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CHAPTER XXI

The Comic side of the Railway Mania-"Jeames's Diary," &c.-Universal Speculation as shown by Parliamentary Return - Rise of DiscountCollapse - Shareholders not forthcoming-Widespread Ruin-George Hudson.

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NOT particularly exaggerated is "Railroad Speculator in Punch (Vol. viii., p. 244):

"The night was stormy and dark, the town was shut up in sleep: Only those were abroad who were out on the lark, Or those who'd no beds to keep.

I passed through the lonely street, The wind did sing and blow; I could hear the policeman's feet, Clapping to and fro.

There stood a potato man, in the midst of all the wet; He stood with his 'tato can, in the lonely Haymarket.

Two gents of dismal mien, and dank and greasy rags; came out of a shop for gin, swaggering over the flags :

Swaggering over the stones, these shabby bucks did walk; and I went and followed those seedy ones, and listened to their talk.

Was I sober or awake? Could I believe my ears? Those dismal beggars spake of nothing but Railroad Shares.

I wondered more and more: Says one, ‘Good friend of mine, how many shares did you write for? In the Diddlesex Junction line?'

'I wrote for twenty,' says Jim, ‘but they wouldn't give me one'; His comrade straight rebuked him, for the folly he had done.

'Oh Jim, you are unawares of the ways of this bad town: I always write for five hundred shares, and then they put me down.'

'And yet you got no shares,' says Jim, 'for all your boast': 'I would have wrote,' says Jack, 'but where was the penny to pay the post?'

'I lost, for I couldn't pay that first instalment up; but here's 'taters smoking hot-I say, Let's stop, my boy, and sup.'

And, at this simple feast, the while they did regale, I drew each ragged capitalist, down on my left thumb nail.

Their talk did me perplex, All night I tumbled and tost; and thought of railroad specs, and how money was won and lost.

'Bless railroads everywhere,' I said, ' and the world's advance; Bless every railroad share in Italy, Ireland, France; for never a beggar need now despair, and every rogue has a chance.'”

But, should anyone wish to watch the progress of the Railway Mania, I would recommend a perusal of Punch, Vol. ix., in which appears, inter alia, Jeames's Diary, by Thackeray, afterwards published as The Diary of C. Jeames De la Pluche, Esq. The idea was started on p. 59, under the heading of—

"A LUCKY SPECULATOR.

Considerable sensation has been excited in the upper and lower circles in the West End, by a startling piece of good fortune which has befallen JAMES PLUSH, Esq., lately footman in a respected family in Berkeley Square.

One day, last week, Mr James waited upon his master, who is a banker in the city; and, after a little blushing and hesitation, said he had saved a little money in service, and was anxious to retire, and to invest his savings to advantage.

His master (we believe we may mention, without offending delicacy, the well known name of Sir GEORGE FLIMSY of the firm of FLIMSY, DIDDLER, and FLASH,) smilingly asked Mr JAMES, what was the amount of his savings, wondering considerably how-out of an income of thirty guineas, the main part of which he spent in bouquets, silk stockings and perfumery- Mr PLUSH could have managed to lay by anything.

Mr PLUSH, with some hesitation, said he had been speculating in railroads, and stated his winnings to have been thirty thousand pounds. He had commenced his speculations with twenty, borrowed from a fellow servant. He had dated his letters from the house in Berkeley Square, and humbly begged pardon of his master, for not having instructed the railway secretaries, who answered the applications, to apply at the area bell.

Sir GEORGE, who was at breakfast, instantly rose, and shook Mr P. by the hand; LADY FLIMSY begged him to be seated, and partake of the breakfast which he had laid on the table; and has subsequently invited him to her grand dejeuner at Richmond, where it was observed that Miss EMILY FLIMSY, her beautiful and accomplished seventh daughter, paid the lucky gentleman marked attention.

We hear it stated that Mr P. is of very ancient family (HUGO DE LA PLUCHE came over with the Conqueror); and the new Brougham which he has started, bears the ancient coat of his race.

He has taken apartments at the Albany, and is a director of thirtythree railroads. He purposes to stand for Parliament at the next general

election, on decidedly conservative principles, which have always been the politics of his family.

Report says, that, even in his humble capacity, Miss EMILY FLIMSY had remarked his high demeanour. Well, 'none but the brave,' say we, 'deserve the fair.'-Morning Paper.

This announcement will explain the following lines, which have been put into our box, with a West End post mark. If, as we believe, they are written by the young woman from whom the Millionaire borrowed the sum on which he raised his fortune, what heart would not melt with sympathy at her tale, and pity the sorrows which she expresses in such artless language?

If it be not too late: if wealth have not rendered its possessor callous: if poor MARYANNE be still alive, we trust Mr PLUSH will do her justice.

JEAMES OF BUCKLEY SQUARE.

A HELIGY.

Come, all ye gents vot cleans the plate,
Come, all ye ladies maids so fair—
Vile I a story vil relate

Of cruel JEAMES of Buckley Square.

A tighter lad, it is confest,

Never valked vith powder in his air,

Or vore a nosegay in his breast,

Than andsum JEAMES of Buckley Square.

O Evns! it vas the best of sights,
Behind his Master's coach and pair,
To see our JEAMES in red plush tights,
A driving hoff from Buckley Square.
He vel became his hagwiletts,

He cocked his at with such an hair;
His calves and viskers vas siech pets,
That hall loved Jeames of Buckley Square.

He pleased the hup stairs folks as vell,
And o! I vithered vith despair,

Misses vould ring the parler bell,

And call up JEAMES in Buckley Square.

Both beer and sperrits he abhord,

(Sperrits and beer I can't a bear,) You would have thought he vas a lord, Down in our All in Buckley Square.

Last year he visper'd, “Mary Hann,
Ven I've an 'under'd pound to spare,
To take a public is my plan,

And leave this hojous Buckley Square."
O how my gentle heart did bound,

To think that I his name should bear. "Dear JEAMES," says I, "I've twenty pound," And gev him them in Buckley Square.

Our master vas a City Gent,

His name's in railroads everywhere ; And lord, vot lots of letters vent

Betwigst his brokers, and Buckley Square.

My JEAMES it was the letters took,
And read 'em all, (I think it's fair),
And took a leaf from Master's book,
As hothers do in Buckley Square.

Encouraged with my twenty pound,
Of which poor I was unaware,
He wrote the Companies all round,
And signed hisself from Buckley Square.
And how JOHN PORTER used to grin,
As day by day, share after share,

Came railway letters pouring in,

J. PLUSH, Esquire, in Buckley Square.

Our servants' All was in a rage—

Scrip, stock, curves, gradients, bull and bear,

With butler, coachman, groom and page,

Vas all the talk in Buckley Square.

But O! imagine vat I felt

Last Vensdy veek as ever were;

I gits a letter, which I spelt

"Miss M. A. Hoggins, Buckley Square."

He sent me back my money true-
He sent me back my lock of air,

And said, "My dear, I bid ajew

To Mary Hann and Buckley Square.

Think not to marry, foolish HANN,
With people who your betters are ;
JAMES PLUSH is now a gentleman,
And you—a cook in Buckley Square.
I've thirty thousand guineas won,

In six short months, by genus rare ;
You little thought what JEAMES was on,
Poor MARY HANN, in Buckley Square.
I've thirty thousand guineas net,

Powder and plush I scorn to vear ;
And so, Miss MARY HANN, forget

For hever JEAMES, of Buckley Square."

But, joking apart, there is no exaggeration in Jeames. Look at a "Return to the Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 8th April 1845, for an Alphabetical list of the Names, Description, and Place of Abode of all Persons subscribing to the Amount of £2000 and upwards to any Railway Subscription Contract deposited in the Private Bill Office during the present Session of Parliament," and amongst the names will be found many of the leading nobility, large manufacturing firms, names well known in commerce and literature, mingled together in a most heterogeneous manner. The same columns shew a combination of peers and printers, vicars and vice-admirals, spinsters and half-pay officers, M.P.'s and special pleaders, professors and cotton spinners, gentlemen's cooks and Q.C.'s, attorney's clerks and college scouts, waiters at Lloyd's, relieving officers and excisemen, barristers and butchers, Catholic priests and coachmen, editors and engineers, dairymen and dyers, braziers, bankers, beer sellers and butlers, domestic servants, footmen and mail guards, and almost every calling under the sun.

These, it must be remembered, were subscribers for £2000 and upwards; those who subscribed for less, were supposed to be holders of £21,386,703, 6s. 4d. in Stock.

The first blow given to this frightful gambling was on Thursday, 16th Oct. 1845, when the Bank of England raised its Discount, which had such a disastrous effect, that by

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