Hypocritical Cant

Of Textiles and Non-Wovens

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Drink to me only with thine eyes,
     And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss within the cup
     And I’ll not ask for wine.

‘Harry’ Pembroke is rapt, nay, he is smitten, with the charming sylph-like creature who lies barely out of reach, asleep upon her bed and in a state of lacy and decidely feminine deshabille. Slowly, oh so slowly, he creeps up to the four poster bed and precedes to carefully mount the goose feather stuffed mattress replete with velvet bedding and plump, soft, sparkling, white pillows. Oh! He has been lied to! Oh! He has been mortally duped! For his Alice is not at home with her mother (as he had been led to believe by the proprietor), she lies here, fast asleep and most ready to receive him in her soft white arms, if he can only wake her.

“Oh Maude, sweet Maude,awake my darling!” and sweet Maude does indeed awake, but not to offer the exquisite welcome he had imagined when he clambered up the brick work and tumbled into her room at a little past midnight.”Oh my gawd! You can’t be ‘ere! You can’t! Emile ‘ill lose his rag if he  finds you ‘ere! Go on! Hook it!” Lord Pembrooke is taken aback (at first), but then he becomes enraged, for is this not the ‘baggage’ upon whom he has lavished his considerable charms (and money) for the last year? He tallies the considerable sums (thirty to forty guineas) he has spent charming his way into her embraces, the diamonds (fake), the pearls (his mothers), and endless bottles of champagne (tavern bought).

Now his rage turns to indignation and with indignation comes an unfortunate attempt to force himself on the poor girl. Screams of terror and mortal pain fill the air, the door to Alice’s room is flung open and Emile Grid-Iron enters, “Ere we goes agin” says he upon observing his lordship rolling to and fro on the ground curled up in a ball of pain. “Alice” says he barely looking at the girl, “Get yourself dressed and go for Doctor Geddenhearst just as quick as you please!” Alice is gone like the clappers for who wishes to be anywhere close by when a member of the ruling classes gets whats coming to them? Once the girl is gone Emile enters the room and bends down to have a look at precisely what damage ‘is lordship has done ‘imself, then he whispers very quietly in his ear, “Don’t worry your lordship, once the doctor gets ‘ere we’ll fix you up alright….for a sum…there’s not much damage done” his Lordship manages a grateful pain-filled glance before rolling around on the floor clutching at his abdomen once more. Emile lifts him up gently, heaving him onto the bed and then fetching a small bottle of laudunum from which he then administers his lordship a dose. Once he is fast alsleep, clutching desperately at a plump, stuffed pillow, Emile tiptoes out of the room closing the door behind him and locking it fast.

Down the hallway his mother waits, her broad forearms resting on even broader hips a contemptuous sneer upon her lips,”Lord Harry?” she asks, he nods curtly, “None other, when will these people learn? There’s a great deal to be said for chastity belts” he eyes the bunch of keys on his mother’s belt ,”Particularly at times such as these” Madame Le Breton shruggs,”I’d rather we were doing brisk business, but I’d sooner have the girls out on strike than see Alice’s brother hung or the others transported. It won’t do son. it simply won’t do”

Indeed it won’t, for Lord Pembroke is the sixth young turk to fall a-foul of the extreme measures taken by the ‘nunnery’ proprietors all over London, to make sure that the aristocracy observe the ‘strike’ that has been imposed upon them. “And what of Alice’s chastity belt mother?” at the mention of the word Madame Le Breton’s eyes narrow, “It stays on and it stays locked, just like all the other chastity belts on all the other girls” Emile stifles a grin for it would be most inappropriate in these circumstances”And if things should turn ugly?”

“They won’t” she assures him, “Sell the story to the Northern Star and the Daily Telegraph, I hear young Henry is engaged to be married to Lady Farthingrodden’s daughter, the resulting mess will keep his hands full and our affairs should remain untroubled” taking the keys from Emile’s hands she unlocks the door to Alice’s room sweeping through it gracefully and quietly closing it behind her. Emile stares wonderingly at the closed door, what a woman! And as he heads down the stairs of the Nag’s Head Tavern, of which he is the proprietor and out into the night he wonders when Lord Aberdeen will concede defeat.

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Hypocritical Cant

Upon Reflections Exacerbated By A Black Box

The streets of London are damp, and dark, and wet and the populace of the city in the main, wend their weary, tired ways through its straw covered streets on foot. Some of these feet are eccentrically shod, wrapped as they are in bits of paper and strips of rag, and some of these feet are not shod at all.

Many of the populace carry burdens with them, piece work, bundles of second-hand clothing, dried & preserved turkey twizzler strips, trays of unsold trout bloaters and baked potatoes, slathered in cold turkey twizzler grease. There are those who have the luxury of travel on wheels; the enslaved apprentices of Spitalfield’s Workhouse are crammed into a wooden cart till it weaves and waddles on its way, looking as though at any moment it might overturn. Horse drawn carriages are for the Aristocracy, whose feet are far too delicate to join the dance of the striving, struggling masses of London. One such carriage glides noiselessly through London’s darkened streets, it’s way lit by the gas lamps fixed on  either side of  the doors. The carriage bears no coat of arms though it carries a very important load, a very powerful individual of singular political influence.

Down into Lime Cutter Lane the carriage travels, past the rag and bone merchants and the stray child scrabbling for pennies in the dirt. Past the Old Bailey, where only just this evening another six men were sentenced to death, for having rioted. It is Newgate Street where the glossy coated horse slows, before entering the central courtyard of Newgate Prison.

The sole occupant of the carriage, swaddled in a heavy travelling cloak, opens the door and swiftly descends into the cobbled courtyard where the governor of the prison awaits. “M’Lord” the prison superintendent coughs nervously, for it is not every day (thank heavens!) that one of her majesty’s prisons is blessed with a visit from near-royalty. “Is he within?” the visitor inquires brusquely, “He is m’lord and has been waiting, much patient, for your visitation” saying no more the prison governor meekly ushers his guest in through the prison door.

A pervasive reek greets the nostrils of this priviledged visitor and for the merest of moments he rears back in disgust, then swallowing hard he journeys on, deep into the bowels of that sombre institution. Past the women’s quarters where much sobbing can be heard, past the chapel where redemption after the punishment of dire iniquities is preached. Till he arrives at last before the half open door of a decidedly cheery looking room wherein the man he has come to see sits, wrapped in a thick woollen shawl, smoking his pipe. “Good evening your lordship” the bon vivant chuckles,”I’d thought you’d never visit! Care for a glass of beer?” A look of distinct, frosty displeasure passes over the face of this great man as he unwraps himself ( he is dressed for the opera) and slowly sits down in a chair humbly proffered by the embarassed prison governor. For reasons that will become apparent later in this story, he is having much difficulty assuming a comfortable position in his armchair. Observing his physical discomfort the union rep raises one eyebrow and smirks.

“Well” the gentleman says dourly slowly removing the pristine white gloves from each hand and placing them in his lap, “Your time has run out. I trust that I may inform Her Majesty that you have agreed to the offer made?” the union rep makes no reply, he is too busy enjoying his brandy and the spectacle of a discomforted and extremely distracted politician, one whose mind is clearly elsewhere. “So far” the politician continues, placing one delicate white hand softly upon the other,”So far fifty-one rebellious souls have departed this earth and another hundred will very shortly be deported unless you come to an agreeable answer, this is all such needless and pointless suffering. We had rather all defiant indolence ceased, and the parties in question returned to work”  the union rep takes a cigar out of the breast pocket of his prison jacket ushering for it to be lit, which the prison superintendent duly does, darting a nervous glance at the eminent politician.

Having taking a fragrant puff or two, he makes his reply, “You say OUR time has run out, I say this, when woz the last time you walked through the streets of your own city? You darst not. Name a single working man in this city, a single foot soldier you’d trust with your children’s lives, you can’t. Give me the name of the foremen whose ard work and dwilligence keeps your economy at full thwottle, name me a single child ground to death in them mill machines or burnt alive in one of your chimneys, or buried alive in your coal mines whose name you know, the names of your ‘oundz are dearer to thee than they! And you talk to me of ultimatums!” puffing once more on his fragrant cigar the union rep fixes a contemptuous stare on the politician who has dipped his lips into the subtlest sneer, “I take it the answer is no then?” the union rep nods brusquely, “Just so. No.”

The eminent politician smiles quietly to himself, unfolds his delicate hands, pulls on his gloves, replaces his hat upon his head, wraps himself once more in his cloak and as he turns to go these are the final words that are flung after him,”Try China Town, mayhap there’s a nunnery there NOT affiliated to the unions or related to such as are!” the eminent politician is ushered to the door and through it by the nervous prison superintendent who watches as he re-enters his carriage and departs. A gentle rain is falling so that the filthy cobbles of the prison courtyard glitter and glisten, dirt and all. He sighs, this has been the third such visit in as many weeks and each time he must needs fortify his nerves with a quart of gin “Ths can’t go on for much longer” he mutters to himself as he stands in the courtyard doorway smoking a cigar and watching the rainfall, “You’re right” agrees the union rep, smoking alongside him, “It can’t and it won’t” fixing him with an inquiring glance the prison superintendent says, “the brothel keepers are on strike you say?” the union rep smiles dourly,”Aye, whose kids do you think Lord Aberdeen has been executing?”

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Hypocritical Cant

A Hell-Bent Soul

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An account of the behaviour of Thomas Lovell, alias ‘Bobbish Todger’ in the days leading up to his trial and subsequent execution at Newgate Prison, on tuesday, the 12th of November, 1857. Thomas Lovell was indicted for that he in a certain place, within Grid-Iron Square, near the Queen’s highway, did make an assault upon Constable Qwinty, putting him in coporal fear and danger of his life and stealing from his person a truncheon worth one guinea and a whistle worth five shillings. He was a second time indicted for that he did make an assault upon Corporal Gerald Buckner of the 8th Hussars, putting him in fear and danger of his life and stealing from his person a cutlass worth forty shillings. Thomas Lovell was, of late, a silk mill worker who having found himself placed on much reduced hours by the mill owner Sir Harold Rutherford, took to the streets of London to protest the financial and material degradation of him and his family.

“T’was when the union rep spoke, that my heart first became a-fired within me, and I betook me the truncheon of the first enemy of promise that I encountered and that were that”

A’las Thomas Lovell displayed no repentance with regards to his two recorded assaults and even less once he had learned that in consequence of his reprehensible actions he wa to be executed a day hence.

“T’was all I would have expected from them as has the power and naught of the compassion to see to it that us poor folk is as comfortable in life as they. I do not fear what comes after this life, my only worry is as to what will become of my Alice and our three young uns”

It was pointed out to the condemned man that what with the proliferation of executions there would be plenty of vacancies at the match factory and that his ‘young uns’ might very well find work there; at which news his eyes rolled back in his head, he gnashed his teeth and tried to grip my throat. Needless to say the prison warden was markedly short with the prisoner, rapping him thrice upon the head, much to my horror, and warning him that he’d ‘do for him right this minute’ if he continued to display such poor manners. Whereupon the prisoner stifled a sob and moderated his behaviour.

Having examined the death warrant and found himself in it, the prisoner wept bitterly and as he could neither read nor write I took laborious pains to ensure that he was adequately instructed in his preparations for eternity. When asked how frequently he attended the Chapel of St Gove he replied “as frequently as Alice required me to” in other words not very frequently at all. And when he did attend it was only to fall asleep in his pew and sweat off the beers he had drunk from the night before. Indeed such t’was the spiritual condition of this unhappy man that t’was a wonder that he and the hang man had not met long before now.

I could not help but to wonder what efficacious transformations might have been wrought in this prisoner had his parents but trained him up in the right way. Having prepared him for his fate the prison warden saw fit to have him haltered and pinnioned in readiness for his execution. This sorry process was accompanied by many tears on the prisoner’s part, but he himself acknowledged that the punishment was just, his having presumed to tell his betters what the nature of a fair wage and fair working conditions were. “T’were wrong of us to presume that the bosses prosperity would benefit us and we have paid the price for our presumption”

I left the prisoner with a humble copy of the testimonies of Gove (bound in cured and tanned turkey twizzler leather) in order that he might reflect all the more on his past behaviour and the eternal bliss (or damnation) which awaited him.

An ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR Of Thomas Lovell (alias Bobbish Todger) prior to his execution, RECOUNTED by virtue of the Queen’s commission of the peace, Julius Eyre.

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Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

The Ruminations of Jedidiah Kane Thickett

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She was but two years old and the taint was already in her, Jedidiah Thickett laid a heavy hand on his King James Bible, handed down through generations from his great-great grand-daddy to his great grand-daddy to his grand-daddy then to his daddy and finally to him. He laid a thick, gnarled and heavy hand upon his bible and he looked down at the little girl he was dandling on his knee and he sighed, a ponderous heavy sigh. “Louisa” he murmured in that deep whisper of his “Yes paw?” his daughter replied in that tremulous way of hers, “Fetch maw” Louisa pondered the dark clouds of wrath massing on her father’s brow and trembled. She did not have to ask what the matter was, she did not have to guess it, for had she not also heard the forbidden word which had tumbled innocently from her sister’s lips, she rushed to fetch her mother.

Bettina Thickett burbled happily on her fathers lap, as he ruffled her hair with his bear paw of a hand, whilst at the same time rifling through the pages of his bible with a thickened, gnarled, finger. Turning to the New Testament he saw that his finger had landed on that part of the bible to do with the temptation of Christ. Taking care to underline each word, and each phrase with his finger he read the episode, from time to time murmuring in assent at some aspect of the saviour’s response to the devil, that he found worthy. He was still reading the episode and dandling his daughter on his knee when his wife crept trembling into the room. “You asked for me paw?” Jedidiah sighed, a heavy, ponderous sigh, but this time slightly quickened as if fueled by some inner fire. Maw Thickett knew the sign of rage when it lit upon her husband, as she had known it half her married life and she eyed the heavy tome on which his heavy hand was laid with severe misgivings. Taking his finger out of the King James bible, Jedidiah placed his hand under his daughter’s legs and bouncing her gently up and down whilst he cooed to her, “Aren’t you my little darling!” he cooed to her, “Aren’t you my little darling? Tell maw your new words!”

She steeled herself as her daughter chortled with glee and uttered the phrase “Gove bweee pwaised! Gove bweee pwaised!” Maw Thickett flinched, Jedidiah Thickett’s lips thinned, and when he raised his eyes she paled and inadvertently made the sign of a cross behind her back. “Is this how you raise our daughter?! Is this how you ensure that she has a fine southern upbringing?!”

“Why Jed–”

“Woman if you were a man! So God help me! I’d have you shot for this…this treacherous act of dishonour! No blood of mine will embrace the nefarious teachings of an imperialist! You are a daughter of the revolution are you not madam? And you will raise my child likewise!”

Getting to his feet, he tumbled the child into the arms of her trembling and shaking mother, Maw was barely able to grasp her daughter firmly enough to stop her from tumbling to the ground. Standing as he did six foot tall with his wife cowering before him, he seemed almost like a god and indeed he was in his home, for all the women folk stood in fear of him, whilst his followers (and there were many) looked up to him in awe.

“Why I cannot think of more godly texts than the nursery rhymes of Thomas Paine and the King James bible. Learn her those and bring her back to me on Sunday so that I may see what progress she has made”

Nodding in submissive assent Maw Thickett left the room, sitting down once more Jedidiah continued to read the remainder of his text and when he finally rose and pulled on the servant’s bell it was as if he had formed a definite resolution about some matter,

“Yes Sir?” inquired the Butler, the only individual to remain unperturbed by his  master’s disposition,

“Send in Mr Geraghty”

“Yes Sir”

Mr Geraghty whom he had kept waiting for nigh on an hour in the front parlour, Mr Geraghty who had travelled miles over land and sea to find and secure the one man who alone could be held responsible for the eviction, and subsequent starvation, of a third of his family. Mr Geraghty who had taken full advantage of the Battle of Grid-Iron Square in order to exact his revenge on Lord Grid-Iron only to see him slip out of his hands and through a collapsing roof.

“Mr Geraghty, ever a pleasure sir! Please, please take a seat” Jedidiah drew up an armchair before the fire place and bade Geraghty join him, this Geraghty duly did pulling out a cigar which he duly lit from the fire. Jedidiah pulled out his pipe stuffed it with Cherrywood tobacco and having lit it proceeded to draw in the near sweet smoke at regular intervals slowly exhaling it in vast streams. They sat for a while staring into the fire, puffing and exhaling, at length Jedidiah spoke,

“The dynamite?”

“Paid for and well hidden, Gantry has the keys”

“And the Nitroglycerin?”

“Also paid for and well hidden at Turkles”

“And the guns?”

“Safe and secure in the basement of the Theatre Royal, the theatre manager is in our employ”

“And you trust his allegiance?”

“He’s my Uncle”

“Very well then” Jedidiah Thickett arose from his armchair leaning against the fire place, he looked down upon Geraghty from his great height , his piercing blue eyes staring into the blazing fire,

“There is a certain haunt frequented by disreputable persons (and equally by certain reputable persons), where a room can be got for a shilling and Opium can be had for a penny a piece. I am told by a fellow believer who runs the place, that the haunt, though frequently overrun by the sons of the aristocracy, only tenants one of that ilk at the present time. One George Laidlaw, a softly spoken man with soft, white, hands.” he uttered the words ‘soft’ and ‘white’ with heavy sarcasm, “I’m told, that a woman frequently visits him there, a lady of uncertain birth, with flame coloured hair?” he glanced quickly at the taut features of Geraghty and then back at the fire, “Bow & Barking Creek is where you’ll find your quarry, lodged just as cosy as you please at the Nags Head Tavern. If I were you I’d hurry…”

Jedidiah continued gazing into the fire, pretending not to hear the ferocity with which Geraghty stubbed out his cigar, nor the unseemly haste with which he swept out of the room, over turning his armchair in the process. Jedidiah was too busy contemplating the swift retribution he intended to exact on behalf of the daughters and sons of the revolution.

“The Theatre Royal” he muttered to himself “TheTheatre Royal”  sitting back in his armchair he pondered, he reflected and he brooded. And then at length with a heavy sigh he opened his King James bible.

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Academy status, Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant

The Hunt Is A-Foot!

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There is rest, dear hearts, at the end of all terrible strivings and endeavours, at the end of all heart breaking struggles there is a slumber filled peace and there is rest. Come with me dear hearts, take my hand and let us travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where the ‘warriors of promise’ languish and groan in a ward assiduously and none too discretely guarded by the forces of law and order. Here lies Milty, a blood stained bandage wrapped neatly around his head, being fed beef broth by a kindly nurse, it is the first mother’s love he has ever known, it is the first hearty hot meal he has ever had occasion to enjoy. And over there in that corner by the Christmas tree sits Wendy Woodbine being comforted by a one legged match girl, each holds a rag doll smoothing their fingers wonderingly over the delicately painted dolls’ faces. These are the first toys they have ever been given, donated by no less a philanthropist than Lord Shaftesbury himself.

And see here, the kindly face of the Reverend Arthur Farquar, as he delicately and most sonorously intones the testimonies of Gove,

“And Moses came down the mountain of Gove, and he saw that the people rose up to frolic, and to play, before the golden sacrificial calf of equal pay and conditions they had fashioned for themselves, and behold the spirit of Gove was grieved, and he was filled with wrath”

“Bloody hell! He do go on don’t ‘e?” whispered one silk mill worker to another

“I’d swing for ‘im any day of the week…if I had a bludger handy, why don’t someone shut ‘im up?” replied his comrade, his eyes roving wildly around the hospital ward looking for something, anything to hurl at the Reverend Arthur Farquar, as he patrolled his flock, reading all the while from the sacred testimonies.

“I wouldn’t lay a finger on ‘im if I was you” replied another, “e’s a friend of Bodoo’s”

“Wot im?! I didn’t know Boodoo ‘ad any friends…”

There was much exchange of surprised glances at this little tit-bit of information,

“Well e’ has. That’s ‘im. So lay orfff!”

The silk mill workers who had been privy to this conversation, stare with pop-eyed amazement at this disciple of Gove. For his sombre dress and stern demeanour give no hint of his prestigious connections, he seems lucid though obsessed, he looks sane though a little lacking in warmth, he clutches at his worn copy of the testimonies of Gove with the characteristic fervour of an abstemious true believer.

“Sought ye to to throw off the shackles of St Gove without his most reverend & sacred consent! And without my benediction! Cursed art thou amongst the flock! And lo Moses did smash the stone tablets on which he had inscribed the mos maiorum of St Gove. And lo, he did grind the stone into powder and bade the people eat of it and yeah, verily, verily, did they choke”  

As he intoned these words Arthur Farquar’s gaze swept over his flock, most of whom lay prone on hospital beds, groaning in pain. He felt his heart surging with love for these fallen mill workers whose murderous rage and destructive actions had taken them so far from the glories of Gove.  It was his duty now to lead them back to the straight way and it was a duty from which he would not flinch!

“When’s Mrs Seacole happening by? I could do with a shot of gin after him!” muttered Bert, his back hurt something awful, his head was throbbing and he counted himself lucky to have been sneaked onto the ward by Lady Grid-Iron (Lor bless ‘er!). But having to listen to all this preaching with out so much as a drop of ‘by your leave’ it was too much! The only thing keeping him here was the fear of winding up in Newgate, at least here he had a chance of escape.

Most of the patients lie snug a-bed, warmed throughout for the first time and permitted their first ever experience of indolence, a state the rich know only too well. Some sleep with smiles flickering ocasionally on their faces, all frowns washed away in a sea of warmth. A great fire has been lit in the fireplace at the end of the ward and many of the wounded chimney sweeps have clustered around this, toasting freshly cooked turkey twizzlers in batter. As they chatter and chortle, their faces all flushed and greasy, an old woman limps towards them,

“Ere! You can’t smoke that in ere! This is a ‘ospital!” piped up one of the freshly washed boys,

“An a very nice ‘ospital it is too, but Jaesus! It’s cold out and I can barely warm me bare bones with a pipe and a smoke, so if it please yeh I’ll be muddling off in a while but I jus thought to ask whether my Toby was amongst you?”

“Toby?” said the chimney sweep surreptitiously eyeing the trousers he could glimpse from time to time beneath the worsted dress, “Ain’t never erd of him” the old lady fiddles with the inside of her bonnet, drawing forth a sovereign. And as she does so the chimney sweep glimpses some stubble on her chin,them Molly Maguires! He narrowed his eyes,

” We didn’t go to war with the likes of Tobias Grid-Iron for the sake of money! Put your sovereign away! I knows what you is and I knows what you want and I ain’t blaming ye but we don’t knows where he is, he should be swinging from a gibbet outside a Newgate, but that’s only for the likes of us!” he opined bitterly, turning back to the fire and his friends. The old lady (who is not an old lady), turns away clutching her shawl to her bosom and singing all the while quietly to herself she leaves the ward and shuffles down the corridor. The old lady shuffles past hospital ward after hospital ward, each closely guarded by an officer of the law,finally she/he halts before a stall at the end of the corridor where sits an apothecary, an administer of medicines. The apothecary, Mr Scroggins no less, of Muck Lane, looks a little surprised and dismayed when he spies the bristle chin and those rattle-snake eyes hidden beneath the brim of a be-ribboned bonnet; but the surprise is only momentary and he submerges it quickly,

“Get the word out” the bonnet laden insurrectionist whispers, “Fifty pounds goes to the man that’ll tell us where Lord Grid-Iron is hid”

“Fifty pounds?” Scroggins whispers back,

“Fifty pounds alive, ten dead”

Scroggins chuckled,”Much more like it!”

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Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant

Of Secret Love & A Coffin Notice Long Deferred

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A brutal quiet has descended upon the Grid-Iron home dear reader, an eerie tomb-like silence. Even the Nightingales and the Cardinals that would gather and descend twitteringly upon Grid-Iron Square have fled. Not so the workers, Grid-Iron Square is deserted but these grim faced comrades have over-run Lord Grid-Iron’s town house and now, having barricaded themselves within, they await that final onslaught from ‘the enemies of promise’ .

“Ere Mickey fancy a beer?”

“You’re joking aren’t yeh? Have a tipple of Gin, it’ll warm you to the bones so it will, t’is awful gusty in ere! ”

Bert nodded in agreement, “Them leaded windows ain’t all they’re cracked up to be, we patched ’em up best as we could though” he eyed Mickey sharply, “Shouldn’t you be in pursuit of His Mibs?”

Mickey shook his head “I’m one that got out of that coal mine of his in one piece, after the walls collapsed, though there’s many that didn’t and many as lost their children too. I’ve done my share, I’ll leave the rest to the Molly Maguires God save ’em, fancy a pickled turkey twizzler? ”

“Nah, I’m feeling too gusty, I’ll have a tipple of Gin though, you seen Boodoo?”

A sultry evening at dusk dear reader, night has fallen. But the skies still blaze orange and crimson, lit up by the bonfires that abound in Grid-Iron Square and by the blazing conflagration eating its way steadily through the east-wing of the Grid-Iron home. Lady Grid-Iron and the servants have long since fled the premises, bundled into a coach and driven post-haste to Lord Grid-Iron’s country residence by Francis, the page boy. But where, pray tell, is Lord Grid-Iron? Let us alight upon a roof top not a quarter of a mile from a Grid-Iron chimney and observe a desperate, scrambling pursuit .

“Gombeen man! Gombeen man! We’re upon ye!” pistols can be heard being cocked and then fired and each near miss, each bullet that flys within an inch of it’s intended victim is greeted by a shriek and then a bellow of “Sweet Gove save me!”

“Sweet Gove? Sweet Gove? Of what use is such a profligate curse to such a Gombeen as thou? We’ll have at ye Gombeen man! We’ll have at ye!”

And indeed it does seem as if Lord Grid-Iron’s time has come, for as he scrambles desperately up and over one tiled roof after another,his face a ruddied sweating mess, his clothes befuddled and begrimed with soot, it seems that his speed has  slowed. And as he slows, his poorly used muscles trembling with fatigue, it seems that his pursuers have sped up, their legs and arms scuttling ever more quickly over each roof and towards him. Indeed it is as though Nemesis (the goddess of divine retribution), is carrying them on her wings as they fly through the air and relentlessly bear down upon him.

“My poor Sinead burned to death in one of thy coal mines!”

“Aye! My mother was driven off her own land by one of thy agents!”

“Aye! Aye! And my Da starved to death at they hands thou accursed Gombeen!!”

“Help me! Sweet Gove!” Lord Grid-Iron screamed,

And it indeed seems as if his prayers are heard, and answered, by that most dubious of saints, St. Gove, for the roof he is splayed upon crumples beneath him, sending him hurtling into the room beneath, pursued by the outraged cries of the Molly Maguires who have spent weeks travelling to this sceptred isle, just to have the pleasure of getting their hands on him.

As he falls Lord Grid-Iron’s life flashes before him, his many triumphs in the House of Commons, his marriage to the most esteemed Kitty Grid-Iron, his burning passion for Mrs Hayes. His fall is a long one in which he ceases to scream in terror at his precipitate descent, becoming at once both tranquil and silent, for death on collision seems imminent. And indeed it would have been so, had he not most fortuitously, fallen through the roof of Mrs Hayes ‘up-town residence’.

Mrs Hayes is at the peak of her nadir; her partially exposed bosom lying resplendent in a bejewelled corset of jet black silk, her flaming red hair artfully held in place with ivory combs and draped over one shoulder. Unperturbed by Lord Grid-Iron’s sudden and unplanned entrance, she sings on,

“Take a pair of sparkling eyes,take a figure trimly planned, such as admiration whets” she tra-la-la’s and trills wonderfully, cracking her whip in time to the music.

Lord Grid-Iron falls heavily at the feet of her avid customer, a most unlooked for climax to the evening’s events. Mrs Hayes continues to sing, “Take all these you lucky man! Take and keep them if you can!”. Now consider the embarassing quandary, nay the excruciating ‘situation gênante‘ as the avid client (a close relative of a certain monarch), arises from his ‘love seat’ at the feet of Mrs Hayes and speedily exits her attic ‘play space’.

Groaning and rolling to and fro on the attic floor, Lord Grid-Iron clutches at his left ankle which he is certain has been broken. He groans and he rolls around in exquisite pain and as he does so Mrs Hayes continues to sing, “Take my counsel happy man! Act upon it if you can! Take my counsel happy man! Act upon it if you can!”

Tobias Grid-Iron has ‘acclimatized’ himself to the love of his love having many illicit liaisons, but he has difficulty resigning himself to her utter indifference to his excruciating suffering at her feet. He is mortified by his humiliation, he is heartbroken by her indifference, he faints…

Back view of sexy nude redhead young woman standing in front of sunlit window-786742

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Hypocritical Cant

The Fall Of The House Of Grid-Iron

House-of-Usher

How goes the night dear reader? It is quiet, oh so quiet in the home of Lord Grid-Iron, nothing stirs, no, not even a mouse. But outside, on the streets, some distance from the graveled driveway leading up to Lord Grid-Iron’s mansion, it appears as though all of Bedlam has broken loose, indeed the primitive screams, howls, and sobs of murderous rage would be enough to chill one’s blood were such a one as Lord Grid-Iron aware of them, but he, alas, for the moment, is blissfully unaware. Indeed, riven with torment over his most recent excursion to Mrs Hayes ‘Nunnery’ it is a wonder that he can fix his mind on anything, save the rapid speed with which his soul is descending into the well-heated realms of perdition.

“I’m lost Emily, quite lost”

“Lost my Lord?” Emily glanced at him uneasily as she laid out the cold meats and the freshly baked bread, the pastries, accompanying silver, and linen napkin, folded neatly into its silver napkin holder. The very fact of standing in front of his Lordship laying the tea things out would have unsettled her nerves on any other occasion. But on this night of all nights with the house over run by bobbies, whistles and truncheons poised; and all the men-servants positioned at every entrance into the house, fireplace pokers and copper- pans at the ready. Everyone else in the kitchens might well pretend that they couldn’t hear the mayhem taking place in the streets but her hearing was fine, thank you very much! On this particular night, Emily couldn’t help wondering why they hadn’t locked up house and headed for the country. A blazing log fire crackled in the fireplace and Lord Grid-Iron stood with his back towards it, a crazed look in his eye, “Indeed” he said, his right eye twitching spasmodically, ” One cannot help but marvel at the sheer indomitable will of the Egyptians, bending the Hebrews to their service, enslaving them to the greater glory of their nation, only to be robbed by their ungrateful vassals! Pray? Do you know of Mrs Hayes? A most wonderful woman!”

On hearing that infamous name uttered by his most esteemed Lordship, Emily clutched her petticoats instinctively, for into them she had sewn a miniaturised copy of the testaments of St. Gove. She muttered a quick prayer for aid and succour turning a shocked glance upon his Lordship, and noting with muted horror that he appeared to be dancing upon the very precipice of hell, his face a-flame with she knew not what secret horrors, she turned hastily towards the vast bay window, where, alas, another kind of shock awaited her, no! Not here! Not here! Had she travelled so far from her beginnings to receive no mercy even now? Placing one tiny pastry covered hand against her pulsing breast Maggie swooned. “Maggie? Maggie? What ho! Maggie?” Bending over her, his Lordship sought to quickly loosen her stays (he had ample experience of stay-loosening). And so we leave him dear reader, in the midst of a rapidly shrinking calm before an even more rapidly approaching storm.

“This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Beaumont-Adams revolver, invented and improved by Her Majesty’s Royal Engineers. I can cock back this little beauty and fire in one smooth stroke” Lady Grid-Iron cocked the gun in the crook of her arm and imitated firing her revolver, the scullery maids gasped, the household chef looked on with horror, the Butler with patent disgust, “Doesn’t hit the target nearly as well as my Colt, but as a second gun it will do nicely!” she tucked it into the beaded waistband of her skirt. Frances smothered a grin, all the kitchen staff looked simultaneously horrified and fascinated. And since they had gathered closely around her as she showed off the mechanics of this finely wrought instrument of death, they were nowhere near the windows when the first brick sallied forth followed by the cry “Down with Lord Grid-Iron!” Frances eyes twinkled, the game was a foot!

“Ladies to the store rooms! Quickly mind!” with the help of Frances, Lord Grid-Iron’s Butler shooed all the kitchen staff into the vast pantry where food provisions where stored the year round. “Your Ladyship!” his moustachioes bristled with disdain, for it was clear that Lord Grid-Iron had married into scandal, “Your Ladyship!” James unfurled one gloved hand extending it towards Kitty, who smiled most graciously as Frances crept up behind him and sharply rapped him on the head with a little leathern bludger he’d been given quite recently by Boodoo. “Did you need to hit him quite so hard?”

“It will let some air into his head and perhaps teach him the benefit of not getting in the way when his betters are in the process of reaping what they’ve sown Il hamdulillah, your orders m’aam?”

“At this point?” she threw him the Winchester rifle, “Guard the ladies and lay low, I’ll be upstairs in his Lordships library…if it’s still standing” Gathering her skirts up in her gloved hands, and tucking them firmly into the waist band, she fastened on a leather holster slipping a  revolver into each pouch. She made her way quickly into the vast hallway just in time to see the front door splinter inwards and a horde of armed workers begin to fight their way through. Quickly she slid into the library, hurrying towards the desk where Tobias kept all his correspondence, she found what she was looking for almost at once, a cream coloured, scarlet edged list and on that list three names from the bottom, the name of the most infamous American abroad, “Jedidiah Kane Thickett” Kitty Grid-Iron smiled, and it was the smile of a cat about to pounce upon a squirrel, that had, had the great misfortune of meandering her way, but t’was then that she heard a blood-curdling scream…to be continued….

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