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Ho. 4, February Ut, 1864.-Published Montbly.-Price One Penny.



Eegistered for Transmission Abroad.




"A Woman thr.'; foareth the Lord, she shall be praised.— Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her owa works uraise her."— Prov. :;s2i.




WILL r^THEK BE A GO \T TH^N MOTHEP



26



THE BRITISH WORKWOMAN.



[F.l.



1, ISCA.



LUCY NORCOTT;



THE WIFE AT HOME.

A PONY carriage stopped at the gate of a neat little
frarden in the village of Femdcne, and before a little
imy who was playing there could call his mother, a
young lady had jumped out and entered the cottage.
She kissed the smilin" young woman who met her at
the door, for Lucy Noreott had been her nurse, and
then, while taking the seat which was o6i;red her, she
said, " I am in a great hurry, Lucy, but 1 am come
to ask if you would just help us a little at the hall.
The housemaids have both been sent away, and we
sadly want somebody who knows about the house, to
come and help. Will you come, just this once, dear
good Lucy ?"

But, dear, good Lucy knew her duty better. She
said she was sorry, very sorry, not to oblige those for
whom she had so great a respect, but that her first
duty was at home.

" But just for once," urged the young lady. " Tom-
neighbour could take charge of the children, and you
could lock up the house all safe."

" And what is my husband to do when he comes
home for his dinner, and finds the house empty, and
his door locked against him ?" asked Lucy, smiling.

"O, let him take his dinner with him in the
morning," quickly said Miss Alstone.

"My dear young lady," said Lucy, and now she
spoke gravely, though in a gentle voice, "my first
duty is to my husband and children. To keep his
home such an one as he can love to return to after
his daily labour, and to give my little ones that care
which none but a mother can give ; this is what I am
bound to consider, above everything else in the
world."

" But think how nice it would be to add to your
hr.sband's earnings," again urged the young lady. "It
must surely be luways good to increase your income,
Lucy."

"William's wages are enough for us, dear Miss
A»nes, and there would be no saving, but rather loss,
by my going out."

" liow so?" asked Agnes, surprised.
" Why, of course, my neighbour would not be
troubled with the children for nothmg ; even if I did
not pay her money, I must provide Tbod enough for
the children and for her too. Then cold meat and dry
bread, which William would be obliged to take for his
dinner, cost more than any little warm mess I can
make for bun here. So indeed I must not leave my
home."

Agnes looked vexed ; what more could she say ?
But'she was not going to be beaten yet, so she
pleaded, " But do" not labouring men often dine
on cold meat and bread, even if they do come
home?"

" Yes, Miss Agnes, certainly they do, but it is bad
economy. I can warm up a little meat with potatoes
and onions, or any other vegetable, and perhaps rice
or flour, and make a little go much farther than if he
ate it cold with bread. And then the children, if I
. mve them dry bread and meat, they never seem
satisfied, neither do they i-eUsh it ; but when all is hot
and savoury, you cannot think how they enjoy their
dinner."

"Well, they seem to thrive upon it, certainly,"
said Agnes; "so you really are determined not to
come ? And.I suppose I nmst own you are right, as
you always .are, Lucy. So I must go and tell mamma
that I have failed."

She rose to go, but at the door she stoi)ped and
said, "But can you recommend to us any woman
who is accustomed to go out?"

Lucy reflected a moment, then said, " Yes, there
is Mrs. Johnson in the house next door to the ' Bell.'
I kuow she goes to several families."
" Is she honest ?" asked Agnes.
" 1 know nothing against her honesty ; she seems
clean and hardworking, by the accounts 1 have heard
of her."

" Then good bye, Lucy ; good bye, little ones, I must
go and try Mrs. Johnson ; but she won't be like you,
Lucy," she added aflectionately.

Now Lucy's little room, more like a parlour than a
kitchen— for all washing and messing works were
done in her scullery at the back of the house— was a
picture of neatness, but the room at_ the door of
which .iVgnes now tappetl with her lively fingers,
presented a striking coDtrast.

On a childish voice answering, " Come in," Agnes
entered.

A "irl of about twelve years of age was sitting



beside the fire, rocking herself backwards and
forwards in the vain attempt to stifle the cries of a
sickly looking baby, which looked as if it had never
ceased wailing since first it came into this world.
Another child, scarcely able to walk, was standing
near her with a piece of bread and treacle in its hands,
more treacle being visible on the face, hands, and
pinafore, than on the bread itself Two others were
in the room, sprawUng idly on the floor, playing with
a broken toy.

The young lady hesitated a moment, but by this
time the girl had risen, and was standing staring at
her in a manner which expressed stupidity rather
than rudeness.

" Is your mother at home, my girl ':'"
" No, she's up at Squire Thornton's," answered the
girl. „ . ,

"Is she engaged to be there to-mon-ow? continued
Agnes.

"No, but she'll be home late; do you want her,
please Miss?" .

Agnes hesitated, the cottage looked so miserable,
the girl so uncouth and untidy, that she felt doubtful
whether to engage the mother to come to the hall, but
at length she said, " If she is not engaged to-morrow,
perhaps she could come and speak to my mamma in
the morning. Will you ask her to do so ?"

"Y^cs. I won't forget," answered the girl, still
shaking the poor baby, so that its plaintive whine
came out by fits and starts. " We're poor enough,
and mother has to work hard," she added, in a
mournful tone.

" How is it that you are so poor ?" asked Agnes,
kindly. " Has your father no work ?"

" Oh, yes. Miss, he gets work regular enough, but
if it war'nt for mother, we should all be starved;
poor mother slaves herself to death to keep us .all."

Agnes felt distressed; she was very young, and
had yet to learn the secret of the poverty of the
labouring man who has plenty of work ; so she only
remarked the sorrowful look on the girl's face, and
the general appearance of discomfort in the whole
family. She felt unwilling to go and leave them
without a few kind words. So she said gently,
" That poor baby seems ill."

"She's always cross and fretful-like," rephod the
"irl. " I never caif keep her quiet. You see. Miss,
mother had to go out to work, when baby was only
five weeks old, and I have to feed her as well as I can,
for she only gets to mother at nights, and the
neighbours say the bread and water does'nt agree
with her."

" Poor little one," said Agnes, compassionately ; "I
will ask mamma for some arrowroot for her. But
now I must go. Do not forget to send your mother to
us to-morrow."

The girl promised, and the young lady returned
home.

After hearing her daughter's account of her visit to
the cottage, Mrs. Alstune ascertained that the woman
Johnson °was an honest hard-working person, who
did really as her girl had said, " slave her life out "
to provide for her family ; but that the husband was a
drunken fellow, who spent the greater part of his
money at the public-house.

So the next day Mrs. Johnson was engaged to help
in the house till the new servants should arrive.

Mrs. Alstone was kind-hearted and liberal, and
many nice scraps ft-om her table did she give to the
poor charwoman to take home to her family, and two
or three different kinds of food for the baby were
carried thither by Agnes ; but the poor girl, Susan,
who tended the baby as well as she could, knew not
how to make these messes nice, and soft, and warm, so
the baby throve no better on them than it had done
before. Y'et the careworn, haggard-looking woman,
her own clothes often ragged, and her appearance
dirty, worked hard, and swept, and scrubbed, and was
always civil and obliging, so what more could be
done? She had no time to mend her clothes, for
often it was late ere, weary to death, she walked the
two miles to her home, and then she had frequently
to endure abuse from her drunken husband, who
would come in out of temper, just as she was about to
creep into her ill-made bed, with the wailing baby in
her arms. Then the poor babe would tug and tug,
and get from her the tired unwholesome milk which
had 'been kept unnaturally for hours, and which,
while it exhausted the already overworn mother,
only served to cause sufiijring in the infant, whose
wailings never ceased excepting wheq it slept, which
was only at short interr.als; and then in the moi-niug,
weary with want of rest, the mother would rise to
walk ofl' again to her daily labours.

Now all this was very pitiable, but let us not talk
of it as if such suflerings as these were the allotted



portion of the poor, or of the family of the working
man. No, here, as in most other cases, an acquaint-
ance with what Lucy Noreott had justly called her
" first duty," would, in all probability, have saved
poor Mi-s.'johnson all her unhappiness. Her hus-
band and William Noreott received precisely the
same wages, eighteen shillings a week; and when
Mary first married, their little dwelling was furnished
out of her savings, and was as comfortable a cottage
as you would wish to see.

Mary, too, had neat clothes. She had been servant
in a gentleman's family ; and her wedding dress, as
well :is sundry useful articles, had been given her by
her mistress and her daughters.

But Mary was not contented with eighteen shillings
a week.

Her late mistress asked her to come in and help in
the house, and she thought one-and-sixpence a day
was not a thing to refuse ; so she had not been mar-
ried three months before she began to leave her
home almost as early as her husband, and return at
night even after the hour at which he left off work.

On these occasions the house must, of course, be
locked up, and a cold dinner (often bread and cheese,
for Mary had had no tune to prepare any food the day
before), was tied up in a handkerchief for Johnson
to eat as he could by the road-side. And then, when
evening came, with his wife still absent, what could
the poor man do, but step into the warm, snug par-
lour of the " Bell," and wait there for her return '■

Johnson had not been otherwise than steady when
he married — he was not a total abstainer ; indeed he
fancied that he could not work so well if he had not
a pint of beer daily ; but he had been courting Mary
for some years, and had kept himself sober for her
sake. But now, the landlord of tlie " Bell" would
have taken it ill if he had sat in his parlour and drank
nothini' ; so, though he had had his pint at dinner,
another and another were taken, till by the time his
first cliild was born, Johnson had become an habitual
drunkard. Hard was the struggle, oftentimes, for
the poor wife to get money from him to pay their
rent, and keep he"r and the'babe from starving ; and
befire she had quite recovered her strength, Mrs.
Johnson left the baliy with a neighbour, and went
out to work as before.

And this had now gone on, till, as we have seen,
their eldest girl was twelve years old, and there were
three others to feed and clothe, several havuig died
in their infancy for want of their mother's care ; and
the last appearing as it it had come into the world
only to suffer. Mary Johnson was nearly the same
age with Lucy Noreott, yet, with her haggard looks,
her sunken eyes, and dead brown complMiion, she
looked nearly twenty years her senior.

Lucy, thouirh she had not married tiU she was
twenty-seven "yeai-s of age, still retained the fresh
look of her youth. Her colour was bright and
healthv, her eyes clear, her step light ; and, though
her rounded form proclaimed her a matron, you
would never auess that she had passed her three-and-
thirtieth birthday. Her three children were healthy
and strong, for they had been -blessed with good con-
stitutions'; and, as she had never confided them to
another's care, they had always been kindly and
judiciously treated.

Lucy rose in the morning a little before her hus-
band, in order to have a warm breakfast to give him
before he set out to work ; and when he came down,
refi-eshed by his sleep in the clean and well-aired
bed-room, he found everything neat and ready, and
his careful wile, with her loving smile, to greet him.

Their b.ibies, being healthy, soon learned to lie or
cr.iwl upon a clean cloth spread upon the floor, so
that the mother could finish her work undisturbed,
and be ready to take up the little one, ere it grew
tired of amusing itself

She had watched the cook during her period of
service, and taken from her many a usehil hint, which
she now turned to good account ; and thus she con-
trived, as she had told Miss Alstone, to make a little
meat, well cooked, and mixed with vegetables or rice,
foi-m most invitina; dinners, to which her husband sat
down with pleasui-e. The table-cloth was always
clean, so were the plates and cups; and the jug of
fresh spring water looked so refreshingly cool, that
William never thouglit of wishing for beer.

'• The money that beer would cost pays the rent,"
he would say;'" and my Lucy ^sliall never know want
because I drink her rent away."

How could any of this have been done, if Lucy,
like her neighbour, had gone from home to work ?
Her children must have been neglected, and her hus-
band driven from his home. " God has given me
duties to perform, .and I will try to do them," she
would sav. •' He has given me a good husband, and I



February 1, 1S64.]



THE BRITISH WORKR-QMAX.



will make Liin liappv in every way I can." And
with this view, dimply and constantly before her, Lucy
contrived to do all her washing and cleaning between
the time of her husband's going out in the momin*^
and his return for dinner ; and he was, perhap?, the
only man in the village who never knew what it was
to have a washing-day. And thus, with their
eighteen shillings a week, the Norcotts were rich.

Lately there had been a small bat weekly increasing
sum in the Post-Office Savings' Bank, ready against
a rainy day, sickness, or want of work, or old age
and its infirmities. Sometimes envious neighbours
would wonder at the appearance of plenty and
comfort in those whose position was the same with
their own ; and some even went so far as to say, that
there must be a means of obtaining money of which
they knew nothing. Perhaps the landlord of the
" Bell" could have told them, that one great cause
of this prosperity was their being no customers of
his ; but he held his peace, and only wished in his heart
that Mi-9. Norcott would take to going out to work.

But let us return to Mrs. Johnson. It is Saturday
night, and she has been out at work all the week.
"gaining," as she calls it, eighteenpence a day.

But when she comes home, three shillings of her
hard earnings must go for rent, or they will be turned
out of their house, for their landlord, knowing the
character of Johnson, is strict in enforcing the weekly
payment. Then the baker has let poor Susan have
bread for the family all the week ; for dry bread,
with n. little rancid butter, or dripping, has been ali
they have had to live on, and nearly four shillings go
for bread. Coals, too, arc dear, and children never
know how to save in firing, so, many more are con-
sumed every week, than need be if the mother had
been at home ; and thus all poor Mary's earnings are
gone at once, spent, as it were, before she receives
them ; while for tea or candles, or any little needful
groceries, as well as clothing and shoes for herself
and the children, there is nothing but what she can
be" from her husband, and It is a small sum indeed
which he brings home on Saturdays. He has always
a score at the " Bell," and while he pays that, he must
drink again, for he knows that Saturday night is the
time when his worn-out wife is doing the week's
washing, and there is no room for him at home, even
4bough ahe is come in ; so he sits drinking on, drink-
ing away the lives of his wife and children, and most
certainly drinking away his own ; because the wife,
whom he once loved so well, has been ignorant of
her duty, and made his home miserable.

And wiien Sunday comes, where are the Sunday
clothes ? Mary's have been pawned long ago, to
procure food for her babes, and the poor children
never had any, — they scramble through the holy
Sabbath-day, as they do through others, dirty,
hungry, cross, and sickly. Even Susan cannot read ;
for ever since she was seven years old, she has had
the charge of the younger ones, and no Sunday-school
teacher has had an opportunity of leading her to the
knowledge of her Maker and Redeemer. She is
growing up as ignorant as she is miserable.

And when that girl is older, how will she pass her
time ? Will years of themselves bring wisdom, and
will she learn to keep the house as her mother should
have done? No. The habits of idleness, and dirt,
and improvidence, of her early days will cling to her;
she will stand in the doorway watching the passers
by, or joining in idle, perhaps sinful conversation ;
and never having been taught to distinguish right
from wrong, her conscience will become hardened,
and her career will probably be one of sin and shame.
Poor girl ! Is it her mother s ignorance of her duty
that shall lay her thus low ? Had the mother kept
her home like Lucy Noi'cott, Susan might early have
attended the village school, and, being taught habits
of neatness at home, might have become a valued
servant in a gentleman's family, till, in her turn, she
had taken upon herself the holy duties of a wife.

Oh, mothers, if not for yourself, yet for the sake of
your yet innocent children, stay at home, and help to
fit them for the duties of life, as none but a mother can.

One Jlonday morning, Norcott happened to over-
take his neighbour Johnson on his way to work.
There was iTttle in common between the two men,
and Norcott had long felt shy of his dnuiken ac-
quaintance ; yet there was something in Johnson's
appearance to-day which induced him to slacken his
pace, that he might speak '' - ^ i.-^-— .

passing on.



few words before



as an apple, and as clean as if you were going to
church \ 1 wish I was as rich as you are."

" And why are you not ?" asked Norcott, ** cm-
wages are the same. "

" Aye, but you have got a clever managing wife,
who knows how to manage everything, and she makes
your home comlbrtable."

•'Johnson," replied his neighbour, gravely, "it
you did as I do, give all your wages into your wife's
hands every Saturday night, you might be as well off
as we are."

" A pretty thing, indeed ! And what am I to do
for a drop of beer, I should like to know ? The
' Bell's' the only place where I can have a moment's
comfort, and how can I help going there ?"

" Cannot you bid your wife stay at home and make
things comfortable ?" urged Xorcott. " It seems to
me that her going out has done all the mischief"

" It drove me first to the ' Bell,' and that's true,"
replied Johnson, bitterly ; " but now I've "ot the
habit of it, I can't live without it, and my wife says
we shoidd all be starved if she did not work ; and
Sukey's a big girl now, and able to manage at home."

" And how does she manage, poor child ?" returned
Xorcott, " but by lolling all day at the door, and
gossipping. Why she cannot even do up the house
fit to be seen, nor wash the clothes ; and how should
she, when her mother never taught her?"

'* "Well, well, man, that^s all very fine, but poor
folks must work and slave, and get on as they can,
and not Interfere with each other, that's what / am
thinking." And Johnson looked so inclined to
quarrel with Norcott, that he ceased from his well-
meant remarks, and merely bidding him good-morn-
ing again, went on his way at the brisk pace which
was natural to him.

" \VTiat a happy thing it is for me, that, from the
first, we determined that Lucy should never leave her
home," he said to himself. " I might have been
driven to the public-house like that poor fellow, for
want of a home, and have been what he is, a poor,
wretched, miserable drunkard. Oh, what mercy has
followed me," he exclaimed soon alter, " what a
mercy that my Lucy knew her duty, and ■\vas deter-
mined to do it ! I do not believe poor Mrs. Johnson
has an idea, to this day, that all her misery Is her own
doing. And many other people eiT through ignorance,
I believe. They think only of earning money, and
never reflect how much they lose by it; money,
health, character, happiness. Would they be wiser,
I wonder, if they did know it ; if every wife and
mother said, as my Lucy does, that her first duty is to
her husband and children? Some women like gad-
ding about into gentlemen's houses, or even those
horrid laondrics, where they can gossip all day, and
get gin to drink ; yet, perhaps, even some of those
might never have begun the bad habit. If they had
known the misery and poverty which are sure to
follow it."

So William Norcott went un, tlebatlng with himself
this anxious question, till he arrived at the farm
where he worked.

Wife of the labouring man ! Take warning in

time. Try to make home happy to your husband

and children. Remember your first earthly duty,

and, whatever be the temptations to go out to work,

STAY AT HOME !

M. A. R.



Johnson's step wa< unsteady, his back was bent
like an old man's, his face was purple and bloated,
and his voice husky, as he replied to Norcott's kindly
salutation.

*• Aye, ffood moi*ning," he said, gloomily, "the
moi-uing's always good with you ; you look as fresh



Woman akd Chkistianity. — As woman was the
first in the transgression, so He who came to raise the
fallen and to save the lost, was the first to vindicate
her cause. He was bom of woman, and women's love
followed Him from the manger to the sepulchre.
When He had not where to lay His head, women
ministered unto Him of their substance; when even
his favoured disciples were ignorant of His real
character, He revealed Himself to a despised daughter
of Samaria, as the promised Messiah. He restored
alive the dead son of the widow, and gave back to
life the dead brother of the mourning sisters ; he
shrank not from the touch of the woman who "was a
sinner," nor cast a stone on her who was laden in
adultery ; his last words of public exhortation were
addressed to the daughters of Jerusalem ; and when
the multitude demanded his death, a woman pro-
claimed her sympathy with His fate. Betrayed by
one apostle, denied by another, forsaken by all,
woman clung to Him to the end. the last to linger at
His cross, the first to seek His sepulchre. And, to a
woman. He made the first maniiestation of Himself
after the resurrection from the dead. To His service,
therefore, women, are especially called, that their
influence may be rightfully directed towards those
with whom thev are connected.



SUNDAY THINKINGS,
TO BRIGHTEN WORK-BAY TOILS.

Sunday, Ith February^ 1864.

"He is brought as a LamU to the SLArOHTER." —

Isaiah liii. 7.
" He is brought!" Who ? In Acts viii. I see Philip
told the man from Ethiopia, that it meant Jesus.
I will read all the verses, chapter viii. -26 — 40. So
when this man was sitting in his carriage, reading
Isaiah liii., Philip told him that it was all about
Jesus. How could Isaiah have known all about Him
so long before ? for he wrote it 700 years before
Jesus was born. God made it known to Isaiah by
His Holy Spirit, so that lie prophesied, that means,
told beforehand, what would happen.

Now, let me look again ; what docs he say of Jesus ?
He says. He is brought to the slaughter, lt7:e a iamb,
an innocent lamb. They don't put It to death
because it has hurt anybody, or done any harm, but
that It may be food for people, that they may cat It.
As they eat It^ it feeds their bodies. They live by
eating it.

How was Jesus like a lamb ? He did no sin. He
was holy, harmless ; yet they slaughtered Him. Ho
was nailed to the cross, and died. The thorns tore
His blessed head; the nails tore His hands and His
feet ; the scourge of ropes, with an iron point at the
end of each rope, tore his back; the spear pierced
His side ; from all these wounds the blood llowcd
out, and Jesus died — the slaughtered Lamb of God.
Why ? That I might live. 1 will pray for the Holy
Spirit to enlighten my ignorance, that I may under-
stand this. I will read John vi. 53 — -57.

Sunday^ 14M February^ 1864.


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