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London's Underworld   By: (1846-1918)

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LONDON'S UNDERWORLD

by Thomas Holmes

(Secretary of the Howard Association)

1912

PREFACE

I am hopeful that some of the experiences given in the following chapters may throw a little light upon some curious but very serious social problems. Corporate humanity always has had, and always will have, serious problems to consider.

The more civilised we become the more complex and serious will be our problems unless sensible and merciful yet thorough methods are adopted for dealing with the evils. I think that my pages will show that the methods now in use for coping with some of our great evils do not lessen, but considerably increase the evils they seek to cure.

With great diffidence I venture to point out what I conceive to be reasons for failure, and also to offer some suggestions that, if adopted, will, I believe, greatly minimise, if not remove, certain evils.

I make no claim to prophetic wisdom; I know no royal road to social salvation, nor of any specific to cure all human sorrow and smart.

But I have had a lengthened and unique experience. I have closely observed, and I have deeply pondered. I have seen, therefore I ask that the experiences narrated, the statements made, and the views expressed in this book may receive earnest consideration, not only from those who have the temerity to read it, but serious consideration also from our Statesmen and local authorities, from our Churches and philanthropists, from our men of business and from men of the world.

For truly we are all deeply concerned in the various matters which are dealt with in "London's Underworld."

THOMAS HOLMES. 12, Bedford Road,

Tottenham, N.

CONTENTS

CHAP.

I MY FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES II LONDON'S UNDERWORLD III THE NOMADS. IV LODGING HOUSES V FURNISHED APARTMENTS VI THE DISABLED VII WOMEN IN THE UNDERWORLD VIII MARRIAGE IN THE UNDERWORLD IX BRAINS IN THE UNDERWORLD X PLAY IN THE UNDERWORLD XI ON THE VERGE OF THE UNDERWORLD XII IN PRISONS OFT XIII UNEMPLOYED AND UNEMPLOYABLE XIV SUGGESTIONS.

LONDON'S UNDERWORLD

CHAPTER I. MY FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES

The odds and ends of humanity, so plentiful in London's great city, have for many years largely constituted my circle of friends and acquaintances.

They are strange people, for each of them is, or was, possessed of some dominating vice, passion, whim or weakness which made him incapable of fulfilling the ordinary duties of respectable citizenship.

They had all descended from the Upper World, to live out strange lives, or die early deaths in the mysterious but all pervading world below the line.

Some of them I saw, as it were, for a moment only; suddenly out of the darkness they burst upon me; suddenly the darkness again received them out of my sight.

But our acquaintance was of sufficient duration to allow me to acquire some knowledge, and to gain some experience of lives more than strange, and of characters far removed from the ordinary.

But with others I spent many hours, months, or years as circumstances warranted, or as opportunities permitted. Some of them became my intimates; and though seven long years have passed since I gave up police court duties, our friendship bears the test of time, for they remain my friends and acquaintances still.

But some have passed away, and others are passing; one by one my list of friends grows less, and were it not that I, even now, pick up a new friend or two, I should run the risk of being a lonely old man. Let me confess, however, that my friends have brought me many worries, have caused me much disappointment, have often made me very angry. Sometimes, I must own, they have caused me real sorrow and occasionally feelings of utter despair. But I have had my compensations, we have had our happy times, we have even known our merry moments.

Though pathos has permeated all our intercourse, humour and comedy have never been far away; though sometimes tragedy has been in waiting... Continue reading book >>




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