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to be made. When the dividend all Company management, however day comes round, they think the good the directors; but remember money will be forthcoming too. we enunciated that Companies are
But there is one kind of Joint rarely promoted, although someStock Company, namely, Banking times afterwards joined, by men of Companies, which some will remind the highest standing. As to the us, have had extraordinary success. malpractices on which you ought
Still, even Joint Stock Banks form undoubtedly to calculate and guard no exception to our rule—that some- against, the following are specimens thing more than a large capital is of what may be looked for in some essential to success; though it is combinations :certain that in banking, a Company 1. The promoters deem themhas a peculiar advantage, because selves entitled to promotion money credit turns to money, and credit it or to so many shares; and more certainly commands. The huge ca- shares they offer certain men to act pital which often runs to waste in as decoy ducks, by joining the other schemes defies all rivals in a committee—which gifts of shares Bank, especially as now-a-days the
a charge of thousands of ventures are so large, that few men pounds on the shareholders' money of business feel comfortable in trust- before any business is done! A ing any but the very first private friend of ours was once asked to join firms with the proceeds. Besides, an Iron Company. But I know Banking is a routine business. If nothing of the business.' 'Never its rules never relax to oblige any mind that your name will draw customer, a Bank may be all the subscribers, and we will give you a richer in the long run; though it salary of three hundred a year as is the very rigidity of Company a managing director! This Commanagement that brings any other pany was the ruin of hundreds. business to the ground.
2. The promoters agree that no But at the present day men seem shares shall at first be sold under a to think that when a Joint Stock certain premium. Thus Jones sells Banking Company is formed, and to Robinson enough to register & first calls paid, all the rest will go sham quotation in the share list. If right of itself.—Yet, it is one thing thus tempted to buy, you learn the to open wide your doors, and to dis- real price to your sorrow when you play a costly array of desks and of credulously think to realize. officials, eating into your capital at 3. The promoters issue only part the rate of hundreds of pounds a of the stock at first. If this limited week, and another thing to draw quantity of stock rises to a premium, customers from old-established firms, the market is soon swamped with & to trust you with their cash. Any flush of unexpected shares. banker will tell you that a new 4. If you apply for an allotment bank is the chosen mark of every of shares, the promoters may leave man of shaky credit, and of every your letter unanswered to see if artful knave; and that safe business shares rise. If they rise they sell is so long in coming, that you tremble them for their own benefit; but if for your out-goings. Not only is it the shares fall you are bound by new to the customers, but the cus- your own letter to take the bad tomers are also new, and strangers bargain. to the bank. This is the ordeal of Men of suspicious character, to all banks at first starting. One of say the least, live by getting up the very first Joint Stock Banks in Companies. We remember one of London, some thirty years since, the class. He lived fashionably, no was called The Thieves' Bank,' one knew how. But the dash he from the rogues who practised on its made in society placed him on high inexperience!
vantage ground as a disinterested
man (?) to recommend new ComThe dangers of new Companies, panies; and with what he fleeced so far described, are simply those from these Companies he maintained dangers which are inseparable from his status in society. Of the Companies lately started, two at least 80 useful to a prospectus; though were got up by a man well known the said title proves an alibi of all to us as a banker in the City of commercial experience. Gentlemen which he left after a series of frauds who have no title before their names deserving transportation!
want, at least, some good address Of course, however common, it after them. So Hyde Park 'Garis absurd for any one who opens a dens,' or even 'Square,' becomes the prospectus to ask, Is not this a good residence of men who, with a view thing? Nothing is so good a thing to Company directions, rent to let that it can stand jobbery and mis- again what they have not the least management, if such exist. A gold pretension to live in beyond the mine is a good thing in one sense,
dull months of the year. but thousands have put more Who does not know how vanity gold into it than they ever got out. and caprice, private hobbies and pet
As to a Prospectus, it is now well schemes from a desire to seem origiunderstood in the City that the pro- nal, are often more powerful motives spectus of a Company is a thing in committee than the stake of any manufactured to order, to pay or member in the concern ?-In a Club promise to pay (which is the same Committee every man pushes forthing) any dividend according to the ward his own wine merchant; and greed and gullibility of the public, as to economy, an innkeeper would —just as, too often we fear, the Ba- live on what is wasted in the kitchen. lance Sheet is prepared to follow- So in a Company; no wonder if the when it bears only the signature of committee become the very focus of one or two highly respectable' Au- self-interest, and the puppets of ditors;' but when it has not passed which designing men out of doors through the hands and received the are ever pulling at the strings. stamp of those whose profession and Members not bribed by money are experience qualify them for detect- yet bribed by influence; especially ing, and whose reputation is at by interest made for their families. stake, to deter them from passing The large dealings of a Company mis-statements, intentional or unin- enable directors to vote contracts tentional, and in whatever form. worth thousands to the parties pre
To be Director of Companies is not ferred; and patronage so valuable, less a business than to originate them. though ostensibly given, is, however Joint Stock direction is quite a trade indirectly, almost certain to be sold. for men of a certain stamp--men Seeing therefore that jobbery, often addressed in advertisements as ignorance, mismanagement, and in'not brought up to business, but difference enter into the beginning, wanting a genteel occupation.' middle, and end of most of the TradThere are needy, greedy Jords and ing Joint Stock Companies—we bid baronets who extract substance from our friends BEWARE. their very titles, so ornamental and
IN THE WATER.
A FATAL NEGLIGENCE, WHAT IT HAS COST US, AND HOW WE HAVE SET ABOUT
age. The 'good old times' have gone, and in their place we have an age of a myriad wants. Everybody wants something; and if everybody does not succeed in getting the want supplied, it is from
no lack of perseverance in making
weak strength, and the sick health. this handful of paragraphs which I I wish to set forth one of these; the take from the box tell; and however issues depending upon it are life and written, and whatever mistakes are death, and health and strength, so made in the combination of words my want shall have the dignity of a used to describe the disconsolate and line to itself, and capitals. I can well-nigh broken hearts of the surput it in three words. It can have vivors of some boat excursion by river no claim to novelty, for the world or sea, the facts remain, and will has recognized the want a long time; make themselves felt. Who could but it is, unfortunately, one thing to describe adequately the events or the have a want recognized, and another anguish which attend such a catasto get it supplied. My cry is :- trophe? I was once a witness at
such a scene. I shall never forget WANTED, SWIMMING-SCHOOLS!' the unutterable grief I, a stranger,
saw and felt while the sun was Does any reader doubt that this shining, birds singing, and the is a real want? The evidence which banks of the little river, over which proves its reality is so voluminous & boy of ten years ought to have that I can scarce hope to indicate it. swam with ease, glistened and shone
reports of the Registrars of with garlands of summer flowers. Deaths are not, I admit, very inter- All this because we want swimesting reading. Possibly they are ming-schools—because our boys are all the less so, because, as we glance left to pick up swimming, if they down those statistics, the ugly con- can; our girls are never taught; and viction that there is a needless and our men know little or nothing of an an awful waste of life going on in art which is well-nigh as simple as the world will force itself upon us. walking-an art which is in itself a You will all have heard of the very pleasurable one, a great progloomy-minded misanthrope who moter of health and strength and cut from the newspapers all the longevity, and one which to the records of murders and atrocious
• Saxon set in blown seas,' ; acts, and preserved them for his private delectation. Well, I have surrounded on every hand by water, not such a morbid taste as that, yet imbued with the love of travel and standing by my desk at this mo- sport upon the water-boating and ment is a box of newspaper-cuttings fishing-commends itself as the very scarcely less deplorably sad. I dip first precautionary measure to be my hand in, and bring out a dozen taken ere he ventures in the delicate
Melancholy Occurrences by Water,' outrigger or the swift-sailing yacht. as many Sad Accidents by Sea,' an My subject has forced upon me equal number of‘Lamentable Deaths a gravity I did not anticipate, and by Drowning;' and ' Fatal Boat Ac- a more serious tone than that which cidents' are almost innumerable. generally pervades the pleasant pages If the matter were less serious, I of 'London Society. But the matmight be amused by this vast col- ter is one in which the interest of lection of penny-a-liner literature, the world is so great that the sin in which, to use a phrase belonging will be its own apology. Never to their class, they have 'piled up comes a 'sea-side season' but such the agony. But I strip away the calamities as those to which I have verbiage, and take the bare facts. referred occur, and that, too, in You, gentle reader, will not need to large numbers. Can you swim? I be told of 'heartrending cries upon put the question, collectively. the river-bank as the youthful and English men and boys were polled inanimate form lay there;' of' fami- upon the question there would be lies plunged into intense grief;' of a shocking preponderance of nega
sisters, who lay on the sand, buried tives. In the Navy itself there are their faces, and moaned audibly;' of hundreds who cannot swim. Until lovers bereft of sweethearts, and recently it was not taught; no queschildren left fatherless and mother- tions were asked. Those who could less. Yet it is of such things that swim were, I am assured, in a mi
nority. Those who could not had, ills that flesh is heir to, by the when accident occurred, to take liberal use of cold water, may be their chance, and do the best they said, in many cases, to be absolutely could. Now natation forms a part essential to the human frame. Cold of the education going on at our water is a very determined foe to training-ships. And coming across fevers, agues, and consumptions. the Channel from the Isle of Wight The public is awakening to the fact; in the early morning last April, I swimming-schools are being estasaw a sail slung out, and a score or blished, professors' are multiplytwo of sturdy lads-embryo ma- ing, and baths increasing; still the rines — taking matutinal - headers.' work goes on rather tardily. Our soldiers are not taught swim- Professors' leads me to 'enterming; and what men are more likely tainments.' Were you ever at a to need it than they? This is one swimming entertainment, reader, of the things they manage better in where an amphibious professor lay France, where swimming forms a upon his back and read aloud, lit part of the soldier's drill, and he is his pipe and smoked on the water required to keep himself proficient and under it? where his family of by continual practice. But soldiers diminutive boys and girls and this and sailors are a very little part of part is generally painful, and never the English people. Do the school- pleasant-made all sorts of gambols, boys learn? Do mothers teach their swam backwards and forwards, and daughters-nay, can the mothers dived, and kissed their little hands swim themselves? I am afraid the at intervals to the spectators, like answers must be all negatives. the followers’in the Godiva procesBathing is too little practised. sion, or the juvenile equestrians at a People are beginning to learn its circus? Society doesn't care much value; but somehow it takes a long to see these things; but they are time to convince John Bull that done, and audiences are gathered. what is is wrong; and when he is And as for the water not being convinced it takes another long time man's element, why it's sheer nonto make him do what is right, unless sense; if he will but give it his cona hand is directly put in his pocket, fidence, and aid it in the endeavour or there is an absurd attempt re- it makes to support him, it will be sulting from a blunder to interfere his friend. I have seen a man swim with his liberties. Fathers went on without an arm, then without a leg, sending their children to schools and afterwards with both legs and where the supply of water was hands tied. Everybody can float meagre, where bathing was not who can be calm. All that is necespractised, and then were surprised sary is to throw the head back and that their cheeks were pale, that keep the hands straight out beyond, they were not strong and healthy. so that they act as ballast to the The returns of the Registrar-Gene- legs, the specific gravity of which ral do not, though they distinguish is just too much for the chest withthe cause of death, present mate- out this aid. rials for arriving at a true estimate It is not the strong who swim of the loss of human life which is best. Sir William Frazer offered a entailed by our national neglect gold medal for the best and quickest of swimming; because the conse- swimmer of a mile last summer. quences are indirect as well as di- Twenty men, some of them imrect. Swimming leads to a fondness mensely muscular and powerful, in and desire for the water; as an exer- the full vigour of manhood, leaped cise it is very enjoyable, the effect from the barge into the Thames, is invigorating, and the sense of a anxious for the honour of being new power makes boys covet it; declared 'victor in undis.' In addiand, consequently, those who swim tion to the twenty men there was go to the bath often, and thus obtain a little lad about sixteen years of that frequent ablution which, with- age, a ci-devant shoeblack of the out endorsing all the dreams of the brigade. He beat them all, went hydropathists for the cure of all the through the water at a good walking pace, and swam the mile in six- ice around them, they flapped their teen minutes.
wings and dived under it to certain A portion of the Serpentine has death. The pool is in a lone, unfrebeen set apart for the use of bathers. quented district, the ice was quite Men and boys who live near enough transparent, and I could see the to avail themselves of it find it a frantic efforts and convulsive deathgreat boon; and there you may see struggles of the poor birds. After morning and evening, all through an unavailing attempt for half an the summer months, lads swim- hour, I left them to their fate. The ming out and rolling themselves speedy death by drowning night about like porpoises. Between be preferable to the slower and seven and eight thousand bathers more painful process of starvahave in a single evening availed tion, but it was too much to exthemselves of this open-air bath. pect me to witness it. One lesson If it were but possible to make I should have learned had not presuch baths in other parts of the vious experience taught it me: it is, metropolis the benefit would be in- when the ice gives way to remain calculable, and deaths by drowning quite passive until your head comes would become fewer.
up above the water. Move once, and The drowning man clutching at a get underneath it, and you are a lost straw makes but a poor spectacle, man; you cannot break the ice upbut a drowning man clutching at ward, and will never find the hole his preserver is far worse, as in through which you sank. Ah me! fright and fear they always do, de- a sad experience taught me this. stroying their own chance of rescue, I have floated away from my suband very often jeopardizing the life ject. To return: England seems of him who attempts to save them. at last to be alive to the importance There would be no difficulty in bring- of having swimming taught to childing a man out of the water if only ren. For boys there are opportuhis hands were tied, but beware nities, not exactly unlimited, still how he'clutches'you! People when numerous. At Eton, Harrow, Rugby, suddenly immersed in the water the Universities, and the numerous lose their presence of mind, up go charity-schools, the art is made a part their arms (surest method of going of the education. The London rowto the bottom), they struggle, and ing clubs and the Royal Humane try to call out. What better means Society have set themselves to could be devised for making the ac- work with the very laudable design cident terminate fatally?
of making a knowledge of the niceSpeaking of people who thus re- ties of natation universal. Speedy fuse to be helped, I am reminded of success to their efforts! And every some silly ducks which caused me week, for months past, the chaman hour or two of uneasiness last
pion , who is a wonderful swimmer, winter. According to a British super- and his rival, have been paying instition and every-day colloquialism, stalments toward a large stake for the goose is popularly supposed to which they are to swim two miles be the silliest bird among our orni- upon the Thames. thological tribes. I think there is Meanwhile for the ladies-but the a slight mistake here, and that the ladies' baths are entitled to a separate duck, whenever superlative folly chapter. among the feathered creatures is made the subject of a new proverb, is entitled to the first placu.
CHAPTER II. Skating on a large midland country
THE LADIES' SWIMMING-SCHOOL ON THE pool, after a short sharp frost last
SEINE, AND THE LADIES' BATH IN season, I found frozen in the ice a number of wild fowl. I went to their relief, actuated possibly by the hope How has it happened that until that if I saved their lives that day recently it has never been proposed I might take them with my gun the to English ladies to learn swimming? next. Well, as fast as I broke the To adopt the language of a lady