SIDNEY SMITH ON CHIMNEY SWEEPERS
plate—the pleasant remarks—the handsome dresses—the cunning artifices in fruit and farina*)! The hour of dinner, in short, includes everything of sensual and intellectual gratification which a great nation glories in producing *).
In the midst of all this, who knows that the kitchen chimney caught fire half an hour before dinner!—and that a poor little wretch, of six or seven years old, was sent up in the midst of the flames to put it out? We could not, previous to reading this evidence, have formed a conception of the miseries of these wretches, or that there shoulrj exist, in a civilised country, a class of human beings destined to such extreme and varied distress. We will give a short epitome of what is developed in the evidence before the two Houses of Parliament.
Boys are made chimney sweepers at the early age of five or six.
Little boys for small flaes, is a common phrase on the cards left at the door by itinerant chimney sweepers. Flues made to ovens and coppers8) are often less than nine inches square; and it may easily be conceived, how slender the frame of that human body must be, which can force itself through such an aperture.
The following is a specimen of the manner in which they are taught this art of climbing chimneys.
"Do you remember being taught to climb chimneys? Yes.— What did you feel upon the first attempt to climb a chimney?
1. farina: flour or meal of corn used for the puddings.
2. The modern reader runs a risk of mistaking this for irony; but it was meant in ail seriousness by a writer who was considered as a person of advanced views by his contemporaries.
3. copper.-large copper or iron pot used in cooking and especially in washing.