Slike strani

as much as 18. 6d. a week perhaps. That's what the flour is wanted for-the fruit puddings, you know.

1. Then you must reckon for suet. Or do you get that with

your meat ?

Friend. That comes in with the meat. I never object to half a pound of nice white suet with the meat.

1. And I suppose that, in winter, currants and raisins would take the place of the fresh summer fruit ?

Friend. Yes, they would.

The estimate as to coal and paraffin was given with great promptitude and accuracy, as if the amount used was quite well known, only my friend struck the average of cost because of the variation in winter and summer prices.

1. Are you a teetotaller, or must we reckon something for beer?

Friend. No, I am not a teetotaller. We take beer sometimesfor supper occasionally. In summer, when it is too hot to bear a fire, and we have a cold dinner, towards the end of the week, when we are finishing up the scraps, we have beer instead of tea.

I. Then, do I understand that you take tea with dinner sometimes ?

Friend. Yes, if it is a cold dinner like that; and if the weather is too hot for us to bear the fire, then we have beer. But I don't take that cheap beer. I don't approve of it. I take that at 31d. per pint. i Put down three pints a week for beer—that is 10 d.

1. Then as to rent ?
Friend. Well, you know that-58. 6d. a week.
1. We must not forget school fees. How much are they?

Friend. They are not much: only ld. a week for each child at the Board School.

1. That makes 4d. And what about club money? I know you belong to a provident society ?

Friend. Yes ; the club money comes to a good deal. I pay 18. 6d. a week. But I pay more because I did not join till I was forty-one. A youth of eighteen who joins pays only 9d. a week and gets the all privileges that I have.

1. And what are the privileges ?

Friend. Twenty shillings a week during sickness for one year, and after that ten shillings a week as long as the illness lasts. There is a man in our Society who has had ten shillings a week for five years.

1. And I think you told me once that there were some advantages of medical attendance for your family connected with your Society, did you not ?

Friend. I did. The club doctor told me that he would attend my wife and children whenever they needed it if I paid regularly 3d. a

week for the wife and 1 d. for each child, if there were more than one who joined.

We reckoned up what this came to, and put it down. And here may I remark, by the way, how gladly the thrifty and independent working people avail themselves of anything of the nature of a provident dispensary. They do not wish to receive medical attendance quite free, as a charity, and yet they cannot afford to pay ordinary fees. They gladly pay the small regular sum weekly to ensure attendance during illness. “It is a capital plan, if the doctor is a good one,' said one working woman to me; and then, you see, it is to his interest to get you well soon.'

Then came the question of clothes. My friend knew exactly what he had spent for boots in the last six months, and from this we found 18. 8d. the average per week for that large and important item. He had also one fact very clear—that when first he came to London it had taken just 1s. 6d. a week to clothe him. He knew this because he had joined a loan society, and took three shares each of 6d. a week, and this just sufficed for his clothes. But then I was very low in clothes. I don't spend so much now, and it included boots, $0 we must deduct for those,' he said. We did so, and thus obtained 18. a week for his clothes.

My friend explained to me the plan of these loan societies, and how useful he had found them. They had been a great help to him in furnishing and getting clothes when first he came to town, and he knew a man who had made a business. in five years owing to their help.

* But is not the interest that you pay very high ? 'I asked.

Friend. Yes, it is high; but then as long as you have stock'in the Society you receive interest as well as paying it.

I. And is there no danger of the Society's failing through dishonest management ?

Friend. Well, it is the fault of those who join it if it does, because there are quarterly meetings, and every man who has a share has a voice in the management. Of course, if you can't be present, you must abide by the decision of those that can.

1. We have not put anything down yet for the clothes for your wife and children.

Friend. Yes. That is where I am at a loss; I cannot tell so well about that as my wife could.

He considered the matter a good deal, and finally made a rough guess at 2s. 6d. per week. I think myself that this was probably a little above the mark, comparing the sum with that for his own clothes. I noticed, in speaking to another working friend a woman -that she had more difficulty in reckoning what was spent on clothes than anything else, the sums being larger and paid at irregular intervals. It was evidently the expenditure on clothes that VOL. XXIII.-No. 133.


would have to be cut down if means failed. “You would have to go shabbier, that is all !' she said.

The final result of my friend's calculations is shown in the following table. The family consists of himself, his wife and five children, ope an infant in arms :


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]



Bread (10 loaves)
Flour (2 quarterns at 6d.)
Vegetables : 18 lbs. potatoes

Other vegetables
Milk (1}d. per day)
Tea (f lb.).
Cocoa (1 lb.)
Sugar (4 lbs.)
Soap (1} lbs.)
Soda, starch, blue
Paraffin (t gallon a fortnight)
Coal (1 cwt.)
Beer (3 pints at 3}d.)
Boots (for whole family)
Clothes for the man

wife and children
School fees
Provident Club
Medical attendance for wife and children

1 0
0 6
0 10
0 6
0 11
0 1
0 3
1 3


d. 10 8 0 5 19 2 2 12 0 2 12 0 0 17 4 2 12 0 3 18 0 2 5 6 2 12 0 1 6 0 2 3 4 1 6 0 0 6 6 0 4 4 0 13 0 3 5 0 2 5 6 14 6 0 4 6 8 2 12 0 5 4 0 0 17 4 4 0 2 0 13 0

[ocr errors]


5 6
1 8
1 0
2 0
0 4
1 61

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

And now, to what state of being does all this minister? What are the opportunities of my friend and his children for such higher enjoyments as make the true realities of life? First of all, though not possessing a garden of their own, only a window-sill where flowers may grow, they are within reach of that public garden lately laid out by the vestry for the use of the neighbourhood. 'I can scarcely keep my children within doors,' said my friend's wife to me one day, since that garden has been open ; they are always in it after school hours !'

For my friend on his Saturday afternoon, as well as for the wealthiest in the land, are open the British Museum with its antiquities, the South Kensington Museum with its natural history specimens, the National Gallery with its pictures, Westminster Abbey with its monuments and services. Perhaps some day, nearer his own door if Marylebone does its duty, a free library may be accessible to him and his children.

In thinking of my friend I recall his intelligence and vitality, the acquaintance with facts that makes everything regarded with

such real interest—as were the sights on the river when we all went down to Southend by steamer last year. I remember the happy faces of wife and children as I met them coming over the Regent's Park from a walk in the sunset light; the enjoyment the husband and wife had in a stroll together over the wilder part of Hampstead Heath, and when, no doubt, the blue distance, the fir trees, and the gorse may have given him a faint suggestion of his native Cumberland hills ; above all, I dwell on the recollection of the tenderness with which father and mother nursed the little baby through bronchitis, saving its life, as far as one could judge, by their unceasing watchfulness and care. As all this comes before me, I feel as if the highest blessings, simple reality, stedfast industry, the sense of usefulness, manly independence, the joy of family ties, and of the need and power to make sacrifices for these, were more likely to crown the life that has to contend with difficulties than that which is free to seek its own satisfaction; and I thank God that England counts among her children so many who know how to live simply and yet nobly on 308. a week.

MIRANDA Hill. 14 Nottingham Place, W.


The present day is essentially one in which but few of us can afford to neglect the most rigid rules of economy, and so the question of

the most of a guinea per week has a vital interest for many thousands of individuals. This is especially the case with young men who have come to London to obtain, if not their fortune, at all events their daily bread.

It is only those who have, so to speak, gone through the mill that are in a position to speak of the extent to which a guinea a week can be squeezed when necessity compels. That there are large numbers of young and middle-aged men in London absolutely dependent upon twenty-one shillings per week is a proposition which admits of no question. And the manner in which this—to many an impossible-scheme is carried into effect cannot but be interesting to readers who have neither need nor inclination for pursuing a similar course of frugality.

It is upon clerks more particularly that the principles of economy fall hard when supplemented by an imperative demand for respectability. They must present a decent appearance and possess a very fair education—the more perfect and varied the better so far as the chance of obtaining a situation is concerned, but very rarely does it command an appreciably higher rate of salary. These and many other collateral matters have scarcely any place in the calculations of a mechanic or artisan, who preferably selects the coarsest and most wearable material as clothing. Even this is protected whilst the man is at work by a rough apron. If one of the latter class buys a three-and-sixpenny felt hat he makes it last for many months for Sundays, and after that it is good enough' for a couple of years for everyday wear. With a clerk it is different; self-respect, if nothing else, would be sufficiently strong to prevent his going 'to business' in a battered hat. Very few journeymen mechanics are paid so little as a guinea per week, which is a very common salary for clerks who have long passed the junior stage. Bank clerks are of course paid at a higher rate.

But the primary object of this article is to show the possibilities of a weekly guinea, and how the two ends are made to meet upon so small a sum.

At the starting point a twelvemonth's outlay upon

« PrejšnjaNaprej »