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maddened by their sufferings. But there is one attitude to which it is necessary to attend more carefully, since it is the main distinction between “the dark side and the bright side.” Politics may be very much the same on the two sides, but religion is in all respects exactly opposite. Now-still keeping to the dark sidelet us notice two or three features of the modern painfully aggressive anti-Christianism. The unbelief of the East End is simply gross; it is not the unbelief of the West End. In the West End there is a vast amount of fantastic speculation; perhaps even some sympathy with such wild nonsense as Mr. Laurence Oliphant has recently elaborated in a treatise which he is pleased to call “Scientific Religion "—the "science" being too occult to be discerned. But such rhapsody is peculiar to the West End. You do not hear in the East End any grave entertainment of the ideas of “interatomic energy” or dynaspheric force"; there is no atttempt at a realization of the operation of the interlocked atoms which act and react upon one another with a systolic and diastolic motion, sometimes apparently in the brain, and sometimes in the nerve centres and solar plexus. Such scientific religion may be hired in Mudie's library, but the East Enders are above it; they have too much

Their irreligion is a sort of syllogism: "I am miserable: God is said to be happy: therefore, it is impossible for God to be my Father.”

This rough reckoning serves for all apology. If we talk to an unbelieving East Ender, he does not bother us about “the pneumatic atomic union which is established between him and his last wife”; he tells us bluntly that his wife went into a consumption because there had been nothing in her larder for six months; and that this proved to him that there was no Providence. Having arrived at that conclusion, he proceeds to abuse the Bible, and “the Free Thought Publishing Company, Limited" has supplied him with a cheap library, out of which he will bring us arguments that are incontestable. Here we have the hard state of antitheism. And the “Free Thought Publishing Company, Limited" has helped it on.

All the worst books against the Bible, against religion, against God, have been issued by this Limited Liability Company. The firm may be limited in financial hazards, but it has no limitations in its antitheism. It has its emissaries,-blatant messengers of evil. These emissaries are dispatched to the places where roads meet; and are there encouraged by grinning youths and smirking housemaids to abuse the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the clergy, Catholic, Anglican, and Nonconformist. Probably the “Company" would disown such preaching fanatics; they would decline to be held responsible for their wild readers; but with what object, for what advantage, can a half-educated vulgarian stand up at a corner where ways meet, and seek to destroy every vestige of popular belief, unless he has that one motive which puts to flight all mental hazards, being grounded on the auri sacra fames. An assassin, if he be hired, has a motive, and all such hirelings are known to deplore their task; but an assassin of men's souls, hearts, intellects, and deathbed peace, would probably ask an extravagant sum for his crime. It is for this reason we must assume such men are “sent.” If they are not sent, what can possibly be their motive ? For, it is obvious that if freethinking have any principle at all, it must be the leaving the human intellect to work out its own conclusions without harass from the opinions of other persons. To force negations on the mind of another person, or even to hazard negations without being asked, is the contradictory of the first principle of freethinking; which is to leave every man to be the architect of his own belief. If freethinking mean anything, it means " let alone." Yet in the poorest districts of London—as well as in Hyde Park—the emissaries of the “ let alone" principle thunder their vituperations; as though the truest test of all freedom were to insult everybody, to call everybody a •fool who does not agree with you. The poor East Enders,-the worst victims of London poverty, who need religion to support their burden of worldly scrrow,-are preached at every Sunday, not to console them with the brightest hopes, but to dash from them the one sustaining prop of faith.

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But to turn from this dark side to the bright side.

It is of the non-Catholic poor that we would speak; for as to the Catholic poor, they are the same all over the world, and no eulogium need be passed upon them. What may be called, loosely speaking, the London Protestant poor--that is, such poor as are "necessitous”—are often as remarkable for their piety as they are commiserable for the depth of their sufferings. Yet their piety takes this (reasoning) form, that, since they have their miseries in this world, they believe they will have their joys in the next. They almost pity the voluptuous West Enders, in the moral certainty of their future retribution; believing that “it is easier for a camel to go through the needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into Heaven." But over and above this retributive view—this persuasion of a "lex talionis"—they are profoundly impressed by the personality of the Saviour, by His being a man of like sufferings with themselves. They go to their Protestant churchesmuch more frequently to dissenting chapels--to listen with rapt attention to any earnest, homely preacher who will speak to them only of the Saviour. They dislike dogma. For this reason they

avoid Anglican churches; at least, they frequent only such Anglican churches as have the attraction of an earnest and plain preacher. They detest a preacher who " preaches over their heads " as much as a preacher who preaches dogma. They can see through the sham of Anglican dogma, which they know to be the mere clothes of a skeleton. Their being perpetually ground on life's grindstone makes them keen. Reality is what they pine for, and will have. They want to be talked to, not at. They have no reverence for such a preacher as the Anglican clergyman of Bath, “who, when speaking of sin in the abstract, looked his congregation in the face; but when addressing the sinners of his congregation, looked up at the ventilator.” The present writer has talked to hundreds of hungry poor, in the direst neighborhoods of utterly scorned East Endom; and he has marvelled at the simple reality of their Christian faith, and the perfect self-containment of their religion. All their religion is inside their own hearts, with a profound indifference to all religions, ecclesiastically.

Such admirable material—the purest innocency of Christian sentiment, untaught, unprejudiced, unspoiled-very naturally finds expression in the most exquisite charity, in the daily, perpetual doing of good works. The charity of these people is a sublime poem. Rich people cannot credit, can scarcely imagine, the selfsacrifices these people make for one another. Not only is their abnegation superlative, but their delicacy and refinement are equally so. They possess all the sentiment, the soul, of Catholic charity, with an almost blank ignorance of the Catholic religion. (Of course we are speaking only of a typical class.) They see the Catholic priests who are often passing their doors; they hear of them from an Irish neighbor or from an English convert; but their general state of mind is a repugnance to any “system"; a sort of idea that any "authority" must be a mistake.

It would be out of place here to dwell on Catholic missions; because we all know priests' work, priests' charities. Suffice it to say, briefly, that the London priests in poor missions have a very exceptional, almost insurmountable, difficulty—the not knowing where to find their own people. For the last six and thirty years it has been very uphill work throughout the whole of the large diocese of Westminster. No sooner has some struggling mission been planted in a poor district, than the poor district has been swept away by the Board of Works, and the Catholic families have been driven into the suburbs, there to necessitate the founding of a new mission. In one way this has spread the Catholic religion, but in another way it has exhausted the stock of priests. Had it not been for Irish help the English hierarchy would have found it difficult-indeed, they would have found it impossible—to serve not a few of their town missions. The Church in Ireland has sent over numerous young priests, who, equally devoted and appreciated, have fought the hardest battle for religion. The present writer has often met these young priests in strange, out-of-the-way, ill-famed places; where, instinctively, they seemed to hunt up the stray Catholics, and to persuade them to form the nucleus of a new flock. Yet “what are these few priests among so many"? In that huge half-a-county, East London (in those twenty towns which we may be said to pass by in twenty minutes, if we take a London steamboat from London Bridge and steam past Wapping, Shadwell, Limehouse and Deptford; merely feeling a sort of incubus of a dozen other immense districts, all lying in contiguity to these river ones), a thousand Catholic priests could find mission work to commence, which not even a thousand lives could fairly ripen. Very beautiful and very silent as is the heroism of the few priests who "work" these huge areas of poverty, it is obvious that they can do little more than make a beginning; the field, too, is preoccupied by Protestantism.

To return to the Protestant poor. We must remember that their disadvantages might well condone an immense amount of human frailty. The overcrowded state of their dwellings is absolutely fatal to the "domestic idea," to a realization of what we commonly account “ home.” Four-fifths of Londoners are said, by the Registrar General, to live in tenements which, by no possible stretch of courtesy, could be called even "respectable lodgings." Their rooms are held from week to week at others' mercy; the broker can seize everything for a week's rent; the tallyman can claim the household utensils, and the furniture man, who has lent the furniture on hire, can take not only his own furniture but others', too. There is no such thing as a freehold homestead for a poor Londoner. And the effect on the poor families is most injurious. The children do not know what “a home" means. A permanent residence is an idea they do not dream of. The sheriff's officer is the presiding genius of their fireside; the County Court bailiff is their guardian. No protection is afforded by the law to the poor families—to wives, mothers, children, sick or dying. A whole family may be "down, sick"; yet even so the cruel landlord may take the bedding and the clothing ; nor does the law so much as reprove him for his severity. Here, then, we have the domestic picture of the London poor! In such colors must we paint their dear homes," their few feet of kennel for bed and board. And if, in spite of such drawbacks, we find one-half of them " very good"; not only uncomplaining but sweetly patient; while they are brimful of charity for their poor neighbors, whom they regard as heirs of Paradise like themselves, we must admit that there are “beau

ties," as we said at the beginning, “ features which are captivating, even fascinating,” in that standing National Shame, London poverty.

Naturally, we must say a word about Temperance, while considering "the reason of being" of the London poor. We will keep clear of Legislation, as being too digressive. Suffice it that in the present state of the controversy on the “ drinking question," argument pales its force before enjoyment. The poor Londoner is normally a drinking animal, because he is normally a wearied animal. In the same way the poor Londoner is normally a smoking animal; taking his pipe to solace his too ruffled temperament. The arguments against drinking and against smoking strike upon the same shield of defence; the self-indulgent one rejoining: “An unnatural strain upon my energies demands an at least exceptional consolation.” “You, Masters," he continues, when defending his two luxuries, “ force me to lead an utterly unnatural life, an unhealthy and overstrained twelve hours of toil; and yet you chide me for going a little bit out of the common in search after my restoratives and solatia." This is the normal response of the average poor man. It is a sort of "tu-quoque," and a deserved one. No one defends intemperance, not even the fool. Very few of the London poor are (now) intemperate. “The lower orders," not the “humbler classes," are intemperate; but the humbler classes are the exact opposite of the lower orders. The middle classes tipple more than even the lower orders, as witness the multiplication of London wine bars; while the higher classes tipple precisely as they have ever done; habitually, perhaps decorously, yet voluptuously. The simple poor, the superior poor, are not tipplers. In the East End, spite of the presence of a low order, there is very little evidence of this folly. The London poor, as a body, must be defended against the accusation that they "imitate the vices of their superiors, for want of finding any virtues that they can imitate." Meanwhile, the League of the Cross, and other kindred associations, are winning thousands to the happy perfection of total abstinence; a happy perfection which even the “moderate people” admire, and not a few of them are sufficiently brave to attain to.

Mendicancy is very uncommon among the poor. The beggars as a professional class are tabooed. In London to ask alms is against the law—that is, street-begging by word of mouth. A man may sell matches; he may pose at a street corner, presenting some modest merchandise to the passer-by; he may sing, very painfully and consumptively, or whistle on a half-penny lute which has few keys; in short, he may demonstrate his need by every appeal to the senses, save only by the simple entreaty to give. In the poorest parts of London we may see the match-seller, the lute-player, the one-leg'd lugubrious singer, the blind fiddler; and it is well known

VOL. XIII. -40


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