ACCESSIBILITY, Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness, Transported

A Visit To Master Turple-Sleath

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Is that all?” silence met by a stolid face and a worst than indifferent demeanour,

“I say again is that all? Pray tell what do you stare at? Dommy Woodbine was an idle boy, an insolent lazy wretch not fit to dredge the streets let alone clean chimneys! D’you know how much I paid for that indolent swiveller? Two shillings! He has a sister you say? Mayhap I’ll be able to recoup my losses from her!”

Francis Page eyes the man as keenly as he has Lord Grid-Iron, for if ever there was a companion piece to him this man is it. A slaver of children, worst yet an educated slaver of children. Francis lets his eyes drop on the book case nearby the fireplace in which are lined up the works of Marx, Plato and Aristotle. The works of Shakespeare lie on a nearby wooden table with the page marked and open at the tale of ‘Timon of Athens’. Once a man of culture and of feeling then, now reduced to being nothing more than an ill-natured, alcohol soused, ruffian. Above the fireplace a plaque has been nailed to the coarse stone wall, it bears a coat of arms that is scarcely familiar to the gathered company, though Francis thinks he knows whose it is.

“That is the Elderberry coat of arms?” the master chimney sweep nods, a bitter look rests upon his face. “I was a Latin master once but no more, no more! I that taught the works of Homer and of Plato must now stuff brushes and boys up chimney stacks!”

“Latin master or no, at least you are alive!” Francis snarled,

“Alive? Alive? You call this living? Would a gentleman used to being master of his own fate and now mastered by it, think so? Would one used to having his opinions on the works of Cicero deferred to, say so? Living call you this? How I wished I had descended into the fires of hell that devoured that foolish boy!”

Bert, who had been sitting all the while in a murky corner of the lodgings, smiled grimly at Boodoo who with a curt nod got to his feet and left the room. Francis watched his departure then turned his attentions back to Master Turple-Sleath,

“So you admit to having stuffed young Dommy  Woodbine up a burning chimney?”

“T’weren’t burning when he climbed up it! T’was his laziness that rendered him into the crisp remnant that he became! Let us hope that his soul abides presently in heaven as mine can never hope to” throwing himself down upon a roughly hewn stool he drew up a tankard of gin, throwing his head back he bolted down its contents. He swiped his hand roughly across his mouth, reached once more for the earthen jug of gin on the table, filled his tankard to the brim and laughed. A series of hoarse, staccato sounds that made the hair on the nape of Bert’s neck stand on end. Is the man mad? Thought Bert, and if e is mad how can we justify murdering the varmint?

Francis Page pulled up a stool calmly and seated himself upon it, he pulled out his pistol, dismantled it and calmly cleaned it before putting it back together. He pulled out pristine bullet after bullet slowly and carefully loading his gun with them. When he had finished he looked up and saw that the villain now sat brooding in front of the fire. Glancing at the hunched ( and sobbing) figure of the Master Chimney Sweep, Francis had this to say,

“I have seen men reduced to brute beasts by their masters, but I don’t ever recall hearing of a child being burn’t alive by a master or even, by his own kind. Nor of a master deliberately withholding the means of his escape” he looked coldly at Master Turple-Sleath,”There is simply no profit in it” he whispered as he re-holstered his revolver. Seated there with his slender brown fingers clasped elegantly in front of him he waited, neither drinking nor smoking but simply observing the implacable, silent antagonism of Bert and the sullen man sat by the fire. The indomitable Francis Page would sooner have been at dinner, waiting hand & foot on the cursed Grid-Iron. For he had no love of blood-letting for blood-lettings sake, but as a Pinkerton agent it seemed clear to him that justice should prevail here.

But now, what was this? A series of sharp blunt knockings at the ill-hewn door till at last the door shudders, buckles inwards and a flood of begrimed, sooty faced boys tumble through the splintered wood and into the room. Indeed dear reader, one could think oneself mired in the cold depths of hell! What with the sooty begrimed faces of these belligerent beings, the gleaming, sharp edged chimney scrapers being held threateningly aloft, and worst of all that coarse and unbridled language, most foul in its utterance! Dare one sympathise with Master Turplesleath, who upon sighting these foaming mouthed imps cries out “No!” and then again “Oh God no!” before staggering back into a fetid corner of his room? Ah! But he tries to make his escape! Clambering up the chimney nook and reaching towards a recess carved into the side of the chimney, but like the hounds of Siberius they drag him down, falling upon him like a pack of wild dogs,for like Master Francis Page they too are ravenous for justice!

“So, we’ll be going then” says Bert dispassionately watching the chimney sweeps meting out that justice which they themselves had so plentifully experienced at the hands of their brutal master. “Yes indeed” replies Francis pulling on grey kid gloves and tilting his bowler hat upon his close shaven head. But Boodoo does not move, he has seen buildings crumble to dust midst a fire he has set, he has seen workers desperately flee a dynamited blaze. But he has rarely seen a sight such as this, enraged poverty devouring one of its oppressors, it makes him sad just as it makes him feel elated. Francis Page feels no sentiment what so ever, for there is still a terrorist conspiracy to be thwarted and an abduction to be carried out,”If we might be on our way gentlemen” whispers he, as he calmly steps through the shattered front door,”We still have much to do”.

Standard
Academy status, Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant

The Hunt Is A-Foot!

hospital1.jpg (640×456)

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!”

Standard
Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant

Of Secret Love & A Coffin Notice Long Deferred

EPSON scanner image

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

Standard
ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant

On The Subject Of Chimney Sweeps

Hyde_Park_Demonstration_1866

“How long d’you think it’ll take them?” asked Bert,

“Oooh..not long” replied Boodoo, “Not long at all, the workers was already up in arms and what with that explosion, I wouldn’t fancy Lord Grid-Irons chances at all, he should have hiked it to the countryside but then there’s nowt so naive as the aristocracy” squinting off into the distance he could barely make out the orangey, pulsating, glow of the conflagration that had been St-Martin-In-The-Fields, dense grey-black smoke hovered above the spot. Boodoo felt exultant, with a little help from the Chimney- Sweeps this had been his best conflagration yet. And the fun wouldn’t end there, oh no, by this day’s end he would see the down fall of the one man who had parted him from his beloved sister, Emily LeFevre.

“Fancy a pickled bloater?”

“Nah”

“How about some fried tripe?”

“Nah”

“Well what about a roast potato pickled in turkey twizzler dripping? You can’t go wrong with some turkey twizzler dripping”

“Bloody hell Bert! Don’t you think bout nothing but food?”

“Oi oi! Here they come!”

Now, dear reader, envisage the scene at Grid-Iron square, the sombre and austere silence of three hundred smartly clad policemen, spiked helmets clutched tightly by grim hands, manning the barriers pop-eyed and expectant, and four dozen of her Majesty’s Huzzars, fresh out of the Crimean, sharpening the edge of their swords briskly, their eyes alight with unbridled glee, blood-shed was certain.

“Oi oi! Here they come!” Bert said once again and Boodoo, perched alongside Bert on the roof of Lord Grid-Irons town house simply smiled, “Ere Bert” he said serenely, “Toss us a Turkey Twizzler” munching speculatively on the cold and spicy meat they gazed out over the roof tops and down toward the preparations that were a-foot in Grid-Iron square. Overhead a pall of grey-black smoke hovered and undulated it’s way towards them from St-Martin-In-The-Fields, whilst on the ground all had come to a halt and the air was thick with expectant dread.

“There heeeeere” Bert declared shrilly, for not even his world weary gaze could quite take in the sheer enormity of the mob that had swarmed down from St-Martin-In-The-Fields and now seemed intent upon over-running Grid-Iron Square and tearing it apart, he thanked St. Gove he was perched firmly a-top a roof. And oh my dears! What a terrible sight! What a nightmarish spectacle for young eyes had they the wit to be terrified!

“Aieeeeeee! Aieeeee!” screamed the little chimney sweeps as they bore down like a roaring tide upon the hapless police officers,”Aieeeee! Aieeeee!” that shrill heart-stopping cry was as nothing next to the sound of the chimney scrapers they wielded, like a roaring tide of locusts devouring a cornfield, the chimney sweeps swept over the officers-of-the-law throwing themselves upon the Hussars. Then came the onslaught of the silk mill workers, who upon seeing their children joined in hand to hand combat with the Hussars, went to work themselves mopping up the leavings so to speak.

“Ere what Boodoo I didn’t know ‘erbert Wilkins was capable?”

Boodoo chortled, “E’s capable alright! Caught him trying his hand at badgering once, ‘ad to warn him smart” they both watched as little Herbert, a scarlet coloured band tied around his head, grabbed hold of a horse’s reins pulling himself up into the saddle behind the terrified Hussar. Plunging his fingers into the Hussars glossy locks he pulled hard, jerking the rider back, and causing the horse to rear, until all crumpled down into the ferocious millieux that would in time be known as the battle of Grid-Iron Square.

The two arsonists watched avidly, as wild looking women dipped beneath their skirts to remove their garters and then proceeded to use them as sling shots with which to aim and shoot bits of sharp edged debris at the enemies of promise. Here and there could be seen  police officers staggering under the weight of an enraged child, Hussars galloped to and fro caught in clear panic as chimney sweep after chimney sweep bit their noses, swung from their sword scabbards and gripped them fiercely by the hair. “A-ha!” shouted one Crimea Veteran triumphantly, ” I have you now!” as he gripped a child firmly by his soot-covered throat, ” Oh no you ruddy haven’t!” screamed another child as he flicked him aggressively in the forehead with the flat of his triangular shaped chimney scraper.

The sunset set at its usual pace as the workers and the forces of law and order grappled with each other, until at last only the workers (as well as those injured and near-comatose) remained. Those Hussars and police officers who could, had fled, and quite frankly who could blame them? For they had families to consider, “Its gone quiet for a bit” said Boodoo, “Pass me a spicy bloater” chewing speculatively on the meat his eyes passed over the crowd to a lady clad in a scarlet dress with a tri-cornered hat squarely a-top her head. Madame Guacamoley! It couldn’t be no other! He licked his lips with relish as the lady cantered briskly over the battlefield with the shrewd eyed union rep at her side,

“Comrades!” she roared, here eyes a-blaze with righteous indignation, “Our work is not over!Look around you! Does Lord Grid-Iron lie bleeding on the groud beneath your feet? Is it his loud groans you hear? Whilst your young ‘uns eat dried turkey twizzler mince, he dines on roast goose! Whilst you and yours warm yourselves by hearths heated by a single piece of coal, his face flushes with the warmth of a blazing log fueled fire! Comrades on your feet! Our work is not yet done! To Grid-Iron Manor!”

“To Grid-Iron Manor!” the workers roared their minds a-flame with thoughts of long hours and short wages “Avaunt thee Grid-Iron!” bonfires had been lit hither and thither by the workers who had tossed the various Hussar and Police officer’s uniforms upon them, in the midst of those alternately crimson, scarlet and amber coloured flames it seemed as though the workers had become the very denizens of hell, “Blimey!” said Bert as he prepared to dig into his fifth dried Turkey Twizzler, “They ain’t done yet!”

Standard