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The Century, Volume 21 online

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power in certain places is cheap, as at a water-fidl,
tide or wind mill, and by such a device as this it may
be used to develop suffident heat to warm shops or
dwellings. It can abo be used on railway cars, by
taking the power from the axles of the moving car,
and it has the undoubted merit of freedom from
danger by fire or explosion.

The second invention for utilizing the heat of fric-
tion is so radically different that there does not at first
seem to be any connection between the two. From
experiments made Mrithin the last year or two, it was

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New Steelyard.
The common steelyard with weight attached to
the end has been recently simplified by taking off the
weight and using the beam in its place. To accom-
plish this, the beam is arranged to slide freely in a
ringy or case, of metal. The hook for supporting
the material to be weighed is pivoted to the lower
side of this case, while the chain, or rod, for holding
the apparatus is pivoted to the upper side. When
the beam is at rest, or at zero on the scale, the zero
mark is at the edge of the case, and the beam rests
horizontally in equilibrium. When the material to be
weighed is suspended on the hook, the beam is
thrown out of equilibrium and is then drawn through
the ring till the balance is restored, the weight being
then indicated on the scale next the ring. Weights
may also be used with the beam in the usual manner,
and in this event a second scale on the beam is used,
and the weight is indicated by the last figure next
the ring.

New Variable Water-lens.

A NEW lens, suggested by the peculiar power pos-
sessed by the human eye in changing its focal
length by altering the shape of the crystalline lens,
has been made, that may prove of some value in
kboratory work. It consists of two fine glass disks
set in a ring-frame, tlie space between them being
BUed with water. The water is connected, by means
of a flexible pipe passing through the ring, with a
reservoir that may be raised or lowered to change
the pressure of the water in the ring. The advan-
tage claimed for this arrangement is found in the
expansion or contraction of the glass sides of the
lens under the variations of pressure. When the
pressure is increased, the glass bends outward, thus
nuiking the lens thicker, and changing its focal
length. The elastic limit of such disks of glass,
however thin, must be small and the changes in the
focal length of the lens would be limited, yet there
would seem to be no reason why, witli other trans-
parent material, such as mica, a lens might not be con-
structed in this manner, having a wide range of focal

Pire-proofing Iron Columne.

Hollow iron columns for supporting floors and
roo& are much used in constructing large buildings,

and were it not for the almost fatal defect that they
will bend or break under the influence of heat, they
would be universally employed in building. Many
experiments have beep tried with a view to making
such columns fire-proof, or, at least, sufficiently so
to be able to stand a small fire in their neighborhood
without bending, and thus bringing the entire build-
ing to the ground in ruins, long before it would be
destroyed by the fire alone. A total collapse of a
large building in which there was only a n)oderate
fire, in this dty, together with the loss of two lives,
would seem to make this point perfectly clear.
Casing the columns with wood, asbestos, brick-
work, eta, has been tried, and some of the methods
have been described here in detail. Recently two
more suggestions have been offered. One is to inclose
the columns in rings of terra cotta, put on over the
top when the column is set up. These would act as
a shield to keep off the heat till the fire could be sub-
dued. The plan is simple and inexpensive, and has
the added advantage of giving opportunity to make
the columns highly ornamental, as terra cotta readily
lends itself to decorative treatment The second
plan is to fill the columns with water. To do this,
the plates or castings, usually placed between the
columns where they stand one over the other, have
holes or openings of some kind, so that there is a free
communication from column to column, from the bot-
tom to the top of the building. Where columns are
already erected, short pipes are used to connect them
at each floor. The uppermost column is also pro-
vided with a small escape-pipe, passing through the
roof to the open air. At the base of each tier of
columns a pipe is connected with the street mains,
so that all the columns may be filled with water,
either permanently or on emergency. When thus
filled with water and provided with an escape for the
expansion of the water or steam, the columns would
stand unharmed until every floor was burned out
Were the girders also hollow and filled with water
in the same manner, both girders and columns
would undoubtedly stand intact, even after all the
floors and the roof had fallen in, and they could be
used again in rebuilding. The system has the merit
of cheapness and ease of application, and is patented
in this country.


Cabin Philoeophy.

Jes' turn de back-log ober, dar— on* pull your stools I _ an ketch *em ;

• . • t*r^» «r«x«« Iri.* vk.mfr *fr

An' ef you*s wantin* fishes, you mus' dig your wums

an* k^tch Vm ?

up nigher.

An' watch oat 'possum cookin' in de skillet by de fire :
Lcmme spread my legs out on de bricks to make my

fccUn's flow,
An* 111 grind you out a fac* or two, iq take befo'

you go.

Now, in dese busy wukin' days, dey's changed de

Scripter fashions.
An* you needn't look to mirakuls to furnish you wid

Now, when you's wantin' loaves o* bread, you got

to go an' fetch 'em«

For vou kin put it down as sartin dat de time is

^ong gone by,
When sassages an* 'taters use to rain fum out de sky !

Ef you think about it keerfully, and put it to the

You'll diskiver dat de safes' plan is gin'ully de bes' :
Ef you stumble on a homets'-nes' an' make de

critters scatter.
You needn't stan* dar like a fool an* argerfy de

matter ;
An' when de yaller fever comes an' settles all aroun',
'Tis better dan de karanteen XoskujffUoutt^ town!

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In this power of physical evocation of the
bodiless beings of the brain, Dickens alone
can stand beside the great French master ;
and after him I know of only two writers
of modem romance who possess, in any
comparable degree, this vividness of por-
traiture which makes their creations Hving,
moving beings to themselves as to us : Tur-
g^nieff, and Henry Kingsley in his early
and fresh work. To not one of these, it is
probable, — not even to the great Balzac, —
had his own creations such distinct and in-
sistent personality as those of Dickens to
himself. They were, as he once said, a part
of himself " gone out into the shadowy
world," and, having separate existence,
thenceforth never left him. He had entire
belief in their reality, and would stop in his
walks to hold conversations and play pranks
with them. Above all, he suffered most
acutely in their sufferings. Some one has
well said that no human being could really
suffer as Dickens sometimes thought that
he suffered. His feeling was too intense to
be profound or lasting. And it is singular
that, while he sympathized so acutely with
the fictitious sufferings of his own creation,
he did not show, in written words at least,
any such intensity of feeling for the trials of
his own boyhood. He could turn them to
dramatic account and coin them into serv-
iceable scenes. Yet none of the children
of his brain were more forlorn and friend-
less than he ; no childhood of his invention
was more sad and dramatic than his own.
But it is noticeable that on the few occasions
on which he speaks of these early scenes, —
in his narration of it to Forster, — in an allu-
sion in a letter to Washington Irving, — he is
singularly temperate and self-contamed : in
striking contrast to the ease with which he
becomes lachrymose over Paul Dombey,
maudlin over Little Dorrit, or breaks into
blank verse over the privations and death
of Little Nell. " I cannot help it when I
am very much in earnest," he writes of this
tendency. Perhaps he was too much in
s own case to sentimentalize or
poetry " over it; and certainly
ever wrote has less of shallow
ty in it than his account of his
and notover-particularly cared-
" — nothing more genuinely pa-
lis references to the " never-to-
niisery of that time."
les of his boyhood, which are
of David Copperfield's early
have the greatest interest for
\ no longer possible to trace

them. The blacking-warehouse at Old
Hungerford Stairs, Strand, opposite Old
Hungerford Market, in which he tied up the
pots of blacking in company with Bob Fa-
gin (whose name he "took the liberty of
using long afterward in * Oliver Twist*") and
Poll Green (whose first name he "trans-
ferred, long afterward again, to Mr. Swee-
dlepipe"), has long since been torn down.
That " crazy old house, with a wharf of its
own, abutting on the water when the tide
was in and on the mud when the tide was
out, and literally overrun with rats," is now
replaced by a row of stone buildings; the
embankment has risen over the mud; and
the vast Charing Cross Station stands op-
posite, on the site of the old Hungerford
Market and of " The Swan, or The Swan
and something else" — the miserable old
"public" where he used! to get his bread
and cheese and glass of beer.* The very name
of the street is gone, and Villiers street ha*
sponged out the memory of Hungerford

The " two old-fashioned shops " in Chan-
dos street, next to the comer of Bedford
street, — to which the blacking-warehouse
was afterward removed, and in front 01
which people used to stop to admire his
and Bob Fagin's briskness at their work,—
are replaced by the massive cooperative
stores; and the little public-house where
he got his ale, on the opposite side of
the street, and of which he writes, "the
stones in the street may be smoothed by
my small feet going across to it at dinner-
time, and back again," — this, too, is swept
away. Indeed, it is no longer possible
to find any of the places he makes men-
tion of in his narrative to Forster: there
are no traces of the two pudding-shops be-
tween which he was divided according to
his finances, nor of the h la mode beef shop
where he orice magnificently dined, nor of
the coffee-shops at which, when he had
money, he took his half-pint of coflfec and
slice of bread and butter. When he bad no
money, he used to take a turn in Covcrn
Garden Market and stare at the pine-appte
for his dinner; and this refreshment is stiD
open to us. But the Adelphi arches, the
hiding and sleeping place of tramps and out-
casts, which he loved to explore, have been
transformed by gas, and policemen, and
other modem improvements; Bayham street,
where he lived, is entirely rebuilt — (singulariv
enough, a tavern on its corner is kept by
one Dickens) ; his school-house, in Mom-
ington Place, was long since half sliced

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house is still standing, at No. 53 Parliament
street, at the comer of the short street lead-
ing into Cannon Row, but has been con-
verted into a restaurant, Mr. Pemberton*
tells us.

Or we may follow the boy's usual course
" home " — as he called the prison ! — at
night, across Blackfriar's Bridge, " and down
that turning in the Black friar's Road which
has the likeness of a golden dog licking a
golden pot over a shop-door " on one cor-
ner. This turning was Little Charlotte
street, leading to Union street, and the
sign — but newly gilt and gorgeous now —
is still to be seen there as an ironmonger's
sign. Or we may cross by South wark
Bridge, — the iron bridge of which Little
Dorrit was so fond, because it was " as
quiet after the roaring streets as if it had
been open coimtry." It was a toll-bridge
in those days, and for that reason less
frequented than the free bridges. To this
bridge, "young John Chivery" followed
Little Dorrit on that baleful Sunday when
he attempted his modest declaration of
love, with such small measure of success
that we — who wish him well — regret the
more to see so soon after, on this same
bridge, her evident readiness to bestow her
confidence and her affecrion on that lugu-
brious bore, Arthur Clennam.

And, while here, we cannot forget that it
was on this black stretch of water below us,
"between Southwark Bridge, which is of
iron, and London Bridge, which is of stone,
as an autumn evening was closing in," that
we first saw Lizzie Hexam, rowing her
father's boat, while Gaffer sat in the stem
and steered, " and kept an eager lookout."

And so^ still going down the river, we
come at last to cross by London Bridge,
there following the footsteps of Nancy,
dogged by Noah Claypole, to the steps on
the Surrey side. This, too, was the loung-
ing-place of young Dickens, on those mom-
ings when he was out from his lodgings
betimes, too early for admission to the Mar-
shalsea for his breakfast; and where he
used to tell "quite astonishing fictions about
the wharves and the Tower " to their little
maid-of-all-work, on her morning way to the
prison, she also lodging outside. It was
this " orphan girl of the Chatham work-house,
from whose sharp little worldly and also
kindly ways he took his first impression of the
Marchioness in *The Old Curiosity Shop.*"

* Dickens's London, or London in the Works of
Chjirles Dickens, by T. Edgar Pemberton.

Passing up the High street of the Borough
— ^into which each of these ways has at last
led us— past the White Hart of Sam Weller
and Jack Cade, and the other famous oW
tavems, — the George, the Spur, the Queen's
Head, the King's Head, — we reach, at the
end of the street, just on the hither side of
St. George's church, a cheese-and-butter
shop, into the back part of which the pro-
prietor courteously allows us to enter. We
stand in the former turnkey 's-lodge of the
Marshalsea, unchanged, except for the shop
built in front of it, since the days when
young Dickens and Little Dorrit crept
through it, in and out, at night and morn-
ing ; both about of a size, both equally for-
lom. We seem to see Mr. Chivery "<»
the lock " to-day, and " young John," hav-
ing set his dinner down, is entirely oblivious
that it is growing stone-cold, in his mute
adoration of the movements of Little Dorrit
in the yard within, whom he is gazing on
with his eye glued to the key-hole of the
lodge-door, — ^that eye which, by constant
employment in this laudable duty, has be-
come swollen and enlarged beyond the
other one.

Going out again fix>m the shop into the
street, we find, a few feet lower down, a nar-
row archway under the houses, on the side
of which, in half-effiiced black letters, on an
alleged white ground, we read, ^^ Angel
Place ^ leading to BermondseyJ'* Let the
visitor pass through this archway into Mar-
shalsea Place just within, and he " will find
his feet on the very paving-stones of the
extinct Marshalsea jail ; will see its narrow
yard to the right and to the left, very little
altered, if at all, except that the walls were
lowered when the place got free ; will look
upon the rooms in which the debtors lived :
and will stand among the crowding ghosts
of many miserable years."

As we stand in the court, we have b^
fore us the right-hand yard, the little prison
for smugglers at its farther end, aiKi that
side of the debtor's prison in which the
Dickens family lived; the windows nearest,
in the top story but one, are those of their
rooms, which he has made, also, the rooms
of Mr. Dorrit. The windows above look
into the room occupied by Captain Porter and
his queer family, of whom the boy borrowed
the extra knife and fork. This block of
buildings is backed by a similar block, the
windows of which look out also on the yard,
whicli nms completely around the barrack-
like pile. It is now what we should call a
cheap tenement-house, and has a squalid aod

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poverty-stricken air. Frowzy women stop
their washing to look at the stranger ; and
disheveled children play about the pump
at which " Pancks the gypsy," rampant that
night over the fortune he had found for
Little Dorrit, cooled his head, and then
" look a header " over the back of Mr. Rugg,
of Pentonville, General Agent, Accountant,
and Receiver of Debts. On my first visit, I
tried to get something of personal interest
about the prison from the oldest inhabitants
I saw about — two very old men, basking in
the sun where the Brothers Dorrit were wont
to stroll, and waggling their heads over
their snuff-boxes ; but the pristine brightness
of their brains had become dimmed, and
evolved no flash. There came into the
court just then a most amazing old lady, so
tremulous with age and, it is to be feared,
with gin, that she might have been a twin sis-
ter of old Dolls, stricken with the same mal-
ady, and strayed into this forlorn place. She
was bright enough, however, and shook out
much of interest about the former prison, over
which she guided the visitor, spite of her
terrible tremblmg. Handing her the cus-
tomary sixpence, I turned rapidly away,
that she might not be abashed to squander
it at once for the gin she so evidently thirsted
for, at the " public," on the comer of the
litde alley. I hope she did, purely as a
hygienic measure.

The wall on the right forms the inclosure
of St. George's grave-yard, now a trim, be-
flowcred little park. The church vestry
may be visited wherein Little Dorrit slept
on the cushions, with the church register for
a pillow, on the early morning after she
had been shut out of the prison all night
with Maggie: and in this church, — where
she had been christened, — she and Arthur
Clennam were married. On the opposite
side of High street is the pie- shop where
Flora took Litde Dorrit for a talk, and
from which Mr. F.'s aunt refused to stir
until " h€ should be brought forward to be
chucked out o' winder " ; with which wish,
and that estimable lady's customary bellig-
erent attitude toward that offensively pre-
cise and proper Clennam, we all surely
are in fullest sympathy. Within a few
nninutes' walk was Mr. Cripple's dancing-
academy, where Frederic Dorrit and his
niece Fanny lodged ; and in the other direc-
tion, in Horsemonger Lane, was the to-
hacco-shop kept by Mrs. Chivery, mother
of "young John," — "a business of too mod-
est a character to support a life-sized High-
^der, but it maintained a little one on a

bracket on the door-post, who looked like a
fallen cherub that had found it necessary to
take to a kilt."

There are no scenes of " Little Dorrit "
outside of this neighborhood which are
capable of identification. That part of the
city wherein was situated Mrs. Clennam's
house, between St. Paul's and the river, has
been almost entirely rebuilt within a few
years, and its old dwellings have given
place to great warehouses and ofllices. Mr.
Meagles's villa at Twickenham may be
picked out fi*om a score of just such ones ;
and if the Bleeding Hart Yard (as it is
spelled in the maps) which lies between
Farringdon Road and Hatton Gardens is
the Bleeding Heart Yard of Mr. Casby, of
Doyce and Clennam, and of Plomish, it has
been changed beyond all recognition.

A little farther up High street — but let
Bob Sawyer speak, as he hands his card to
Mr. Pickwick : " There's my lodgings, Lant
street. Borough ; it's near Guy's and handy
for me, you know — little distance after
you've passed St. George's church ; turns
out of High street on right-hand side the
way." As we turn into Lant street, un-
changed since that day, and look at the row
of small and shabby houstes, young Dickens
in his back attic, the little window of which
" had a pleasant prospect of a timber-yard,"
is not more real to us than Bob Sawyer and
his friends of the bachelor party. We are as
fond of Jack Hopkins and his immortal
story of the necklace as Dickens himself al-
ways was, and we hear Mrs. Raddle's shrill
voice as she drives the revelers out with
ignominy, even addressing the venerable
Pickwick as an " old wretch, wuss'n any of
'em ! "

Just beyond, a little farther up High
street, there was demolished, only one year
ago, the old King's Bench prison, called,
of course, during the present reign. Queen's
Bench, and hallowed as the residence of the
majestic Micawber, when the ban-dogs of
the law were set upon him. Looking at the
last of its wall, topped with its iron railing, a
tear stood in the writer's eye as he recalled
the touching reminiscence it brought forth
from Mr. Micawber, on the occasion of his
revisiting it with David and Traddles:
" Gentlemen, when the shadow of that
iron-work on the summit of the brick struct-
ure has been reflected on the gravel of the
parade, I have seen my children thread the
mazes of the intricate pattern, avoiding the
dark marks. I have been familiar with
every stone in the place."

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his pupil over Vauxhall Bridge, but will keep
on this north, or Middlesex, side of the
town, and make our way through West-
minster, Charing Cross, and the Strand to
the Temple. Here Rogue Riderhood is
just slouching out, having had his " Alfred
David took down by the Governors Both,"
and we will follow him, as they did on a
certain memorable occasion, but at a safe
distance behind his unsavory person, and
that old sodden fur cap, formless and mangy,
like the skin of a drowned, decaying dog or
cat, puppy or kitten. As we pass St. Paul's
we glance at the archway giving entrance to
Doctors' Commons, and snule at Mr. Bof-
fin's reference to " this Dr. Scommons, the
gendeman in the uncomfortable neck-cloth,
under the little archway in St. Paul's church-
yard." There are other scenes in "Our
Mutual Friend" which tempt us to linger on
our route, and as we see Rogue Riderhood's
mangy fur cap just ahead, and he slouches'
slowly along, — ^for he has no bird of prey to
track down to-night, — we may, instead of
following him through the water-side streets,
by which route he leads Eugene Wraybum
and Mortimer Lightwood, pass through
Leadenhall street, and turn for a moment
into St. Mary Axe, — in the cockney dialect,
"Simmery" Axe, — on which the old lines
run :

"Jews from St. Mary Axe, for jobs so wary,
Tbat for old clothes they'd even axe St. Nlary."

In this queerly named street we look for
the sign of Pubsey & Co., hoping to get a
glimpse* of old Riah, and eke of Fascina-
tion Fledgeby, too; but the "old, yellow,
overhanging, plaster-fronted house" has
given way to straight, staring, new banks
and offices. By a short cut through these
devious litde aJleys we reach Fenchurch
street, and find, in Mincing Lane, the count-
ing-house of Chicksey, Veneering & Stob-
bles, hoping that Bella Wilfer may be mak-
ing one of her frequent visits to the Cherub;
but he has just come to the conclusion
**that perhaps it mi^ht attract attention,
having one's hair publicly done by a lovely
woman in an elegant turnout in Fenchurch
street," and so has sent her, while he is buy-
ing his new outfit from the little purse she
h^ pressed into his hand, to wait for him
in the yellow chariot, ** near the garden, up
by the Trinity House on Tower Hill " ; so
thither we follow her as willingly as would
John Rokesmith himself.

It is hard to say whether she or Lizzie

Hexam is the more lovable. It is certain
that, after many failures in his portraitures
of women, Dickens succeeded in giving us,
in this one work, two most genuine and
most womanly women. It has always
seemed to me that Dickens, for all his
genius, had no comprehension of the
nature of woman, but looked on her
with the eye of the average Englishman,
while as a novelist his types are few in
number and phantasmal in form. She is a
pretty, foolish doll, like Dora or Ada Clare ;
or a bloodless artist's lay-figure, like Agnes
Wickfield ; or a cheap, melodramatic hero-
ine, like Edith Dombey; or a portentous
prig and poseuscy like Esther Summerson.
His favorites are invariably small in stature,
coquettish in costume, and kittenish in
their ways. For some recondite reason,

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