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Peter Stokes was by profession a portrait-painter, and, it was believed, possessed considerable talent.

When a very young man he married—"all for love." Children

came fast, and sitters slow. The first were costly t, clothe, but he never murmured; the second were hard

to please, and paid indifferently. At the end of five years Mrs. Stokes had but one gown, and that had been frequently mended-a proof of “poverty prepense,”—while the little Stokeses were not always satisfied with their scanty meals. Papa was ready to give them his easel to eat, but then an artist's tools are not digestible. One day he was drawing a Hebe, when he heard Peter the younger wailing in the kitchen; it was for bread. Visiting a pawnshop, with the picture still wet, he met, on his return, a lad selling baked potatoes at a street corner; his trade seemed brisk, and Stokes fancied he might prosper in a similar fashion; and so, swallowing his pride and taking counsel with Mrs. Stokes, he thought a spice of eccentricity would mightily increase his chance of customers; and thus he became an itinerant vendor of pudding in the day, though he still followed his art at early morning, and for several hours at night. His new trade proved a money-getting one. His small family grew remarkably neat in their dress, and mamma was exceedingly well put on; I have even heard that on gala days she wore a gold watch, and was considered quite a lady by all the mistresses and grandees of the neighbourhood. The pudding store was in a Fetter-lane cellar, and, all honour to the faithful wife, it was made for many years by her industrious hands. After four o'clock p.m., they betook themselves to very genteel lodgings in Rathbone-place, where Stokes was himself again ; resumed his palette and easel ; found sitters increase as his means made them less necessary; and grew fashionable in his profession just in proportion to the public relish of his pudding.

London town is famous for its appreciation of oddities. A man may speedily grow rich if he has wit enough to find out some new path for his exertions. Addison relates that a superannuated watchman in Cheap Ward, being dropped by the civic authorities in his old age, bethought him of a singular expedient to fill his pocket. He had long kept a pet duck for his amusement, and the kindly bird used to sally out with him at night, constantly responding “quack" as he called the hour. Well, he fancied if he took his walks by day instead, in his old watch costume, crying the hour, with the accompaniment of “quack” from his bird, it might answer; nor was he wrong, for the shopkeepers laughed one and all, and he was better paid in his dotage than in his prime. I suppose that the mighty clothier, Moses, owes more of his success to the incessant dissemination of his “Book of Beauty" than to the excellence of his manufactures. Anything may be achieved by bold, unblushing, continuous advertising; only promise enough, and your public is sure to bite. In the time of Foote, the dramatist, a reckless man of fashion made a bet, for £1,000, that he would bring all the Court, not excepting the Royal Family, Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, to the King's Theatre, in the Haymarket, to see a wonderful conjuror get into a quart bottle. The impending marvel was well advertised; every seat in the house was speedily taken, and it was only by a private hint that majesty was kept away on the night of performance. The company being assembled, there was a long pause. At length the audience became impatient. Excuses were made that the conjuror had not arrived, but was expected every minute. At last symptoms of rioting grew apparent, upon which a gentlemanly individual in black walked on to the stage, and with infinite solemnity said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Signor Petrowskie is unable to get into a quart bottle this

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evening, but on Wednesday next, to make you amends, he will get into a pint bottle."

If a really clever man will condescend to be eccentric physician, surgeon, or corn-cutter-preacher, barrister, or artist-he is sure to succeed with many who would have been stone deaf and sand blind to his undoubted merits. Often, too, a mere accident will give éclat, where talent and industry were exerted in vain. Mr. Bull is fond of being tickled, and he is not particular whether his epidermis be titillated with straws or bristles. A broad-brimmed hat may excite notice when the head it covers is overlooked. Lord Brougham's plaid trousers have been marvelled at by more than were over amazed by his vast genius.

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50

LLOYD'S SOCIETY OF UNDERWRITERS.

I do not visit the City much now, though familiar with most of its ways and byways; but when I re-enter for a short time its bustling precincts, old associations take life and colour anew, and the streets and buildings assume a freshness and interest which seemed, in my case, lost for

ever.

The other day, turning from the fire-office into the ambulatory of the Exchange, and in the act of deepening my conviction that it was far inferior to that of the former building, a City friend accosted me, wondering what I could want there; and kindly wishing me to make my visit profitable, asked me if I had ever been over Lloyd's, or should like to renew my acquaintance with that most remarkable establishment. It would have been against my principles to refuse a good offer—that is, when I think it so—and in a few minutes we were ascending the wide stone staircase leading to the sanctum of marine assurance brokers. My friend said that the stairs in question-and there are several flights-sorely annoyed some of the elder members, though they did not like to own their shortwindedness, and strove to disguise it by an affectation of a mere catarrhal trouble. I could not help noticing a round, puffy-looking gentleman, who, as he toiled up the stairs, was evidently anathematizing the architect; and, in truth, after threescore, level progress is the most agreeable.

The public are not admitted to the arcana of Lloyd's; you must be a member, or introduced by a member. If you wish to enter, and can name any initiated friend—Mr. John Jones, for instance—Mr. John Jones is loudly summoned to your aid; but without such franking you will have to return ungratified. Still, even a stranger may penetrate as far as the anteroom, where the eye is instantly attracted by two whole-length statues, representing Prince Albert and Mr. Huskisson. The royal effigy is a sad failure; the Prince is chiselled of the natural height, decked out in all the finery of a Knight of the Garter, with roses on his shoes, the ribbon above his knee, and the order on his breast, but with legs disproportionately extended, so that he might be entitled “long-shanks,” and a head disproportionately small, and almost smothered by the robes rising around it. The expression of the countenance, too, is not in the least heroic, and standing opposite the gigantic statue of Huskisson, the whole work seems singularly poor and trivial.* The Huskisson of Lloyd's is modelled after the Dr. Johnson of St. Paul's Cathedral-vast, brawny, and muscular-naked as far as decency permits—and resembling a huge porter preparing for the bath. Why are our artists capable of such folly? What would they say should an antique statue turn up disfigured by our close-fitting and most ugly costume? Surely, as Athenians were always represented like Athenians, Englishmen should put on English habits for their marble apotheoses. The error is the more lamentable in this case, because the work other

. Most of the royal statues in London are poor and trivial. The Queen at the Exchange is quite a libel on Her Majesty; and this marble portrait of the Prince Consort, whom we all knew and lament as an equally fine specimen of the gentleman and the prince, is altogether unworthy of him.

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