Home for Homeless Women was an article written by Charles Dickens about Urania Cottage, the home for fallen women set-up by Dickens and Angela Burdett-Coutts.. It was first published in Dickens own weekly magazine Household Words on 23 April, 1853.
FIVE years and a half ago, certain ladies, grieved to think that numbers of their own sex were wandering about the streets in degradation, passing through and through the prisons all their lives, or hopelessly perishing in other ways, resolved to try the experiment on a limited scale of a Home for the reclamation and emigration of women. As it was clear to them that there could be little or no hope in this country for the greater part of those who might become the objects of their charity, they determined to receive into their Home, only those who distinctly accepted this condition: That they came there to be ultimately sent abroad, (whither, was at the discretion of the ladies); and that they also came there, to remain for such length of time as might, according to the circumstances of each individual case, be considered necessary as a term of probation, and for instruction in the means of obtaining an honest livelihood. The object of the Home was two-fold. First, to replace young women who had already lost their characters and lapsed into guilt, in a situation of hope. Secondly, to save other young women who were in danger of falling into the like condition, and give them an opportunity of flying from crime when they and it stood face to face.
The projectors of this establishment, in undertaking it, were sustained by nothing but the high object of making some unhappy women a blessing to themselves and others instead of a curse, and raising up among the solitudes of a new world some virtuous homes, much needed there, from the sorrow and ruin of the old. They had no romantic visions or extravagant expectations. They were prepared for many failures and disappointments, and to consider their enterprise rewarded, if they in time succeeded with one third or one half of the cases they received.
As the experience of this small Institution, even under the many disadvantages of a beginning, may be useful and interesting, this paper will contain an exact account of its progress and results.
It was (and is) established in a detached house with a garden. The house was never designed for any such purpose, and is only adapted to it, in being retired and not immediately overlooked. It is capable of containing thirteen inmates besides two Superintendents. Excluding from consideration ten young women now in the house, there have been received in all, since November eighteen hundred and forty seven, fifty-six inmates. They have belonged to no particular class, but have been starving needlewomen of good character, poor needle-women who have robbed their furnished lodgings, violent girls committed to prison for disturbances in ill-conducted workhouses, poor girls from Ragged Schools, destitute girls who have applied at Police offices for relief, young women from the streets: young women of the same class taken from the prisons after undergoing punishment there as disorderly characters, or for shoplifting, or for thefts from the person: domestic servants who have been seduced, and two young women held to bail for attempting suicide. No class has been favoured more than another; and misfortune and distress are a sufficient introduction. It is not usual to receive women of more than five or six-and-twenty; the average age in the fifty-six cases would probably be about twenty. In some instances there have been great personal attractions; in others, the girls have been very homely and plain. The reception has been wholly irrespective of such sources of interest. Nearly all have been extremely ignorant.
Of these fifty-six cases, seven went away by their own desire during their probation; ten were sent away for misconduct in the Home; seven ran away; three emigrated and relapsed on the passage out; thirty (of whom seven are now married) on their arrival in Australia or elsewhere, entered into good service, acquired a good character, and have done so well ever since as to establish a strong prepossession in favour of others sent out from the same quarter. It will be seen from these
figures that the failures are generally discovered in the Home itself, and that the amount of misconduct after the training and emigration, is remarkably small. And it is to be taken into consideration that many cases are admitted into the Home, of which there is, in the outset, very little hope, but which it is not deemed right to exclude from the experiment.
The Home is managed by two Superintendents. The second in order acts under the first, who has from day to day the supreme direction of the family. On the cheerfulness, quickness, good-temper, firmness, and vigilance of these ladies, and on their never bickering, the successful working of the establishment in a great degree depends. Their position is one of high trust and responsibility, and requires not only an always accumulating experience, but an accurate observation of every character about them. The ladies who established the Home, hold little confidential communication with the inmates, thinking the system better administered when it is undisturbed by individuals. A committee, composed of a few gentlemen of experience, meets once a month to audit the accounts, receive the principal Superintendent’s reports, investigate any unusual occurrence, and see all the inmates separately. None but the committee are present as they enter one by one, in order that they may be under no restraint in anything they wish to say. A complaint from any of them is exceedingly uncommon. The history of every inmate, taken down from her own mouth—usually after she has been some little time in the Home—is preserved in a book. She is shown that what she relates of herself she relates in confidence, and does not even communicate to the Superintendents. She is particularly admonished by no means to communicate her history to any of the other inmates: all of whom have in their turns received a similar admonition. And she is encouraged to tell the truth, by having it explained to her that nothing in her story but falsehood, can possibly affect her position in the Home after she has been once admitted.
The work of the Home is thus divided. They rise, both in summer and winter, at six o’clock. Morning prayers and scripture reading take place at a quarter before eight. Breakfast is had immediately afterwards. Dinner at one. Tea at six. Evening prayers are said at half-past eight. The hour of going to bed is nine. Supposing the Home to be full, ten are employed upon the household work; two in the bed-rooms; two in the general living room; two in the Superintendents’ rooms; two in the kitchen (who cook); two in the scullery; three at needle-work. Straw-plaiting has been occasionally taught besides. On washing-days, five are employed in the laundry, three of whom are taken from the needle-work, and two are told off from the household work. The nature and order of each girl’s work is changed every week, so that she may become practically acquainted with the whole routine of household duties. They take it in turns to bake the bread which is eaten in the house. In every room, every Monday morning, there is hung up, framed and glazed, the names of the girls who are in charge there for the week and who are, consequently, responsible for its neat condition and the proper execution of the work belonging to it. This is found to inspire them with a greater pride in good housewifery, and a greater sense of shame in the reverse.
The book-education is of a very plain kind, as they have generally much to learn in the commonest domestic duties, and are often singularly inexpert in acquiring them. They read and write, and cypher. School is held every morning at half-past ten (Saturday excepted) for two hours. The Superintendents are the teachers. The times for recreation are half an hour between school-time and dinner, and an hour after dinner; half an hour before tea, and an hour after tea. In the winter, these intervals are usually employed in light fancy work, the making of little presents for their friends, &c. In the fine summer weather they are passed in the garden, where they take exercise, and have their little flower-beds. In the afternoon and evening, they sit all together at needlework, and some one reads aloud. The books are carefully chosen, but are always interesting.
Saturday is devoted to an extraordinary cleaning up and polishing of the whole establishment, and to the distribution of clean clothes; every inmate arranging and preparing her own. Each girl also takes a bath on Saturday.
On Sundays they go to church in the neighbourhood, some to morning service, some to afternoon service, some to both. They are invariably accompanied by one of the Superintendents. Wearing no uniform and not being dressed alike, they attract little notice out of doors. Their attire is that of respectable plain servants. On Sunday evenings they receive religious instruction from the principal Superintendent. They also receive regular religious instruction from a clergyman on one day in. every week, and on two days in every alternate week. They are constantly employed, and always overlooked.
They are allowed to be visited under the following restrictions; if by their parents, once in a month; if by other relatives or friends, once in three months. The principal Superintendent is present at all such interviews, and hears the conversation. It is not often found that the girls and their friends have much to say to one another; any display feeling on these occasions is rare. It is generally observed that the inmates seem rather relieved than otherwise when the interviews are over.
They can write to relatives, or old teachers, or persons known to have been kind to them, once a month on application to the committee. It seldom happens that a girl who has any person in the world to correspond with, fails to take advantage of this opportunity. All letters dispatched from the Home are read and posted by the principal Superintendent. All letters received, are likewise read by the Superintendent; but she does not open them. Every such letter is opened by the girl to whom it is addressed, who reads it first, in the Superintendent’s presence. It never happens that they wish to reserve the contents; they are always anxious to impart them to her immediately. This seems to be one of their chief pleasures in receiving letters.
They make and mend their own clothes, but do not keep them. In many cases they are not for some time to be trusted with such a charge; in other cases, when temper is awakened, the possession of a shawl and bonnet would often lead to an abrupt departure which the unfortunate creature would ever afterwards regret. To distinguish between these cases and others of a more promising nature, would be to make invidious distinctions, than which nothing could be more prejudicial to the Home, as the objects of its care are invariably sensitive and jealous. For these various reasons their clothes are kept under lock and key in a wardrobe room. They have a great pride in the state of their clothes, and the neatness of their persons. Those who have no such pride on their admission, are sure to acquire it.
Formerly, when a girl accepted for admission had clothes of her own to wear, she was allowed to be admitted in them, and they were put by for her; though within the Institution she always wore the clothing it provides. It was found, however, that a girl with a hankering after old companions rather relied on these reserved clothes, and that she put them on with an air, if she went away or were dismissed. They now invariably come, therefore, in clothes belonging to the Home, and bring no other clothing with them. A suit of the commonest apparel has been provided for the next inmate who may leave during her probation, or be sent away; and it is thought that the sight of a girl departing so disgraced, will have a good effect on those who remain. Cases of dismissal or departure are becoming more rare, however, as the Home increases in experience, and no occasion for making the experiment has yet arisen.
When the Home had been opened for some time, it was resolved to adopt a modification of CAPTAIN MACCONNOCHIE’S mark system: so arranging the mark table as to render it difficult for a girl to lose marks under any one of its heads, without also losing under nearly all the others. The mark table is divided into the nine following heads. Truthfulness, Industry, Temper, Propriety of Conduct and Conversation, Temperance, Order, Punctuality, Economy, Cleanliness. The word Temperance is not used in the modern slang acceptation, but in its enlarged meaning as defined by Johnson, from the English of Spenser: ” Moderation, patience, calmness, sedateness, moderation of passion.” A separate account for every day is kept with every girl as to each of these items. If her conduct be without objection, she is marked in each column, three—excepting the truthfulness and temperance columns in which, saving under extraordinary circumstances, she is only marked two: the temptation to err in those particulars, being considered low under the circumstances of the life she leads in the Home. If she be particularly deserving under any of the other heads, she is marked the highest number—four. If her deserts be low, she is marked only one, or not marked at all. If her conduct under any head have been, during the day, particularly objectionable, she receives a bad mark (marked in red ink, to distinguish it at a glance from the others) which destroys forty good marks. The value of the good marks is six shillings and sixpence per thousand; the earnings of each girl are withheld until she emigrates, in order to form a little fund for her first subsistence on her disembarkation. The inmates are found, without an exception, to value their marks highly. A bad mark is very infrequent, and occasions great distress in the recipient and great excitement in the community. In case of dismissal or premature departure from the Home, all the previous gain in marks is forfeited. If a girl be ill through no fault of her own, she is marked, during her illness, according to her average marking. But, if she be ill through her own act (as in a recent case, where a girl set herself on fire, through carelessness and a violation of the rules of the house) she is credited with no marks until she is again in a condition to earn them. The usual earnings in a year are about equal to the average wages of the commoner class of domestic
They are usually brought to the Home by the principal Superintendent in a coach. From wheresoever they come, they generally weep on the road, and are silent and depressed. The average term of probation is about a year; longer when the girl is very slow to learn what she is taught. When the time of her emigration arrives, the same lady accompanies her on board ship. They usually go out, three or four together, with a letter of recommendation to some influential person at their destination; sometimes they are placed under the charge of a respectable family of emigrants; sometimes they act as nurses or as servants to individual ladies with children, on board. In these capacities they have given great satisfaction. Their grief at parting from the Superintendent is always strong, and frequently of a heart-rending kind. They are also exceedingly affected by their separation from the Home; usually going round and round the garden first, as if they clung to every tree and shrub in it. Nevertheless, individual attachments among them are rare, though strong affections have arisen when they have afterwards encountered in distant solitudes. Some touching circumstances have occurred, where unexpected recognitions of this kind have taken place on Sundays in lonely churches to which the various members of the little congregations have repaired from great distances. Some of the girls now married have chosen old companions thus encountered for their bridesmaids, and in their letters have described their delight very pathetically.
A considerable part of the needle-work done in the Home is necessary to its own internal neatness, and the preparation of outfits for the emigrants; especially as many of the inmates know little or nothing of such work, and have it all to learn. But, as they become more dexterous, plain work is taken in, and the proceeds are applied as a fund to defray the cost of outfits. The outfits are always of the simplest kind. Nothing is allowed to be wasted or thrown away in the Home. From the bones, and remnants of food, the girls are taught to make soup for the poor and sick. This at once extends their domestic knowledge, and preserves their sympathy for the distressed.
Some of the experiences, not already mentioned, that have been acquired in the management of the Home are curious, and perhaps deserving of consideration in prisons and other institutions. It has been observed, in taking the histories—especially of the more artful cases—that nothing is so likely to elicit the truth as a perfectly imperturbable face, and an avoidance of any leading question or expression of opinion. Give the narrator the least idea what tone will make her an object of interest, and she will take it directly. Give her none, and she will be driven on the truth, and in most cases will tell it. For similar reasons it is found desirable always to repress stock religious professions and religious phrases; to discourage shows of sentiment, and to make their lives practical and active. ” Don’t talk about it—do it! ” is the motto of the place. The inmates find everywhere about them the same kind discriminating firmness, and the same determination to have no favourite subjects, or favourite objects, of interest. Girls from Ragged Schools are not generally so impressible as reduced girls who have failed to support themselves by hard work, or as women from the streets—probably, because they have suffered less. The poorest of the Ragged School condition, who are odious to approach when first picked up, invariably affect afterwards that their friends are ” well off.” This psychological curiosity is considered inexplicable. Most of the inmates are depressed at first. At holiday times the more doubtful part of them usually become restless and uncertain; there would also appear to be, usually, a time of considerable restlessness after six or eight months. In any little difficulty, the general feeling is invariably with the establishment and never with the offender. When a girl is discharged for misconduct, she is generally in deep distress, and goes away miserably. The rest will sometimes intercede for her with tears; but it is found that firmness on this and every point, when a decision is once taken, is the most humane course as having a wholesome influence on the greatest number. For this reason, a mere threat of discharge is never on any account resorted to. Two points of management are extremely important; the first, to refer very sparingly to the past; the second, never to treat the inmates as children. They must never be allowed to suppose it possible that they can get the better of the management. Judicious commendation, when it is deserved, has a very salutary influence. It is also found that a serious and urgent entreaty to a girl, to exercise her self-restraint on some point (generally temper) oil which her mark-table shews her to be deficient, often has an excellent effect when it is accompanied with such encouragement as, “You know how changed you are since you have been here; you know we have begun to entertain great hopes of you. For God’s sake consider! Do not throw away this great chance of your life, by making yourself and everybody around you unhappy—which will oblige us to send you away—but conquer this. Now, try hard for a month, and pray let us have no fault to find with you at the end of that time.” Many will make great and successful efforts to control themselves, after such remonstrance. In all cases, the fewest and plainest words are the best. When new to the place, they are found to break and spoil through great carelessness. Patience, and the strictest attention to order and punctuality, will in most cases overcome these discouragements. Nothing else will. They are often rather disposed to quarrel among themselves, particularly in bad weather when their lives are necessarily monotonous and confined; but, on the whole, allowing for their different breeding, they perhaps quarrel less than the average of passengers in the state cabin on a voyage out to India.
As some of the inmates of the Home have to be saved and guarded from themselves more than from any other people, they can scarcely be defended by too many precautions. These precautions are not obtruded upon them, but are strictly observed. Keys are never left about. The garden gate is always kept locked; but the girls take it in turn to act as porteress, overlooked by the second superintendent. They are proud of this trust. Any inmate missing from her usual place for ten minutes would be looked after. Any suspicious circumstance would be quickly and quietly investigated. As no girl makes her own bed, no girl has the opportunity of safely hiding any secret correspondence, or anything else, in it. Each inmate has a separate bed, but there are several beds in a room. The occupants of each room are always arranged with a reference to their several characters and counteracting influences. A girl declaring that she wishes to leave, is not allowed to do so hastily, but is locked in a chamber by herself, to consider of it until next day: when, if she still persist, she is formally discharged. It has never once happened that a girl, however excited, has refused to submit to this restraint.
One of the most remarkable effects of the Home, even in many of the cases where it does not ultimately succeed, is the extraordinary change it produces in the appearance of its inmates. Putting out of the question their look of cleanliness and health (which may be regarded as a physical consequence of their treatment) a refining and humanising alteration is wrought in the expression of the features, and in the whole air of the person, which can scarcely be imagined. Teachers in Ragged Schools have made the observation in reference to young women whom they had previously known well, and for a long time. A very sagacious and observant police magistrate, visiting a girl before her emigration who had been taken from his bar, could detect no likeness in her to the girl he remembered. It is considered doubtful whether, in the majority of the worst cases, the subject would easily be known again at a year’s end, among a dozen, by an old companion. The moral influence of the Home, still applying the remark even to cases of failure, is illustrated in a no less remarkable manner. It has never had any violence done to a chair or a stool. It has never been asked to render any aid to the one lady and her assistant, who are shut up with the thirteen the year round. Bad language is so uncommon, that its utterance is an event. The committee have never heard the least approach to it, or seen anything but submission; though it has often been their task to reprove and dismiss women who have been violently agitated, and unquestionably (for the time) incensed against them. Four of the fugitives have robbed the Institution of some clothes. The rest had no reason on earth for running away in preference to asking to be dismissed, but shame in not remaining.
A specimen or two of cases of success may be interesting.
Case number twenty-seven, was a girl supposed to be of about eighteen, but who had none but supposititious knowledge of her age, and no knowledge at all of her birth-day. Both her parents had died in her infancy. She had been brought up in the establishment of that amiable victim of popular prejudice, the late Mr. Drouet, of Tooting. It did not appear that she was naturally stupid, but her intellect had been so dulled by neglect that she was in the Home many months before she could be imbued with a thorough understanding that Christmas Day was so called as the birthday of Jesus Christ. But when she acquired this piece of learning, she was amazingly proud of it. She had been apprenticed to a small artificial flower maker with three others. They were all ill-treated, and all seemed to have run away at different times: this girl last: who absconded with an old man, a hawker, who brought ” combs and things ” to the door for sale. She took what she called ” some old clothes ” of her mistress with her, and was apprehended with the old man, and they were tried together. He was acquitted; she was found guilty. Her sentence was six months’ imprisonment, and, on its expiration, she was received into the Home. She was appallingly ignorant, but most anxious to learn, and contended against her blunted faculties with a consciously slow perseverance. She showed a remarkable capacity for copying writing by the eye alone, without having the least idea of its sound, or what it meant. There seemed to be some analogy between her making letters and her making artificial flowers. She remained in the Home, bearing an excellent character, about a year. On her passage out, she made artificial flowers for the ladies on board, earned money, and was much liked. She obtained a comfortable service as soon as she landed, and is happy and respected. This girl had not a friend in the world, and had never known a natural affection, or formed a natural tie, upon the face of this earth.
Case number thirteen was a half-starved girl of eighteen whose father had died soon after her birth, and who had long eked out a miserable subsistence for herself and a sick mother by doing plain needlework. At last her mother died in a workhouse, and the needlework ” falling off bit by bit,” this girl suffered, for nine months, every extremity of dire distress. Being one night without any food or shelter from the weather, she went to the lodging of a woman who had once lived in the same house with herself and her mother, and asked to be allowed to lie down on the stairs. She was refused, and stole a shawl which she sold for a penny. A fortnight afterwards, being still in a starving and houseless state, she went back to the same woman’s, and preferred the same request. Again refused she stole a bible from her, which she sold for twopence. The theft was immediately discovered, and she was taken as she lay asleep in the casual ward of a workhouse. These facts were distinctly proved upon her trial. She was sentenced to three months imprisonment, and was then admitted into the Home. She had never been corrupted. She remained in the Home, bearing an excellent character, a little more than a year; emigrated; conducted herself uniformly well in a good situation; and is now married.
Case number forty-one was a pretty girl of a quiet and good manner, aged nineteen. She came from a watering place where she had lived with her mother until within a couple of years, when her mother married again and she was considered an incumbrance at a very bad home. She became apprenticed to a dressmaker, who, on account of her staying out beyond the prescribed hours one night when she went with some other young people to a Circus, positively refused to admit her or give her any shelter from the streets. The natural consequences of this unjustifiable behaviour followed. She came to the Home on the recommendation of a clergyman to whom she fortunately applied, when in a state of sickness and misery too deplorable to be even suggested to the reader’s imagination. She remained in the Home (with an interval of hospital treatment) upwards of a year and a half, when she was sent abroad. Her character is irreproachable, and she is industrious, happy and full of gratitude.
Case number fifty was a very homely, clumsy, ignorant girl, supposed to be about nineteen, but who again had no knowledge of her birthday. She was taken from a Ragged School; her mother had died when she was a little girl; and her father, marrying again, had turned her out of doors, though her mother-in-law had been kind to her. She had been once in prison for breaking some windows near the Mansion House, ” having nowheres as you can think of, to go to.” She had never gone wrong otherwise, and particularly wished that “to be wrote down.” She was in as dirty and unwholesome a condition, on her admission, as she could well be, but was inconsolable at the idea of losing her hair, until the fortunate suggestion was made that it would grow more luxuriantly after shaving. She then consented, with many tears, to that (in her case) indispensable operation. This deserted and unfortunate creature, after a short period of depression began to brighten, uniformly showed a very honest and truthful nature, and after remaining in the Home a year, has recently emigrated; a thoroughly good plain servant, with every susceptibility for forming a faithful and affectionate attachment to her employers.
Case number fifty-eight was a girl of nineteen, all but starved through inability to live by needlework. She had never gone wrong, was gradually brought into a good bodily condition, invariably conducted herself well, and went abroad, rescued and happy.
Case number fifty-one, was a little ragged girl of sixteen or seventeen, as she said; but of very juvenile appearance. She was put to the bar at a Police Office, with two much older women, regular vagrants, for making a disturbance at the workhouse gate on the previous night on being refused relief. She had been a professed tramp for six or seven years, knew of no relation, and had had no friends but one old woman, whose very name she did not appear to be sure of. Her father, a scaffold builder, she had ” lost ” on London Bridge when she was ten or eleven years old. There appeared little doubt that he had purposely abandoned her, but she had no suspicion of it. She had long been hop-picking in the hop season, and wandering about the country at all seasons, and was unaccustomed to shoes, and had seldom slept in a bed. She answered some searching questions without the least reserve, and not at all in her own favour. Her appearance of destitution was in perfect keeping with her story. This girl was received into the Home. Within a year, there was clinging round the principal Superintendent’s neck, on board a ship bound for Australia—in a state of grief at parting that moved the bystanders to tears—a pretty little neat modest useful girl, against whom not a moment’s complaint had been made, and who had diligently learnt everything that had been set before her.
Case number fifty-four, a good-looking young woman of two-and-twenty, was first seen in prison under remand on a charge of attempting to commit suicide. Her mother had died before she was two years old, and her father had married again; but she spoke in high and affectionate terms both of her father and her mother-in-law. She had been a travelling maid with an elderly lady, and, on her mistress going to Russia, had returned home to her father’s. She had stayed out late one night, in company with a ” commissioner” whom she had known abroad, was afraid or ashamed to go home, and so went wrong. Falling lower, and becoming poorer, she became at last acquainted with a ticket-taker at a railway station, who tired of the acquaintance. One night when he had made an appointment (as he had often done before) and, on the plea of inability to leave his duties, had put this girl in a cab, that she might be taken safely home (she seemed to have inspired him with that much enduring regard), she pulled up the window and swallowed two shillings’ worth of the essential oil of almonds which she had bought at a chemist’s an hour before. The driver happened to look round when she still had the bottle to her lips, immediately made out the whole story, and had the presence of mind to drive her straight to a hospital, where she remained a month before she was cured. She was in that state of depression in the prison, that it was a matter for grave consideration whether it would be safe to take her into the Home, where, if she were bent upon committing suicide, it would be almost impossible to prevent her. After some talk with her, however, it was decided to receive her. She proved one of the best inmates it has ever had, and remained in it seven months before she emigrated. Her father, who had never seen her since the night of her staying out late, came to see her in the Home, and confirmed these particulars. It is doubtful whether any treatment but that pursued in such an institution would have restored this girl.
Case number fourteen was an extremely pretty girl of twenty, whose mother was married to a second husband—a drunken man who ill-treated his step-daughter. She had been engaged to be married, but had been deceived, and had run away from home in shame, and had been away three years. Within that period, however, she had twice returned home; the first time for six months; the second time for a few days. She had also been in a London hospital. She had also been in the Magdalen: which institution her father-in-law, with a drunkard’s inconsistency, had induced her to leave, to attend her mother’s funeral—and then ill-treated her as before. She had been once in prison as a disorderly character, and was received from the prison into the Home. Her health was impaired and her experiences had been of a bad kind in a bad quarter of London, but she was still a girl of remarkably engaging and delicate appearance. She remained in the Home, improving rapidly, thirteen months. She was never complained of, and her general deportment was unusually quiet and modest. She emigrated , and is a good, industrious, happy wife.
This paper can scarcely be better closed than by the following pretty passage from a letter of one of the married young women.
I have again taken the liberty of writing to you to let you know how I am going on since I last wrote Home for I can never forget that name that still comes fresh to my mind, Honnoured Ladies I received your most kind letter on Tuesday the 21st of May my Mistress was kind enough to bring it over to me she told me that she also had a letter from you and that she should write Home and give you a good account of us. Honnoured Ladies I cannot describe the feelings which I felt on receiving your most kind letter, I first read my letter then I cried but it was with tears of joy, to think you was so kind to write to us Honnoured Ladies I have seen Jane and I showed my letter and she is going write Home, she is living about 36 miles from where I live and her and her husband are very happy together she has been down to our Town this week and it is the first that we have seen of her since a week after they were married. My Husband is very kind to me and we live very happy and comfortable together we have a nice garden where we grow all that we want we have sown some peas turnips and I helped to do some we have three such nice pigs and we killed one last week he was so fat that he could not see out of his eyes he used to have to sit down to eat and I have got such a nice cat—she peeps over me while I am writing this. My Husband was going out one day, and he heard that cat cry and he fetched her in she was so thin. My tow little birds are gone—one dide and the other flew away now I have got none, get down Cat do. My Husband has built a shed at the side of the house to do any thing for his self when he comes home from work of a night he tells me that I shall every 9 years come Home if we live so long please God, but I think that he is only making game of me. Honnoured Ladies I can never feel grateful enough for your kindness to me and the kind indulgences which I received at my happy Home, I often wish that I could come Home and see that happy place again once more and all my kind friends which I hope I may one day please God.
No comments or arguments shall be added to swell the length this account has already attained. Our readers will judge for themselves what some of these cases must have soon become, but for the timely interposition of the Home established by the Ladies whose charity is so discreet and so impartial.