The million-peopled city
Three Cases of Usefulness from the " Ragged School Union Magazine."
As illustrations of the benefits arising from these schools, and the elevation of the wretched outcasts who are admitted into them, the following three cases may be cited, referred to in a single page of a Report recently presented by an officer of the :-
"A few weeks ago, on a dark wintry Sabbath evening, we perambulated the east of London in quest of a small , the whereabouts of which was extremely difficult to find. While groping our way through a succes- sion of dark, dank, narrow courts and alleys, ploughing deep furrows in the mire that intercepted the pathways, we halted occasionally, and listened, hoping that the busy hum of the
|school itself would direct our course. At length we found a female guide, who conducted us to a small house, which we had passed and repassed. Lifting up the latch, we were at once introduced into a room about 9 feet square, filled with children and youths of the true Ragged School stamp. They were divided into 2 classes, and were being instructed by 2 decently dressed, and evidently zealous young men. The order was excellent and the teaching good. But great was our surprise when the secretary informed us, that when the school was first opened, those very 2 young men were admitted, and were among the rude and degraded class for whose benefit the school had been established. They are the fruit of the efforts here.|
"Visiting another school, more in the centre of London, we saw a goodly number of scholars arranged in their classes, with teachers drawn from circles the most respectable, and all intent upon their duties. The superintendent conducted us to one class in particular, where we observed a young man at the head of a class of boys, commanding their utmost attention. The superintendent whispered in the ear of one of the visitors, ' Do you know him ?' No,' was the reply.
' Do you not remember, when the school was opened, several boys outside threw stones in at the windows, and one struck the head of a boy, inflicting a severe wound?' 'Oh yes! very well.' 'Well,' continued the superintendent, 'that young man threw the stone. He subsequently came to the school; after a long time, became reformed; the instruction has been blessed to him temporally and spiritually; and now he is yonder, one of our teachers.'
"At another time we made our way to a crazy, small house, down a narrow court near King's-cross. Here we saw 12 lads busily employed sawing, chopping, tying, and packing firewood. They were merry and happy as larks. The master signalled, and in a second they formed a circle
|around us. ' Well, my boys,' we asked, ' what makes you look so sad?' ' Sad!' cried one, a sandy-headed, active little fellow, some 11 years old, 'we aint sad.' 'No,' said another, ' we are happy,' at the same time wiping the per- spiration from his face with his jacket-sleeve. 'Happy!' we reiterated, 'what makes you happy?' 'We learn here to work for our living,' said a third, 'and we are not obliged to thieve now. If we does our work, we gets our grub, and a good night's lodging; and we goes to school at nights and Sundays, and learns to read and write.' 'And is that all?' ' No,' answered another, ' teachers tell us the way to heaven.' After a little more of such agreeable chit-chat, the master signalled again, and with a speed truly astonishing they flew to their posts and resumed their work, evidently priding themselves on the skill they manifested in cleaving the wood at a stroke, and striking within an eighth of an inch of their fingers without touching them."|