,
that it was in literal truth scarcely so much
a Gallery, as a Gallery of Galleries. It presented
under a single roof, specimens of all the
schools, with hardly one noticeable deficiency.
It constituted a visible History of Art from its
Riseor, more correctly speaking, from its
Revivaldownwards. Whereas the previous
gallery, of which this notable exhibition has
proved to us an inevitable reminder,
possessed in, no comparable degree either of these
high pretensions. It affected in no way to
illustrate the annals of painting. It afforded
no systematic survey of the so-called schools.
In these particulars it yielded but small