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PREFATORY.

HEREIN I have ventured to string together, in book-form, a selection from my from time to time experiences, chiefly published in the columns of a London daily paper, because it seems to me that, when after much exercise of patience and overcoming of difficulty, any specially bad case of disease or deformity in our social system has been brought to light, it is a pity that its term of exposure to public contemplationon which rests mainly its chance of cure-should last no longer than a single day. Besides, and apart from this, however widespread the influence of a newspaper may be, it cannot hope to include amongst its readers all who take an interest in the ways and means, the habits, haunts, manners, and customs of such members of the community as comprised the Strange Company I, one way and another, contrived to scrape acquaintance with.

I regard it as my duty to warn those who admire nothing so much as “fine writing," that it will be waste of time to seek for it within these covers. My Strange Company were not of the sort that take kindly to polish, being of a gritty race, and, individually, no more capable of refinement than a grindstone-human nettles that resent being dealt with gingerly or glove-handed. They have no notion of “dressing” for their photographs. You must take them in the rough or leave them alone.

In such manner I have taken them, and in the rough, and faithfully set down in this volume all that I learnt concerning them.

JAMES GREENWOOD.

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