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to the sempstress.
The manufacturer knows this; all those who have inquired into the subject know it; every one but those, apparently, who should have taken the trouble at least to inquire into the matter. We allude to those societies supported by charitable ladies, whose mission is stated to be the amelioration of the condition of the London needlewomen. Without wishing to use any harsh expression towards societies established with such a charitable intent, we cannot help saying that their almsgiving and their attempts to support the poor needlewoman in her present avocation are the greatest curse that can be inflicted upon her. The attempt to back up human fingers against the machine is not only a waste of the money of the charitable, but also of that of the workwoman. Nothing struck us with greater surprise than a passage in the "Victoria Magazine,” the organ of poor oppressed women. The remark in question occurs in an article in the May number, and is to this effect :
The future prospects of the London needlewomen seem dreary indeed. The sewing-machine is making inroads on their humble avocation, and in another generation they will probably be extinct. Those at present in existence will fall into still deeper poverty than they are at present, and, despite of their horror of the poor-law authorities, the workhouse (terminating in the still more dread parish funeral) is in store for a large proportion of their numbers.
The writer is indeed but a Job's comforter; and if the working of the societies for the support of needlewomen is calculated only to conduct them down to death in this deplorable fashion, God help them! We can, however, give them far better comfort. Instead of looking upon the sewing-machine as an enemy that is taking the mouldy crusts out of their mouths, let them regard it as a friend that is willing to feed them as they have never been fed before. It is a fact, that the demand for women who can work these machines is unprecedentedly great. In the shops where they are used, applications are continually being made by other shops to have any superfluous labour sent on to them. What, we may ask, are the Needlewomen Societies about that they do not recognise this fact?
At the Hinde Street Institution, we are told, on the authority of the article quoted, a kind of community of sempstresses is lodged and regulated by charity. The good offices of the War Office are entreated, in order that the inmates may be enabled to compete with the army contractors (who work with machinery) for a portion of the military clothing work. Such patronage would be
very damaging, and such exotic means of attempting to keep up the fight in the open market would be entirely delusive. Sooner or later
the army contractors will sweep the Hinde Street Institution from the face of the earth, if it continues the battle on the present unequal terms. There is one office, however, in which needlewomen's institutions such as this may be legitimately employed-the education of the needle women in the use of the machine. There is a large demand for women so instructed; there is a fast-failing demand only for those who stick to the needle. Why should not these societies employ themselves in accomplishing this transition of labour? It would require but a small expenditure of money. Two or three machines, presided over by one or two skilled workwomen practised in their use, would be sufficient to instruct a large portion of the needlewomen still left among us. This would be indeed a legitimate way of putting women in the way of earning good wages, without degrading them by too much patronage. It seems to us that these machines will be the means, moreover, of furnishing a livelihood to many who have seen better days. Of old, the mangle was an ignoble instrument to which many persons of refinement, who had been reduced in life, were forced to submit ; but the sewing-machine, whilst it would entail little fortune to many a poor woman. no such sense of degradation, would prove a The gift
of such an article would be a real charity; and we shall be pardoned, perhaps, for making the suggestion to the benevolent.
A BLOW TO "THE PROFESSION."
THE blow alluded to was dealt by our friend John Blankman, of Blank Hall, in the county of Blank, esquire, son and heir of John Blankman, late of the same place, esquire, deceased; and "the profession was represented by Horatio Twaddle, of the firm of Twaddle and Twist, a solicitor of the High Court of Chancery, &c., &c. (for which see "Law List”), carrying on a snug practice in the town of Blank, and for many years the legal adviser of the Blankman family.
The departed Blankman was in that high description of repute which is most readily represented by saying that he was known in the neighbourhood as the Squire," and it is not surprising that when the news got about the village, that the Squire lay sick to death at the Hall, it furnished topic for much grave comment. The doctor's gig was seen to drive through the avenue more frequently, day by day, and day by day his visits grew longer, until one night the horse and gig were sent round to the stables, and the man of physic was to remain till morning. Mr. John had been telegraphed for from London, where he
was making arrangements to engage his somewhat restless and active mind in mercantile pursuits, and when he arrived he was owner of "all that messuage or tenement known as Blank Hall."
The mourning at the Hall was not prolonged. John Blankman had not been necessary to the existence of his father any more than his father was indispensable to his. He had hunted with him, and watched him get drunk afterwards; he had talked country politics with him, and they had generally differed. Beyond this there had been little community and less sympathy. It is for the companions of our minds, for the intimates of our heart, the sharers of our sympathies, that we mourn, not for our mere physical associates. And so it fell out that, as soon as a decent time had elapsed, the " new Squire" sought that interview with "the profession" (as represented by Mr. Twaddle) which ultimately induced him to inflict the "blow" to which attention was in the first place directed.
"Good morning, Mr. Twaddle. How's Twist? Oh there you are, Twist. How d'ye do? I want just to have a little talk with Mr. Twaddle-family matters-so-perhapsAh! thank you;" and Mr. Twist was bowed out into the clerks' office just to air his curiosity.
"Now, Mr. Twaddle, I am aware that you enjoyed my late father's confidence to a considerable extent, and I am of course desirous that you should continue on my behalf those good offices which—"
"My dear sir," interrupted Mr. Twaddle, taking Mr. John's hand with great display of feeling, "I have so long been connected with the Blankman estates, that I shall feel, apart from mere business considerations, a deep interest in assisting you in your views. sure your late lamented father would have been pleased to know that you were thus indorsing the good opinion which I believe, in fact, I know, he entertained of myself and ". added the lawyer at a judicious conversational distance-" and partner."
"I am quite aware of the estimation in which you were held," rejoined Mr. John Blankman.
Mr. Twaddle elevated his eyebrows, and trusted not.
"But I am going into business in London, and therefore want to raise as much money as I can get, after paying off the mortgages which already exist."
Mr. Twaddle's eyebrows plainly said that the last-named course was by far the most preferable.
"And therefore I wish to know exactly in what condition the title is at present. I think you have all the deeds."
Mr. Twaddle had. In the last mortgage transaction he had acted for both parties. The money, in fact, was found by his London agents-Messrs. Fiddle and Faddle, of Lincoln's Inn. And, by-the-way, the late lamented had not paid the last bill of costs. Amount? Oh! trifling; under two hundred pounds. Oh ! not pressing. By no means. We will carry it on to the next transaction. No doubt Fiddle and Faddle would oblige the present owner; but, you see, the title would have to be gone into again. Yes. You see, between ourselves, F. and F. advanced more on the strength of T. and T.'s acting in the matter than anything. The sum was small, and-Oh! yes, there was a deed, of course; but in raising full value, you see, it would be different. The title is intricate-been dealt with by mortgage before late lamented purchased, and of course a good many deeds. Oh title good enough, no doubt.
"By George!" said Blankman, at last, "what a devil of a nuisance these titles are. A fellow can never feel that his property's his own. Whenever he wants to do anything with it everybody seems to look suspiciously at him, and begins to think that he stole it. Confound it."
Twaddle smiled, and suggested that "Nothing could be more complete or more equitable than the law relating to real property. Ahem!"
"By-the-way," resumed Blankman, without appearing to notice the lawyer's remark, "what is this new method of registering titles we have heard so much about? Would it suit our case at all?"
"We have heard so little about, I suppose you mean. Land Transfer Act-dead letter. One of the most fallacious ideas, my dear young friend, that was ever propagated. No, no; we are not quite so far gone as that, I hope-not quite, I hope."
sure that the office is not closed, as a failure; and, in the next place, you've got to get your title registered; and I should say there are precious few titles that would ever stand the strict ordeal of the registration system; indeed I should."
"What! do you mean to say you don't think my title could stand any and every investigation?"
"I, personally, should say that your title is a good one, but it is quite impossible to tell what hole might be picked in it by two or three sharp conveyancers; and suppose, just for the sake of argument, that your title was rejected by the office, where would you find a purchaser afterwards? It would be blazed about in less than no time that Blankman's title had a flaw in it, and where would you be then?"
"Dear me," said the amazed client, "I had no idea whatever that publicity is given to proceedings."
"Bless you, my dear sir," continued the lawyer, raising himself slightly on his toes and coming down sharply on his heels, in an authoritative way, "you can't imagine the absurdities of the system. We will even suppose your title registered. How pleasant it would be for Tom, Dick, and Harry to go searching the register to see what mortgages Blankman has got on his estate; and to have it advertised in all the papers. And then the expense-take the survey alone-which is peremptory. Two or three surveyors (you know what surveyors are), at "five guineas a day and expenses," and half-a-dozen assistants, spending a fortnight at the Hall; in fact, supposing, as I said before, that the office were in existence, that your title were unimpeachable, and that you had the patience of Job, I really think there would yet be insuperable obstacles to your availing yourself of the -shall we say benefit of the Land Transfer Act."
66 Yes, indeed; if things are as you say, I don't see much light in that quarter. But I must be off."
"Well, one word before you go," insinuated Mr. Twaddle. "Shall we write Fiddle and Faddle about the further advance ? What do you say?"
"I really don't know what to say. Well well, suppose you wait till I come back. Good morning. Good morning, Twist." And off he went. And on his way to the station he-well, he did not bless the lawyers as a set of well never mind what. "Twist," said Twaddle, putting his head out of the door as soon as Blankman was off,
"just one word. Shut the door. What do you think he was talking of doing?" Twist was at fault. "Registering!" Twist turned pale.
All the way up to town John Blankman was ruminating gloomily enough about the grip which it seemed to him the firm of Twaddle and Twist had of him and his property. He was a fellow of a driving and independent temper, and he chafed under it.
"At all events," thought he, "I will go and consult my old chum Brickman, and hear what he says."
What passed between the two chums is not to be related here; but it is quite certain that when the landowner passed through the town of Blank, that day week, on his way to the Hall, he looked in at his lawyer's, and had
the " coolness as Mr. Twist afterwards said,
to ask if they would be good enough to let him take away his deeds, as he wanted to look through them.
"What! thunder and earthquakes! take away the family deeds from the office of Twaddle and Twist ? Get your property into your own hands? Not if I know it; at least, not without a struggle!" This was what Mr. Twaddle looked. What he said was more
"Well, really, Mr. Blankman, for my own part, I should be delighted to meet your views in any way I could; but you see, unfortunately, while those small sums are due to my London agents, I should hardly be justified, acting, as I do, for both parties, you see, in letting the deeds go out of my custody. You can inspect them here, if you please."
"Well, no; I never thought of those confounded charges. Pray don't think I have any intention of employing any other legal adviser, Mr. Twaddle. I assure you I shall not think of doing such a thing. I simply have a fancy to have my deeds in my own custody for a short time."
Mr. Twaddle felt relieved, but still he said, his double duty placed him in an awkward position; so it ended in Blankman's going away without the two hundred skins of parchment which proved that he had a right to what was his own. Once more he went up to town, ruminating but determined. This time he thought of consulting his uncle James, a director of the Out-and-Out Insurance Com pany, and with him he was in grave conversation every day for nearly a week; at the end of which time Messrs. Fiddle and Faddle wrote down to their clients, Messrs. Twaddle and Twist, that the Out-and-Out Insurance Company were going to pay off the mortgages, and
requesting that the deeds might be sent up without any delay.
Twaddle tried very hard to smile when he handed the letter to Twist, and Twist's joke about Blankman going to his "uncle" after all, was ghastly to a degree; but Twaddle was soon himself again, and sat down and stabbed off a letter in a most vicious manner to Blankman, to the effect that there was a little account, some two hundred pounds odd, which had much better be arranged before the deeds were sent up, "to save any further bother." So, once more, uncle James was consulted, and once more the London agents wrote their clients that the deeds were to be sent up, and, on their delivery, a check for all costs would be given. So, by the mail-train, up came the skins of parchment, and, by the return post, down went a cheque to Messrs. Twaddle and Twist.
"I'd rather have given twice the sum and kept the deeds,” thought Twaddle, as he locked it in the safe. "But, however, he gave us his word we should always act for him, and he can't very well get on without some legal assistance.
We might have a fancy, perhaps, to know what Blankman was up to during the four months which followed and brought Michaelmas close upon his heels, and perhaps we may learn by-and-by from that worthy himself, for it came to pass that on Michaelmas eve he drove up to the door of Messrs. Twaddle and Twist with a large bundle in the gig, which he deposited straightway in the sanctum of the senior partner.
"How d'ye do, Twaddle? Twist, how are you ?——no, come in, nothing private."
"Dear me," said both the partners at once, "this is an unexpected pleasure; why, we haven't seen you for so long we thought you were never coming down to Blank again,-looking so well too."
"Yes, thank you, I am very well, and have come down to spend Michaelmas-day at the old place, and have a pop at the birds. By the way, I've brought back those deeds of mine."
"Ah, indeed," said Mr. Twaddle, with a flash of satisfaction in his eye; "here, William, put these deeds of Mr. Blankman's away carefully in the safe. Are they scheduled?"
better engaged, suppose you take a bit of dinner up at the Hall to-morrow; I want to talk to you, and perhaps Twist wouldn't mind joining us. Only my mother and sister and self, quite a family affair.”
Mr. Twaddle was delighted, he was sure; and as for Twist—well, at all events they were to come, and precious satisfied and jocular they both were about it.
"And now," said Blankman, "I must be off. I've got a good five miles to drive, and they are waiting dinner for me at the Hall" So off he went.
"What did I tell you," said the deep Twaddle-the sagacious Twaddle-to the knowing Twist, "what did I tell you? Didn't I always say he couldn't get on without us. Pshaw, my dear sir, I knew as well when those deeds left this office that we should see them back here again, as I know that what he wants to talk about to-morrow is a proposal for a mortgage. I wish we could lend him the money ourselves; shut the door, and let's talk about it."
What the result of the talk was we don't care one rap. We have now to do with the morrow of St. Michael, the day of geese, and we find the lawyers setting out for their drive over to Blank Hall in a right merry mood. We find them arrived. We find Mr. Twaddle with courtly manner leading old Mrs. Blankman in to dinner. We find Mr. Twist (as advised by Twaddle the Deep) pitching it uncommonly strong to Miss Blankman. We find our friend John merry, hospitable, and talkative,- -more so than his wont. But all good things have an end, and dinners unfortunately are no exception to the rule. The ladies were never more gallantly and more regretfully bowed out of a dining-room than were Mrs. and Miss Blankman by Messrs. Twaddle and Twist, and never did guests more willingly, at their host's request, draw their chairs up to his end of the table than did those gentlemen obey the summons of friend Blankman. For they felt that something was coming. They anticipated a burst of confidence. They expected a revelation—and they were not disappointed.
"I want to tell you," said John Blankman, when they had replenished their glasses; “I want to tell you two gentlemen what I have been about since I last had the pleasure of seeing you. I think it due to Mr. Twaddle especially, as I gave him a promise which I wish to show him convincingly that I have not broken."
Mr. Twaddle bowed and smiled, and was just about to speak, but his host quietly re
"By-the-way, Mr. Twaddle, if you're not sumed:
"Any remarks you may have to make I will ask you to postpone until I have completed what I have to say, because I want to get it
You may remember that I had some talk with you about the Land Registry Act, when you were good enough to give me what information you possessed with regard to it. When I went to London, I went in the first instance to see an old chum of mine, who, like myself, is of an inquiring turn of mind, and I mentioned incidentally that I had begun to experience some of the inconveniences of being a landed proprietor. My friend immediately asked me why I didn't "Register," and professed to be thoroughly up in the matter of Registration. You will also remember, Mr. Twaddle, that you had your doubts whether an office for this purpose existed. I am happy to be able to relieve those doubts, and to tell you that such an office does exist, and a very fine office it is. It may still be in your memory that you stated that those ubiquitous personages Tom, Dick, and Harry might inspect the RegisYou were mistaken. No one but a person having a proper authority is permitted to do so. Having satisfied my mind on these points, I proceeded to make inquiries as to the mode of registering, and I was favoured by the frankest and fullest information on this subject; in fact, instead of having obstacles thrown in my way, the way seemed to be gradually opened to me, and I began to feel that I was competent to understand my own affairs. By-the-way, you also hinted that if my title was rejected, every one would say "Blankman's title is a bad one."
You had been grossly misinformed, and I take pleasure in telling you, that until a title is approved the application has no publicity whatever. But to proceed. I found it was necessary to have an abstract of my deeds, and the deeds themselves; but judge of my surprise and satisfaction when I was told that I need not employ a solicitor, but could, if I pleased, carry the thing through myself. Here was a delightful occupation. I borrowed an abstract from your friends Fiddle and Faddle, and asked you for the deeds. You had a lien on them, and very properly declined to part with them. I went to my uncle James of the Outand-Out Insurance Company, and told him what I proposed doing, and of the difficulties in the way. I entered into an agreement with the company, and they advanced the money to pay off the mortgages. Then there was the little matter of your account, which was also got rid of. I carried my title in, it was approved, the survey was made (by-the-way you were wickedly deceived on this head, it was done by the Tithe Office at a ridiculously small charge), the few notices were all served
by myself, with an additional notice of my own to my tenants and others not to mention the matter to you, as I intended it as a little surprise.
"The usual advertisements were inserted once in the Times, and once in the county paper, both of which I would recommend you to read in future; and within about four months from the date of my application I became the happy possessor of my 'Land Certificate.""
At this point, without appearing to notice the rubicund condition and stertorous breathing of Twaddle, and the sickly smile of Twist, Blankman drew from his breast pocket a sheet of parchment of foolscap size, on half a side of which were inscribed the mystic words which declared him to be the owner of his
"This," said he, triumphantly, "is the document which stands me in stead of the two hundred skins of parchment I left in your office, and which you may, if you fancy it, keep on the top of your stove. This is what I call Concentrated Essence of Title,' and next week I shall deposit it with the Out-and-Out,' and get whatever I may require in the way of money so far as the value goes. And as for the expense, the whole thing, from beginning to end, has not cost one half what I paid you for the cost of the last mortgage. One word more I am so pleased with the whole affair that I feel inclined to have a bowl of punch, —what do you say?"
Mr. Twaddle really begged to be excused. Not to-night. He congratulated Mr. Blankman, and regretted he had been so very much misinformed on the subject. It was late: they would go home.