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He came up to one of the Sisters and said, 'I have been looking at your window, and if you've no objection I'll bring some shells as I've got at home. They'd look real handsome there among the plants.' The Sister thanked him, and he soon after reappeared with his offering; and sure enough the shells were very pretty, and add greatly to the attractions of the window.
February 24.-'On my return to the country I intend, with the sanction of our clergyman, to inaugurate a Flower Mission for the benefit of your Restaurants, &c. I also hope most sincerely to start a (more substantial) Vegetable Mission there. I think also I see my way to getting you several offertories for the Convalescent Home, and shall soon apply for a large number of collecting cards.'
Readers of Our Work will be pleased to hear that 'The Goldsmiths' Company' has promised 50%. for the Convalescent Home. A lady says, too, that she has friends belonging to the Merchant Taylors' and other companies, and she has written to them to plead our cause. We trust that others will also exert any influence that they may possess to gain us some help from those who have it in their power to make such liberal donations.
Another little orphan was adopted to-day. The adopter was obliged to repair to the school and select an orphan from the class in which the children were collected. The same kind friend gave a warm invitation to any of the Sisters who might be begging in her neighbourhood to make her house their resting-place.
A visitor called this morning and said she should like to be responsible for half the expense of an orphan, but she could not afford 127. per annum, though half that sum she would willingly give. We were glad to be able to tell her that a lady had made a similar offer last week. It was very encouraging to have the remaining 67. made up so quickly; and the orphan thinks herself very highly favoured in being the possessor of two ladies.'
'I propose giving an offertory to the Building Fund of the Convalescent Home at
one of our special Lent Friday-afternoon services, and to the fund for the maintenance of the orphans on another Friday afternoon. I am afraid the amounts that I shall be able to send will be but small, but they will testify to the warm sympathy which we feel for these two most important branches of your work, and, being collected at special Lent services, will, I trust, be accompanied by many earnest prayers. Please send me some leaflets to circulate beforehand, with reference to both objects.'
February 25.-The clergyman of a neighbouring parish called at the Docks Restaurant, and said that the poverty of the neighbourhood was something quite appalling. He said he believed that many of the men who may be seen waiting about in the streets for work have not even one halfpenny in their pockets, and how they manage to exist at all is to him a problem very difficult to solve. He told us, on another occasion, that he had made inquiries of the men working on the Dock, how they had behaved to the Sisters since they made their appearance there. 'Well, sir,' they replied, 'we think we may say that we treat them with great honour.' This is very true-sometimes; and though they may appear rough and rude occasionally, it is very probable that they are trying hard to put on their best manners. As a proof of this we may mention that, after a great crowd had been served, a constable came up to-day, and remarked to the Sisters, 'Well, ladies, I never knew the men so quiet or so willing to be ruled by anyone as by you.' The Sisters were glad to hear so favourable an opinion expressed, especially as they had just been thinking how perfectly deafening was the clamour for puddings!
Once again as sins assail us-
Once more conquer through our LORD.
O Thou strength of faithful soldiers
We shall faithful prove in great things,
With Thy Saints from every nation
Who have served Thee faithfully, Saints, Confessors, guileless children,
Martyr-boys who died for Thee; All who aught for Thee have suffered, All who aught for Thee have dared, All for whom as faithful warriors Palms of victory are prepared.
Annual Report of .. Ragged Schools.
T becomes again our duty to lay before our subscribers the report of another year's work in this most interesting branch of our Asociation.
Although no new schools have been added to those already existing, we may, without presumption, review the past year as one of progress-a year in which the education of these poor children in true religion has been slowly yet surely, we trust, advancing, while the increase of numbers testifies to the popular estimation in which they are held.
The old garret in Linton Place, which has for so many years sheltered the wild, uncouth girls from the Lisson Grove slums who assembled to their hot breakfast Sunday after Sunday, has at last been pronounced too dilapidated for use. The School has, therefore, been transferred to the Mission House in connection with the 'Seven Stars' Restaurant in Harrow Road.
Here in clean, varnished rooms, bright with texts and sacred pictures, a larger congregation than ever assembles, and the staff of Sisters now resident there are able to supplement the Sunday teaching with weekday evening meetings for the elder girls.' It is our happiness to record that the fruits of the good agency that has been now going on so long are beginning to appear. It has been line upon line, precept upon precept,' for many a long day, and now a large band of young women are regular Communicants, and are fighting the good fight of faith amid the evil and blasphemy which surround them. Many, too, who are in service, keep up their intercourse with their teachers by letter, applying to them for advice, and often coming up for the monthly or quarterly gatherings which take place at the Mission House.
Turning our retrospective glance to the East End, we find that the Shoreditch Schools continue to flourish. The Mission House in New Nichol Street is always crowded with children of all ages-from the small infants who cover the floor of the attic to the young women 'in business,' who are regular attendants at the Bible Class held for them in the kitchen.
An immense improvement has taken place in the manners of these children while at school, and, whereas a few years ago a dozen or so unruly girls would baffle all the teacher's efforts to soothe or to interest, now a roomful of seventy or eighty will sit in the most decorous and attentive silence while the lessons of the Gospel story are week by week unfolded to them.
Many will show by their intelligent answers on the following Sunday how well they have taken in the previous instruction.
In S. James's Parish, Shoreditch, the attendance of both boys and girls is large, and here there is a Girls' Guild, which is always popular, and includes some who have grown up to womanhood in the school.
These schools are worked mainly by a staff of teachers from the Home at Kilburn, who spend their Sunday at the East End. We
greatly need some zealous and efficient volunteers who, by sharing the work of teaching, would relieve us of some of the extra labour and expense of so many journeys. In the boys' school, especially, help is needed. Are there not any, residing on that side of London, who might be moved to give up their Sunday, or even half of it, to help us, for the love of CHRIST'S little ones?
We have nothing special to record of the Mission School at Kilburn, except that it still keeps up its numbers well, and gathers many of the poorest and most ignorant of the boys and girls in this district.
A small class of boys has been opened at the London Docks by the Sisters resident at S. Katharine's Restaurant, and has been the means of gathering together poor neglected lads out of the streets, who go to no school, and are glad and thankful for the warm welcome accorded to them on Sunday morning at the Mission House. As this class has not long been opened it would be premature to speak much of it at present, but we trust it may in time become a means of much good among these poor fellows-growing up, as they are, without any religious teaching.
It now only remains for us to thank our subscribers for whatever help they have given us during the past year, and to entreat for continued and wider support. Let it not be forgotten that the cost of one Sunday breakfast for the whole year is only ten shillings. Surely many more would gladly spare half-a-crown a quarter for this good object ! It would add a greater, holier enjoyment to their own Sunday could they feel that a poor half-starved little Londoner was partaking of the nice inviting currant rolls and hot tea which their bounty had provided, and was thus not only warmed and fed in a bodily sense, but also brought within reach of that spiritual food for want of which his or her soul was languishing and ready to perish?
A Shoreditch Courtship and Qarriage.*
A TRUE STORY.
CONTRIBUTED BY AN EAST-END VISITOR.
Y grandfather was a French gentleman, as lived in Paris with his three sons-Paul, Dick, and Dan. Leastways that were their names after they comed over here. I can't tell ye what they was called in France.
They were rich, and had their own house, carriage and horses, servants and all. They was at the head of some big firm for the manufacture of silks and welvets, and knowed how to work the machine theirselves.
When it were the time of the Revolootion, grandfather and his sons were on the King's side, and lent him money. But when he got turned out, everything got wrong, and somehow the loan never got paid. My father was Dan, the youngest of the three brothers; and he had a bundle of papers concerning the loan. But when the King were dead, and the other side were masters, he didn't know how ever to get the money so as not to get caught by the enemy. The Persecution, too, were werry hot; and ever so many of the King's friends left the country. Among them, grandfather and his three sons came to London with all they could bring; and changing their name from Debois to Debuse, they settled down in different parts of the town, and took to weaving on their own account and making beautiful foreign stuffs for the London warehouses.
Of course they wasn't as rich as they had been before the Revolootion, and had to stint theirselves a lot.
Grandfather didn't live long after he came here, and Dan (my father) married a young
* The following narrative was taken down word by word from the lips of a woman well known to the writer.
woman from Staffordshire about a year after his arrival. He taught her to weave as beautiful as hisself.
Mother had seven children, but I was the eldest by a long way. They sent me to school very reg'lar, and I were a tidy schollard; but, oh! I were conceited of my learning. I've heard it said, ' Pride cometh before a fall,' and so it was with me.
I were about twelve years old. I took the typhus fever werry bad; and though it didn't 'zactly kill me, as you may see, it took all my brains out, and made a reg'lar dunce of me. Oh! I were just ashamed to show my face in school. I couldn't mind nothink I'd learnt before, nor nothink after. I sat there a-holding my head with my hands, trying to shove the learning in; but it warn't of no good. I were in such a fright I'd be called 'a dunce.' One day they axed me to spell a word. I didn't know what to say, but another one comed in my head, and, thinks I, it's better nor nothink. So, instead of standing and looking silly, out I comes with a-b-ab, b-o-t-bot, abbot. It were the only word as I knew in the whole Christian language, and I always kept that answer ready to give no matter what the question might be.
When I got old enough to leave school I took to weaving, too. This is how we worked Father wove welvet ten inches wide, and got 5s. a yard; mother wove satin eight inches wide, and got 4}ɗ. a yard; and I wove twilled silk ten inches wide, and got 10 d. a yard.
Once my father got an order from the Empress of Austria for twenty yards of black welvet with the pile on both sides. It was a great feat; but father managed it, and got 8s. a yard for it from Her Majesty.
It were about this time that the weaversfather and my uncles amongst them-struck for more pay. Then followed a stagnation in the business. The weavers waited till there was an outcry for silks, welvets, and the like, and then began work again. They took it to the warehouses, meaning to offer it at their own price. But meantime the
masters had had a private meeting. They looked at the stuff as if they didn't want it, and said quite careless-like, 'We'll take it off your hands for so much.'
Some of the men threw their heads up and marched off-either to go abroad or to try other trades. But others, who were starving, closed with the offers; and the end of it was that what they used to get 5s. for, they sold for 25.; what was paid 7d. for, now fetched only seven farthings.
After this I never touched the weaving again. I thought I'd do better in service, and I got a place not far from where father and mother lived.
One day I was out on an errand with a fellow-servant, Betsy by name, when I suddenly felt a tap on the shoulder, and, looking round, I saw a tall, fine-looking lad, some years older nor me. I stared, wondering whoever he was, when he actually asked if we wouldn't like a young man to take care of us. This made me outrageous, and I ordered the audacious monkey out of my way. 'I'm not agoing with a young man as I knows nothing about. Be off with ye!' And me taking Betsy's arm, we hurried down. a side-street, and so home another way.
Next morning my missus sent for me. She looked black as night. 'Martha, what's this I hear of you?' (I stared.) 'I don't like my servants to have followers at all, but I won't let them bring them to the house.'
'What in all the world is up?' thinks I to myself; for, you must know I had a real follower at the time-Dick Bell, as was a-courting me at father's; and, thinks I, 'if he's been a-sneaking about this place he needn't 'speck me to have a word to say to him no more.' (But this was all inside myself, you know.)
Seeing me stand flabbagast and speechless, my missus went on: 'Martha, you may go— go at once. Here's your wage, and never enter this door again.' I curtseyed low, took my money, and went up to the attic where Betsy and me slept, locked myself in, and cried. Then I washed my face, packed up my clothes, and away I went-quickly, till
out of sight; then werry slowly as I pondered in my own mind whatever I was to say to father. I made up my mind that some one had been making a fool of me, and that I must take my chance.
When I got to father's, what was my wonderment to hear him say, 'Well, Martha, how do you like it?' and both he and mother bu'st out laughing, as if they knowed something I didn't; it was clear they'spected me home.
I found it out at last. It seems George Kennedy-it was him as had spoke to me the night before-had been a-noticing me for some time, as I'd often gone his way when out at errands, and what pleased him more than anything was my turning of him off so sharp. He set to work to find out where I lived, and was ever so pleased to find father was Dan Debuse, whom he knowed well; and when he went to ask him to let me be his wife, father consented and told him where I was in service.
Well, this same morning as I got the sack, if George didn't akchally call on my missus and say, 'If ye please, ma'am, ye've got my going-to-be wife in your 'ouse. Would ye be so kind as to give her warning, as I wants to get married quick.'
There now! If that wasn't a trick to play a innocent young girl of seventeen! I didn't know what to do, so I half scolded, and half laughed, and father nigh fell off his chair with merriment at my face. Ye see I liked the young fellow's looks, but I didn't like his tricking me. Not long after he came hisself, and we had an explanation all to ourselves.
This George Kennedy was the only son of Irish parents as had for a long time kept a small shop in Dumbarton. He were born there, but they comed up to London when he were still a babby. He had one sister older nor hisself in service. George had been sent to school as reg'ly as possible, but he'd seldom gone. One of the wildest boys in the place he'd been, always playing truant, leading others into mischief, and never doing nought as was not to his mind; yet in spite of this he growed to be a steady