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ful gifts made by the Society to their dioceses, they wish to become subscribers to our Convalescent Home.
'I return you my cards all filled up, and please send me another packet of shilling cards at once. I will try to collect all that I can during this year.'
'I am able at last to return you the collecting-cards which my two servants have had. They have taken great interest in getting them filled, through reading Our Work, which I let them see every month. May I ask for some more papers and prayers to distribute? I think I have succeeded in gaining three new members.'
'We read, with deep interest, Our Work, which gives such a graphic account of all that is being done; and The Banner of Faith we shall find most useful for lending in our district here, as it promises to supply a need long felt, and furnishes a missing link in the books suitable for such a purpose.'
These and hundreds of similar letters testify to the earnest and widespread sympathy felt for the several branches of the Church Extension Association, and especially for our great enterprise-the building of the Convalescent Home. As the time draws near for us to engage in this great work, we seem to realise more and more how serious is the responsibility; and we can only beseech our friends to share the burden with us, lest it become altogether more than we can bear. It is surely worth an extra effort to help in erecta Home which is to be upon so spacious and liberal a scale-so solid, substantial, roomy, airy-so all that a Home for sick children should be; and which, long after we have been called to our account, will remain a standing witness of the faith and charity of those benefactors through whose generosity it has been built.
February 3.-From the Docks the Sister writes Things seem looking up heremore ships in to-day, and fresh men at work. Rather unruly some of the latter proved to be, as soon as it began to appear that the supplies would run short before all could be helped.
As the pushing and struggling to get 'first served' threatens to overturn the stall, the Sister says, with a smile—
'Really, if you make such a noise, I must stop for a time-at the same moment laying down her knife. One man (addressing the others), I say, mates, shut up, can't yer? yer'll make her leave off.' Then, turning to the Sister, he says very earnestly, 'Yer won't stop, will yer, missis? 'cos we all wants our pudden' so werry bad.' The last slice is sold, when up rush three men. All gone again! cries one. 'Oh, dear me! this is the third day I've had to go without.' The others were beginning to clamour, when they were called to order with-Hush! will ye be quiet? Don't yer see she's doing her best, and she can't do more?'
'Oh, if you please, ma'am, turn yer attention this side, will yer?' is a frequent petition.
February 4.-Everyone knows in what semi-darkness Londoners have been living during the last few weeks, and what gloomy days people have passed groping about in the thick black fog, or trying in gas-lighted offices and shops to carry on the business of life as usual.
Yesterday things seemed to have come to a climax; and if there was a spot where the dark, dense mist seemed more impenetrable than elsewhere, it was down at the Docks. The Sister in charge writes:
Half-past eleven came, and it was time to pack up the food and start for our two soup-stalls-one in the London Dock, the other at Wapping. The man who wheels the truck to the latter place positively refused to go on this particular morning. 'It's pitch dark,' he said; 'yer can't see an inch before yer nose. I ain't a going to risk my life!' It was ultimately agreed that he should help the London-Dock man to reach his accustomed stand, so as not to disappoint the poor labourers altogether. Two lanterns were procured, and the procession sallied forth. It was pitch dark. We two Sisters walked close behind the truck, and by dint of feeling our way along the wall, and with the help of two or three persons who
came to our assistance, reached our standingground in safety. We were passing the place, and might have stepped with great confidence into the water, had not a cheerful 'Here yer are, ma'am' from some of our would-be diners, stopped us.
It seems they had not in the least expected us, and very quiet and civil they were; so much more so than ordinary, that one man observed, 'They're tamer to-day, ma'am,' as if he had been talking of a number of wild beasts.
Just as we left St. Katharine's we were greatly saddened and shocked to see the dead body of a man carried past. It seems that two vans had come into collision in the obscurity, and the driver of one, falling from his seat on to the pavement, was killed instantaneously. How, living in a neighbourhood like this, where such sad casualties are only too common, we learn to realise the truth of the words-'In the midst of life we are in death!'
'Please say again for us how extremely grateful we feel to the kind well-wishers who so continually send us the Illustrated Papers. They afford most genuine pleasure to the men; and when they have been well turned over, thumbed, and spoilt, we sell them for waste-paper, and so make a little towards our expenses.
'We have also received several donations through the post-of 2s. 6d., 5s., and is. Id.— which we desire to acknowledge. The expenses of this Mission are, and must be, very heavy, and it is cheering to receive help from these distant friends. An anonymous gift of early snowdrops, &c., was also welcomed gladly.'
February 6.-Taking advantage of the darkness last week, some of 'the unemployed' managed to steal some meat-sandwiches from our truck as it wheeled slowly through the murky fog. As these poor men belong to the 'dangerous classes,' we can hardly be surprised that they availed themselves of this opportunity of supplying their needs gratis. Considering their lack both of provender and principle, we only wonder they didn't do much worse.
From our Restaurant in 'the Row' the report is that it is next to impossible to serve the men who crowd in. All the food provided is pronounced excellent. An old man presented a note from a friend of his, containing a request to be furnished with the receipts for our soups. The writer was an invalid, and had found our Scotch broth, &c., nourishing and digestible. Of course the desired directions were most willingly supplied. At the same time we rather doubt the result, for English people seem to find soupmaking an insuperable difficulty. As the saying is It seems to taste of nothing but grease and water.' Some of the men are noticed deeply engrossed in The Banner of Faith.
The sales in the Book-store amounted last week to the encouraging sum of 37. We are truly thankful that our publications are beginning to sell well, for the printing expenses are about the heaviest we have. We find it very difficult to meet them. Among various gifts received at the City Restaurant we must notice: five large barrels of apples, a cheese, a parcel of clothing, and 31. 35. towards a street-truck.
February 6.-Yesterday, Sunday, a most pleasant surprise greeted one of the Sisters at the Shoreditch Sunday Schools. A little girl presented her with an envelope containing 10s., and an Orphanage collecting-card well filled up with pennies. The child belonged to a class of some fifteen or twenty of the Shoreditch poor-many of them very poor. Some of these had themselves been among the inmates of our little seaside Home, and they had worked hard to collect the desired sum, in spite of hard times, sickness, and poverty! The well-worn condition of the card bore testimony to the many fingers through which it had passed. One girl of eleven had obtained upwards of 3s. by her own efforts. And when it is mentioned that she is one of a needy family of six, the father of whom is often so crippled with rheumatism as to be unable to work for weeks together, the zeal which animated this unselfish worker surely deserves to be recorded, if only that others may be moved to 'go and do likewise ! '
We have sometimes referred to the popularity of our Sales of old clothes' for the benefit of the Kilburn mothers. How great a privilege they are esteemed may be gathered from the following epistle, which has reached. us from one who was formerly a resident in the parish, and whose little children had attended our schools. We give it verbatim :—
'From Mrs. L., late of Rudolf Road, Kilburn. 'Dear Sister C.,-I write to ask if you can let me come to your next sale of close, as I am Every Bad of for close for myself and five children, and one child who I have had under the Docker for A long time, and have got to get flannels for him and as I have save A few shillings if you will let me no the time and the day I shall be Every thankful to you, your truly, Mrs. L.
nearly reached the ceiling, notwithstanding the diligent unpacking and sorting which was ceaselessly carried on.
As Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, the festivities proper to the day were postponed till Monday, and on that evening the various presents provided by the thoughtful kindness of their own ladies,' or their 'little ladies, were distributed among the orphans, causing many eyes to sparkle with delight. Bran pies were provided for those children who had not been so fortunate as to receive special presents, and into these, numerous hands were dipped, and all manner of delightful prizes and 'surprises' were drawn from them.
The evening closed with a festive supper -of sugared cakes, with an abundance of crackers, figs, almonds and raisins, &c., &c.
Three days in Christmas week were devoted respectively to the Kilburn Sundayschool Treat, the Ragged Schools Treat, and the Orphans' Treat, while the following week saw us busily engaged in providing entertainments for nearly 500 children belonging to the Shoreditch Sunday-schools.
Here a great difficulty presented itself. We have no school capable of accommodating such numbers, and no room suitable for such a purpose was to be found in the neighbourhood. The difficulty was at last happily overcome through the kindness of the School Board Committee, who put one of their large schools at our disposal, and the entertainment was a very decided success.
The juvenile party was succeeded the following night by a gathering of over 200 women attending the Bible classes. This was to many, more interesting than the children's treats.
The guests were certainly far less demonstrative. The cheers, and songs, and stamping of feet were no longer accompaniments of the entertainment, but their enjoyment and appreciation of everything provided for them was no less real and heartfelt.
How well they all behaved! How grateful they were for their presents! How lost in admiration of those wondrous fairy trees! What a delightful excitement it was to draw
for those tempting-looking bundles which were so soon to be unrolled and put round their own shoulders! What a pleasant surprise was the picture, or work-bag, or scrap-book which the woollen cross-over concealed!
Who would have guessed that those quiet, respectful, well-behaved women came, for the most part, from the very lowest courts in Shoreditch?
And then the dear old people, how they enjoyed it all! How delighted they were at seeing some of the orphans act 'Beauty and the Beast'! There were two rows of our old friends all above seventy, and some over eighty years of age, seated in the place of honour-the infants' gallery, right in frontso as to see and hear everything.
What a sight it was to look up at that crowd of faces, and to see the depressed, hungry, anxious look, which is the habitual expression of so many, give place to a look of innocent, downright enjoyment just for one evening in the year!
As to the old people, many will tell you that when they gets a bit o' fire they sit over it thinkin' of last Christmas till Christmas comes round again.'
But there is yet one more Christmas gathering which deserves special notice.
Our kind friend Mrs. Kingham, the lady'smaid who for several years past has provided funds for supplying the poor in Shoreditch with a Christmas dinner, this year sent us no less a sum than 97. for this object.
This sum, supplemented by a smaller contribution, enabled us to increase the number of dinners to 320—and such dinners! Such roast beef, potatoes, and plum pudding, with half a loaf to each person!
We only wish the kind donor could have seen the happy, grateful faces of the recipients of her bounty, as they carried away their portions, calling down blessings on those who had so kindly and generously provided for them such genuine Christmas fare.
Yes, another Christmas has passed away; but the loving thoughtfulness for CHRIST'S poor and CHRIST's little ones, of which we have had such abundant proof, and the self
denial which has accompanied the gifts, have not passed away; they have ascended with the grateful thanks and blessings of those who were benefited by these gifts, borne up and offered as sweet incense before GOD'S Throne, to return again in showers of blessing on those who did not forget to 'send portions to them for whom nothing was prepared.' For the words of the old carol are surely true :
Therefore Christian men be sure,
Ye who now will bless the poor,
JORD, for to-morrow and its needs I do not pray;
Keep me, my GOD, from stain of sin,
Just for to-day.
Let me both diligently work
Let me be kind in word and deed,
Let me be slow to do my will, Prompt to obey; Help me to mortify my flesh, Just for to-day.
Let me no wrong or idle word Unthinking say; Set Thou a seal upon my lips Just for to-day.
And if to-day my tide of life
Give me Thy Sacraments Divine,
Receive and cleanse my parting soul;
So for to-morrow and its needs
Signals of Distress from Shoreditch.
Na retired corner of an out-ofthe-way mews in Shoreditch, up two flights of stairs, there lives an old widow upwards of eighty, her only certain income, after she has paid her weekly rent, being exactly 3d. per week.
Is it possible? we hear some of our readers say.
" Possible, and, alas! 'true' Certainly one half of the world does not know how the other half lives.
But how does she manage?
In this way. She receives a weekly allowance ofcwt. of coals, a quartern loaf, 4 lb. of tea, and lb. of sugar, and a Sunday dinner; and the 3d. is judiciously laid out in sundry additions to this meagre fare.
But why does she not go into the House? At least she would get there sufficient food and clothing, which would surely be better than this semi-starvation.
If our readers could only take a peep into that little home, they would be able to answer this question for themselves.
Why, dear old lady, it would break her heart even to suggest such an asylum; for she is one of the many who have seen much better days, but who, in their old age, are nearly pushed out of this toiling world altogether in the struggle for existence.
First of all, look at her bed. 'Real mahogany, my dear; it was in 1851 Exhibition. My husband he made it all himself; he used to work for the big cabinet makers down here.
And the white curtains, how clean they always look! Well, you see, my dear, they was my petticoats once; but I don't want white petticoats now, so I made 'em into curtains.'
Look, again, at the old worn-out horsehair sofa-a remnant of better days long since gone by-and at the chest of drawers, the top of which, together with the mantel-piece, is a perfect museum of curiosities, faded
photographs, memorial cards, and other ornamental sundries, each with its own special history, and each doubtless a fondly treasured memento of the past.
If you wish to please the old lady very much, you will not fail to admire her 'garden. Our old friend is a very successful window-gardener; a flourishing little geranium has been her faithful companion for years, and any plants that may be given her she cherishes as 'dear friends.'
Before you descend the narrow stair, we should also like to draw your attention to the floor. How scrupulously clean it is! She does all the scouring herself, notwithstanding a fearfully diseased leg, which, by the way, it will give her the greatest pleasure to show you.
She will explain that several months ago she was carrying her pail up the steep stair, when she fell and gave her leg a terrible bruise. She did not pay much attention to it at the time; but the pain increased, and the bruise became a wound, which spread rapidly, causing her great agony, and confining her for several weeks to her bed.
Now, however, she is thankful to tell you, she can crawl about a little ; and, at whatever time you may pay her a visit, we venture to say that, if she has strength to get out of bed, you will find her with flannel, soap, and pail, making an effort to wash her floor.
'I can't bear the dirt, my dear,' is her answer to your remonstrance. 'I've nothing else to do. I'm soon tired and then I sit down and rests a bit, and then goes on again, and so it takes me pretty nigh all day; but oh, thank the LORD that I can do it, for when I was lying there in bed I couldn't bear to see the state the room was in.
There is one thing more which we must not omit to mention. Mrs. B. has for years been a weekly Communicant. Nothing grieves her so much as to be positively unable to manage the short distance that separates her from her parish church; and Sunday after Sunday, if she can but crawl there, she may be seen in her accustomed place.
Are the dreary wards, allotted to the aged and infirm in our workhouses, a suitable