Walks in South Lancashire (3)
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THE TWO JUDGMENTS.


    IN the solitude of the night I had a strange dream, at which my soul was troubled, and filled with fear and awe.

    Methought I was in a large open place, where a great multitude of human beings were collected together.  And they were divided into the accepted, and the unaccepted; and they were separated by a barrier, on which stood an Angel, whose robe was as white as driven snow; and the outside feathers of his wings were like frosted silver, and those of the underside were like pale gold; and he stood there as a test and a witness of truth; and he kept a record of the proceedings of these children of men, but they knew not that he was there.

    And I perceived that the accepted party dwelt in a beautiful country, like a large park, which was laid out in pleasant walks beneath shady trees, and by quiet and retired places, and amongst shrubs ever blooming, and ever in leaf.  And splendid palaces were there, furnished with rich carpets, and soft couches, on which the weary went to repose; and tables were spread for them, covered with ever delicious viands; and whatever they wished to eat, or to drink, or to clothe themselves with, was straight set before them.  And they formed a most splendid company as ever was seen under heaven.  Noble countenances were there, and beauteous and majestic forms; and their garments were of all bright colours and hues; gorgeous tiaras and headdresses they wore; and as they moved, their robes arid jewels gleamed with splendour; and they walked about in the sun-light, all so happy;—and some danced to music, and some listened to ravishing strains, and some had fine pictures and statues, and some were happy in love, and some had beauteous children, and others took pleasure in splendid chariots, and in horses and hounds; but all seemed so happy, like very angels;—and thus they spent their time within their pleasant enclosure.

    And I remarked that three spirits stood within a gate, which led into the enclosure; and they kept it that none might pass within but such as were accepted; and I asked the Angel about them, and he said they were evil ones; and their names were Ignorance, Pride, and Hypocrisy.

    And Ignorance assumed an air of wisdom; and Pride was robed in a garment of meekness; and Hypocrisy wore the clothes of a saint.

    And the Angel waved his hand, and their garments were turned aside, and their bosoms opened, and I saw their hearts, all teeming with arrogance and oppression, and avarice, and perfidy, which they hugged inwardly, saying, "No man will know."

    And on the outside of the gate at the barrier, stood one keeper only, and the Angel said he was a blessèd spirit,—his name was Hope.  And a mighty concourse of men, women, and children stood behind him; and they occupied a vast plain, of which there appeared not any end.  And their looks were incessantly directed towards the country inside the barrier, and the splendid company there assembled.  And the multitude were agitated by a variety of wants and passions, and they were restless as a tossed ocean; some were torn by envy, some by revenge, some uttered curses loud and deep, some brandished weapons, some plotted to force the barrier, and others betrayed them; some advised conciliation, some laboured unceasingly to hoard up wealth, some were a-hungered, some in rags, some had long been houseless, and they stood there, wind and storm-beaten, praying for food and shelter.

    And the Angel looked on the multitude of beings with pity; and he straightway waved his wings of glory, and there broke from them a light at which the sun grew pale, and a feeling of divine mercy and charity fell upon the hearts of many of the people inside the enclosure; and they held meetings, and heard sermons, and made collections, for the instruction, and the moral and religious improvement of the great outside multitude: many of them said also, "lest peradventure they break in upon us, all rude and uncivilized as they are, and take from us our houses and lands, and our silver and our gold; and rob us of our enjoyments;" and so they contributed liberally, and sent instructors amongst the people.

    And from time to time those amongst the people, who had acquired wealth, by whatever means, knocked at the barrier, and being deemed respectable, were, by the evil ones, admitted to share the joys and splendour of the place.

    And mingled with the people, were good men, and self-taught geniuses, who needed not instruction; and attended not, therefore, to the precepts of teachers, but unto those of God only.  And from amongst these from time to time, advanced some to the barrier, to see it peradventure, they might be accepted.

    And, as I looked, an old man came from the crowd and demanded entrance; and the keepers within asked on what grounds he claimed it; and the blessèd spirit of Hope spake for him, and said he was a virtuous man; he had shared his bread with the hungry, and his garments with the naked, he had protected the defenceless, and had shielded the innocent, and had saved life.  And Pride asked if he were wealthy? and Hypocrisy if he were of the true faith? and Hope said he was very poor, and the Angel, yearning, said he would be found acceptable of God; and they heard the words of the Angel, but knew not from whence they came.  And the keepers, looking at his humble appearance, declared he could not be accounted respectable, and therefore could not be admitted, and they closed the door against him.  And certain men and women, of noble carriage, and with shining countenances and apparel, advanced from the crowd within the barrier, and spoke words of comfort to the virtuous man, and stretched forth their arms and embraced him, and gave him of the food and raiment which they had in plenty, and the poor man was very grateful, and he blessed them and their posterity; and then he went his way and died amongst the people, and there was a great mourning for him, and a lamentation; and he was carried to a quiet green field, and there buried; and the people wept upon his grave, calling him, Father! Father!

    And soon after another man came from the crowd.  He was of mature years; of a thoughtfully placid countenance, and neatly, though humbly attired; and he had books and writings under his arm, at which he kept looking.  And Hope said he was a man of learning, but very poor, and the three keepers looked at him, and saw that his apparel was humble; that his feet were scarcely concealed by his shoes; that his features were shrunken and furrowed by want; and that the only jewel he wore, was a plain ring, on which he glanced affectionately.  And when they questioned him, he said his life had been spent in endeavouring to benefit and enlighten mankind.

    And Ignorance questioned him about air bubbles; and Pride enquired about his pedigree? and Hypocrisy asked if he had written sermons? and he said he had not written any sermons, unless the tenour of his life and of his writings might be considered as such; and he was adjudged not to be respectable, and was rejected; and thereupon certain noble-minded men and women advanced from the gay crowd, and spoke kindly to him, and embraced him, and bade him be of good comfort, and they gave to him that which gladdened his heart, and he blessed them, and prayed God to bless them; and the Angel which stood on the barrier wrote that blessing in his book, and it was not forgotten in heaven.

    And in some time a third man came from the crowd to the gate; his appearance denoted extreme poverty; he was bent with the weight of years, and his grey hairs scarcely sufficed to covered his forehead; and he asked not so much to be admitted, as to obtain wherewith to keep his old age from want.  And Hope said he was a naturalist, and had spent all the hours he could spare from labour, in collecting and arranging God's wondrous works in the vegetable creation; and they questioned him about his moral life, and he admitted he had not been altogether blameless; but he sincerely repented, he said, whatever errors he had committed, and hoped they would be forgiven.  And the Angel wrote down those words, and they were not forgotten of God.  And the keepers decided that he could not be allowed relief because his life had not been morally pure; and he turned to go away, but certain noble-hearted men and women advanced from the respectable side, and called him back, and covered his grey hairs with a mantle, and spoke kindly to him, and gave him wherewith to make his latter days comfortable; and he blessed them, and the Angel recorded that blessing, and he took down the names of those who did these good things, and they were blessed above the rest of mankind.

    And then came one from the crowd, bearing a harp, and his carriage was dignified and respectful; and he put down his harp near the barrier, and leaned upon it, for he seemed weary with long travel, and his grey hairs floated about the strings.  And Hope said he was a bard, and the evil ones inside the gate, would not believe that one so homely could be a bard.  And he waved his hand for silence, and when the noise had abated, behold a sweet strain was heard from voices inside the barrier; the respectable ones were singing a new song, and that song was his; and the people took it up and shouted his name.  Then the evil ones questioned him about his conduct in the world, but they enquired not what had been the conduct of the world towards him; and he turned away indignant, and dashing the tears from his cheek, he took up his harp to depart.

    And certain noble-minded men and women called him to the barrier, and embraced him, and consoled him; and they would have given him food and raiment, and silver, and gold; but he would have none of their gifts, because he was not thought worthy to be admitted; and so he blessed them and went his way.  And the Angel wrote down all these things, and he shook his wing above the harp, and there awoke a melody rich as never on earth had been heard before.  And the multitude listened in ecstacy and wonder; and the Minstrel knew not whence the music came, save that his harp was vibrating; and looking towards heaven, he said, "Lord, if it be thy will, let my travail now cease!" and he leaned on his harp, entranced with the wondrous tones.  And when the Angel folded his unseen wing, the music ceased, but the bard stood leaning on his harp as if still listening.  And they called to him, but he moved not, and they urged him, but he lifted not his head.  And certain of the noble-minded came over the barrier, and others advanced from the crowd, and when they tried to arouse him, he was no more.  And they mourned over him, calling upon him with endearing words.  And they placed him on a bier, and wreathed his bier with garlands, and they bound his brow with tendrils of young woodbine, and hazel-bloom,—for it was the spring season,—and they decked his harp with the new flowers of the year, and placed it beside him on the bier, one hand resting on its chords; and they carried him on their shoulders to a green sunny bank, where they buried him, and wept over his grave, saying, "Alas! alas! that we should live and hear that voice no more!" and they placed fresh sods above his grave, and planted there a young broom, emblem of his never fading song.  And when they returned, a young bard carried his harp tenderly aloft, and the flower wreaths swung upon it, and the Angel waved his wing, and the same sweet tones were heard as before; and the people stopped and wept, and looked up, saying, "it is he! it is he! our beloved one is still abiding with us."  And they were comforted.

    And after that a man advanced from the crowd bringing with him a machine most wonderful to behold; he had spent long days and nights of toiling thought in its construction, so that he had wasted his substance, and was now poor and distressed, and he craved wherewith to enable him to complete his machine, that he might obtain his just reward; and in order to show what the machine would perform, he turned a wheel, and the machine spun out many fine even threads at once, so aptly almost that it seemed as if moving from reason.  And the respectable class praised his ingenuity, but they vouchsafed him not any thing; and the three keepers at the barrier kept it closed; and certain ignorant ones advanced from the crowd, and threatened the man, and abused him, and broke his machine, so that he was obliged to flee and hide himself, and he did so, and disappeared, and died in obscurity, and left his children in want.  And then came another man with a machine almost like the former one, but more complete, and he carded his wool and spun out his threads as had been done before, and he showed the multitudes on both sides, how those threads might be made to yield gold, and they bade him go on, and he spun many threads and exchanged them for gold, so that presently he was clothed in gold.  And the people on both sides set up a great shout, saying, "well done! well done!" and the barriers were quickly opened, and the man went within all laden with gold; and the respectables received him with joy and feasting, and he was accepted by nobles, and honoured by princes, and all because he had shown them how to procure gold.  And after that I heard a tender, sweet voice singing a mournful air; and behold it was a woman who came forward in face of all the people.  A comely woman was she, dark haired and very pale, and her dark locks were beaten by the wind, and a wreath of dying flowers was upon her head; and she moved slowly, bearing in her arms a babe which suckled sleeping at her bosom.  And ever and anon as she moved, she turned towards the crowd within the barrier, looking as if she would fain behold some one there, and pouring forth the while, tones that might have moved a heart of stone; and she sung the joys of innocence, and the downfal of virtue, and the wretchedness of guilt, and many hearts were moved, and many were fortified to good intent.  And she essayed to pass the barrier, but the keepers prevented her, and called certain stately ladies, who said she was impure, and degraded, and they were surprised at her audacity in attempting to enter there; and she blushed when they mentioned her shame, and tears fell fell upon her bosom, and bathed the face of her child.  And she said she would not have presumed to come had she not known that one whom she loved, the father of her infant was there; and the ladies denied that he was there, and she pointed him out, walking in grandeur with a bevy of the fairest and noblest.  And the ladies reproached her, and bade her begone, saying, "she was not a fit associate for any one in that place," and the barrier was closed against her.  And she raised her voice and sung a strain of her days of innocence, and her betrayer heard and looked, and saw her, but he moved on and disappeared.

    And then her heart sank within her, and she turned to go away, but certain noble-minded ladies came down to the barrier, and they spoke consolingly to her, and offered her food, and clothing, and tried to comfort her.  And she thanked the noble-minded ladies, and prayed God to bless them, and that none belonging to them might carry a broken heart, but she would none of their gifts, and so, she went slowly away.

    And the Angel wrote down those blessings in his book, and they were recorded as blessings in heaven and the noble-minded ones were blessed.  And Hope, the good spirit would have spoken to the woman as she went her way, but she, turning, gazed upon him with an unearthly gaze, and pressing her infant to her bosom, her full heart stopped, and it beat no more.

    And the Angel standing upon the barrier, said, "It is done," and he closed the book wherein he had recorded the actions of the children of men.  And he outspread his wings, and there broke from them a light at which the sun grew pale; and looking towards heaven, he said, "Oh Lord! how long shall thy chariot wheels stay?"  And then was heard the sound of a mighty trumpet, and a voice proclaiming, "Make straight the way of the Lord!"  And all mankind were sorely afraid: they were changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye: the corruptible put on incorruption, and the mortal put on immortality.  And the Angel again shook out his mighty wings, and all the earth was one intense light, and all heaven one dread blackness; and there came a wind which swept over all the earth, and under all heaven, and it bowled till the cries of the myriads were undistinguishable.  And above all the tumult was heard the trampling of ten thousand chariots, and the clanguor of far-off music, like that of a mighty host; and the earth trembled and shook like one in fear, and it uprose and downfell as if in agony.  The mountains were cast abroad, and the valleys upheaved, and streams were engulphed, and it tossed to and fro, and shrivelled up like a burning scroll.  And the heavens came down like a floor over the earth, and the sun was dim, and the moon like horrid blood, and the stars glared, and meteors burned, and comets rushed blighting all the straightened space.  And the sound of music, and the clangour of trumpets, approached; and the blackness opened wide, and a space all glorious appeared, and a multitude too bright and terrible to look upon, descended from the heavens, and in the midst of them was the Father of all things, whom none may describe.  And a herald cried with a loud voice, "let all the earth be still," and it was so, and there was silence.  And the throne of God was placed amid the glory under heaven, and his Son, the Holy One, stood at his right hand; his crown of thorns was turned into a diadem of unfading gems, and his cruel wounds into marks of honour.  And the tears which he had shed on earth, were turned into brilliants which angels wreathed into chaplets wherewith to crown those unto whom their Lord would do honour.  And archangel, cherubim, and seraphim stood around the Almighty and those who had been faithful unto death for truth's sake, were at the foot of God's throne; and those who had been persecuted and despised of men, were there, also; and the living were called to judgment, and the graves gave up their dead, and the ocean was no more, and the depths where lay men's bones moved with the lost ones that were now found.  And all souls were gathered before the judgment seat, and there was silence.  And an archangel proclaimed with a loud voice, "let the accepted be divided from the unaccepted."  And the Angel of truth opened his book of record, wherein the actions of mankind were written.  And the accepted were placed at the foot of God's throne, on his right hand, and the unaccepted were placed at the foot of God's throne on the left.  And many who in the flesh were accepted, now stood on the left side; many also of those who in the flesh were unaccepted, now stood on the right; and a halo of glory shone above them, whilst a terrible blackness brooded over the left.  And amongst the accepted I beheld the poor virtuous man, who in the flesh was rejected at the barrier, and by his side stood the poor learned man, and the naturalist, and the bard, and the mechanician, who died unknown; and the poor outcast female, who sung her own requiem, stood there with her infant at her breast; and her broken heart was made whole, and all tears were wiped from her eyes.  And they all stood beside each other, and they were arrayed in bright apparel, and each was crowned with a diadem of the Lamb of God.  And they were all resplendent and meek in their glory.  And I beheld the noble-minded men and women, who in the flesh had welcomed the outcast, and comforted the distressed; and they were each arrayed in bright raiments, and chaplets of the Holy One were placed on their brows, and they stood beside those whom they had succoured and comforted on earth, and they were all arrayed in glory, and they bowed before the throne and the Lamb.  And behind, and around, and at far distances, were angels and saints of old, and winged seraphs passing to and fro amid the brightness.  And amongst the unaccepted stood many who on earth had worn perishable crowns, and many who had led armies to battle, and many who had worn mitres and robes of scarlet, and all those who had taught in temples for lucre, and they were very many.  And the three evil spirits, Ignorance, Pride, and Hypocrisy, with all their followers were there, and they looked sorrowful, and sorely afraid.  And many, who on earth had amassed wealth, who had laid house to house, and field to field, whose souls had yearned only after gain, were on the left hand; and those who had wallowed in pleasure and luxury were there, and those who had turned a deaf ear to the supplications of mercy were there, and he who had beguiled the innocence of the heart-broken was there, and the fair and noble ones who had entertained him and comforted him in his guilt, were there, and they beheld him now cast down, humbled, and sad. And also the pure and stately dames who had despised and rejected the unfortunate, all stood at the foot of the throne of God on the left hand.

    And God, speaking to the Holy One said, "Son, give judgment."  And the Saviour took his seat at the right band of the Most High, and there was silence.

    And the Saviour, speaking to those who were on his right hand, said, "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye led me to your hearths; naked, and ye clothed me; sick, and in prison, and ye consoled me."

    And they to whom he spake, answered, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and gave thee meat; or thirsty, and gave thee drink? when saw we thee a stranger, and sheltered thee; or naked, and gave unto thee clothing? or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and visited thee?"

    And the King answered them, saying, " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

    And the humble ones; those who had been dispised and rejected in the flesh, lifted up their eyes and said, "Lord! we thank thee."

    And then, speaking to those on his left hand, the King said, "Depart from hence, ye accursed, unto a place prepared for evil ones.  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me not meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me not drink; I was a stranger, and ye sheltered me not; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."

    And they answered him, saying, "Lord! when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison and ministered not unto thee?"  And they besought him with many cries and supplications, and he answered them, saying, "Verily! verily! I say unto you, that, inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me."

    And a trumpet sounded, and an Angel proclaimed with a loud voice, "Come ye blessèd into everlasting rest, and ye accursèd depart into torments."

    And one on the left of the throne cried fearfully "Lord! Lord! thou hast forgotten me!"

    And the judge said, "What wouldest thou?"

    And the suppliant said, "I am one of thy saints, and thou hast forgotten me!"

    And the Judge said unto the Angel, "What is recorded?"

    And the Angel read in his book and said, "Lord! he was holy in the eyes of men, but a vile one in his heart: his sin was spiritual pride."

    And the Judge said, "Let him dwell with the hypocrites: he is no saint of mine."

    And he was bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness.

    And another cried fearfully, "Lord! have I deserved this?"

    And the Judge said, "What pleadest thou?"

    And he said, "Lord!  I gave a thousand pieces of gold to build to thee a temple."

    And the Judge said, "My temples are not built with hands; whence came thy gold?"

    And the Angel opened the book and said, "Lord! he was unjust in his dealings; he oppressed the poor, and he wronged the labourer of his hire.  He gave the gold to will him a name amongst men, but he turned the humble from his door, and ceased not to oppress in secret."

    And the Judge said, "Scourge him, and cast him into outer darkness."

    And demons bound him hand and foot, and scourged him, and cast him into outer darkness, to abide.

    And another cried, "Lord!  I was absolved of my sins, and died forgiven."

    And the Judge said, "Who absolved thee?"

    And the suppliant said, "Thy servant the priest, Lord! whom thou hast also forgotten, for he is here."

    And the Judge said unto the Angel, "What is recorded of these?"

    And the Angel looked and answered, "Lord, he spent his life in riotous living; he was a glutton, a drunkard, and a debauchee.  When nature could no longer endure, he sent for a priest, who, in thy name, undertook to remit his sins, and to administer the rites of religion, for which he received twenty pieces of gold, and the sinner died."

    And the Judge said, "let the sinner have his reward; and let the priest be bound and scourged, and thrust out to await."

    And the sinner was thrust back, and the priest was seized by demons, and bound, and scourged, and cast into outer darkness.

    And a fourth cried, "Lord! have mercy on thy servant."

    And the Judge said unto him, "how hast thou served me?"

    And the suppliant answered, "Lord! I have be been very zealous in upholding thy faith.  I have confirmed the wavering, I have reclaimed the wanderer from thy fold, I have rebuked the impenitent, and I have silenced the infidel and schismatic."

    And the Judge spoke unto the Angel, saying, "What is written of this plainant?"

    And the Angel said he was a bigot, and a persecutor of all who differed for conscience sake.  His religion was a creed to which he would have all men conform.  He terrified the timid, he reclaimed the wanderers by chains and dungeons, he rebuked the impenitent by blows and cruel stripes, and he silenced the infidel and schismatic by torture and death.  "See, Lord! here are thy witnesses."

    And many there stood, who in the flesh had passed the ordeal of his cruelties, and they testified against him.

    And the Judge said, "let the accursed depart."  And, he was seized, and bound, and scourged; and none had pity.

    And another exclaimed, "My Saviour, let the humblest of thy flock approach thee."

    And the Judge looking upon him said, "whence comest thou?"

    And the suppliant said,"from thy tabernacle, Lord, which I have attended regularly, three times every sabbath during thirty years; my family also went with me," for I said, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

    And the Judge said, "fed'st their the deserving hungry, or clothedst thou the perishing naked.  Yearned thy heart towards the poor and desolate?"

    And the suppliant said, "Lord, I could not give much to the poor!  I gave it to the missions.  I administered to the souls of the poor, Lord!  I gave them tracts."

    And the Judge, frowning, said unto the Angel, "What is written?"

    And the Angel said he was a rich man, and very pious in the world's way.  He was an enemy to sabbath-breakers, yet he went to chapel in his coach, and was attended sumptuously at home.  He gave liberally towards the spread of his religion in foreign parts, and especially when there was a great crowd to witness his gifts; but when besought in private, he gave only books and sermons, saying, "they were the bread of life."

    And the Judge said, "let him depart, his place is with the Hypocrites."

    And he was bound hand and foot, and thrust into darkness.

    And another said, "Lord!  I never did violence for opinion's sake."

    And the Judge asked the Angel what was written?

    And the Angel said he was one of those who loitered about the temples, and did mean offices for the priests; his chief business had been to worm into the private life, and undermine the characters of any who were obnoxious to his employers; those especially who happened to worship at a different shrine.  Many, said the Angel, had been injured by his slanders; some had been destroyed, and but few ever discovered from whence the injuries came.

    "Depart thou abhorred!" said the Judge, and he was bound and scourged, and cast out.

    And one of the pure matrons approached the throne and prayed for mercy, saying, "she was the mother of a large family, some of whom were then amongst the blessèd."

    And the Judge asked her if she had shown mercy to any child of man save her own ?

    And the Angel read from his book, how she met the lost wanderer at the barrier, and how the suppliant, with others, had reviled and rejected her; and he pointed to the blessèd one, who stood there in her radiant vesture.

    And the Judge said to the suppliant, "go thou unto darkness."  And with sorrowful lamentations she departed to her doom.

    And ten thousand times ten thousand Angels awoke songs of heaven, and the clangour of music, like that of a mighty and triumphant host reverberated through all space, and the happy ones, more numerous than the sands of the desert, and more effulgent than eye hath beheld, gathered around the throne of Jehovah and his blessèd Son, and a sound like that of a myriad chariots was heard, and the earth trembled; and the throne was lifted up and carried by Angel, and Cherubim, and Seraphim, towards heaven's portal.  And the innumerable blessed gathered around The throne, and all the glory and terrible majesty departed on high, and the floor of heaven was closed.

    And the great stars glared all fiery ; and the bloody moon looked down; and the shorn sun hung ghastly pale amid terrible gloom.

    And the evil ones that remained, more numerous than the sands of all the earth, smote their breasts, and tore their hair, and gnashed their teeth, in agony such as man never knew, saying, "Woe! woe! woe! and will it never again be day?"

    And they cried for food, but found it not; and they howled for water, but there were no fountains, no rain, no dew! and they called for shelter, but there was no roof, no shadow! and they sought former friends, but friends spat upon them with curses.  And those who asked for clothing, were covered with ice and snow, and shivered with intense cold; and those who wished for cool winds, were scorched by fiery blasts; lovers met each other with loathing and contempt; and parents and children approached each other in hatred.  Servants scourged unjust masters, and were themselves scourged; and the idle lived in unceasing toil; and the gold of the miser was turned to blistering ashes, in which he was made to wallow without repose.  And proud ones were eaten of vermin: and hypocrites were unmasked and cursed each other; and liars had their tongues cloven to the roots; the perfidious were continually betrayed into pitfalls, and they yelled in ceaseless dread; whilst slanderers were turned inside out; they were frightful and loathed even of the damned; and the place was one great hell! and an eternal tumult of weeping, and wailing, and cursing, and lamentation arose from the place.  Some craved forgetfulness, but consciousness was ever present; some fain would try to hope, but despair was at hand; and all would have welcomed death, but they knew that death himself was dead, and swallowed up in victory, and again they howled in that dolorous hell.

    And the dark world yawned, and a gulf was opened, and the damned went down, and were inclosed and shut up eternally, and were no more heard.

    And there was a tempest, and a rushing of winds, and a pouring of floods, and rains, and hissing of lightning; and a howling of thunder; and flashing of meteors, and rushing of dread comets; and the blackened earth shrivelled up like a burning scroll.  And it was loosened from its orbit, and hurried through space, until it rested in a void, where neither sun, moon, nor star hath shone; there, unseen of God, and unknown of Angels, it should remain until creation was no more.


 
WALKS AMONGST THE WORKERS.
No. IV.
___________________

HEYWOOD AND HEAP.


    THE slight sketch only which, owing to boisterous and excessively wet weather, I was enabled, in my last communication, to give of the important village of Heywood, left me ample room, as I considered, for further and more particular observations, and the result of those observations I now proceed to state.

    Having a wish to visit Makeant Mill, I turned off to the right at Wrigley Brook, and traversed a good cindered road for probably about half a mile, away from the gloom and smoke, and right out into the open fields.  On my left were retired winding paths along the bottoms and declivities of what, in spring time, are beautiful and verdant slopes, each with its rill of clear water hurrying to join the stream of the Roch, which floats, as yet, unseen, though we are within a few yards of its margin.  In advance of us is a fold of houses, built somewhat in the form of a triangle; and just before we arrive at these we shall probably feel surprise at beholding on our left the black top of a square funnel or factory chimney, thrusting itself, as it were, out of the ground, and within a few yards of our track.  That was the top of the chimney at Makeant mill.  Of the mill itself we have, as yet, seen nothing, nor much of the land beyond, save some young woods on a sloping bank, and some tenter grounds, with white flannels drying in the wind.  The place where the houses we have mentioned are situated is called "Back-o'-th'-Moss," and the houses themselves were the habitations of persons working at Makeant mill.  A house of superior appearance marks the residence of the manager of the works.  The houses of the workers seemed to have been built a considerable time; they were probably erected when the mill was enlarged, and first became a cotton factory.  The interior appearance of some which I entered hardly bespoke so much of comfort, nor so good a system of housewifery, as many I had noticed in Heywood.  But much allowance must, in such cases, be made for circumstances—for poverty, and mental and bodily depression.  These poor people, I understood, had, during several previous years, been, sadly distressed for want of work, and had also much to complain of with respect to the absence of moral and social comforts.  They were now differently circumstanced, and were beginning to reap the advantages of improved management.  A little further than these houses is a row of good-looking modern cottages, including a provision shop and a public house.

    Turning to the left, at the top of this triangular fold, we come, after advancing a few yards, within view of the valley and stream of the Roch, which here, after bending to receive the waters of the little brook Nadin (No-din, or silent water), pursues its course between the woods of Birkle and the steep and less wooded banks of Heap.  After taking a glance at this fine, deep, and silent valley, with its lonely cottage at the bottom, and its broad straight stream gliding down, one is little prepared for any other objects save those of wild and unadorned nature; but one turn of the eye towards the left, and downwards, brings within our ken the roof of an irregular building, evidently a manufactory, from its chimney, and the form and arrangement of many windows.  We descend then rapidly a good cindered cart-road; an old woman in a cottage directs us to the counting-house, where, if the gentleman, Mr. Clemishaw, who has had the management about eighteen months, be within, we shall receive any information which ought to be asked respecting the present state of the operatives, the nature of their employment, and the amount of their remuneration.  I walked through every room of this mill, and I do say, that for cleanliness, good air, and the comfortable appearance of the workers, I never saw anything that exceeded it.  It is a throstle spinning establishment, and employs about one hundred and eighty hands.  The boys of thirteen or fourteen years of age, were decently clad; and their clear, plump looks shewed they did not go to a scanty porridge dish at home.  The girls and young women were as well looking.  The youths and up-grown men were decent and cleanly; and the only drawback to my entire satisfaction in looking through the mill, was the observation that several of the married, child-bearing women, and women in years, seemed weakly and emaciated; some of the elder ones also were deformed, as if from weakness.  But others of the married females looked quite well.  The hands had been in constant work during the last eighteen months, and their earnings would average about nine shillings per week.

    This mill was at first a small woollen manufactory; afterwards Sir Robert Peel, the elder, purchased it, and making some additions converted it into a cotton factory; it was the first which ever worked in the township of Heap.  It has been frequently surmised that the present Sir Robert has a share in this and other manufacturing establishments in Lancashire; but such is not the fact, and Makeant mill, as well as a factory at Radcliffe, are the property of a relative of Sir Robert's.

    As I ascended the road again, I could not but turn and enjoy another look of the valley; and I left the place with a wish that none of God's human creatures were worse off than those I had just seen in the old quiet-looking mill below.

    From this place to the large manufacturing establishment of Messrs. Fenton, at Hooley Bridge, was but a step.  On a sudden we come upon the edge of a deep bank of the Roch.  Immediately below are the gas works; on the other side of the river arises the huge pile of building which the Messrs. Fenton have constructed for a manufactory.  Numerous cottages extend in rows along the valley and beside the highway.  One row in particular, below the mill, and above the stream, are fronted with spacious and neat gardens, and the whole together looks like a pretty new village, with a large workshop in the middle.  I descended the bank and over the bridge, and observed that the houses were in decent and respectable condition, and judging from the appearance of the habitations, we might suppose that the inmates were all of the better class of work-people.  I was prevented from entering the factory.  A young man in the yard referred me for permission to Mr. Fenton, at Bamford Hall, or to Mr. Schofield, the manager, who was at home but indisposed.  I preferred calling on the latter, and having explained the object of my visit to a servant, she returned with the message that my request "must have two or three days' consideration; I must call again in a few days."  I told her l could not do that, and came away.

    At four schools which I visited, viz: one built by Mr. Kershaw, a manufacturer, near Wrigley Brook; St. James's Infant and Juvenile Schools, and St, Luke's Infant School, I found remarkably fine and healthy children, to say nothing of their pretty and intelligent looks, of which their parents are no doubt a little proud already, and not without cause.  I know something of Heywood, and have done so during forty years, but I must say, that I had never expected to have beheld in that place so fine a race of children as I saw this day; not a dim-looking shirt-collar did I observe, save on one boy, in the whole lot of about five hundred and fifty—not a smutty-looking face, except those of some two or three lads, who had probably soiled them at play.  When the little folks held up their hands, which, at one school they did at the bidding of the master, and in the course of their daily exercise, it was really pleasing to behold so many innocent countenances beaming with joy, and their tiny fingers and palms as clean as were ever seen in human mould; and then their neatly-combed hair, and their clean apparel, were in keeping with the pure little beings themselves.  Of one thing I felt satisfied, that however we might have changed as a community in some respects, the mothers of these children were an improved race decidedly; and would, doubtless, impart to their offspring a due portion of their advanced civilization and humanity.  At the same buildings Sunday Schools are held, and about one thousand five hundred scholars attend on those days.

    I next went into an extensive weaving shed, in which several hundreds of looms were at work.  The hands differed but little in appearance from those I had seen at other places.  I thought, however, that this shop was more crowded than any I had yet visited.  A dust arose from the dried paste with which the warps had been dressed, and rested on every thing on which it fell: this would be some drawback on health.  The further parts of the room appeared somewhat dim in consequence of the dust.  This, however, might be accidental, and the result of the quality of some particular lot of flour, from which the paste had been made.  In other rooms of the same mill I found the arrangements quite as good as any I had seen of the same description of manufacture.  The carding-room was certainly "rather close," but not so much so as some I had entered.  The scutching room was, as is usual, thick-aired, and dusty; about the same as are some places in a flour, or a logwood mill.

    At Messrs. Cleggs and Hall's mill, there were about four hundred looms, weaving fustians of various descriptions.  I went through one room, and observed the same appearances of general good health and personal neatness amongst the operatives as I had noticed at other places.  Most of the weavers were young persons, and of those both sexes were employed—the greater part, perhaps, being females; others seemed to be married women and men, and some of the latter were overlookers.  The place, I thought, was better aired than the last I had visited, but it was still crowded, and there seemed in this, as in other weaving shops, to have been the strictest economising of room.  An old veteran was pointed out who had been in many battles during the last war: he was also with Sir John Moore at Corunna.  After the war he went to Canada, and had some land allotted to him on being discharged; but he left it, and returned to England, to end, as it seems, his days as a factory worker.

    Standing at the door of this mill, and looking southward, we may catch an idea of the origin of the name of the township (Heap).  A number of broad green mounds, exactly like tumuli, rise amongst the fields and meadows to a considerable distance.  Some are larger, some are smaller than others, and Hind Hill, on which the residence of Mr. Clegg, one of the partners, is situated, appears to have been amongst the largest of the mounds on that side.  The mill itself stands on what was originally one of these Heaps, but northward, towards Rochdale, several large ones have been cut into for sand, and now afford, as they long will do, a plentiful supply of that very useful article.

____________________________

 
A WORD FOR MERCY.


O'er the moorlands wild and lone,
Comes a deep, and boding tone;
Reynard, coil'd within his den,
Hears the cry of dogs and men;
Whilst the poor beleagured hare,
Pants within her wilder'd lair;
And the bird with broken wing,
Dies in unknown suffering;
All to sport the lord who reigns
O'er the waters and the plains;
As if it indeed were joy,
Thus to torture and destroy.
Oh! would haughty man but know,
Mercy's mild and noble glow;
Surely, he would not distress
Beings God hath deign'd to bless.
Let the eagle tear his prey,
Leave the dog and fox, at bay;
And uplift thine eye of pride,
Where thine own oppressors bide.

____________________________

 
A PETTY SESSIONS.


    IT is market day at the little town of Peelsborough, and you may observe country people coming in with their butter, and their eggs, and their garden herbs, and fowls to sell.  The stalls in the new market, which has lately been erected by the noble lord of the manor, are all set forth in their most attractive forms: some with early fruit and vegetables; some with fish and game; some with clothing; some with crockery, and others with tin and hardware.  The butchers have hung up their finest calves and sheep, whilst choice cuts of beef and pork are studiously arranged so as to catch the passers eye.  The shops in the main street are all cleanly swept out; various articles are exposed in the windows and at the doors: weavers, hatters, and other operatives are taking home their work, and business at the taverns, and the various marts of sale has already begun.

    But what means yonder crowd around a door at the lower end of the square?  It is the petty sessions, a policeman informs us, and the magistrates have been some time on the bench; let us go in; were it only for a change of scene, and a short rest, it were perhaps worth the time expended.

    The court-room is entered by a flight of high steps: it is in a building which is nearly new, and the arrangements for the court are very convenient.  On our right is a crowd of people standing on the floor; before us, at the further end of the room is a table, with benches, on which are seated several attorneys, overseers, constables, and a police officer or two; a reporter for the newspapers is also there.  The magistrates' clerk is in a compartment somewhat elevated above the table, and higher than him again, are the two magistrates, both of whom I know, personally, and believe them to be most worthy gentlemen in their private capacities.  On our left as we stand, is the place for the witness, and on our right, the box, or compartment where the defendant is placed.

    A young man, of the working class, but of very decent appearance, now occupies this unenvied position.  He is charged with having unlawfully detained certain monies arising from the pledging of a watch.  An attorney sits there for his defence; whilst another, right earnestly, for his client, is striving to get the lad convicted.

    It seems that a widow, whom we will call Betty A., being in want of a trifle of money, borrowed it from the defendant, in security of which she left him a watch.  The defendant kept the watch during a year or more, and he laid out some two or three shillings in repairing it.  When he wanted his money, in consequence of being out of work, the complainant told him to pawn the watch in order to raise the money, and he sent another woman, Betty B., with the watch, who pawned it in his name, and gave him his money and kept the ticket; he not knowing but the owner had it.  In the course of another year or so, the watch is wanted by the owner, who goes to the young man for it, and offers him the money he had lent, but refuses to advance the trifle he had expended in repairs.  Meantime Betty B., who pawned it, had died, and on examination, it was ascertained that the watch had been pawned for some three shillings more than the sum originally lent on it.  The young man at first refused to produce the watch until the whole sum was paid; he afterwards produced the ticket, and the watch was then found to have been pledged for three shillings extra, and so the case was brought before the bench.  At one time there were strong indications of a determination to commit the defendant for felony, and the young fellow began to look rather anxiously about him; though not a tittle of evidence has been adduced to shew that he had ever seen or touched the three shillings extra for which the watch was pawned.

    "I have known convictions in far slighter cases, at the New Bailey," said an overseer, to the defendant's attorney.  "I have known transportation in cases no worse than this," said the clerk.

    "I'll give them the three shillings, and have done with them," said the defendant's attorney; "I wouldn't," said another person; "I wouldn't give them three farthings; you'll ruin your client's character if you do, and there is not a tittle of evidence to connect him with the illegal money: wait, and let us see whether there will be a conviction on this testimony."  He did so, and after much deliberation on the bench, the defendant was seriously admonished, and discharged.

    The young fellow seemed astonished at the advice, he seemed not to understand it.  "I know nothing about it, gentlemen," he said, "I never had"—"Come down," said his attorney, and the lad taking up his hat descended to the crowd.

    An elderly man was next shewn into the defendants box, and his daughter, a rather pretty fresh coloured, country looking girl stood beside him; to speak for him, as she said.  The defendant was a shopkeeper and farmer, residing in the neighbourhood, and the charge against him was having neglected to maintain his old father, who was incapable through age, and was supported by the parish.  The young female advocate, with much self-possession, and an apparent absence of feeling for her more aged relative, pleaded that her father was not entirely his own person, but was, in a degree, deranged.  The reply, by the overseer to that was, that if he were deranged, it was in consequence of being almost continually in a state of drunkenness.  The girl then said the farm was not her father's, it was in her brother's possession.  The overseer said if it did belong to the brother, it had been recently conveyed to him in order to lessen the present liability, and if that turned out to be the case, he also should be looked after.

    The unnatural son—the defendant,—who was represented to be a person of considerable property, was, together with his pert and unfeeling daughter, reprimanded by the magistrates, but not half strongly enough; and the scene was concluded by an order being made on the son, for two shillings a week towards his father's maintenance.

    Here was a spectacle for a christian country! a father produces his daughter; a blooming, and apparently tender female, to plead against his father, and she stands up there, before a crowd, arrayed in her finery; with her ribbons and her frills, and her red rosy cheeks, and her eyes all unabashed, and tries with all her shallow art, to exonerate her father from the performance of a most sacred duty.  Oh! what a shameful sight! and what a lesson to be remembered, should her father, in his old age, become dependent on her, or any other of his children! no wonder they said he was deranged! and though he shewed no signs of derangement, surely, he must be so, or he could not have consented to such an exhibition.  Where could that poor mis-instructed, and heart-hardened girl have been schooled? she had certainly read her bible, and to how little purpose? how had all the good impressions given by her book, and her instructors been wormed from her bosom? with what sort of a family could she have been associated? what was the household, and the conversation, and the daily example before her, which could have so far obliterated all grace and tenderness from her heart.  Talk of Hottentot missions, indeed! when such heathenism is to be found at home.

    The same overseer summoned the preacher to a new sect for non-payment of poors' rate.  The defendant did not, like others similarly situated, take his place in the bar, but came at once and took his stand beside the attorneys table.  He had a very sanctimonious air, which conveyed a notion that it had been practised before a looking glass.  His dark locks were smoothed down, and parted from his forehead, and in his hand he held a small testament.  When asked what he had to say against the charge of non-payment, he said the room he preached in was not liable to the poors' rate, inasmuch as it was a place of worship.  The overseer said it was a school in the week-days, and the defendant preached in it on sundays, but it was not licensed, and therefore was chargeable with the rate.  The defendant still contended for its non-liability; and when asked by the magistrates, why, if such were the case, he did not appeal against the rate; he said he could not appeal to any human tribunal, his religion forbad his doing so.  On being told that he must pay the money, he opened his testament, and casting occasional glances towards the crowd of people—evidently with a desire to exhibit before them,—he proceeded to argue the point from scripture, but was interrupted by a question, which led to a rejoinder, and another attempt at a speech, which was again interrupted, and so on, for about an hour, when the magistrates, with some difficulty got rid of the litigant, by peremptorily ordering him to pay the rate.  Never, probably, was there a finer specimen of specious obstinacy, and wilful, one-sided understanding.  He went his way, not a little chagrined, his prepared sermon undelivered, and the money which he hoped to have retained, all but gone from his pocket.

    A score or two of poor operatives were severally called for a like neglect, and took their places in the box.  Some had been sick, and could not pay; some had heavy families to support; some had been visited by death in their families; and some had long been out of work.  Their tales, though touching, and "owre true," were briefly told, and their cases as quickly despatched.  There was no attempt at artful evasion, or pertinacious quibble; they mostly got off with an allowance of a fortnight wherein to pay the demand.  That degree of patience and attention which had been undeservedly bestowed on the fanatic, was withheld from these poor people, and they were summarily dealt with.

    A young fellow dressed like a mechanic, was next put up in the box, and the charge against him was the having stolen a number of files, the property of his employers, who were extensive manufacturers of engines and other machines.  The files were produced and the superintendent of police stated that he found some of them under the cellar stairs; in the house of the prisoner's mother, and others at the house where the prisoner lodged.  When the prisoner was arrested on the charge, he said, "the files had been left by his father, and if the police officer had lost as many things as he, the prisoner had, he would have put the files there himself."  His father, it appeared, when living, was a block cutter, and occasionally a tool maker.  A foreman from the shop where the prisoner had worked, said "the files were like those used at the place."  One with a singular handle was shewn to him, and he was asked if he could identify that or any other of the tools? but be said he could not, he could only say "they were like the files used at the shop."  A piece of brown paper, in which the files were found wrapped up was shewn him, and he said that was the property of his employers; it bore their mark.

    The prisoner still said the files had been left, with other tools, by his father at his death; and the brown paper, he said, had been given to him by one of the book-keepers at the works, whose name he mentioned.  He asked the book-keeper, he said, for a piece of paper to paste over a fire place, and the one given being too small, he wrapped the files in it.  He offered to send for the man to prove this, if time were allowed.

    He was committed for trial on a charge of felony.

    A woman came timidly forwards and spoke to one of the police, who put her aside.  She came again, and said she wished to know if bail could be taken for the prisoner.  The official, speaking to the superintendent, said, they—meaning the prisoner's friends,—wanted to give bail; could they do it?  "No, no," was the reply, and the woman was a second time put back.  In a minute afterwards, rather doubtingly, and as a last resource, she made her way to the place where witnesses usually stood, and asked the magistrates clerk, "could they not put in bail?"  "Oh yes!" was the answer, and she quickly disappeared to find the sureties.  The reporter for the newspapers, who had been out during most of the investigation, was now sitting at the table, and to him the superintendent of police handed a written paper, the substance of which appeared in a publication the day following, in these terms, the blanks being filled up in the newspaper.

    "FELONY.—At the * * petty sessions, yesterday, (Friday) H. O. was charged with stealing a number of files and other articles, the property of Messrs. * * * & Co., machine makers.  Superintendent * * stated that from information he had received, he apprehended the prisoner on the previous day.  He then went to the prisoner's mother's, where he lived, in company with Inspector * * and in the cellar, under the stairs, they found the files, and other tools, wrapped in brown paper, which would be identified by * *, foreman at the machine shop.  After they had brought the files and tools to the office, he informed the prisoner where he had found them, and he admitting putting them there.  A number of bricks had to be removed from under the cellar steps before the files could be got out.  The property having been identified by the foreman of Messrs. * * * & Co., the prisoner was committed to the Salford Sessions for trial ! ! "

    So here is a young man committed on a charge of felony, to support which, not a particle of evidence is produced.  The files are found under the stairs, and he admits at once that he put them there, and says, if the officer had lost as many things as he had, he would have concealed the files there also.  The foreman says, the files are like those used at their shop, but he cannot identify any of them; he cannot even say, that a singularly marked one, is the property of his employers.  The prisoner is committed! and then is handed in a report, that such a person was committed on a charge of felony, "the property being identified" as that of Messrs. * * * & Co., and so the lad is sent to prison, or bailed, and the report is read the day following by twenty thousand persons.  And this is English Justice, and Lancashire reporting, as performed on a certain day in March, eighteen hundred and forty-four; in the neat little country town of Peelsborough!!



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