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Crying for the Light, Vol. 1 [of 3] or Fifty Years Ago   By: (1820-1898)

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3]

Transcribed from the 1895 Jarrold and Sons edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org. Many thanks to Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, UK, for kindly allowing their copy to be used for this transcription.

“This is the condition of humanity; we are placed as it were in an intellectual twilight where we discover but few things clearly, and yet we see enough to tempt us with the hope of making better and more discoveries.”—BOLINGBROKE.

Crying for the Light or Fifty Years Ago

J Ewing Ritchie Author of ‘East Anglia’

Vol 1

London: Jarrold and Sons Warwick Lane E.C. 1895

THIS STORY IS Dedicated to ONE OF MY OLDEST FRIENDS, BETTER KNOWN TO BETTER MEN AS THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JAMES STANSFELD, M.P.

CONTENTS OF VOL. I.

CHAPTER PAGE I. PARKER’S PIECE, SLOVILLE 1 II. THE ACTRESS AND THE WAIF 28 III. GOING UP TO TOWN 53 IV. A YOUNG PREACHER 76 V. AFTER THE SERVICE 91 VI. AT SLOVILLE AGAIN 112 VII. THE CHARTISTS 132 VIII. IN BOHEMIA 162 IX. THE OLD, OLD STORY 197 X. UNDER THE STARS 229

CHAPTER I. PARKER’S PIECE, SLOVILLE.

Upon my word, I don’t know a more desirable residence from the pauper’s point of view than Parker’s Piece, an awful spot in the very heart of the rising town of Sloville. I can’t say, as regards myself, that the place has many attractions. It is too crowded, too dirty, too evil smelling, too much inhabited by living creatures, including insects which delicacy forbids mentioning. I like living in the country, where I can hear the birds sing their morning anthem. I like to see the buttercups and daisies, and the green grass, and the blue sky, and the sunshine, which makes everyone feel happy; and when winter comes, how much do I love the sparkling diamonds on the frosted trees, and the pure white snow which robes the earth with a loveliness of which the dweller in towns has no adequate idea! I like to breathe fresh air, and not town smoke; and so, individually, I had rather not reside in Parker’s Piece; but there are those who live there, and much enjoy it. Mostly they are a ragged lot—tramps and vagrants and the ever growing army of the unemployed—who make it their headquarters, as it is full of old houses and corners where the peelers cannot penetrate, and public houses where the sot may drink as long as his or her money lasts out; where, as regards the spot in question, there is a special encouragement to do so, seeing how much money was left ages ago by a pious founder, who had made money in some way which was not exactly right, and who thought it just as well, when it was of no further use to him, to leave it partly to the priests to pray for his soul, and partly to the poor, that future generations might call him blessed; and as the poor all round were well aware of the fact, there was never a house or room that stood empty long—unhealthy as was the place, and dilapidated as were the buildings.

One building, however, was an exception to the others, as regards age. Originally it had been started as a boot and shoe manufactory, but that did not pay; then it became a depot for pure literature and well meant publications, but no one came to buy; then it came into the hands of a Town Councillor, who, disgusted that the Corporation would not purchase it at an extravagant rate, to pull it down, vowed that he would never lay out a penny on the place, only get out of it what rent he could... Continue reading book >>




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