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consequently descended with it, is then sewn on; and when the press has been withdrawn the bale is taken out and is ready for the only other processes which await it-viz., weighing and branding. These are soon over, and then the wool which we saw enter the shed at one end on the sheep's backs, is now rolled out at the other by main force into the storage-room opposite. There the bale remains with many others till the drays
are ready to take it to the nearest railway station, which, by the way, is sixty miles distant.
The journey thence to Melbourne is soon accomplished, and at that port it is shipped for London. In due course it reaches Coleman Street, and by the time the report of its sale gets back to the sheep station, the season for shearing, with its ceaseless bustle and activity, will have again come round.
PEAKING generally, the conditions of charitable work are at present these. Many give money directly to the poor, and indirectly through intitutions; but money only, never thought. Poor A., or sick C., or sad B. never trouble their thoughts, or if they do, and plead want, there is the one salve-money. Others care for A., B., and C., but, passing beyond their own vicinity, become district visitors and almoners, and do not give up the idea of the universal usefulness of money and its equivalents-coal, blankets, and soup. And some of these would, if possible, make "the herculean attempt an attempt which would never succeed in that way-to raise the general standard of comfort by the profusion of their largesses." There are institutions numberless, bound with restrictions of all sorts, so that the difficulty of obtaining admissions, in part from this cause, in part from the competition of candidates, is often insurmountable. There is, with some very slight exceptions, no common bond, league, or compact between one and another. Each, like a petty German State, though they may have the wisest counsellors within them, sits apart, with all the needless cost and array which separateness entails. There are endowed charities of every kind-small and minutely elaborate, large and magnificent, antiquated and useful, absolutely harmful and perfunctorily administered, good and well-arranged -every description of foundation which the fond but well-meaning man can desire, who, as Turgot says, thinks he can be wise enough, “éterniser l'effet de ses volontés." In the city of London there is a very jungle of charities, for the city once was the metropolis. In largeness of income the metropolitan charities are unrivalled. In a single union the endowed dole charities amount to £2,057 a year! Yet how hard it is to get adequate assistance! There is besides a Poor Law State charity to the destitute, the distributor in some parts of London of an out-relief hardly more discriminating than the distribution of doles by the charitable, and certainly more pernicious; a care of the imbecile and the insane more complete and thorough, perhaps, than has yet ever existed; schools for children; and the indoor or workhouse relief, which, as charity grows wiser and thrift more common, one would fain have limited exclu
sively to the dissolute and vicious. Law expends in London about £1,907,155 a year. Charity organisation was not to be introduced upon some virgin soil, such as that where Coleridge and Southey could set up a new-fangled Pantisocracy, and teach the young idea good principles without let or hindrance from the outer world, It has had to grow like a newcomer in a land already well covered with trees and herbs-overcrowded sometimes and shutting the light out one from another, and intertwined in inextricable confusion, sometimes growing bravely in adverse soil and situation.
The problem is how, out of elements like these, 1 to create organisation-a conjoining and concentreing of effort and resources-so that those who are in distress will find a helper who will, so far as can be, cure them of their ill; and those that can help may do their part the better by mutual aid. To this end the Charity Organisation Society has gradually worked out, and is working upon, these principles. First, a knowledge of the circumstances of the distressed person must be obtained-such a knowledge as will show the cause of distress and suggest the best remedy. For this purpose there must be inquiry into facts. In this process imposture must necessarily be brought to light. The facts learnt, the relief must be adequate. If the facts show that no relief will avail, owing to "fecklessness," or to worse causes, such as neglect of family obligations, confirmed thriftlessness, vice, or irremediable deceit, the Poor Law should intervene, and not charity. One of the principles of charity organisation in fact is to dissever those whose distress is curable, whom charitable relief may raise to self-support, and those who should be helped by pensions, from those whom it is just to leave to the Poor Law.
To carry out these principles, to help the distressed in this thorough manner, and to enable the different charitable agencies and persons to draw themselves together into co-operation, there are thirty-eight district committees, to which all are welcome if they will work. It is sometimes said that the society is spending ninety-nine or some other large percentage of its money in organisation, as if that were a reproach. It is the reverse. It is easy to distribute charity, or
rather money, at a small percentage. People who give small sums habitually to beggars, unless they take credit for their trouble in the act of giving, distribute their alms at no cost whatever. But the percentage has to be put on at the other end; it is a percentage which the community pays in money, literally thrown away, in rates for paupers, and in the destruction of vital power and sobriety, which is the capital invested in the progress of the people. Co-operation, then, is a first condition of wise charity, and money expended on this cooperation is money expended in charity in the strictest and truest sense.
These committees have large-at present still too large areas, of the size sometimes of a large provincial town. One or two paid officers are attached to each. There are honorary secretaries responsible for the local work. Under their instructions, and with their co-operation, the "agents" make inquiries as to the family, character, thriftiness, relations, etc., of the person in distress. Many come of themselves to the offices of the committees; many are sent. The facts collected, the committee consider what should be done. They must settle this apart from any consideration of the means at their disposal. Their business is to obtain what is required, and in the last resort to give-that this co-operation may be promoted. Sometimes a relation is forthcoming, who will help if others do. Sometimes an employer thinks well of a man, and takes him back into his employ, or he helps the widow. "Mates" will help often. "Please, sir," says the poor woman, "I think if I were to have a mangle I might get along pretty well." inquiry may show that, if all the population of London ate mangles and lived on mangles, the mangle market in that street would be in so "congested" a state there would still remain an oversupply. Or the woman may say, "I should like to get my little boy into one of them large schools." She has seen Banstead, possibly, or some of our splendid orphanages; and the idea of gaining admission to it has a consolotary attractiveness. (Blame her not, reader; have the middle class. nominees to Christ's Hospital always been "charity children," properly so called?) And so one plan after another is thought of and discussed, and something quite different from the original proposal is perhaps found after all to be best.
One member, then, takes up this case, another that. One is visited by a member, or an almoner of the Society for the Relief of Distress; another the clergyman is asked to see. Letters are written to this or that charity, according to the plan of help that has been devised; or the guardians are communicated with; or, what may often be fully as just and useful, help is refused, and the applicant is told why he ought not to receive it. There are, of course, committees which conform to a lower standard of work than that of others, but gradually and surely the standard is being raised. It could hardly be otherwise when some three hundred persons are constantly at work with every desire to make progress, and some are giving their whole time and lives to it. There is a council, which is a body represent
ing these committees. On them devolves the work of general propagandism and supervision, the discussion of questions affecting the movement, and of special questions-such as the dwellings of the poor, the education of the blind, etc. One result of its labours has been the publication this year of a "Register and Digest" of metropolitan charities, with an appendix concerning trade, friendly, and benevolent societies, and much information regarding the various laws bearing on charitable questions. It is a sort of almoners' vade mecum. The council also gives information regarding charitable institutions, ascertaining and laying down general principles upon which their work may be judged. It also undertakes prosecutions in certain cases to prevent the misapplication of charitable funds.
Such is a very short sketch of the Charity Organisation Society. The fullest details regarding it can be had at the offices of the council of the society, 15, Buckingham Street, London, w.c. Charity is no easy thing; it is the means of making, and it is now but too often the means of marring, the lives of thousands. It may tempt the weak to indolence, as it may console the sorrowful and strengthen the weak-hearted. Let any who would do good learn at least what those who are organising charity are striving with all their might to accomplish-that charity shall make and shall not mar the lives of those who appeal to it in their distress.
C. S. L.
"Per Angusta ad Augusta."
AN INSCRIPTION OVER THE DOOR OF AN OLD HOUSE IN COIRE.
"THROUGH narrow things to great." So the words run, Carved in rude letters 'bove an antique door;
And as I scanned the legend o'er and o'er,
To muse what truth could from the scroll be won.
"From narrow things to great." The words might stand
Where we have lived and loved, enjoyed and planned.
"Well, I'm puzzled to choose, Moltke or Bismarck?"-" Don't puzzle, father, take them both."
(From the Picture by C. G, Hellqvist,
LADY AMYOTT'S CHARGE.
HERE was a house opposite ours in London
which we as children used to watch incessantly. It was not a very amusing house, either-not, for instance, like No. 16 in the same street, where there was always a poodle or a baby looking out of almost every window. Nevertheless, we used to sit for hours, eagerly watching for what we might see, and imagining all sorts of things we could not see. It was a gaunt, black house in a fashionable street. There was never a tuft of mignonette, or even as much as a sooty box-bush outside the windows; and the little lady who lived in it never came and looked out on the busy street; we could only very rarely catch a glimpse of her pale face and little erect figure. It was a very sad face—sad, as if some secret grief, some hidden sorrow, were always living with her, always supping at her table, always sitting at the head of her bed, never leaving her by night or by day.
Her story indeed was a sad one. She had been a great heiress, and had refused offer after offer. She was of a very cautious disposition, and suspected people of caring only for her money. But when she was past thirty she one day fell in love, and caution was thrown to the winds. Despite the excellent advice offered her by her friends, she insisted on marrying Lord Amyott Warden, and for a little while, a very little while, she was perfectly happy. Then came a very sad and terrible time, a time when her love tried to blind her common sense, a time when even her love failed. And then there followed the final blow, when nothing but the memory of the old love, and the unutterable horror of a public scandal, made her consent to keep his name. So now she was living her dreary, lonely life in her large house in London, and he was in some Continental town, gambling away the liberal allowance she made him. For a time she was numbed with grief, and then as the years went on she settled down into a prim conventional life. She had a most affectionate heart, yet knew not herself how to get at it. People interested her keenly; she was longing to give them help and sympathy, but it only ended by her frightening them by her own reserve. She tried at one time visiting the sick in a hospital, and the old people in the workhouse, but when she was at either place she could not think of anything to say; and once, as she passed silently through the union wards, pressing her little ringed hands tightly together in the struggle to find some observation to make, a rude, half-witted old person remarked,
"That there wun 'ave lost her tongue."
Which scared the poor little lady so much that she gave up going herself, though she still sent presents of fruit and game.
She was devoted to children, but had not the faintest idea how to play with them. Indeed, she
never had been a child herself, but all her life long a sedate, undemonstrative little woman. And as the monotonous years drifted by, the poor lady drew still more and more into her shell, until at last her piano became her only comfort and pleasure. She played with great execution and sweetness, although without much expression, for her reserve went so far as to forbid her even that vent of feeling. The notes seemed to drop like water from the clever little fingers, as they rippled over the keys. She spent hours in practising, and then, when the piece was perfect, there was no one to whom she cared to play it.
One afternoon, a few weeks before Christmas, when the early dusk was closing in on the dull London streets, a letter with an Indian stamp arrived for Lady Amyott. She recognised the handwriting; it was the handwriting of a cousin of whom she had been very fond when they were both girls together, and who had married early and was now in India with her husband:
"My dear Theodosia,-I am going to ask a very great favour of you. Do not hesitate to refuse if it causes you any inconvenience. I shall quite understand, dear."
Lady Amyott read so far, and then paused in dismay. And well she might, for the letter went on to ask her, in the most affectionate terms, to undertake the care of Arthur (Mrs. Arbuthnot's youngest boy) during his Christmas holidays.
"You would find him a very good boy," wrote Mrs. Arbuthnot, with that confidence which is so remarkable in mothers. "He is, I know, apt to be untidy in his habits, and not quite as particular as he ought to be about washing, but he is everything that is dear and affectionate, and would soon love you dearly."
And then she went on as if in duty bound to give Lady Amyott some loopholes of escape.
"I know you must have so many engagements that you must not think of taking him unless it quite suits you. It was only the idea of his having to pass his holidays all alone at school, now that his grandmother cannot receive him, that has made me venture to ask you."
Lady Amyott sat down before the fire and considered. The prospect of having a wild schoolboy in her quiet orderly house appalled her. "Not quite as particular about washing as he ought to be! Oh dear!" she moaned. And yet it hurt her to think of the child's loneliness, and the promise that he would "soon love her dearly" had a great attraction for her. There had been a time when she had longed very earnestly for a child of her own, and had thought how pleasant it would be to have little arms clasped round her neck and little lips pressed lovingly to her cheek. The idea of this boy's affection pleased her; "but then, if he were a dirty, mischievous boy? Oh dear, dear!"
In the end Lady Amyott sat down at her writingtable and wrote a kind, shy letter to Arthur, asking him to spend his Christmas holidays with her in London. In a few days she received an irreproachably clean and well-spelt reply, accepting her kind invitation 'with the greatest possible pleasure." Ignorant as Lady Amyott was of human nature, she suspected, and suspected rightly, that this beautiful epistle was not Arthur's unassisted production. Meanwhile Lady Amyott amused herself by making ready for her guest a little room upstairs, filling it with everything that she imagined a boy could possibly care for.
When the day for his arrival came she drove herself to meet him at the station. He was to arrive in time for luncheon, and Lady Amyott had ordered for that meal everything that the cook told her "young gentlemen was most partial to." She sent the footman to meet Arthur on the platform. Mrs. Arbuthnot had given her a description of Arthur, and according to her he was a very pretty, delicate-looking boy of eleven, with a pale face and dark-red hair.
It seemed to Lady Amyott that the footman was gone a long time, and when he did return it was without any signs of Arthur. Lady Amyott was much alarmed. There were a great many young gentlemen arriving for the holidays by that train, James said, but they had all been fetched by their friends. Master Arbuthnot was not there, of this he was positive. In her perturbation Lady Amyott alighted from her carriage and went into the station. The bustle and rush of arrivals were over, and the platform was almost deserted, but at the farthest end there was a little crowd of porters. Lady Amyott, in despair, went up to ask them when she might expect the next train from Brighton. The group parted, and she saw in the midst the cause of the gathering-a little boy with dark-red hair, and a face as black as that of a negro minstrel. A dreadful presentiment that this was Arthur filled poor Lady Amyott's mind.
"Your ma won't know yer again," a porter was saying, and the child answered simply, "I'm not going to spend the holidays with mother, she's in India, but I'm to go to Lady Amyott Warden, and I don't know how to find her. She said she was coming to meet me, and I blacked my face coming in the train."
Lady Amyott, poor thing, gave a little startled cry, and the porters slouched off and left her standing in front of Arthur, who came up to her with a subdued laugh.
"Dear, dear!" she said, in a tone of expostulation, whatever made you do such a thing, Arthur?"
"Hampton and Russell said you would enjoy it," replied the boy, a little piteously. "Are you angry? Oh, don't be angry!" and he advanced to kiss her, with both his grimy claws outstretched.
She shrank back with a little moan. "Oh, you had better come straight home with me and wash your face."
He followed her past the grinning porters and the astonished footman, and, after a polite attempt to help her into the carriage, he jumped in him
self and sat with his eyes eagerly fixed on the shops and passers-by as they drove along.
"Hullo there's an orange shop! I'll buy you some oranges, I've got sixpence left. Oh, look at that beggar, he's quite blind! Oh, do stop the carriage and let me give him my sixpence! Oh, he's gone!"
Meanwhile Lady Amyott was brooding in melancholy upon her fate. Her worst fears were confirmed—indeed, more than confirmed-for in her moments of wildest imagination she had never dreamt of such a terribly dirty boy. "How did you manage to black your face?" she had asked.
"Oh, I can show you how, quite easily," had been the obliging reply. "You first lick your fingers, and then rub them on the windows, or on your boots, or anywhere, and then on your face, you know!"
She sent him up to his room with the footman and waited for him in the dining-room. When he reappeared she was astonished at the change. His features were refined and pretty in the extreme. Two wistful dreamy blue eyes looked out of the little white face, and the dark-red hair only served to set in strong relief the purity and delicacy of his complexion.
He put up his face to be kissed, and then flung his arm round her neck. "You're rather like mother," he said, gently; "and what pretty rings you have on!"
After lunch-for which meal Arthur showed little appetite, having refreshed himself incessantly with Banbury cakes and chocolate creams for three hours previously-Lady Amyott took him up into the drawing-room.
Directly he saw the piano he cried, eagerly, "Do you play? Please play me something!" and he pulled her to the music-stool. He hunted among a pile of music, ruthlessly turning it topsy-turvy in a minute. "Play this sonata of Mozart's-no, the 'Moonlight Sonata,' I like that best-and then these airs from Lohengrin.""
She obeyed, and the afternoon slipped away, she playing piece after piece, while the little red head pressed itself close against hers, and the sharp little chin hooked itself firmly but affectionately into her shoulder.
The next few days passed peacefully enough. Lady Amyott sent the boy out shopping with the footman, or took him herself to see morning performances, and, except for his untidy dreamy ways, enlivened by an occasional flash of mischief, there was nothing to disturb her sense of order and of the fitness of things. It is true that he brought her back horrible presents from these shopping expeditions: weird sweets, a dreadful baby in pink soap, Diprose's "Jest Book," and some extremely gaudy pieces of false jewellery.
"Look here, dear," he said (he always called her " dear"), "isn't this lovely? Won't it look nice on your best black velvet! James helped me to choose it, and he bought one just like it; and I believe (only you mustn't tell, dear, because it's a secret) that James is going to give it to the scullery maid on her birthday, which is next Tuesday." One evening it chanced that Lady Amyott was