Page:Homes of the London Poor.djvu/12

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tain "there were many things she could get for the children to eat which would do them more good than another room." I was perfectly silent. A half-pleading, half-asserting voice said: "Don't you see I'm right, miss?" "No," I said; "indeed I do not. I have been brought up to know the value of abundant good air, but of course you must do as you think best—only I am sorry." Not a word more passed; but in a few weeks a second room was again to let, and the woman volunteered: "She thought she'd better strive to get the rent; good air was very important, wasn't it?" Again: a man wouldn't send his children to school. Dirty, neglected, and unhappy, they destroyed many things in the house. I urged, to no purpose, that they should be sent. At last I gave him notice to leave because he refused to send them, and because he had taken three children to sleep in the room I had let for his own family only. The man was both angry and obstinate. I quietly went on with proceedings for getting rid of him. He knew I meant what I said, and he requested an interview. He owed no rent, he urged. "No," I replied, "you know what a point I make of that; but it isn't quite the only thing I insist on. I cannot allow anything so wrong as this neglect of the children and overcrowding to continue where I have the power to prevent it." He "knew what it was just this year to fuss about the cholera, and then nobody 'd care how many slep in a room; but he wasn't a coward to be frightened at the cholera, not he! And as to being bound, he wouldn't be bound—no, not to his own master that paid him wage; and it wasn't likely he would to me, when he paid rent reg'lar. The room was his; he took it, and if he paid rent he could do as he liked in it." "Very well," I said; "and the house is mine; I take it, and I must do what I think right in it; and I say that most landladies won't take in children at all, and we all know it is a good deal of loss and trouble; but I'll risk these gladly if you will do what you can to teach the children to be good, and careful, and industrious; and if not, you know the rule, and you must go.