Part 4 out of 6
"I must see Mr. Paulding in the morning," said Edith, with calm
"Then I will go with you," returned Mr. Dinneford.
"Thank you, father;" and she kissed him. "Until then nothing more
can be done." She kissed him again, and then went to her own room.
After locking the door she sank on her knees, leaning forward, with
her face buried in the cushion of a chair, and did not rise for a
_ON_ the next morning, after some persuasion, Edith consented to
postpone her visit to Grubb's court until after her father had seen
Mr. Paulding, the missionary.
"Let me go first and gain what information I can," he urged. "It may
save you a fruitless errand."
It was not without a feeling of almost unconquerable repugnance that
Mr. Dinneford took his way to the mission-house, in Briar street.
His tastes, his habits and his naturally kind and sensitive feelings
all made him shrink from personal contact with suffering and
degradation. He gave much time and care to the good work of helping
the poor and the wretched, but did his work in boards and on
committees, rather than in the presence of the needy and suffering.
He was not one of those who would pass over to the other side and
leave a wounded traveler to perish, but he would avoid the road to
Jericho, if he thought it likely any such painful incident would
meet him in the way and shock his fine sensibilities. He was willing
to work for the downcast, the wronged, the suffering and the vile,
but preferred doing so at a distance, and not in immediate contact.
Thus it happened that, although one of the managers of the Briar
street mission and familiar with its work in a general way, he had
never been at the mission-house--had never, in fact, set his foot
within the morally plague-stricken district in which it stood. He
had often been urged to go, but could not overcome his reluctance to
meet humanity face to face in its sadder and more degraded aspects.
Now a necessity was upon him, and he had to go. It was about ten
o'clock in the morning when, at almost a single step, he passed from
what seemed paradise to purgatory, the sudden contrast was so great.
There were but few persons in the little street; where the mission
was situated at that early hour, and most of these were
children--poor, half-clothed, dirty, wan-faced, keen-eyed and alert
bits of humanity, older by far than their natural years, few of them
possessing any higher sense of right and wrong than young savages.
The night's late orgies or crimes had left most of their elders in a
heavy morning sleep, from which they did not usually awaken before
midday. Here and there one and another came creeping out, impelled
by a thirst no water could quench. Now it was a bloated, wild-eyed
man, dirty and forlorn beyond description, shambling into sight, but
disappearing in a moment or two in one of the dram-shops, whose name
was legion, and now it was a woman with the angel all gone out of
her face, barefooted, blotched, coarse, red-eyed, bruised and
awfully disfigured by her vicious, drunken life. Her steps too made
haste to the dram-shop.
Such houses for men and women to live in as now stretched before his
eyes in long dreary rows Mr. Dinneford had never seen, except in
isolated cases of vice and squalor. To say that he was shocked would
but faintly express his feelings. Hurrying along, he soon came in
sight of the mission. At this moment a jar broke the quiet of the
scene. Just beyond the mission-house two women suddenly made their
appearance, one of them pushing the other out upon the street. Their
angry cries rent the air, filling it with profane and obscene oaths.
They struggled together for a little while, and then one of them, a
woman with gray hair and not less than sixty years of age, fell
across the curb with her head on the cobble-stones.
As if a sorcerer had stamped his foot, a hundred wretched creatures,
mostly women and children, seemed to spring up from the ground. It
was like a phantasy. They gathered about the prostrate woman,
laughing and jeering. A policeman who was standing at the corner a
little way off came up leisurely, and pushing the motley crew aside,
looked down at the prostrate woman.
"Oh, it's you again!" he said, in a tone of annoyance, taking hold
of one arm and raising her so that she sat on the curb-stone. Mr.
Dinneford now saw her face distinctly; it was that of an old woman,
but red, swollen and terribly marred. Her thin gray hair had fallen
over her shoulders, and gave her a wild and crazy look.
"Come," said the policeman, drawing on the woman's arm and trying to
raise her from the ground. But she would not move.
"Come," he said, more imperatively.
"Nature you going to do with me?" she demanded.
"I'm going to lock you up. So come along. Have had enough of you
about here. Always drunk and in a row with somebody."
Her resistance was making the policeman angry.
"It'll take two like you to do that," returned the woman, in a
spiteful voice, swearing foully at the same time.
At this a cheer arose from the crowd. A negro with a push-cart came
along at the moment.
"Here! I want you," called the policeman.
The negro pretended not to hear, and the policeman had to threaten
him before he would stop.
Seeing the cart, the drunken woman threw herself back upon the
pavement and set every muscle to a rigid strain. And now came one of
those shocking scenes--too familiar, alas! in portions of our large
Christian cities--at which everything pure and merciful and holy in
our nature revolts: a gray-haired old woman, so debased by drink and
an evil life that all sense of shame and degradation had been
extinguished, fighting with a policeman, and for a time showing
superior strength, swearing vilely, her face distorted with passion,
and a crowd made up chiefly of women as vile and degraded as
herself, and of all ages, and colors, laughing, shouting and
enjoying the scene intensely.
At last, by aid of the negro, the woman was lifted into the cart and
thrown down upon the floor, her head striking one of the sides with
a sickening _thud_. She still swore and struggled, and had to be
held down by the policeman, who stood over her, while the cart was
pushed off to the nearest station-house, the excited crowd following
with shouts and merry huzzas.
Mr. Dinneford was standing in a maze, shocked and distressed by this
little episode, when a man at his side said in a grave, quiet voice,
"I doubt if you could see a sight just like that anywhere else in
all Christendom." Then added, as he extended his hand,
"I am glad to see you here, Mr. Dinneford."
"Oh, Mr. Paulding!" and Mr. Dinneford put out his hand and grasped
that of the missionary with a nervous grip. "This is awful! I am
sixty years old, but anything so shocking my eyes have not before
"We see things worse than this every day," said the missionary. "It
is only one of the angry boils on the surface, and tells of the
corrupt and vicious blood within. But I am right glad to find you
here, Mr. Dinneford. Unless you see these things with your own eyes,
it is impossible for you to comprehend the condition of affairs in
this by-way to hell."
"Hell, itself, better say," returned Mr. Dinneford. "It is hell
pushing itself into visible manifestation--hell establishing itself
on the earth, and organizing its forces for the destruction of human
souls, while the churches are too busy enlarging their phylacteries
and making broader and more attractive the hems of their garments to
take note of this fatal vantage-ground acquired by the enemy."
Mr. Dinneford stood and looked around him in a dazed sort of way.
"Is Grubb's court near this?" he asked, recollecting the errand upon
which he had come.
"A young lady called to see you yesterday afternoon to ask about a
child in that court?"
"Oh yes! You know the lady?"
"She is my daughter. One of the poor children in her sewing-class
told her of a neglected baby in Grubb's court, and so drew upon her
sympathies that she started to go there, but was warned by the child
that it would be dangerous for a young lady like her to be seen in
that den of thieves and harlots, and so she came to you. And now I
am here in her stead to get your report about the baby. I would not
consent to her visiting this place again."
Mr. Paulding took his visitor into the mission-house, near which
they were standing. After they were seated, he said,
"I have seen the baby about which your daughter wished me to make
inquiry. The woman who has the care of it is a vile creature, well
known in this region--drunken and vicious. She said at first that it
was her own baby, but afterward admitted that she didn't know who
its mother was, and that she was paid for taking care of it. I found
out, after a good deal of talking round, and an interview with the
mother of the child who is in your daughter's sewing-class, that a
girl of notoriously bad character, named Pinky Swett, pays the
baby's board. There's a mystery about the child, and I am of the
opinion that it has been stolen, or is known to be the offcast of
some respectable family. The woman who has the care of it was
suspicious, and seemed annoyed at my questions."
"Is it a boy?" asked Mr. Dinneford.
"Yes, and has a finely-formed head and a pair of large, clear, hazel
eyes. Evidently it is of good parentage. The vicious, the sensual
and the depraved mark their offspring with the unmistakable signs of
their moral depravity. You cannot mistake them. But this baby has in
its poor, wasted, suffering little face, in its well-balanced head
and deep, almost spiritual eyes, the signs of a better origin."
"It ought at once to be taken away from the woman," said Mr.
Dinneford, in a very decided manner.
"Who is to take it?" asked the missionary.
Mr. Dinneford was silent.
"Neither you nor I have any authority to do so. If I were to see it
cast out upon the street, I might have it sent to the almshouse; but
until I find it abandoned or shamefully abused, I have no right to
"I would like to see the baby," said Mr. Dinneford, on whose mind
painful suggestions akin to those that were so disturbing his
daughter were beginning to intrude themselves.
"It would hardly be prudent to go there to-day," said Mr. Paulding.
"It would arouse suspicion; and if there is anything wrong, the baby
would drop out of sight. You would not find it if you went again.
These people are like birds with their wings half lifted, and fly
away at the first warning of danger. As it is, I fear my visit and
inquiries will be quite sufficient to the cause the child's removal
to another place."
Mr. Dinneford mused for a while:
"There ought to be some way to reach a case like this, and there is,
I am sure. From what you say, it is more than probable that this
poor little waif may have drifted out of some pleasant home, where
love would bless it with the tenderest care, into this hell of
neglect and cruelty. It should be rescued on the instant. It is my
duty--it is yours--to see that it is done, and that without delay. I
will go at once to the mayor and state the case. He will send an
officer with me, I know, and we will take the child by force. If its
real mother then comes forward and shows herself at all worthy to
have the care of it, well; if not, I will see that it is taken care
of. I know where to place it."
To this proposition Mr. Paulding had no objection to offer.
"If you take that course, and act promptly, you can no doubt get
possession of the poor thing. Indeed, sir"--and the missionary spoke
with much earnestness--"if men of influence like yourself would come
here and look the evil of suffering and neglected children in the
face, and then do what they could to destroy that evil, there would
soon be joy in heaven over the good work accomplished by their
hands. I could give you a list of ten or twenty influential citizens
whose will would be next to law in a matter like this who could in a
month, if they put heart and hand to it, do such a work for humanity
here as would make the angels glad. But they are too busy with their
great enterprises to give thought and effort to a work like this."
A shadow fell across the missionary's face. There was a tone of
discouragement in his voice.
"The great question is _what_ to do," said Mr. Dinneford. "There are
no problems so hard to solve as these problems of social evil. If
men and women choose to debase themselves, who is to hinder? The
vicious heart seeks a vicious life. While the heart is depraved the
life will be evil. So long as the fountain is corrupt the water will
"There is a side to all this that most people do not consider,"
answered Mr. Paulding. "Self-hurt is one thing, hurt of the neighbor
quite another. It may be questioned whether society has a right to
touch the individual freedom of a member in anything that affects
himself alone. But the moment he begins to hurt his neighbor,
whether from ill-will or for gain, then it is the duty of society to
restrain him. The common weal demands this, to say nothing of
Christian obligation. If a man were to set up an exhibition in our
city dangerous to life and limb, but so fascinating as to attract
large numbers to witness and participate therein, and if hundreds
were maimed or killed every year, do you think any one would
question the right of our authorities to repress it? And yet to-day
there are in our city more than twenty thousand persons who live by
doing things a thousand times more hurtful to the people than any
such exhibition could possibly be. And what is marvelous to think
of, the larger part of these persons are actually licensed by the
State to get gain by hurting, depraving and destroying the people.
Think of it, Mr. Dinneford! The whole question lies in a nutshell.
There is no difficulty about the problem. Restrain men from doing
harm to each other, and the work is more than half done."
"Is not the law all the while doing this?"
"The law," was answered. "is weakly dealing with effect--how weakly
let prison and police statistics show. Forty thousand arrests in our
city for a single year, and the cause of these arrests clearly
traced to the liquor licenses granted to five or six thousand
persons to make money by debasing and degrading the people. If all
of these were engaged in useful employments, serving, as every true
citizen is bound to do, the common good, do you think we should have
so sad and sickening a record? No, sir! We must go back to the
causes of things. Nothing but radical work will do."
"You think, then," said Mr. Dinneford, "that the true remedy for all
these dreadful social evils lies in restrictive legislation?"
"Restrictive only on the principles of eternal right," answered the
missionary. "Man's freedom over himself must not be touched. Only
his freedom to hurt his neighbor must be abridged. Here society has
a right to put bonds on its members--to say to each individual, You
are free to do anything by which your neighbor is served, but
nothing to harm him. Here is where the discrimination must be made;
and when the mass of the people come to see this, we shall have the
beginning of a new day. There will then be hope for such poor
wretches as crowd this region; or if most of them are so far lost as
to be without hope, their places, when they die, will not be filled
with new recruits for the army of perdition."
"If the laws we now have were only executed," said Mr. Dinneford,
"there might be hope in our legislative restrictions. But the people
are defrauded of justice through defects in its machinery. There are
combinations to defeat good laws. There are men holding high office
notoriously in league with scoundrels who prey upon the people.
Through these, justice perpetually fails."
"The people are alone to blame," replied the missionary. "Each is
busy with his farm and his merchandise with his own affairs,
regardless of his neighbor. The common good is nothing, so that his
own good is served. Each weakly folds his hands and is sorry when
these troublesome questions are brought to his notice, but doesn't
see that he can do anything. Nor can the people, unless some strong
and influential leaders rally them, and, like great generals, lead
them to the battle. As I said a little while ago, there are ten or
twenty men in this city who, if they could be made to feel their
high responsibility--who, if they could be induced to look away for
a brief period from their great enterprises and concentrate thought
and effort upon these questions of social evil, abuse of justice and
violations of law--would in a single month inaugurate reforms and
set agencies to work that would soon produce marvelous changes. They
need not touch the rottenness of this half-dead carcass with knife
or poultice. Only let them cut off the sources of pollution and
disease, and the purified air will do the work of restoration where
moral vitality remains, or hasten the end in those who are debased
"What could these men do? Where would their work begin?" asked Mr.
"Their own intelligence would soon discover the way to do this work
if their hearts were in it. Men who can organize and successfully
conduct great financial and industrial enterprises, who know how to
control the wealth and power of the country and lead the people
almost at will, would hardly be at fault in the adjustment of a
matter like this. What would be the money influence of 'whisky
rings' and gambling associations, set against the social and money
influence of these men? Nothing, sir, nothing! Do you think we
should long have over six thousand bars and nearly four hundred
lottery-policy shops in our city if the men to whom I refer were to
take the matter in hand?"
"Are there so many policy-shops?" asked Mr. Dinneford, in surprise.
"There may be more. You will find them by scores in every locality
where poor and ignorant people are crowded together, sucking out
their substance, and in the neighborhood of all the market-houses
and manufactories, gathering in spoil. The harm they are doing is
beyond computation. The men who control this unlawful business are
rich and closely organized. They gather in their dishonest gains at
the rate of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, and know
how and where to use this money for the protection of their agents
in the work of defrauding the people, and the people are helpless
because our men of wealth and influence have no time to give to
public justice or the suppression of great social wrongs. With them,
as things now are, rests the chief responsibility. They have the
intelligence, the wealth and the public confidence, and are fully
equal to the task if they will put their hands to the work. Let them
but lift the standard and sound the trumpet of reform, and the
people will rally instantly at the call. It must not be a mere
spasmodic effort--a public meeting with wordy resolutions and strong
speeches only--but organized work based on true principles of social
order and the just rights of the people."
"You are very much in earnest about this matter," said Mr.
Dinneford, seeing how excited the missionary had grown.
"And so would you and every other good citizen become if, standing
face to face, as I do daily, with this awful debasement and crime
and suffering, you were able to comprehend something of its real
character. If I could get the influential citizens to whom I have
referred to come here and see for themselves, to look upon this
pandemonium in their midst and take in an adequate idea of its
character, significance and aggressive force, there would be some
hope of making them see their duty, of arousing them to action. But
they stand aloof, busy with personal and material interest, while
thousands of men, women and children are yearly destroyed, soul and
body, through their indifference to duty and ignorance of their
"It is easy to say such things," answered Mr. Dinneford, who felt
the remarks of Mr. Paulding as almost personal.
"Yes, it is easy to say them," returned the missionary, his voice
dropping to a lower key, "and it may be of little use to say them. I
am sometimes almost in despair, standing so nearly alone as I do
with my feet on the very brink of this devastating flood of evil,
and getting back only faint echoes to my calls for help. But when
year after year I see some sheaves coming in as the reward of my
efforts and of the few noble hearts that work with me, I thank God
and take courage, and I lift my voice and call more loudly for help,
trusting that I may be heard by some who, if they would only come up
to the help of the Lord against the mighty, would scatter his foes
like chaff on the threshing-floor. But I am holding you back from
your purpose to visit the mayor; I think you had better act promptly
if you would get possession of the child. I shall be interested in
the result, and will take it as a favor if you will call at the
_WHEN_ Mr. Dinneford and the policeman sent by the mayor at his
solicitation visited Grubb's court, the baby was not to be found.
The room in which it had been seen by Mr. Paulding was vacant. Such
a room as it was!--low and narrow, with bare, blackened walls, the
single window having scarcely two whole panes of glass, the air
loaded with the foulness that exhaled from the filth-covered floor,
the only furniture a rough box and a dirty old straw bed lying in a
As Mr. Dinneford stood at the door of this room and inhaled its
fetid air, he grew sick, almost faint. Stepping back, with a shocked
and disgusted look on his face, he said to the policeman,
"There must be a mistake. This cannot be the room."
Two or three children and a coarse, half-clothed woman, seeing a
gentleman going into the house accompanied by a policeman, had
followed them closely up stairs.
"Who lives in this room?" asked the policeman, addressing the woman.
"Don't know as anybody lives there now," she replied, with evident
"Who did live here?" demanded the policeman.
"Oh, lots!" returned the woman, curtly.
"I want to know who lived here last," said the policeman, a little
"Can't say--never keep the run of 'em," answered the woman, with
more indifference than she felt. "Goin' and comin' all the while.
Maybe it was Poll Davis."
"Had she a baby?"
The woman gave a vulgar laugh as she replied: "I rather think not."
"It was Moll Fling," said one of the children, "and she had a baby."
"When was she here last?" inquired the policeman.
The woman, unseen by the latter, raised her fist and threatened the
child, who did not seem to be in the least afraid of her, for she
"She went away about an hour ago."
"And took the baby?"
"Yes. You see Mr. Paulding was here asking about the baby, and she
"Why should that scare her?"
"I don't know, only it isn't her baby."
"How do you know that?"
"'Cause it isn't--I know it isn't. She's paid to take care of it."
"Who's Pinky Swett?"
"Don't you know Pinky Swett?" and the child seemed half surprised.
"Where does Pinky Swett live?" asked the policeman.
"She did live next door for a while, but I don't know where she's
Nothing beyond this could be ascertained. But having learned the
names of the women who had possession of the child, the policeman
said there would be no difficulty about discovering them. It might
take a little time, but they could not escape the vigilance of the
With this assurance, Mr. Dinneford hastened from the polluted air of
Grubb's court, and made his way to the mission in Briar street, in
order to have some further conference with Mr. Paulding.
"As I feared," said the missionary, on learning that the baby could
not be found. "These creatures are as keen of scent as Indians, and
know the smallest sign of danger. It is very plain that there is
something wrong--that these women have no natural right to the
child, and that they are not using it to beg with."
"Do you know a woman called Pinky Swett?" asked the policeman.
"I've heard of her, but do not know her by sight. She bears a hard
reputation even here, and adds to her many evil accomplishments the
special one of adroit robbery. A victim lured to her den rarely
escapes without loss of watch or pocket-book. And not one in a
hundred dares to give information, for this would expose him to the
public, and so her crimes are covered. Pinky Swett is not the one to
bother herself about a baby unless its parentage be known, and not
then unless the knowledge can be turned to advantage."
"The first thing to be done, then, is to find this woman," said the
"That will not be very hard work. But finding the baby, if she
thinks you are after it, would not be so easy," returned Mr.
Paulding. "She's as cunning as a fox."
"We shall see. If the chief of police undertakes to find the baby,
it won't be out of sight long. You'd better confer with the mayor
again," added the policeman, addressing Mr. Dinneford.
"I will do so without delay," returned that gentleman.
"I hope to see you here again soon," said the missionary as Mr.
Dinneford was about going. "If I can help you in any way, I shall do
"I have no doubt but that you can render good service." Then, in
half apology, and to conceal the real concern at his heart, Mr.
Dinneford added, "Somehow, and strangely enough when I come to think
of it, I have allowed myself to get drawn into this thing, and once
in, the natural persistence of my character leads me to go on to the
end. I am one of those who cannot bear to give up or acknowledge a
defeat; and so, having set my hand to this work, I am going to see
When the little girl who had taken Edith to the mission-house in
Briar street got home and told her story, there was a ripple of
excitement in that part of Grubb's court where she lived, and a new
interest was felt in the poor neglected baby. Mr. Paulding's visit
and inquiries added to this interest. It had been several days since
Pinky Swett's last visit to the child to see that it was safe. On
the morning after Edith's call at the mission she came in about ten
o'clock, and heard the news. In less than twenty minutes the child
and the woman who had charge of it both disappeared from Grubb's
court. Pinky sent them to her own room, not many squares distant,
and then drew from the little girl who was in Edith's sewing-class
all she knew about that young lady. It was not much that the child
could tell. She was very sweet and good and handsome, and wore such
beautiful clothes, was so kind and patient with the girls, but she
did not remember her name, thought it was Edith.
"Now, see here," said Pinky, and she put some money into the child's
hand; "I want you to find out for me what her name is and where she
lives. Mind, you must be very careful to remember."
"What do you want to know for?" asked the little girl.
"That's none of your business. Do what I tell you," returned Pinky,
with impatience; "and if you do it right, I'll give you a quarter
more. When do you go again?"
"Next week, on Thursday."
"Not till next Thursday!" exclaimed Pinky, in a tone of
"The school's only once a week."
Pinky chafed a good deal, but it was of no use; she must wait.
"You'll be sure and go next Thursday?" she said.
"If Mother lets me," replied the child.
"Oh, I'll see to that; I'll make her let you. What time does the
school go in?"
"At three o'clock."
"Very well. You wait for me. I'll come round here at half-past two,
and go with you. I want to see the young lady. They'll let me come
into the school and learn to sew, won't they?"
"I don't know; you're too big, and you don't want to learn."
"How do you know I don't?"
"Because I do."
Pinky laughed, and then said,
"You'll wait for me?"
"Yes, if mother says so."
"All right;" and Pinky hurried away to take measures for hiding the
baby from a search that she felt almost sure was about being made.
The first thing she did was to soundly abuse the woman in whose care
she had placed the hapless child for her neglect and ill treatment,
both of which were too manifest, and then to send her away under the
new aspect of affairs she did not mean to trust this woman, nor
indeed to trust anybody who knew anything of the inquiries which had
been made about the child. A new nurse must be found, and she must
live as far away from the old locality as possible. Pinky was not
one inclined to put things off. Thought and act were always close
together. Scarcely had the woman been gone ten minutes, before,
bundling the baby in a shawl, she started off to find a safer
hiding-place. This time she was more careful about the character and
habits of the person selected for a nurse, and the baby's condition
was greatly improved. The woman in whose charge she placed it was
poor, but neither drunken nor depraved. Pinky arranged with her to
take the care of it for two dollars a week, and supplied it with
clean and comfortable clothing. Even she, wicked and vile as she
was, could not help being touched by the change that appeared in the
baby's shrunken face, and in its sad but beautiful eyes, after its
wasted little body had been cleansed and clothed in clean, warm
garments and it had taken its fill of nourishing food.
"It's a shame, the way it has been abused," said Pinky, speaking
from an impulse of kindness, such as rarely swelled in her evil
"A crying shame," answered the woman as she drew the baby close
against her bosom and gazed down upon its pitiful face, and into the
large brown eyes that were lifted to hers in mute appeal.
The real motherly tenderness that was in this woman's heart was
quickly perceived by the child, who did not move its eyes from hers,
but lay perfectly still, gazing up at her in a kind of easeful rest
such as it had never before known. She spoke to it in loving tones,
touched its thin cheeks with her finger in playful caresses, kissed
it on its lips and forehead, hugged it to her bosom; and still the
eyes were fixed on hers in a strange baby-wonder, though not the
faintest glinting of a smile played on its lips or over its serious
face. Had it never learned to smile?
At last the poor thin lips curved a little, crushing out the lines
of suffering, and into the eyes there came a loving glance in place
of the fixed, wondering look that was almost a stare. A slight
lifting of the hands, a motion of the head, a thrill through the
whole body came next, and then a tender cooing sound.
"Did you ever see such beautiful eyes?" said the woman. "It will be
a splendid baby when it has picked up a little."
"Let it pick up as fast as it can," returned Pinky; "but mind what I
say: you are to be mum. Here's your pay for the first week, and you
shall have it fair and square always. Call it your own baby, if you
will, or your grandson. Yes, that's better. He's the child of your
dead daughter, just sent to you from somewhere out of town. So take
good care of him, and keep your mouth shut. I'll be round again in a
And with this injunction Pinky went away. On the next Thursday she
visited the St. John's mission sewing-school in company with the
little girl from Grubb's court, but greatly to her disappointment,
Edith did not make her appearance. There were four or five ladies in
attendance on the school, which, under the superintendence of one of
them, a woman past middle life, with a pale, serious face and a
voice clear and sweet, was conducted with an order and decorum not
often maintained among a class of children such as were there
It was a long time since Pinky had found herself so repressed and
ill at ease. There was a spiritual atmosphere in the place that did
not vitalize her blood. She felt a sense of constriction and
suffocation. She had taken her seat in the class taught usually by
Edith, with the intention of studying that young lady and finding
out all she could about her, not doubting her ability to act the
part in hand with perfect self-possession. But she had not been in
the room a minute before confidence began to die, and very soon she
found herself ill at ease and conscious of being out of her place.
The bold, bad woman felt weak and abashed. An unseen sphere of
purity and Christian love surrounded and touched her soul with as
palpable an impression as outward things give to the body. She had
something of the inward distress and pain a devil would feel if
lifted into the pure air of heaven, and the same desire to escape
and plunge back into the dense and impure atmosphere in which evil
finds its life and enjoyment. If she had come with any good purpose,
it would have been different, but evil, and only evil, was in her
heart; and when this felt the sphere of love and purity, her breast
was constricted and life seemed going out of her.
It was little less than torture to Pinky for the short time she
remained. As soon as she was satisfied that Edith would not be
there, she threw down the garment on which she had been pretending
to sew, and almost ran from the room.
"Who is that girl?" asked the lady who was teaching the class,
looking in some surprise after the hurrying figure.
"It's Pinky Swett," answered the child from Grubb's court. "She
wanted to see our teacher."
"Who is your regular teacher?" was inquired.
"Don't remember her name."
"It's Edith," spoke up one of the girls. "Mrs. Martin called her
"What did this Pinky Swett want to see her about?"
"Don't know," answered the child as she remembered the money Pinky
had given her and the promise of more.
The teacher questioned no further, but went on with her work in the
_IT_ was past midday when Mr. Dinneford returned home after his
fruitless search. Edith, who had been waiting for hours in restless
suspense, heard his step in the hall, and ran down to meet him.
"Did you see the baby?"' she asked, trying to keep her agitation
Mr. Dinneford only shook his head,
"Why, not, father?" Her voice choked.
"It could not be found."
"You saw Mr. Paulding?"
"Didn't he find the baby?"
"Oh yes. But when I went to Grubb's court this morning, it was not
there, and no one could or would give any information about it. As
the missionary feared, those having possession of the baby had taken
alarm and removed it to another place. But I have seen the mayor and
some of the police, and got them interested. It will not be possible
to hide the child for any length of time."
"You said that Mr. Paulding saw it?"
"What did he say?" Edith's voice trembled as she asked the question.
"He thinks there is something wrong."
"Did he tell you how the baby looked?"
"He said that it had large, beautiful brown eyes."
Edith clasped her hands, and drew them tightly against her bosom.
"Oh, father! if it should be my baby!"
"My dear, dear child," said Mr. Dinneford, putting his arms about
Edith and holding her tightly, "you torture yourself with a wild
dream. The thing is impossible."
"It is somebody's baby," sobbed Edith, her face on her father's
breast, "and it may be mine. Who knows?"
"We will do our best to find it," returned Mr. Dinneford, "and then
do what Christian charity demands. I am in earnest so far, and will
leave nothing undone, you may rest assured. The police have the
mayor's instructions to find the baby and give it into my care, and
I do not think we shall have long to wait."
An ear they thought not of, heard all this. Mrs. Dinneford's
suspicions had been aroused by many things in Edith's manner and
conduct of late, and she had watched her every look and word and
movement with a keenness of observation that let nothing escape.
Careful as her husband and daughter were in their interviews, it was
impossible to conceal anything from eyes that never failed in
watchfulness. An unguarded word here, a look of mutual intelligence
there, a sudden silence when she appeared, an unusual soberness of
demeanor and evident absorbed interest in something they were
careful to conceal, had the effect to quicken all Mrs. Dinneford's
alarms and suspicions.
She had seen from the top of the stairs a brief but excited
interview pass between Edith and her father as the latter stood in
the vestibule that morning, and she had noticed the almost wild look
on her daughter's face as she hastened back along the hall and ran
up to her room. Here she stayed alone for over an hour, and then
came down to the parlor, where she remained restless, moving about
or standing by the window for a greater part of the morning.
There was something more than usual on hand. Guilt in its guesses
came near the truth. What could all this mean, if it had not
something to do with the cast-off baby? Certainty at last came. She
was in the dining-room when Edith ran down to meet her father in the
hall, and slipped noiselessly and unobserved into one of the
parlors, where, concealed by a curtain, she heard everything that
passed between her husband and daughter.
Still as death she stood, holding down the strong pulses of her
heart. From the hall Edith and her father turned into one of the
parlors--the same in which Mrs. Dinneford was concealed behind the
curtain--and sat down.
"It had large brown eyes?" said Edith, a yearning tenderness in her
"Yes, and a finely-formed bead, showing good parentage," returned
"Didn't you find out who the women were--the two bad women the
little girl told me about? If we had their names, the police could
find them. The little girl's mother must know who they are."
"We have the name of one of them," said Mr. Dinneford. "She is
called Pinky Swett, and it can't be long before the police are on
her track. She is said to be a desperate character. Nothing more can
be done now; we must wait until the police work up the affair. I
will call at the mayor's office in the morning and find out what has
Mrs. Dinneford heard no more. The bell rang, and her husband and
daughter left the parlor and went up stairs. The moment they were
beyond observation she glided noiselessly through the hall, and
reached her chamber without being noticed. Soon afterward she came
down dressed for visiting, and went out hastily, her veil closely
drawn. Her manner was hurried. Descending the steps, she stood for a
single moment, as if hesitating which way to go, and then moved off
rapidly. Soon she had passed out of the fashionable neighborhood in
which she lived. After this she walked more slowly, and with the air
of one whose mind was in doubt or hesitation. Once she stopped, and
turning about, slowly retraced her steps for the distance of a
square. Then she wheeled around, as if from some new and strong
resolve, and went on again. At last she paused before a
respectable-looking house of moderate size in a neighborhood remote
from the busier and more thronged parts of the city. The shutters
were all bowed down to the parlor, and the house had a quiet,
unobtrusive look. Mrs. Dinneford gave a quick, anxious glance up and
down the street, and then hurriedly ascended the steps and rang the
"Is Mrs. Hoyt in?" she asked of a stupid-looking girl who came to
"Yes, ma'am," was answered.
"Tell her a lady wants to see her;" and she passed into the
plainly-furnished parlor. There were no pictures on the walls nor
ornaments on the mantel-piece, nor any evidence of taste--nothing
home-like--in the shadowed room, the atmosphere of which was close
and heavy. She waited here for a few moments, when there was a
rustle of garments and the sound of light, quick feet on the stairs.
A small, dark-eyed, sallow-faced woman entered the parlor.
"Mrs. Bray--no, Mrs. Hoyt."
"Mrs. Dinneford;" and the two women stood face to face for a few
moments, each regarding the other keenly.
"Mrs. Hoyt--don't forget," said the former, with a warning emphasis
in her voice. "Mrs. Bray is dead."
In her heart Mrs. Dinneford wished that it were indeed so.
"Anything wrong?" asked the black-eyed little woman.
"Do you know a Pinky Swett?" asked Mrs. Dinneford, abruptly.
Mrs. Hoyt--so we must now call her--betrayed surprise at this
question, and was about answering "No," but checked herself and gave
a half-hesitating "Yes," adding the question, "What about her?"
Before Mrs. Dinneford could reply, however, Mrs. Hoyt took hold of
her arm and said, "Come up to my room. Walls have ears sometimes,
and I will not answer for these."
Mrs. Dinneford went with her up stairs to a chamber in the rear part
of the building.
"We shall be out of earshot here," said Mrs. Hoyt as she closed the
door, locking it at the same time. "And now tell me what's up, and
what about Pinky Swett."
"You know her?"
"More than slightly, I guess."
Mrs. Hoyt's eyes flashed impatiently. Mrs. Dinneford saw it, and
"She's got that cursed baby."
"How do you know?"
"No matter how I know. It's enough that I know. Who is she?"
"That question may be hard to answer. About all I know of her is
that she came from the country a few years ago, and has been
drifting about here ever since."
"What is she doing with that baby? and how did she get hold of it?"
"Questions more easily asked than answered."
"Pshaw! I don't want any beating about the bush, Mrs. Bray."
"Mrs. Hoyt," said the person addressed.
"Oh, well, Mrs. Hoyt, then. We ought to understand each other by
"I guess we do;" and the little woman arched her brows.
"I don't want any beating about the bush," resumed Mrs. Dinneford.
"I am here on business."
"Very well; let's to business, then;" and Mrs. Hoyt leaned back in
"Edith knows that this woman has the baby," said Mrs. Dinneford.
"What!" and Mrs. Hoyt started to her feet.
"The mayor has been seen, and the police are after her."
"How do you know?"
"Enough that I know. And now, Mrs. Hoyt, this thing must come to an
end, and there is not an instant to be lost. Has Pinky Swett, as she
is called, been told where the baby came from?"
"Not by me."
"That is more than I can say."
"What has become of the woman I gave it to?"
"She's about somewhere."
"When did you see her?"
Mrs. Hoyt pretended to think for some moments, and then replied:
"Not for a month or two."
"Had she the baby then?"
"No; she was rid of it long before that."
"Did she know this Pinky Swett?"
"Curse the brat! If I'd thought all this trouble was to come, I'd
have smothered it before it was half an hour old."
"Risky business," remarked Mrs. Hoyt.
"Safer than to have let it live," said Mrs. Dinneford, a hard, evil
expression settling around her mouth. "And now I want the thing
done. You understand. Find this Pinky Swett. The police are after
her, and may be ahead of you. I am desperate, you see. Anything but
the discovery and possession of this child by Edith. It must be got
out of the way. If it will not starve, it must drown."
Mrs. Dinneford's face was distorted by the strength of her evil
passions. Her eyes were full of fire, flashing now, and now glaring
like those of a wild animal.
"It might fall out of a window," said Mrs. Hoyt, in a low, even
voice, and with a faint smile on her lips. "Children fall out of
"But don't always get killed," answered Mrs. Dinneford, coldly.
"Or, it might drop from somebody's arms into the river--off the deck
of a ferryboat, I mean," added Mrs. Hoyt.
"That's better. But I don't care how it's done, so it's done."
"Accidents are safer," said Mrs. Hoyt.
"I guess you're right about that. Let it be an accident, then."
It was half an hour from the time Mrs. Dinneford entered this house
before she came away. As she passed from the door, closely veiled, a
gentleman whom she knew very well was going by on the opposite side
of the street. From something in his manner she felt sure that he
had recognized her, and that the recognition had caused him no
little surprise. Looking back two or three times as she hurried
homeward, she saw, to her consternation, that he was following her,
evidently with the purpose of making sure of her identity.
To throw this man off of her track was Mrs. Dinneford's next
concern. This she did by taking a street-car that was going in a
direction opposite to the part of the town in which she lived, and
riding for a distance of over a mile. An hour afterward she came
back to her own neighborhood, but not without a feeling of
uneasiness. Just as she was passing up to the door of her residence
a gentleman came hurriedly around the nearest corner. She recognized
him at a glance. It seemed as if the servant would never answer her
ring. On he came, until the sound of his steps was in her ears. He
was scarcely ten paces distant when the door opened and she passed
in. When she gained her room, she sat down faint and trembling. Here
was a new element in the danger and disgrace that were digging her
steps so closely.
As we have seen, Edith did not make her appearance at the mission
sewing-school on the following Thursday, nor did she go there for
many weeks afterward. The wild hope that had taken her to Briar
street, the nervous strain and agitation attendant on that visit,
and the reaction occasioned by her father's failure to get
possession of the baby, were too much for her strength, and an utter
prostration of mind and body was the consequence. There was no fever
nor sign of any active disease--only weakness, Nature's enforced
quietude, that life and reason might be saved.
_THE_ police were at fault. They found Pinky Swett, but were not
able to find the baby. Careful as they were in their surveillance,
she managed to keep them on the wrong track and to baffle every
effort to discover what had been done with the child.
In this uncertainty months went by. Edith came up slowly from her
prostrate condition, paler, sadder and quieter, living in a kind of
waking dream. Her father tried to hold her back from her mission
work among the poor, but she said, "I must go, father; I will die if
I do not."
And so her life lost itself in charities. Now and then her mother
made an effort to draw her into society. She had not yet given up
her ambition, nor her hope of one day seeing her daughter take
social rank among the highest, or what she esteemed the highest. But
her power over Edith was entirely gone. She might as well have set
herself to turn the wind from its course as to influence her in
anything. It was all in vain. Edith had dropped out of society, and
did not mean to go back. She had no heart for anything outside of
her home, except the Christian work to which she had laid her hands.
The restless, watchful, suspicious manner exhibited for a long time
by Mrs. Dinneford, and particularly noticed by Edith, gradually wore
off. She grew externally more like her old self, but with something
new in the expression of her face when in repose, that gave a chill
to the heart of Edith whenever she saw its mysterious record, that
seemed in her eyes only an imperfect effort to conceal some guilty
Thus the mother and daughter, though in daily personal contact,
stood far apart--were internally as distant from each other as the
As for Mr. Dinneford, what he had seen and heard on his first visit
to Briar street had aroused him to a new and deeper sense of his
duty as a citizen. Against all the reluctance and protests of his
natural feelings, he had compelled himself to stand face to face
with the appalling degradation and crime that festered and rioted in
that almost Heaven-deserted region. He had heard and read much about
its evil condition; but when, under the protection of a policeman,
he went from house to house, from den to den, through cellar and
garret and hovel, comfortless and filthy as dog-kennels and
pig-styes, and saw the sick and suffering, the utterly vile and
debauched, starving babes and children with faces marred by crime,
and the legion of harpies who were among them as birds of prey, he
went back to his home sick at heart, and with a feeling of
helplessness and hopelessness out of which he found it almost
impossible to rise.
We cannot stain our pages with a description of what he saw. It is
so vile and terrible, alas, so horrible, that few would credit it.
The few imperfect glimpses of life in that region which we have
already given are sad enough and painful enough, but they only hint
at the real truth.
"What can be done?" asked Mr. Dinneford of the missionary, at their
next meeting, in a voice that revealed his utter despair of a
remedy. "To me it seems as if nothing but fire could purify this
"The causes that have produced this would soon create another as
bad," was answered.
"What are the causes?"
"The primary cause," said Mr. Paulding, "is the effort of hell to
establish itself on the earth for the destruction of human souls;
the secondary cause lies in the indifference and supineness of the
people. 'While the husband-men slept the enemy sowed tares.' Thus it
was of old, and thus it is to-day. The people are sleeping or
indifferent, the churches are sleeping or indifferent, while the
enemy goes on sowing tares for the harvest of death."
"Well may you say the harvest of death," returned Mr. Dinneford,
"And hell," added the missionary, with a stern emphasis. "Yes, sir,
it is the harvest of death and hell that is gathered here, and such
a full harvest! There is little joy in heaven over the sheaves that
are garnered in this accursed region. What hope is there in fire, or
any other purifying process, if the enemy be permitted to go on
sowing his evil seed at will?"
"How will you prevent it?" asked Mr. Dinneford.
"Not by standing afar off and leaving the enemy in undisputed
possession--not by sleeping while he sows and reaps and binds into
bundles for the fires, his harvests of human souls! We must be as
alert and wise and ready of hand as he; and God being our helper, we
can drive him from the field!"
"You have thought over this sad problem a great deal," said Mr.
Dinneford. "You have stood face to face with the enemy for years,
and know his strength and his resources. Have you any well-grounded
hope of ever dislodging him from this stronghold?"
"I have just said it, Mr. Dinneford. But until the churches and the
people come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty, he cannot
be dislodged. I am standing here, sustained in my work by a small
band of earnest Christian men and women, like an almost barren rock
in the midst of a down-rushing river on whose turbulent surface
thousands are being swept to destruction. The few we are able to
rescue are as a drop in the bucket to the number who are lost. In
weakness and sorrow, almost in despair sometimes, we stand on our
rock, with the cry of lost souls mingling with the cry of fiends in
our ears, and wonder at the churches and the people, that they stand
aloof--nay, worse, turn from us coldly often--when we press the
claims of this worse than heathen people who are perishing at their
"Sir," continued the missionary, warming on his theme, "I was in a
church last Sunday that cost its congregation over two hundred
thousand dollars. It was an anniversary occasion, and the
collections for the day were to be given to some foreign mission.
How eloquently the preacher pleaded for the heathen! What vivid
pictures of their moral and spiritual destitution he drew! How full
of pathos he was, even to tears! And the congregation responded in a
contribution of over three thousand dollars, to be sent somewhere,
and to be disbursed by somebody of whom not one in a hundred of the
contributors knew anything or took the trouble to inform themselves.
I felt sick and oppressed at such a waste of money and Christian
sympathy, when heathen more destitute and degraded than could be
found in any foreign land were dying at home in thousands every
year, unthought of and uncared for. I gave no amens to his
prayers--I could not. They would have stuck in my throat. I said to
myself, in bitterness and anger, 'How dare a watchman on the walls
of Zion point to an enemy afar off, of whose movements and power and
organization he knows but little, while the very gates of the city
are being stormed and its walls broken down?' But you must excuse
me, Mr. Dinneford. I lose my calmness sometimes when these things
crowd my thoughts too strongly. I am human like the rest, and weak,
and cannot stand in the midst of this terrible wickedness and
suffering year after year without being stirred by it to the very
inmost of my being. In my intense absorption I can see nothing else
He paused for a little while, and then said, in a quiet, business
"In seeking a remedy for the condition of society found here, we
must let common sense and a knowledge of human nature go hand in
hand with Christian charity. To ignore any of these is to make
failure certain. If the whisky-and policy-shops were all closed, the
task would be easy. In a single month the transformation would be
marvelous. But we cannot hope for this, at least not for a long time
to come--not until politics and whisky are divorced, and not until
associations of bad men cease to be strong enough in our courts to
set law and justice at defiance. Our work, then, must be in the face
of these baleful influences."
"Is the evil of lottery-policies so great that you class it with the
curse of rum?" asked Mr. Dinneford.
"It is more concealed, but as all-pervading and almost as disastrous
in its effects. The policy-shops draw from the people, especially
the poor and ignorant, hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
There is no more chance of thrift for one who indulges in this sort
of gambling than there is for one who indulges in drink. The vice in
either case drags its subject down to want, and in most cases to
crime. I could point you to women virtuous a year ago, but who now
live abandoned lives; and they would tell you, if you would question
them, that their way downward was through the policy-shops. To get
the means of securing a hoped-for prize--of getting a hundred or two
hundred dollars for every single one risked, and so rising above
want or meeting some desperate exigency--virtue was sacrificed in an
"The whisky-shops brutalize, benumb and debase or madden with cruel
and murderous passions; the policy-shops, more seductive and
fascinating in their allurements, lead on to as deep a gulf of moral
ruin and hopeless depravity. I have seen the poor garments of a
dying child sold at a pawn-shop for a mere trifle by its infatuated
mother, and the money thrown away in this kind of gambling. Women
sell or pawn their clothing, often sending their little children to
dispose of these articles, while they remain half clad at home to
await the daily drawings and receive the prize they fondly hope to
obtain, but which rarely, if ever, comes.
"Children learn early to indulge this vice, and lie and steal in
order to obtain money to gratify it. You would be amazed to see the
scores of little boys and girls, white and black, who daily visit
the policy-shops in this neighborhood to put down the pennies they
have begged or received for stolen articles on some favorite
numbers--quick-witted, sharp, eager little wretches, who talk the
lottery slang as glibly as older customers. What hope is there in
the future for these children? Will their education in the shop of a
policy-dealer fit them to become honest, industrious citizens?"
All this was so new and dreadful to Mr. Dinneford that be was
stunned and disheartened; and when, after an interview with the
missionary that lasted over an hour, he went away, it was with a
feeling of utter discouragement. He saw little hope of making head
against the flood of evil that was devastating this accursed region.
_MRS. HOYT_, _alias_ Bray, found Pinky Swett, but she did not find
the poor cast-off baby. Pinky had resolved to make it her own
capital in trade. She parleyed and trifled with Mrs. Hoyt week after
week, and each did her best to get down to the other's secret, but
in vain. Mutually baffled, they parted at last in bitter anger.
One day, about two months after the interview between Mrs. Dinneford
and Mrs. Hoyt described in another chapter, the former received in
an envelope a paragraph cut from a newspaper. It read as follows:
"A CHILD DROWNED.--A sad accident occurred yesterday on board the
steamer Fawn as she was going down the river. A woman was standing
with a child in her arms near the railing on the lower deck forward.
Suddenly the child gave a spring, and was out of her arms in a
moment. She caught after it frantically, but in vain. Every effort
was made to recover the child, but all proved fruitless. It did not
rise to the surface of the water."
Mrs. Dinneford read the paragraph twice, and then tore it into
little bits. Her mouth set itself sternly. A long sigh of relief
came up from her chest. After awhile the hard lines began slowly to
disappear, giving place to a look of satisfaction and comfort.
"Out of my way at last," she staid, rising and beginning to move
about the room. But the expression of relief and confidence which
had come into her face soon died out. The evil counselors that lead
the soul into sin become its tormentors after the sin is committed,
and torture it with fears. So tortured they this guilty and wretched
woman at every opportunity. They led her on step by step to do evil,
and then crowded her mind with suggestions of perils and
consequences the bare thought of which filled her with terror.
It was only a few weeks after this that Mrs. Dinneford, while
looking over a morning paper, saw in the court record the name of
Pinky Swett. This girl had been tried for robbing a man of his
pocket-book, containing five hundred dollars, found guilty, and
sentenced to prison for a term of two years.
"Good again!" exclaimed Mrs. Dinneford, with satisfaction. "The
After that she gradually rose above the doubts and dread of exposure
that haunted her continually, and set herself to work to draw her
daughter back again into society. But she found her influence over
Edith entirely gone. Indeed, Edith stood so far away from her that
she seemed more like a stranger than a child.
Two or three times had Pinky Swett gone to the mission sewing-school
in order to get a sight of Edith. Her purpose was to follow her
home, and so find out her name and were she lived. With this
knowledge in her possession, she meant to visit Mrs. Bray, and by
a sudden or casual mention by name of Edith as the child's mother
throw her off her guard, and lead her to betray the fact if it were
really so. But Edith was sick at home, and did not go to the school.
After a few weeks the little girl who was to identify Edith as the
person who had shown so much interest in the baby was taken away
from Grubb's court by her mother, and nobody could tell where to
find her. So, Pinky had to abandon her efforts in this direction,
and Edith, when she was strong enough to go back to the
sewing-school, missed the child, from whom she was hoping to hear
something that might give a clue to where the poor waif had been
Up to the time of her arrest and imprisonment, Pinky had faithfully
paid the child's board, and looked in now and then upon the woman
who had it in charge, to see that it was properly cared for. How
marvelously the baby had improved in these two or three months! The
shrunken limb's were rounded into beautiful symmetry, and the
pinched face looked full and rosy. The large brown eyes, in which
you once saw only fear or a mystery of suffering, were full of a
happy light, and the voice rang out often in merry child-laughter.
The baby had learned to walk, and was daily growing more and more
But after Pinky's imprisonment there was a change. The woman--Mrs.
Burke by name--in whose care the child had been placed could not
afford to keep him for nothing. The two dollars week received for
his board added just enough to her income to enable her to remain at
home. But failing to receive this, she must go out for day's work in
families at least twice in every week.
What, then, was to be done with little Andy, as the baby was called?
At first Mrs. Burke thought of getting him into one of the homes for
friendless children, but the pleasant child had crept into her
affections, and she could not bear the thought of giving him up. His
presence stirred in her heart old and tender things long buried out
of sight, and set the past, with its better and purer memories, side
by side with the present. She had been many times a mother, but her
children were all dead but one, and she--Alas! the thought of her,
whenever it came, made her heart heavy and sad.
"I will keep him a while and see, how it comes out," she said, on
getting the promise of a neighbor to let Andy play with her children
and keep an eye on him whenever she was out. He had grown strong,
and could toddle about and take care of himself wonderfully well for
a child of his age.
And now began a new life for the baby--a life in which he must look
out for himself and hold his own in a hand-to-hand struggle. He had
no rights that the herd of children among whom he was thrown felt
bound to respect; and if he were not able to maintain his rights, he
must go down helplessly, and he did go down daily, often hourly. But
he had will and vital force, and these brought him always to his
feet again, and with strength increased rather than lost. On the
days that Mrs. Burke went out he lived for most of the time in the
little street, playing with the children that swarmed its pavements,
often dragged from before wheels or horses' hoofs by a friendly
hand, or lifted from some gutter in which he had fallen, dripping
When Mrs. Burke came home on the evening of her first day out, the
baby was a sight to see. His clothes were stiff with dirt, his shoes
and stockings wet, and his face more like that of a chimney-sweep
than anything else. But this was not all; there was a great lump as
large as a pigeon's egg on the back of his head, a black-and-blue
spot on his forehead and a bad cut on his upper lip. His joy at
seeing her and the tearful cry he gave as he threw his arm's about
her neck quite overcame Mrs. Burke, and caused her eyes to grow dim.
She was angry at the plight in which she found him, and said some
hard things to the woman who had promised to look after the child,
at which the latter grew angry in turn, and told her to stay at home
and take care of the brat herself, or put him in one of the homes.
The fresh care and anxiety felt by Mrs. Burke drew little Andy
nearer and made her reject more decidedly the thought of giving him
up. She remained at home on the day following, but did not find it
so easy as before to keep the baby quiet. He had got a taste of the
free, wild life of the street, of its companionship and excitement,
and fretted to go out. Toward evening she put by her work and went
on the pavement with Andy. It was swarming with children. At the
sight of them he began to scream with pleasure. Pulling his hand
free from that of Mrs. Burke, he ran in among them, and in a moment
after was tumbled over on the pavement. His head got a hard knock,
but he didn't seem to mind it, for he scrambled to his feet and
commenced tossing his hands about, laughing and crying out as wildly
as the rest. In a little while, over he was knocked again, and as he
fell one of the children stepped on his hand and hurt him so that he
screamed with pain. Mrs. Burke caught him in her arms; but when he
found that she was going to take him in the house he stopped crying
and struggled to get down. He was willing to take the knocks and
falls. The pleasure of this free life among children was more to him
than any of the suffering it brought.
On the next day Mrs. Burke had to go out again. Another neighbor
promised to look after Andy. When she returned at night, she found
things worse, if anything, than before. The child was dirtier, if
that were possible, and there were two great lumps on his head,
instead of one. He had been knocked down by a horse in the street,
escaping death by one of the narrowest of chances, and had been
discovered and removed from a ladder up which he had climbed a
distance of twenty feet.
What help was there? None that Mrs. Burke knew, except to give up
the child, and she was not unselfish enough for this. The thought of
sending him away was always attended with pain. It would take the
light out of her poor lonely life, into which he had brought a few
She could not, she would not, give him up. He must take his chances.
Ah, but they were hard chances! Children mature fast under the
stimulus of street-training. Andy had a large brain and an active,
nervous organization. Life in the open air gave vigor and hardness
to his body. As the months went by he learned self-reliance,
caution, self-protection, and took a good many lessons in the art of
aggression. A rapidly-growing child needs a large amount of
nutritious food to supply waste and furnish material for the
daily-increasing bodily structure. Andy did not get this. At two
years of age he had lost all the roundness of babyhood. His limbs
were slender, his body thin and his face colorless and
About this time--that is, when Andy was two years old--Mrs. Burke
took sick and died. She had been failing for several months, and
unable to earn sufficient even to pay her rent. But for the help of
neighbors and an occasional supply of food or fuel from some public
charity, she would have starved. At her death Andy had no home and
no one to care for him. One pitying neighbor after another would
take him in at night, or let him share a meal with her children, but
beyond this he was utterly cast out and friendless. It was
summer-time when Mrs. Burke died, and the poor waif was spared for a
time the suffering of cold.
Now and then a mother's heart would be touched, and after a
half-reluctantly given supper and a place where he might sleep for
the night would mend and wash his soiled clothes and dry them by the
fire, ready for morning. The pleased look that she saw in his large,
sad eyes--for they had grown wistful and sad since the only one he
had known as a mother died--was always her reward, and something not
to be put out of her memory. Many of the children took kindly to
Andy, and often supplied him with food.
"Andy is so hungry, mamma; can't I take him something to eat?"
rarely failed to bring the needed bread for the poor little
cast-adrift. And if he was discovered now and then sound asleep in
bed with some pitying child who had taken him in stealthily after
dark, few were hard-hearted enough to push him into the street, or
make him go down and sleep on the kitchen floor. Yet this was not
unfrequently done. Poverty is sometimes very cruel, yet often tender
One day, a few months after Mrs. Burke's death, Andy, who was
beginning to drift farther and farther away from the little street,
yet always managing to get back into it as darkness came on, that he
might lay his tired body in some friendly place, got lost in strange
localities. He had wandered about for many hours, sitting now on
some step or cellar-door or horse-block, watching the children at
play and sometimes joining in their sports, when they would let him,
with the spontaneous abandon of a puppy or a kitten, and now
enjoying some street-show or attractive shop-window. There was
nothing of the air of a lost child about him. For all that his
manner betrayed, his home might have been in the nearest court or
alley. So, he wandered along from street to street without
attracting the special notice of any--a bare-headed, bare-footed,
dirty, half-clad atom of humanity not three years old.
Hungry, tired and cold, for the summer was gone and mid-autumn had
brought its chilly nights, Andy found himself, as darkness fell, in
a vile, narrow court, among some children as forlorn and dirty as
himself. It was Grubb's court--his old home--though in his memory
there was of course no record of the place.
Too tired and hungry for play, Andy was sitting on the step of a
wretched hovel, when the door opened and a woman called sharply the
names of her two children. They answered a little way off. "Come in
this minute, and get your suppers," she called again, and turning
back without noticing Andy, left the door open for her children. The
poor cast-adrift looked in and saw light and food and comfort--a
home that made him heartsick with longing, mean and disordered and
miserable as it would have appeared to your eyes and mine, reader.
The two children, coming at their mother's call, found him standing
just on the threshold gazing in wistfully; and as they entered, he,
drawn by their attraction, went in also. Then, turning toward her
children, the mother saw Andy.
"Out of this!" she cried, in quick anger, raising her hand and
moving hastily toward the child. "Off home with you!"
Andy might well be frightened at the terrible face and threatening
words of this woman, and he was frightened. But he did not turn and
fly, as she meant that he should. He had learned, young as he was,
that if he were driven off by every rebuff, he would starve. It was
only through importunity and perseverance that he lived. So he held
his ground, his large, clear eyes fixed steadily on the woman's face
as she advanced upon him. Something in those eyes and in the
firmly-set mouth checked the woman's purpose if she had meant
violence, but she thrust him out into the damp street, nevertheless,
though not roughly, and shut the door against him.
Andy did not cry; poor little baby that he was, he had long since
learned that for him crying did no good. It brought him nothing.
Just across the street a door stood open. As a stray kitten creeps
in through an open door, so crept he through this one, hoping for
shelter and a place of rest.
"Who're you?" growled the rough but not unkindly voice of a man,
coming from the darkness. At the same moment a light gleamed out
from a match, and then the steadier flame of a candle lit up the
small room, not more than eight or nine feet square, and containing
little that could be called furniture. The floor was bare. In one
corner were some old bits of carpet and a blanket. A small table, a
couple of chairs with the backs broken off and a few pans and dishes
made up the inventory of household goods.
As the light made all things clear in this poor room, Andy saw the
bloodshot eyes, and grizzly face of a man, not far past middle life.
"Who are you, little one?" he growled again as the light gave him a
view of Andy's face. This growl had in it a tone of kindness and
welcome to the ears of Andy who came forward, saying,
"Indeed! You're Andy, are you?" and he reached out one of his hands.
"Yes; I'm Andy," returned the child, fixing his eyes with a look so
deep and searching on the man's face that they held him as by a kind
"Well, Andy, where did you come from?" asked the man.
"Don't know," was answered.
Andy shook his head.
"Where do you live?"
"Don't live nowhere," returned the child; "and I'm hungry."
"Hungry?" The man let the hand he was still holding drop, and
getting up quickly, took some bread from a closet and set it on the
Andy did not wait for an invitation, but seized upon the bread and
commenced eating almost ravenously. As he did so the man fumbled in
his pockets. There were a few pennies there. He felt them over,
counting them with his fingers, and evidently in some debate with
himself. At last, as he closed the debate, he said, with a kind of
"I say, young one, wouldn't you like some milk with your bread?"
"Milk! oh my I oh goody! yes," answered the child, a gleam of
pleasure coming into his face.
"Then you shall have some;" and catching up a broken mug, the man
went out. In a minute or two he returned with a pint of milk, into
which he broke a piece of bread, and then sat watching Andy as he
filled himself with the most delicious food he had tasted for weeks,
his marred face beaming with a higher satisfaction than he had known
for a long time.
"Is it good?" asked the man.
"I bet you!" was the cheery answer.
"Well, you're a little brick," laughed the man as he stroked Andy's
head. "And you don't live anywhere?"
"Is your mother dead?"
"And your father?"
"Hain't got no father."
"Would you like to live here?"
Andy looked toward the empty bowl from which he had made such a
satisfying meal, and said,
"It will hold us both. You're not very big;" and as he said this the
man drew his arm about the boy in a fond sort of way.
"I guess you're tired," he added, for Andy, now that an arm was
drawn around him, leaned against it heavily.
"Yes, I'm tired," said the child.
"And sleepy too, poor little fellow! It isn't much of a bed I can
give you, but it's better than a door-step or a rubbish corner."
Then he doubled the only blanket he had, and made as soft a bed as
possible. On this he laid Andy, who was fast asleep almost as soon
"Poor little chap!" said the man, in a tender, half-broken voice, as
he stood over the sleeping child, candle in hand. "Poor little
The sight troubled him. He turned with a quick, disturbed movement
and put the candle down. The light streaming upward into his face
showed the countenance of a man so degraded by intemperance that
everything attractive had died out of it. His clothes were scanty,
worn almost to tatters, and soiled with the slime and dirt of many
an ash-heap or gutter where he had slept off his almost daily fits
of drunkenness. There was an air of irresolution about him, and a
strong play of feeling in his marred, repulsive face, as he stood by
the table on which he had set the candle. One hand was in his
pocket, fumbling over the few pennies yet remaining there.
As if drawn by an attraction he could not resist, his eyes kept
turning to the spot where Andy lay sleeping. Once, as they came
back, they rested on the mug from which the child had taken his
supper of bread and milk.
"Poor little fellow!" came from his lips, in a tone of pity.
Then he sat down by the table and leaned his head on his hand. His
face was toward the corner of the room where the child lay. He still
fumbled the small coins in his pocket, but after a while his fingers
ceased to play with them, then his hand was slowly withdrawn from
the pocket, a deep sigh accompanying the act.
After the lapse of several minutes he took up the candle, and going
over to the bed, crouched down and let the light fall on Andy's
face. The large forehead, soiled as it was, looked white to the
man's eyes, and the brown matted hair, as he drew it through his
fingers, was soft and beautiful. Memory had taken him back for
years, and he was looking at the fair forehead and touching the soft
brown hair of another baby. His eyes grew dim. He set the candle
upon the floor, and putting his hands over his face, sobbed two or
When this paroxysm of feeling went off, he got up with a steadier
air, and set the light back upon the table. The conflict going on in
his mind was not quite over, but another look at Andy settled the
question. Stooping with a hurried movement, he blew out the candle,
then groped his way over to the bed, and lying down, took the child
in his arms and drew him close to his breast. So the morning found
them both asleep.
_MR. DINNEFORD_ had become deeply interested in the work that was
going on in Briar street, and made frequent visits to the mission
house. Sometimes he took heart in the work, but oftener he suffered
great discouragement of feeling. In one of his many conversations
with Mr. Paulding he said,
"Looking as I do from the standpoint gained since I came here, I am
inclined to say there is no hope. The enemy is too strong for us."
"He is very strong," returned the missionary, "but God is stronger,
and our cause is his cause. We have planted his standard here in the
very midst of the enemy's territory, and have not only held our
ground for years, but gained some victories. If we had the people,
the churches and the law-officers on our side, we could drive him
out in a year. But we have no hope of this--at least not for a long
time to come; and so, as wisely as we can, as earnestly as we can,
and with the limited means at our control, we are fighting the foe
and helping the weak, and gaining a little every year."
"And you really think there is gain?"
"I know it," answered the missionary, with a ringing confidence in
his voice. "It is by comparisons that we are able to get at true
results. Come with me into our school-room, next door."
They passed from the office of the mission into the street.
"These buildings," said Mr. Paulding, "erected by that true
Christian charity which hopeth all things, stand upon the very site
of one of the worst dens once to be found in this region. In them we
have a chapel for worship, two large and well ventilated
school-rooms, where from two to three hundred children that would
not be admitted into any public school are taught daily, a hospital
and dispensary and bathrooms. Let me show you the school. Then I
will give you a measure of comparison."
Mr. Dinneford went up to the school-rooms. He found them crowded
with children, under the care of female teachers, who seemed to have
but little trouble in keeping them in order. Such a congregation of
boys and girls Mr. Dinneford had never seen before. It made his
heart ache as he looked into some of their marred and pinched,
faces, most of which bore signs of pain, suffering, want and evil.
It moved him to tears when he heard them sing, led by one of the
teachers, a tender hymn expressive of the Lord's love for poor
"The Lord Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost," said
the missionary as they came down from the school-room, "and we are
trying to do the same work. And that our labor is not all in vain
will be evident when I show you what this work was in the beginning.
You have seen a little of what it is now."
They went back to the office of the missionary.
"It is nearly twenty years," said Mr. Paulding, "since the
organization of our mission. The question of what to do for the
children became at once the absorbing one. The only building in
which to open a Sunday-school that could be obtained was an old
dilapidated frame house used as a receptacle for bones, rags, etc.;
but so forbidding was its aspect, and so noisome the stench arising
from the putrefying bones and rotting rags, that it was feared for
the health of those who might occupy it. However it was agreed to
try the effect of scraping, scrubbing, white-washing and a liberal
use of chloride of lime. This was attended with such good effects
that, notwithstanding the place was still offensive to the
olfactories, the managers concluded to open in it our first
"No difficulty was experienced in gathering in a sufficient number
of children to compose a school; for, excited by such a novel
spectacle as a Sabbath-school in that region, they came in crowds.
But such a Sabbath-school as that first one was beyond all doubt the
rarest thing of the kind that any of those interested in its
formation had ever witnessed. The jostling, tumbling, scratching,
pinching, pulling of hair, little ones crying and larger ones
punching each other's heads and swearing most profanely, altogether
formed a scene of confusion and riot that disheartened the teachers
in the start, and made them begin to think they had undertaken a
"As to the appearance of these young Ishmaelites, it was plain that
they had rarely made the acquaintance of soap and water. Hands, feet
and face exhibited a uniform crust of mud and filth. As it was
necessary to obtain order, the superintendent, remembering that
'music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,' decided to try its
effects on the untamed group before him; and giving out a line of a
hymn adapted to the tune of 'Lily Dale,' he commenced to sing. The
effect was instantaneous. It was like oil on troubled waters. The
delighted youngsters listened to the first line, and then joined in
with such hearty good-will that the old shanty rang again.
"The attempt to engage and lead them in prayer was, however, a
matter of great difficulty. They seemed to regard the attitude of
kneeling as very amusing, and were reluctant to commit themselves so
far to the ridicule of their companions as to be caught in such a
posture. After reading to them a portion of the Holy Scriptures and
telling them of Jesus, they were dismissed, greatly pleased with
their first visit to a Sabbath-school.
"As for ourselves, we had also received a lesson. We found--what
indeed we had expected--that the poor children were very ignorant,
but we also found what we did not expect--namely, such an acute
intelligence and aptitude to receive instruction as admonished us of
the danger of leaving them to grow up under evil influences to
become master-spirits in crime and pests to society. Many of the
faces that we had just seen were very expressive--indeed, painfully
so. Some of them seemed to exhibit an unnatural and premature
development of those passions whose absence makes childhood so
"Hunger! ay, its traces were also plainly written there. It is
painful to see the marks of hunger on the human face, but to see the
cheeks of childhood blanched by famine, to behold the attenuated
limbs and bright wolfish eyes, ah! that is a sight.
"The organization of a day-school came next. There were hundreds of
children in the district close about the mission who were wholly
without instruction. They were too dirty, vicious and disorderly to
be admitted into any of the public schools; and unless some special
means of education were provided, they must grow up in ignorance. It
was therefore resolved to open a day-school, but to find a teacher
with her heart in such a work was a difficulty hard to be met;
moreover, it was thought by many unsafe for a lady to remain in this
locality alone, even though a suitable one should offer. But one
brave and self-devoted was found, and one Sunday it was announced to
the children in the Sabbath-school that a day school would be opened
in the same building at nine o'clock on Monday morning.
"About thirty neglected little ones from the lanes and alleys around
the mission were found at the schoolroom door at the appointed hour.
But when admitted, very few of them had any idea of the purpose for
which they were collected. The efforts of the teacher to seat them
proved a failure. The idea among them seemed to be that each should
take some part in amusing the company. One would jump from the back
of a bench upon which he had been seated, while others were creeping
about the floor; another, who deemed himself a proficient in turning
somersaults, would be trying his skill in this way, while his
neighbor, equally ambitious, would show the teacher how he could
stand on his head. Occasionally they would pause and listen to the
singing of a hymn or the reading of a little story; then all would
be confusion again; and thus the morning wore away. The first
session having closed, the teacher retired to her home, feeling that
a repetition of the scenes through which she had passed could
scarcely be endured.
"Two o'clock found her again at the door, and the children soon
gathered around her. Upon entering the schoolroom, most of them were
induced to be seated, and a hymn was sung which they had learned in
the Sabbath-school. When it was finished, the question was asked,
'Shall we pray?' With one accord they answered, 'Yes.' 'And will you
be quiet?' They replied in the affirmative. All were then requested
to be silent and cover their faces. In this posture they remained
until the prayer was closed; and after resuming their seats, for
some minutes order was preserved. This was the only encouraging
circumstance of the day.
"For many weeks a stranger would scarcely have recognized a school
in this disorderly gathering which day after day met in the old
gloomy building. Very many difficulties which we may not name were
met and conquered. Fights were of common occurrence. A description
of one may give the reader an idea of what came frequently under our
"A rough boy about fourteen years of age, over whom some influence
had been gained, was chosen monitor one morning; and as he was a
leader in all the mischief, it was hoped that putting him upon his
honor would assist in keeping order. Talking aloud was forbidden.
For a few minutes matters went on charmingly, until some one, tired
of the restraint, broke silence. The monitor, feeling the importance
of his position, and knowing of but one mode of redress, instantly
struck him a violent blow upon the ear, causing him to scream with
pain. In a moment the school was a scene of confusion, the friends
of each boy taking sides, and before the cause of trouble could be
ascertained most of the boys were piled upon each other in the
middle of the room, creating sounds altogether indescribable. The
teacher, realizing that she was alone, and not well understanding
her influence, feared for a moment to interfere; but as matters were
growing worse, something must be done. She made an effort to gain
the ear of the monitor, and asked why he did so. He, confident of
being in the right, answered,
"'Teacher, he didn't mind you; he spoke, and I licked him; and I'll
do it again if be don't mind you.'
"His services were of course no longer required, although he had
done his duty according to his understanding of the case.
"Thus it was at the beginning of this work nearly twenty years ago,"
said the missionary. "Now we have an orderly school of over two
hundred children, who, but for the opportunity here given, would
grow up without even the rudiments of all education. Is not this a
gain upon the enemy? Think of a school like this doing its work
daily among these neglected little ones for nearly a score of years,
and you will no longer feel as if nothing had been done--as if no
headway had been gained. Think, too, of the Sabbath-school work in
that time, and of the thousands of children who have had their
memories filled with precious texts from the Bible, who have been
told of the loving Saviour who came into the world and suffered and
died for them, and of his tender love and perpetual care over his
children, no matter how poor and vile and afar off from him they may
be. It is impossible that the good seed of the word scattered here
for so long a time should not have taken root in many hearts. We
know that they have, and can point to scores of blessed
instances--can take you to men and women, now good and virtuous
people, who, but for our day-and Sabbath-schools, would, in all
human probability, be now among the outcast, the vicious and the
"So much for what has been done among the children. Our work with
men and women has not been so fruitful as might well be supposed,
and yet great good has been accomplished even among the hardened,
the desperate and the miserably vile and besotted. Bad as things are
to-day--awful to see and to contemplate, shocking and disgraceful to
a Christian community--they were nearly as bad again at the time
this mission set up the standard of God and made battle in his name.
Our work began as a simple religious movement, with street
"And with what effect?" asked Mr. Dinneford.
"With good effect, in a limited number of cases, I trust. In a
degraded community like this there will always be some who had a
different childhood from that of the crowds of young heathen who
swarm its courts and alleys; some who in early life had religious
training, and in whose memories were stored up holy things from
Scripture; some who have tender and sweet recollection of a mother
and home and family prayer and service in God's temples. In the
hearts of such God's Spirit in moving could touch and quicken and
flush with reviving life these old memories, and through them bring
conviction of sin, and an intense desire to rise out of the horrible
pit into which they had fallen and the clay wherein their feet were
mired. Angels could come near to these by what of good and true was
to be found half hidden, but not erased from their book of life, and
so help in the work of their recovery and salvation.
"But, sir, beyond this class there is small hope, I fear, in
preaching and praying. The great mass of these wretched beings have
had little or no early religious instruction. There, are but few, if
any, remains of things pure and good and holy stored away since
childhood in their memories to be touched and quickened by the
Spirit of God. And so we must approach them in another and more
external way. We must begin with their physical evils, and lessen
these as fast as possible; we must remove temptation from their
doors, or get them as far as possible out of the reach of
temptation, but in this work not neglecting the religious element as
an agency, of untold power.
"Christ fed the hungry, and healed the sick, and clothed the naked,
and had no respect unto the persons of men. And we, if we would lift
up fallen humanity, must learn by his example. It is not by
preaching and prayer and revival meetings that the true Christian
philanthropist can hope to accomplish any great good among the
people here, but by doing all in his power to change their sad
external condition and raise them out of their suffering and
degradation. Without some degree of external order and obedience to
the laws of natural life, it is, I hold, next to impossible, to
plant in the mind any seeds of spiritual truth. There is no ground
there. The parable of the sower that went forth to sow illustrates
this law. Only the seed that fell on good ground brought forth
fruit. Our true work, then, among this heathen people, of whom the
churches take so little care, is first to get the ground in order
for the planting, of heavenly seed. Failing in this, our hope is
"This mission has changed its attitude since the beginning," said
"Yes. Good and earnest men wrought for years with the evil elements
around them, trusting in God's Spirit to change the hearts of the
vile and abandoned sinners among whom they preached and prayed. But
there was little preparation of the ground, and few seeds got
lodgment except in stony places, by the wayside and among thorns.
Our work now is to prepare the ground, and in this work, slowly as
it is progressing, we have great encouragement. Every year we can
mark the signs of advancement. Every year we make some head against
the enemy. Every year our hearts take courage and are refreshed by
the smell of grasses and the odor of flowers and the sight of
fruit-bearing plants in once barren and desolate places. The ground
is surely being made ready for the sower."
"I am glad to hear you speak so encouragingly," returned Mr.
Dinneford. "To me the case looked desperate--wellnigh hopeless.
Anything worse than I have witnessed here seemed impossible."
"It is only by comparisons, as I said before, that we can get at the
true measure of change and progress," answered the missionary.
"Since we have been at work in earnest to improve the external life
of this region, we have had much to encourage us. True, what we have
done has made only a small impression on the evil that exists here;
but the value of this impression lies in the fact that it shows what
can be done with larger agencies. Double our effective force, and we
can double the result. Increase it tenfold, and ten times as much
can be done."
"What is your idea of this work?" said Mr. Dinneford. "In other
words, what do you think the best practical way to purify this
"If you draw burning brands and embers close together, your fire
grows stronger; if you scatter them apart, it will go out," answered
the missionary. "Moral and physical laws correspond to each other.
Crowd bad men and women together, and they corrupt and deprave each
other. Separate them, and you limit their evil power and make more
possible for good the influence of better conditions. Let me give
you an instance: A man and his wife who had lived in a wretched way
in one of the poorest hovels in Briar street for two years, and who
had become idle and intemperate, disappeared from among us about six
months ago. None of their neighbors knew or cared much what had
become of them. They had two children. Last week, as I was passing
the corner of a street in the south-western part of the city in
which stood a row of small new houses, a neatly-dressed woman came
out of a store with a basket in her hand. I did not know her, but by
the brightening look in her face I saw that she knew me.
"'Mr. Paulding,' she said, in a pleased way, holding out her hand;
'you don't know me,' she added, seeing the doubt in my face. 'I am
"'Impossible!' I could not help exclaiming.
"'But it's true, Mr. Paulding,' she averred, a glow of pleasure on
her countenance. 'We've turned over a new leaf.'
"'So I should think from your appearance,' I replied. 'Where do you