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mings" accumulate on the slushy cobble-stones where the babies play. You may see all this, and you may smell the dreadful liquid in the tubs. You may see it rolling down the kennel, sluggish as weak treacle. Out of this ingenious industry is evolved those wonderfully bountiful “penn'orth's” of cabbage, for which, in the flare of gas and marketing hubbub, poor mothers with large families, seek so eagerly, in order to eke out the scrap of meat that constitutes the staple of Sunday's dinner.
I should expect, if my projected Exhibition ever took place, that the aristocratic Belgravian visitors to it would take peculiar interest in the "'livening up” of cabbage plants. What could not be seen by looking in at the jaws of Little Hell, and the rest of the Turnmill Street alleys, the good missionary before spoken of, should describe to his noble and horrified patrons. He would tell them of a condition of affairs so horrible, that to exaggerate them would be almost impossible. Of men and women, and children by the dozen, herding in these crippled old houses, so snugly shut out from the highway-houses, the kitchen floors of which rot in stagnant pools, and are even too bad for the occupation of the by no means particular little Hellites, and the roofs of which are so shattered and broken, that when it rains every available scrap of crockery, with tubs, and pots, and kettles, have to be spread about the floor to catch the descending down-pour. Houses, the stairs of which are full of ragged splintery holes, that must be bad for little shoeless feet, and which have a dangling rope to assist the ascent, the legitimate handrail having been larcenously appropriated for firewood, long ago.
The painstaking missionary would also tell the sightseers at the Hyde Park Exhibition of the Wild 'Tribes
of Turnmill Street, of poor wretches who are too proud to beg or to go into the workhouse, and who every day of their lives set out to pick up their daily breadcast out crusts, bones with scraps of meat on them-literally out of the kennel, and who retire at night to sleep on filthy rags and shavings. Of little children who never come out to play for months together, because they have no rag to cover them, and who amuse themselves within doors, naked as young Kaffirs—a tribe they not a little resemble, both as regards colour, and the fashion of wearing their hair.
There are sweeps living in the alleys in the parlours of the houses; and there the bed is made and the food is cooked, all among the fat, full bags of soot; for the notion of ever washing herself or her inky progeny appears to Mrs. Sweep a better joke than attempting to scrub a blackamoor white. The good missionary could also tell of families living within his sphere of action, who keep the wolf from the door with cat's-meat skewers, cutting them and pointing them for a halfpenny a gross, and finding their own timber; of the blind and paralytic, and many who in the cold wintertime, lying ill and helpless on their dreadful beds, would starve outright did not charitable crumbs fall to them somehow : something besides crumbs, too-a little money for rent, or they would speedily find themselves put out into the street. “No credit” is the inexorable motto of Mr. Rent Collector in these crazy abodes of dirt and squalor.
Nor must it be supposed that the lodgings are cheap. On the contrary, they are villanously dear. I use the word villanously advisedly, because of the abominably cruel way in which high rents are screwed out of these poor lodgers. They cannot help themselves. They are of a class that wouldn't be accepted anywhere else but in a slum ; for the ways of slumming suit their ignorance, their disinclination to be clean, and the bare-faced shifts they are often reduced to, to make a living. The owners of these piggeries that go by the name of human habitations, are well aware of this ; and they know, too, that lamentably plentiful as slums are, they are not a bit more so than the demand for them. They are choice resorts, in fact, and those who affect them must pay for them.
It is no exaggeration to say that many of these horrible houses realize more rent than do tenements of a like size in a fashionable London square. It is one of the safest investments in the world for a heartless speculator. He is all right as long as he can stave off the sanitary inspector, and those who regard it as their duty to call public attention to his mean selfishness, and demand that, for health and decency sake, he should no longer be allowed to fatten on vice and disease and dirt. His tenants will stick to him. Their great dread is that, despite the heavy rent they pay, he will turn them out; and then what is to become of them ? Slums are dotted only here and there, and they are generally “ full,” and it may easily enough happen that the costermonger ejected from Turnmill Street may have to travel—with his family and donkey and barrow
-as far as Stepney, say, before he is able to find any one who will take him in; and then he will have to pay as much and perhaps a little more than he did in Little Hell.
THE nautical enthusiast who, in these degenerate days, set out on a pilgrimage to Wapping Old Stairs, in hopes of passing a pleasant hour with the worthy descendants of the heroes and heroines immortalised by the late Mr. Dibdin, would probably find himself disappointed. In vain he would search for that constant Molly whose artless declaration of her virtue-spotless as those trousers which it was her proud privilege to wash-can no more be doubted, than the fact that her love for her Thomas was as warm and as sweet as the grog which she made, and presented to his manly lips at the very earliest opportunity after his landing from the ship that had so cruelly borne him away from her. Fruitless, too, would be his inquiries after Harry Hawser, or Jack Robinson, or Billy Buntline, or any recognisable descendant of those flip-swigging, hornpiping, free-handed noble old bragging sea dogs, brave as lions in battle, playful and blythe as kittens in their shore frolicks, and tender as boiled fowl in their greetings and partings with sweethearts and wives. The modern Jack ashore is altogether a different being from that Jack of old, whose theatre of pleasure extended from Tower Hill to Shadwell Church, and who passed the whole of his time “ 'twixt cruises ” in uproarious hilarity, the patron of fiddlers, and the very soul and essence of good-humour and sprightliness. Here are the old taverns where jolly Jack Tar, both of the Navy and of the mercantile marine, used to drain his can of Alip, jingle his guineas, and, as a worthy son of Britannia that rules the waves, exhibit a proper contempt for land-lubbers, one and all. Here are the old taverns, as well as several of modern build, and they are ablaze with gas and plate-glass, and there are announcements of concerts and dancing-rooms. Men in reefing jackets pass in and out, some alone, and some in close companionship with females in ball-room attire. There is the sound of music within, and shrill female laughter. This is promising. Let us enter the Old Frigate, and see how the modern Jack-ashore disports himself.
A first look round somewhat damps one's expectations; the more so, because it is evident at a glance that the male customers who cluster about the extensive bar are seafaring men, and that the females present are their consorts. A terrible-looking lot the latterbrutal, blear-eyed, savage, from fifteen to fifty and over, all with a thirst for gin as ferocious as that of the tiger for blood, and with as little consideration for the victim who supplies it. No blandishment or “blarney” with those bruised and bloated Black-eyed Susans; no ogling or make-believe of affection, or even of affable toleration, for the men whose pockets they are draining. They demand more gin or rum with the air of a Whitechapel fighting man in female disguise, and spill it down their capacious gullets without so much as a bare “thanky.” But perhaps these are not fair samples of the modern“ lass that loves a sailor. The "concert hall” is at the end of a passage; a curtain screens the entrance to it; and no doubt within its more secluded precincts, Jack ashore, and in search of that lovely charmer, a few hours in whose blissful society