"The Great Proclamation of the Charter of the Free Cities" appeared in due course that morning, and was posted by bill-stickers all over the front of the Palace, the King assisting them with animated directions, and standing in the middle of the road, with his head on one side, contemplating the result.
'Oh, if it's only facts, cried the King of the Bill-Stickers, recovering his good-humour, and banishing the great mistrust that had suddenly fallen upon him, 'come in and welcome! If it had been income, or winders, I think I should have pitched you out of the wan, upon my soul! Readily complying with the invitation, I squeezed myself in at the small aperture.
" Our doctrines are trammelled, our proclamations torn, our bill-stickers are spied upon and thrown into prison." "The breakdown which has recently taken place in cottons has converted to us many mediums." "The future of nations is being worked out in our obscure ranks." "Here are the fixed terms: action or reaction, revolution or counter-revolution.
Bands of bill-stickers, bribed for the occasion, started in every direction, carrying with them the decrees and proclamations. This was precisely the hour at which the Palace of the National Assembly was invested.
I struck a bargain for the hall, at once a bargain by which I was to have it for two dollars if I didn't do very well, or five dollars if I had a regular big crowd; bill-stickers and doorkeeper included, free. In the evening, I went to the village post-office, which was merely a corner of the village store, and inquired if there was a letter there for Professor Green D. Brown.
'Now, we use the joints where formerly we used ladders as they do still in country places. Lord! I had my bill up, right over his head, yards above him, ladder and all, while he was crawling to his work. The people going in and out of the docks, stood and laughed! It's about thirty years since the joints come in. 'Are there any bill-stickers who can't read? I took the liberty of inquiring.
Next morning fresh ones were posted up, each of which bore the single word, 'Why? The bill-stickers were highly pleased, and many of them were arrested for drunkenness. Mr. O'Rourke was much less pleased, for he began to guess what the answer was likely to be, and how it would affect his chances of securing a satisfactory collection. The officials were perplexed.
He kept an office for advertisers, counselling, designing, acting as middleman with printers and bill-stickers, for the inexperienced or the uninspired: the dull haberdasher came to him for ideas, the smart theatrical agent for his local knowledge, and one and all departed with a copy of his pamphlet, "How, When, and Where; or, The Advertiser's Vade-Mecum."
Grissell and Peto the hoarding of Trafalgar Square, and established a bill-sticking office in Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane, and engaged some of the new bill-stickers to do their work, and for a time got the half of all our work, and with such spirit did they carry on their opposition towards us, that they used to give us in charge before the magistrate, and get us fined; but they found it so expensive, that they could not keep it up, for they were always employing a lot of ruffians from the Seven Dials to come and fight us; and on one occasion the old bill-stickers went to Trafalgar Square to attempt to post bills, when they were given in custody by the watchman in their employ, and fined at Queen Square five pounds, as they would not allow any of us to speak in the office; but when they were gone, we had an interview with the magistrate, who mitigated the fine to fifteen shillings.
'Not so bad, returned the little man, with the modesty of merit. 'Might I be permitted to inscribe your name upon the tablets of my memory? I asked. 'There's not much odds in the name, returned the little man, no name particular I am the King of the Bill-Stickers. 'Good gracious! said I.