Page:The bitter cry of outcast London.djvu/14

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ployed at shirt finishing at 3d. a dozen, and by the utmost effort can only earn 6d. a day, out of which she has to find her own thread. Another, with a crippled hand, maintains herself and a blind husband by match-box making, for which she is remunerated on the liberal scale mentioned above; and out of her 2¼d. a gross she has to pay a girl a penny a gross to help her. Others obtain at Covent Garden in the season 1d. or 2d. a peck for shelling peas, or 6d. a basket for walnuts; and they do well if their labour brings them 10d. or a shilling a day. With men it is comparatively speaking no better. "My master," says one man visited by a recent writer in the Fortnightly Review, "gets a pound for what he gives me 3s. for making." And this it is easy to believe, when we know that for a pair of fishing boots which will be sold at three guineas, the poor workman receives 5s. 3d. if they are made to order, or 4s. 6d. if made for stock. An old tailor and his wife are employed in making policemen's overcoats. They have to make, finish, hot-press, put on the buttons, and find their own thread, and for all this they receive 2s. 10d. for each coat. This old couple work from half-past six in the morning until ten at night, and between them can just manage to make a coat in two days. Here is a mother who has taken away whatever articles of clothing she can strip from her four little children without leaving them absolutely naked. She has pawned them, not for drink, but for coals and food. A shilling is all she can procure, and with this she has bought seven pounds of coals and a loaf of bread. We might fill page after page with these dreary details, but they would become sadly monotonous, for it is the same everywhere. And then it should not be forgotten how hardly upon poverty like this must press the exorbitant demand for rent. Even the rack-renting of Ireland, which so stirred our indignation a little while ago, was merciful by comparison. If by any chance a reluctant landlord can be induced to execute or pay for some long-needed repairs, they become the occasion for new exactions. Going through these rooms we come to one in which a hole, as big as a man's head, has been roughly covered, and how? A piece of board, from an old soap box, has been fixed over the opening by one nail, and to the tenant has been given a yard and a half of paper with which to cover it; and for this expenditure—perhaps 4d. at the outside—threepence a week has been put upon the rent. If