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THE 13th of January, 1852, was a decidedly
wet day. You, reader, as a shadow, not
affected by the weather; I, as a motionless, damp
substance, under the porch of the Blackwall
Railway station, looking up at the immense
wet slate in the sky, and down at the few
human sponges whom fate urged, for some
motive or other, to a run across the puddles
on the pier. The river before us had a
languid, sickly look, as if it had just come
from swallowing a sewer. As for the opposite
shore, utterly flat, it seemed to be
depressed entirely, on account of the uncomfortable
aspect of the morning.

It was our fancy to come down to Blackwall
half-an-hour before the time appointed
for embarkation on board the steamer which
was to carry us alongside an emigrant ship,
" The Euphrates," ready to sail this afternoon,
weather permitting. Let us employ the
spare half- hour out of the weather's reach, by
the fire in the adjacent waiting-room ; and
over that fire I will tell you for what reason
we propose to visit The Euphrates.

Do not believe any one who remarks that
they are unlucky in their day, when I tell
you that at this moment sixty poor girls
out of the wilderness of London, who have
scrubbed hard, and stitched hard, trying hard
to be honest, but almost in vain, are, under able
kindly guidance, quitting the great city. They
will arrive here soon, when we will join them.
For half-an-hour more they tread English
soil. Every day, nearly, has hitherto
oppressed their hearts with damp and gloom,
like that which is on this day oppressive to
our senses. In half-an-hour they lift their
feet for ever from a soil that has yielded for
them a too scanty measure of its cheer ; and
the sails of the good ship Euphrates are to
carry them to mended fortune. These poor
girls form, in fact, the twentieth and largest
party of the needing needlewomen and
unprosperous domestic servants sent out by the
Right Honourable Sidney Herbert's Female
Emigration Fund. The whole number of
emigrants despatched by this Fund, on the
nineteen previous occasions, has been six
hundred and thirty-seven ; so, including
the present set, about seven hundred poor
girls will have been freighted away from
poverty and destitution to a land where they
are certain of a livelihood.

I now " hold in my hand " (because I have
just pulled out of my pocket) an Occasional
Paper, published by the Committee of the
Female Emigration Fund, containing specimens
of letters recently received from
emigrants sent out by them. While we await
the arrival of the train which is to bring
our young friends of to-day, we may profitably
spend the little time we have in gossiping
about the Home Talk of their predecessors. As
for the Fund itself, to be sure there are some
wise people who complain of the small scale
on which an operation of this kind has to be
conducted; who complain that it can exert no
influence upon the aspect of our social system,
and that by favouring a few women who are
sent away in peace, it becomes unjust to
those equally deserving objects of compassion
who are left behind in trouble. For my own
partit may be eccentricityI think that if
a man can bake but a few batches of bread
during a time of famine, it is much better
that he should do so, and distribute his few
loaves as he is able, than that he should leave
his flour in bags unmoistened, because he is
unable to make bread enough to feed a
people. Let us all do good as we can, and
strive on to do ever more ; and let those who
grumble at the limited means of the Female
Emigration Fund prove their sincerity by
sending their subscriptions in, so that its
means may be less limited in future.

From the emigrants' letters now before us,
let me read to you here and there a passage :
for the glimpse they give into the " short and
simple annals of the poor " is of a kind which
will gladden us, and serve, as well as brandy,
to keep out the weather.

E. M. had been a needlewoman earning
five shillings a week. We may wonder how
she lived upon it, until we remember that in
many districts of this country able-bodied
men receive seven, or sometimes even six
shillings a week for the support of themselves,
their wives, and families. I lately visited
an English parish in which the land is
extremely poor, where the whole income of some
men, who had families to support, was four
shillings a week from daily labour, and
eighteen-pence in parish aid. Happy are
they who can find means of escaping to a