Nor being gifted with the spirit of prophecy, and possessing no skill in sciences abstruse and occult, we are not going upon the present occasion to attempt any explanation of the mysteries of the past, or to project forward from the dark lantern of imagination an enlightening gleam upon those of the future. We know nothing whatever about the Coming Struggle have not even the honour of a bowing acquaintance with the Coming Man-have no pretensions to decide upon the completion of the chiliadic periods, nor have looked over the proof-sheets of the next year's almanac by Raphael. The great uproar among the nations that is to be, or is not to be the long-looked for débâcle which is to hoist Turkey in Europe out of Europe-and all the threatened and promised marvels and prodigies and horrors, which certain hungry and thirsty seers find it so profitable just now to send drifting down the current of public opinion-these must take their course for us, and crown their own especial prophets and promulgators with honour or disgrace, as it may happen: they are not wares for our market. The signs of the times with which we at present have to do, though they do some of them hang out aloft very high, and blaze like meteors-while others glimmer feebly and fitfully in fuliginous and cavernous resorts, have nothing either celestial or infernal, supernatural or prophetical about them. They are substantial realities, the work of men's hands; they appeal in silent but unmistakable language to a very numerous class of Her Majesty's liege subjects, and, unlike the

symbols of ancient or modern soothsayers, are never misunderstood by the dullest pate in Christendom. For instance : "The Cat and Bagpipes."

When certain unpropitious planets are in apogee, or when Mars and Venus are in opposition, there may be a shindy brewing somewhere, we don't deny it-very probably there is-we cannot undertake to determine; but when we see the sign of the Cat and Bagpipes in the ascendant, and swaying gracefully in the evening breeze at the corner of a street, we don't want the aid of astrological lore or the spirit of divination to inform us what it symbolises. We know as well as if we were Spigot himself, and had doctored the beer and spirits with our own hands for these twenty years past, what it It means stout in draught, and bottled beer, and treble X at threepence-halfpenny "in your own jugs;" it means "Max," and "mountain-dew," and "yards of clay," and a brown japanned tobacco-box, inscribed with the venerable legend


A good half-penny pay before you fill,
Or forfeit sixpence, which you will;

and a saw-dusted floor crowded with kitchen chairs and iron-spittoons, and mahogany-tables baptised in beer and loaded with foaming pots, each the temporary property of a volcanic proprietor in a state of eruption, to be followed by a state of harmony, and to end in a state of beastliness. And besides all this, it means skittles in the mouldy patch of garden-ground in the rear, and "goes" of gin, and "noggins" and "three-outers," and plenty more of that sort of thing, as everybody knows, and no mistake at all about it.

If any one doubts the universal knowledge which bibulous man has obtained with respect to the language of these signs, he or she must be a person of most happy experience, who has dwelt apart in some delectable Arcadia where milk and honey have not been banished by malt and hops-and not in dusty, miry, smoky, beery, brewery London, where

Sir John Barleycorn surveys the whole capital from unnumbered elevations, and is monarch of all he surveys. Yonder fustian-jacketed labourer is in no such a state of heathen, or, if you like it better, classical ignorance. Ask him the way to Aldgate, and he will direct you along the whole route, though it should extend for a couple of miles, by those to him hospitable and infallible guides. He knows the charms of each separate paradise, and, never dreaming but that you are equally well informed, directs you to go straight on till you come to the Three Turks, then to turn to the right and cross over at the Dog and Duck, and go on again till you come to the Bear and Bottle, then to turn the corner at the Jolly Old Cocks, and after passing the Veteran, the Guy Fawkes, and the Iron Duke, to take the first turn to the right which will bring you into it. By this civil communication you are taught, as we have been taught a hundred times, that the publicans' signs are, to no small section of the public, a substitute for the map of London. We propose to take a brief glance at them as they hang over our heads or flourish on side-posts or ground-glass windows. We have no intention of entering their sacred precincts, but shall confine ourselves to some selections from the catalogue which the bare enumeration of them would present, in order to see who and what are supposed to be the presiding deities in these veritable homes of half the working population of the capital of Great Britain.

The public-houses in London amount in number to something not much short of 5,000, and if we suppose that the average number of customers to each is 100 a day—and some of the gin-spinning fraternity may count their daily customers by thousands-the sum-total will be more than equivalent to half the adult population—which does not say much for the spread of the total-abstinence principles. The half-million men and women who daily subscribe to the great alcoholic fund for promoting the demoralisation of the human

race, and throw their personal example into the bargain, are the supporters of about 30,000 persons employed in the sole occupation of administering the popular libations, and of half as many more engaged in their manufacture, for the consumption of London alone. They congregate together for one uniform purpose, but under banners including every variety which the imagination can suggest. Somebody has said that upon a question capable of popular solution nearly everybody will arrive at a just verdict, though perhaps no two men will be found who do so upon the same premises: your thirsty subject has always a problem to solve, and, so that he comes to the desired conclusion, is not at all particular as to the premises. If in a loyal mood, he may get drunk on the premises of the Victoria or Prince Albert; if in a patriotic one, at the Nelson or the Duke of Wellington; if in a benevolent one, at the Open Hand; if in an angry one, at the Hand and Dagger; and so on, suiting the action to the sign, with true drunken philosophy, the action being always the same whatever the sign.

The first class of signs demanding notice are those bearing the names, and frequently the portraits, of celebrated individuals. The first on the list, for we like to begin at the beginning, is of course Adam; but Adam, before he had his Eve, had his arms, for which we must refer the reader to the College of Heraldry, putting no faith in the legend of a pewter pot, and a couple of crossed tobacco-pipes, attributed to him by the learned members of the Licensed Victuallers' Company. There is but one Adam's Arms in London. Then come Adam and Eve together, and the blissful pair dominate over exactly twelve reeking tap-rooms within the sound of Bow Bells. Our first parents are the only antediluvians on the list, but of Noah's Arks, which form the connecting-link between the world before and the world after the deluge, there are eight. David with his harp begins the catalogue of royal personages, of whom there is literally no end. There


is a King Alfred, only one King George, two Henry the Eighths, three Kings of Denmark, fourteen Kings of Prussia, five King William the Fourths, one King on Horseback, ten King and Queens, ninety King's Arms, and seventy King's Heads. Of Queens Adelaide and Charlotte, there are two each; of Queen Victoria, twenty-one; of Queen's Arms, a dozen; and of Queen's Heads, fifty; and for the use and behoof of all these royal personages, there are threescoreand-ten Crowns; and about as many more in connection with Anchors, Anvils, Apple-trees, Barley-mows, Tin cans, Dolphins, Horse-shoes, Leeks, Sceptres, Shears, Shuttles, Sugar-loaves, Thistles, and Wool-packs; to say nothing of fifty Roses, the rose always taking precedence of the crown on the sign-board. There are a dozen Prince Alberts; twice as many Princes of Wales; as many Prince-Regents. Each Prince-Regent might be matched with a Princess of some designation or other; and foreign princes and princes' heads complete the catalogue of sovereignty. Then there is everything Royal, from the Royal Albert, down through the whole alphabet to the Royal Yacht, including five-and-twenty Royal Oaks and fifteen Royal Standards.

Of Dukes, there are ninety-eight, including fourteen Dukes of Clarence, six Dukes of Sussex, twenty-five Dukes of Wellington, and thirty Dukes of York. There are ten Earls, and forty-five Lords, including thirty Lord Nelsons; thirty-six Marquises, of whom one-half are Marquises of Granby. Of Shakspeares, there is but one, and six Shakspeare's Heads. There are two Sir Isaac Newtons, two Sir Sydney Smiths, and one Sir Walter Scott; one Van Tromp, three Whittington and Cats, two Sir John Barleycorns, four Sir John Falstaffs, and ten Robin Hoods.

Among the signs especially appealing to working-men, there are the arms of every profession, from the Bricklayers' Arms, of which London boasts thirty, through the whole

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