Page:Homes of the London Poor.djvu/48

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46
HOMES OF THE LONDON POOR.

ing of that beseeching look. She wants us to go up and get her husband's rent from him before he goes out to spend more of it in drink.

The eager, watchful eyes of one of our little scrubbers next attract attention; there she stands, with her savings' card in her hand, waiting till we enter the sixpence she has earned from us during the week. "How much have I got?" she says, eying the written sixpences with delight, "because mother says, please, I'm to draw out next Saturday; she's going to buy me a pair of boots."

"Take two shillings on the card and four shillings rent," a proudly happy woman will say, as she lays down a piece of bright gold, a rare sight this in the court, but her husband has been in regular work for some little time.

"Please, Miss," says another woman, "will you see and do something for Jane? She's that masterful since her father died, I can't do nothing with her, and she'll do no good in this court. Do see and get her a place somewheres away."

A man will enter now: "I'll leave you my rent to-night, Miss, instead o' Monday, please; it'll be safer with you than with me."

A pale woman comes next, in great sorrow. Her husband, she tells us, has been arrested without cause. We believe this to be true; the man has always paid his way honestly, worked industriously, and lived decently. So my assistant goes round to the police-station at once to bail him, while I remain to collect the savings. "Did he seem grateful?" I say to her on her return. "He took it very quietly," is her answer; "he seemed to feel it quite natural that we should help him."

Such are some of the scenes on our Savings' evenings; such some of the services we are called upon to render; such the kind of footing we are on with our tenants. An evening such as this assuredly shows that our footing has somewhat changed since those spent in Blank Court during the first winter.