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
Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

Suspension Of The Malefactor’s Bloody Register

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Right Honourable Thomas Bass has descended from his carriage accompanied by Lord Molesworth to view with his own eyes the spectacle that has descended upon the Newgate Prison.With a chill in the air and it being near morn one would think that the demonstraters, worn out from the march, would fade like the morning mist back to cold homes and even colder breakfasts. But none have moved, not one has shown the slightest inclination to depart from the wrought-iron gates of Newgate Prison. Standing shoulder to shoulder they circle the very walls; man to child to woman to man, row upon row of haggard faces ferociously set and all of them armed to the teeth. No sun rises glimmering on the horizon to gild their pinched faces, instead it hides its light behind the thunderous looking clouds.

The Right Honourable Hardy Ethelbert-Smythe has stopped his carriage just on the corner of Newgate and as he looks about him a sight greets his eyes which leaves him aghast. For there stand Millicent Flanders and right alongside her Ronald Walters and Arnie Tobin, newly fed and released from the workhouse here they loiter, savagely intent upon biting the very hand that has fed them! On any other occasion he would step from his carriage and berate the ingrates, but he has affairs to attend to at Bethlehem Asylum and so he signals to his driver to continue on. What a congregation to behold on a Sunday morn such as this! For these are the stony gazes of such as have forsaken the dream of boundless peace in the great heavenly yonder, and who are now ferociously determined to have bread and better working conditions in the here and now.

“Have the troops been called out?” murmurs Thomas Bass for he has only lately been informed of this walk out by Her Majesty’s Railway servants (he has funded several of them). “I know not” replies Lord Molesworth,”Though I suppose they will be, this cannot possibly end well, the government cannot be seen to be of weak resolve on this”. But the right honourable Thomas Bass shakes his head, “Nay lad,have you not heard? He who was the most opposed to leniency in this matter lies ailing upon his sick bed!” Lord Molesworth raises an eyebrow,”ill? With what? When I saw him last he looked as right as rain!”. Mr Bass blushes,”T’is said he has the Jezebel’s Lurgy,desperation led him to take comfort in the midst of the bosom of iniquity and this illness is the result. The scandal should break this very morning” now Lord Molesworth is dismayed,”Really? In which paper?” and now the Right Honourable Thomas Bass looks appropriately vague,”The Northern Star one should imagine…”.

Royal Dockers, Her Majesty’s Railway Servants, chimney sweeps, cottonmill workers, porters, street walkers and musical artistes. All who were present at the beginning and all who have had a hand in the struggle are now present. Silence pervades the ranks of the great unwashed and save the sharp, cold breeze touching upon their ragged garments nought may be heard. Gradually police pass casually through the ranks of the protestors clustering themselves on the opposite sides of the Newgate Road and not looking too worried about it, for they have it on good opinion that they won’t be kept idling there for long. Polishing their whistles on the sleeves of their smart uniforms they glance across the street at the demonstrators with a knowing glance,”What a sight!What a handsomely attired set they is!” one of them remarks,” Keep comin back don’t they? Ain’t they tired of hangings yet?” remarks another and there is raucous laughter. Lord Molesworth and those besides him (for several more Lords and politicians have descended from their carriages), are horrified, for they were given a tour of the aftermath of the Grid-Iron Riot. Why are these officers of the law so at ease with these eager depredators? And why are there so few of them?

His question is soon answered for there is the sound of a dozen hearty whistles warning of the impending arrival of a fire engine. And not too long after a bright red fire wagon presents itself attended by the chief fire engineer himself and two officers. “Make way! Make way!There’s a fire over at Spitalsfield! Make way!”. Like the parting of the Red Sea the crowd gives way, it scatters, and a great roaring cheer sends the fire chief and his valiant men on their way. Thomas Bass notes that the marchers seem more relaxed now, in fact they seem almost cheery as they resume their positions outside the walls of Newgate. Now several of the officers unbutton their dark blue jackets and pull out pewter canteens which they pass around, “Ere Mr Bass fancy a tipple of gin?” shaking his head The Right Honourable Thomas Bass glances once more at the cheerful, relaxed disposition of the police officers on duty; is there something they know that he doesn’t?

There is definitely something a-foot for he notes that several officers are now examining their pocket watches,”Another two minutes” mutters one “Ey up! Ere comes another!” replies the Bow Street officer beside him. And indeed another fire engine and another and another materialises. Each screeching to a dead halt before the striking workers and each greeted by a raucous cheer as they depart. Lord Molesworth counts several, one after the other and all seemingly headed in different locations. Lime House, St Martins-in-The-Fields, the Commercial Road, Liverpool Docks,”What the deuce?!” declares Lord Ruckle-Smoot,”What’s going on?!”

“Not what! Who!” replies one of the officers,”Ah well lads! Time we was packing up! They’ll be no rioting to put down today! March out!” buttoning up their jackets and adjusting their helmets and capes the officers depart the scene of the Newgate Prison Siege, much to the dismay of Lord Ruckle-Smoot. “What the devil’s going on?” Lord Molesworth thinks he knows and glancing up at the lone figure of the Union Rep standing a-top the wall of Newgate Prison, he can’t help but admire the man and indeed the movement’s cunning.” “Observe who is missing from the marchers,chimney sweeps and match factory girls!” replies a red faced departing officer,”This is not a riot, it never was; there’s been fires set in silk mill premises all over London”.

 

 

 

 

 

Standard