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of the termination of the lower bowel, presenting "a fatty-like mass.”
Such were the pathological discoveries made by Mr. Gant in his examination of the viscera only. The conclusion that gentleman comes to—a conclusion in which he is strengthened by the testimony of Mr. Quekett-is, that the conversion of the heart into fat is the most prominent disease and the unfailing result produced by our present system of rearing and feeding stock.
Against this most important conclusion it will be vain, however, for the butcher to battle. The common sense of the country must see that a beast with a spoiled heart cannot be a healthy one; that the unworkable heart and oppressed lungs can only languidly circulate unhealthy blood; and that the various tissues built up out of the vitiated life-fluid must be unwholesome and void of those nutritious qualities which, at present, they are supposed to possess in an eminent degree. Now that fattening for the wasteful grease-pot is condemned by benevolence, and the last word of science, we trust to see prize beasts “grow small by degrees and beautifully less ;” and if the exertions of Mr. Gant should lead to this result, he will deserve the thanks of the country, for it is of the utmost importance that healthy meat be supplied to a nation like ourselves, which depends for its strength upon its proper supply of animal food. Indeed, we are glad to see that in the last Agricultural Show there was a tendency to give the prizes to good points rather than to the mere obesity we have condemned.
MUDIE'S CIRCULATING LIBRARY.
TWENTY years is sufficient in these days entirely to revolutionize any speciality, trade, or profession, or indeed, for the matter of that, any mundane thing. If in our youth we had been asked to point out a particularly sleepy occupation on a level with the exertions of a genteel and advanced spinsterhood, we should have reverted instinctively to the circulating library, whose spiriting was generally performed by some meagre and somewhat sharp-visaged virgin in spectacles. The flow of well-thumbed fiction which she mildly regulated never gave signs of an uncontrollable exuberance of life, and the books of travel or adventure she dispensed speedily, became fossilized on her shelves. The circulating library of those days was a thing outside the bustling, active sphere of trade — a quiet eddy, as it were, in which placid minds took refuge. In these days, however, when the demands of society create such numberless new schemes, and erect into first-class occupations what were before insignificant handicrafts; when match-making has arrived at the dignity of a great manufacture, a single employer often consuming
annually a dozen shiploads of timber, and great fortunes are made out of steel pens, is it to be wondered at that the spirit of enterprize has penetrated even into the sleepy old circulating library, and transformed it at once into a very mill-race of literary life?
Standing the other day at the counter at Mudie's, where the Subscribers exchange their books, we were a witness of the transformation one enterprizing and intelligent man has wrought in this branch of trade. The constant flood of people that are discharged from broughams and chariots into this emporium of books reminds one more of the Pantheon than of a mere circulating library. Doyle, in his “Sketches of Society," has surely overlooked this famous sketching ground. If an artist could photograph the eager faces that throng the long counters of this establishment, he would be enabled to give us a rare picture-gallery of intelligence.
But in order to obtain a true idea of the importance this great circulating library has obtained as an educational element in society, we had better get an insight into the machinery by which the reading world is now so plentifully supplied with knowledge. Let us begin by saying that Mudie's Library, since its commencement, has issued to its subscribers not less than 1,263,000 volumes--it is true, a vast number of these in duplicates; nevertheless, they represent the amount of reading issued to the public by one establishment alone.
At the present moment the establishment owns no
less than 800,000 volumes. If all these were to come home to roost at one time, it would require a library almost as big as the British Museum to hold them, As it is, the house is one mass of books. Upstairs are contained the main reserves from which supplies are drafted for the grand saloon downstairs. This room is itself a sight. It is not a mere store-room, but a hall, decorated with Ionic columns, and such as would be considered a handsome assembly-room in any provincial town. The walls require no ceramic decorations, for they are lined with books, which themselves glow with colour. Here, perchance, a couple of thousand volumes of “Livingstone's Travels” glow with green; there stands a wall of light blue, representing the supply of some favourite novel; then, again, a bright red hue running half across the room testifies to the enormous demand for some work of adventure. Light iron galleries give access to the upper shelves, and an iron staircase leads to other books deposited in the well-lit, well-warmed vaults below. Light trucks are perpetually circulating about from room to room laden with books. Then, again, the spectator sees solid stacks of books piled about in odd places, just as he sees bricks stored near some rising building
Descending into the vaults, he finds the shelves laden with parcels of books in their cerements of brown paper : these are the books that have already been read. They are not, however, as yet considered dead, as upon the issue of new works by their authors (supposing they be popular ones), they rise again, and live for a time a renewed life. Some, however, are utterly past and gone: there, in a huge pile, for instance, lies a large remnant of the 2,000 copies of “Essays and Reviews," originally issued to subscribers, the demand for which has almost entirely ceased; not far off are the exhausted 1,000 copies of the famous Quarterly number in which the “ Essays” were answered.
But there are still rooms in which books out of demand are being made up for sale, to go the round of country circulating libraries, ere they are finally at peace. We were curious to inquire if volumes ever became exhausted in Mr. Mudie's hard service. Broken backs and torn leaves are treated in an infirmary, and volumes of standard value come out afresh in stouter and more brilliant binding than ever.
There is, however, such a thing as a charnel-house in this establishment, where literature is, as it were, reduced to its old bones. Thousands of volumes thus read to death are pitched together in one heap. But would they not do for the butterman? was our natural query. Too dirty for that. Nor for old trunks? Much too greasy for that. What were they good for, then? For manure! Thus, when worn out as food for the mind, they are put to the service of producing food for our bodies !
The machinery by which all these books are distributed over the length and breadth of the three kingdoms--and even to France and Germany - equally partakes of the wholesale style in which