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pedestrians highly eulogistic programmes of the wonderful waxwork collection upstairs. I was but a child when I first passed; it was on a Monday, and Monday was devoted to the touting of Mrs. Matches. There she stood, a truly venerable-looking old body, supported on crutches, clad in a plain but clean gingham gown, with a book-muslin apron, mittens up to her elbows, a basket with matches in one hand, bills in the other—her bonnet (wide fronts were then in vogue) thrown back so as to draw attention to her head and face. The forehead was hung with a profusion of white horsehair ringlets, the grey eyes were as bright as glass could make them, the cheeks were rosy with carmine, and the lips had a dash of indigo-the whole in strange contrast with the yellowish paleness of the wax. I
Ι was astounded, and stood stock-still, at the risk of being pushed down and trampled under foot. Of course, she was a real flesh-and-blood beggar-woman, but how stony still she stood—why did not she ask for a halfpenny? Why did she continually stare over the way? I could not see anything remarkable in that direction, yet still she stared. Moving on towards Bridge-street, the fascination of that persistent stare drew me back again ; would she be gone ?
l No, there she was; might I give her a halfpenny ? I was too shy to take such a liberty, and once more looked homeward, but the old woman haunted me. Why did she stand at the door? Was the demand for matches so great in that neighbourhood ? I passed the toy-shop again, but it was on a Tuesday, and Mr. Beefeater was on duty. A broad burly figure, à la Holbein, truncheon in hand, sword at waist, a ruff round his neck, a velvet cap with a black feather, a well-laced scarlet surtout, shoes with roses for buckles; very red in the face, staring like the matchwoman-but, nevertheless, as I fancied, regarding me with a malicious eye. I felt rather afraid, and wished myself safely past so truculent an official. Those figures often
formed part of my dreams; and when, two years afterwards, I comprehended that they were dolls on a large scale, I could hardly get rid of my original fancies. Over the door was this intimation, “Mrs. Salmon's Waxwork, admission 6d.” What a treat it would be to go upstairs! If the beefeater and his wife were such wonders, how surprising must be the indoor curiosities! When it was settled that sister and I should have a holiday to see the show, my delight was irrepressible. Still this was somewhat damped when we found the exhibition was given by lamplight; indeed there was something dreary in leaving the street to stumble up the darkened stairs, and find yourself all of a sudden groping about among a congregation of deadalive ladies and gentlemen, who did not seem at all disposed to welcome you. Room I. rejoiced in some very august presences--King George, Queen Charlotte, the Prince of Wales, Princess Royal, Duke of York, and other smaller Georgian scions, all as fine as velvet, false stones, and tinsel could make them. Mr. Pitt supported royalty on the one side, and Mr. Fox on the other. These in their turn were set off by General Wol Dr. Johnson, the Duke of Devonshire, Abercromby, and Admiral Nelson. The likenesses were war
arranted, but we could not help thinking that there was a strong family resemblance in the whole party. Theodore, King of Corsica, riveted our attention, however, for he wore a beard (beards were novelties then), and looked fiercer than anybody else. Room II. contained various celebrities of that period, as Dr. Dodd, General Pichegru, John P. Kemble as Rolla, and Mrs. Siddons as Queen Catherine ; liberty Wilkes, with a cracked nose; Mr. Incledon singing “ The Storm” without notes, and Braham warbling a duet with Signora Storace. Rather incongruously, several bishops, with Whitefield and Wesley, were placed in juxtaposition with such suspicious characters as Dick Turpin and the old Duke of Queens
berry. Room III. represented quite a pastoral sceneshepherds and shepherdesses with lambs, and a goat or two, making violent love, in a mode scarcely proper, according to our politer notions. In the centre of this room there was a miniature wax man-of-war sailing on a sea of crown glass, and just over it waved a union jack of alarming dimensions—no doubt, as a proof of the proprietor's loyalty. Possibly this miscellaneous stock in trade might have cost Mrs. Salmon £500; but then it must have brought her a much larger sum ; and when the auction took place, such perishable commodities were dear at any price. The public gradually began to credit itself with a taste, grew supercilious, and despised stuffed images with waxen masks. The treasury grew empty, and neither Mr. Beefeater nor the lady on crutches could replenish it. Even so the wonders of Baker-street will fade out, and some future register of antiquated wonders may hazard an inquiry about Madame Tussaud and her exhibition. The Mrs. Salmon of my bygone days, however, is still fresh in memory--the dust has not gathered over her quiet gentilities—the wax has not contracted a bilious hue-the tinsel and the carmine are as bright as possible—and, as I make a telescope of the long vista of years, the beefeater and the match-woman continue real and lifelike. *
Certainly the late Madame Tussaud was a woman of genius. The name is still retained; but if there be such a personage at present, she can only be a degenerate scion of the illustrious inventor of the “Chamber of Horrors.” How unfortunate that this gifted fashioner of waxen celebrities did not flourish in the days of Turpin and EighteenString Jack, those illustrious beau-idéals of classical highwaymen; for then we should have possessed indubitable representations of the chivalric heroes of the road who terrified our grandpapas and delighted their beautiful daughters.