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and go down laughing with him into hell
itself.

They fetched him away in the afternoon
and he made only a very poor fight of it. In a
corner of the deserted home which had been
so abruptly broken up a baby cried for him.
In the street Guttergarten booed and spat
its contempt after him. But the murderer's
hand still tingled with a friendly grip and he
knew that the Gutter Parson would come to
him. All this had happened and yet the elder
Lizzie was still fully occupied in her own nar-
row Self-being, and its small and confined
activities. She was still able to concentrate
all the energies of her petty domesticated
intellect upon that threatening storm as it
hovered in ill-omened menace over her day's
labour.

It was not the fault, but the great misfor-
tune, indeed, it was the whole tragedy of the

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The Elder Lizzie

elder Lizzie, that Guttergarten was a desert
that would not blossom for her.

The thunder was driving Blanchie in to
tea, and I could see that she was intending to
offer hospitality to the baby and to Johnny
also.

" Come in ! " I could hear her saying, "and
we'll play mothers and fathers with the
baby!"

We had tea, and Blanchie presided over
the feast, cutting huge slices for Johnny and
nursing the elder Lizzie's baby. Afterwards
they carried out their plan, and played
fathers and mothers in a little furnished room
which they made for themselves under the
table. Blanchie washed pocket-handker-
chiefs and the baby cried a good deal, and
Johnny went out to look for work and came
back again without any luck.

"We'll 'ave a row next!" suggested
Blanchie. "Miss, 'old the Byby; we're goin'
to 'ave a lovely row!"

They had their row. Johnny went under
the table and began to break up the home,
flinging bits of the furniture out of the little

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Gutter-Babies

windows, which had been carefully arranged
in brown paper, and tastefully decorated with
muslin curtains by Blanchie's domesticated
genius. Johnny's language, while he faith-
fully executed his part of the play, was too
realistic to be recorded here.

Meanwhile Blanchie walked up and down
outside wringing her hands.

"Oh, Johnny, do be quiet," she wailed;
"oh, just 'ark to 'im! There won't be a stick
left!"

In the middle of the tragic scene the elder
"Lizzie arrived and demanded her baby.

"We can't play fathers and mothers with-
out a baby," said Blanchie. " Can't yer leave
'im a bit longer? I won't charge yer nothink
hextra!"

It was just what one might have expected
of Lizzie, that she should not understand in
the least why they could not go on with their
"bleedin' nonsense without her baby."

No wonder that the elder Lizzie had never
been a happy woman. I began dimly to guess
at the secret tragedy of that lonely heart.
Blanchie was inclined to take the abrupt

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The Elder Lizzie

interference in her domestic play quite seri-
ously, but Johnny was ready with other
suggestions.

" Never mind ! Let 's 'ave a trunk murder,"
he ventured.

"And I'll be the little 'ound wot smelled
out yer corpse!"

As I left them so, fully absorbed in the
intense seriousness of their play, I found
myself wondering sadly how long it would be
before they, too, would lose, in the deadening
reality of Gutter domesticity, the capacity
to think and care.



CHAPTER XIX

The Open Door in Gutter garten

MANNERS maketh the Gutter-
baby.
Rags will not do it for us, nor
can a long abstinence from soap and water
effect the miracle. It is altogether a matter
of habit and imitative cultivation in the Inner
Way. But we cannot deny that the Gutter-
dwellers have their own peculiar conception
of etiquette. Even in such simple common-
place details as the knocking at a door, or
the placing of a chair for a caller, or the hand-
ling of a knife, or the helping one's self to
sugar, or the blowing of a nose, it is quite
easy for the foreigner to give himself away
badly. In such an event the courteous Gutter-
babies will condemn your hideous blunder
with one big stare of amazement and then
hurriedly cover up your confusion, feeling in
their warm and charitable little hearts only
a great pity for such appalling ignorance. It

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The Open Door in Guttergarten

is fortunate that amongst one's acquaintance
there are a few intimates, such as Johnny or
Blanchie, who will take one aside after the
catastrophe and tenderly explain the gross-
ness of the error.

"That was rude, Miss, but of course we
knows yer can't 'elp it, in course we don't
expect yer to know hevery think!"

Some of the Gutter-dwellers are, of course,
much more fastidious in their appreciation of
society than others.

Even in Guttergarten there is a Bohemian
Set, who take infinite pleasure in capriciously
thwarting every anciently established con-
vention which contributes to the personal
comfort and convenience of their respectable
neighbours.

The advertisement of this attitude of mind
is the Open Door.

The Twin's Mother, for instance, would
always have carefully shut her front door.
Mine is kept open, in spite of the protesta-
tions of Blanchie, on strict principle, because
I cannot lie to the Gutter-dwellers, and I will
not pretend to be what every Gutter-baby in

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Gutter-Babies

the neighbourhood knows I am not. How
could I, who am for ever making mistakes
and doing the impossible, pose as respectable
or good form in Guttergarten? But neverthe-
less I have a great admiration for the Twins'
Mother; if I were more like her I know I
should be a better woman, even if it made
Blanchie feel naughty. And I would ^not
knock on her door twice, as if she did not
occupy the whole of the house herself, if I
could only remember.

But that is just it. To be the real thing in
Guttergarten and to be fit to associate upon
equal terms with the Best People, it is quite
necessary to have been reared and educated
in the school of the Gutter. How can anyone
possibly remember all the things I have to?
It can only be done if the Gutter-ritual is
branded upon one's life and habits, until it
has become part of one's very nature.

But what is the real intention behind the
idea of the Open Door?

It is, without doubt, a defiance of that
strange, spurious growth of human reserve,
which is the root of all modern respectability.
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The Open Door in Guttergarten

Primitive nature has in its foolishness nothing
to conceal. Shame is an empty word and
repression an untested faculty. Here is no
introspection or self -observation, and there-
fore the Open Door is a perfectly genuine
invitation to the "nosey" to come and see,
where there is nothing that may be seen,
to come and acquire knowledge, where there is
no experience. For behind the Open Door,
to the dwellers there, is an atmosphere of un-
fathomable mystery. And if you make any
attempt to open the eyes of a blind Gutter-
baby he will always tell you that he can see
"nothink at all in it all!" It was late in the
story of the evolution of Man that there was
born the desire to hide and seek and the sud-
den terror of the Foe, which is Scandal.

The first hermit, perhaps, was not quite a
success, as history almost suggests, but the
Man who comes to the front in Guttergarten
is the man who keeps " 'isself to 'isself."

It is the supreme desire to rise above the
sordid common things of Home Sweet Home,
which, though still essential to us, have lately
become ugly. It is an effort to conceal the

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Gutter-Babies

petty appetites, the small economies, and the
curling-pins of life.

Johnny and I do not wear curling-pins, but
if we did I am sure we should do so quite care-
lessly. The two Lizzies generally appear in
them on week-days, and Blanchie always gets
special permission to go to school in crackers,
when there is a concert in the evening.

Some day it will not be good form to eat
in public. Then I suppose we shall not be
allowed to suck oranges in the Pit and the
door will be closed on dinner-parties.

But it is really quite a nuisance to be so
tiresomely fastidious as some of the Gutter-
dwellers have become.

Through the Open Door, and straight on
into our little scullery, as Blanchie and I were
washing-up after a tea-fight, came a lean,
shabby figure with unsteady progress.

" I wished to speak to yer about me night's
lodging, Ma'am!" it said.

I left the washing-up to Blanchie, who pro-
tested vehemently at the injustice, and re-
tired into my study with the lean woman.

It was a long story without any particular
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The Open Door in Guttergarten

information and an utterly discreet omittance
of facts, to which I listened while the lean
tramp had her supper and added to Blanchie's
domestic troubles in the scullery.

In the middle of it Blanchie stuck a flushed
and indignant face round the door.

" It's ten of 'em, Miss," she said warningly,
"and I ain't goin' ter bed till this business is
settled!"

But the difficulty was, how were we to dis-
pose of the lean tramp? She had tried the
common lodging-houses in the neighbour-
hood and found them so unladylike ; the Free
Shelter was not for her, she being a very little
over the age limit as she had told us, with the
suggestion of a blush; and the Casual Ward
would not free its refugees until Tuesday
morning, and that meant that the lean tramp
would have to do a day's work on Monday, in
exchange for hospitality. She was n't used
to rough work and they "treated yer like
cattle in there."

It was, indeed, a problem, and Blanchie
refused to entertain the idea of putting her
up for the night. Why, she might be a mur-

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Gutter-Babies

derer! Perhaps we might be able to find a
new and unexplored lodging-house, so we
wandered out into Guttergarten full of our
quest.

It was ten o'clock and Saturday, the Gut-
ter-market was alive and in full swing, as
we pushed our way along. My companion
seemed far less keenly interested than I was,
and followed hesitatingly after me; I was,
indeed, more than once seriously afraid of
losing her.

11 Come on," I called to her across the bob-
bing crowd. "It's getting late, we shan't get
in anywhere!"

I heard her whining dismally behind me,
"There's no place in the world for such as I;
thank Gawd, there's a roof in 'eaven. I won-
der I ain't a corpse, the way I 'm treated, I
say, I wonder I ain't a corpse!"

"Cheer up," I said, with some irritation;
for I felt that I was doing a great deal for this
lean and unknown stranger.

" I 'm used to 'avin' my word trusted ! " she
said bitterly. " People always b'lieves me!"

"Oh, they don't believe me," said I reas-
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The Open Door in Guttergarten

suringly; "I have to give references to prove
what I say!"

I knew that I had shocked the lean tramp,
but now we had reached a lodging-house, and
stood in the little office interviewing the
deputy.

"Could you give my friend a night's lodg-
ing?" I enquired politely.

"I could if she's payin'; I don't care for
the looks of 'er meself!"

"Oh, but she's quite respectable!" I as-
sured the deputy. "In fact she's really
rather strange in the kitchen amongst the
other women, but you '11 make her at home,
won't you?"

"Yes, Miss," said the deputy, still a little
doubtfully; but at this point the lean tramp
interfered.

"Stop, Miss; this was the place where I
come last Saturday week, and there was n't
no towel after me wash-up!"

"There are three towels down there," de-
clared the deputy reprovingly.

" I could n't stop 'ere no'ow!" said the lean
one, and we moved on.

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Gutter-Babies

" Perhaps we had better try the Free Shel-
ter," I suggested.

There the door was abruptly shut in our
faces.

"There's manners!" said the lean one bit-
terly; " I say, I wonders I ain't a corpse; I 'm
too nice for this world; I can't stand sich
ways!"

I left her discreetly hiding round the cor-
ner, and returned alone to the attack upon
the Free Shelter. This time I got admittance,
and within, I heard the story of the lean per-
son which she had failed to tell me herself.
As I passed her, still lurking in the shadows,
she muttered:

"The 'ole evenin' I've wasted skirmishin'
about after you; wish I'd never met you!
You're not used to ladies, you ain't!"

"The Casual Ward's your best place," I
answered, as I hastened nervously away in
the direction of Home and an irate Blanchie.
"Goodnight!"

Blanchie greeted me with dignity, but im-
mense relief.

"Yer fair frit me, Miss, stoppin' out
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The Open Door in Guttergarten

like this, and yer ain't very wise if yer
can't see through a swindlin' murderer like
that."

The next day the Gutter Parson came to
ask if I had been able to do anything for the
nice woman he had sent me.

"She ought to be pole-axed, she ought,"
cried Blanchie from the scullery.

"Ah!" said the Gutter Parson sadly; "it
is very seldom that one can do anything for
respectable people!"

At any rate, it would seem as though
Heaven did not begin for the respectable
people in their Gutter-life.

But if it is difficult for us to live up to the
curious ritual of Gutter-decency it is also a
wretchedly poor representation of courtesy
that we in our turn offer them through the
official channel. My observations have been
made among the Gutter-dwellers, living very
much as they do, on quite as limited an in-
come, and I have seen in my experience very
little oppression or injustice to them, but I
have seen a great deal of unnecessary dis-
courtesy and lack of sympathy. In the dis-

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Gutter-Babies

pensary waiting-room, in the philanthropic
office, and even in their own poor little homes,
for which they are forced to pay absurdly
high rents, I have watched them hustled and
worried and driven like obstinate cattle, be-
fore they have had the chance to prove that
they are not going to be any trouble to any-
body.

No one can know the harm that a Sister of
Charity with bad manners, or a district nurse
with a harsh voice, or a door shut sharply in
a tipsy face, or even a Gutter Parson who
misses a friendly greeting in the street, be-
cause he is thinking deeply of something else,
can do. Below the brusque and unmannerly
officialism, the heart of the State is profoundly
considerate for her poorer children, but the
Gutter-dwellers do not see this. They only
know that they must prepare for insult and
offence if they apply for parish relief. They
know that they must expect to pay, for what
is so generously done for them, by injured
pride and wounded dignity at the hands of
petty officials, who are paid for their work,
and cannot be civil over it.

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The Open Door in Guttergarten

In every department of life now, the best of
everything is done for our poor, but it is often
done unkindly. And that is why the wives
are generally sent on errands of this nature,
and when possible the Gutter-babies. I have
met Johnny running back from the parish
doctor, with a huge bottle of medicine under
his arm, but with streaming eyes

"My mother ain't no bad woman; her's
been a good mother to me!"

It is, of course, very necessary to deny
most of the requests of the Gutter-dwellers,
who are by no means always quite reasonable
in their demands ; but those who come among
us to find their vocation in the great garden
of the Gutter should be warned that the
bruised hearts they are ready to storm so
roughly are raw and quivering with sensitive
pride, and often breaking with despair.

Many of the bold missionary spirits who
come to us with brave words, and ask to be
let loose among the very poor, are disgusted
and appalled when they find themselves
among human swine in a sewer of filth and
indecency beyond their crudest dreams.

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Gutter-Babies

And yet there is not a Gutter-baby to be
found anywhere whose little heart is cold,
and the wilds of Guttergarten can be con-
quered with a smile.



CHAPTER XX
The Time to Hop

SOME people only recognise four seasons:
spring, when one entertains a strange
idea that presently the sun will shine;
summer, when scepticism ripens into honest
doubt; autumn, when even the leaves get sick
of hope deferred, and climb down one by one
from their watch-towers in the windy trees;
and dear old winter, when one gives it all up
and draws round the blazing hearth and is
really warm at last. But this is only a narrow
view of the year: there are many times and
many seasons, and here in the Gutter we have
our own. There is the season at the begin-
ning of the quarter when the pensions are
paid that is the time of thirst and elation ;
and the week that comes after Bank Holiday
and its happy memories this is the time of
famine and depression.

But of all the rolling seasons not one is so
full of incident as the time to Hop. It comes

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Gutter-Babies

towards the end of the out-of-town season,
when the smart ladies lay aside the latest
thing in bathing-costumes, and say to each
other over the tea-cups, "Of course you
are going North!"

It conies when the clerks and the patient
junior partners in solitary state have ceased
to wonder "Where do I come in?" and have
been borne away to departure platforms by
long caravans of weak-kneed horses crawling
snail-like under the shells of modest pilgrim
baskets; when the school-boy lays aside his
cricket-bat, and neglects camera and bicycle
to glance at his holiday task the day before
term; when in rural choirs rows of neat
but voiceless choristers stumble prematurely
through their harvest anthems before all the
wealth has been gathered into London gar-
ners. Then across the city, gaining force
from every forbidden slum and impenetrable
alley, sweeps a vast army bearing all before
it. Dim memories of Paris rebellion and mu-
tinous Sepoys dance menacingly before the
brain till suddenly the truth flashes upon one
that the time of hopping is now. There are

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The Time to Hop

men, women, and tiny children, for the
youngest can find a vocation among the hops,
and I have known a veteran of seven return
from his third season with many noble
wounds of obstinate branches on bare
weather-beaten legs and scarred sunburnt
hands. With them also is the Priest, who has
left his own vineyard for Israel in exitu, and
the Salvationist, who will camp out alongside
with drum and chant. Happy hoppers! What
a whirl of animation and excitement must
rush with them into village street and coun-
try lane! Yet it will not be all playtime. The
hoppers' day begins early, and hands and
feet are weary and backs breaking under
cruel burdens before the sun goes down red
and still behind the strange hills. Then the
evening picnic commences, mugs clink cheer-
ily, and shrill hungry voices clamour for
" pieces." Gradually the silence deepens over
the deserted fields, and the stars smile down
on the crowded tents, where hundreds of
tired hoppers, children of the great city that
never sleeps, lie in dreamless exhaustion.
Sometimes the clouds gather into dark storms

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Gutter-Babies

that break in heavy autumn rains and deluge
the camp. Sometimes, too, through the over-
packed tents, pestilence stalks and claims
her own and there are gaps in the merry,
noisy ranks that march homewards in late
September.

But what of those who are left behind?

We wander through lonely streets that
memory paints so full of life. Thin streams of
little playmates straggle obediently to the
peremptory summons of the nine o'clock bell,
with scarcely enough competition to prompt
the customary "Am oi lite?" For rows of
barred doors and boarded windows defy even
the school officials.

Where are the laundry girls with their
harsh laughter and bright faces? The hum
and stir of the "Eyelet factory" is hushed.
Tethered to a lamp-post, the coster's donkey
grazes peacefully in the Gutter. The familiar
organ no longer winds its weary tune to in-
spire the artless grace of tiny dancers. The
city suddenly becomes a prison grey and grim,
and one's heart is with the hoppers. For it is
not London we love, but those who weave the

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The Time to Hop

phantasy for us. This train of thought is sud-
denly interrupted by the appearance of a
diminutive friend, with an enormous smile of
welcome illuminating a dusky face, of which
even the dirtiness just now adds to the at-
traction.

"So you haven't gone hopping, my
Johnny!" How glad one is! The Friend
trots contentedly beside, and the enemy of
Desolation spreads its wings.

"Naow, not this time; Mar ses I jes' better
that 'sail!"

I knew what awful suggestions the Friend
meant to convey of maternal wrath, and
wondered what calamity had embittered that
lady's views.

"Had Daddy got 'nicked'?"
"Naow, not fer more'n er month!"
"Was little Markie sick again?"
"Naow, 'e cut 'is 'and orf in the mangle,
but it growed ag'in."

"Was there a new baby?"
"Naow, we ain't goin' ter buy no more
of 'em, we 're ^savin' fer er guse at Christ-
mas!"

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Gutter-Babies

Then I had really no more ideas, and the
Friend must end my suspense.

"Mar ses it's low ter 'op, yer see," he
added in a hoarse whisper; "yer goes 'oppin,
'ow does yer cum back?"

I did not know at all.

"Woi, yer cums back jumpin'!"

I felt quite certain it was more select to be
alone in London. But just then the stoicism
of the Friend collapsed ; he shoved two grimy
knuckles into his wide black eyes and choked.

" I does wish I was ther, not 'arf ! "

So we waived the etiquette of our social
superiority, the Friend and I, and hugged
each other in our desertion and talked of
the pleasures of hopping till our legs ached,
but our hearts danced on.

We pictured the welcome return of the
absent ones, when slum and alley would echo
with the shout "The hoppers are coming
hurrah!"

What hand-grips and songs and din of
revelry but my Johnny, standing just a
little aloof, would forget what happened just
now, and, looking very superior, would point

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The Time to Hop

a derisive thumb, and say, as only he can,
"Gam!"

We grew quite cheerful over this mental
picture and the Friend said farewell in joyful
anticipation.

"I can't stop 'ere gossopin'!" he said, sud-
denly alive to domestic cares; "I mus' fetch
the ole lydy 'ome, she'll be 'arf drownded!"

He swung through the doors of the oppo-
site "Pub" into the glaring light of the bar,
returning a moment later with big eyes of
awed concern.

"Er's gawn, 'er ain't ther; O lor, wot 'as
'appened? I mus' slope!"

He bustled off, jerking with newly installed
self-importance, and the shadow of an omi-
nous cloud closed over the dear figure of my
Johnny. He will be equal to it, whatever it is,
and will face it with the dogged patience of
his class. But the most attractive character-
istic of the precocious Gutter-baby is the
way in which he suddenly flings aside his
independence and has to be cuddled back
into manliness. We all have our moments of
weakness.



CHAPTER XXI

The Game in Gutter garten

THE great game of the sexes that has
through so many generations kept
the worlds rolling on in eccentric
progress can nowhere else be observed in its
crude and primitive force as in Guttergarten.
Here among the Gutter-dwellers we know
how to play at the game with a zest and excite-
ment that surpasses shame and self-conscious-
ness and all pretence and disguise. Perhaps
it is because we are not all busy scrambling
after another toy or slapping in the air at
something, because so few of us have flannel
shirts or running-shoes, that we are in such
deadly earnest about the great world-ball and
the simple old rule of the eternal game. The
sacred game that is our heritage snatched
from the Fall, the game that the gods gave
to us, before the Pythian festivities were
thought of, before the Dioscuri were con-
ceived, is played hard among the Gutter-

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The Game in Guttergarten

dwellers, and is played to the finish; and the
goal is the enthronement of tyrannic fitness
and the suppression of all that is weak and
effete. We do not gloss it over with a thin
varnish of insincere gallantry. And we do not
dress it up in the pseudo-science of modern
mysticism. It is to us still the simple "Game
of Life."

"See if I can't get off to-night!" confides
the little Gutter-maid to her own reflection
in the looking-glass, as she frizzles up an
obstinate curl, and digs the last pin into her
"Exhibition hat."

All day long in the laundry, or the factory,
or the kitchen of some cheap lodging-house,
her little human body has worked out its
vitality with the desperate energy of strug-
gling independence. But the hour of freedom
has come to her at last, and now her brain is
waking to fresh activities. The real business


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