H. Rider (Henry Rider) Haggard.

Regeneration: being an account of the social work of the Salvation army in Great Britain online

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bottle, exclaiming that he would be dead in a few
minutes, and a pause ensued, during which the
Officer confessed to me that he felt very uncom-
fortable. The end of it was that his visitor said,
with a laugh, that ' he would not like to cumber
the Salvation Army with his corpse,' and walked
out of the room. The draught which he had
taken was comparatively harmless.

As I have mentioned, however, a proportion of
the cases are quite irreclaimable. They come and
consult the Army, then depart and do the deed.
Six that can be traced have been lost in this way
during the last few months.

Colonel Unsworth explained to me what I had
already guessed, that this business of dealing


with scores and hundreds of despairing beings
standing on the very edge of the grave, is a
terrible strain upon any man. The responsibility
becomes too great, and he who has to bear it is
apt to be crushed beneath its weight. Every
morning he reads his paper with a sensation of
nervous dread, fearing lest among the police
news he should find a brief account of the dis-
covery of some corpse which he can identify as
that of an individual with whom he had pleaded
at his office on the yesterday and in vain.

On former occasions when I visited him, Colonel
Unsworth used to show me a small museum of
poisons, knives, revolvers, etc., which he had
taken from those who proposed to use them to
cut the Gordian knot of life.

Now, however, he has but few of these dreadful
relics. I asked him what he had done with the
rest. He answered that he had destroyed them.

' The truth is,' he added, ' that after some years
of this business I can no longer bear to look at
the horrid things; they get upon my nerves.'

If I may venture to offer a word of advice to
the Chiefs of the Salvation Army, I would sug-
gest that the very responsible position of first
Anti-Suicide Officer in London is not one that
any man should be asked to fill in perpetuity.

Work in the Provinces


WHEN planning this little book I had it in
my mind to deal at some length with
the Provincial Social Work of the Army. Now
I find, however, that considerations of space must
be taken into account; also that it is not needful
to set out all the details of that work, seeing that
to do so would involve a great deal of repetition.
The Salvation Army machines for the regenera-
tion of fallen men and women, if I may so
describe them, are, after all, of much the same
design, and vary for the most part only in the
matter of size. The material that goes through
those machines is, it is true, different, yet even
its infinite variety, if considered in the mass, has
a certain similitude. For these reasons, there-
fore, I will only speak of what is done by the
Army in three of the great Midland and Northern
cities that I have visited, namely, Manchester,
Liverpool, and Glasgow, and of that but briefly,
although my notes concerning it run to over 100
typed pages.


The lady in charge of the Slum Settlement in
Liverpool informed me that the poverty in that
city is very great, and during the past winter
of 1909 was really terrible owing to the scarce-
ness of work in the docks. The poor, however,
are not so overcrowded, and rents are cheaper
than in London, the cost of two dwelling-cellars
being about 2s. 6d., and of a room about 3$. a
week. The sisterhood of fallen women is, she
added, very large in Liverpool; but most of
these belong to a low class.

In this city the Army has one Institution for
women called the ' Ann Fowler ' Memorial Home,
which differs a good deal from the majority of
those that I have seen. It is a Lodging-Home
for Women, and is designed for the accommo-
dation of persons of a better class than those who
generally frequent such places. This building,
which was provided in memory of her mother
by Miss Fowler, a local philanthropist, at a
cost of about ;6,ooo, was originally a Welsh
Congregational chapel, that has been altered to
suit the purpose to which it is now r put. It is
extremely well fitted-up with separate cubicles
made of oak panelling, good lavatory accommo-
dation, and kitchens in which is made some of
the most excellent soup that I ever tasted.

Yet strange to say this place is not as much
appreciated as it might be, as may be judged


from the fact that although it is designed to hold
113 lodgers, when I visited it there were not
more than between forty and fifty. This is
remarkable, as the charge made is only 4^. per
night, or 25. a week, even for a cubicle, and an
excellent breakfast of bread and butter, fish, and
tea can be had for 2d. Other meals are supplied
on a like scale, with the result that a woman
employed in outside work can live in considerable
comfort in a room or cubicle of her own for
about 8s. a week.

The lady in charge told me, however, that there
are reasons for this state of affairs. One is that
it provides for people of a rather higher class
than usual, who, of course, are not so numerous
as those lower in the social scale.

The principal reason, however, is prejudice.
It is known that most of the women accom-
modated in the Army Shelters are what are
known as ' fallen ' or ' drunks.' Therefore, occu-
pants of a Home devoted to a higher section of
society fear lest they should be tarred with the
same brush in the eyes of their associates.

Here is a story which illustrates this point
which I remember hearing in the United States.
A woman, whose inebriety was well known, was
picked up absolutely dead drunk in an American
city and taken by an Officer of the Army to one
of its Homes and put to bed. In the morning


she awoke and, guessing where she was lodged
from various signs and tokens, such as texts
upon the wall, began to scream for her clothes.
An attendant, who thought that she had developed
delirium tremens, ran up and asked what was
the matter.

1 Matter ?' ejaculated the sot, ' the matter is

that if I don't get out of this place in

double quick time, / shall lose my character!'

The women who avail themselves of this ' Ann
Fowler ' Home are of all ages and in various
employments. One, I was told, was a lady
separated from her husband, whose father, now
dead, had been the mayor of a large city.

A Liverpool Institution of another class, known
as ' The Hollies,' is an Industrial Home for
fallen women, drunkards, thieves, and incor-
rigible girls. It holds thirty-eight inmates and
is always full, a good many of these being sent
to the place from Police-courts whence they are
discharged under the First Offenders Acts.

I saw these women at their evening prayers.
The singing was hearty and spontaneous, and
they all seemed happy enough. Still, the faces
of most of them (they varied in age from forty-six
to sixteen) showed traces of life's troubles, but
one or two were evidently persons of some refine-
ment. Their histories, which would fill volumes,
must be omitted. Suffice it to say that this Home,


like all the others, is extremely well-arranged and
managed, and is doing a most excellent and
successful work.

When the women are believed to be cured of
their evil habits, whatever they may be, they are
for the most part sent out to service. There
are two rooms in the place to which they can
return during their holidays, or when they are
changing situations, at a charge of 55. a week.
This many of them like to do.

Next door to ' The Hollies ' is another Home
where young girls with their illegitimate babies,
and also a few children, are accommodated. It
is arranged to hold twenty-four mothers, and is
generally full. A charge of 55. a week is supposed
to be made, but unless the cases are sent from the
workhouse, when the Guardians pay, in practice
little is recovered from the patients. When they
are well again, their babies are put out to nurse,
as at the London Maternity Home, and the girls
are sent to service, no difficulty being experienced
in finding them places. During the two years
that this Home had been open eighty-two girls
had passed through it, and of these, the Matron
informed me, there were but ten who were not
doing so well as they might. The rest were in
employment of one sort or another, and seemed
to be in the way of completely regaining their


I visited this place late at night, and in the
room devoted to children, as distinct from infants,
saw one girl of nine with a curious history. This
child had been twelve times in the hands of the
police before her father brought her to the Army
on their suggestion. Her mania was to run away
from home, where it does not appear that she was
ill-treated, and to sleep in the streets, on one
occasion for as long as five nights. This child
had a very curious face, and even in her sleep,
as I saw her, there was about it something wild
and defiant. When the Matron turned her over
she did not yawn or cry, but uttered a kind of
snarl. I suppose that here is an instance of
atavism, that the child threw back for thousands
or tens of thousands of years, to when her pro-
genitors were savages, and that their primitive
instincts have reasserted themselves in her,
although she was born in the twentieth century.
She had been ten months in the Home and was
doing well. Indeed, the Matron told me that
they had taken her out and given her opportu-
nities of running away, but that she had never
attempted to avail herself of them.

The Officer in charge informed me that there is
much need for a Maternity Hospital in Liverpool.

There are also Institutions for men in Liverpool,
but these I must pass over.

The Men's Social Work

/ T~ V HE Officer in charge of the Men's Social
JL. Work in Manchester told me the same story
that I had fieard in Liverpool as to the prevailing
distress. He said, ' It has been terrible the last
few winters. I have never seen anything like it.
We know because they come to us, and the
trouble is more in a fixed point than in London.
Numbers and numbers come, destitute of shelter
or food or anything. The cause is want of
employment. There is no work. Many cases,
of course, go down through drink, but the most
cannot get work. The fact is that there are more
men than there is work for them to do, and this I
may say is a regular thing, winter and summer.'

A sad statement surely, and one that excites

I asked what became of this residue who could
not find work. His answer was, ' They wander
about, die off, and so on.'

A still sadder statement, I think.

The Major in charge is a man of great


organizing ability, force of character, and abound-
ing human sympathy. Yet he was once one of
the melancholy army of wasters. Some seventeen
years ago he came into the Army through one
of its Shelters, a drunken, out-of-place cabinet-
maker, who had been tramping the streets. They
gave him work and he ' got converted.' Now he
is the head of the Manchester Social Institutions,
engaged in rinding work for or converting thou-
sands of others.

At first the Army had only one establishment
in Manchester, which used to be a cotton mill.
Now it is a Shelter for 200 men. Then it took
others, some of which are owned and some hired,
among them a great ' Elevator ' on the London
plan, where waste paper is sorted and sold. The
turn-over here was over ^"8,000 in 1909, and
may rise to ,12,000. I forget how many men
it finds work for, but every week some twenty-
five new hands come in, and about the same
number pass out.

This is a wonderful place, filled with what
appears to be rubbish, but which is really valu-
able material. Among this rubbish all sorts of
strange things are to be found. Thus I picked
out of it, and kept as a souvenir, a beautifully-
bound copy of Wesley's Hymns, published about
a hundred years ago. Lying near it was an
early edition of Scott's ' Marmion.' This Elevator


more than pays its way; indeed the Army is
saving money out of it, which is put by to
purchase other buildings.

Then there are houses where the people em-
ployed in the paper-works lodge, a recently-
acquired home for the better class of men, which
was once a mansion of the De Clifford family,
and afterwards a hospital, and a store where every
kind of oddment is sold by Dutch auction. These
articles are given to the Army, and among the
week's collection I saw clocks, furniture, bicycles,
a parrot cage, and a crutch. Not long ago the
managers of this store had a goat presented to
them, which nearly ate them out of house and
home, as no one would buy it, and they did not
like to send the poor beast to the butcher.

In these various Shelters and Institutions I
saw some strange characters. One had been an
electrical engineer, educated under Professor
Owen, at Cardiff College. He came into money,
and gambled away ,13,000 on horse-racing,
although he told me that he won as much as
;8,ooo on one Ascot meeting. His subse-
quent history is a story in itself, one too long
to set out; but the end of it, in his own words,
was ' Four years ago I came here, and, thank
God ! I am going on all right.'

Why do not the writers of naturalistic novels
study Salvation Army Shelters? In any one of


them they would find more material than could
be used up in ten lifetimes; though, personally,
I confess I am content to read such stories in the
secret annals of the various Institutions.

Another man, a very pleasant and humorous
person, who was once a Church worker and a
singer in the choir, etc., when, in his own words,
he used ' to put on religion with his Sunday
clothes and take it off again with them,' came
to grief through sheer love of amusement, such
as that which is to be found in music-halls
and theatres. His habit was to spend the
money of an insurance company by which he
was employed, in taking out the young lady to
whom he was engaged, to such entertainments.
Ultimately, of course, he was found out, and,
when starving on the road, determined to commit
suicide. The Salvationists found him in the nick
of time, and now he is foreman of their paper-
collecting yard.

Another, at the ripe age of twenty-four, had
been twenty-seven times in prison. His father
was in prison, his eldest brother committed
suicide in prison by throwing himself over the
banisters. Also, he had two brothers at present
undergoing penal servitude, who, when he
was a little fellow, used to pass him through
windows to open doors in houses which they
were burgling.


I suggested that it was a poor game and that
he had better give it up. He answered :

' I shall never do it again, sir, God helping me.'

Really I think he meant what he said.

Another, in the Chepstow Street Shelter, where
he acted as night-watchman, was discharged
from Portland, after serving a fifteen years'
sentence for manslaughter. His trouble was
that he killed a man in a fight, and as he had
fought him before and had a grudge against
him, was very nearly hanged for his pains.
This man earned 9 in some way or other
during his sentence, which he sent to his wife.
Afterwards, he discovered that she had been
living with another man, who died and left her
well off. But she has never refunded the ,9,
nor will she have anything to do with her

Oakhill House


OAKHILL HOUSE is a Rescue Home for
women, which was given to the Army by
Mrs. Crossley, a well-known local lady. It deals
with prison, fallen, inebriate, and preventive
cases. At the time of my visit there were sixty-
three inmates, but when a new adjacent building
is completed there will be room for more. There
is a wonderful laundry in this Home, where the
most beautiful washing is done at extremely
moderate prices. The ironing and starching
room was a busy sight, but what I chiefly
remember about it was the spectacle of one
melancholy old man, the only male among that
crowd of women, seated by a steam-boiler that
drove the machinery, to which it was his busi-
ness to attend. (No woman can be persuaded
to look after a boiler.) In the midst of all
those females he had the appearance of a super-
annuated and disillusioned Turk contemplating
his too extensive establishment and reflecting on
its monthly bills.


The matron in charge informed me that even
for these rough women there is no system of
punishment whatsoever. No girl is ever restricted
in her food, or put on bread and water, or struck,
or shut away by herself. The Army maxim is
that it is its mission not to punish but to try to
reform. If in any particular case its methods
of gentleness fail, which they rarely do, it is
considered best that the case should depart,
very possibly to return again later on.

She added that although many of these women
had committed assaults, and even fought the
Police, not one of them attacks another in the
Home once in a year, and that during her twenty
years of work, although she had lived among
some of the worst women in England, she had
never received a single blow. As an illustration
of what the Salvation Army understands by this
word ' work ' I may state that throughout these
twenty years, except for the allotted annual
fortnight, this lady has had no furlough.

The Men's Social Work


I SAW the Brigadier in charge of the Men's
Social Work in Glasgow at a great central
Institution where hundreds of poor people sleep
every night. The inscriptions painted on the
windows give a good idea of its character. Here
are some of them : ' Cheap beds.' ' Cheap food.'
' Waste paper collected.' ' Missing friends found.'
' Salvation for all.'

In addition to this Refuge there is an ' Elevator '
of the usual type, in which about eighty men
were at work, and an establishment called the
Dale House Home, a very beautiful Adams'
house, let to the Army at a small rent by an Eye
Hospital that no longer requires it. This house
accommodates ninety-seven of the men who work
in the Elevator.

The Brigadier informed me that the distress
at Glasgow was very great last year. Indeed,
during that year of 1909 the Army fed about
35,000 men at the docks, and 65,000 at the
Refuge, a charity which caused them to be


officially recognized for the first time by the
Corporation, that sent them a cheque in aid of
their work. Now, however, things have much
improved, owing to the building of men-of-war
and the forging of great guns for the Navy.
At Parkhead Forge alone 8,000 men are being
employed upon a vessel of the Dreadnought
class, which will occupy them for a year and
a half. So it would seem that these monsters
of destruction have their peaceful uses.

Glasgow, he said, ' is a terrible place for drink,
especially of methylated spirits and whisky.'
Drink at the beginning, I need hardly remark,
means destitution at the end, so doubtless this
failing accounts for a large proportion of its

The Men's Social Work of the Army in
Glasgow, which is its Headquarters in Scot-
land, is spreading in every direction, not only
in that city itself, but beyond it to Paisley,
Greenock, and Edinburgh. Indeed, the Bri-
gadier has orders ' to get into Dundee and
Aberdeen as soon as possible.' I asked him
how he would provide the money. He
answered, ' Well, by trusting in God and
keeping our powder dry.'

As regards the Army's local finance the trouble
is that owing to the national thriftiness it is
harder to make commercial ventures pay in


Scotland than in England. Thus I was informed
that in Glasgow the Corporation collects and
sells its own waste paper, which means that
there is less of that material left for the Salva-
tion Army to deal with. In England, so far as
I am aware, the waste-paper business is not a
form of municipal trading that the Corporations
of great cities undertake.

Another leading branch of the Salvation Army
effort in Scotland is its Prison work. It is regis-
tered in that country as a Prisoners' Aid Society,
and the doors of every jail in the land are open
to its Officers. I saw the Army's prison book,
in which are entered the details of each prison
case with which it is dealing. Awful enough
some of them were.

I remember two that caught my eye as I turned
its pages. The first was that of a man who had
gone for a walk with his wife, from whom he was
separated, cut her head off, and thrown it into a
field. The second was that of another man, or
brute beast, who had taken his child by the heels
and dashed out its brains against the fireplace.
It may be wondered why these gentle creatures
still adorn the world. The explanation seems to
be that in Scotland there is a great horror of
capital punishment, which is but rarely inflicted.

My recollection is that the Officer who visited
them had hopes of the permanent reformation


of both these men ; or, at any rate, that there
were notes in his book to this effect.

I saw many extraordinary cases in this Glasgow
Refuge, some of whom had come there through
sheer misfortune. One had been a medical man
who, unfortunately, was left money and took to
speculating on the Stock Exchange. He was a
very large holder of shares in a South African
mine, which he bought at is. 6d. These shares
now stand at ^7 ; but, unhappily for him, his
brokers dissolved partnership, and neither of them
would carry over his account. So it was closed
down just at the wrong time, with the result that
he lost everything, and finally came to the streets.
He never drank or did anything wrong; it was,
as he said, ' simply a matter of sheer bad luck.'

Another was a Glasgow silk merchant, who
made a bad debt of .3,000 that swamped him.
Afterwards he became paralysed, but recovered.
He had been three years cashier of this

Another arrived at the Shelter in such a state
that the Officer in charge told me he w r as
obliged to throw his macintosh round him to
hide his nakedness. He was an engineer who
took a public-house, and helped himself freely
to his stock-in-trade, with the result that he
became a frightful drunkard, and lost .1,700.
He informed me that he used to consume no


less than four bottles of whisky a day, and
suffered from delirium tremens several times.
In the Shelter I quote his own words ' I
gave my heart to God, and after that all desire
for drink and wrongdoing ' (he had not been
immaculate in other ways) ' gradually left me.
From 1892 I had been a drunkard. After my
conversion, in less than three weeks I ceased
to have any desire for drink.'

This man became night-watchman in the
Shelter, a position which he held for twelve
months. He said : ' I was promoted to be Ser-
geant; when I put on my uniform and stripes, I
reckoned myself a man again. Then 1 was made
foreman of the works at Greendyke Street. Then
I was sent to pioneer our work in Paisley, and
when that was nicely started, I was sent on to
Greenock, where I am now trying to work up
a (Salvation Army) business.'

Here, for a reason to be explained presently,
I will quote a very similar case which I saw at
the Army Colony at Hadleigh, in Essex. This
man, also a Scotsman (no Englishman, I think,
could have survived such experiences), is a person
of fine and imposing appearance, great bodily
strength, and good address. He is about fifty
years of age, and has been a soldier, and after
leaving the Service, a gardener. Indeed, he is
now, or was recently, foreman market-gardener


at Hadleigh. He married a hospital nurse, and
found out some years after marriage that she was
in the habit of using drugs. This habit he con-
tracted also, either during her life or after her
death, and with it that of drink.

His custom was to drink till he was a wreck,
and then take drugs, either by the mouth or
subcutaneously, to steady himself. Chloroform
and ether he mixed together and drank, strych-
nine he injected. At the beginning of this
course, threepennyworth of laudanum would
suffice him for three doses. At the end, three
years later (not to mention ether, chloroform, and
strychnine), he took of laudanum alone nearly
a tablespoonful ten or twelve times a day, a
quantity, I understand, which is enough to kill
five or six horses. One of the results w : as that
when he had to be operated on for some malady,
it was found impossible to bring him under the
influence of the anaesthetic. All that could be
done was to deprive him of his power of move-

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Online LibraryH. Rider (Henry Rider) HaggardRegeneration: being an account of the social work of the Salvation army in Great Britain → online text (page 9 of 14)