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We are willing, longing, to go,
And the far land calls in her strength,
"Come, children, why perish ye so?
Come lie in my bosom at length."
Yet ever the cry goes up,
Till it sounds as a tale that is told
"Dear mother, this agony-cup
Is more than our hands can hold."
We yearn for your goodly dower,
And over the Western Sea,
The gospel of youth and power
Is bidding us all be free.
But how shall we quit our place,
Though it's only these icy flags;
And how shall we win the grace
That is waiting even for rags?
Ah, me! with hearts so strong,
And good men high in the land,
To think that the taint of the pauper throng
Seems worse than the felon's brand!
Yet surely the worst is past,
We have waited so long in vain,
That our very souls are aghast,
And hope is akin to pain.
Then back to the workhouse gate,
For there's starlight still in the sky,
And they tell me England is great,
With thousands worse off than I!


IT is one of my fancies that even my
idlest walk must always have its appointed
destination. I set myself a task before I
leave my lodging in Covent Garden on
a street expedition, and should no more
think of altering my route by the way, or
turning back and leaving a part of it
unachieved, than I should think of fraudulently
violating an agreement entered into
with somebody else. The other day,
finding myself under this kind of
obligation to proceed to Limehouse, I started
punctually at noon, in compliance with the
terms of the contract with myself to which
my good faith was pledged.

On such an occasion, it is my habit to
regard my walk as my Beat, and myself as
a higher sort of Police Constable doing duty
on the same. There is many a Ruffian in
the streets whom I mentally collar and
clear out of them, who would see mighty
little of London, I can tell him, if I could
deal with him physically.

Issuing forth upon this very Beat, and
following with my eyes three hulking
garotters on their way home: which home I
could confidently swear to be within so
many yards of Drury Lane, in such a
narrowed and restricted direction (though
they live in their lodging quite as
undisturbed as I in mine), I went on duty with
a consideration which I respectfully offer
to the new Chief Commissionerin whom
I thoroughly confide as a tried and efficient
public servant. How often (thought I) have
I been forced to swallow in Police reports,
the intolerable stereotyped pill of nonsense
how that the Police Constable informed the
worthy magistrate how that the associates
of the Prisoner did at that present speaking
dwell in a Street or Court which
no man dared go down, and how that
the worthy magistrate had heard of the
dark reputation of such Street or Court,
and how that our readers would doubtless
remember that it was always the
same Street or Court which was thus
edifyingly discoursed about, say once a
fortnight. Now, suppose that a Chief
Commissioner sent round a circular to
every Division of Police employed in
London, requiring instantly the names in
all districts of all such much-puffed Streets
or Courts which no man durst go down;
and suppose that in such circular he gave
plain warning: "If those places really exist,
they are a proof of Police inefficiency which
I mean to punish; and if they do not exist,
but are a conventional fiction, then they
are a proof of lazy tacit Police connivance
with professional crime, which I also mean
to punish" — what then? Fictions or
realities, could they survive the touchstone
of this atom of common sense? To tell us
in open court, until it has become as trite a
feature of news as the great gooseberry,
that a costly Police system such as was
never before heard of, has left in London,
in the days of steam and gas and
photographs of thieves and electric telegraphs,
the sanctuaries and stews of the Stuarts!
Why, a parity of practice, in all departments,
would bring back the Plague in two
summers, and the Druids in a century!

Walking faster under my share of this
public injury, I overturned a wretched
little creature who, clutching at the rags
of a pair of trousers with one of its claws,
and at its ragged hair with the other,
pattered with bare feet over the muddy
stones. I stopped to raise and succour
this poor weeping wretch, and fifty like it,
but of both sexes, were about me in a
moment: begging, tumbling, fighting,
clamouring, yelling, shivering in their nakedness
and hunger. The piece of money I
had put into the claw of the child I had
overturned, was clawed out of it, and was
again clawed out of that wolfish gripe,
and again out of that, and soon I had no
notion in what part of the obscene scuffle
in the mud, of rags and legs and arms and
dirt, the money might be. In raising the
child, I had drawn it aside out of the main
thoroughfare, and this took place among
some wooden hoardings and barriers and