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THE West End of London is the residence of
the wealthy and noble; the central portions are principally occupied by men of
business ; and the East End is the abode of the poor and wretched. The stranger
who has entered London from the West, can scarcely believe, after a residence
among the princely dwellings and palaces of Belgravia, that there is a quarter
in London like that called Spitalfields, and when he sees it for the first time,
he is astonished above measure. When we first gazed at the destitution and
horrible wretchedness of Spitalfields, our blood ran cold at the sight, and
whenever we hear the great English metropolis eulogized as the residence of
princes in wealth, and nobility, we think of one of the sights which our eyes
have witnessed, among those parts where the poorer classes herd together, and
which we never can efface from our memory.
There is a vast population lying east of Bishopsgate-street, and in wretchedness it may safely challenge a comparison with any people, or class, or nation under the sun. Spitalfields, the region of Bethnal Green, and Whitechapel, all centre together, making a vast area wholly occupied by poor people. The first-mentioned quarter, Spitalfields, is the residence of the poorest of the poor. In it the buildings are low and black- the interiors small, ill-ventilated, but crowded ; and the streets [-112-] almost too disgusting to describe. In traversing them, one is assailed by the most noxious stenches, and the most disagreeable sights. This region is no small part of London - not a mere Five Points which occupies a small space - it is the residence of the laboring population of London ; there are hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in it; - some just raised above utter wretchedness; others utterly wretched. That many of these people are without principle and virtue, must be evident from the fact that, in London there is an immense number of thieves and prostitutes - the latter unfortunate class alone numbering about 80,000.
Among the laboring people of London, as a matter of course; there are some who reside in comfortable houses, and have enough to eat and drink - but where there is one of this character and condition, there are ten who are without the decencies of a common home in this country-to say nothing of luxuries and superfluities. In some streets there are almost only thieves, robbers and prostitutes ; in the others there are mechanics and laboring men; and in some, perhaps a majority, the thieves, prostitutes, and laboring poor, are herded together in about equal numbers. We took especial pains to learn, through observation, the condition of the London laboring population, and we were forced by our observations, and the testimony of reliable men, to the conclusion, that by far the majority-probably five sixths-of this class do not possess the common comforts of life. In fact, when a mechanic is, what is styled in England, "in comfortable circumstances," his condition here would be thought a sad one. A small apartment, with a loaf of bread and a jug of ale, satisfies the English workman-thank heaven, it is not so here! The neat house, with its prettily furnished rooms, its books and papers, its laughing children, which a laboring man in America possesses, the London laborer never even dares to hope for, except in extraordinary cases.
[-113-] The rent of buildings in respectable quarters is so high, that a laboring man cannot pay it, and it is folly for him to think of it. So he is compelled to locate his wife and children amid disease, and crime, and misery. His wages will not allow him to consult his tastes, nor even his convictions of right and propriety.
Bread is tolerably cheap, but everything else is dear; the price is about twelve cents the quartern loaf; butter is from twenty to twenty-eight cents per pound ; good sugar twelve cents, pure tea two dollars the pound, though a miserable mixture may be had for half that sum. The best steaks are twenty-four cents a pound, and fish are high-priced. Let us suppose a case a mechanic locates in the region of Spitalfields-he is forced to do so because he cannot pay the rents of wholesome neighborhoods-he has a wife and six children depending upon his labor. Say that he is so fortunate as to earn five dollars a week, (always in England, exclusive of board) -how well, how sumptuously can he live on that? Can he eat meat every day? Not oftener than every Sunday. Can he pay to send his children to school? No. He pays his rent-lives upon plain bread and cheese and beer-and rejoices if he is able to keep his children off the parish.
He is taken ill-is there any income then? No. He dies - and where goes the mother with her six children? To the poor-house! How happy can a man be with such a prospect forever staring him in the face? The London working-man cannot lay up money without practising too severe self-denial.
But suppose our laboring man, instead of getting five dollars a week, only gets two - which is oftener the case - what then can he do? He must herd with the vicious. If he has daughters, they become prostitutes. It is a horrible thing to contemplate, but who is sure that he could withstand the corrupt influences of such an earthly pandemonium as Spital-[-114-]fields, when Starvation - a most potent pleader - pointed as the only means of subsistence, towards Vice ? Let the pure in heart be constantly surrounded by vicious persons and sights, and confronted by Starvation, and how long would it be before they would lose that beautiful purity which now is their crowning glory? But the poor mechanic's daughter never had education, nor the light of religion, was never made to feel the beauty of virtue - and the transition is not so great, not so terrible. And the father sees his children walking in he paths of Vice - can he say to them, "The way of the transgressor is hard ?" They will ask, "Was it not hard before we transgressed ?" and what can he reply?
One of the most frightful features of London poverty is - the lax morality of the poor, in theories and principles, as well as acts. The discipline of suffering is good for man to a certain extent, but it should never touch his stomach. No man can face hunger long. It vanquishes principles and beliefs - it overrides conscience even, or silences it. These Spitalfields men feel that their social condition is terrible and unjust, and they believe it right to steal when they can get a chance. It is useless to preach to them - they must have bread first. Stay their stomachs first - give them houses, air, water, and light, by doing away with all class- legislation, by throwing taxation wholly upon property, by making citizens of these working-masses, and then pour into their ears the truth. Tell them then it is wicked to steal - but not before, because it is useless. And the religious world will one day be astonished to see how these home-heathens will receive the truths of revelation - when the church shall take her stand upon the side of the defenceless and down-trodden. These ignorant masses need softening by kindness, and they will open their ears to religious truth.
That the great majority of the depraved characters in this region are accustomed to think their avocations without any [-115-] peculiar sin, we have little doubt. A kind of necessity, in their sight, makes the avocation of a thief as honorable as that of a mechanic. A case came to our knowledge while in London, which is a good illustration. The story is true in every particular. A boy from a low lodging-house in Spitalfields, went one evening to a Ragged-School in the vicinity. Liking it, he continued his visits in order that he might gain a little education. By degrees he got so that he could read in the Testament. The teachers liked him -he was a faithful, good-hearted-boy, though born in the midst of pollution. He was generous and kind. The School which he attended generally opens at six o'clock on Sunday evening, and closes at eight. The churches generally close at half-past eight or nine. There is a large one but a little distance from this Ragged-School. One Sunday evening the Superintendent kept the boys uncommonly late, until at last this boy's patience was exhausted, and he rose from his seat and walked to the master, asking:
" Please, sir, what time is it ?"
"Half-past eight," was the reply.
"Please, sir, may I go out?" he then asked.
"Why do you wish to go out ?" interrogated the master.
"Because it's about time for church to break up !"
"Well, and what do you care about when the church breaks up ?"
Please, sir, answered the boy, with a perfectly innocent countenance, and as if he were saying the most natural thing lb the world, "Please, sir, that's the time for business!"
A smile spread over the teacher's face, as he saw how frankly the boy had confessed his avocation of stealing - but the circumstance might make one weep, for it indicates a sad state of things when the boys in the streets steal under the impression that they are pursuing an honest vocation. The mast himself related the story to as, and gave us many [-116-] other facts which have come under his own observation, all going to prove that the general opinion among the thieves of this degraded quarter of London is, that there is nothing sinful in the avocation of a thief. And yet this is in London, which claims to be the most civilized city in the world. Here is a vast population to whom the name of Jesus Christ is hardly known. And their social condition is so wretchedly low that preaching will do them little good. They must somehow be raised to a better condition, encouraged instead of being, as at present, trodden into the dust.
We were fortunate in making the friendship of a gentle man in London who has devoted much of his time to this unfortunate class of people. He has ventured into all parts of Spitalfields, and sometimes to the great danger of his person. Sometimes when we have accompanied him over certain portions of this great quarter of the metropolis, we have returned borne with the opinion that there yawns between the rich and poor of London a great gulf almost like that between heaven and hell. Not merely in reference to deeds, but in everything-aspirations, thoughts, and principles, as well as mere actions. Among these people there are many men and women who were once educated and refined, and moved in good society. Nor was it indulgence in intoxicating liquors which brought them there - it was but a turn in the wheel of Fortune - a loss of property, and people with gentle hearts and affections were doomed to such a life. Language is too feeble to portray the mental sufferings of such families, and death is looked for by such as a prisoner looks for a reprieve.
Our friend went one day with a policeman into a terrible haunt in Spitalfields to hunt up a ragged school-boy. They entered a room which was small; the walls were covered with dirt and vermin, and yet 30 or 40 men, women, and children were gathered in it, some huddling about the fire [-117-] and others eating their supper. Our friend could not bear the atmosphere of the room, and after hastily making one or two inquiries, was retreating, when one of the number approached and said
"We are a hard set, sir, but there is a young feller in the next room who is eddicated, sir - and he is dying!"
"Dying !" echoed our friend, "let me see him."
He was shown into a miserable apartment, and there, upon a wretched couch, lay a young man with a face singularly marked with intellect, and yet wearing an expression of intense misery - and indeed he seemed to be dying. Our friend spoke to him in a kind manner, and he answered in a low and melancholy voice. He was widely different from the herd about him, and by degrees his history came from his lips, and it appeared that the only cause why he lay there was, poverty. He never drank, was not vicious-but he was dying, and, great God! in the metropolis of the civilized world, dying of hunger! He was worn down to a skeleton. He could get no employment, he would not steal, as those did who were about him - and this was the result.
He was of a good family, well educated, but misfortune in business had plunged his father into the depths of poverty, and he, the son, was starving in Spitalfields. And while he lay there, he had an uncle who was wealthy - who had twice been a mayor of a provincial city. Said he -
"I met my rich cousin a few weeks since on the sidewalk. He would not know rue. He saw I was starving; I told him so; but he turned me off without a penny!" Thus it is that Poverty in London steps in between blood-relations. An uncle will let a boy with a dead sister's blood coursing in his veins, starve to death before he will try to help him-he would ruin himself were he to help all his poor relations, in such a country as England. A friend of ours because of his kindness of heart employed a young man as writing-clerk [-118-] who had a young wife and children to support. He found that he had an only brother who is the Captain of one of Her Majesty's mail steamers, and who has a fine income, and when this poor clerk was out of employment and half starving, he went on his knees before his wealthy brother - who flung him a sovereign and walked away ! But to return to our first story. Our friend spoke to the young man of his mother, and he burst into tears. She was dead - and a smile spread over his face while he said it - a smile of joy. Oh how glad he was, that she died before misfortune came.
Our friend asked if he had any sisters - a burning blush suffused his features, and he replied in agony,
"Would that she had died with her mother!" All was told in that single sentence-the suffering, sorrow, and shame.
"But she is dead now, poor girl," he added, "and God will, I know, judge leniently one who suffered so much."
The young man was removed to a place where he was kindly nursed, but in a few days died. The physician said that starvation was the cause.
We do not wish the reader to suppose that London is the wretchedest, wickedest city in the world - not by any means - but we do think the social state of England is such, that in many cases the ties of blood and marriage are snapt asunder as an inevitable consequence of that system which depresses man in the mass, and elevates a few to unbounded wealth, education, and privilege. It cannot be otherwise, argue round it as we may. Everything which tends to raise the civil position of the whole people of airy country, adds to the comfort, sobriety, and religious fervor of that people, and everything which tends to depress the masses, in their civil rights, adds to their woe, vice, and wretchedness.
Much has been written and spoken about the miserable habits of beer-drinking, which almost every English workman has. It is true that it is a vile and wide-spread habit, [-119-] but we never expect to see the class of English working-men temperance men, until they possess civil rights. It would be quite as rational to expect our negro population to become masters in- literature while in slavery. The cause of temperance, from the first. has moved slowly onward in England - but in America it has been just the reverse, for the universal change of sentiment here in a few years is astonishing. The simple reason is, that the people in this country have rights and homes, and equal privileges. The social position of man may be so low as to shut out all encouragement from his heart. If he practises self-denial, he does not reap any striking benefits therefrom. Let the great class of English working-men have their rights, and they will with proper exertion become temperate and good. We know that it is argued by many that Englishmen must cease their beer-drinking before they will have their political rights granted them - that they must become known for sobriety and industry, and then they can demand their rights with success. This to a certain extent is true, but after all, social reforms are exceedingly slow in a country where the majority of the people are without the franchise. Give to a body of men their civil rights, and you add to their dignity of character, and they will strive earnestly to be worthy of their position. Let them remain as mere cyphers, politically, and they lose ambition, and will turn to sensual gratifications. Either the animal or the intellectual qualities in a man will become fully developed. Make him a serf, and you help to develop his animal propensities ; make him a citizen, and you develop his intellect. If to-morrow the right of voting were accorded to every honest man in England, the work of the temperance reformers would be comparatively easy. To be sure the poverty of the people and their ignorance would have to be overcome, but all difficulties would vanish when the people become citizens. Their ambition would be strong [-120-] and steady; unjust laws would be repealed; a system of common schools established, and the millions of working-men in England would with pride become possessors of happy, sober homes.
With a city missionary - a pious and
courageous man -we one day visited Duck Lane. As we approached it, we noticed
that the buildings were small, low, and filthy, with their few windows stuffed
with rags, pasteboard, or broken panes of glass. The doors were generally
swinging wide open, revealing any quantity of half-nude children with squalid
faces. The only business-place were little groceries and pawn shops. The latter
were full of various articles of clothing, a few watches, and a very extensive
assortment of handkerchiefs, which fact, was proof enough that the pawnshops, as
they are called in this region, are principally supported by thieves. We now
entered Duck Lane-but saw no signs of beggary there. In fact, the population of
that street are not beggars, but thieves and prostitutes. They are too fierce
to beg. We saw no shops or places of business, but the street had an air of
suspicious silence. The gas-lights were dimly burning, and occasionally a couple
of policemen, arm-in-arm, were walking down the street. Here we saw a window
open, revealing the form of a well-rouged girl, sitting by it as a decoy, to
tempt some foolish man to enter her haunt of the depraved; yonder there were
sounds of a violin, as if music must minister to the wants of even the wretched
people of this region.
We passed on a little way down the street, and then turned into a narrow court on the left, which was full of darkness. The missionary stopped before a little building and knocked. Where we were going was only known to himself - but soon an old woman appeared at the door, which she opened to us. [-121-] Her face was frank and honest, indeed we were surprised to see such a face in Duck Lane.
"She is the only honest person I know in the Lane," said the missionary, and the woman seemed to like the compliment very much.
We now passed up a narrow and rickety stairway, until we came to a little room or hall, into which opened several doors, but all were shut. This was the old woman's room; in it there was a pallet of straw, a three-legged table, one or two old chairs, a kettle, and a very meagre assortment of crockery - and that was the whole furniture of the room. The missionary turned to the doors of the tier of rooms opposite and asked:
"Are any of the people of those rooms in?" She replied that they were all out.
"And on business?" said the missionary with a smile. Pointing at a particular door he said:
"That room is the place of resort for a well-organized band of thieves. I have been there, and the captain of the band gives me a pound sterling every year for Ragged Schools!"
"But what can be his object ?" we asked.
"A good one," replied our friend, " for he is desirous to keep all young persons from growing up as he has done. He is too old, he says, to live now by any honest avocation - he must steal or starve. But he wants his own children to go to the Ragged Schools and become honest and live by industry, if it be possible, and so he gives his pound a year for the support of the schools!"
After we had talked awhile, the missionary proposed that we should visit a Thieves' Hotel farther down the street. Once more we entered the dark court and the silent street, and walked slowly on till we came to a door over which there was the sign "HOTEL." We paused at the threshold a moment, to hear the talk and uproar within. Then taking [-122-] good care of our purses and handkerchiefs, we opened the. door and pas ed into the bar-room. There were, perhaps, a dozen persons in the room, some of them drinking, some smoking, and others talking to each other in a low voice. They eyed us closely at first, as if we had no business there, but recognising the missionary, they relapsed into their former positions, and paid little attention to us. For the missionary is at liberty to go where he pleases in this dangerous region he has helped the vile and wretched so many times when they were ill, that they never harm him ; besides, they have confidence in him that he will not reveal anything to the police, as his great object is to save the young, amid make known the retributions and the felicities of the next world to all.
The bar-maid, in the hotel, was bestuck with cheap jewelry, and covered with paint, and carried on a species of coquetry with her low admirers. The thieves were many of them well-dressed, but all were wretched in feature, and when we opened the door and were again in the street, the missionary told us that in almost all their cases they were thieves because they could not earn bread any other way - told us that they were the most ignorant of all heathen - that they knew nothing of God or Jesus Christ, nor ever heard of them save in oaths.
We were now abreast the Abbey - glorious Westminster Abbey - and splendid carriages rolled by, with wealth and nobility. Perhaps it was the breaking up of some missionary meeting, where thousands had been voted to spread the Bible in Afghanistan or Turkey ; while, from the windows of their meeting-hall they could have seen worse infidels than the sun shines upon in Turkey, and darker souls than any that exist in Afghanistan!
Upon one of our visits to the various Ragged Schools of the metropolis, we became much interested in a lad ten or eleven years old, who had a frank, open countenance. He was [-123-] dressed in a suit of rags, but still had an air of nobleness He was reading busily in his Testament, and would stop occasionally, and ask such curious questions of his teacher, that we could not help smiling. We sat down by his side, and asked him where he lived.
"I live almost everywhere," was his reply. We asked him how he lived.
"Almost anyhow, too," was his reply.
"But what is your business?" we asked.
"I am a water-cress boy," was his reply, "and get up every morning at two o'clock, and go on foot three or four miles, and sometimes six or eight, into the edge of the country, to buy water-cresses. I get a basket of them there for a shilling, and by crying them all day, generally clear one shilling on the lot, which pays my board and lodging."
"But can you live upon a shilling a day ?" we asked.
"Yes, pretty well - but many times I don't make a shilling, and then I buy a crust of bread, and go and sleep under an arch of a bridge, or some old crate or box, down on the wharves."
Just then the teacher beckoned me away, and said:
"The lad you have been talking with comes here every evening to study - and that too when he is obliged to be up every morning between two amid three o'clock. Not long since, his mother was imprisoned for arrearages in her rent - the sum needed to release her was but ten shillings - and this lad almost starved himself, anid slept out-of-doors, until he had saved money enough to release his mother from the jail. Was that not heroism?"
Aye-that boy was a truer hero than ever was Napoleon upon the battle-field, for while one was intensely selfish, the other was ready to suffer for others!
THE POOR TINKER.
When the Ragged School system was first
introduced in London, it was dangerous to go to the schools, as there were
villains ready to injure both teachers and visitors. The place where the first
school was organized was in one of the most dangerous parts of London, not far
from Duck Lane, and its first teacher was a poor but honest tinker, who lived
near the spot. He was very poor, yet he spent all his evenings and Sundays at
the school. To be sure he was ignorant himself, and was as ragged as any of his
scholars, but his devotion was great, and he labored faithfully until Ragged
Schools became popular, and teachers from the educated classes volunteered their
services - then the kind old tinker came to the missionary who founded the
school, and said, with tears in his honest eyes:
"I am too poor, too ragged, sir, for the school - they will not need me any longer!"
One day the missionary asked us if we would like to see a specimen of the honest poverty of England. We answered him in the affirmative, and followed him unto old Pye-street, where we stopped before a mere hut, not six feet by twelve square, the walls of brick, and a few boards thrown loosely over the top for a roof. The only window was in the top of the door, which swung upon leather hinges. We entered the room, but there was scarcely place for us. An old chair, a few culinary utensils, a few tools, were the contents of the room. A few coals were dimly burning in the grate, and an old man, with gray hair, and pale, worn features, yet with a saintly forehead, was bending over them, vainly endeavoring to solder an old kettle which he held in one hand. As we came in, he started up amid grasped the missionary's hand, while tears stole down his haggard cheeks and rolled off upon the earth below - for there was no floor. The sight was one [-125-] we never hid seen before, and we stood, half doubting our identity - doubting whether it could be possible that such poverty existed in great London.
"It is the tinker, our first teacher," said the missionary, "and he is very - God knows how - poor."
Ah ! - we saw that - it was indeed the saddest sight we ever witnessed. We shook his hand - a faint, forced smile rested like a shadow upon his face for a moment, and then flitted away, and the tear-drops gathered again in his eyes. We heard a low moan in a farther corner of the apartment, and when we looked into it, saw stretched upon a bed of straw upon the naked earth, a woman, apparently in the last stages of consumption. Great Heavens! - and was this honest poverty in England ? Was this a sample of life among the poor of London:
"She is my wife!" said the tinker, looking up at us in a beseeching manner. And then the missionary took the poor woman's hand, and kneeling down upon the cold earth, comforted her worn heart by telling her that in heaven there is no more sorrow or suffering! Her breath came short and quick, and she spoke in whispers, but we saw that she was glad to die. It was like wandering all the hot summer day in search of a garden of flowers and cool springs ;-and now she sees the entrance-gate, she snuffs the odorous air, and hears with her thirsty imagination the gurgling of the cool streams!
"You will be happy there," said the missionary.
"Yes! yes!" she answered, but the tears sprang into her eyes as she asked:
"But who will take care of him?" pointing at the tinker.
"He who has thus far taken care of you both," replied the missionary.
The old man was still trying to mend the kettle.
[-126-] "I would not try to mend it - 'tis not worth the trouble," said the missionary.
"I shall get a few pennies if I do," said the old man, "and I want to get her a few more comforts before she dies - but I fear 'tis too old to mend."
It was an appeal to our purse which could not be withstood, and when the old man's hot tears of gratitude rained upon our hands, we felt richly paid for the few pieces of silver we had given away.
When we came away, and saw in the open street a thousand elegant carriages rolling away; saw the rich and proud on every hand, our heart grew indignant. The next day the old tinker's wife was a corpse, and he is now struggling on alone.
London has its St. Giles as well as St.
James - its Seven Dials and Saffron Hill, as well as its Strand and
Regent-street. In giving the reader a few glimpses of Duck Lane, and
Spitalfields, we have not unfolded a tithe of the horrors of London poverty. We
sometimes talk of poverty in America, and there is suffering in many of our
great towns, but when contrasted with the hidden horrors of a London life among
the poor, it sinks into insignificance. Our poverty is not American - it is
imported. No great class is here poor - but in England and Wales alone there are
three millions of paupers.
St. Giles in London is one of the prominent quarters where poverty and the lowest species of vice abound. It is crowded by a half-Irish population, of all occupations, and no occupations, guilty of all manner of vices, from petty thieving up to cold-blooded murder.
The London Statistical Society recently appointed a committee to examine the sanitary condition of Church Lane in St. Giles. A friend of ours was one of that committee, and [-127-] here are a few of the facts embodied in their report. The Lane is three hundred feet long, and contains thirty-two houses. It has three gas-lights, and water is supplied to it three times a week, but no tanks or tubs were to be found. The first house which the committee visited contained forty-five persons, and only six rooms, and twelve beds ! The windows were broken in - really a beneficial thing - and filth abounded everywhere. In the second building, there were fifty persons, and thirteen beds. In the third, there were sixty-one persons, and only nine beds, averaging seven persons to a bed, and these of both sexes, all ages and conditions ! When it is remembered that these buildings are low, small, and wretched; the rooms mere pens, some idea of their occupants cart be formed. The three houses mentioned are only a fair sample of the whole Lane, every house of which the Committee visited. In their report, made for the use of Parliament, they say:
"In these wretched dwellings, all ages and both sexes, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, grown-up brothers and sisters, stranger adult males and females, amid swarms of children - the sick, the dying, and the dead, are herded together with a proximity and mutual pressure which the brutes would resist : where it is physically impossible to preserve the ordinary decencies of life, where all sense of propriety and self-respect must be lost."
Such is the picture of London poverty, drawn too, by Englishmen. Into this region, scarcely ever, does splendid Vice set its feet. Here are only common thieves and the lowest of the prostitutes. Sin is horrible in its lineaments in St. Giles - it can put on no seductive features there. The expert gamester and richly apparelled prostitute of St. James, little expect to one day make their home in the filthy St. Giles; yet a few years will accomplish the transition. It is invariably the last resort of the wretched and vicious. [-128-] When all other portions of London have cast them out, St. Giles opens its doors to them, well knowing that they can go no farther - till they step into their graves. And yet, such is the power of love, there have been instances of reform even among these lowest of the low. Our friend the missionary in one of his visits to this quarter, met with a young thief who seemed to possess certain good qualities. He met him one Sunday morning in the Strand, well dressed, and prepared to carry on his business of thieving, when the missionary went up to him, and took his arm saying:
"Come, go with me to church, this morning."
"You dare not go to church in company with a thief," replied the young man.
"I dare - so come with me," said the missionary.
"But the police will know me, and think I go to church to steal, and will turn me out," replied the thief. But the good missionary would not let him off, and he went to church that morning. After the service was over, the missionary said:
"Let us go to a walk in the Park!" The thief was melted by his kindness, and asked,
"Are you not ashamed to be seen walking with me?"
"No," said the good man, " I am never ashamed of any being who possesses a soul destined to immortality." When they were in the Park he again addressed the thief.
"Would you not like to quit your present life?"
"Yes - if I could keep from starvation," answered the young man.
"Well, I will get you a situation as gardener in the country, with moderate wages-will you go, and promise me you will do your best?"
"But they will first or last discover that I was a thief, and will discharge me."
"I will pledge that if you henceforth conduct yourself honorably, you shall succeed - will you promise?"
[-129-] "I will!"
The result was that the young thief became an honest man, and rose gradually to moderate wealth and education. He is at present the principal of a large school in one of the first cities in England. He rose because he first had an honest man to recommend him to a good place, and because his early life was shrouded in the strictest secrecy. But the majority of this class have no one to befriend then, indeed the world shrinks with disgust from them. and their course is steadily downward.
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