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who can only give their time from Monday to Friday after
There are, therefore, only a very limited number of occupations open to us. Some of our boys rise to be ministers, and many become teachers here, in which case gor. ernment allows them a certain portion of their salary.”
The head-mistress in the girls' school was not less kind and ready to answer our questions. During the winter mornings, hot bread-and-milk are given out to any girl who chooses to ask for it, but only about a hundred come forward, of the very hungriest and poorest. When we came
Square a day before, we had begun to think that all poor Jews were well and warmly clad, and had time to curl their hair and to look clean and prosperous and respectable, but here, alas! comes the old story of want and sorrow and neglect. What are these brown, lean, wan little figures, in loose gowns falling from their shoulders, – black eyes, fuzzy, unkempt hair, strange bead necklaces round their throats and ear-rings in their ears? I fancied these must be the Poles and Russians ; but when I spoke to one of them, she smiled, and answered very nicely, in perfectly good English, and told me she liked writing best of all, and showed me a copy very neat, even, and legible.
Whole classes seemed busy sewing at lilac pinafores, which are, I suppose, a great national institution; others were ciphering and calling out the figures as the mistress chalked the sum upon a slate. Hebrew alphabets and sentences were hanging up upon the walls. All these little Hebrew maidens learn the language of their nation.
In the infant-school, a very fat little pouting baby, with dark
eyes, and a little hook-nose and curly locks, and a blue necklace, and funny ear-rings in her little rosy ears, came forward, grasping one of the mistresses' fingers.
“ This is a good little girl," said that lady, “who knows her alphabet in Hebrew and in English."
And the little girl looks up very solemn, as children
do, to whom everything is of vast importance, and each little incident a great new fact. The infant-schools do not make part of the Bell Lane Establishment, though they are connected with it, and the children, as they grow up, and are infants no longer, draft off into the great freeschool.
The infant-school is a light, new building close by, with arcaded play-grounds, and plenty of light and air and freshness, though it stands in this dreary, grimy region. As we come into the school-roonis we find, piled up on steps at either end, great living heaps of little infants, swaying, kicking, shouting for their dinner, beating aimlessly about with little legs and arms.
Little Jew babies are uncommonly like little Christians; just as funny, as hungry, as helpless, and happy now that the bowls of food come steaming in. One, two, three, four, five little cook-boys, in white jackets and caps and aprons, appear in a line, with trays upon their heads, like the processions out of the Arabian Nights; and as each cook-boy appears, the children cheer, and the potatoes steam hotter and hotter, and the mistresses begin to ladle them out.
Rice and brown potatoes is the manna given twice a week to these hungry little Israelites. I rather wish for the soup and pudding certain small Christians are gobbling up just about this time in another corner of London; but this is but a halfpenny-worth, while the other meal costs a penny. You may count by hundreds here, instead of by tens; and I don't think there would be so much shouting at the little cook-boys if these hungry little beaks were not eager for their food. I was introduced to one little boy here, who seemed to be very much looked up to by his companions because he had one long curl right along the top of his head. As we were busy talking to him, a number of little things sitting on the floor were busy stroking and feeling with little gentle fingers the soft edges of a
coat one of us had on, and the silk dress of a lady who was present.
The lady who takes chief charge of these 400 babies told us how the mothers as well as the children got assistance here in many ways, sometimes coming for advice, sometimes for small loans of money, which they always faithfully repay. She also showed us letters from some of the boys who have left and prospered in life. One from a youth who has lately been elected alderman in some distant colony. She took us into a class-room and gave a lesson to some twenty little creatures, while, as it seemed to me, all the 380 others were tapping at the door, and begging to be let in. It was an object-, and then a scripture-lesson, and given with the help of old familiar pictures.
There was Abraham with his beard, and Isaac and the ram, hanging up against the wall; there was Moses, and the Egyptians, and Joseph, and the sack and the brethren, somewhat out of drawing. All these old friends gave one quite a homely feeling, and seemed to hold out friendly hands to us strangers and Philistines, standing within the gates of the chosen people.
Before we came away the mistress opened a door and showed us one of the prettiest and most touching sights I have ever seen. It was the arcaded play-ground full of happy, shouting, tumbling, scrambling little creatures: little tumbled-down ones kicking and shouting on the ground, absurd toddling races going on, whole files of little things wandering up and down with their arms round one another's necks: a happy, friendly little multitude indeed: a sight good for sore eyes.
And so I suppose people of all nations and religions love and tend their little ones, and watch and yearn over them. I have seen little Catholics cared for by kind nuns with wistful tenderness, as the young ones came clinging to their black vails and playing with their chaplets ; — little High
Church maidens growing up rosy and happy amid crosses and mediæval texts, and chants, and dinners of fish, and kind and melancholy ladies in close caps and loose-cut dresses ;- little Low-Church children smiling and dropping courtesies as they see the Rev. Mr. Faith-in-grace coming up the lane with tracts in his big pockets about pious negroes, and broken vessels, and devouring worms, and I dare say pennies and sugar-plums as well.
Who has not seen and noted these things, and blessed, with a thankful, humble heart, that fatherly Providence which has sent this pure and tender religion of little children to all creeds and to all the world?
BEETHOVEN'S SIXTH SYMPHONY.
By A. WEST.
YOUNDING above the warring of the years,
Comes the well-loved refrain,
Sweeter than when beside the river's marge
The changeful waters flow,
Speaks this brave music now. Tender as sunlight upon childhood's head, Serene as moonlight upon childhood's bed,
Comes the remembered power
Of that forgotten hour.
Talked with no idle voice,
Though idling were their choice.
Nature draws near once more,
She walks within her wild, harmonious maze,
And leaves us freed from care,