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AND FRIEND OF THE
SONS OF TOIL
Published for the Editor by S. W. PARTRIDGE, at the Office of the “British Workman,” No. 9, Paternoster Row, London. [Price One Penny.
AS HE WAS, AND AS HE IS.
BY THE REV. ALEX. WALLACE.
It was on a dark, rainy, cold evening, towards the close of the autumn of 18—, that I passed, for the first time, through the village of Lowmoor, in the neighbourhood of Bradford, Yorkshire. Long before I approached the confines of this smoky region, I was very much struck with the appearance of the clouds that seemed a perpetually heaving mass of flame, as if all the furnaces in England had been planted in this part of the country. As the omnibus on which I was seated from a neighbouring railway station passed through the village, seen doubtless to greatest advantage at night, the belching flames from the numerous chimneys that stood all around, formed the grandest
Display of real fireworks
I had ever seen. Then came the all-important questions which I could not help revolving in my own mind, as the omnibus proceeded at a rapid rate towards Bradford: How many men must be employed in these works ? What is their social condition? Can total abstinence be introduced into such a fiery atmosphere as this? Is not this a place where it would be impossible to adopt such a principle? Can men engaged at such an occupation ever be led to cultivate refinement of thought, or a taste for reading? Such questions as these, and many others of a similar nature, were passing in quick succession through my mind, when the omnibus entered at a rattling pace.
The smoky town of Bradford;
and I had already resolved, before I dismounted, that I would pay an early visit to this modern Pandemonium of Yorkshire, and satisfy myself as to some of these inquiries.
True to my resolve, an early day found me in the midst of the furnaces, and forges, and sheds of Lowmoor, where there is certainly work performed of which Old Tubal Cain, or even Vulcan himself, or the ancient Cyclops had never dreamed. I was
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THE BRITISH WORKMAN.
more than astonished, I must confess I was not a little alarmed, as the hammermen, (sly rogues,) with dexterous cunning, intentionally made the sparks fly like showers of fire about the head of any luckless stranger like myself, and made the large
Red-hot balls of iron
roll amongst his feet. Men wielded long rods of red-hot iron with as much ease as a cricketer his bat, or a coachman his whip; and sheets and rods of iron were cut with as much ease as so many pieces of calico or coarse paper. And then the fearfully hot work of the furnace or the forgemen with their faces scorched and drenched all over with perspiration, and the horrid din, compounded of clanking machinery, roaring flames, and sheets, and rods, and bars of iron tossed with thundering noise all around—vociferous shouts in the broadest uncouthest form of
The Yorkshire dialect,
intended for directions or commands, forced me to pause frequently, and to contemplate with not a little nervous sensation, this scene of what seemed “confusion worse confounded.” It seemed to me entirely hopeless to seek for total abstinence in such a place. In fact, I felt almost ashamed to ask if there was a teetotaler in the work. Summoning courage, however, I at length asked
who was enjoying a few moments of a breathing time, if there were any total abstainers connected with this work. The man whom I had thus questioned had scarcely time to reply, when out jumped a little active man, all drenched with perspiration, from the side of a furnace, from which he was drawing long rods of red-hot iron, and grasping my hand as if he were laying hold of a bar of iron, and with a pressure which my fingers seem to feel at the moment when I write this, he exclaimed, with a voice which fairly rose above the horrid din of the place, “Yes, sir, I am a teetotaler—the only one in the whole place, and there is not a healthier man in it.” Relaxing his grasp, and raising
His right hand aloft
in the air, he said, “The best thing this hand ever did, was to sign the temperance pledge.” Then darting to his furnace or his forge, (I am not sure of the technical phrase,) he drew out another rod of iron, and was again at my side, extolling with a volubility and enthusiasm equal to the heat of the atmosphere, and the perspiration which rolled over his scorched face, the virtues of
I could not but feel a deep interest in such a man, and such a place; and shortly after this, at his urgent request, I agreed to give a lecture on total abstinence to the inhabitants of this smoky region.
Previous to my second visit, John, who was all life and fire on the subject of total abstinence, had actually succeeded in forming a small society; and when the meeting, which was a densely-crowded one, assembled in the school-room, all was the greatest
and it was very evident, that to many in that village, a new era of thought, feeling, and action had come at last. That Buch was the case, the following circumstances will abundantly testify. A few weeks after this meeting, I was agreeably surprised one Sabbath morning, just when I was commencing the public services of the day in my own place of worship at Bradford, to see between thirty and forty well-dressed men enter the church, all at once, with
at their head. Although John had not been present, there could have been no mistake as to the place where the men came from—their scorched faces, the fiery glow of their neckcloths, which, for the most part, consisted of red worsted cravats, the bright shining buttons upon their blue coats; and, in short, the whole contour of the worshippers who now entered, and quietly took their seats, spoke very plainly of the
Village of Lowmoor,
and announced also the cheering fact, that a great improvement was going on there, in some families at least. At the close of the service, and when the congregation had retired, the men from Lowmoor gathered together in front of the pulpit, and presented me with a written address; and John Jasper, in name of the rest, expressed the thankfulness which they all felt for my last visit, and for my lecture in the school-room; and also, at the same time, the gratitude which they felt to God for the benefits which they had derived from his own plan of abstinence, as they called it. Then followed several short remarks of gratitude, and congratulation, and earnest pious resolve, whilst some admitted with an evident feeling of deep sorrow, that they had nc^ been within the walls of a place of worship for a long time before, and that drinking had been the means of keeping them away from the house of God. I could not but regard that scene as one of the
Noblest moral trophies
of the temperance cause. Here were men labouring at an occupation, which all will admit to be the least favourable to the temperance movement ; many of them had been habitual drunkards, unmindful of domestic comforts, and of the house of God ; and now they admitted that their homes were happy, whilst they themselves were clothed, and seated at the feet of Jesus, and in their right minds.
As to John Jasper, he had formerly been, to use his own words, a “habitual sot.” He was a hard drinker in early life; and this led him, as it has done many others, to the card-table, and to the dancing room, and drove him from the home of his parents ; cost him many a good situation, forced him to live a wandering life for many years, and kept him always bare. He has mentioned to myself, that at one iron-work where he wrought’, he has seen some of the forgemen take their master’s coal, and carry it to the public-house and sell it for drink; and he has seen them go to the
Storehouse for tobacco,
and take it to the publican and exchange it for drink. In the midst of such companions as these, John went from bad to worse, and led a roving dissipated life, during which time he visited nearly all the iron-works in England. He was not, however, without remorse of conscience at his conduct, or affection for friends; and when he heard of the death of his father, who was drowned token in a state of intoxication, he was deeply moved, and resolved henceforth to do better. John was true to his resolution for some months; but as yet he had not heard of teetotalism,
neither did he think it possible, at this time, that any forgeman could do without strong drink. He soon became as bad as ever. He married, and was blessed with a sober, industrious, and prudent wife, who could earn good wages, as a boot and shoe hinder. They might have saved money, had John but given up his drinking habits; but this he could not do, and
Debt and misery
were the result. A season of great depression in trade came, and instead of having a few cozy pounds to fall back upon, as they might have had, they were obliged to sell any little furniture they possessed, and to take their clothes to
Their house was broken up for a season, during which, poor Jasper travelled the whole of Wales twice over in search of work. At length he got a situation but he was not yet weaned from his drinking practices. He continued to drink as hard as ever, and of course, he was
Always in debt,
and had a wretched home. Jasper’s account of his becoming a teetotaller, is so graphic, that I must give it in his own words—“The first time I began to reflect, was at the end of the second year and a half I was at Lowmoor. My first thoughts were these: Well, I have a wife and four children, and I should like to live in the world with them as long as I can ; and if I am to live long, I must give over this drinking, for I feel many aches and pains in my body, which, believe, are brought on by drinking. But another thought crossed my mind, how am I to stand my work without a little drink ? So I said to my wife, Fanny, I will not go to a public-house any more, and you shall brew at home the old way, then -we shall get some strength in it, not the way they brew in Yorkshire, where they brew one day, and drink it the next. So my wife brewed seven gallons of
as I called it. After some time, when we thought it was ready to tap, we agreed to tap for supper. On that very night there was going to be a temperance lecture, and I was going to hear it. I went to the lecture and I saw a book of diagrams, and I imagined I saw my stomach, and the ravages alcoholic drinks had made there. I said, then, by the help of God, I will never taste again, not knowing I could do my work without it. When I got home, Fanny had tapped our drink, and she had got a pint ready for me. I said to my wife, what have you got there warming ? It is a pint of our drink. I have tapped it. Then you can go and turn it out into the road if you like, for I will never taste it again, by the help of God. She said to me, “Oh, John, I have often heard you talk in this way.” Well, I replied, by God’s help I am now in earnest; and strong drink was never set before my eyes by my wife after that time, and she signed the pledge with me and my children likewise.
A new era now dawned upon Jasper’s dwelling. His
Debts were paid.
Many different articles of furniture were added to his dwelling, and although he was much taunted by his fellow-workmen, he still persevered; and when I saw him, for the first time at Lowmoor, he had been seven months without tasting strong drink. After Jasper had been two years a total abstainer, and had been all the time to use his own words, “warring with all his ransomed powers against strong drink,” he said to his wife, “I tell thee what, lass, thou hast been the greatest sufferer—and I have made up my mind that you and the children shall have the first teetotal fruits—and we shall all go and see my poor old mother
and let her know my happy change of life.” Great preparations were made for this jaunt. It was an era in Jasper’s family—the children got new clothes—Jasper himself got a bran new suit, and Mrs. Jasper looked twenty years younger, as she appeared at the railway station with the old Jasper in his best polish, and the shining young Jaspers about her. It was happy day, and never did railway train carry off a happier family than the Jaspers were that morning, when they all got out on a visit to their old grandmother. And then when they did reach Jasper’s native place, the old mother’s joy was beyond all bounds. Every one was amazed at the change in Jasper’s appearance. To every inquiry as to the reason of this, he had but one reply, and it was this, “ You see what abstinence has done.” There was no one more astonished than the landlord of the
where Jasper, in former years, had spent much of his earnings. John told the landlord very plainly that he was now a teetotaller, and that he owed all his better appearance to the simple fact that he was so. The landlord, of course, shrugged his shoulders, and predicted a very speedy death for poor Jasper; but John kept poking all manner of temperance arguments into the fat sides of “mine host,” till he got red in the face with anger, and was glad to ensconce himself within his own bar. Jasper lectured all his former pot companions on the evils of drinking; and Mrs. Jasper kept telling all and sundry that she had had
Two husbands in one man,
the former a drunkard, and the other a thorough going abstainer—the former had brought her misery and debt, the latter had brought her peace and plenty. The Jaspers returned home, and they had now a happy and a comfortable home to come to. Compared with former times, what a change! John is now secretary to the Lowmoor Total Abstinence Society, and is making himself useful by getting others to follow his example. If there is a more ungenial soil for total abstinence than another, that place is Lowmoor—if workmen require strong drink any where it is at the
Forges and Furnaces of Lowmoor,
and yet John Jasper boldly declares to the world, in the name of his brother abstainers in that place—“We are all without intoxicating drinks, and with water for our beverage, we are healthier, stronger, more successful, and more useful; better husbands, better fathers, better neighbours than ever we were while drinkers; these are facts, tell them to the world from John Jasper. If I cannot advocate these principles as I ought to do, I am determined, by God’s help, to live them.”
From No. 35 of the Tracts or the Scottish Temperance League. The whole series of which are well worthy the perusal of our readers. We have just received a letter from John Jasper, which we shall refer to in a future number. [Ed. B.W.]
A GEOLOGIST NONPLUSSED.—An old bachelor geologist was boasting that every rock was as familiar to him as the alphabet. A lady who was present declared that she knew a rock of which he was totally ignorant. “Name it, Madam!” said Coelebs in a rage. “It is rock the cradle, Sir!” replied the lady.
Nothing can be more proper for a creature that borders upon eternity, and is hasting continually to his final audit, than to retire sometimes from the toils of labour in order to consider and adjust the “ things that belong to his eternal peace.” To the workman the Sabbath is the chief opportunity of performing this imperative duty; and by him that day should never be passed without investigating his spiritual condition, and estimating his advance to the “ rest that remaineth for the people of God.”
The Rev. John Newton, when his memory was nearly gone, used to say that, forget what he might, he never forgot two tilings, 1st. That he was a great sinner—2nd. That Jesus Christ was a great Saviour.
LOW MOOR IRON WORKS.
ADVICE TO A WIFE.
A wife must learn how to form her husband’s happiness, by seeking to know in what direction the secret of his comfort lies; she must not cherish his weaknesses by working upon them ; she must not rashly run counter to his prejudices. Her motto must be, never to irritate. She must study never to draw largely upon the small stock of patience in man’s nature, nor to increase his obstinacy by trying to drive him, never if possible, to have “scenes.” I doubt much if a real quarrel, even if made up, does not loosen the bond between man and wife; and sometimes, unless the affection of both be very sincere, lastingly. If irritation should occur, a woman must expect to hear from most men a strength and vehemence of language far more than the occasion requires. Mild as well as stern men are prone to this exaggeration of language. Let not a woman be tempted ever to say anything sarcastic or violent in retaliation. The bitterest repentance must needs follow if she do. Men frequently forget what they have themselves said, but seldom what is uttered by their wives. They are grateful, too, for forbearance in such cases, for whilst asserting most loudly that they are right, they are often conscious that they are wrong. Give a little time, as the greatest boon you can bestow to the irritated feelings of your husband.
Let me especially recommend to a wife a considerate attention to whatever her husband will require when he comes home, before he comes home; in order that on his return she may have nothing to do, but share in the comfort and enjoyment of what she has provided, and may not be running about after his usual and reasonable requirements, exposed to his reproaches for her negligence, and to those of her own conscience, if she has any.—Home Truths.
“As I was conversing, says a writer in the “New York Observer,” with a pious old man, I inquired what were the means of his conversion. For a moment he paused—I perceived I had touched a tender string. Tears gushed from his eyes, while with deep emotion he replied, “My-wife was brought to God some years before myself, I persecuted and abused her because of her religion. She however returned nothing but kindness; constantly manifesting an anxiety to promote my comfort and happiness; and it was her amiable conduct, when suffering ill-treatment from me, that first sent the arrow of conviction to my soul. “Temper,” added he “is everything.”
OLD MR. THEYSAY
FEW and far between are those who have not heard of the world-renowned “Theysay?” His name is familiar with all men everywhere. The high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, honoured and despised, civilized and barbarian, Protestant and Catholic, Mussulman and Christian, all nations, kindreds, tribes, and tongues, have heard of Mr. Theysay. His name is almost a household word. But who has ever given the world a history of this eminent personage? Numerous as biographers are, no one has ever written and published the life of Mr. Theysay. Pardon me if I undertake the task of writing a brief history of him:
His Parentage.—His father’s name is Slanderer; his mother’s, Tattle; of his genealogy, nothing more is known. He was born in the town of Evil Report, in the kingdom of Sin.
His Age.—It is not known in what precise age of the world Mr. Theysay was born. It is my opinion that he was horn soon after Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden. If I am correct in this opinion, he must be very far advanced in life, and we should naturally expect to witness in him all the evidences of feeble old age, gray hairs, sunken eyes, and palsied limbs. But he is really as strong and active, as fresh and fair, and hale and hearty as he ever was. Remarkable old creature!
His Education. — Mr. Theysay’s education is very limited. What knowledge he has obtained is principally from hearsay; hence he does not have any correct knowledge of anything. His deficient education has ever been a serious embarrassment to him, for he never dares to make a positive assertion, but guesses it is so, fears it is so, and so on.
His Personal Appearance.—I have spoken of him as being as strong, as active, See. as he ever was. But who has ever seen Mr. Theysay ? Have you? Has any one? If any one has, I know not the man. But we know he exists, because everybody is talking about him. And I have come to the paradoxical conclusion that he exists and does not exist; is everywhere and nowhere; is responsible and irresponsible; a sort of “will-o’-the-wisp, jack-with-the-lantern” kind of being, whose personal appearance can never he described.
His Character.—He is distinguished for wickedness.
1. He is a slanderer.
2. A deceiver.
3. A liar.
4. A peace-breaker.
5. Everything that is bad, without possessing one redeeming quality.
Reader, is Mr. Theysay in your family? Drive him hence. Harbour him not a moment. Listen not to his vile slanders. He will involve you in trouble, while he will escape.—A Friend.
VESSEL SAVED BY A DOLPHIN.
Mr. Colston, an eminent merchant of Bristol, who lived a century ago, was remarkable for his liberality to the poor, and equally distinguished for his success in commerce. The providence of God seemed to smile in a peculiar manner on the concerns of one who had made so good a use of his affluence. It has been said that he never insured, nor ever lost a ship. Once indeed, a vessel belonging to him, on her voyage home struck on a rock and immediately sprang a leak, by which so much water was admitted as to threaten speedy destruction. Means were instantly adopted to save the vessel, but all seemed ineffectual, as the water rose rapidly. In a short time, however, the leak stopped without any apparent cause, and the vessel reached Bristol in safety. On examining her bottom, a fish said to be a dolphin, was found fast wedged in the fracture made by the rock when she struck, which had prevented any water from entering during the remainder of the voyage. As a memorial of this singular event, the figure of a dolphin is embodied on the badges and buttons worn by the boys, and also painted on the banners which are carried in procession on public occasions, by the children who are educated at the charity school founded by Mr. Colston.
PUNISHING A WIFE-BEATER.
The colliers of Penywann, in South Wales, have recently adopted a mode of punishment which will, perhaps, be more effectual than the legal “six months,” in repressing wife-beating. A collier having struck his wife, a number of his fellow-workers seized him, set him astride a plank, and paraded him round the neighbourhood, while an accompanying crowd caned him. He was then admonished on the wickedness of his conduct and induced to fall on his knees and promise never to beat his wife again.
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THE BRITISH WORKMAN
PAGE FOR WORKING MEN’S WIVES.
HOW THREE OF MY NEIGHBOURS KEPT CHRISTMAS.
By Mrs. Clara Lucas Balfour.
“Christmas will soon be here, Ma’am,” said my little maid Letty, in a tone of voice that told me she had a favour to ask.
“Well, Letty, and what then?”
“Oh, nothing Ma’am, but, if you please, I should be glad to have a trifle of money; I know my wages ain’t due, but please I want to help mother to keep Christmas comfortable like, now she’s got a house and lodgers.”
“I like you to think of your widowed mother, Letty,”—was my reply; “but how is it that her taking a house, and having your eldest brother’s shopmates to board and lodge with her, should make it needful that you should lend her money to keep Christmas?”
“Oh, Ma’am, some of the lodgers don’t pay till just after Christmas day, and mother has many things to buy to make them comfortable, that she’ll be paid for afterwards, and then she’ll pay me if I lend her anything.” This seemed so feasible a story that I cheerfully advanced Letty’s wages, and with a joyful heart she went off to her mother, Mrs. Laxly, who I found was determined to keep “ Christmas comfortably.”
I was interested in widow Laxly and her family of six. The eldest son was a skilful mechanic in good employment, an intelligent, industrious young man. The eldest daughter was the before mentioned Letty, the next daughter was an active assistant to her mother, and the other three, boys of six, eight, and ten years. The mother had been five years a widow; she had kept a little shop and failed,and then suffered much distress for two years, until her son, being out of his .time, and in good work, she had taken a decent house, furnished it partly on credit and obtained five single men lodgers, work-mates of William Laxly; and, as she was a kind and motherly woman there seemed every probability that she would prosper and be able to bring up her little boys decently.
I have said, widow Laxly was a kind, motherly woman—indeed, she never knew when to refuse a request, and this yielding of her’s was the cause of some troubles in her family. To please her eldest son was the first wish, so that it soon came to pass, without his knowing it, poor fellow!—that his word was law. Then, her young boys tugged at her heart with their coaxing ways, and ruled their mother far more than she ruled them. The girls were complying like herself, and clung to their mother, bending every way as she inclined.
I often thought the poor woman had no peace, for her lodgers were sometimes exacting, her children troublesome, and her eldest son impetuous; but she wished to please all; she tried to do impossibilities—to keep peace in a house without law and order. Her lodgers came home at what time they liked, and she was wearied sitting up for them; her children did pretty much as they chose, only caring to hide their doings from “big brother William.” Explosions often took place, and there were scenes of misery, which, if the mother had been firm, as well as loving, might have been prevented.
Such was my neighbour Laxly, who determined to please her son and to gain the favour of her lodgers, and give them a capital Christmas dinner, to celebrate the first year of her lodging-house keeping. At first she had thought of a good joint and a pudding—of course, every one to provide his own drink; but her son William said, she must certainly give them some drink, or it would “ look mean,” and he could not bear that. Now, Mrs. Laxly had a great dread of strong drink ; in her quiet way, she had noticed its evils and she would have signed the pledge and joined the temperance society, but she was afraid it might make her “ look strange,” and William and the children might think her “ going too far; ” so she was content with avoiding strong drink herself, knowing well she could not afford it, and that she could do without it. However, after some faint excuses and hints and doubts, William said, “Well! Mother, give up the thing altogether, or do it liberally; I don’t care which it is: I can go to Dick Bovington’s, where there’s to be’a regular tip-top concern.”
“Oh no, William, you and our friends shall have every thing comfortable, I promise you.” So Letty’s money was borrowed, and a stock of spirits was laid in, and a cask of Burton ale ordered, William, who liked playing the master, invited several of his shopmates, who were not lodgers; and some of the lodgers asked a friend or two, on the understanding that Mrs. Laxly should be no loser in the long run. As the day drew near, it became plain to Mrs. Laxly that she and her daughter Annie would never be able to manage without assistance, slave as hard as they might, so she looked about among her neighbours for help, determined only to employ some decent, respectable woman. There were two who lived near, who had been in struggling circumstances some time previously, in consequence of the sickness of their husbands, and obliged to work for the maintenance of their homes: these women, both of whom I knew, were Mrs. Grippard and Mrs. Cleary, both the industrious wives of working men. Widow Laxly preferred asking her neighbour Cleary first, she was such a cheerful, active little body, with a laughing face, and a ready hand, and a good word at all times. There was one obstacle, she was a teetotaller, and would be sure to say some strong things about the strong drinks, yet if she could only be got to help, her method and arrangement would be invaluable. So Mrs. Laxly called upon her to make enquiries, but she found, and her kind heart was gladdened at the sight, that Mrs. Cleary had quite surmounted her difficulties; her two neat rooms were pictures of comfort, her little girl at a good school, her husband restored to health. “ I never leave home now to toil,” said the happy wife, “if I can earn a little by my needle at home I do it; but making the best of John’s wages, and taking care of his comforts is my plan : what a wife saves is as good or better than what she earns; and we mean to ask a few friends to spend Christmas Day with us. We’ve a poor old aunt left nearly J alone in the world, that’s coming;1 and the sickly young dressmaker that lives upstairs, working her fingers to the bone to keep herself respectable, and no relations or friend’s house to go to for a little cheerful change and comfort, we’ve asked her; and poor Crash, the drunkard’s orphan girl, that’s now in the workhouse, we’ve applied for her to come and see us, and I think I know a lady that will take the child into her service, so you see I have provision to make for them; and John brings home the apprentice that the men used so badly at first because he’s a teetotaller.”
“Why, neighbour Cleary, you seem to have only the poor and friendless coming!” said Mrs. Laxly, with a little bit of a toss of her head.
Mrs. Cleary looked hard in her face a moment and after a pause said softly, “When thou makest a feast call the poor, and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee, but thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.— You’re a widow, and should feel that passage.”
As Mrs. Laxly left the house, I have no doubt she felt how much purer and stronger is the love of our fellow creatures, when the love of God is shed abroad in the heart. However, she hurried on to Mrs. Grippard, and found that hard-working body busy ironing—her room hung with lines and every chair crowded with clothes, and a stifling heat filling the little room. Joe Grippard, the husband, was on the landing, looking in at the door. “ Oh, Joe, how early you’re home,” said his wife in a shrill voice, “ I didn’t expect you yet, I thought I should get done afore you come home; goodness me! I don’t know no how, where you’re to sit down.”
“What, bothering over thy steamy things still, Nancy! a fellow’s no comfort here, that’s certain, I’ll go and have a look at the paper for an hour.”
“Well! only an hour, Joe, mind you ain’t longer,” said the flustered wife, banging down the iron on the stand, vexed she had not done, and vexed her husband must go out; when, just as Joe turned from the door, in walked Mrs. Laxly, wondering, as she and others had often done before, how it was that neighbour Grippard lived in one room, and was always at work, and had a tolerably good sort of husband, and yet was never seen to look happy. However, she said nothing but about Christmas-day: could neighbour Grippard come and help her with the feast to be provided for her lodgers?—“Yes, she would come.”
“I should be sorry if you had meant to stay at home and make yourself and husband comfortable.” “As to comfortable,” said the woman, “we can’t afford to be comfortable ; I work and he works—but he takes a deal to keep him—I go out day after day, and I do these clothes at home, and he spends I don’t know what at cook-shops and beer shops.—He ain’t a drunkard— least ways he don’t often get drunk, but somehow there’s nothing left over his wages for me, and I must work: I can’t keep Christmas, not I.”
Mrs. Laxly never nourished hard thoughts of any one, but she fancied as she left,—“ If neighbour Grippard made her home look nice, and laid out her husband’s wages in dinners for him at home, instead of at the cook-shop, it would be a greater saving than her working out, or ironing at home.”
I need not tell all the chopping, and cutting, and mixing, and stirring, that took place the day before Christmas — how the little boys messed the house as fast as it was cleaned—how they made free with the plums—upset the milk—and one of them, showing how far he could jump, alighted on a basket of eggs, and broke his fall by catching at the teaboard and smashing its contents, and all the mishaps which boys unused to obedience and order certainly would produce in a house where cookery was going on, on a larger scale than there was quite room for. Mrs. Laxly was worried and jaded until she looked fit to drop.
“Never mind, Mother!” said Annie, “Christmas comes but once a year.”
“It hadn’t need. I feel as if it came once too often for me,” she said, with a weary sigh.
Her lodgers were nearly all late on Christmas eve. Some, she thought, stumbled rather than walked up stairs. Only two hours of disturbed rest was taken by the widow. At four o’clock came Mrs. Grippard, sharp as the winter morning and as hard. She was of course immediately comforted with a glass of “something neat,” which went down Mrs. Grippard’s throat as though it was a brass funnel—and the toils of the festive day began. There was breakfast, and no one assembled to take it at any set time. Tired, dull, and cross, on8 after another, came the lodgers. They grumbled at the weather, at the fire, at each other. “ Give ’em a drop of something short.—We’ll set ’em to rights,” said Mrs. Grippard, wiping her dry lips in expectancy. “Well! If you really think it needful,” said poor Mrs. Laxly. So the dram glass went round and the dull eyes began to gleam. Another round must be taken, and then they were awake, and got boisterous. One or two quarrels were narrowly avoided: in vain Mrs. Laxly hinted, she wished they would go to Church or take a walk, and leave room for the table to be laid. In vain she sent, after a great tussle, her own three boys, a feat she never could have accomplished but that she hailed John Cleary as he passed the window on his road to his place of worship, and h8 kindly took the boys out of her way. At last dinner was served, but somehow it turned out badly. The two tables that had been put together did not fit, and there was jogging and upsetting. Every body was more thirsty than hungry, and though they drank the ale, they most of them in an undertone grumbled that it was not stronger. Then came something stronger, and loud talking, and boisterous jokes, that the poor widow did not wish her daughter to hear, followed. From this the change to angry words was not slow. William Laxly was good tempered, but all he could do would not keep peace. The children gave offence, and were, much to their mother’s grief, packed off to another room, and they contrived to get some spirits to play at snap-dragon, when, in a struggle between them, as to who should pour the spirit into the dish, the bottle went over the shoulder of the fighters, and broke on the hob of the grate, making a blaze that set the chimney on fire with such a roar and flame, that in less time than we have taken to write it, and while quarrellers in the larger room were yet unaware of the mischief, a dozen boys had gone off for the engines. When the shouts of the boys and the shrill squall of Mrs. Grippard told the tidings, all the confusion ensued that would arise from every body rushing about, and no one doing the right thing. Some in their zeal went up to the top j of the house and threw down buckets of water that flooded the room, and spoilt the furniture, but did not put out the fire. William shook and struck his little brothers—their mother naturally ran to their rescue. Meanwhile, the engine came and plied, and, after an hour’s mischief, riot, and wretchedness, the house was left a scene of desolation. Then Mrs. Gippard mixed what she called some stiff glasses of grog, that soon exhausted the widow’s stock of strong drink, when, none of them sober, and all wearied of the wreck around, they determined to go out and make what they called “ a night of it.” Just then a discovery was made.
Some thief, while the house was surrounded by the mob, had made off with two of the lodgers’ great coats that hung in the passage, and a silver watch from the mantel-shelf. Reproaches and rage followed, and three of the lodgers departed, vowing they never would enter the house again, and the poor worn-out widow fell into fits and spasms so severe, that my servant Letty was sent for, and it proved the beginning of a long illness. During my visits to the sick-room I heard all the particulars I have related, and also how Christmas day fared with Mrs. Grippard and Mrs. Cleary. The former did not leave the widow till late at night, and then returned, to find that her neglected husband had gone to the public-house, drank hard in the morning of the day, and then, while under the influence of drink, had returned to his room and broken open a drawer, in which his grasping wife had hid her hoard; it was far more than he dreamed of, and he was off to those who would soon help him to spend it. In vain his enraged wife went to the public-house. The landlord concealed his victim, well knowing the length of his purse, and laughed the wife to scorn; from that time there never more was peace between that man and woman. Hard wor ds, that came to harder blows, arose between them. The husband, weak to begin with, became first a drunkard, then a brute, and at last demon: the wife a wretched brawling virago.
Mrs. Cleary, who kindly came to help in tending widow Laxly, said, she had enjoyed a very happy Christmas day. “ We had no strong drink, Ma’am,” she said, “but we had good fare and plenty of it, and our young friends were so gay and pleasant that the time passed away before we were aware of it.” As she spoke, I thought of the poet’s sweet description :—
“ ’Twas good to see the honest strife
Which should contribute most to please,
And hear the oft recounted life,
Of infant tricks and happy days.”
Oh, dear reader think of these three neighbours as Christmas i approaching. Do not bring waste and riot into your dwelling. Do not neglect the comforts of your home: but strive by every means in your power to make the day one of peace, j oy, temperance, and plenty, and thus show your gratitude to Him whose advent to this world, as Christians, you profess to celebrate.
“The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”
A Clergyman in Wiltshire, walking near a brook, observed a woman washing wool in the stream. This was done by putting it in a sieve, and then dipping the sieve in the water repeatedly, until the wool became white and clean. He engaged in conversation with her, and from some expressions she dropped, asked her if she knew him.
O yes, sir, she replied, and I hope I shall have reason to bless God to eternity, for having heard you preach at W———–, some years ago: your sermon was the means of doing me great good.
I rejoice to hear it; pray what was the subject?
Ah! sir, I can’t recollect that, my memory is so bad.
How, then, can the sermon have done you so much good, if you don’t remember even what it was about?
Sir, my poor mind is like this sieve; the sieve does not hold the water, but as the water runs through, it cleanses the wool; so my memory does not retain the words I hear, but as they pass through my heart, by God’s mercy, they cleanse it. Now I no longer love sin, and every day I entreat my Saviour to wash me in His own blood, and to cleanse me from ah sin.
Truly a practical memory is the best memory.
Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the WIFE see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians v. 33.
MOTHERS’ MEETINGS, OR MATERNAL ASSOCIATIONS.
We rejoice to learn from The Mother’s Friend, that these valuable associations are being formed in various parts of the country, and we hope that the day is not far distant when there will be one in every parish in the land. These weekly or monthly gatherings, at which ladies of high rank and title are in some cases found taking an active part, are calculated to produce the most beneficial results. Several of our nobility have recently been zealously labouring to bring about a great change in the harvest suppers, and they have been signally successful. A great work yet remains to be done. The “ homes” of thousands of our toiling sons of labour want a change, and that change must to a great extent be effected by the Wives.
We earnestly recommend the wives of all working men to avail themselves of every opportunity of attending these Mothers’ Meetings. We feel assured that many will not only thereby be the better enabled to make “home” more attractive to their husbands than the public house, but that they will gain valuable counsel in that most difficult and responsible of mothers’ duties—the training up of their children in the way they should go. We shall say more about these Meetings shortly.
* An excellent penny monthly Magazine, published by Ward & Co.
THE SONG OF THE HUMBLE.
Though lowly my cottage, and frugal its fare,
Affection, and truth, and devotion are there;
And when evening arrives, and the day’s toil is O’er,
My husband comes home, and I bar up the door.
He goes to the crib where our little ones lie,
And I know the sweet light that there beams in his eye;
Then he turns to his supper, though humble it be,
With a kindness of heart that is heaven to me!
I love him too well to repine at my fate,
Frugality still keeps the dun from our gate;
And I hope that his children may rise to repay
The toils and the sorrows that wear him away.
Oh, innocent, upright, and pure be their youth!
May they hear from my lips only kindness and truth!
And when Mercy’s mild messenger bears me from life,
Leave my memory dear as a mother and wife!
From Working Man’s Friend.
THINK OF THIS.
The kindest and the happiest pair
Will find occasions to forbear:
And something, every day they live,
To pity, and perhaps forgive.
Good precepts, backed by good example, are the surest means of encouraging virtuous habits.
Uncorrected OCR-PAGE 44
THE BRITISH WORKMAN.
“NOW I HAVE MY SUNDAYS.”
Will you let me say a few words to my fellow cab-drivers. I’ve been driving folks about London for the last ten years, and, until that first-rate Act of Parliament was passed that made a difference between six and seven-day cabs, I never knew what it was to have a Sunday. It was “work, work, work, till you die, and then rest.” I scarcely ever saw my children except when the poor things were asleep, and as for going to church or chapel, why, that was about the last thing I ever thought of.
Now I have my Sundays, thank God, for I have got a six-day plate, and I’m another man now that I can have a rest-day once a week. Why Sunday is now the happiest day in the week to me and my family. My poor wife looks quite a new woman, as we walk arm in arm to a place of worship. If you want any proof, Sir, that cabmen are glad to have a Sunday like other folks, you have only to look for the cabs numbered 10,000* and upwards, and you will find that already there are above 1100 cabs that do not come out on a Sunday, and if my fellow-cabmen take my advice, a good many seven-day plates will be exchanged for six-day plates at the next license day.
I make as much money in the 3 months as I did when I ran on Sundays, besides being much happier to boot.
Your obedient servant,
A SIX-DAY CABMAN.
N.B.—I forgot to tell you that my horse can get over the ground all the faster for having his Sunday, and in this way gains me more money.
* All cabs numbered from 1 to 9999 are licensed to run on all days. Those numbered 10,000, and upwards do not run on the Sabbath.—Ed. B. W.
We shall shortly publish an interesting account of——-one of the most remarkable cabmen ever known in London.
WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY.
WHATEVER can I do towards stopping some of the drunkenness in this street?” said a kind-hearted butcher, who resides in one of the most dissipated districts of London. Not long after, the butcher was passing the shop of Messrs. Cash, the publishers in Bishopsgate Street, when he observed in the window one of George Cruikshank’s excellent Temperance placards, entitled “A man and a thing.” It immediately occurred to the mind of the worthy butcher, “If I cannot talk to the folks about this drinking, that paper shall for me.” A copy was purchased, and within a few minutes it was seen, fastened by skewers to the carcase of a sheep, at the butcher’s shop door!
Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands weekly read that paper! Many who would not receive a friendly hint through the ear, receive it through the eye.
At a time like the present when our national vice is assuming a most fearful aspect, it behoves every lover of his country to enquire, with the butcher, “What can I do towards stopping some of this drunkenness?” Those who are in earnest in this enquiry will not be long in finding out as the butcher did, that, “ Where there’s a will there’s a way.”
BREAD FOR WHISKY.
At a time like the present when the quartern loaf is ticketed “1Od.” by the London bakers, we feel that the following remarks by one of the most celebrated physicians in Scotland, are peculiarly appropriate.—[Ed. B. W.]
At the time when the illicit distillation of ardent spirits was carried on to such an extent in the Highlands of Scotland, the fertile district of Glenisla, in Perthshire, was peculiarly noted for the superior quality of its whisky. So great, however, was the quantity of grain on that account consigned to the still, that for four months in the year the inhabitants of the district would have been without food, if they had not imported a supply from other parts of the country. But now that illicit distillation has been put down by the legislature, the inhabitants of Glenisla export as much grain as they formerly imported.
Bread for whisky! Happy exchange! If the legalized distillation from grain were also put down, what a blessing would be conferred on thousands of families in Britain— sober Fathers, sober Mothers, cheap bread, cleanly and comfortable Homes.
But although the legislature may defer an act fraught with such benefit to the community, every reader of the “British Workman,” may, if he chooses, immediately convert his own house into a little Glenisla. Let him resolve (God giving him strength) to devote the money, which he now spends on intoxicating liquors, to the purchase of better food, better clothing, better lodging, and better furniture for his family; and he will not only lie down on Saturday night a healthier and a happier man, but will awake on Sunday morning with a heart more full of gratitude than ever to the Author of all his mercies. And if, duly sensible of the high and holy privileges of the Christian Sabbath, he goes accompanied by his wife and children to a place of worship, and enters with all his heart and soul into the solemn services of the sanctuary, he will learn in his happy experience, how much the pleasures and possessions of this world are increased and elevated and enhanced by the hope which looks beyond it.
Edinburgh. Dr. Huie.
David Douglas, the great Botanist, was the son of a working mason. In the pursuit of his favourite study he travelled in various parts of the world, and almost all the new hardy plants of our gardens were introduced by him.
James Tassie, the celebrated modeller and maker of paste gems, commenced life as a stone-mason, in Glasgow.
Bernhard, the Cornish sculptor, was originally a stone-mason.
William Edwards, a self-taught mason, built the Ponty-Pridd-Bridge over the River Taff. It is a perfect segment of a circle, the chord of which is 140 feet, and the height at low water 36 feet.
Hugh Miller, who has in our day as wide a celebrity as almost any of Scotland’s sons, was in early life a quarryman and mason. Though he received as good a school education as his father, who was a sailor, could give, and the neighbourhood would afford, he must be reckoned in the honourable list of self-educated men; whilst he eagerly read all the books that he could obtain, he learnt much by conversation and observation; the rocks on the sea-shore, the tombans in the Highlands, and the manners and customs of his fellow-men were the interesting pages that he daily studied. Under the tutorship of Nature and Providence, he has risen from his native obscurity, and, as editor of the “Witness,” the organ of the Free Church of Scotland, exercises a powerful influence on his countrymen. Amongst his graphic and instructive works are “Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland,” “The Old Red Sandstone,” “Footprints of the Creator,” and “My Schools and Schoolmasters,” the last of which we particularly recommend to those of our readers who are striving to rise in the world.
The Rev. William Jay, one of the late highly esteemed ministers of Bath, and author of many valuable religious works was originally a stonecutter and mason. He was working with his father in the erection of Fonthill Abbey, at Tisbury, Wilts, when the Rev. Cornelius Winter came to preach at that place, to whom William Jay was introduced after the service. That good man was so pleased with him, that he invited him to join his Academy of young men for the Ministry. Wm. Jay commenced preaching very early in life, but, though very popular, never lost his simplicity of character. As the minister of Argyle Chapel, Bath, which office he held for more than fifty years, his piety and eloquence made him honoured and useful; and in his long list of intimate friends were many distinguished characters, among whom were Mrs. Hannah More, William Wilberforce, and Earl Ducie. Mr. Jay died in 1853, aged 84 years.
We shall be obliged by additional notices of Stonemasons.—[Ed. B. W.]
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS,
Reading for the Soldiers.—Several correspondents having called our attention to the melancholy accounts in The Times of the drunkenness now so prevalent in the Crimea; we addressed a letter to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, stating that it was the intention of some friends to send out a supply of copies of the British Workman, provided His Royal Highness thought the publication adapted to interest and benefit the troops. By return of post we received the following reply:—
Sir, St. James’s Palace, November 5th.
I am desired by the Duke of Cambridge to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, together with the enclosed copies of the British Workman, and to inform you that His Royal Highness considers the publication well adapted for the purpose intended. Your obedient servant,
F. CLIFTON, Major.
We are glad to add that the Committee for the gratuitous distribution of The Band of Hope Review having had several contributions handed to them for the special purpose of forwarding parcels of the British Workman to the soldiers; they dispatched, on the 10th November, through Messrs. Hayter and Howell of Mark Lane, five thousand copies to the Rev. H. P. Wright, Principal Army Chaplain, Sebastopol. This Committee will be glad to forward as many thousands every month, if the needful funds are subscribed. Contributions will be received by the Treasurer, Henry Ford Barclay Esq., Walthamstow, Essex. If more convenient sums above £1 can be paid to Messrs. Barclay and Co., Bankers, 54, Lombard Street, London.
The following sums have been received for packets of 12 copies of the British Workman, for the Crimea. Mr. Trego, 5s.; Mr. Whiteside, 2s.; Captain Hodgson, £1; J. B., 5s.
Puddlers.—In answer to the inquiry made by a gentleman in No. 9, as to whether it is possible for puddlers in ironworks to perform their very laborious work without the use of intoxicating drinks, we have received numerous letters; from some of which we make the following extracts: J. B, St. Matthew’s St., Wolverhampton, says, “ I formerly thought that ale was the best thing to quench the continual thirst we puddlers are subject to, but I find that coffee, herb tea, or oatmeal and water, answer much better.” William James, of Kidsgrove, writes, “lama puddler, and I can perform my labour better without intoxicating drinks, than with them.” John Buckland, of Landore Forge, near Swansea, replies, “I have been working at puddling for many years, and have been a teetotaler four years, and I can do work with less fatigue, and attend it more regularly since I left intoxicating drinks, and use nothing stronger than water.” John Jasper, and Matthias By water, of the Low Moor Iron Works, state that John Kuriar, Richard Holdroyd, John Jones, and James Walker, have been puddlers there from four to six years, and have never tasted a drop of intoxicating drink—that they are healthier and better in every respect for so doing.
The following publications for the Suppression of Intemperance will answer the purpose required by some of our correspondents.
1 The Goose Club, 5 Illustrations – – – 1d.
2 The Man in the Well, 2 Illustrations – 1d.
3 The Leather Almanac, 4 Illustrations – 1d.
4 The Sailor’s Home, 2 Illustrations – – 1d.
5 The Door in the Heart, 1 Illustration – 1d.
6 The Ox Sermon, 2 Illustrations – – – 1d.
7 The Press-Gang, 1 Illustration – – – 1d.
8 Water is Best, 1 Illustration – – – – 1d.
9 The Unfaithful Steward – – – – – 2d.
10 Let every Man mind his own Business 2d.
11 Two Christmas Days, 4 Illustrations – 6d.
A packet containing a copy of each of these 11 attractive publications sent post free to any part of the United Kingdom, or to any soldier in the Crimea on the receipt of 18 postage-stamps, by S. W. Partridge, No. 9, Paternoster Low, London.
NEW AND CHEAP POSTAGE.
Packets of the “British Workman” may be had post free, by remitting in postage stamps, as under, to the Publisher, or to the Editor, 13, Barnsbury Square. London.
4 Copies for 4d. Or for one year 4s.
8 “ 8d. “ 8s.
12 “ 1s. “ 12s.
16 „ 1s. 4d. “ 16s.
20 „ 1s. 8d. ” 20s.
24 “ 2s. „ 24s.
All the back numbers have been reprinted, and may be had through any bookseller.