London Labour and the London Poor, volume 3

Mayhew, Henry
1851

Asylum for the Houseless Poor.

Asylum for the Houseless Poor.

THERE is a world of wisdom to be learnt at the Asylum for the Houseless Poor. Those who wish to be taught in this, the severest school of all, should pay a visit to Playhouseyard, and see the homeless crowds gathered about the Asylum, waiting for the first opening of the doors, with their bare feet, blue and ulcerous with the cold, resting for hours on the ice and snow in the streets, and the bleak stinging wind blowing through their rags. To hear the cries of the hungry, shivering children, and the wrangling of the greedy men, scrambling for a bed and a pound of dry bread, is a thing to haunt one for life. There are 400 and odd creatures utterly destitute— mothers with infants at their breasts—fathers with boys holding by their side—the friendless —the penniless—the shirtless, shoeless, breadless, homeless; in a word, the very poorest of this the very richest city in the world.

The Asylum for the Houseless is the con- fluence of the many tides of poverty that, at this period of the year, flow towards the metropolis. It should be remembered that there are certain callings, which yield a subsistence to those who pursue them only at particular seasons. Brickmakers, agricultural labourers, garden-women, and many such vocations, are labours that admit of being performed only in the summer, when, indeed, the labourer has the fewest wants to satisfy. The privations of such classes, then, come at a period when even the elements conspire to make their destitution more terrible. Hence, restless with want, they wander in hordes across the land, making, in vain hope, for London, as the great emporium of wealth — the market of the world. But London is as overstocked with hands as every other nook and corner of the country. And then the poor creatures, far away from home and friends, find at last to their cost, that the very privations they were flying from pursue them here with a tenfold severity. I do not pretend to say that all found within the walls of these asylums are such as I have described; many, I know, trade upon the sympathy of those who would ease the sufferings of the destitute labourers, and they make their appearance in the metropolis at this especial season. Winter is the beggar"s harvest. That there are hundreds of professional vagabonds drawn to London at such a time, I am well aware; but with them come the unemployed workmen. We must not, therefore, confound one with the other, nor let our indignation at the vagabond who will not work, check our commiseration for the labourer or artisan who cannot get work to do.

The table on the following page, which has been made up with considerable care and no little trouble, shows the number of persons from different counties sheltered at the Asylum for the Houseless Poor in the Metropolis for fourteen years.

A homeless painter gave me the following statement. His appearance presented nothing remarkable. It was merely that of the poor artisan. There was nothing dirty or squalid about him:—

I was brought up a painter," he said, "and I am now 27. I served my apprenticeship in Yorkshire, and stayed two years after my term was out with the same master. I then worked in Liverpool, earning but little through illness, and working on and off as my health permitted. I got married in Liverpool, and went with my wife to Londonderry, in Ireland, of which place she was a native. There she died of the cholera in 1847. I was very ill with diarrhœa myself. We lived with her friends, but I got work, though wages are very low there. I never earned more than 2s. 6d. a-day there. I have earned 5s. 6d. a-day in Liverpool, but in Londonderry provisions are very cheap—the best meat at 4d. a-pound. It was an advantage to me being 1829 to 1830 1830 to 1831 1831 to 1832 1832 to 1833 1834 to 1835 1840 to 1841 1841 to 1842 1842 to 1843 1843 to 1844 1844 to 1845 1845 to 1846 1846 to 1847 1847 to 1848 1848 to 1849 Total. Average for each year for 14 years. NORTH MIDLAND AGRICUL- TURAL. Lincolnshire ........................ 142 40 47 50 17 80 147 110 167 89 43 204 81 85 1302 93.0 Rutlandshire ........................ ... ... ... ... 1 5 13 13 8 10 2 24 8 24 108 7.7 Northamptonshire ............... 17 20 31 15 14 77 144 108 125 124 50 227 115 67 1135 81.0 Shropshire ........................... 142 36 27 23 11 32 75 74 105 60 41 79 80 42 827 50.0 Herefordshire .................... 18 19 ... ... 9 28 61 28 85 43 18 65 54 45 445 31.8 SOUTH MIDLAND EASTERN AGRICULTURAL. Norfolk .............................. 82 94 73 53 37 125 167 226 268 267 135 364 161 163 2215 158.2 Suffolk ................................. 53 57 35 29 21 79 164 210 239 188 81 385 100 133 1783 127.2 Cambridgeshire..................... 141 49 44 33 20 70 84 106 150 90 88 204 114 88 1281 91.5 Huntingdonshire .................. 13 5 6 9 2 24 46 41 44 14 8 34 22 25 293 20.9 Essex ................................. 101 176 165 17 44 206 324 406 715 519 133 1034 567 392 4799 342.8 Oxfordshire ....................... 71 66 15 21 9 75 127 154 234 193 99 303 136 100 1603 114.5 Berkshire ........................... 142 93 43 51 33 153 264 382 641 366 244 767 342 287 3788 270.5 Wiltshire.............................. 53 62 58 34 21 99 193 201 262 202 97 377 205 87 1951 139.3 SOUTH AGRICULTURAL AND MARITIME. Kent.................................... 160 242 150 120 53 271 467 539 989 649 412 1458 845 523 6878 491.3 Sussex ................................. 52 64 47 54 27 135 170 175 322 230 136 506 230 147 2195 15.7 Hampshire ........................... 129 134 ... ... 47 134 286 341 544 406 226 730 441 414 3832 273.7 Dorsetshire ....................... 40 27 17 23 11 37 71 62 99 79 25 126 57 46 720 51.4 Devonshire ........................... 122 118 141 153 70 83 180 206 375 225 135 453 237 209 2697 192.6 SOUTH MIDLAND AGRICUL- TURAL, WITH DISPERSED DO- MESTIC MANUFACTURES. Bedfordshire ........................ 44 48 27 35 12 43 116 114 131 92 55 171 109 55 1052 75.1 Hertfordshire ..................... 93 104 33 24 31 164 240 262 199 259 182 592 377 181 2741 19.6 Buckinghamshire .................. 40 42 24 31 11 84 190 147 258 246 187 314 168 88 1830 130.7 Somersetshire ..................... 158 153 195 181 75 210 345 262 535 327 247 871 556 246 4361 311.5 NORTHERN AND MIDLAND MANUFACTURING AND MINING Lancashire ........................... 85 221 230 195 100 285 490 716 404 604 408 1272 748 811 6509 469.2 Cheshire .............................. 60 21 20 35 12 37 91 100 108 53 32 170 51 40 830 59.3 Derbyshire ........................ 29 19 25 17 6 43 79 70 91 60 39 97 46 48 669 47.8 Nottinghamshire .................. 71 40 16 21 17 43 77 52 128 51 39 107 62 68 784 56.0 Staffordshire ......................... 48 50 25 28 7 94 175 136 270 123 50 256 121 129 1521 108.6 Leicestershire ...................... 40 44 20 23 14 55 11x 81 168 96 41 163 69 79 1007 71.9 Warwickshire ...................... 78 112 72 60 28 163 295 384 51 242 188 562 256 160 2760 197.1 Worcestershire ...................... 62 12 27 ... 12 49 96 72 114 43 33 128 74 36 758 53.4 Gloucestershire ................... 119 110 32 39 18 82 137 232 352 281 138 267 147 163 2048 146.3 NORTHERN MINING AND AGRICULTURAL. Northumberland ................... 9 32 24 15 11 24 49 49 88 74 19 69 51 72 586 41.8 Durham ............................. ... 16 6 9 8 19 68 80 134 126 26 110 71 54 727 41.9 Cumberland ......................... 18 27 23 33 6 28 35 29 45 48 10 66 32 12 412 29.4 Westmoreland ...................... ... ... 5 9 1 10 24 20 24 7 4 19 14 6 143 10.2 Yorkshire ............................ 98 120 49 31 52 180 330 306 282 215 121 427 298 126 2635 188.2 WESTERN MINING AND AGRICULTURAL. Wales ................................. 117 115 593 887 280 138 137 103 160 559 210 878 726 343 5236 374.0 Cornwall .............................. 20 29 29 31 5 29 54 67 82 47 22 82 52 32 581 41.5 METROPOLITAN. London .................... 107 115 593 887 280 138 137 103 160 559 210 878 726 343 5236 374.0 Middlesex ........................... 1742 1251 195 217 150 774 862 576 807 390 227 1065 538 214 9008 643.4 Surrey ................................. 263 119 151 127 38 211 294 193 355 195 151 572 329 204 3202 22.9 Ireland................................. 1371 1311 547 403 300 896 1108 1305 1712 1253 772 7576 10756 5068 34378 2455.5 Scotland .............................. 213 914 241 210 139 77 136 240 299 400 294 172 623 344 4331 309.3 Guernsey and Jersey ........... 5 14 ... 2 3 5 ... 7 22 8 8 1 25 47 147 10.5 France .............................. 1 ... 3 7 7 ... ... 1 ... 10 2 8 24 14 77 5.5 Italy ................................. 2 2 ... ... ... ... ... 5 13 1 ... 9 5 7 44 3.1 Germany ........................... ... ... 7 5 ... 24 36 59 60 25 27 38 36 53 370 26.4 Holland .............................. 11 9 2 4 ... ... ... 4 6 2 ... ... ... ... 38 2.7 Prussia .............................. 7 9 3 ... ... ... ... 6 24 8 2 4 5 ... 68 4.0 Spain ................................. 6 6 ... ... ... ... ... 4 21 13 ... ... ... 10 60 4.3 Portugal .............................. 7 7 2 11 1 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2 5 35 2.5 Russia ................................. 1 5 3 ... ... ... ... ... 4 10 ... 2 10 7 42 3.0 Sweden .............................. 7 22 4 9 ... ... ... ... 8 ... ... ... ... ... 50 3.6 Norway .............................. 16 8 3 5 1 ... ... 6 3 26 4 ... 3 ... 75 5.3 Australia ........................... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2 ... 6 ... 2 4 ... 14 1.0 America .............................. 2 31 42 32 8 20 52 80 67 56 50 35 76 78 679 48.5 East Indies ........................... 9 1 5 3 6 22 39 40 57 12 200 24 38 19 475 33.9 West Indies ........................ 20 22 26 11 4 16 21 57 83 44 34 53 25 25 446 31.8 Africa ................................. 4 11 6 7 ... ... ... 5 50 24 6 2 6 12 132 9.4 130,625 87.496 an Englishman. English workmen seem to be preferred in Ireland, so far as I can tell, and I have worked in Belfast and Coleraine, and a short time in Dublin, as well as in Londonderry. I came back to Liverpool early in 1848, and got work, but was again greatly distressed through sickness. I then had to travel the country again, getting a little employment at Hemel Hempstead, and St. Alban"s, and other places about, for I aimed at London, and at last I got to London. That was in November, 1848. When in the country I was forced to part with my clothes. I had a beautiful suit of black among them. I very seldom got even a trifle from the painters in the country towns; sometimes 2d. or 3d. from a master. In London I could get no work, and my shirts and my flannel-shirts went to keep me. I stayed about a month, and having nothing left, was obliged to start for the country. I got a job at Luton, and at a few other places. Wages are very low. I was always a temperate man. Many a time I have never tasted drink for a week together, and this when I had money in my pocket, for I had 30l. when I got married. I have, too, the character of being a good workman. I returned to London again three weeks back, but could find no work. I had again to part with any odd things I had. The last I parted with was my stopping-knife and diamond, for I can work as a glazier and plumber; country painters often can—I mean those apprenticed in the country. I have no clothes but what I have on. For the last ten days, I declare solemnly, I have had nothing but what I picked up in the streets. I picked up crusts that I saw in the streets, put out on the steps by the mistresses of the houses for the poor like myself. I got so weak and ill that I had to go to King"s College Hospital, and they gave me medicine which did me good. I often had to walk the streets all night. I was so perished I could hardly move my limbs. I never asked charity, I can"t; but I could have eaten anything. I longed for the fried fish I saw; yes, I was ravenous for that, and suchlike, though I couldn"t have touched it when I had money, and was middling well off. Things are so different in the country that I couldn"t fancy such meat. I was brought to that pitch, I had the greatest mind to steal something to get into prison, where, at any rate, I said to myself, I shall have some food and shelter. I didn"t—I thought better of it. I hoped something might turn up next day; besides, it might have got into the papers, and my friends might have seen it, and I should have felt I disgraced them, or that they would think so, because they couldn"t know my temptations and my sufferings. When out all night, I used to get shelter, if I could, about Hungerford Market, among the straw. The cold made me almost dead with sleep; and when obliged to move, I couldn"t walk at first, I could only crawl along. One night I had a penny given me, all I had gotten in five bitter nights in the streets. For that penny I got half a pint of coffee; it made me sick, my stomach was so weak. On Tuesday I asked a policeman if he couldn"t recommend me to some workhouse, and he told me to come here, and I was admitted, and was very thankful to get under shelter.

The next was a carpenter, a tall, fine-built man, with a pleasing expression of countenance. He was dressed in a flannel jacket and fustian trousers, with the peculiar little side-pocket for his foot-rule, that told you of his calling. He was about 40 years of age, and had the appearance, even in his destitution, of a most respectable mechanic. It is astonishing to mark the difference between the poor artisan and the labourer. The one seems alive to his poverty, and to feel it more acutely than the other. The labourer is more accustomed to "rough it," as it is called; but the artisan, earning better wages, and used to better ways, appears among the houseless poor as a really pitiable character. Carpenters are among the classes of mechanics in which there appears to be the greatest amount of destitution, and I selected this man as a fair average specimen of the body. He said,—

I have been out of work nearly three months. I have had some little work in the mean time, an odd job or two at intervals, but nothing regular. When I am in full work, on day work, I can make 5s. a-day in London; but the masters very generally wishes the men to take piece-work, and that is the cause of men"s work being cut down as it is, because men is obliged to take the work as they offers. I could get about 30s. a-week when I had good employment. I had no one but myself to keep out of my earnings. I have saved something when I have been on day-work; but then it went again as soon as I got to piecework. This is generally the case with the carpenters. The last job I had was at Cobham, in Surrey, doing joiners" work, and business with my master got slack, and I was discharged. Then I made my way to London, and have been about from place to place since then, endeavouring to get work from every one that I knew or could get recommended to. But I have not met with any success. Well, sir, I have been obliged to part with all I had, even to my tools; though they"re not left for much. My tools are pawned for 12s., and my clothes are all gone. The last I had to part with was my rule and chalk-line, and them I left for a night"s lodging. I have no other clothes but what you see me in at present. There are a vast many carpenters out of work, and like me. It is now three weeks since the last of my things went, and after that I have been about the streets, and gone into bakers" shops, and asked for a crust. Sometimes I have got a penny out of the tap-room of a public-house. It"s now more than a fortnight since I quitted my lodgings. I have been in the Asylum eight nights. Before that, I was out in the streets for five nights together. They were very cold nights; yes, very." [The man shivered at the recollection.] "I walked up one street, and down another. I sometimes got under a doorway, but it was impossible to stand still long, it was so cruel cold. The sleet was coming down one night, and freezed on my clothes as it fell. The cold made me stiff more than sleepy. It was next day that I felt tired; and then, if I came to sit down at a fireside, I should drop asleep in a minute. I tried, when I was dead-beat, to get into St. Giles"s union, but they wouldn"t admit me. Then the police sent me up to another union: I forget the name, but they refused me. I tried at Lambeth, and there I was refused. I don"t think I went a day without some small bit of bread. I begged for it. But when I walked from St. Alban"s to London, I was two days without a bit to put in my mouth. I never stole, not a particle, from any person, in all my trials. I was brought up honest, and, thank God, I have kept so all my life. I would work willingly, and am quite capable: yes, and I would do my work with all my heart, but it"s not to be got at.

This the poor fellow said with deep emotion; and, indeed, his whole statement appeared in every way worthy of credit. I heard afterwards that he had offered to "put up the stairs of two houses" at some man"s own terms, rather than remain unemployed. He had told the master that his tools were in pawn, and promised, if they were taken out of pledge for him, to work for his bare food. He was a native of Somerset, and his father and mother were both dead.

I then took the statement of a seaman, but one who, from destitution, had lost all the distinguishing characteristics of a sailor"s dress of the better description. He wore a jacket, such as seamen sometimes work in, too little for him, and very thin and worn; a waistcoat, once black; a cotton shirt; and a pair of canvas trousers. He had an intelligent look enough, and spoke in a straightforward manner. He stated:—"I am now thirty-five, and have been a seaman all my life. I first went to sea, as a cabin-boy, at Portsmouth. I was left an orphan at fourteen months, and don"t know that I have a single relation but myself. I don"t know what my father was. I was brought up at the Portsea workhouse. I was taught to read and write. I went to sea in 1827. I have continued a seaman ever since—sometimes doing pretty well. The largest sum I ever had in my possession was 38l. when I was in the Portuguese service, under Admiral Sartorius, in the "Donna Maria" frigate. He hadn"t his flag aboard, but he commanded the fleet, such as it was; but don"t call it a fleet, say a squadron. Captain Henry was my last captain there; and after him I served under Admiral Napier; he was admiral out there, with his flag in the "Real," until Don Miguel"s ships were taken. The frigate I was in, (the "Donna Maria,") took the "Princessa Real;" she was a 44-gun ship, and ours was a 36. It was a stiffish thing while it lasted, was the fight; but we boarded and carried the "Princessa." I never got all my prize-money. I stopped in Lisbon some time after the fight; and then, as I couldn"t meet with a passage to England, I took service on board the "Donegal," 74 guns, Captain Fanshawe. I liked Lisbon pretty well; they"re not a very tidy people — treacherous, too, but not all of them. I picked up a very little Portuguese. Most of my thirty-eight pounds went in Lisbon. The "Donegal" brought Don Carlos over, and we were paid off in Plymouth; that was in 1834. Since then I have been in the merchant service. I like that best. My last voyage was in the "Richard Cobden," a barque of 380 tons, belonging to Dundee; but she sailed from Gloucester for Archangel, and back from Archangel to Dundee, with a cargo of hemp and codilla. We were paid off in Dundee, and I received 4l. 8s. on the 13th of October." [He showed me his discharge from the "Richard Cobden," and his register ticket.] "I went to Glasgow and got a vessel there, an American, the "Union;" and before that I stayed at a lodging-house in Dundee that sailors frequent. There was a shipmate of mine there, a carpenter, and I left my things in his charge, and I went on board the "Union" at Glasgow, and stayed working on board eighteen days; she was short of men. The agreement between me and my old shipmate was, that he should send my things when I required them. My clothes were worth to me more than 5l. The ship was to sail on Friday, the 15th of November. Sailors don"t mind getting under weigh on a Friday now; and I got 10s. from the skipper to take me to Dundee on Thursday, the 14th; but when I got to Dundee for my clothes, I found that the carpenter had left a fortnight before, taking all my things with him. I couldn"t learn anything as to where he had gone. One man told me he thought he had gone to Derry, where some said he had a wife. The skipper paid me for what days I had been employed, and offered to let me work a passage to New York, but not on wages; because I had no clothes, he couldn"t take me. I tried every ship in the Broomilaw, but couldn"t get a job, nor a passage to London; so me and two other seamen set off to walk to London. I started with 3s. One seaman left us at Carlisle. We didn"t live on the way—we starved. It took us a month to get to London. We slept sometimes at the unions; some wouldn"t admit us. I was very lame at last. We reached London a month ago. I got three days" work as a rigger, at 2s. 6d. a-day, and a week"s shelter in the Sailors" Asylum. I had five days" work also on stevedore"s work in the "Margaret West," gone to Batavia. That brought me 12s. Asylum For the Houseless Poor, Cripplegate. [From a Sketch.] those five days" work. Since that I"ve done nothing, and was so beat out that I had to pass two days and nights in the streets. One of those days I had a bit of bread and meat from an old mate. I had far rather be out in a gale of wind at sea, or face the worst storm, than be out two such nights again in such weather, and with an empty belly. My mate and I kept on trying to get a ship, but my old jacket was all against me. They look at a man"s clothes now. I passed these two nights walking about Tower-hill, and to London-bridge and back, half dead, and half asleep, with cold and hunger. I thought of doing something to get locked up, but I then thought that would be no use, and a disgrace to a man, so I determined to bear it like a man, and try to get a ship. The man who left us at Carlisle did no better than me, for he"s here too, beat out like me, and he told me of this Asylum. The other man got a ship. I"m not a drinking man, though I may have had a spree or two, but that"s all over. I could soon get a ship if I had some decent clothes. I bought these trousers out of what I earned in London. I spun out my money as fine as any man could."

The poor fellow who gave me the following narrative was a coloured man, with the regular negro physiognomy, but with nothing of the lighthearted look they sometimes present. His only attire was a sadly soiled shirt of coarse striped cotton, an old handkerchief round his neck, old canvas trousers, and shoes. "I am twenty," he said, in good English, "and was born in New York. My father was a very dark negro, but my mother was white. I was sent to school, and can read a little, but can"t write. My father was coachman to a gentleman. My mother spoke Dutch chiefly; she taught it to my father. She could speak English, and always did to me. I worked in a gentleman"s house in New York, cleaning knives and going errands. I was always well treated in New York, and by all sorts of people. Some of the "rough-uns" in the streets would shout after me as I was going to church on a Sunday night. At church I couldn"t sit with the white people. I didn"t think that any hardship. I saved seven dollars by the time I was sixteen, and then I went to sea as a cabin-boy on board the "Elizabeth," a brigantine. My first voyage was to St. John"s, New Brunswick, with a cargo of corn and provisions. My second voyage was to Boston. After that I was raised to be cook. I had a notion I could cook well. I had cooked on shore before, in a gentleman"s house, where I was shown cooking. Pretty many of the cooks in New York are coloured people—the men more than the women. The women are chiefly chambermaids. There was a vacancy, I was still in the "Elizabeth," when the cook ran away. He was in a bother with the captain about wasting tea and sugar. We went some more voyages, and I then got engaged as cook on board a new British ship, just off the stocks, at St. John"s, New Brunswick, the "Jessica." About four months ago I came in her to Liverpool, where we were all paid off. We were only engaged for the run. I received 5l. I paid 2l. 10s. to my boarding mistress for two months" board. It was 5s. and extras a-week. I laid out the rest in clothes. I had a job in Liverpool, in loading hay. I was told I had a better chance for a ship in London. I tramped it all the way, selling some of my clothes to start me. I had 6s. to start with, and got to London with hardly any clothes, and no money. That"s two months back, or nearly so. I couldn"t find a ship. I never begged, but I stood on the highways, and some persons gave me twopences and pennies. I was often out all night, perishing. Sometimes I slept under the butchers" stalls in Whitechapel. I felt the cold very bitter, as I was used to a hot climate chiefly. Sometimes I couldn"t feel my feet. A policeman told me to come here, and I was admitted. I want to get a ship. I have a good character as a cook; my dishes were always relished; my pea-soup was capital, and so was my dough and pudding. I often wished for them when I was starving." [He showed his white teeth, smiling as he spoke.] "Often under the Whitechapel stalls I was so frozen up I could hardly stir in the morning. I was out all the night before Christmas that it snowed. That was my worst night, I think, and it was my first. I couldn"t walk, and hardly stand, when the morning came. I have no home to go to."

The next was a brickmaker, a man scarce thirty, a stout, big-boned man, but a little pale, evidently from cold and exhaustion. His dress was a short smockfrock, yellow with dry clay, and fustian trousers of the same colour, from the same cause. His statement was as follows:—

I have been out of work now about seven weeks. Last work I done was on the Middle Level Drainage, in Cambridgeshire. Brickmaking generally begins (if the weather"s fine) about February, or the beginning of March, and it ends about September, and sometimes the latter end of November. If the weather"s frosty, they can"t keep on so long. I was at work up to about the middle of November last, making bricks at Northfleet, in Kent. I was with the same party for three years before. After that, brickmaking was done for the season, and I was discharged with "five stools" of us beside. Each stool would require about six people to work it; so that altogether thirty hands were thrown out of work. After that I went to look for work among the "slop" brickmakers. They makes bricks "slop-way" right through the winter, for they"re dried by flues. I am by rights a sand-stock brickmaker. Howsomever, I couldn"t get a job at brickmaking slop-way, so I went down on the Middle Level, and there I got a job at river-cutting; but the wet weather came, and the water was so strong upon us that we got drownded out. That"s the last job I"ve had. At brickmaking I had 3s. 10d. a thousand, this last summer. I have had my 4s. 6d. for the very same work. Two years ago I had that. Six of us could make about 35,000 in a-week, if it was fine. On an average, we should make, I dare say, each of us about 1l. a-week, and not more, because if it was a showery day we couldn"t do nothing at all. We used to join one among another in the yard to keep our own sick. We mostly made the money up to 14s. a-week when any mate was bad. I did save a few shillings, but it was soon gone when I was out of work. Not many of the brickmakers save. They work from seventeen to eighteen hours every day when it"s fine, and that requires a good bit to eat and drink. The brickmakers most of them drink hard. After I got out of work last November, I went away to Peterborough to look for employment. I thought I might get a job on the London and York Railway, but I couldn"t find none. From there I tramped it to Grimsby: "perhaps," I said, "I may get a job at the docks;" but I could get nothing to do there, so I came away to Grantham, and from there back to Peterborough again, and after that to Northampton, and then I made my way to London. All this time I had laid either in barns at nighttimes, or slept in the casual wards of the unions—that is, where they would have me. Often I didn"t get nothing to eat for two or three days together, and often I have had to beg a bit to keep body and soul together. I had no other means of living since November last but begging. When I came to town I applied at a large builder"s office for work. I heard he had something to do at the Isle of Dogs, but it was the old story—they were full, and had plenty of hands till the days got out longer. Then I made away to Portsmouth. I knew a man there who had some work, but when I got there he had none to give me at the present time. From there I went along the coast, begging my way still, to Hastings, in hope of getting work at the railway; but all to no good. They had none, too, till the days got longer. After that I came round to London again, and I have been here a fortnight come next Monday. I have done no work. I have wandered about the streets any way. I went to the London Docks to see for a job, and there I met with a man as I knowed, and he paid for my lodging for one or two nights. I walked the streets for two whole nights before I came here. It was bitter cold, freezing sharp, indeed, and I had nothing to eat all the time. I didn"t know there was such a place as this till a policeman told me. A gentleman gave me 6d., and that"s all I"ve had since I"ve been in this town. I have been for the last three nights at the Asylum. I don"t suppose they"ll take my ticket away till after to-morrow night, and then I thought of making my way down home till my work starts again. I have sought for work all over the country, and can"t get any. All the brickmakers are in the same state as myself. They none of them save, and must either starve or beg in the winter. Most times we can get a job in the cold weather, but this year, I don"t know what it is, but I can"t get a job at all. Former years I got railway work to do, but now there"s nothing doing, and we"re all starving. When I get down home I shall be obliged to go into the union, and that"s hard for a young man like me, able to work, and willing; but it ain"t to be had, it ain"t to be had.

Then came a tailor, a young man only twenty-one years old, habited in a black frockcoat, with a plaid shawl twisted round his neck. His eyes were full and expressive, and he had a look of intelligence superior to any that I had yet seen. He told a story which my inquiries into the "slop trade" taught me was "ower true."

"I have been knocking about for near upon six weeks," he replied, in answer to my inquiries. "I was working at the slop-trade at the West-end. I am a native of Scotland. I was living with a sweater. I used to board and lodge with him entirely. At the week"s end I was almost always in debt with him—at least he made it out so. I had very often to work all night, but let me slave as hard as I might I never could get out of debt with the sweater. There were often as many as six of us there, and we slept two together in each bed. The work had been slack for some time, and he gave me employment till I worked myself out of his debt, and then he turned me into the streets. I had a few clothes remaining, and these soon were sold to get food and lodging. I lived on my other coat and shirts for a week or two, and at last all was gone, and I was left entirely destitute. Then I had to pace the streets all day and night. The two nights before I came here I never tasted food nor lay down to rest. I had been in a fourpenny lodging before then, but I couldn"t raise even that; and I knew it was no good going there without the money. You must pay before you go to bed at those places. Several times I got into a doorway, to shelter from the wind and cold, and twice I was roused by the policeman, for I was so tired that I fell asleep standing against a shop near the Bank. What with hunger and cold, I was in a half-stupid state. I didn"t know what to do: I was far from home and my mother. I have not liked to let her know how badly I was off." [The poor lad"s eyes flooded with tears at the recollection of his parent.] "I thought I had better steal something, and then at least I should have a roof over my head. Then I thought I"d make away with myself. I can"t say how; it was a sort of desperation; and I was so stupid with cold and want, that I can hardly remember what I thought. All I wanted was to be allowed to sit down on some doorstep and die; but the police did not allow this. In the daytime I went up and lay about the parks most part of the day, but I couldn"t sleep then; I hardly know why, but I"d been so long without food, that I couldn"t rest. I have purposely kept from writing to my mother. It would break her heart to know my sufferings. She has been a widow this ten years past. She keeps a lodging-house in Leith, and has two children to support. I have been away eight months from her. I came to London from a desire to see the place, and thinking I could better my situation. In Edinburgh, I had made my 1l. a-week regularly; often more, and seldom less. When I came to London, a woman met me in the street, and asked me if I wasn"t a tailor? On my replying in the affirmative, she informed me if I would come and work for her husband, I should have good-wages, and live with her and her husband, and they would make me quite comfortable. I didn"t know she was the wife of a sweater at that time. It was a thing I had never heard of in Edinburgh. After that time, I kept getting worse and worse off, working day and night, and all Sunday, and still always being in debt to them I worked for. Indeed, I wish I had never left home. If I could get back, I"d go in a moment. I have worked early and late, in the hope of accumulating money enough to take me home again, but I could not even get out of debt, much more save, work as hard as I would."

I asked if he would allow me to see some letters of his mother"s, as vouchers for the truth of his story, and he produced a small packet, from which, with his permission, I copied the following:—

My dear Son,—I have this moment received your letter. I was happy to hear from you, and trust you are well. Think of that God who has carried you in safety over the mighty deep. We are all much as you left us. I hope you will soon write. Ever believe me, Your affectionate mother, —— ——.

This was the first letter written after his absence from home. Since then his mother, who is aged and rheumatic (his letters vouched for this), had been unable to write a line. His brother, a lad of 16, says, in one of his letters,—

I am getting on with my Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and French, only I am terribly ill off for want of books. My mother was saying that you would be bringing me a first-rate present from London. I think the most appropriate present you can bring me will be a Greek and English, or a Hebrew and English Lexicon; or some Hebrew, Greek, or Latin book.

A letter from his sister, a girl of 18, ran as follows:—

My dear brother,—I take this opportunity of writing you, as you wrote that you would like to have a letter from me. I am very sorry you have been ill, but I hope you are keeping better. I trust also that affliction will be the means of leading you only more closely to the only true source of happiness. Oh, my dear brother, you are still young, and God has told us in His word, that those who seek Him early shall find Him. My dear brother, we get many a sad and solemn warning to prepare to meet our God: and oh! my dear brother, "what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

The last letter was dated the 5th of December last, and from his brother:—

We received your kind letter," it ran, "this instant, and we hasten to answer it. It has given my mother and me great relief to hear from you, as my mother and I were very miserable about you, thinking you were ill. We trust you will take care of yourself, and not get any more cold. We hope you will be able to write on receipt of this, and let us know how you are, and when we may expect you home, as we have daily expected you since the month of October.

These letters were shown to me at my request, and not produced by the young man himself, so that it was evident they were kept by the youth with no view of being used by him as a means of inducing charity; indeed, the whole manner of the young man was such as entirely precluded suspicion. On my asking whether he had any other credentials as to character, he showed me a letter from a Scotch minister, stating that "he had been under his charge, and that from his conduct he had been led to form a favourable opinion of his talents and moral character; and that he believed him to be a deserving, industrious young man."

Of the class of distressed tradesmen seeking shelter at this asylum, the two following may be taken as fair types. One was a bankrupt linendraper, and appeared in a most destitute state. When he spoke of his children, his eyes flooded with tears:—

I have been in business in the linendrapery line—that"s five years ago. I had about 600l. worth of stock at first starting, and used to take about 65l. every week. My establishment was in a country village in Essex. I went on medium well for the first two or three years, but the alteration of the poorlaws and the reduction of the agricultural labourers" wages destroyed my business. My customers were almost all among the working classes. I had dealings with a few farmers, of whom I took butter, and cheese, and eggs, in exchange for my goods. When the poorlaws were altered, the out-door relief was stopped, and the paupers compelled to go inside the house. Before that, a good part of the money given to the poor used to be expended at my shop. The overseers used to have tickets for flannels, blankets, and shirtings, and other goods; with these they used to send the paupers to my house. I used to take full 8l. or 10l. a-week in this manner; so that when the poor-laws were altered, and the previous system discontinued, I suffered materially. Besides, the wages of the agricultural labourers being lowered, left them less money to lay out with me. On a market-day they were my chief customers. I would trust them one week under the other, and give them credit for 7s. or 10s., if they wanted it. After their wages came down, they hadn"t the means of laying out a sixpence with me; and where I had been taking 65l. a-week, my receipts dwindled to 30l. I had been in the habit of keeping two shopmen before, but after the reduction I was obliged to come down to one. Then the competition of the large houses in other towns was more than I could stand against. Having a larger capital, they could buy cheaper, and afford to take a less profit, and so of course they could sell much cheaper than I could. Then, to try and keep pace with my neighbours, I endeavoured to extend my capital by means of accommodation bills, but the interest I had to pay on these was so large, and my profits so little, that it soon became impossible for me to meet the claims upon me. I was made a bankrupt. My debts at the time were 300l. This is about six years ago. After that I took a public-house. Some property was left me. I came into about 1000l.; part of this went to my creditors, and I superseded my bankruptcy. With the rest I determined upon starting in the publican line. I kept at this for about ten months, but I could do nothing with it. There was no custom to the house. I had been deceived into taking it. By the time I got out of it all my money was gone. After that I got a job as a referee at the time of the railway mania, and when that was over, I got appointed as a policeman on the Eastern Union line. There I remained two years and upwards, but then they began reducing their establishment, both in men and in wages. I was among the men who were turned off. Since that time, which is now two years this Christmas, I have had no constant employment. Occasionally I have got a little law-writing to do; sometimes I have got a job as under-waiter at a tavern. After I left the waiter"s place, I got to be very badly off. I had a decent suit of clothes to my back up to that time, but then I became so reduced, I was obliged to go and live in a low lodging-house in Whitechapel. I was enabled to get along somehow; I know many friends, and they gave me a little money now and then. But at last I had exhausted these. I could get nothing to do of any kind. I have been to Shoreditch station to try to pick up a few pence at carrying parcels, but there were so many there that I could not get a crust that way. I was obliged to pawn garment after garment to pay for my food and lodging; and when they were all gone, I was wholly destitute. I couldn"t even raise twopence for a night"s lodging, so I came here and asked for a ticket. My wife is dead. I have three children; but I would rather you would not say anything about them, if you please.

I assured the man that his name should not be printed, and he then consented to his children being mentioned.

The age of my eldest child is fourteen, and my youngest nine. They do not know of the destitution of their father. They are staying with one of my relations, who has supported them since my failure. I wouldn"t have them know of my state on any account. None of my family are aware of my misery. My eldest child is a girl, and it would break her heart to know where I am, and see the state of distress I am in. My boy, I think, would never get over it. He is eleven years old. I have tried to get work at carrying placard-boards about, but I can"t. My clothes are now too bad for me to do anything else. I write a good hand, and would do anything, I don"t care what, to earn a few pence. I can get a good character from every place I have been in.

The other tradesman"s story was as follows:—

I am now thirty-three, and am acquainted with the grocery trade, both as master and assistant. I served a five-years" apprenticeship in a town in Berkshire. The very late hours and the constant confinement made me feel my apprenticeship a state of slavery. The other apprentices used to say they felt it so likewise. During my apprenticeship I consider that I never learnt my trade properly. I knew as much at the year"s end as at the five years" end. My father gave my master fifty pounds premium; the same premium, or more, was paid with the others. One, the son of a gentleman at——, paid as much as eighty pounds. My master made an excellent thing of his apprentices. Nearly all the grocers in the part of Berkshire I"m acquainted with do the same. My master was a severe man to us, in respect of keeping us in the house, and making us attend the Methodist Chapel twice, and sometimes thrice, every Sunday. We had prayers night and morning. I attribute my misfortunes to this apprenticeship, because there was a great discrepancy between profession and practice in the house; so there could be no respect in the young men for their employer, and they grew careless. He carried on his business in a way to inspire anything else than respect. On the cheesemongery side we were always blamed if we didn"t keep the scale well wetted, so as to make it heavier on one side than the other—I mean the side of the scale where the butter was put—that was filled or partly filled with water, under pretence of preventing the butter sticking, and so the customer was wronged half an ounce in every purchase. With regard to the bacon, which, on account of competition, we had to sell cheap—at no profit sometimes—he used to say to us, "You must make the ounces pay;" that is, we were expected to add two or more ounces, calculating on what the customer would put up with, to every six odd ounces in the weight of a piece. For instance, if a hock of bacon weighed six pounds seven ounces, at 4 1/2d. per pound, we were to charge 2s. 3d. for the six pounds, and (if possible) adding two ounces to the seven which was the actual weight, charge each ounce a halfpenny, so getting 2s. 7 1/2d. instead of 2s. 5d. This is a common practice in all the cheap shops I am acquainted with. With his sugars and teas, inferior sorts were mixed. In grinding pepper, a quantity of rice was used, it all being ground together. Mustard was adulterated by the manufacturers, if the price given showed that the adulterated stuff was wanted. The lowest priced coffee was always half chiccory, the second quality one-third chiccory; the best was one pound of chiccory to three pounds of coffee, or one-fourth. We had it either in chiccory-nibs, which is the root of the endive cultivated in Yorkshire, Prussia, &c., or else a spurious chiccory powdered, twopence per pound cheaper, the principal ingredient being parsnips and carrots cut in small pieces, and roasted like chiccory. A quart of water is the allowance to every twenty-eight pounds of tobacco. We had to keep pulling it, so as to keep it loose, for if left to lie long it would mould, and get a very unpleasant smell. In weighing sugar, some was always spilt loose in the scale opposite the weight, which remains in the scale, so that every pound or so is a quarter of an ounce short. This is the practice only in cutting shops. Often enough, after we have been doing all these rogueries, we were called into prayers. In my next situation, with an honourable tradesman in Yorkshire, I found I had to learn my business over again, so as to carry it on fairly. In two or three years I went into business in the town where I was apprenticed; but I had been subjected to such close confinement, and so many unnecessary restrictions, without any opportunity of improving by reading, that when I was my own master, and in possession of money, and on the first taste of freedom, I squandered my money foolishly and extravagantly, and that brought me into difficulties. I was 150l. deficient to meet my liabilities, and my friends advanced that sum, I undertaking to be more attentive to business. After that, a man started as a grocer in the same street, in the "cutting" line, and I had to compete with him, and he sold his sugar a halfpenny a pound less than it cost, and I was obliged to do the same. The preparing of the sugar for the market-day is a country grocer"s week"s work, and all at a loss. That"s the ruin of many a grocer. My profits dwindled year by year, though I stuck very close to business; and in eighteen months I gave it up. By that time other "cutting" shops were opened—none have done any good. I was about 100l. bad, which my friends arranged to pay by instalments. After that I hawked tea. I did no good in that. The system is to leave it at the working men"s houses, giving a week"s credit, the customers often taking more. Nothing can be honestly made in that trade. The Scotchmen in the trade are the only men that can do any good in it. The charge is six shillings for what"s four shillings in a good shop. About nine months ago my wife—I had been married seven years—was obliged to go and live with her sister, a dressmaker, as I was too poor to keep her or myself either. I then came to London, to try for employment of any kind. I answered advertisements, and there were always forty or fifty young men after the same situation. I never got one, except for a short time at Brentford. I had also a few days" work at bill delivery—that is, grocers" circulars. I was at last so reduced that I couldn"t pay for my lodgings. Nobody can describe the misery I felt as I have walked the streets all night, falling asleep as I went along, and then roused myself up half-frozen, my limbs aching, and my whole body trembling. Sometimes, if I could find a penny, I might sit up in a coffee-shop in Russell-street, Covent-garden, till five in the morning, when I had to roam the streets all day long. Two days I was without food, and determined to commit some felony to save me from starvation, when, to my great joy—for God knows what it saved me from, as I was utterly careless what my fate would be—I was told of this refuge by a poor man who had been there, who found me walking about the Piazzas in Covent-garden as a place of shelter. I applied, and was admitted. I don"t know how I can get a place without clothes. I have one child with my wife, and she supports him and herself very indifferently by dressmaking.

A soldier"s wife, speaking with a strong Scotch accent, made the following statement. She had altogether a decent appearance, but her features—and there were the remains of prettiness in her look—were sadly pinched. Her manners were quiet, and her voice low and agreeable. She looked like one who had "seen better days," as the poor of the better sort not unfrequently say in their destitution, clinging to the recollection of past comforts. She wore a very clean checked cotton shawl, and a straw bonnet tolerably entire. The remainder of her dress was covered by her shawl, which was folded closely about her, over a dark cotton gown.

I was born twenty miles from Inverness, (she said), and have been a servant since I was eleven. I always lived in good places— the best of places. I never was in inferior places. I have lived as cook, housemaid, or servant-of-all-work, in Inverness, Elgin, and Tain, always maintaining a good character. I thank God for that. In all my distress I"ve done nothing wrong, but I didn"t know what distress was when in service. I continued in service until I married; but I was not able to save much money, because I had to do all I could for my mother, who was a very poor widow, for I lost my father when I was two years old. Wages are very low in Scotland to what they are in England. In the year 1847 I lived in the service of the barrack-master of Fort George, twelve miles below Inverness. There I became acquainted with my present husband, a soldier, and I was married to him in March, 1847, in the chapel at Fort George. I continued two months in service after my marriage. My mistress wouldn"t let me away; she was very kind to me; so was my master: they all were. I have a written character from my mistress." [This, at my request, she produced.] "Two months after, the regiment left Fort George for Leith, and there I lived with my husband in barracks. It is not so bad for married persons in the artillery as in the line (we were in the artillery), in barracks. In our barrack-rooms no single men were allowed to sleep where the married people were accommodated. But there were three or four married families in our room. I lived two years in barracks with my husband, in different barracks. I was very comfortable. I didn"t know what it was to want anything I ought to have. My husband was a kind, sober man." [This she said very feelingly.] "His regiment was ordered abroad, to Nova Scotia. I had no family. Only six soldiers" wives are allowed to go out with each company, and there were seventeen married men in the company to which my husband belonged. It"s determined by lot. An officer holds the tickets in his cap, and the men draw them. None of the wives are present. It would be too hard a thing for them to see. My husband drew a blank." She continued:— It was a sad scene when they embarked at Woolwich last March. All the wives were there, all crying and sobbing, you may depend upon that; and the children, too, and some of the men; but I couldn"t look much at them, and I don"t like to see men cry. My husband was sadly distressed. I hoped to get out there and join him, not knowing the passage was so long and expensive. I had a little money then, but that"s gone, and I"m brought to misery. It would have cost me 6l. at that time to get out, and I couldn"t manage that, so I stayed in London, getting a day"s work at washing when I could, making a very poor living of it; and I was at last forced to part with all my good clothes after my money went; and my husband, God bless him! always gave me his money to do what I thought best with it. I used to earn a little in barracks with my needle, too. I was taken ill with cholera at the latter end of August. Dear, dear, what I suffered! And when I was getting better I had a second attack, and that was the way my bit of money all went. I was then quite destitute; but I care nothing for that, and would care nothing for anything if I could get out to my husband. I should be happy then. I should never be so happy since I was born before. It"s now a month since I was entirely out of halfpence. I can"t beg; it would disgrace me and my husband, and I"d die in the streets first. Last Saturday I hadn"t a farthing. I hadn"t a thing to part with. I had a bed by the night, at 3d. a-night, not a regular lodginghouse; but the mistress wouldn"t trust me no longer, as I owed her 2s. 6d., and for that she holds clothes worth far more than that. I heard of this Asylum, and got admitted, or I must have spent the night in the street—there was nothing else for me; but, thank God! I"ve been spared that. On Christmas day I had a letter from my husband.

This she produced. It contained the following passage:—

I am glad this letter only costs you a penny, as your purse must be getting very low; but there is a good time coming, and i trust in God it will not be long, my deir wife. i hope you will have got a good place before this raches you. I am dowing all in my power to help you. i trust in good in 3 months more, if you Help me, between us we make it out.

She concluded:—

I wouldn"t like him to know how badly I am off. He knows I would do nothing wrong. He wouldn"t suspect me; he never would. He knows me too well. I have no clothes but what are detained for 2s. 6d., and what I have on. I have on just this shawl and an old cotton gown, but it"s not broke, and my underclothing. All my wish is to get out to my husband. I care for nothing else in this world.

Next comes the tale of a young girl who worked at velvet embossing. She was comely, and modestly spoken. By her attire it would have been difficult to have told that she was so utterly destitute as I afterwards discovered. She was scrupulously neat and clean in her dress; indeed it was evident, even from her appearance, that she belonged to a better class than the ordinary inmates of the Asylum. As she sat alone in the long, unoccupied wards, she sighed heavily, and her eyes were fixed continually on the ground. Her voice was very sorrowful. Her narrative was as follows:—

"I have been out of work for a very long while, for full three months now, and all the summer I was only on and off. I mostly had my work given out to me. It was in pieces of 100 yards, and sometimes less, and I was paid so much for the dozen yards. I generally had 3 1/2d., and sometimes 1 1/2d., according to what it was; 3 1/2d. was the highest price that I had. I could, if I rose at five in the morning, and sat up till twelve, earn between 1s. and 1s. 3d. in a day. I had to cut the velvet after it had been embossed. I could, if a diamond pattern, do five dozen yards in a-day, and if a leaf pattern, I could only do three dozen and a-half. I couldn"t get enough of it to do, even at these prices. Sometimes I was two days in the week without work, and sometimes I had work for only one day in the week. They wanted, too, to reduce the 1 1/2d. diamond work to 1d. the dozen yards; and so they would have done, only the work got so slack that we had to leave it altogether. That is now seven weeks ago. Before that, I did get a little to do, though it was very little, and since then I have called almost every week at the warehouse, but they have put me off, telling me to come in a fortnight or a week"s time. I never kept acquaintance with any of the other young women working at the warehouse, but I dare say about twenty-five were thrown out of work at the same time as I was. Sometimes I made 6s. a-week, and sometimes only 3s., and for the last fortnight I got 1s. 6d. a-week, and out of that I had my own candles to find, and 1s. 6d. a-week to pay for my lodgings. After I lost my work, I made away with what little clothes I had, and now I have got nothing but what I stand upright in." [The tears were pouring down the cheeks of the poor girl; she was many minutes afterwards before she could answer my questions, from sobbing.] "I can"t help crying," she said, "when I think how destitute I am. Oh, yes, indeed, [she cried through her sobs,] I have been a good girl in all my trials. I might have been better off if I had chosen to take to that life. I need not have been here if I had chosen to part with my character. I don"t know what my father was. I believe he was a clerk in one of the foreign confectionery houses. He deserted my mother two months before I was born. I don"t know whether he is dead or not, for I never set eyes on him. If he is alive, he is very well off. I know this from my aunt, who was told by one of his fellow-clerks that he had married a woman of property and gone abroad. He was disappointed with my mother. He expected to have had a good bit of money with her; but after she married him, her father wouldn"t notice her. My mother died when I was a week old, so I do not recollect either of my parents. When my aunt, who was his own sister, wrote to him about myself, my brother and sister, he sent word back that the children might go to the workhouse. But my aunt took pity on us, and brought us all up. She had a little property of her own. She gave us a decent education, as far as lay in her power. My brother she put to sea. My father"s brother was a captain, and he took my brother with him. The first voyage he went (he was fourteen), a part of the rigging fell on him and the first mate, and they were both killed on the spot. My sister went as lady"s-maid to Lady ——, and went abroad with her, now eighteen months ago, and I have never heard of her since. The aunt who brought me up is dead now. She was carried off two years and three months ago. If she had lived I should never have wanted a friend. I remained with her up to the time of her death, and was very happy before that time. After that I found it very hard for a poor lone girl like me to get an honest living. I have been struggling on ever since, parting with my clothes, and often going for two days without food. I lived upon the remainder of my clothes for some little time after I was thrown entirely out of work; but at last I got a fortnight in debt at my lodgings, and they made me leave; that"s a week and three days ago now. Then I had nowhere but the streets to lay my head. I walked about for three days and nights without rest. I went into a chapel. I went there to sit down and pray; but I was too tired to offer up any prayers, for I fell asleep. I had been two nights and three days in the streets before this, and all I had during that time was a penny loaf, and that I was obliged to beg for. On the day that I was walking about, it thawed in the morning, and froze very hard at night. My shoes were very bad, and let in water; and as the night came on, my stockings froze to my feet. Even now I am suffering from the cold of those nights. It is as much as I can do to bend my limbs at present. I have been in the Asylum a week, and to-night is my last night here. I have nowhere to go, and what will become of me the Lord God only knows." [Again she burst out crying most piteously.] "My things are not fit to go into any respectable workroom, and they won"t take me into a lodging either, unless I"ve got clothes. I would rather make away with myself than lose my character." [As she raised her hand to wipe away her tears, I saw that her arms were bare; and on her moving the old black mantle that covered her shoulders, I observed that her gown was so ragged that the body was almost gone from it, and it had no sleeves.] "I shouldn"t have kept this," she said, "if I could have made away with it." She said that she had no friend in the world to help her, but that she would like much to emigrate.

I afterwards inquired at the house at which this poor creature had lodged, as to whether she had always conducted herself with propriety while living there. To be candid, I could hardly believe that any person could turn a young friendless girl into the streets because she owed two weeks" rent; though the girl appeared too simple and truthful to fabricate such a statement. On inquiry, I found her story true from the beginning to the end. The landlady, an Irishwoman, acknowledged that the girl was in her debt but 3s.; that she had lodged with her for several months, and always paid her regularly when she had money; but she couldn"t afford, she said, to keep people for nothing. The girl had been a good, well-behaved, modest girl with her.

THERE is a world of wisdom to be learnt at the Asylum for the Houseless Poor. Those who wish to be taught in this, the severest school of all, should pay a visit to Playhouseyard, and see the homeless crowds gathered about the Asylum, waiting for the opening of the doors, with their bare feet, blue and ulcerous with the cold, resting for hours on the ice and snow in the streets, and the bleak stinging wind blowing through their rags. To hear the cries of the hungry, shivering children, and the wrangling of the greedy men, scrambling for a bed and a pound of dry bread, is a thing to haunt for life. There are and odd creatures utterly destitute— mothers with infants at their breasts—fathers with boys holding by their side—the friendless —the penniless—the shirtless, shoeless, breadless, homeless; in a word, the very poorest of this the very richest city in the world.

The Asylum for the Houseless is the con- fluence of the many tides of poverty that, at this period of the year, flow towards the metropolis. It should be remembered that there are certain callings, which yield a subsistence to those who pursue them only at particular seasons. Brickmakers, agricultural labourers, garden-women, and many such vocations, are labours that admit of being performed only in the summer, when, indeed, the labourer has the fewest wants to satisfy. The privations of such classes, then, come at a period when even the elements conspire to make their destitution more terrible. Hence, restless with want, they wander in hordes across the land, making, in vain hope, for London, as the great emporium of wealth — the market of the world. But London is as overstocked with hands as every other nook and corner of the country. And then the poor creatures, far away from home and friends, find at last to their cost, that the very privations they were flying from pursue them here with a tenfold severity. I do not pretend to say that all found within the walls of these asylums are such as I have described; many, I know, trade upon the sympathy of those who would ease the sufferings of the destitute labourers, and they make their appearance in the metropolis at this especial season. Winter is the beggar"s harvest. That there are hundreds of professional vagabonds drawn to London at such a time, I am well aware; but with them come the unemployed workmen. We must not, therefore, confound with the other, nor let our indignation at the vagabond who will not work, check our commiseration for the labourer or artisan who cannot get work to do.

The table on the following page, which has been made up with considerable care and no little trouble, shows the number of persons from different counties sheltered at the Asylum for the Houseless Poor in the Metropolis for years.

A homeless painter gave me the following statement. His appearance presented nothing remarkable. It was merely that of the poor artisan. There was nothing dirty or squalid about him:—

I was brought up a painter," he said, "and I am now 27. I served my apprenticeship in Yorkshire, and stayed two years after my term was out with the same master. I then worked in Liverpool, earning but little through illness, and working on and off as my health permitted. I got married in Liverpool, and went with my wife to Londonderry, in Ireland, of which place she was a native. There she died of the cholera in 1847. I was very ill with diarrhœa myself. We lived with her friends, but I got work, though wages are very low there. I never earned more than 2s. 6d. a-day there. I have earned 5s. 6d. a-day in Liverpool, but in Londonderry provisions are very cheap—the best meat at 4d. a-pound. It was an advantage to me being 1829 to 1830 1830 to 1831 1831 to 1832 1832 to 1833 1834 to 1835 1840 to 1841 1841 to 1842 1842 to 1843 1843 to 1844 1844 to 1845 1845 to 1846 1846 to 1847 1847 to 1848 1848 to 1849 Total. Average for each year for 14 years. NORTH MIDLAND AGRICUL- TURAL. Lincolnshire ........................ 142 40 47 50 17 80 147 110 167 89 43 204 81 85 1302 93.0 Rutlandshire ........................ ... ... ... ... 1 5 13 13 8 10 2 24 8 24 108 7.7 Northamptonshire ............... 17 20 31 15 14 77 144 108 125 124 50 227 115 67 1135 81.0 Shropshire ........................... 142 36 27 23 11 32 75 74 105 60 41 79 80 42 827 50.0 Herefordshire .................... 18 19 ... ... 9 28 61 28 85 43 18 65 54 45 445 31.8 SOUTH MIDLAND EASTERN AGRICULTURAL. Norfolk .............................. 82 94 73 53 37 125 167 226 268 267 135 364 161 163 2215 158.2 Suffolk ................................. 53 57 35 29 21 79 164 210 239 188 81 385 100 133 1783 127.2 Cambridgeshire..................... 141 49 44 33 20 70 84 106 150 90 88 204 114 88 1281 91.5 Huntingdonshire .................. 13 5 6 9 2 24 46 41 44 14 8 34 22 25 293 20.9 Essex ................................. 101 176 165 17 44 206 324 406 715 519 133 1034 567 392 4799 342.8 Oxfordshire ....................... 71 66 15 21 9 75 127 154 234 193 99 303 136 100 1603 114.5 Berkshire ........................... 142 93 43 51 33 153 264 382 641 366 244 767 342 287 3788 270.5 Wiltshire.............................. 53 62 58 34 21 99 193 201 262 202 97 377 205 87 1951 139.3 SOUTH AGRICULTURAL AND MARITIME. Kent.................................... 160 242 150 120 53 271 467 539 989 649 412 1458 845 523 6878 491.3 Sussex ................................. 52 64 47 54 27 135 170 175 322 230 136 506 230 147 2195 15.7 Hampshire ........................... 129 134 ... ... 47 134 286 341 544 406 226 730 441 414 3832 273.7 Dorsetshire ....................... 40 27 17 23 11 37 71 62 99 79 25 126 57 46 720 51.4 Devonshire ........................... 122 118 141 153 70 83 180 206 375 225 135 453 237 209 2697 192.6 SOUTH MIDLAND AGRICUL- TURAL, WITH DISPERSED DO- MESTIC MANUFACTURES. Bedfordshire ........................ 44 48 27 35 12 43 116 114 131 92 55 171 109 55 1052 75.1 Hertfordshire ..................... 93 104 33 24 31 164 240 262 199 259 182 592 377 181 2741 19.6 Buckinghamshire .................. 40 42 24 31 11 84 190 147 258 246 187 314 168 88 1830 130.7 Somersetshire ..................... 158 153 195 181 75 210 345 262 535 327 247 871 556 246 4361 311.5 NORTHERN AND MIDLAND MANUFACTURING AND MINING Lancashire ........................... 85 221 230 195 100 285 490 716 404 604 408 1272 748 811 6509 469.2 Cheshire .............................. 60 21 20 35 12 37 91 100 108 53 32 170 51 40 830 59.3 Derbyshire ........................ 29 19 25 17 6 43 79 70 91 60 39 97 46 48 669 47.8 Nottinghamshire .................. 71 40 16 21 17 43 77 52 128 51 39 107 62 68 784 56.0 Staffordshire ......................... 48 50 25 28 7 94 175 136 270 123 50 256 121 129 1521 108.6 Leicestershire ...................... 40 44 20 23 14 55 11x 81 168 96 41 163 69 79 1007 71.9 Warwickshire ...................... 78 112 72 60 28 163 295 384 51 242 188 562 256 160 2760 197.1 Worcestershire ...................... 62 12 27 ... 12 49 96 72 114 43 33 128 74 36 758 53.4 Gloucestershire ................... 119 110 32 39 18 82 137 232 352 281 138 267 147 163 2048 146.3 NORTHERN MINING AND AGRICULTURAL. Northumberland ................... 9 32 24 15 11 24 49 49 88 74 19 69 51 72 586 41.8 Durham ............................. ... 16 6 9 8 19 68 80 134 126 26 110 71 54 727 41.9 Cumberland ......................... 18 27 23 33 6 28 35 29 45 48 10 66 32 12 412 29.4 Westmoreland ...................... ... ... 5 9 1 10 24 20 24 7 4 19 14 6 143 10.2 Yorkshire ............................ 98 120 49 31 52 180 330 306 282 215 121 427 298 126 2635 188.2 WESTERN MINING AND AGRICULTURAL. Wales ................................. 117 115 593 887 280 138 137 103 160 559 210 878 726 343 5236 374.0 Cornwall .............................. 20 29 29 31 5 29 54 67 82 47 22 82 52 32 581 41.5 METROPOLITAN. London .................... 107 115 593 887 280 138 137 103 160 559 210 878 726 343 5236 374.0 Middlesex ........................... 1742 1251 195 217 150 774 862 576 807 390 227 1065 538 214 9008 643.4 Surrey ................................. 263 119 151 127 38 211 294 193 355 195 151 572 329 204 3202 22.9 Ireland................................. 1371 1311 547 403 300 896 1108 1305 1712 1253 772 7576 10756 5068 34378 2455.5 Scotland .............................. 213 914 241 210 139 77 136 240 299 400 294 172 623 344 4331 309.3 Guernsey and Jersey ........... 5 14 ... 2 3 5 ... 7 22 8 8 1 25 47 147 10.5 France .............................. 1 ... 3 7 7 ... ... 1 ... 10 2 8 24 14 77 5.5 Italy ................................. 2 2 ... ... ... ... ... 5 13 1 ... 9 5 7 44 3.1 Germany ........................... ... ... 7 5 ... 24 36 59 60 25 27 38 36 53 370 26.4 Holland .............................. 11 9 2 4 ... ... ... 4 6 2 ... ... ... ... 38 2.7 Prussia .............................. 7 9 3 ... ... ... ... 6 24 8 2 4 5 ... 68 4.0 Spain ................................. 6 6 ... ... ... ... ... 4 21 13 ... ... ... 10 60 4.3 Portugal .............................. 7 7 2 11 1 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2 5 35 2.5 Russia ................................. 1 5 3 ... ... ... ... ... 4 10 ... 2 10 7 42 3.0 Sweden .............................. 7 22 4 9 ... ... ... ... 8 ... ... ... ... ... 50 3.6 Norway .............................. 16 8 3 5 1 ... ... 6 3 26 4 ... 3 ... 75 5.3 Australia ........................... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2 ... 6 ... 2 4 ... 14 1.0 America .............................. 2 31 42 32 8 20 52 80 67 56 50 35 76 78 679 48.5 East Indies ........................... 9 1 5 3 6 22 39 40 57 12 200 24 38 19 475 33.9 West Indies ........................ 20 22 26 11 4 16 21 57 83 44 34 53 25 25 446 31.8 Africa ................................. 4 11 6 7 ... ... ... 5 50 24 6 2 6 12 132 9.4 130,625 87.496 an Englishman. English workmen seem to be preferred in Ireland, so far as I can tell, and I have worked in Belfast and Coleraine, and a short time in Dublin, as well as in Londonderry. I came back to Liverpool early in 1848, and got work, but was again greatly distressed through sickness. I then had to travel the country again, getting a little employment at Hemel Hempstead, and St. Alban"s, and other places about, for I aimed at London, and at last I got to London. That was in November, 1848. When in the country I was forced to part with my clothes. I had a beautiful suit of black among them. I very seldom got even a trifle from the painters in the country towns; sometimes 2d. or 3d. from a master. In London I could get no work, and my shirts and my flannel-shirts went to keep me. I stayed about a month, and having nothing left, was obliged to start for the country. I got a job at Luton, and at a few other places. Wages are very low. I was always a temperate man. Many a time I have never tasted drink for a week together, and this when I had money in my pocket, for I had 30l. when I got married. I have, too, the character of being a good workman. I returned to London again three weeks back, but could find no work. I had again to part with any odd things I had. The last I parted with was my stopping-knife and diamond, for I can work as a glazier and plumber; country painters often can—I mean those apprenticed in the country. I have no clothes but what I have on. For the last ten days, I declare solemnly, I have had nothing but what I picked up in the streets. I picked up crusts that I saw in the streets, put out on the steps by the mistresses of the houses for the poor like myself. I got so weak and ill that I had to go to King"s College Hospital, and they gave me medicine which did me good. I often had to walk the streets all night. I was so perished I could hardly move my limbs. I never asked charity, I can"t; but I could have eaten anything. I longed for the fried fish I saw; yes, I was ravenous for that, and suchlike, though I couldn"t have touched it when I had money, and was middling well off. Things are so different in the country that I couldn"t fancy such meat. I was brought to that pitch, I had the greatest mind to steal something to get into prison, where, at any rate, I said to myself, I shall have some food and shelter. I didn"t—I thought better of it. I hoped something might turn up next day; besides, it might have got into the papers, and my friends might have seen it, and I should have felt I disgraced them, or that they would think so, because they couldn"t know my temptations and my sufferings. When out all night, I used to get shelter, if I could, about Hungerford Market, among the straw. The cold made me almost dead with sleep; and when obliged to move, I couldn"t walk at first, I could only crawl along. One night I had a penny given me, all I had gotten in five bitter nights in the streets. For that penny I got half a pint of coffee; it made me sick, my stomach was so weak. On Tuesday I asked a policeman if he couldn"t recommend me to some workhouse, and he told me to come here, and I was admitted, and was very thankful to get under shelter.

The next was a carpenter, a tall, fine-built man, with a pleasing expression of countenance. He was dressed in a flannel jacket and fustian trousers, with the peculiar little side-pocket for his foot-rule, that told you of his calling. He was about years of age, and had the appearance, even in his destitution, of a most respectable mechanic. It is astonishing to mark the difference between the poor artisan and the labourer. The seems alive to his poverty, and to feel it more acutely than the other. The labourer is more accustomed to "rough it," as it is called; but the artisan, earning better wages, and used to better ways, appears among the houseless poor as a really pitiable character. Carpenters are among the classes of mechanics in which there appears to be the greatest amount of destitution, and I selected this man as a fair average specimen of the body. He said,—

I have been out of work nearly three months. I have had some little work in the mean time, an odd job or two at intervals, but nothing regular. When I am in full work, on day work, I can make 5s. a-day in London; but the masters very generally wishes the men to take piece-work, and that is the cause of men"s work being cut down as it is, because men is obliged to take the work as they offers. I could get about 30s. a-week when I had good employment. I had no one but myself to keep out of my earnings. I have saved something when I have been on day-work; but then it went again as soon as I got to piecework. This is generally the case with the carpenters. The last job I had was at Cobham, in Surrey, doing joiners" work, and business with my master got slack, and I was discharged. Then I made my way to London, and have been about from place to place since then, endeavouring to get work from every one that I knew or could get recommended to. But I have not met with any success. Well, sir, I have been obliged to part with all I had, even to my tools; though they"re not left for much. My tools are pawned for 12s., and my clothes are all gone. The last I had to part with was my rule and chalk-line, and them I left for a night"s lodging. I have no other clothes but what you see me in at present. There are a vast many carpenters out of work, and like me. It is now three weeks since the last of my things went, and after that I have been about the streets, and gone into bakers" shops, and asked for a crust. Sometimes I have got a penny out of the tap-room of a public-house. It"s now more than a fortnight since I quitted my lodgings. I have been in the Asylum eight nights. Before that, I was out in the streets for five nights together. They were very cold nights; yes, very." [The man shivered at the recollection.] "I walked up one street, and down another. I sometimes got under a doorway, but it was impossible to stand still long, it was so cruel cold. The sleet was coming down one night, and freezed on my clothes as it fell. The cold made me stiff more than sleepy. It was next day that I felt tired; and then, if I came to sit down at a fireside, I should drop asleep in a minute. I tried, when I was dead-beat, to get into St. Giles"s union, but they wouldn"t admit me. Then the police sent me up to another union: I forget the name, but they refused me. I tried at Lambeth, and there I was refused. I don"t think I went a day without some small bit of bread. I begged for it. But when I walked from St. Alban"s to London, I was two days without a bit to put in my mouth. I never stole, not a particle, from any person, in all my trials. I was brought up honest, and, thank God, I have kept so all my life. I would work willingly, and am quite capable: yes, and I would do my work with all my heart, but it"s not to be got at.

This the poor fellow said with deep emotion; and, indeed, his whole statement appeared in every way worthy of credit. I heard afterwards that he had offered to "put up the stairs of houses" at some man"s own terms, rather than remain unemployed. He had told the master that his tools were in pawn, and promised, if they were taken out of pledge for him, to work for his bare food. He was a native of Somerset, and his father and mother were both dead.

I then took the statement of a seaman, but who, from destitution, had lost all the distinguishing characteristics of a sailor"s dress of the better description. He wore a jacket, such as seamen sometimes work in, too little for him, and very thin and worn; a waistcoat, once black; a cotton shirt; and a pair of canvas trousers. He had an intelligent look enough, and spoke in a straightforward manner. He stated:—"I am now , and have been a seaman all my life. I went to sea, as a cabin-boy, at Portsmouth. I was left an orphan at months, and don"t know that I have a single relation but myself. I don"t know what my father was. I was brought up at the Portsea workhouse. I was taught to read and write. I went to sea in . I have continued a seaman ever since—sometimes doing pretty well. The largest sum I ever had in my possession was when I was in the Portuguese service, under Admiral Sartorius, in the "Donna Maria" frigate. He hadn"t his flag aboard, but he commanded the fleet, such as it was; but don"t call it a fleet, say a squadron. Captain Henry was my last captain there; and after him I served under Admiral Napier; he was admiral out there, with his flag in the "Real," until Don Miguel"s ships were taken. The frigate I was in, (the "Donna Maria,") took the "Princessa Real;" she was a -gun ship, and ours was a . It was a stiffish thing while it lasted, was the fight; but we boarded and carried the "Princessa." I never got all my prize-money. I stopped in Lisbon some time after the fight; and then, as I couldn"t meet with a passage to England, I took service on board the "Donegal," guns, Captain Fanshawe. I liked Lisbon pretty well; they"re not a very tidy people — treacherous, too, but not all of them. I picked up a very little Portuguese. Most of my went in Lisbon. The "Donegal" brought Don Carlos over, and we were paid off in Plymouth; that was in . Since then I have been in the merchant service. I like that best. My last voyage was in the "Richard Cobden," a barque of tons, belonging to Dundee; but she sailed from Gloucester for Archangel, and back from Archangel to Dundee, with a cargo of hemp and codilla. We were paid off in Dundee, and I received on the ." [He showed me his discharge from the "Richard Cobden," and his register ticket.] "I went to Glasgow and got a vessel there, an American, the "Union;" and before that I stayed at a lodging-house in Dundee that sailors frequent. There was a shipmate of mine there, a carpenter, and I left my things in his charge, and I went on board the "Union" at Glasgow, and stayed working on board eighteen days; she was short of men. The agreement between me and my old shipmate was, that he should send my things when I required them. My clothes were worth to me more than The ship was to sail on Friday, the . Sailors don"t mind getting under weigh on a Friday now; and I got from the skipper to take me to Dundee on Thursday, the ; but when I got to Dundee for my clothes, I found that the carpenter had left a fortnight before, taking all my things with him. I couldn"t learn anything as to where he had gone. man told me he thought he had gone to Derry, where some said he had a wife. The skipper paid me for what days I had been employed, and offered to let me work a passage to New York, but not on wages; because I had no clothes, he couldn"t take me. I tried every ship in the Broomilaw, but couldn"t get a job, nor a passage to London; so me and other seamen set off to walk to London. I started with seaman left us at Carlisle. We didn"t live on the way—we starved. It took us a month to get to London. We slept sometimes at the unions; some wouldn"t admit us. I was very lame at last. We reached London a month ago. I got days" work as a rigger, at a-day, and a week"s shelter in the Sailors" Asylum. I had days" work also on stevedore"s work in the "Margaret West," gone to Batavia. That brought me

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those days" work. Since that I"ve done nothing, and was so beat out that I had to pass days and nights in the streets. of those days I had a bit of bread and meat from an old mate. I had far rather be out in a gale of wind at sea, or face the worst storm, than be out such nights again in such weather, and with an empty belly. My mate and I kept on trying to get a ship, but my old jacket was all against me. They look at a man"s clothes now. I passed these nights walking about , and to London-bridge and back, half dead, and half asleep, with cold and hunger. I thought of doing something to get locked up, but I then thought that would be no use, and a disgrace to a man, so I determined to bear it like a man, and try to get a ship. The man who left us at Carlisle did no better than me, for he"s here too, beat out like me, and he told me of this Asylum. The other man got a ship. I"m not a drinking man, though I may have had a spree or , but that"s all over. I could soon get a ship if I had some decent clothes. I bought these trousers out of what I earned in London. I spun out my money as fine as any man could."

The poor fellow who gave me the following narrative was a coloured man, with the regular negro physiognomy, but with nothing of the lighthearted look they sometimes present. His only attire was a sadly soiled shirt of coarse striped cotton, an old handkerchief round his neck, old canvas trousers, and shoes. "I am ," he said, in good English, "and was born in New York. My father was a very dark negro, but my mother was white. I was sent to school, and can read a little, but can"t write. My father was coachman to a gentleman. My mother spoke Dutch chiefly; she taught it to my father. She could speak English, and always did to me. I worked in a gentleman"s house in New York, cleaning knives and going errands. I was always well treated in New York, and by all sorts of people. Some of the "rough-uns" in the streets would shout after me as I was going to church on a Sunday night. At church I couldn"t sit with the white people. I didn"t think that any hardship. I saved dollars by the time I was , and then I went to sea as a cabin-boy on board the "Elizabeth," a brigantine. My voyage was to St. John"s, New Brunswick, with a cargo of corn and provisions. My voyage was to Boston. After that I was raised to be cook. I had a notion I could cook well. I had cooked on shore before, in a gentleman"s house, where I was shown cooking. Pretty many of the cooks in New York are coloured people—the men more than the women. The women are chiefly chambermaids. There was a vacancy, I was still in the "Elizabeth," when the cook ran away. He was in a bother with the captain about wasting tea and sugar. We went some more voyages, and I then got engaged as cook on board a new British ship, just off the stocks, at St. John"s, New Brunswick, the "Jessica." About months ago I came in her to Liverpool, where we were all paid off. We were only engaged for the run. I received I paid to my boarding mistress for months" board. It was and extras a-week. I laid out the rest in clothes. I had a job in Liverpool, in loading hay. I was told I had a better chance for a ship in London. I tramped it all the way, selling some of my clothes to start me. I had to start with, and got to London with hardly any clothes, and no money. That"s months back, or nearly so. I couldn"t find a ship. I never begged, but I stood on the highways, and some persons gave me twopences and pennies. I was often out all night, perishing. Sometimes I slept under the butchers" stalls in Whitechapel. I felt the cold very bitter, as I was used to a hot climate chiefly. Sometimes I couldn"t feel my feet. A policeman told me to come here, and I was admitted. I want to get a ship. I have a good character as a cook; my dishes were always relished; my pea-soup was capital, and so was my dough and pudding. I often wished for them when I was starving." [He showed his white teeth, smiling as he spoke.] "Often under the Whitechapel stalls I was so frozen up I could hardly stir in the morning. I was out all the night before Christmas that it snowed. That was my worst night, I think, and it was my . I couldn"t walk, and hardly stand, when the morning came. I have no home to go to."

The next was a brickmaker, a man scarce , a stout, big-boned man, but a little pale, evidently from cold and exhaustion. His dress was a short smockfrock, yellow with dry clay, and fustian trousers of the same colour, from the same cause. His statement was as follows:—

I have been out of work now about seven weeks. Last work I done was on the Middle Level Drainage, in Cambridgeshire. Brickmaking generally begins (if the weather"s fine) about February, or the beginning of March, and it ends about September, and sometimes the latter end of November. If the weather"s frosty, they can"t keep on so long. I was at work up to about the middle of November last, making bricks at Northfleet, in Kent. I was with the same party for three years before. After that, brickmaking was done for the season, and I was discharged with "five stools" of us beside. Each stool would require about six people to work it; so that altogether thirty hands were thrown out of work. After that I went to look for work among the "slop" brickmakers. They makes bricks "slop-way" right through the winter, for they"re dried by flues. I am by rights a sand-stock brickmaker. Howsomever, I couldn"t get a job at brickmaking slop-way, so I went down on the Middle Level, and there I got a job at river-cutting; but the wet weather came, and the water was so strong upon us that we got drownded out. That"s the last job I"ve had. At brickmaking I had 3s. 10d. a thousand, this last summer. I have had my 4s. 6d. for the very same work. Two years ago I had that. Six of us could make about 35,000 in a-week, if it was fine. On an average, we should make, I dare say, each of us about 1l. a-week, and not more, because if it was a showery day we couldn"t do nothing at all. We used to join one among another in the yard to keep our own sick. We mostly made the money up to 14s. a-week when any mate was bad. I did save a few shillings, but it was soon gone when I was out of work. Not many of the brickmakers save. They work from seventeen to eighteen hours every day when it"s fine, and that requires a good bit to eat and drink. The brickmakers most of them drink hard. After I got out of work last November, I went away to Peterborough to look for employment. I thought I might get a job on the London and York Railway, but I couldn"t find none. From there I tramped it to Grimsby: "perhaps," I said, "I may get a job at the docks;" but I could get nothing to do there, so I came away to Grantham, and from there back to Peterborough again, and after that to Northampton, and then I made my way to London. All this time I had laid either in barns at nighttimes, or slept in the casual wards of the unions—that is, where they would have me. Often I didn"t get nothing to eat for two or three days together, and often I have had to beg a bit to keep body and soul together. I had no other means of living since November last but begging. When I came to town I applied at a large builder"s office for work. I heard he had something to do at the Isle of Dogs, but it was the old story—they were full, and had plenty of hands till the days got out longer. Then I made away to Portsmouth. I knew a man there who had some work, but when I got there he had none to give me at the present time. From there I went along the coast, begging my way still, to Hastings, in hope of getting work at the railway; but all to no good. They had none, too, till the days got longer. After that I came round to London again, and I have been here a fortnight come next Monday. I have done no work. I have wandered about the streets any way. I went to the London Docks to see for a job, and there I met with a man as I knowed, and he paid for my lodging for one or two nights. I walked the streets for two whole nights before I came here. It was bitter cold, freezing sharp, indeed, and I had nothing to eat all the time. I didn"t know there was such a place as this till a policeman told me. A gentleman gave me 6d., and that"s all I"ve had since I"ve been in this town. I have been for the last three nights at the Asylum. I don"t suppose they"ll take my ticket away till after to-morrow night, and then I thought of making my way down home till my work starts again. I have sought for work all over the country, and can"t get any. All the brickmakers are in the same state as myself. They none of them save, and must either starve or beg in the winter. Most times we can get a job in the cold weather, but this year, I don"t know what it is, but I can"t get a job at all. Former years I got railway work to do, but now there"s nothing doing, and we"re all starving. When I get down home I shall be obliged to go into the union, and that"s hard for a young man like me, able to work, and willing; but it ain"t to be had, it ain"t to be had.

Then came a tailor, a young man only years old, habited in a black frockcoat, with a plaid shawl twisted round his neck. His eyes were full and expressive, and he had a look of intelligence superior to any that I had yet seen. He told a story which my inquiries into the "slop trade" taught me was "ower true."

"I have been knocking about for near upon weeks," he replied, in answer to my inquiries. "I was working at the slop-trade at the West-end. I am a native of Scotland. I was living with a sweater. I used to board and lodge with him entirely. At the week"s end I was almost always in debt with him—at least he made it out so. I had very often to work all night, but let me slave as hard as I might I never could get out of debt with the sweater. There were often as many as of us there, and we slept together in each bed. The work had been slack for some time, and he gave me employment till I worked myself out of his debt, and then he turned me into the streets. I had a few clothes remaining, and these soon were sold to get food and lodging. I lived on my other coat and shirts for a week or , and at last all was gone, and I was left entirely destitute. Then I had to pace the streets all day and night. The nights before I came here I never tasted food nor lay down to rest. I had been in a fourpenny lodging before then, but I couldn"t raise even that; and I knew it was no good going there without the money. You must pay before you go to bed at those places. Several times I got into a doorway, to shelter from the wind and cold, and twice I was roused by the policeman, for I was so tired that I fell asleep standing against a shop near the Bank. What with hunger and cold, I was in a half-stupid state. I didn"t know what to do: I was far from home and my mother. I have not liked to let her know how badly I was off." [The poor lad"s eyes flooded with tears at the recollection of his parent.] "I thought I had better steal something, and then at least I should have a roof over my head. Then I thought I"d make away with myself. I can"t say how; it was a sort of desperation; and I was so stupid with cold and want, that I can hardly remember what I thought. All I wanted was to be allowed to sit down on some

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doorstep and die; but the police did not allow this. In the daytime I went up and lay about the parks most part of the day, but I couldn"t sleep then; I hardly know why, but I"d been so long without food, that I couldn"t rest. I have purposely kept from writing to my mother. It would break her heart to know my sufferings. She has been a widow this years past. She keeps a lodging-house in Leith, and has children to support. I have been away months from her. I came to London from a desire to see the place, and thinking I could better my situation. In Edinburgh, I had made my a-week regularly; often more, and seldom less. When I came to London, a woman met me in the street, and asked me if I wasn"t a tailor? On my replying in the affirmative, she informed me if I would come and work for her husband, I should have good-wages, and live with her and her husband, and they would make me quite comfortable. I didn"t know she was the wife of a sweater at that time. It was a thing I had never heard of in Edinburgh. After that time, I kept getting worse and worse off, working day and night, and all Sunday, and still always being in debt to them I worked for. Indeed, I wish I had never left home. If I could get back, I"d go in a moment. I have worked early and late, in the hope of accumulating money enough to take me home again, but I could not even get out of debt, much more save, work as hard as I would."

I asked if he would allow me to see some letters of his mother"s, as vouchers for the truth of his story, and he produced a small packet, from which, with his permission, I copied the following:—

My dear Son,—I have this moment received your letter. I was happy to hear from you, and trust you are well. Think of that God who has carried you in safety over the mighty deep. We are all much as you left us. I hope you will soon write. Ever believe me,

Your affectionate mother,

—— ——.

This was the letter written after his absence from home. Since then his mother, who is aged and rheumatic (his letters vouched for this), had been unable to write a line. His brother, a lad of , says, in of his letters,—

I am getting on with my Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and French, only I am terribly ill off for want of books. My mother was saying that you would be bringing me a first-rate present from London. I think the most appropriate present you can bring me will be a Greek and English, or a Hebrew and English Lexicon; or some Hebrew, Greek, or Latin book.

A letter from his sister, a girl of , ran as follows:—

My dear brother,—I take this opportunity of writing you, as you wrote that you would like to have a letter from me. I am very sorry you have been ill, but I hope you are keeping better. I trust also that affliction will be the means of leading you only more closely to the only true source of happiness. Oh, my dear brother, you are still young, and God has told us in His word, that those who seek Him early shall find Him. My dear brother, we get many a sad and solemn warning to prepare to meet our God: and oh! my dear brother, "what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

The last letter was dated the last, and from his brother:—

We received your kind letter," it ran, "this instant, and we hasten to answer it. It has given my mother and me great relief to hear from you, as my mother and I were very miserable about you, thinking you were ill. We trust you will take care of yourself, and not get any more cold. We hope you will be able to write on receipt of this, and let us know how you are, and when we may expect you home, as we have daily expected you since the month of October.

These letters were shown to me at my request, and not produced by the young man himself, so that it was evident they were kept by the youth with no view of being used by him as a means of inducing charity; indeed, the whole manner of the young man was such as entirely precluded suspicion. On my asking whether he had any other credentials as to character, he showed me a letter from a Scotch minister, stating that "he had been under his charge, and that from his conduct he had been led to form a favourable opinion of his talents and moral character; and that he believed him to be a deserving, industrious young man."

Of the class of distressed tradesmen seeking shelter at this asylum, the following may be taken as fair types. was a bankrupt linendraper, and appeared in a most destitute state. When he spoke of his children, his eyes flooded with tears:—

I have been in business in the linendrapery line—that"s five years ago. I had about 600l. worth of stock at first starting, and used to take about 65l. every week. My establishment was in a country village in Essex. I went on medium well for the first two or three years, but the alteration of the poorlaws and the reduction of the agricultural labourers" wages destroyed my business. My customers were almost all among the working classes. I had dealings with a few farmers, of whom I took butter, and cheese, and eggs, in exchange for my goods. When the poorlaws were altered, the out-door relief was stopped, and the paupers compelled to go inside the house. Before that, a good part of the money given to the poor used to be expended at my shop. The overseers used to have tickets for flannels, blankets, and shirtings, and other goods; with these they used to send the paupers to my house. I used to take full 8l. or 10l. a-week in this manner; so that when the poor-laws were altered, and the previous system discontinued, I suffered materially. Besides, the wages of the agricultural labourers being lowered, left them less money to lay out with me. On a market-day they were my chief customers. I would trust them one week under the other, and give them credit for 7s. or 10s., if they wanted it. After their wages came down, they hadn"t the means of laying out a sixpence with me; and where I had been taking 65l. a-week, my receipts dwindled to 30l. I had been in the habit of keeping two shopmen before, but after the reduction I was obliged to come down to one. Then the competition of the large houses in other towns was more than I could stand against. Having a larger capital, they could buy cheaper, and afford to take a less profit, and so of course they could sell much cheaper than I could. Then, to try and keep pace with my neighbours, I endeavoured to extend my capital by means of accommodation bills, but the interest I had to pay on these was so large, and my profits so little, that it soon became impossible for me to meet the claims upon me. I was made a bankrupt. My debts at the time were 300l. This is about six years ago. After that I took a public-house. Some property was left me. I came into about 1000l.; part of this went to my creditors, and I superseded my bankruptcy. With the rest I determined upon starting in the publican line. I kept at this for about ten months, but I could do nothing with it. There was no custom to the house. I had been deceived into taking it. By the time I got out of it all my money was gone. After that I got a job as a referee at the time of the railway mania, and when that was over, I got appointed as a policeman on the Eastern Union line. There I remained two years and upwards, but then they began reducing their establishment, both in men and in wages. I was among the men who were turned off. Since that time, which is now two years this Christmas, I have had no constant employment. Occasionally I have got a little law-writing to do; sometimes I have got a job as under-waiter at a tavern. After I left the waiter"s place, I got to be very badly off. I had a decent suit of clothes to my back up to that time, but then I became so reduced, I was obliged to go and live in a low lodging-house in Whitechapel. I was enabled to get along somehow; I know many friends, and they gave me a little money now and then. But at last I had exhausted these. I could get nothing to do of any kind. I have been to Shoreditch station to try to pick up a few pence at carrying parcels, but there were so many there that I could not get a crust that way. I was obliged to pawn garment after garment to pay for my food and lodging; and when they were all gone, I was wholly destitute. I couldn"t even raise twopence for a night"s lodging, so I came here and asked for a ticket. My wife is dead. I have three children; but I would rather you would not say anything about them, if you please.

I assured the man that his name should not be printed, and he then consented to his children being mentioned.

The age of my eldest child is fourteen, and my youngest nine. They do not know of the destitution of their father. They are staying with one of my relations, who has supported them since my failure. I wouldn"t have them know of my state on any account. None of my family are aware of my misery. My eldest child is a girl, and it would break her heart to know where I am, and see the state of distress I am in. My boy, I think, would never get over it. He is eleven years old. I have tried to get work at carrying placard-boards about, but I can"t. My clothes are now too bad for me to do anything else. I write a good hand, and would do anything, I don"t care what, to earn a few pence. I can get a good character from every place I have been in.

The other tradesman"s story was as follows:—

I am now thirty-three, and am acquainted with the grocery trade, both as master and assistant. I served a five-years" apprenticeship in a town in Berkshire. The very late hours and the constant confinement made me feel my apprenticeship a state of slavery. The other apprentices used to say they felt it so likewise. During my apprenticeship I consider that I never learnt my trade properly. I knew as much at the year"s end as at the five years" end. My father gave my master fifty pounds premium; the same premium, or more, was paid with the others. One, the son of a gentleman at——, paid as much as eighty pounds. My master made an excellent thing of his apprentices. Nearly all the grocers in the part of Berkshire I"m acquainted with do the same. My master was a severe man to us, in respect of keeping us in the house, and making us attend the Methodist Chapel twice, and sometimes thrice, every Sunday. We had prayers night and morning. I attribute my misfortunes to this apprenticeship, because there was a great discrepancy between profession and practice in the house; so there could be no respect in the young men for their employer, and they grew careless. He carried on his business in a way to inspire anything else than respect. On the cheesemongery side we were always blamed if we didn"t keep the scale well wetted, so as to make it heavier on one side than the other—I mean the side of the scale where the butter was put—that was filled or partly filled with water, under pretence of preventing the butter sticking, and so the customer was wronged half an ounce in every purchase. With regard to the bacon, which, on account of competition, we had to sell cheap—at no profit sometimes—he used to say to us, "You must make the ounces pay;" that is, we were expected to add two or more ounces, calculating on what the customer would put up with, to every six odd ounces in the weight of a piece. For instance, if a hock of bacon weighed six pounds seven ounces, at 4 1/2d. per pound, we were to charge 2s. 3d. for the six pounds, and (if possible) adding two ounces to the seven which was the actual weight, charge each ounce a halfpenny, so getting 2s. 7 1/2d. instead of 2s. 5d. This is a common practice in all the cheap shops I am acquainted with. With his sugars and teas, inferior sorts were mixed. In grinding pepper, a quantity of rice was used, it all being ground together. Mustard was adulterated by the manufacturers, if the price given showed that the adulterated stuff was wanted. The lowest priced coffee was always half chiccory, the second quality one-third chiccory; the best was one pound of chiccory to three pounds of coffee, or one-fourth. We had it either in chiccory-nibs, which is the root of the endive cultivated in Yorkshire, Prussia, &c., or else a spurious chiccory powdered, twopence per pound cheaper, the principal ingredient being parsnips and carrots cut in small pieces, and roasted like chiccory. A quart of water is the allowance to every twenty-eight pounds of tobacco. We had to keep pulling it, so as to keep it loose, for if left to lie long it would mould, and get a very unpleasant smell. In weighing sugar, some was always spilt loose in the scale opposite the weight, which remains in the scale, so that every pound or so is a quarter of an ounce short. This is the practice only in cutting shops. Often enough, after we have been doing all these rogueries, we were called into prayers. In my next situation, with an honourable tradesman in Yorkshire, I found I had to learn my business over again, so as to carry it on fairly. In two or three years I went into business in the town where I was apprenticed; but I had been subjected to such close confinement, and so many unnecessary restrictions, without any opportunity of improving by reading, that when I was my own master, and in possession of money, and on the first taste of freedom, I squandered my money foolishly and extravagantly, and that brought me into difficulties. I was 150l. deficient to meet my liabilities, and my friends advanced that sum, I undertaking to be more attentive to business. After that, a man started as a grocer in the same street, in the "cutting" line, and I had to compete with him, and he sold his sugar a halfpenny a pound less than it cost, and I was obliged to do the same. The preparing of the sugar for the market-day is a country grocer"s week"s work, and all at a loss. That"s the ruin of many a grocer. My profits dwindled year by year, though I stuck very close to business; and in eighteen months I gave it up. By that time other "cutting" shops were opened—none have done any good. I was about 100l. bad, which my friends arranged to pay by instalments. After that I hawked tea. I did no good in that. The system is to leave it at the working men"s houses, giving a week"s credit, the customers often taking more. Nothing can be honestly made in that trade. The Scotchmen in the trade are the only men that can do any good in it. The charge is six shillings for what"s four shillings in a good shop. About nine months ago my wife—I had been married seven years—was obliged to go and live with her sister, a dressmaker, as I was too poor to keep her or myself either. I then came to London, to try for employment of any kind. I answered advertisements, and there were always forty or fifty young men after the same situation. I never got one, except for a short time at Brentford. I had also a few days" work at bill delivery—that is, grocers" circulars. I was at last so reduced that I couldn"t pay for my lodgings. Nobody can describe the misery I felt as I have walked the streets all night, falling asleep as I went along, and then roused myself up half-frozen, my limbs aching, and my whole body trembling. Sometimes, if I could find a penny, I might sit up in a coffee-shop in Russell-street, Covent-garden, till five in the morning, when I had to roam the streets all day long. Two days I was without food, and determined to commit some felony to save me from starvation, when, to my great joy—for God knows what it saved me from, as I was utterly careless what my fate would be—I was told of this refuge by a poor man who had been there, who found me walking about the Piazzas in Covent-garden as a place of shelter. I applied, and was admitted. I don"t know how I can get a place without clothes. I have one child with my wife, and she supports him and herself very indifferently by dressmaking.

A soldier"s wife, speaking with a strong Scotch accent, made the following statement. She had altogether a decent appearance, but her features—and there were the remains of prettiness in her look—were sadly pinched. Her manners were quiet, and her voice low and agreeable. She looked like who had "seen better days," as the poor of the better sort not unfrequently say in their destitution, clinging to the recollection of past comforts. She wore a very clean checked cotton shawl, and a straw bonnet tolerably entire. The remainder of her dress was covered by her shawl, which was folded closely about her, over a dark cotton gown.

I was born twenty miles from Inverness, (she said), and have been a servant since I was eleven. I always lived in good places— the best of places. I never was in inferior places. I have lived as cook, housemaid, or servant-of-all-work, in Inverness, Elgin, and Tain, always maintaining a good character. I thank God for that. In all my distress I"ve done nothing wrong, but I didn"t know what distress was when in service. I continued in service until I married; but I was not able to save much money, because I had to do all I could for my mother, who was a very poor widow, for I lost my father when I was two years old. Wages are very low in Scotland to what they are in England. In the year 1847 I lived in the service of the barrack-master of Fort George, twelve miles below Inverness. There I became acquainted with my present husband, a soldier, and I was married to him in March, 1847, in the chapel at Fort George. I continued two months in service after my marriage. My mistress wouldn"t let me away; she was very kind to me; so was my master: they all were. I have a written character from my mistress." [This, at my request, she produced.] "Two months after, the regiment left Fort George for Leith, and there I lived with my husband in barracks. It is not so bad for married persons in the artillery as in the line (we were in the artillery), in barracks. In our barrack-rooms no single men were allowed to sleep where the married people were accommodated. But there were three or four married families in our room. I lived two years in barracks with my husband, in different barracks. I was very comfortable. I didn"t know what it was to want anything I ought to have. My husband was a kind, sober man." [This she said very feelingly.] "His regiment was ordered abroad, to Nova Scotia. I had no family. Only six soldiers" wives are allowed to go out with each company, and there were seventeen married men in the company to which my husband belonged. It"s determined by lot. An officer holds the tickets in his cap, and the men draw them. None of the wives are present. It would be too hard a thing for them to see. My husband drew a blank." She continued:—

It was a sad scene when they embarked at Woolwich last March. All the wives were there, all crying and sobbing, you may depend upon that; and the children, too, and some of the men; but I couldn"t look much at them, and I don"t like to see men cry. My husband was sadly distressed. I hoped to get out there and join him, not knowing the passage was so long and expensive. I had a little money then, but that"s gone, and I"m brought to misery. It would have cost me 6l. at that time to get out, and I couldn"t manage that, so I stayed in London, getting a day"s work at washing when I could, making a very poor living of it; and I was at last forced to part with all my good clothes after my money went; and my husband, God bless him! always gave me his money to do what I thought best with it. I used to earn a little in barracks with my needle, too. I was taken ill with cholera at the latter end of August. Dear, dear, what I suffered! And when I was getting better I had a second attack, and that was the way my bit of money all went. I was then quite destitute; but I care nothing for that, and would care nothing for anything if I could get out to my husband. I should be happy then. I should never be so happy since I was born before. It"s now a month since I was entirely out of halfpence. I can"t beg; it would disgrace me and my husband, and I"d die in the streets first. Last Saturday I hadn"t a farthing. I hadn"t a thing to part with. I had a bed by the night, at 3d. a-night, not a regular lodginghouse; but the mistress wouldn"t trust me no longer, as I owed her 2s. 6d., and for that she holds clothes worth far more than that. I heard of this Asylum, and got admitted, or I must have spent the night in the street—there was nothing else for me; but, thank God! I"ve been spared that. On Christmas day I had a letter from my husband.

This she produced. It contained the following passage:—

I am glad this letter only costs you a penny, as your purse must be getting very low; but there is a good time coming, and i trust in God it will not be long, my deir wife. i hope you will have got a good place before this raches you. I am dowing all in my power to help you. i trust in good in 3 months more, if you Help me, between us we make it out.

She concluded:—

I wouldn"t like him to know how badly I am off. He knows I would do nothing wrong. He wouldn"t suspect me; he never would. He knows me too well. I have no clothes but what are detained for 2s. 6d., and what I have on. I have on just this shawl and an old cotton gown, but it"s not broke, and my underclothing. All my wish is to get out to my husband. I care for nothing else in this world.

Next comes the tale of a young girl who worked at velvet embossing. She was comely, and modestly spoken. By her attire it would have been difficult to have told that she was so utterly destitute as I afterwards discovered. She was scrupulously neat and clean in her dress; indeed it was evident, even from her appearance, that she belonged to a better class than the ordinary inmates of the Asylum. As she sat alone in the long, unoccupied wards, she sighed heavily, and her eyes were fixed continually on the ground. Her voice was very sorrowful. Her narrative was as follows:—

"I have been out of work for a very long while, for full months now, and all the summer I was only on and off. I mostly had my work given out to me. It was in pieces of yards, and sometimes less, and I was paid so much for the dozen yards. I generally had , and sometimes , according to what it was; was the highest price that I had. I could, if I rose at in the morning, and sat up till , earn between and in

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a day. I had to cut the velvet after it had been embossed. I could, if a diamond pattern, do dozen yards in a-day, and if a leaf pattern, I could only do dozen and a-half. I couldn"t get enough of it to do, even at these prices. Sometimes I was days in the week without work, and sometimes I had work for only day in the week. They wanted, too, to reduce the diamond work to the dozen yards; and so they would have done, only the work got so slack that we had to leave it altogether. That is now weeks ago. Before that, I did get a little to do, though it was very little, and since then I have called almost every week at the warehouse, but they have put me off, telling me to come in a fortnight or a week"s time. I never kept acquaintance with any of the other young women working at the warehouse, but I dare say about were thrown out of work at the same time as I was. Sometimes I made a-week, and sometimes only , and for the last fortnight I got a-week, and out of that I had my own candles to find, and a-week to pay for my lodgings. After I lost my work, I made away with what little clothes I had, and now I have got nothing but what I stand upright in." [The tears were pouring down the cheeks of the poor girl; she was many minutes afterwards before she could answer my questions, from sobbing.] "I can"t help crying," she said, "when I think how destitute I am. Oh, yes, indeed, [she cried through her sobs,] I have been a good girl in all my trials. I might have been better off if I had chosen to take to that life. I need not have been here if I had chosen to part with my character. I don"t know what my father was. I believe he was a clerk in of the foreign confectionery houses. He deserted my mother months before I was born. I don"t know whether he is dead or not, for I never set eyes on him. If he is alive, he is very well off. I know this from my aunt, who was told by of his fellow-clerks that he had married a woman of property and gone abroad. He was disappointed with my mother. He expected to have had a good bit of money with her; but after she married him, her father wouldn"t notice her. My mother died when I was a week old, so I do not recollect either of my parents. When my aunt, who was his own sister, wrote to him about myself, my brother and sister, he sent word back that the children might go to the workhouse. But my aunt took pity on us, and brought us all up. She had a little property of her own. She gave us a decent education, as far as lay in her power. My brother she put to sea. My father"s brother was a captain, and he took my brother with him. The voyage he went (he was ), a part of the rigging fell on him and the mate, and they were both killed on the spot. My sister went as lady"s-maid to Lady ——, and went abroad with her, now eighteen months ago, and I have never heard of her since. The aunt who brought me up is dead now. She was carried off years and months ago. If she had lived I should never have wanted a friend. I remained with her up to the time of her death, and was very happy before that time. After that I found it very hard for a poor lone girl like me to get an honest living. I have been struggling on ever since, parting with my clothes, and often going for days without food. I lived upon the remainder of my clothes for some little time after I was thrown entirely out of work; but at last I got a fortnight in debt at my lodgings, and they made me leave; that"s a week and days ago now. Then I had nowhere but the streets to lay my head. I walked about for days and nights without rest. I went into a chapel. I went there to sit down and pray; but I was too tired to offer up any prayers, for I fell asleep. I had been nights and days in the streets before this, and all I had during that time was a penny loaf, and that I was obliged to beg for. On the day that I was walking about, it thawed in the morning, and froze very hard at night. My shoes were very bad, and let in water; and as the night came on, my stockings froze to my feet. Even now I am suffering from the cold of those nights. It is as much as I can do to bend my limbs at present. I have been in the Asylum a week, and to-night is my last night here. I have nowhere to go, and what will become of me the Lord God only knows." [Again she burst out crying most piteously.] "My things are not fit to go into any respectable workroom, and they won"t take me into a lodging either, unless I"ve got clothes. I would rather make away with myself than lose my character." [As she raised her hand to wipe away her tears, I saw that her arms were bare; and on her moving the old black mantle that covered her shoulders, I observed that her gown was so ragged that the body was almost gone from it, and it had no sleeves.] "I shouldn"t have kept this," she said, "if I could have made away with it." She said that she had no friend in the world to help her, but that she would like much to emigrate.

I afterwards inquired at the house at which this poor creature had lodged, as to whether she had always conducted herself with propriety while living there. To be candid, I could hardly believe that any person could turn a young friendless girl into the streets because she owed weeks" rent; though the girl appeared too simple and truthful to fabricate such a statement. On inquiry, I found her story true from the beginning to the end. The landlady, an Irishwoman, acknowledged that the girl was in her debt but ; that she had lodged with her for several months, and always paid her regularly when she had money; but she couldn"t afford, she said, to keep people for nothing. The girl had been a good, well-behaved, modest girl with her.

 
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 Title Page
collapseChapter I: The Destroyers of Vermin
collapseOur Street Folk - Street Exhibitors
collapseChapter III: - Street Musicians
collapseChapter IV: - Street Vocalists
collapseChapter V: - Street Artists
collapseChapter VI: - Exhibitors of Trained Animals
collapseChapter VII: Skilled and Unskilled Labour - Garret-Masters
collapseChapter VIII: - The Coal-Heavers
collapseChapter IX: - Ballast-Men
collapseChapter X: - Lumpers
collapseChapter XI: Account of the Casual Labourers
 Chapter XII: Cheap Lodging-Houses
collapseChapter XIII: On the Transit of Great Britain and the Metropolis
collapseChapter XIV: London Watermen, Lightermen, and Steamboat-Men
collapseChapter XV: London Omnibus Drivers and Conductors
collapseChapter XVI: Character of Cabdrivers
collapseChapter XVII: Carmen and Porters
collapseChapter XVIII: London Vagrants
 Chapter XIX: Meeting of Ticket-of-Leave Men
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