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when he beheld the Norman tower or turning us out of our houses just to abbey where his wooden hut once make fine new streets for them to live stood. I could not forbear sympathiz- in. I wish they may be all burnt ing with a wretched-looking woman down, and the improvers in them, that who was sitting listlessly on the curb- I do.” So saying, she flung herself stone, in one of these new streets ; her away from the group, and disappeared little child was lying near her, amus- down the court, and I turned away to ing himself by groping in the kennel. moralize a little on the rights of miSuddenly the child seemed pleased, norities, and to follow out the meaning and held up something to attract its of Pope's coupletmother's attention. When she saw
“All discord, harmony not understoodit, she called out to another woman
All partial evil, universal good.” near her, “I say, Sal, the young-un' I have made it my business lately has found an oyster shell, and he's as to inspect most of the districts which pleased as Punch;" then turning to the are inhabited by the lowest people in little thing, she said, “ Make the most London, Pimlico, and the wretched of it, my dearie--you'll never get places on both banks of the river, conanother. There's to be no more oyster- tinuing as far as Westminster Bridge, stalls now; they're a nuisance like the St Giles, the vicinity of the Theatres, rest o' the poor old place, and the and the Clare Market, Field-lane, sooner we get out of it the better.” Saffron-hill, and the courts and alleys So saying, she snatched up the child near Farringdon Market, with numerimpatiently, and moved away as fast ous minor regions of similar character as her slip-shod feet would permit her. scattered thickly over the whole city, I followed her; she crossed Long- until you reach the huge haunts of acre, and turned into a court leading vice and poverty at its eastern exthence into one of the low streets ad- tremities— Whitechapel, and Stepney, joining Covent-garden Market. At and Shoreditch. Every where among the corner of the court, there is a gin- then, sights are bebeld which make shop, outside of which were congre- the benevolent heart bleed, and which gated some of her acquaintances. should rouse the intellect to some sort One of them hailed her—“Hulloh! of exertion for these hapless outcasts. where ha' you bin ?” “Oh, I've jist What can be done for them ? and then -been a-looking at the old place.” comes the question, “How are they re“ Well, that aint the way to make duced to this ?” you jolly, anyhow; you'd better come Men with all manliness beaten out in here, and have half-a-quartern.” of them-lost in the depths of vilest “ Yes, that's mighty fine talking. sensuality — labouring only for the Where am I to get the money for half-a- means of indulging in vice-cruel and quartern now? Them cursed improve- cowardly to women-unconscious of a ments have done up my trade, let future, or
Women like to alone driving us all out of house them, and unnatural in their conduct an' home.” Why don't you take to their own children. Charles Lamb, and set up your stall right at the cor- in one of his beautiful essays, has dener of the new street; it 'ud be an scribed the sad education of the chiluncommon good place for trade. The dren of the poor, but he has described old lot aint all gone over the herring it artistically; he touches the heart of pond.” “Why, that's what I did the the reader—he moves him to tears, day afore yesterday, and up comes a but he does not harrow up his soul, or pleesman, and says he, Move all sicken and disgust him by his picture this away; we can't allow no oyster- of a child of poverty and vice. His stalls in this here street.' Then I account is “pitiful—is wondrous pitispoke out a bit of my mind about the ful”—it is pathetic to the last degree ; wickedness of the great folks, that but if I could draw with his pen an won't let the poor bide quiet in their exact representation of scenes of childown places, but must come a poking ish wretchedness that I have witnessed about, and a improving, as they call it, within these few weeks in London, the picture would be revolting and fright- the poor old Westminster Bridge on its ful, and would “far o'er step” the road to annihilation. I stopped at the limits of true Art, as, indeed, Nature turning which leads down to the Hunvery often does, when man has per- gerford Pier, attracted by the various verted her.
groups that were hurrying towards the Alas! for the women from whose river to embark on board the steam breast all motberliness has been seared boats. There are many people who by the hot iron of vice !-whose little live a long time in London without ones cry to them for comfort, and are knowing anything of the great traffic quieted with a blow !—who teach them on the Thames. Their business does to stretch their baby-hands to steal, not lead them in that direction; and and to steep their thin lips in intoxi- their notions of the river in the heart cating liquors! Who hire them out of London is derived from what they to imposters and thieves ere “the have seen of it below London Bridge, light of heaven," which lies about man or above Battersea Bridge. Between “in his infancy,” has “ faded into the these two points there is carried on all light of common day.” Nay, who day during the summer a ceaseless busy turn that very “light of common day" traffic. Steam-boats go and come from into the murky gloom of the infernal one point to the other every five mishades, and say to the young spirit, nutes in the day, and they stop at all “this is thy home; here must thou convenient intermediate points, to take dwell all the days of thy accursed in or put out passengers. These boats life.”
are cheaper than omnibuses, and much After all I have been saying about quicker. Men who live at Vauxhall, the vice and misery of the poor, it will Chelsea, Battersea, &c., and who are perhaps enliven this long letter, if I obliged to attend business in the city try to give you some account of the every day, tell me that they find the pleasures of the poor. “ What do I boats a great improvement on omniknow about them ?” you will ask. buses in every respect, as a means of Just what any man may know about daily transit during the fine weather. them, if he will set himself heartily to Young C. told me the other day that learn.
he eren prefers to pace briskly up and The other morning, finding that down the little deck of a Chelsea boat there was nothing to do in the way of in a January frost, to being shut up business, I determined to roam about with fourteen fellow-creatures in an in a desultory manner all day, spying omnibus, or to walking the whole way men and manners in the metropolis, or from Brompton to the Bank; and he following out some particular subject declares that if all the world knew how of interest, if one chanced to take my pleasant the river was there would be fancy. I accordingly left my chambers no more omnibuses in the Strand. “De early in the morning, i.e. before nine gustibus," and I am still contented to o'clock, in an admirable frame of mind. walk on the dry land in the way of The gods, as you know, have not made business, and to take the river for my me poetical, and yet old Withers' de- diversion and refreshment. scription of his mind, as taught by After watching the people pouring the “divine skill ” of poesy, is not un- down to the Pier a little while, it belike the state of mine on that lovely came clear to my mind that the greater morning in early Autumn. Even I, part of them were not on business, but the dry, parchment-coloured law-stu- on pleasure bent." I recollected that dent, felt gay and joyous, and it was Monday, the grand day for holi
days among the London poor; and my “ That from everything I saw, I might some invention draw,
interest in the passers by redoubled. And raise pleasure to her height,
At length there came up to the corner Through the meanest object's sights"
where I stood a man with a little girl. On turning out of the Temple I pro- The man was worn and unhealthy in ceeded along the Strand, with the in- appearance, with that expression of tention of inspecting the progress of thoughtful intelligence in his face
" Are you,
which is not uncommonly seen among first and secure room for
all—I'm sedentary artizans in great towns; he going to Gravesend too." had a shambling gait and a stoop in Sir ? I'm so glad. It is so nice to be the back, which should not belong to going out pleasuring. I never went the age which I afterwards found was out pleasuring; only once before, and his. He carried a sickly-looking baby then I had a donkey at Hampstead in his arms. The little girl beside him Heath. Do you know whether there was about ten years old, delicately are any donkeys at Gravesend, Sir ?" pretty, with a striking resemblance to “Oh yes, a great many." her father in the expression of her they come !" And I saw the father face; but her's was lighted up with come back with a decent looking brightthat bright look of anticipated pleasure eyed woman and three boys of various which is only seen in childhood ; and ages ; the biggest of the three carried as she held his hand and jumped by a basket, and the woman carried a his side, prattling in a sweet young bundle. “ Shall I tell father and voice, I quite forgot, while gazing on mother that you are going to Gravesher, that she was too thin and pale for end too ?” Yes, if you please,” said a child; and that the whole appear. I; “and will you ask them if I may ance of the little group was very poor, join your party ?” “ That I will, Sir," though quite clean and decent. When cried she, as if quite sure that any adthey had quite turned the corner, they dition to the party must be an addition stopped and looked back as if expect to the pleasure. Her father and mother ing some one. “ How long they are !” looked at me in surprize, when they cried the little girl, “Perhaps we shall heard the child's request, and the be too late for the boat.” No, no,” mother said with a sad smile, Why, replied the father. “There's no fear o' Peggy child, the gentleman's only jokthat. I dare say mother don't get
ing with you.
He is waiting for his along very well with little Jack; there's own friends, I dare say.”
66 Indeed such lots of people in the street. Here, that is not the case," said I—"I am you take baby a bit and stand still, up quite alone; and now I see your cheerby this door, while I go and look after ful family-party, I think it is very
dull mother and the boys.” The child took to be quite alone in a trip to Gravesthe baby and remained, while the man end. Will you allow me to talk to turned back again into the Strand. I your children and to consider myself as approached her as she was smiling and one of your party during our voyage ? playing with the little thing.
The woman looked at her husband to are you going to-day ? inquired I as see what he thought of my request ; gently as possible. She inspected me and he looked at me as if he could not with the cautious scrutiny of a London understand what I meant by it. I child, when addressed by a stranger, and stood his gaze firmly, and smiled at the then said, “I am going to Gravesend, up turned faces of the children. At Sir." 66 Indeed! And do you often length he said, with a laugh, “ You go to Gravesend,” I asked.
6 Oh dear,
are a gentleman, I can see, Sir; and I no, Sir. I've never been before in my suppose you are what is called an eclife; and mother's only been once. centric gentleman, and like to do odd “ And how is it you are going to-day ?" things. I'm sure if it will give you
Why, father's got a whole holiday to- any pleasure to fancy you belong to a day, because its his master's birthday; party o'poor folks like us, you're quite and all the men have ten shillings each welcome to do so." to enjoy the day as they like ; and friend, you have guessed my character father likes best to take us all down to exactly. I think we had better make Gravesend, and so we are going ; only haste on to the boat now. I have some there's such lots o' people going down influence with the Company. I will to the boat that I think it will be quite just step on first, and a word from me full when we get to it, if mother and will make the people let the party I father don't make haste.” “Oh! don't belong to go and return for nothing." be afraid of that,” said I, “I'll go on “ I'm sure you're very good, Sir. We
66 Thank you, my shall indeed thank you for that." I who was as eager to learn as if he had ran on first, and used the never-failing not toiled all his life for daily bread ; influence in such cases; and when the and had often failed in securing it. party came up to the money taker's “Chill penury” had not “ repressed place, I put the proper number of his noble rage,” tickets into the poor man's hand, say
“Nor froze the genial current of the soul." ing that it was necessary for us to keep them, just as the other people did, This man, Jones, is no bad specimen or else we should be charged for our of the honest hard working London passage when we returned. I think mechanic; to whom the Mechanics' Inhe suspected my trick, for a slight stitute and its library and readingcolour came over his cheek, and his room are more attractive than the ginmanner was more respectful than it shop. I can assure you that his conhad been at first. I regretted this. versation upon most topics that we And now behold me, dear A., voyaging touched, including politics and the to Gravesend the companion en titre education of his children, was very inof a journeyman weaver and his fa- teresting to me. He was well skilled mily. Tom, Bill, Jack, and Peggy in the art of expressing his thoughts ; followed me about everywhere ; and I his thoughts were clear and to the purexplained to their wondering minds pose. I do not feel quite sure that his all I knew about steam-engines and grammatical errors, and cockney proboat-building-repeated the names of nunciation, did not add a sort of racithe different sorts of vessels, as we
ness to his language; just as you think passed them; took out pencil and the things said by your Highland cotpaper, and made sketches for them of tagers would loose half their charm, if such objects as they “ wished to have attered in an Edinburgh attic. I could a picture of.” I feared, at first, to be say much more of this man and his a check upon the enjoyment of my new views of men and things, but you shall friends ; but by the time we had see him for yourself when you return reached Blackwall, the father had en- to town, as I mean to keep up an actered into a conversation with me, on quaintance with him and his family. the difference between the silk weaving When Mrs Jones unfastened her basin Lyons and Spitalfields; and shortly ket of provisions, I asked to join their after the mother told me her anxieties luncheon or early dinner, and ate about Peggy and the boys.
heartily of bread and cheese, to the I have often heard you say that evident satisfaction of the family; alevery sort of knowledge we can gain though Mrs Jones did not refrain from will be found useful at some time; and making a few apologies for the poornow, I found the benefit of going over ness of their fare to a gentleman's old Le Clerc's factory at Lyons, and taste, Jones himself behaved with adlistening to his profound talk about mirable good breeding, treating me in his different metiers, every day during all respects as a guest as long as I my stay there; for which talk's sake I chose to consider myself one. Peggy frequently wished the good old manu- and I became excellent friends, we facturer at the bottom of the Rhone; looked at everything and everybody. as,
of course, at that time, “the blue There was much to say about Greenrushing” of the river was dearer to me wich Hospital, and the Dreadnought, than all the fabriques in the city. and a sailor's life, concerning which Gladly now did I recall all that I had Tom and Bill were very curious. seen and heard seven years before ; More people came on board the boat gladly did I promise to lend the dia- at Blackwall; and among them, Peggy grams and drawings of looms—the spied a woman and a little girl book of designs for patterns, which the kept a fruit stall in our lane." She old gentleman presented to me at part- wondered that “they were able to go ing. And in whose favour was I so to Gravesend pleasuring”-“they were generously inclined ? In favour of a
so very poor.” I observed that they hard-working, intelligent, poor man, looked indeed destitute of every mark
of that decency in poverty which per- her if she left the bin for anything all vaded my own party. The little girl day long. Mother and she together saw Peggy and the two children inter- could earn three shillings a day hopchange smiles at a distance. When ping.” Peggy wanted to know how the boat went on again, and we could hops grow
and what a hop garden is make our way through the crowd, like, and Polly had scarcely finished Peggy and I went to speak to Polly telling her, when Mrs Bennett's sharp Bennett. “I did not expect to see voice called out, “ Polly ! where are you going out pleasuring,” observed you, you young hussey ?" And Polly my little companion to her acquaint- was obliged to run away directly.
“I suppose your mother is not When we reached Gravesend, I apcross with you just now.” Polly looked pointed the spot and the hour at which round fearfully lest “mother should I would join my friend Jones and his hear” what was said, but mother was family, that we might return to town talking eagerly to two men whom she together, and having slipped five shil. had just met. Then Polly looked at lings into little Peggy's hand, one for me suspiciously. “Oh! you need not herself and one for each of her bromind speaking before this gentleman, thers to spend at Gravesend, I left he is very kind,” said Peggy caressing- them to enjoy themselves, believing ly to the little girl; and then she made that they had had enough of my preme stoop down that she might whisper sence for the morning. into my ear. Polly is a nice good If you wish to observe the London little girl, mother says, Sir, but, do poor (I do not now speak of the pooryou know her mother beats her so est poor, i.e., the idle poor, but the dreadful!" “ Poor little Polly,” said decent hard-working poor) when they I, taking her hand, “and so you are are amusing themselves, go to Gravesgoing to Gravesend for a day's plea- end on a fine autumn day. However,
“Oh, no, Sir," said my new as this letter, like all earthly things, acquaintance, “mother and I are going must come to an end, I think I cannot hopping." Peggy laughed at this; close it with anything better than a reand Polly had to explain that she did quest that you will match my advennot mean by hopping, jumping on one ture with the Jones family by a graphic leg, but picking hops in a hop-garden. description of some romantic accident Now, as both Peggy and I wished to which has befallen yourself out yonder hear about this matter, we made Polly in "the land of mountain and flood.” sit down with us on an empty bench Tell me everything you see that is new near, while she told us what she re
to you, and all that you think about it. membered about "hopping” last year. Follow my example and do not fear to She “ and mother went down last year “ inflict all your tediousness” upon me to pick hops in some large hop-gar- even though you were as tedious as a dens near Cobham—a great many peo- king." Enjoy yourself as much as ple in London always go into the parts you please at my expense. I can,
if where hops grow to help the farmers you please, give you more letters, as to pick them. Sometimes they earn a long as this, filled with proofs that good deal of money." She " liked people may find novelty and matter hopping very much—it was so nice to for thought and even adventures in be out in the hop-garden all day; and London during the dead have plenty of fresh air and black. Thanks for the grouse—they were exberries. It was hard work though for cellent.--I am, dear A., yours truly, her; for her mother was sure to beat
J. M. W.