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Addresses of the Members in charge of the various Branches of the Work.
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No. 4.-VOL. V.
At Home and Abroad.
APRIL 1, 1882.
Annual Report of Convalescent Home.*
E have brought the needs of this Home so urgently and so frequently before our subscribers of late that the position in which it stands must be pretty well known to most of them, and we need do little more in this Report than state briefly what has been elsewhere detailed.
It has been a matter of great regret that we have been unable to make the present small Home available for many convalescents during the past year.
We have felt it incumbent on us to make room, as far as possible, for the poor workhouse orphans who, especially on their first arrival at the Orphanage, often need all the bracing influence of sea air, no less than good food, to restore them. For weakness of constitution is often their heritage, and this has been aggravated by neglect and want of proper nourishment, so that many months, or even years, of careful treatment are needful to counteract previous unhealthy influences.
Nor is this the only drawback to our receiving as many patients as otherwise we
Balance-sheet of accounts of this and other branches of the Society will be inserted in next month's number.
might have done. Our house is not only very small, but it is wanting in all appliances needful for a Convalescent Home. It has neither bath-rooms, nor lavatories, nor kitchen accommodation for a large household. It is, moreover, greatly in need of repairs of all kinds, for which we cannot afford the outlay when our tenure is such a temporary one. So that to crowd a number of delicate, sickly children in such a cramped dwelling would be likely to neutralise all the good effects of a seaside visit.
We cannot hope to see our new Hospital built and ready for use during the present year. Urged, therefore, by the consideration of the extreme disappointment unwillingly caused last year by the want of room, we have temporarily hired the house adjoining our present one. This can be fitted with twenty additional beds. The rent of the house will be fifty pounds, and the furnishing cannot be less than fifty more.
At the present moment, when we are making every exertion to raise the necessary funds for the new building, it is especially needful that we should incur no further expenses that can possibly be avoided. We trust, therefore, that our friends and subscribers will kindly help us in this matter, and come forward to meet the cost of this Temporary Seaside Home. Any who have not yet sent in their annual subscription are earnestly requested to do so at once. Contributions of furniture, bedding, &c., for the
additional rooms will be gratefully received by the Sister-in-charge, 5 Wrotham Crescent, Broadstairs.
We cannot conclude this report without reiterating our hopes that the day may soon arrive when this temporary makeshift may be superseded by its permanent successor, and the rooms of our new Hospital be ready for occupation.
To obtain this happy result we entreat our friends not to grow weary in their efforts, but to unite their prayers and endeavours with ours for the accomplishment of our cherished desire !
By the SECRETARY. JANUARY 13.-At the Docks.A very regular customer observed to-day to the young girl who was helping to serve, 'I can't get here by dinner-time. We're too busy just then for me to be spared from our place; but, I do assure you, I look forward all the morning to my basin of soup in the afternoon!' We can credit this assertion, for he sometimes takes as many as three basins-one after the other.
The wide-spread ignorance of most of the men about here could hardly be believed. Many of them can scarcely read a word. We had quite a harangue to-day from a workingman who had made his appearance for the first time: 'Excuse me,' he said, "but I think you make a mistake in not having plain writing outside your windows, instead of that fandangled stuff' the 'stuff' referred to meaning the characters in which 'S. Katharine's Sailors' Restaurant' is printed. Why, half the men can't read it. I've passed up and down here lots of times, and though I've heard tell of the place, and was looking for it, I never dreamt it was here. But to-day the door was half-open, and, peeping in, I saw a man's legs, and presently I saw some
men come out. Says I to myself, "Why shouldn't I go in too?" So in I came, and I'm glad I did, for I declare I never tasted better tea in all my life than this!'
An old man asked one of the Sisters what language a certain text was written in. She said, 'In English,' and read it to him. Soon afterwards, he said to one of the orphans, 'Are these Sisters Roman Catholics ?' 'Oh no,' replied the child, in a horrified tone'Church of England.' 'Are they French?' pursued the customer. 'No, English.' He seemed to reflect for a few moments, and then said, knocking his stick upon the ground, 'Well, I don't care what nation they belong to, for their soup's remarkably good!'
More visiting of the homes of our Sunday ragged class. The miserable manner in which many of these people eke out their existence is truly sad. At the top of a dark narrow staircase two Sisters found a youth, barely clothed, sitting stitching away at carpet slippers. There was nothing in his room but the table he sat at and some broken chairs.
The number of sailors, &c., who frequent the Restaurant increases daily.
A man came to breakfast this morning, who said afterwards, 'What a comfort it is to get one's breakfast so clean and comfortable ! Before this place was opened I mostly went without breakfast, for the places about are so dirty I couldn't fancy anything out of 'em.' A great many foreigners now avail themselves of the Restaurant, and seem much surprised at the cheapness of the articles sold. Their vain attempts to pronounce the names of the soups are most ludicrous.
Soup continues to be sold in large quantities. One man remarked to-day, 'Well, missus, I've tasted a lot of drops of soup in my life, but I have never tasted such good liquor as this-no, never.' 'Well! the plumduff's moderate enough, anyhow,' said another man in the Dock.
If anyone wants to see human life at its lowest ebb, it seems to me that they have only to visit the Dock district. The wickedness, want, and utter heathenism of such parts as
Bow, Poplar, Stepney, and Millwall are truly appalling. You may walk through street after street and meet only close-cropped, bullet-headed, villanous-looking men, and girls and women without a shred of respectability left them.
A few days since a woman called at St. Katharine's, and asked to speak to one of the Sisters. She had come a good distance, for she lived near Stepney. Her reason for asking assistance was that she had in the house a poor woman who was dying of cancer. There was no one to tend this poor creature or to do anything for her, and her landlady implored the Sister, with tears in her eyes, to go with her and help to wash the patient and change her bed. Such a request could not be refused. The Sister gladly proffered the required help. But, oh! what a sight met her eyes when she reached that wretched home in Stepney.
The patient had not been moved for a fortnight, and was in a truly shocking condition. To say that she had not a clean rag upon her would be to express most inadequately the state of the bed on which she lay. Her poor body, reduced to a mere skeleton, was covered with bed-sores. The power of speech had well-nigh left her, and her new nurse could but hope that the sufferer was soothed and comforted by the efforts made to lessen her misery.
A Sister, who called the following day, found that the patient had passed away in the night-her sole attendant the landlady, who announced herself to be a Spiritualist and Unitarian. Poor soul; no one had she at hand to cheer or brace her up for her last long journey; no one to whisper the saving name of JESUS in her ear, and bid her hope for pardon through His precious blood; no minister of GOD to kneel by and commend the trembling soul into the hands of its merciful Creator!
How sad this seems in Christian England, within the sound of church bells! Yet there are hundreds in these East-end regions of our great capital who die as this poor woman did. The harvest truly is plenteous. Oh,
let us all more fervently entreat the Lord of the Harvest to move many more labourers to go forth into the great harvest-field and win souls for Him.
January 21.-Our Sunday breakfasts to the little ragged urchins who live round the London Dock are very much enjoyed by the young guests, and the mothers continue most grateful for the one good meal provided for their offspring. One woman told the Sister to-day that her little boy had cried bitterly the previous Sunday because, as his clothes were in rags and his feet bare, she could not let him out of the house. His case is by no means a solitary one, and thankfully would a few bundles of cast-off clothing be received by the Sister in Charge, 42A Dock Street. Two little German boys craved admittance a Sunday or two ago. They could not speak one word of English, but seemed to enjoy hearing the others sing some carols.
A poor man at the Restaurant, after taking his soup at one of the tables, came up to the counter and said to the Sister who was serving out the food, 'Does this place belong to the same as Kilburn, near S. Augustine's-the church, I believe, is called?'
Upon her replying in the affirmative, he went on, 'Is the same clergyman still there? Oh (and a bright smile lit up his face), he is a good man, he is! If it hadn't been for him I'd have been body and soul in hell by
He afterwards told her that about three years ago he was walking past a house near S. Augustine's, crying bitterly, when a Sister happened to come out, and, seeing his distress, stopped him to ask what was the
"You would be scared if I told you," says I. But when she prayed of me to tell her -"Well, if you must know," I says, "I'm that sick of my life I'm going to make away with myself."
'She did look a bit scared then, and cried out, "Oh, no, that must never be!" and she sent off and axed the minister to come at He came, and took me to his house. There he talked to me, and prayed for me,
and went on so as I felt quite glad I hadn't laid hands on myself, and very different I felt when I went out to what I did when I went in.
'Since then I've been in the Afghan and Zulu wars, and knocked about above a bit, but I've never forgot what he said to me that day. And I've tried to do what's right. But it's very hard sometimes, Sister, very hard.'
It is very cheering thus to come across the fruits of past teaching, and this little incident seems to bear a message to all true toilers in CHRIST'S vineyard to go on casting bread upon the waters, in the sure hope of finding it after many days.
February 1.-' Would it be any use,' writes a lady, 'to try and raise fifty 57. notes for the Convalescent Home? If so, I should be glad to promise the first, and to pay it when the fifty are assured. You want so much help for so many things that one is tempted to offer even humble suggestions.' We are thankful for the hint. There are so many who could give 57. to whom a donation of 100%. would be an impossibility. It would be a grand thing to raise 250%. by this means, and we shall therefore be glad to receive the names of all willing to co-operate in this lady's plan. It would be encouraging if we could give the full list of fifty names in our next number.
A gentleman, who has just joined the Society, says, 'I have started a book of contributions, and intend to make a house-tohouse visitation in this neighbourhood, with a view to collecting funds for your institution. If you have any pamphlets or books, such
"Contrasts," which you can send me cheap for distribution, I will pay for them myself, and leave them with those who give me alms for the Home. My father also is using his influence.'
A friend, at whose request we once took seven destitute girls, writes: 'I am so very glad I was able to come last November to see your beautiful Orphanage, and the girls, whose interests are very dear to me.'
February 2.-To-day a lady, who went over the Orphanage on Saturday, called to
say she should like to be a member, and gave us a cheque for 12/
A black missionary visited the Home. He has promised to invite the orphans to a lecture which he is going to give in the boys' school, and at which he is to wear the native dress of his country and to exhibit a tomahawk. He drew bursts of merriment from the elder girls by his animated exclamation of 'Oh! what fine girls these are! what fat girls! No sham about them. They are all well-grown, stout, strong girls!' In the baby-room he was regarded with some suspicion, and one little one ran up into a corner and began to cry.
Received a parcel of clothing made by the 'Simla Children's Hospital Aid Society ;' two disused altar-cloths to be made up for the colonies; several counterpanes for the orphans' beds (the same friend promises to make some for our Broadstairs Home); some pinafores and old dresses; three little boys send 6d. apiece for the orphans; and a handsome book for the Home chapel was given by a friend, who had previously sent one for the colonies, and, hearing how much the Sisters admired it, presented a copy to the Home also.
'I enclose a cheque for 27. 2s. from one of the masters of a large shop here, whom I had asked to help. His employés have also filled a collecting card completely, and I think of sending cards to other shops, in the hope that they will do the same. It occurred to me that if you mentioned this in Our Work others might get tradespeople in their towns to give cards to their assistants.'
'I am sending by the Midland luggage train a little box containing various things, which I should not have ventured to send had I not seen in Our Work that all kinds of things, both new and old, are acceptable. Please tell me the conditions of membership. I suppose you admit girls of sixteen (which is my age).'
'The members of my Cottage Mothers' Meeting want to work for the Orphanage or Convalescent Home. Will you kindly tell me what sort of things would be most use