Without very well knowing where I was going, my stomach, wiser than I, was
gradually impelling me to the leg-of-beef shop - it was near dinner-time - on
There! - I told you so!
Among the poor destitute youths who stood before the window, as usual, feasting their eyes upon the ruddy shins of beef and long French rolls in Mr. A-la-Mode's window, was one who, methought, looked hungrier, if possible, than the rest. He appeared a decent lad, and as he stood close to the window, with his back slightly bent, and his hands pressed against his spine, nothing but an empty stomach and thin pair of trousers between, my bowels yearned for him as well as for dinner, and I could not help beckoning the poor devil into the leg-of-beef shop.
“Two plates of soup, Mr. A-la-Mode, if you please, two potatoes, two breads, and one salad."
In society we must not confound ranks and stations ; the line between superiors and inferiors may be clrnwn fine as you will, but it must be drawn somewhere. I drew it with the salad.
“If I had a spoon," said the hungry lad, for the landlord had forgotten to give him one, " I could manage better."
“Don't steal it," said the landlord, throwing a pewter spoon upon the table.
“If I was brought up to steal spoons," retorted the lad, “I should not have been necessitated to go without a dinner."
In London poverty appears to greater disadvantage than in any other place I have ever seen: elsewhere men of the world are content to shun it ; here, the meanest of mankind delights to have a fling at it. Elsewhere it is a misfortune, here it seems to partake of the atrocity of crime.
John Fisher Murray, The Physiology of London Life , in Bentley's Miscellany, 1844