Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE WORLD OF LONDON.

PART XIII.

WALKING THE HOSPITALS.

While you

We apprebend that few idle people, hum, amaze you. There is a convenfrom choice, care to turn aside from tual hush over the place; your footthe contemplation of busy life engaged step awakens the echoes of the piazzas in healthy industry, and from the ex and passages, as you make your way citement of the living streets, to ex from one quadrangle to another. In plore the abiding. places of disease, the distance you may observe an irrepain, and death : yet we would not gular clump of lowly buildings, surcare for the man who would not some mounted by domes and skylights ; times visit the homes of the miserable, these are the dissecting and lecture take a lesson of life in the wards of an rooms of the hospital, where the hospital, and anticipate the debt he bodies of the dead are made subserwill sooner or later have to pay, by vient to the welfare of the living. seeing it paid by others.

You enter the house; what a strange are killing the enemy-who is certain, acidulated smell !

The smell of a notwithstanding, to get the better of barrack is peculiar—a frowzy, dampy you one day or another—with bil- smell: the smell of a workhouse is the liards, or dice, or gossip, or the bottle frowziness without the damp: but the at the west end, it might do you good smell of an hospital is different from were you suddenly to be transferred both; it is an odour, as it were, of to a medical or surgical ward of St spilt vinegar, very peculiar, especially Thomas's, St Bartholomew's, or Guy's; in the dog-days, and not very pleasant. and, by the dismal light of a lamp, to Then the surgical wards, the fever contemplate the varied expression of wards, the small-pox wards, have their human agony you will meet with on own peculiar odours, which we might every side ; the crimsoned flush of sniff through several pages with great raging fever, the wandering eye and satisfaction ; but in pity to the olfacfrothy lip of wild delirium, the half- tories of the unprofessional reader, we crown patch of hectic blush upon the shall not dwell further on hospital shrunken cheek of the consumptive; odours. death doing his work by sap and Who are those frowzy women in storm, by night and day, within the the bed-gowns and frilled caps crosswalls, within musket-shot of the scenes ing the square to and fro ? These of your midnight revelry and mid-day are nurses; sisters, as they are called languor, where your only business is -a name derived from those remote idleness, your only pleasure dissipation. times when sisterhoods of religious

• Curse the fellow, he is not going women performed the kindly offices to be funny this month," saith the of tending the sick poor, as they do to reader: very likely not; therefore lay this day in continenial countries. You us down, or take us up, just as you see in the expression of their faces are situated. Life has serious aspects, how little care or anxiety they feel, nay, even painful ones, and our busi. hardened as they are by usage, in the ness is to make you acquainted with performance of the most exquisitely both sides: therefore turn with us into painful duties; they look not like this gateway, or go back again to your those whose daily and nightly task it club, whichever of the two will afford is to moisten the lips of the dying, to greatest entertainment.

close the eyes and decenily dispose You have hardly entered the pre the limbs of the frequent dead. On cincts of one of our great hospitals, the contrary, the great majority have when you experience uneasy sensa the expression of comfortable jolly tions.

The unnatural quietude of cooks in small respectable families those great quadrangles in the imme- where scullery-maids are kept. diate vicinity of crowded thorough In the passages, or in the lobbies, fares, whose discordant noises reach

as you progress towards the wards, the ear commingled in one general if you keep your ears open, you may

I say,

" Not a

hear not a few extraordinary dialogues. to be disappointed; impossible! Tell A group, consisting of one or two of her she can't be allowed to die in the dressers, a knot of sisters, a sur peace, it's against the rules of the gery man, and some of the pupils, is hospital.” Well, Clotty, have you collected at the stair-head, and at bled all the cases ?" “ Surgeryman, intervals you catch unconnected por- have you given all the-ahem"_" Ali tions of their mingled professional right, sir." “I say, Simkins, you conversation.

don't look well this morning." "No! “ So Sally Dawes is dead this morn. - bless me, I never felt better in all ing." “ Cuss the old cat; God be good my life." Why, what's the matter? to her, Betsy; what a world of trouble Let's feel your pulse. Don't you, now, that wre gived me in Mary's ward really feel very ill Come, none -never knowed when to have done of your nonsense : you know I cut calling for drink, night nor day.” my finger in the dissecting-room, and “Simon, have you got my blisters and you want to frighten me. poultices on your tray?”. “ Here's now, is there any body game to throw Goody Simpson's darter says as how a pebble at that gas-lamp?" "Please, she knows her mother's dead, an'a sir, the sailor just come in won't have hollerin' like mad in the hairy: may his head shaved, nor take his gruel: she go up, sir?" "'Gainst the rules. will he get his gruel, sir ?" Guvn'rs won't hear of it; tell her to doubt of it, Molly, if he stays here call again to-morrow.” “ Hilloa, you long enough.' Hark! there's Pro. there, come up, and carry down the fessor Puke coming up stairs ; so off, stiff uns. “ How many, sir?" “ Let boys, and look solemn.” And the me see: Irish hodman, in Job's ward" conference is for the present broken

.“ Beg your pardon, sir, but he's up. not quite dead yet.'

» « Not dead l you Now, take a turn through the wards rascal, do you suppose I'd have given with the doctor. Observe how variyou an order to take him down if he

ous the expression of the patients' wasn't dead." “ Beg your pardon, countenances: the clouded brow, opsir, but he swears he won't die till pressed eye, distended nostril, and God pleases.” “Won't he? we shall parched lip, of impending fever; the see whether or not. There's Sally drunken aspect and stertorous breathDawes, she's dead as a red herring, ing of apoplexy; the fearful shivering I'll warrant her.” “ Mr Mugg, if the of the sufferer from ague; then, in the house surgeon

hears you neglected to chronic wards, note the family likeness leech the erysipelas leg in No. 9, among all the patients—the subdued you'll hear of it." “Dear me, sir, expression of pain, so long continued what shall I do?" Clap on the that habit has rendered its endurance suckers, and when they bite, take tolerable. Now, if you have nerve, them off again: say they're yester- enter the condemned cell—the place day's bites.

" That will be a bite; allotted to incurables. Here are, you he! he! he!” “ Staggers, I'll bet some five-and-twenty fellow you two to five in grog, Slashem's creatures waiting for the friendly hand lithotomy case capsizes the pail.” “Say of death to lay them in the peaceful on the table, and I'll take you. Do grave; and, strange to say, such of you see any thing verdant ?" - Oho!" them as are not tortured with acute « Two to one against the woman in pain, are not merely resigned, but the puerperal ward – what's her positively cheerful! name?

Come, I'll back death Stand for a moment at the foot of against the doctor, for any sum you this bed ; let us look at the card. Oh! like to name." “ Kitty Foley, if cancer of the breast, operated on for you please, sir, has made up her mind the third time yesterday. You observe not to submit to the operation.” the poor creature is dying : already « Whatafter I have had the trouble unconsciousness has blunted the arrow of arranging the instruments; there's of the destroyer; and although she gratitude for you! Tell her she must yet breathes, the bitterness of death be operated on; the bill has been up is past. These oranges and lemons, this week; tell her she'll die if she

cups of wine, teapots, are the offerdoesn't." “ She says, if you please, ings of the inhabitants of the ward to sir, she only wants to be let die in their expiring fellow-sufferer. The peace."

." "What! and the whole class little girl you see limping about with

see,

disease of the hip.joint, smiling, as blings, and lamentations. Some we good-naturedly as if she was at play, have observed to make the fact of their was the nurse of the poor creature approaching death an excuse for imbefore you, and tended her with the ploring some delicacy which they have same devotion as if she had been her never tasted—as, for example, a peach own daughter. Even now, she moist. or a bunch of grapes ; others will cry ens the unconscious lips, and whispers out incessantly for wine, and die mipity into the unbeeding ear.

serable if they do not get as much as There is something very extraordi- they wish. One would die happy, he pary, and to us inexplicable, in the says, if he could see the sun ; another variety of shapes in which death makes gives the moon his preference. The his approaches, and the way in which fantasies of dying people are truly he is met by minds differently consti- extraordinary, and the mode in which tuted. In early life we had abundant they meet death, reconcilable, as we opportunities of contemplating death imagine, chiefly to constitution of on a great scale ; and we took a me- body and habits of life. Soldiers, lancholy pleasure in watching the though by no means a religious class struggles of the parting spirit, as if we generally, we have observed to die could

catch its shadow flung on earth, fearless of death itself, whether or not as it flew to its abiding-place beyond indifferent to the preparation for the

life after death. The happiest deaths, But, with all our watching, we never we think, other things being equal, are could advance a step in our investiga- those of poor ignorant creatures, whose tion. We have seen a virtuous mother faith in their religion is unshaken. of a family, from whose hands the The pride of human knowledge sugsacred volume was never absent du- gests doubts and fears, which, howsoring her long illness, expire delirious, ever little they may disturb lusty life, with a torrent of blasphemy and ob are worse than racks and wheels in scenity horrible to hear. Over and the hour of approaching death. over again we have witnessed the To be weak or undecided, in death cheerful, and, to all human compre as in life, is to be miserable. The hension, happy deaths of those desti- firm in faith do not die-they set out tute of the slightest sense of religious upon their journey to the promised obligation ; while those imbued with land—and only change one state of the strongest and most scriptural feel. existenee for another, ings, have met death with tears, trem

the grave.

FUNERALS.

People have an ominoús dread of grief of him, who, having been beencountering funerals ; now, for our queathed much, regrets that he has own part, we like to meet a funeral; not got more ; or of him who, having and, what is more, we find a melan- the lion's share, is yet sorrowful that choly pleasure in turning round and he had not the good fortune to have following it. Touches of genuine had all. Then there are the mourners, nature are to be met with at a funeral. not of hoods, scarfs, and weepers, but The artificial is thrown aside, the mask of the heart-mourning a loss bewe all wear in the business or pleasure yond that of the world's losses-losses of life falls off, and we are able some. no world's wealth can repair. The times to catch occasional glimpses of tender, dutiful wife, the prudent, affec. men as they really are, or ought to be. tionate husband, the son or daughter We say sometimes, for there is abun- of our youth or of our age. The dance of hypocrisy at a funeral as any parent, dropping ripe into the lap of where else, but even this is worth con. earth, or, deeper grief, cut off in the templating. There is much matter midst of his hopes, expectations, and for conjecture in funerals ; we like to pursuits, leaving perhaps a young imagine that we see reflected in the family slenderly provided for, or not faces of the mourners what manner of at all; the attached and long-esteemed man was the deceased. We try to friend, the woman we loved, or could puzzle out the expression of the disap. have loved. These are the griefs, pointed legatee, and the more subdued various in their expression, that, sur

woman

rounding the yawning grave, pay the the little domestic history we were last sad offices to the unconscious favoured with by the nose-blowing dead; then slowly, and with downcast little man in black. weeping eyes, wend slowly homewards “ Horphans, sir-every one on 'em their melancholy way.

horphans ; that's their mother as is a The funerals of the great, or little bein' buried, sir." people who greatly unite themselves - Indeed." to dust, we have no sympathies with; “ Yes, sir ; she was a 'spectable we cannot get near enough to see of -highly 'spectable, indeed what kind of stuff their hearts are werry wirtuous, poor woman, sir-paid made; mourning coaches, plumed rates and taxes in the parish for hearses, dusky-coated mutes, and the twenty year. I ought to know it; sable pom posity of the grave, do not for I'm one of the overseers~ I am." attract us. But we are a rare hand “ I should like to hear something at ferreting out a workhouse funeral: of the family.” the poor corner of a metropolitan • Should you, sir ? Well, you shall churchyard affords us many an after hear ; but it's a melancholy storynoon's melancholy entertainment. The wery melancholy, indeed. You must poor talk of one another, of the dead, know, sir, there wasn't a more decenter of their affairs, the condition of their couple in this parish than Thomas families. There is much apparent Mason and his wife, Jane

-; they sympathy among them; and they have were well to do, and doing well; do care lest their conversation should

every body respected them, for they be overheard.

paid their way, and was civil to their It was a fine summer Sabbath even. customers. Well, Thomas fell in a ing in June, and we were knocking decline, sir, and died; but he didn't about among the tombstones as usual, die soon enough—for his sickness making our observations upon life and wasted all their substance, and the character, when our attention was business was neglected, so the family arrested by a plain coffin, borne upon fell into poverty: but the poor widow the shoulders of four men in black, struggled on, and the exertions she and followed by eight chief mourners,

made to maintain them little ones was all in decent but humble suits of really the wonder of the neighboursables. The chief mourners were

hood. • Mr Smith,' says she to me, eight children-four boys and four when I offered some relief, • I won't girls: or, to speak more correctly, trouble this world long, and parish three boys and three girls, with two money shall never cross my palm ; little toddles,' mere infants, straggling but when I'm gone, you won't see my in the rear, The eldest boy and girl desolate orphans want a morsel of might have been about fifteen and bread.' So, poor woman, she was fourteen years respectively; the next, right; for she soon sickened, and was twelve and eleven; the third pair be- bed-ridden for thirteen months; and tween seven and eight; the youngest, them children, as you see a standin' as we have said, between infaucy and 'round their mother's grave, worked childhood. The eyes of all spectators themselves to an oil to keep her from were upon the bereaved ones as they the hospital-much more the workus. stood around the grave, yawning to The girls worked all day; and boys receive their only parent and provider; and girls sat up all night, turn and and few were the dry eyes of those turn about, with their poor motherthat beheld the melancholy group she was sorely afflicted, poor woman. the eldest boy looking fierce and man. Well, sir; when she died at last, our like, the rest weeping bitterly, save vicar went and offered his assistance, the youngest pair, looking wonder and told the children, of course, the ingly around, as if marvelling what parish would bury their mother ; but all the ceremony might mean.

that there hobstinate boy, him that's “ Cutting funeral, that, sir ;" ob a givin' his orders, wouldn't hear of served a little pursy man in black it, and blowed up the vicar for menwho stood near us ; “werry cutting tioning such a thing. So the vicar funeral, indeed,” repeated the little comes to me, and says he, Mr Smith, man, blowing his nose violently. these here young Mason's is the

“ Who are they?" we enquired, not oddest babies as ever I see, for they've without anticipating something like sold their bed and all their things to

bury their mother; let's make up a purse your poor mother's funeral.' With for them, and there's my sovereign to that, sir, the boy flares up like any begin with. Says I, sir, never mind, think, whips up a poker, and swears if I'll bring them right; and the parish he catches the parish a-comin' to touch shall bury the poor woman, so that'll his mother, he'll brain the lot of 'em : be so much saved : and with that I • Mother lived without the parish,' goes off to Poppin's court, and into says he, died without the parish, and the fust fluor ; ihere was the poor wo she'll be buried without the parish! man dead, and the room stripped of all With that he opens the door, and the furniture and things. Says that shews me down stairs as if he was a there youth, Mr Smith,' says he, I'd suckin' markis: that's the story on be wery glad to see you another time, 'em, sir; and they're a riggler bindebut we're in great grief for our mother pendent lot as ever I see.

God help bein' dead; and we hope you'll excuse them, poor things !'” us not askin' you to sit down.' Lord Aud with this the little man blew love you, sir, there wasn't the sign of his nose once more, as the group of a chair or a table in the room, nothing motherless children, reformed in their but the corpse, and a bit of a plank. sad order of procession, and with Says I,‘my boy, I'm sorry for your streaming eyes, and many repeated grief, but I hope you wont have any last looks at their mother's grave, deobjection to let the parish manage parted to their naked home.

THE STOMACHS OF LONDON.

About a month or two ago we gave ly stomach that same Smithfield ; like the patient reader the slip-it was at our own, empty as a gallipot the Smithfield Bars, on a busy market greater part of the week, but filled morning. There is much to see, and even to repletion upon market days. something it may be to smell in Smith. In our case, you will understand marfield on a market morning. Its penned ket day to be that when some hospi. thousands of Liecesters, South Downs, table Christian, pitying our forlorn and Merinos-its countless thousands condition, delights our ears, warming of fatted swine-its multitudes of the cockles of our heart with a pro. bleating lambs, pretty dears, so soon voke ; when, be assured, we eat and to be swallowed with mint sauce, drink indictively, like an author at salad, and the usual et ceteras—its his publisher's ! streets of living oxen, whose broad The shepherds and their dogs, we backs form a level leathery floor, over delight to contemplate. Strictly speakwhich you often see adventurous dro- ing, there is nothing Arcadian about vers, stick in hand, take their despe- either master or colley-both are the rate way. Corpulent graziers, with roughest-looking creatures you ever leathern pocket-book crammed with beheld; but there is something about bank of England notes : enterprizing the physiognomy of shepherds that knackers, wholesale dealers in that interests and pleases us-a dreamy favourite article of food-horse flesh, look, such as poets may wear, the resubsequently retailed to the lieges in sult most likely of a lone life upon the à lu nude beef, mutton pies, sausages, hills, and much more companionship and a variety of other fancy costumes : with nature than with man. Take lynx-eyed salesmen, who have but to that tall, erect fellow, for example, glance at a beast to know how many leaning against the rails where are stone he weighs, offal inclusive: jour- penned some ten score of black cattle; neymen butchers looking for a job: even if you overlook his plaided scarf, policemen on the scent after a roving there is enough of nationality in his pick pocket: chawbacons. in smock ample forehead, skirted by tbin sandy frocks, munching bread and cheese, hair, his clear azure eye, and high or gazing listlessly around from the cheekbones, to assure you he is a secure eminence of a waggon-load of descendant of the Picts. He has no hay: shepherds and drovers from all pipe, like your British shepherd, but quarters of the agricultural world, applies the “sneeshin.mull” ever and and

you have a morning at Smith anon to his proboscis. His dog, queer field,

frizzly beast, but no more a bumpkin Truly, ravenous reader, it is a good. than his master, sits, taking unwonted

« ZurückWeiter »