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woman in the district I heard a story
illustrating in an odd way the same pervading
tenderness of spirit. She became actively
religious under the influence of some hot
preacher, and prayed to Heaven for the knowledge
of what she could do to show herself a
Christian. One day she told her husband
that her prayer had been answered: the
Lord had let her know what she must do. A
reprobate hawkerone Skulklived in their
court, and his neglected children, ruined by
familiarity with wickedness and filth, were
shame and scandal to the neighbourhood.
" I am to take a child," said the poor woman,
" and train it up in the right way. Will you
ask Bill Skulk for leave to adopt one of his
boys?" — " Certainly, my dear," said the husband,
who did not like the kind of son suggested,
but employed the tact of a domestic Metternich,
and, what is better far, the courtesy of a
true gentleman towards his wife; " certainly
I will do as you wish, but had you not better
think it over and ask the Lord again, for it
may be some other child, and not one of Bill
Skulk's boys, that we are to take." The
wife took time to reflect and pray. Very
soon afterwards a narrow-weaver died,
leaving an innocent child utterly desolate and
destitute. " Now," said the wife, " I know,
John, whom the Lord calls on us to help."
They took the orphan to their home, and were
a father and a mother to it.

I go back unwillingly to the actual spectacle
of want, but the reader shall be shocked
with few more words about it. In such a
case as this few words may suffice to beget
many sympathetic deeds.

I saw a shoemaker in a room destitute of
furniture watching the hungry faces of two
children. He possessed nothing but his tools,
and there was no work to be done with them.
There are three hundred small shoemakers
now in the workhouse, and thousands of
journeymen out of employ. There is an
export trade, I believe, of slop goods arrested
by the war. Be that as it may, I saw this
man standing in his empty room, wan, unshaven,
with no other clothes than a few
rags pinned or knotted in an uncouth way
about his person. A cruel mockery of bed
was in one corner, a little strawit will not
be believed how littleassuredly, for the bed
of husband, wife, and children, during a six
weeks' intense frost, not more than as much
straw as would stuff an ordinary footstool.
One hand would suffice to collect and lift it
all. A lump of salt was all the food in his

I saw the home of a bricklayer, who, when
he has work, earns thirty shillings a week,
and lives with a wife and nine children in two
rooms. We passed through the first room,
from which everything had been taken to get
bread. We went into the second room, and
found that also stripped. There remained
only two chairs, that were not chairs, and
had been left simply because they were worthless.
They had lost their seats, but one or
two sticks laid across the framework made it
possible to use them. In one such chair the
wife sat with a naked baby on her lap, her
own arms bare. Her gown had gone for
bread, her chemise, and the last things sold
were her shoes. There was a rag that covered
a small portion of the babytwo months old
the rest of its body the mother did her
best to cover with what little dressing
decency forced her to retain about herself.
Eight other children crowded round some
dying embers. Their distress was the more
pitiful to see because the woman had refinement
in her features, was gentle and uncomplaining
in her speech, and the condition of
the children showed that they had received
from her careful nurture. They were all
young, all bearing their privations with the
beautiful simplicity that belongs only to
children. A little boy with a round head and
flaxen locks planted himself before one of us,
and fixed his wondering blue eyes upon the
stranger's faceunconscious of the sorrows
of his homenot stirring foot or changing
for an instant the direction of his gaze until
the marvel had departed. I think these
children were not very conscious of privation.
It was impossible to look from their well-rounded
forms to the thin face of the mother
without feeling that for them all sacrifice was
made. I did not see the husband, but was
told that he was true and earnest like his
wife. The bed here was a small heap of the
ends of rushes in a corner of the room.

"How do you manage of a night ? "

"Those rush ends make a very soft bed.
They were in a piece of ticking, but we had
to sell the tick. The children sleep there.
My husband and I sit up on the chairs."

Surely there are many beds of down less
enviable than those two chairs, upon which
sitting must have been a sort of torture to
the body. In the dark room penetrated by
the bitter frost husband and wife, thinly clad,
sat nightly side by side, that they might
leave the little nest of rushes to their children.

I shall recall no more of these cases. In
no district of England was the misery occasioned
by the late frost so complete as in some
parts of London; in no place was the distress
borne with such complete tranquillity.
Not only were nearly all men labouring out
of doors deprived of their resources, but the
weavers have no spring trade to prepare for
in war times there will be few gaieties to bring
rich dresses into use, and many who would
wear them have been by the war thrown
into mourning. There are no orders for spring
novelties, and weavers, therefore, suffer. In
one whole district visited by us there was no
breach in the distress, the difference between
one house and that next to it was only in the
degree of destitution borne by those within.

What can be done? The workhouse
provided for the parish to which this district