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hands. I think it a question by no means to
be left out of view, What kind of work does
the determined thief, or the determined swindler,
or the determined vagrant, most abhor?
Find me that work; and to it, in preference to
any other, I set that man relentlessly. Now, I
make bold to whisper in Mr. Hill's ear, the
inquiry whether the work best answering to
this description is not almost invariably
found to be useless work? And to such
useless work, I plainly say, I desire to set that
determined thief, swindler, or vagrant, for his
punishment. I have not the least hesitation
in avowing to Mr. Hill that it is a satisfaction
to me to see that determined thief, swindler,
or vagrant, sweating profusely at the treadmill
or the crank, and extremely galled to know
that he is doing nothing all the time but
undergoing punishment. I have a very strong
idea that he is sent to prison, rightfully, for
that purpose; and I have no idea whatever
that he is yet entitled to the privilege of being
taught a trade, or that his life out of that
place has established his claim within that
place to work as men work who are not
despoilers of their kind.

Considering prisons as hospitals for cure,
Mr. Hill seems to forget how often they would
be hospitals for incurables. Already, he justly
points out, prisons are chiefly filled with
professional thieves, to whom, when at large,
"thieving" is a profession. Does he think it
possible that the twelve professional thieves
of East Lothian; the fifty or sixty thieves
of Inverness; or the woman of eighteen years'
law and window-breaking experience who was
committed to jail seventeen times in twenty-
eight days; could ever be made to serve in
the ranks of honest folk by any sort of such
hospital treatment as he recommends?

In short, putting whitlows out of the question
just now (though I think, myself, there
is a great deal in them appropriate to this
subject and every other) I am afraid that
persons who get into prison, must continue
to accept prison, subject to many considerable
inconveniences; and that it is even better
for the community not to profit by the labor
of those persons, than to make their
condition suggestive of shocking comparisons
in the minds of the striving and honest.
Mr. Hill is a very sensible man, and has
served the public (like others of his name
and lineage) well, and has a far better eye
for looking over a prison wall and seeing
something outside of it than many authorities
I could name. I cordially agree with
him that the first thing to be done is to
exert and exhaust every real and sound
educational means of keeping people, from
their childhood upwards, out of prison. But,
when they have got into prison, and when we
are considering how to provide for them there,
we must mount with the aid of a Good Spirit
to the highest tower in the jail; we must let
that beneficent Asmodeus unroof the houses
for us, and show us how the people live, and
toil, and die; and we shall then know that we
must not stretch out a hand to touch a
privation or a hardship in the criminal's
condition, without a just consideration for every
humble figure in the great panorama.


IN the triangular space left between the
side of a steamer and a pair of barrels, many
years ago, there was jammed a boy, myself,
travelling from London to Rotterdam under
care of the steward. It was, or I was,
a pale boy with blue eyes and yellow hair,
aged ten. I thought that I had chosen with
remarkable skill an entrenched position,
parted by the barrels from an impertinent
world too ready with its vulgar consolations,
and very handy to the mighty basin of the
sea, for I was worse than qualmish. As for
the steward, I disowned his patronage. I
was a free boy on a free element.
Accustomed up to that date to an income of chance
shillings and half-crowns that never became
warm in my pocket before they were torn
out to feed an unknown monster bearing the
hard name of Savingsbank, I knew that
whatever adventures might befall, whether
from whales or pirates on the way to Rotterdam,
the ogre Savingsbank could not stride
through the ocean after me, though I had
money in my jacket, money in my waistcoat,
and gold sewn up in the waistband of my
trousers. I belonged to the monied world
and paid my way. That the steward was a
buccaneer in disguise, a very eminent sea
robber, I soon found out. But was he not
my most obedient, humble vassal?

"One service, steward, you may do me," I
said, "now that we are at Rotterdam. Tell this
Dutch porter, who shoulders so easily my
little school portmanteau and leaves me to
carry my umbrellatell him that I want to
go to the house of Mynheer Van der Tabak
and that he must take me there." To that
house I had been consigned, for Mynheer Van
der Tabak was the agent in Rotterdam to a
large school established at New Unkraut on
the Rhine. New Unkraut is upon the Rhine,
although you will not find the name on any
map; I went to school there, and I ought to
know. My father, tied to London, could not,
on my first departure thither, lead me in his
hand to the school-door, but he saw me safely
on my way over the worst part of the journey
London streets. From St. Katharine's
docks it was all plain sailing, and a boy of
ten must be a dunce indeed if he could not
find his own way up the Rhine.

Besides, there was Van der Tabak ready to
do everything. I had a letter to him,
addressed generally "Rotterdam," in which
town he was said to be so well known that
it had been considered impertinent and useless
to include on the address the street celebrated
as that on which his house abutted. I
followed the porter, therefore, confidently. He