Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - Mystic London, by Charles Maurice Davies, 1875 - Chapter 1 - London Arabs ; Chapter 2 - East London Arabs; Chapter 3 - London Arabs in Canada

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    OF all the protean forms of misery that meet us in the  bosom of that "stony-hearted stepmother, London,"  there, is none that appeals so directly to our sympathies  as the spectacle of a destitute child. In the  case of the grown man or woman, sorrow and suffering  are often traceable to the faults, or at best to the  misfortunes of the sufferers themselves; but in the  case of the child they are mostly, if not always,  vicarious. The fault, or desertion, or death of the  natural protectors, turns loose upon the desert of our  streets those nomade hordes of Bedouins, male and  female, whose presence is being made especially palpable  just now, and whose reclamation is a perplexing,  yet still a hopeful problem. In the case of the adult  Arab, there is a life's work to undo, and the facing  of that fact it is which makes some of our bravest  workers drop their hands in despair. With these  young Arabs, on the contrary, it is only the wrong [-2-] bias of a few early years to correct, leaving carte  blanche for any amount of hope in youth, maturity,  and old age. Being desirous of forming, for my own  edification, some notion of the amount of the evil  existing, and the efforts made to counteract it, I  planned a pilgrimage into this Arabia Infelix - this  Petraea of the London flagstones ; and purpose setting  down here, in brief, a few of my experiences, for the  information of stay-at-home travellers, and still more  for the sake of pointing out to such as may be disposed  to aid in the work of rescuing these little Arabs  the proper channels for their beneficence. Selecting,  then, the Seven Dials and Bethnal Green as the foci  of my observation in West and East London respectively,  I set out for the former one bleak March night,  and by way of breaking ground, applied to the first  police-constable I met on that undesirable beat for  information as to my course. After one or two  failures, I met with an officer literally "active and  intelligent," who convoyed me through several of  that network of streets surrounding the Seven Dials,  leaving me to my own devices when he had given me  the general bearings of the district it would be  desirable to visit.
    My first raid was on the Ragged School and Soup  Kitchen in Charles Street, Drury Lane, an evil-looking  and, unfragrant locality; but the institution  in question stands so close to the main thoroughfare  that the most fastidious may visit it with ease. Here [-3-] I found some twenty Arabs assembled for evening  school. They were of all ages, from seven to fifteen,  and their clothing was in an inverse ratio to their  dirt - very little of the former, and a great deal of the  latter. They moved about with their bare feet in the  most feline way, like the veritable Bedouin himself.  There they were, however, over greasy slates and  grimy copy-books, in process of civilization. The  master informed me that his special difficulties arose  from the attractions of the theatre and the occasional  intrusion of wild Arabs, who came only to kick up a  row. At eight o'clock the boys were to be regaled  with a brass band practice, so, finding from one of  the assembled Arabs that there was a second institution  of the kind in King Street, Long Acre, I  passed on thereto. Here I was fortunate enough to  find the presiding genius in the person of a young  man engaged in business during the day, and devoting  his extra time to the work of civilizing the barbarians  of this district. Sunday and week-day services, night  schools, day schools, Bands of Hope, temperance  meetings, and last, not least, the. soup kitchen, were  the means at work here. Not a single officer is paid.  The task is undertaken "all for love, and nothing for  reward," and it has thriven so far that my presence  interrupted a debate between the gentleman abovementioned  and one of his coadjutors on the subject of  taking larger premises. The expenses were met by  the weekly offerings, and I was surprised to see by a [-4-] notice posted in the room where the Sunday services  are held, that the sum total for the past week was  only 19s. 4d. So there must be considerable sacrifice  of something more than time to carry on this admirable  work. Under the guidance of the second  gentleman mentioned above, I proceeded to the St.  George's and St. Giles's Refuge in Great Queen Street,  where boys are admitted on their own application, the  only qualification being destitution. Here they are  housed, clothed, boarded, and taught such trades as  they may be fitted for, and not lost sight of until they  are provided with situations. A hundred and fifty-four  was the number of this truly miraculous draught  from the great ocean of London streets, whom I saw  all comfortably bedded in one spacious dormitory.  Downstairs were the implements and products of the  day's work, dozens of miniature cobblers' appliances,  machines for sawing and chopping firewood, &c.,  whilst, in a spacious refectory on the first floor, I was  informed, the resident Arabs extended on a Friday  their accustomed hospitality to other tribes, to such  an extent, that the ,party numbered about 500. Besides  the 154 who were fortunate enough to secure  beds, there were twenty new arrivals, who had to be  quartered on the floor for the night ; but at all events  they had a roof above them, and were out of the cruel  east wind that made Arabia Petraea that evening an  undesirable resting-place indeed. Lights were put  out, and doors closed, when I left, as this is not a [-5-] night refuge ; but notices are posted, I am informed,  in the various casual wards and temporary  refuges, directing boys to this. There is a  kindred institution for girls in Broad Street. Such  was my first experience of the western portion of  Arabia Infelix.
    The following Sunday I visited the Mission Hall  belonging to Bloomsbury Chapel, in Moor Street,  Soho, under the management of Mr. M'Cree, and the  nature of the work is much the same as that pursued  at King Street. The eleven o'clock service was on  this particular day devoted to children, who were  assembled in large numbers, singing their cheerful  hymns, and listening to a brief, practical, and taking  address. These children, however, were of a class  above the Arab type, being generally well dressed.  I passed on thence to what was then Mr. Brock's  chapel, where I found my veritable Arabs, whom I  had seen in bed the previous evening, arrayed in a  decent suit of "sober livery," and perched up in a  high gallery to gather what they could comprehend  of Mr. Brock's discourse - not very much, I should  guess ; for that gentleman's long Latinized words  would certainly fire a long way over their heads, high  as was their position. I found the whole contingent  of children provided for at the refuge was 400, including  those on board the training ship Chichester  and the farm at Bisley, near Woking, Surrey. This  is certainly the most complete way of dealing with [-6-] the Arabs par excellence, as it contemplates the case  of utter destitution and homelessness. It need  scarcely be said, however, that such a work must  enlarge its boundaries very much, in order to make  any appreciable impression on the vast amount of  such destitution. Here, nevertheless, is the germ,  and it is already fructifying most successfully. The  other institutions, dealing with larger masses of  children, aim at civilizing them at home, and so  making each home a centre of influence.
    Passing back again to the King Street Mission  Hall, I found assembled there the band of fifty  missionaries, male and female, who visit every Sunday  afternoon the kitchens of the various lodging-houses  around the Seven Dials. Six hundred kitchens are  thus visited every week. After roll-call, and a brief  address, we sallied forth, I myself accompanying Mr.  Hatton - the young man to whom the establishment  of the Mission is due - and another of his missionaries.  I had heard much of the St. Giles's Kitchens, but  failed to realize any idea of the human beings swarming  by dozens and scores in those subterranean  regions. Had it not been for the fact that nearly  every man was smoking, the atmosphere would have  been unbearable. In most of the kitchens they were  beguiling the enuui of Sunday afternoon with cards ;  but the game was invariably suspended on our arrival.  Some few removed their hats - for all wore them - and  a smaller number still joined in a verse or two [-7-] of a hymn, and listened to a portion of Scripture and  a few words of exhortation. One or two seemed  interested, others smiled sardonically ; the majority  kept a dogged silence. Some read their papers and  refused the tracts and publications offered them.  These, I found, were the Catholics. I was assured  there were many men there who themselves, or whose  friends, had occupied high positions. I was much  struck with the language of one crop-headed young  fellow of seventeen or eighteen, who, seeing me grope  my way, said, "They're not very lavish with the gas  here, sir, are they?" It may appear that this "experience"  has little bearing on the Arab boys; but  really some of the inmates of these kitchens were but  boys. Those we visited were in the purlieus of the  old "Rookery," and for these dens, I was informed,  the men paid fourpence a night! Surely a little  money invested in decent dwellings for such people  would be well and even remuneratively spent. The  kitchens, my informant - who has spent many years  among them - added, are generally the turning point  between honesty and crime. The discharged soldier  or mechanic out of work is there herded with the  professional thief or burglar, and learns his trade  and gets to like his life.
    The succeeding evening I devoted first of all to  the Girls' Refuge, 19, Broad Street, St. Giles's. Here  were sixty-two girls of the same class as the boys in  Great Queen Street, who remain until provided with [-8-] places as domestic servants. A similar number were  in the Home at Ealing. The Institution itself is the  picture of neatness and order. I dropped in quite  unexpectedly; and any visitor who may be induced  to follow my example, will not fail to be struck with  the happy, "homely" look of everything, the clean,  cheerful appearance of the female Arabs, and the  courtesy and kindness of the matron. These girls  are considered to belong to St. Giles's parish, as the  boys to Bloomsbury Chapel. So far the good work  has been done by the Dissenters and Evangelical  party in the Established Church. The sphere of the  High Church - as I was reminded by the Siperintendent  Sergeant - is the Newport Market Refuge  and Industrial Schools. Here, besides the male and  female refuges, is a Home for Destitute Boys, who  are housed and taught on the same plan as at St.  Giles's. Their domicile is even more cosy than the  other, and might almost tempt a boy to act the  part of an "amateur Arab." I can only say the  game that was going on, previously to bed, in the  large covered play room, with bare feet and in shirt  sleeves, was enough to provoke the envy of any  member of a Dr. Blimber's "Establishment." The  Institution had just had a windfall in the shape of  one of those agreeable 1000l. cheques that have been  flying about lately, or their resources would have  been cramped; but the managers are wisely sensible  that such windfalls do not come every day, [-9-] and so forbear enlarging their borders as they could  wish.
    Strangely enough, the Roman Catholics, who  usually outdo us in their work among the poor, seemed  a little behindhand in this special department of  settling the Arabs. They have schools largely  attended in Tudor Place, Tottenham Court Rod,  White Lion Street, Seven Dials, &c., but, as far as I  could ascertain, nothing local in the shape of a Refuge.  To propagate the faith may be all very well, and will  be only the natural impulse of a man sincere in his  own belief; but we must not forget that these Arabs  have bodies as well as souls, and that those bodies  have been so shamefully debased and neglected as to  drag the higher energies down with them ; and it is a  great question whether it is not absolutely necessary  to begin on the very lowest plane first, and so to  work towards the higher. Through the body and  the mind we may at last reach the highest sphere  of all.
    Without for one moment wishing to write down the  " religious" element, it is, I repeat, a grave question  whether the premature introduction of that element  does not sometimes act as a deterrent, and frustrate  the good that might otherwise be done. Still there  is the great fact, good is being done. It would be  idle to carp at any means when the end is so  thoroughly good. I could not help, as I passed  from squalid kitchen to kitchen that Sunday [-10-] afternoon, feeling Lear's words ring through my mind :-
    O, I have ta'en
    Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp,
    Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
    That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
    And show the heavens more just.
    And now "Eastward ho!" for "experiences" in  Bethnal Green.




    NOTWITHSTANDING  my previous experiences among  the Western tribes of Bedouins whose locale is the  Desert of the Seven Dials, I must confess to considerable  strangeness when first I penetrated the wilderness  of Bethnal Green. Not only was it utterly terra incognita  to me, but, with their manifold features in  common, the want and squalor of the East have traits  distinct from those of the West. I had but the name  of one Bethnal Green parish and of one lady-  Miss  Macpherson - and with these slender data I proceeded  to my work, the results of which I again  chronicle seriatim.
    Passing from the Moorgate Street Station I made  for the Eastern Counties Terminus at Shoreditch, and  soon after passing it struck off to my right in the  Bethnal Green Road. Here, amid a pervading atmosphere  of bird-fanciers and vendors of live pets in  general, I found a Mission Hall, belonging to I know  not what denomination, and, aided by a vigorous  policeman, kicked - in the absence of knocker or bell - at  all the doors, without result. Nobody was there.[-12-] I went on to the Bethnal Green parish which had been named to me as the resort of nomade tribes, and  found the incumbent absent in the country for a week  or so, and the Scripture-reader afraid, in his absence,  to give much information. He ventured, however, to  show me the industrial school, where some forty  children were employed in making match-boxes for  Messrs. Bryant and May. However, as I was told  that the incumbent in question objected very decidedly  to refuges and ragged schools, and thought it much  better for the poor to strain a point and scud their  little ones to school, I felt that was hardly the regimen  to suit my Arabian friends, who were evidently  teeming in that locality. I was even returning  home with the view of getting further geographical  particulars of this Eastern Arabia Petraea, when,  as a last resource, I was directed to a refuge in  Commercial Street. I rang here, and found myself  in the presence of the veritible Miss Macpherson  herself, with whom I passed two pleasant and instructive  hours.
    At starting, Miss Macpherson rather objected to  being made the subject of an article - first of all, for  the very comprehensible reason that such publicity  would draw down upon her a host of visitors; and  when I suggested that visitors probably meant funds,  she added a second, and not quite so comprehensible  an objection - that these funds themselves might alloy  the element of Faith in which the work had been so [-13-] far carried on. She had thoroughly imbibed the spirit of Muller, whose Home at Bristol was professedly the  outcome of Faith and Prayer alone. However, on my  promise to publish only such particulars-name, locality,  &c.-as she might approve, this lady gave me  the details of her truly wonderful work. The building  in which I found her had been erected to serve as  large warehouses, and here 110 of the most veritable  Arabs were housed, fed, taught, and converted into  Christians, when so convertible. Should they prove  impressionable, Miss Macpherson then contemplates  their emigration to Canada. Many had already been  sent out; and her idea was to extend her operations in this respect: not, be it observed, to cast  hundreds of the scum of the East End of London  upon Canada - a proceeding to which the Canadians  would very naturally object - but to form a Home on  that side to be fed from the Homes on this, and so to  remove from the old scenes of vice and temptation  those who had been previously trained in the refuges  here. She has it in contemplation to take a large  hotel in Canada, and convert it into an institution of  this kind ; and I fancy it was the possibility that publicity might aid this larger scheme which eventually  induced the good lady to let the world so far know  what she is doing. At all events, she gave me  carte blanche to publish the results of my observations.
    In selecting and dealing with the inmates of her [-14-] refuges, Miss Macpherson avails herself of the science of phrenology, in which she believes, and she advances  good reason for so doing. I presume my phrenological  development must hare been satisfactory, since  she not only laid aside her objection to publicity, but  even allowed me to carry off with me her MS. "casebooks,"  from which I cull one or two of several hundred :-
    "' 1. T. S., aged ten (March 5, 1869).-An orphan.  Mother died in St. George's Workhouse. Father  killed by coming in contact with a diseased sheep,  being a slaughterman. A seller of boxes in the street.  Slept last in a bed before Christmas. Slept in haycarts,  under a tarpaulin. Says the prayers his mother  ' teached him.' "
    2. J. H., aged twelve (March 5).--No home but  the streets. Father killed by an engine-strap, being  an engineer. Mother died of a broken heart. Went  into ----- Workhouse; but ran away through ill-treatment  last December. Slept in ruins near Eastern  Counties Railway. Can't remember when he last lay  in a bed."
    " 3. A. R., aged eleven (March 5).-Mother and  father left him and two brothers in an empty room in  H----- Street. Policeman, hearing them crying, broke  open the door and took them to the workhouse. His  two brothers died. Was moved from workhouse by  grandmother, and she, unable to support him, turned  him out on the streets. Slept in railway ruins ; lived [-15-] by begging. July 24, sent to Home No. 1 as a reward  for good conduct."
    Besides thus rescuing hundreds of homeless ones,  Miss Macpherson has in many instances been the  means of restoring runaway children of respectable  parents. Here is an instance :-
    "Feb. 25th.-S. W. T., aged fourteen, brought  into Refuge by one of the night teachers, who noticed  him in a lodging-house respectably dressed. Had  walked up to London from N-----, in company with  two sailors (disreputable men, whom the lodging-house  keeper declined to take in). Had been reading  sensational books. Wrote to address at N-----.  Father telegraphed to keep him. Uncle came for him  with fresh clothes and took him home. He had  begun to pawn his clothes for his night's lodging.  His father had been for a fortnight in communication  with the police."
    The constables in the neighbourhood all know Miss  Macpherson's Refuge, and her readiness to take boys  in at any time; so that many little vagrants are  brought thither by them and reclaimed, instead of  being locked up and sent to prison, to go from bad  to worse. Besides this receptacle for boys, Miss  Macpherson has also a Home at Hackney, where girls  of the same class are housed. The plan she adopts is  to get a friend to be responsible for one child. The  cost she reckons at 6l.10s. per annum for those under  ten years, and 10l. for those above.
    [-16-] But this excellent lady's good works are by no  means catalogued yet. Besides the children being  fed and taught in these Homes, the parents and  children are constantly gathered for sewing classes,  tea meetings, &c. at the Refuge. Above 400 children  are thus influenced; and Miss Macpherson, with her  coadjutors, systematically visits the wretched dens and  lodging-houses into which no well-dressed person,  unless favourably known like her for her work among  the children, would dare to set foot. I was also  present when a hearty meal of excellent soup and a  large lump of bread were given to between three and  four hundred men, chiefly dock labourers out of  employ. It was a touching sight to notice the stolid  apathy depicted on most of the countenances, which  looked unpleasantly like despair. One of the men  assured me that for every package that had to be  unladen from the docks there were ten pair of hands  ready to do the work, where only one could be employed.  Many of the men, he assured me, went for  two, sometimes three, days without food; and with  the large majority of those assembled the meal they  were then taking would represent the whole of their  subsistence for the twenty-four hours. After supper a  hymn was sung, and a few words spoken to them by  Miss Macpherson on the allegory of the Birds and  Flowers in the Sermon on the Mount ; and so they  sallied forth into the darkness of Arabia Petraea. I  mounted to the little boys' bedroom, where the tiniest [-17-] Arabs of all were enjoying the luxury of a game,  with bare feet, before retiring. Miss Macpherson  dragged a mattress off one of the beds and threw  it down in the centre for them to tumble head-over-tail; and, as she truly said, it was difficult to  recognise in those merry shouts and happy faces  any remains of the veriest reprobates of the London  streets.
    Let us hear Miss Macpherson herself speak. In a  published pamphlet, "Our Perishing Little Ones,"  she says : "As to the present state of the mission, we  simply say ' Come and see.' It is impossible by words  to give an idea of the mass of 120,000 precious souls  who live on this one square mile. . . . . My longing  is to send forth, so soon as the ice breaks, 500 of our  poor street boys, waifs and strays that have been  gathered in, to the warm-hearted Canadian farmers.  In the meantime, who will help us to make outfits.  and collect 5l. for each little Arab, that there be no  hindrance to the complement being made up when the  spring time is come? . . . . Ladies who are householders  can aid us much in endeavours to educate  these homeless wanderers to habits of industry by  sending orders for their. firewood-4s. per hundred  bundles, sent free eight miles from the City." And,  again, in Miss Macpherson's book called "The Little  Matchmakers," she says : "In this work of faith and  labour of love among the very lowest in our beloved  country, let us press on, looking for great things. [-18-] Preventing sin and. crime is a much greater work  than curing it. There are still many things on my  heart requiring more pennies. As they come, we will  go forward."
    Miss Macpherson's motto is, "The Word first in  all things; afterwards bread for this body." There  are some of us who would be inclined to reverse this  process - to feed the body and educate the mind - not  altogether neglecting spiritual culture, even at the  earliest stage, but leaving anything like definite religious  schooling until the poor mind and body were,  so to say, acclimatized. It is, of course, much  easier to sit still and theorize and criticise than to do  what these excellent people have done and are doing to  diminish this gigantic evil. "By their fruits ye shall  know them" is a criterion based on authority that we  are none of us inclined to dispute. Miss Macpherson  boasts - and a very proper subject for boasting it is that  she belongs to no ism. It is significant, however,  that the Refuge bears, or bore, the name o& the  " Revival" Refuge, and the paper which contained  the earliest accounts of its working was called the  Revivalist, though now baptized with the broader title  of the Christian. Amid such real work it would be a  pity to have the semblance of unreality, and I dreaded  to think of the possibility of its existing, when little  grimy hands were held out by boys volunteering to  say a text for my behoof. By far the most favourite [-19-] one was "Jesus wept ;" next came "God is love" - each  most appropriate ; but the sharp boy, a few years  older, won approval by a longer and more doctrinal  quotation, whilst several of these held out hands again  when asked whether, in the course of the day, they  had felt the efficacy of the text given on the previous  evening, "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth ; keep  Thou the door of my lips." Such an experience  would be a sign of advanced spirituality in an adult.  Is it ungenerous to ask whether its manifestation in  an Arab child must not be an anticipation of what  might be the normal result of a few years' training ?  May not this kind of forcing explain the cases I saw  quoted in the books - of one boy who "felt like a fish  out of water, and left the same day of his own accord;"  another who "climbed out of a three-floor  window and escaped ?"
    However, here is the good work being done. Let  us not carp at the details, but help it on, unless we  can do better ourselves. One thing has been pre-eminently forced in upon me during this brief examination  of our London Arabs - namely, that individuals  work better than communities amongst these people.  The work done by the great establishments, whether  of England, Rome, or Protestant Dissent, is insignificant  compared with that carried out by persons  labouring like Mr. Hutton in Seven Dials and Miss  Macpherson in Whitechapel, untrammelled by any [-20-] particular system. The want, and sorrow, and suffering are individual, and need individual care, just as the Master of old worked Himself, and sent His  scripless missionaries singly forth to labour for Him,  as - on however incommensurate a scale - they are  still labouring, East and West, amongst our London  Arabs.




    IN the previous chapter an account was given of the  Arabs inhabiting that wonderful "square mile" in  East London, which has since grown to he so familiar  in men's months. The labours of Miss Macpherson  towards reclaiming these waifs and strays in her  " Refuge and Home of Industry, Commercial Street,  Spitalfields," were described at some length, and  allusion was at the same time made to the views which  that lady entertained with regard to the exportation of  those Arabs to Canada after they should have undergone  a previous probationary training in the "Home."  A short time afterwards it was my pleasing duty to  witness the departure of one hundred of these young  boys from the St. Pancras Station, en route for Canada;  and it now strikes me that some account of the voyage  out, in the shape of excerpts from the letters of the  devoted ladies who themselves accompanied our Arabs  across the Atlantic, may prove interesting ; while, at  the same time, a calculation of their probable success  in their new life and homes may not improbably  stimulate those who cannot give their time, to give at [-22-] least their countenance, and it may be, their material  aid, to a scheme which recommends itself to all our  sympathies - the permanent reclamation of the little  homeless wanderers of our London streets.
    The strange old rambling "Home" in Commercial  Street, built originally for warehouses, then used as a  cholera hospital, and now the Arab Refuge, presented  a strange appearance during the week before the  departure of the chosen hundred. On the ground-floor  were the packages of the young passengers ; on  the first floor the "new clothes, shirts, and stockings,  sent by kind lady friends from all parts of the kingdom,  trousers and waistcoats made by the widows,  and the boots and pilot jackets made by the boys  themselves." The dormitory was the great store-closet  for all the boys' bags filled with things needful  on board ship; and on the top floor, we can well  imagine, the last day was a peculiarly melancholy  one. The work attendant upon the boys' last meal  at the Refuge was over, and there, in the long narrow  kitchen, stood the cook wiping away her tears with  her apron, and the six little waiting maids around  them, with the novel feeling of having nothing to do  - there, where so much cutting, buttering, and  washing-up had been the order of the day. When  the summons came to start, the police had great difficulty  in clearing a way for the boys to the vans  through the surging mass of East London poverty.  Some of the little match-box makers ran ail the three [-23-] miles from Commercial Street to St. Pancras Station  to see the very last of their boy-friends.  Derby was the stopping-place on the journey to  Liverpool, and the attention of passengers and guards  was arrested by this strange company gathering on  the platform at midnight and singing two of the  favourite Refuge hymns. Liverpool was reached at  4 A.M., and the boys filed off in fours, with their  canvas bags over their shoulders, to the river side,  where their wondering eyes beheld the Peruvian,  which was to bear them to their new homes.
    At this point, Miss Macpherson's sister - who is  carrying on the work of the Refuge during that lady's  absence - wrote as follows :- "Could our Christian  friends have seen the joy that beamed in the faces of  those hundred lads from whom we have just parted - could  they know the misery, the awful precipice of  crime and sin from which they have been snatched - we  are sure their hearts would be drawn out in love  for those little ones. If still supported," she continues,  " I hope to send out another party of fifty boys and fifty  girls while my sister remains in Canada, and shall be  happy to forward the name and history of a boy or  girl to any kind friend wishing to provide for a special  case. In the broad fields of that new country where  the farmers are only too glad to adopt healthy young  boys or girls into their families, hundreds of our  perishing little ones may find a happy home."
    On Thursday, the 12th of May, the Peruvian [-24-] dropped down the river; and, as the last batch of  friends left her when she passed out into the Channel,  these one hundred boys, with Miss Macpherson,  leaned over the bulwarks, singing the hymn, " Yes,  we part, but not for ever."
    From Derry Miss Macpherson wrote under date  May 13th :- "With the exception of two, all are on  deck now, as bright as larks ; they have carried up  poor Jack Frost and Franks the runner. It is most  touching to see them wrap them up in their rugs.  Michael Flinn, the Shoreditch shoeblack, was up all  night, caring for the sick boys. Poor Mike! He  and I have exchanged nods at the Eastern Counties  Railway corner these five years. It is a great joy to  give him such a chance for life."
    The voyage out was prosperous enough, though  there were some contrary winds, and a good deal of  sea-sickness among the lads. The captain seems to  have been quite won by the self-denying kindness of  the ladies, and he lightened their hands by giving  occupation to the boys. Then came out the result of  training at the Refuge. Those who had been some  time there showed themselves amenable to discipline ;  but the late arrivals were more fractious, and difficult  to manage. These were the lads "upon whom," as  Miss Macpherson says, "the street life had left sore  marks." Even when only nearing the American  coast, this indomitable lady's spirit is planning a  second expedition. " As far as I dare make plans, I [-25-] should like to return, starting from Montreal July  16th, reaching the Home July 27th, and then return  with another lot the second week in August. This  second lot must be lads who are now under influence,  and who have been not less than six months in a  refuge." The finale to this second letter, written  from Canada, adds : "The boys, to a man, behaved  splendidly. The agent's heart is won. All have  improved by the voyage, and many are brown hearty-looking  chaps fit for any toil."
    In.the Montreal Herald, of May 27th, there is an  account of these boys after their arrival, which says :- " Miss Macpherson is evidently a lady whose capacity for organization and command is of the very highest order; for boys, in most hands, are not too easily  managed, but in hers they were as obedient as a company  of soldiers. . . . . These boys will speedily be  placed in positions, where they will grow up respectable  and respected members of society, with access to  the highest positions in the country freely open to  them. . . . . We hope that Miss Macpherson will  place all her bops advantageously, and will bring us  many more. She is a benefactor to the Empire in  both hemispheres."
    The importance of this testimony can scarcely be  overrated, since many persons hold themselves aloof  from a work of this nature through a feeling that it is  not fair to draft our Arab population on a colony. It  will be seen, however, that it is not proposed to export [-26-] these boys until they shall have been brought well  under influence, and so have got rid of what Miss  Macpherson so graphically terms the " sore marks of  their street life."
    Apropos of this subject, it may not be irrelevant to  quote a communication which has been received from  Sir John Young, the Governor-General of Canada,  dated Ottawa., May 3rd, 1870 :-" For emigrants able  and willing to work, Canada offers at present a very  good prospect. The demand for agricultural labourers  in Ontario during the present year is estimated at  from 30,000 to 40,000 ; and an industrious man may  expect to make about one dollar a day throughout the  year, if he is willing to turn his hand to clearing land,  threshing, &c., during the winter. But it is of no  use for emigrants to come here unless they make up  their minds to take whatever employment offers itself  most readily, without making difficulties because it is  not that, to which they have been accustomed, or  which they prefer."
    I visited the Refuge and Home of Industry a few  nights afterwards, and, though Miss Macpherson was  absent, found all is working order. Sixty-three boys  were then its occupants. The superintendent was  anxiously looking forward to be able to carry out the  plan of despatching fifty boys and fifty girls during the  ensuing summer. The sum required for an East End  case is 5l. ; for a special case, 10l. The following are  specimens of about sixty cases of boys whom she [-27-] would like to send out, knowing that in Canada they  could readily obtain places :-
    P. E., aged seventeen.-Mother died of fever, leaving seven children; father a dock labourer, but cannot get full employment.
    L. J., aged thirteen.-Mother dead; does not know where her father is ; has been getting her living by singing songs in the lodging-houses; is much improved by her stay in the Home, and will make a  tidy little maid. This is just one of the many who might thus be rescued from a life of sin and misery.
    Returning home through the squalid streets that  night, where squatters were vending old shoes and  boots that seemed scarcely worth picking out of the  kennel, and garments that appeared beneath the  notice of the rag merchant, I saw the little Bedouins  still in full force, just as though no effort had been  made for their reclamation and housing. As they  crowded the doorsteps, huddled in the gutters, or  vended boxes of lights and solicited the honour of  shining "your boots, sir," I could not help picturing  them crossing the sea, under kindly auspices, to the  "better land" beyond, and anon, in the broad Canadian  fields or busy Canadian towns, growing into  respectable farmers and citizens ; and straightway  each little grimed, wan face seemed to bear a new  interest for me, and to look wistfully up into mine  with a sort of rightful demand on my charity, saying  [-28-] to me, and through me to my many readers, "Come and help us !"
    After the foregoing was written, a further letter  arrived from Miss Macpherson. All the boys were  well placed. The agent at Quebec wished to take the  whole hundred in a lump, but only eleven were conceded  to him. At Montreal, too, all would have been  taken, but twenty-one only were left. All found  excellent situations, many as house servants at 10l.  and 15l. a year. Eight were in like manner left at  Belleville, half way between Montreal and Toronto.  Sixty were taken on to Toronto; and here we are  told "the platform was crowded with farmers anxious  to engage them all at once. It was difficult to get  them to the office." A gentleman arrived from Hamilton,  saying that sixty applications had been sent in  for boys, directly it was known that Miss Macpherson  was coming out. So there is no need of anticipating  anything like repugnance on the part of the Canadians  to the reception of our superfluous Arabs.

source: Charles Maurice Davies, Mystic London, 1875