Page:The bitter cry of outcast London.djvu/18

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14
THE BITTER CRY

than this? A mother, whose children are the cleanest and tidiest in the Board School which they attend, was visited. It was found that, though she had children of her own, she had taken in a little girl, whose father had gone off tramping in search of work. She was propped up in a chair, looking terribly ill, but in front of her, in another chair, was the wash-tub, and the poor woman was making a feeble effort to wash and wring out some of the children's things. She was dying from dropsy, scarcely able to breathe and enduring untold agony, but to the very last striving to keep her little ones clean and tidy. A more touching sight it would be difficult to present; we might, however, unveil many more painful ones, but must content ourselves with saying that the evidence we have gathered from personal observation more than justifies the words of the writer before referred to, that "there are (i.e., in addition to those who find their way to our hospitals) men and women who lie and die day by day in their wretched single rooms, sharing all the family trouble, enduring the hunger and the cold, and waiting without hope, without a single ray of comfort, until God curtains their staring eyes with the merciful film of death."

WHAT IT IS PROPOSED TO DO.

That something needs to be done for this pitiable outcast population must be evident to all who have read these particulars as to their condition—at least, to all who believe them. We are quite prepared for incredulity. Even what we have indicated seems all too terrible to be true. But we have sketched only in faintest outline. Far more vivid must be our colours, deeper and darker far the shades, if we are to present a truthful picture of "Outcast London;" and so far as we have been able to go we are prepared with evidence, not only to prove every statement, but to show that these statements represent the general condition of thousands upon thousands in this metropolis. Incredulity is not the only difficulty in the way of stirring up Christian people to help. Despair of success in any such undertaking may paralyse many. We shall be pointed to the fact that without State interference nothing effectual can be accomplished upon any large scale. And it is a fact. These wretched people must live somewhere. They must live near the centres where their work lies. They cannot afford to go