Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

Suspension Of The Malefactor’s Bloody Register

 

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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”.

 

 

 

 

 

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ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant

The Bells Of St. Sepulchre

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Silence. In the streets that surround Newgate, in the Old Bailey that stern, unyielding matriarch that, emptied at last, squats stolidly alongside the prison, having supervision of its inmates. Silence, falling warmly upon the householders of Sloane Square, wrapped snugly in eiderdowns in well-heated bed chambers.

Not so for the men of Newgate prison, tossing and turning fitfully in their beds as the bells of St. Sepulchre toll sombrely overhead. The iron clanging of these bells in no way resembles the delicate wedding chimes of St Paul’s Cathedral, for the bells at St Sepulchre’s have only one main purpose and that is to act as harbinger’s of impending death. There is to be another execution a’fore the gates of Newgate and several more will pass unremarked at Wandsworth Gaol for the ruling classes have not yet finished doing as they would have wished with the silk mill workers of London. Does Father London weep for his infants that are no more? He may weep in vain, the hearts of the rich are unmoved.

The Nunneries have been shut for months all the well-fed employees lying restfully a-bed; the music halls have aggressively stood their ground, there will be no unbridled frolics, no licentious entertainments, no debauched drinking sessions whilst the working classes of the capital are forced to bleed, and starve, and tramp about in mourning weeds! And all for asking that their wages and their working conditions be improved!

Silence, cold and unyielding, mired in death and disease in the midst of a prison whose tenants sleep uneasily. And yet there is one who does not sleep, and yet another, and another and another. Slipping across the walls of the prison, opening prison gate after prison gate. Quietly oh so quietly! They steal from cell to cell opening doors, letting prisoners out, who in turn steal across other walls, and slither across other courtyards, till at last nearly all who are sane, and who wish to live are awakened and ready. “For better pay and conditions!” the cry rings out and soon becomes a roar,”For us, our children and our children’s children!” cries another.

The prison governor is asleep, the Union Rep reclining in his cot takes time to stuff his pipe, and slowly lights it. He savours the first puff, langourously draws in the next, pauses on the third, for he now hears the increasing clamour and see’s the torrent of freed inmates pouring into the courtyard from left and right. Now the prison governor is awakened and creeps from his bedchamber to that of the Union Rep who is sat fully dressed pipe in hand.

“Well, they are all gathered” says he calmly, taking a seat on the only chair the room furnishes. A prison Governor seated calmly in discussion with a prisoner who has just incited an uprising in his prison? How can this be? Like the black death or the pox, a malaise has spread throughout the chattering classes of London, quite unlike the deathly torpor those diseases bring. For this malaise is typified by a staunch and intractable determination to see justice of a kind never before seen, done. The judges and the barristers are perplexed by this intractability. Present the evidence as the barristers and the judges might, they can persuade no more juries to vote in favour of hanging the remaining five hundred silk mill workers Newgate prison holds. No more than they can persuade them to vote unanimously in favour of the transportation of anymore prisoners, to the harsh penal colonies of Australia.

The Broadsheets suggest that the governments reaction to the demands of the silk mill workers has been excessively harsh. And then of course there is the disappearance of Lord Grid-Iron, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and those unbridled revelations of his licentious behaviour and financial immorality. Is it true he had a hand in arming the insurrectionists who attempted to blow up the Theatre Royal? Heaven forbid!

“Prosperity! For our children! And out childrens children!” the cries ring out, gather force and bring the Union Rep and the prison Governor to their feet. “Well old friend” says the prison governor firmly shaking the Union Rep’s hand,

“T’is time!”  but the Union Rep shakes his head. In spite of the flaming pyres being held aloft and carried to and fro by prisoners, whose running feet patter thunderously across the prison yard, in spite of the roars of determination, the time is not yet. He pauses, lights his pipe, cocks an ear and listens intently and then, he hears it, t’is like the first slight wave to hit a shore and t’is greeted instantly by silence. It builds it rises and it overtakes that of the men and women within the stone walls of Newgate, but that is because of the immensity of their silence. T’is the shrill war cry of the Chimney Sweeps! The prison Governor looks at his friend in stark disbelief, “but the last of them’s only got out of Great Ormond Street Hospital yesterday morn!” the Union Rep puffs slowly on his pipe, a triumphant look stealing over his face,”T’is Time to mount the battlements!” he declares.

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T’was a freezing cold day outside St Paul’s Cathedral, though the dark and gloomy interior burned with all the fervour and passion that only the presence of St Gove could engender. Sunlight streamed through the stained glass windows alighting on the shabby clothing of the supplicants and bathing their upturned faces in an ethereal glow.
“Oh Gove!” the congregation murmured,
“Oh Gove” Reverend Unctuous replied,
“Oh Gove!” they groaned turning 90 degrees and tugging their forelocks,
“Sweet Gove” Reverend Unctuous intoned, opening his copy of the Gove Testament, special Wendy Deng Edition, as approved & sponsored by the ‘CarpetRight’ Tsar Lord Harris. The tatty well thumbed pages were potent evidence of his total devotion to the Govean path to improvement as the congregation well knew.

“From bite-sized learning and superficial knowledge deliver us St.Gove”

“Oh deliver us, deliver us” throwing up their biro stained palms and swaying first to the left and then to the right the congregation tugged their forelocks anxiously. For they sensed rather than saw that there was one amongst them who was not chanting from the same ceremonial testament. Madame Guacamoley, once of Sibyl Vane Academy, glared at Reverend Unctuous, her lips rearing back from her teeth.

“A bridge too far is never far enough! Grant us clarity St.Gove, deliver us from the common sense of the age. Aid us in reshaping the academic bell-curve, grant us the succour of your goodness & greatness,the vigour & rigour of your moral purpose!”

Shuffling as one to the centre aisle, the congregants clasped their ink stained hands to their bosoms singing

“We do not expect children to know their place, but we know our place St. Gove! We know our place!”
Reverend Unctuous smiled at all those anxious faces, all those tear-stained cheeks. But there was one amongst them who filled his heart with grim foreboding, aberrant that she was. With her raven locks piled sumptuously upon her head and that infamous scarlet gown, she was the antithesis of suppressed creativity,Reverend Unctuous pitied her.

“Bow to the king of nip, tuck, retreat? Never! This is wrong so very wrong! Listen to yourselves!”

Hitching up the skirts of her scarlet gown Madame Guacamoley sprinted down the aisle snatching a copy of the blessed testament out of the hands of a sleepy novitiate. The congregation gasped with horror, as one they lurched forward, but before they could stop her she raised the book high above her head her bosom heaving, throwing it to the ground, she jumped up and down on it vigorously. Some members of the congregation screamed, others fainted, the rest rushed forward as one grabbing hold of her and hustling her aggressively out through the church doors. Her hair unloosed (Reverend Unctuous noted that it hung most appealingly on her shoulders), and gown torn, Madame Guacamoley remained unrepentant, “It’s wrong I tell you! So wrong! Academic brilliance is a marathon not a sprint! Our children deserve better!”

Reverend Unctuous cleared his throat and prayed fervently, “Cleanse us St. Gove, she was among us, but alas not of us”
From the rear of the cathedral a lone sob arose.
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Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

Sunday Under Three Heads

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