Work, sir? Well, I think I do know what work is, and has known it since I was a child; and then I was set to help at the weaving. My friends were weavers at Norwich, and 26 years ago, until steam pulled working men down from being well paid and well off, it was a capital trade. Why, my father could sometimes earn 3l. at his work as a working weaver; there was
money for ever then; now 12s. a-week is, I believe, the tip-top earnings of his trade. But
I didn't like the confinement or the close air in the factories, and so, when I grew big enough, I went to ground-work in the city (so he frequently called Norwich); I call ground-work such as digging drains and the like. Then I 'listed into the Marines. Oh, I hardly know what made me; men does foolish things and don't know why; it's human natur. I'm sure it wasn't the bounty of 3l. that tempted me, for I was doing middling, and sometimes had night-work as well as ground-work to do. I was then sent to Sheerness and put on board the Thunderer man-of-war, carrying 84 guns, as a marine. She sailed through the Straits (of Gibraltar), and was three years and three months blockading the Dardanelles, and cruising among the islands. I never saw anything like such fortifications as at the Dardanelles; why, there was mortars there as would throw a ton weight. No, I never heard of their having been fired. Yes, we sometimes got leave for a party to go ashore on one of the islands. They called them Greek islands, but I fancy as how it was Turks near the Dardanelles. O yes, the men on the islands was civil enough to us; they never spoke to us, and we never spoke to them. The sailors sometimes, and indeed the lot of us, would have bits of larks with them, laughing at 'em and taking sights at 'em and such like. Why, I've seen a fine-dressed Turk, one of their grand gentlemen there, when a couple of sailors has each been taking a sight at him, and dancing the shuffle along with it, make each on 'em a low bow, as solemn as could be. Perhaps he thought it was a way of being civil in our country! I've seen some of the head ones stuck over with so many knives, and cutlasses, and belts, and pistols, and things, that he looked like a cutler's shopwindow. We were ordered home at last, and after being some months in barracks, which I didn't relish at all, were paid off at Plymouth. Oh, a barrack life's anything but pleasant, but I've done with it. After that I was eight years and a quarter a gentleman's servant, coachman, or anything (in Norwich), and then got tired of that and came to London, and got to ground and new sewer-work, and have been on the sewers above five years. Yes, I prefer the sewers to the Greek islands. I was one of the first set as worked a pump. There was a great many spectators; I dare say as there was 40 skientific gentlemen. I've been on the sewers, flushing and pumping, ever since. The houses we clean out, all says it's far the best plan, ours is. 'Never no more nightmen,' they say. You see, sir, our plan's far less trouble to the people in the house, and there's no smell— least I never found no smell, and it's cheap, too. In time the nightmen 'll disappear; in course they must, there's so many new dodges comes up, always some one of the working classes is a being ruined. If it ain't steam,
it's something else as knocks the bread out of their mouths quite as quick.