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school near London, copied from my Diary, and I doubt if matters would be found to be much amended at the present time, in many of the schools, in these respects. “I had received an order from one of the guardians to visit the schools. The son of the superintendent (also an officer there) showed us over them, after keeping us waiting some time. He said there was a mistake about the visiting days, and that the guardians had no power to admit visitors ; he evidently would have sent us away if he could. I said, “But was not Mr. B--- a manager also ?' He then owned he was. The schools were in an unfinished state—there might be a day for visiting byand-by ; however, he would show us round now we were there. I thought his manner very unpleasant. By degrees he told us a good deal. He evidently considered their ways were perfect, and they needed no suggestions. I ventured to ask if the number (over 1000) was not too large to be manageable, and to allow of individual care and superintendence ? His answer was, “ Lord bless ye, we could manage twice as many just as easily—the expense is the same. All he said I thought was coarse and disagreeable, as if he had lived amongst ' paupers all his life. He said, 'What metal we have to deal with ! We can't send them out except on fine days ; they can't bear the cold, and fall ill directly.' (I could not help thinking whether this bitterly cold and exposed place was suitable for these poor, miserable children, brought out of close London homes.) In the dining-hall he said, “We must overlook them all ; they will pilfer or barter anything-food, and so on. One boy broke into the store-room, and was seen carrying away loaves. For punishment he had to carry them about on his head,
walking up and down ; he said he would rather have been flogged.' We went through kitchens, with steam-boilers and apparatus of the most approved kind ; in another room were fireplaces, where the smaller cooking is done under a good cook. I said, 'I suppose they learn the better sort of cooking in doing things for the superintendents ?' His answer was, “I take good care they don't spoil my dinner !' In the infirmary were in bed, some sitting round the fire, miserable, diseased objects; one with dreadful eyes, who could scarcely see. I asked what would become of him when turned out, at sixteen? He would probably be sent to the 'house,' and remain there for life. For such, then, it ought to be made an asylum, not a workhouse. Some were in a hopeless state, and he spoke in a thoughtless way before them, saying they would die, or joking about it. It was touching to hear that the poor things frequently beg for a bit from the superintendent's dinner, asking to have it upon his plate, their own being plain white ones! What a longing of the childish heart for change and beauty does this show ! One room was filled with girls at work. They do not learn to cut out-'it would be too wasteful ; it would cost threepence a head more if they did.' I did not see why the elder girls should not have been taken in turn, and shown how to do it. I was glad to hear that when the inspectors go down (about every three months) they often take ladies with them, who say they go to put their husbands in mind of what to ask, as there are, of course, many things more in their way. The chaplain undertakes to look after those who leave, for two years. I could not help thinking this was a work far more fit for ladies, who, in each parish, might undertake this duty more efficiently for the girls. I much wished to see the matron, but she did not appear. Mr. spoke of the scenes they often had with the parents, their parting with the children, and the dreadful language often used ; and their accusations if they are ill. One man abused him for having done something to his child's arm ; by the next visit it was better, and the man apologized for having been so rude. I said it was a good thing, and satisfactory that he did so. 'Oh,' said he, that was nothing. You can't depend on these people; they will say a thing one day and another the next !' It is said that the superintendent is making a good thing of it here—in fact, a fortune! He and his party certainly seem to live on the fat of the land; he talked of his 'souffléts, in speaking of his dinners, and of their 'parties, with bits of fowl over, and so on. To be head and ruler over 1200 living souls, about seventy of whom are paid officials, what an office of responsibility and trust-demanding qualities of a high order indeed, yet persons are sought for from a low and uneducated middle-class ! Who could fail to draw a comparison between such a tone and management as we found there, and that at the large foreign institutions of Mettray and the Rauhe Haus of Hamburgcontrasting the love, the self-devotion of their managers and founders, the noble De Metz and Wichern, whose spirits have indeed seemed to go forth in holy influence over their whole work, the nature of which was surely as apparently hopeless and arduous as any that our pauper institutions could offer! When shall we even try to seek for persons thus supremely and nobly fitted for their work, in our English schools and asylums?”
In April of this year I went one day to the Poor Law Board to speak to Mr. Farnall (in whose company I visited several of the Metropolitan workhouses), and when I told my name to the attendant, he said he knew it well - he had known and loved my family for forty yearsand he added, “I must thank you for all you are doing ; it is the greatest kindness !' He added more, but I was so taken by surprise that I hardly knew what to say ; and just then we were interrupted by Mr. Farnall coming in, and I had no time to ask for an explanation. But I afterwards learnt his name, and that he was a trusty messenger.
The following is an extract from the Journal of the Workhouse Visiting Society, which I give as showing another example of a sad and deserving " workhouse friend” »:
Amongst numerous instances of patience and piety to be met with in the hidden wards of workhouses, I have one especially before my mind, which I wish to record, before its remembrance has faded, and becomes lost in that vast number of those who are continually passing from the sick wards,-many of them, we trust, to a better home above.
“ The friend of whom I write had been about ten years in this London workhouse. I cannot remember how long I had seen her there, but it is many years since I first noticed a poor woman, of middle age, who was always sitting on a low stool under a window, and between the turned-up bedsteads of an infirm ward : her two next neighbours beyond had both been bedridden for some years. I found that she was a cripple from an accident, but the particulars of this circumstance I do not remember. I regret now that I did not ask more about her history, but I always fear to appear inquisitive about what the inmates do not freely communicate. She was then, however, entirely lonely, without relative or friend, but her family had been respectable and tolerably well off. One after another had died, and she spoke frequently of her losses, the death of her sister being the last sorrow ; she used to visit her in the workhouse, and after her death her life was lonely indeed. It was chiefly then that I began to notice her, and I believe her affectionate friendship for me was most sincere. She was one of the most earnest Churchwomen I ever knew in her rank of life, and her delight in speaking of the services of the Church was very great. Her especial subject of interest was St. Paul's, and she was always most anxious to hear and read about the meeting of the charity children there. She had also much interest in the Jews, and when at home knew about the society for their conversion. She often asked me about them, and I lately began to take in for her the monthly number of the Jewish Intelligencer, which greatly pleased her. About two years ago I proposed to visit her ward on Sunday afternoons, to read the service to those who could not get across the court-yard to attend the services in the house ; she was the first to welcome the proposal, and I shall never forget the joy and gratitude with which from the first she joined in the prayers and repeated the alternate verses of the Psalms.
“ The first Sunday when we had finished she could not express her joy, saying she had not heard the Church prayers for years, and adding, 'Oh, thank you for the means of grace!' She always welcomed me with delight, saying, “I look for you as the thirsty land longs for rain ;' or, ' I think of your coming all the week; it helps me to