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child/' '^zmma or the lost pound," etc. 

" One half of this world knows not how the other half Uvea.*' 


146 NaMau.Street, and 36 Park Row. 


"< I' 


152595 \ 










I FEEL it due to myself briefly to state the reasons which have 
) prompted me to engage in a task of this nature, one more befitting 
' and properly belonging to the female writers, whose feelings i 
' would naturally assimilate to, and cause them to sympathize with ' 
• the sufferings of the female operatives of this city. 
' I suggested the idea to one or two much libtter fitted for the 
) dut^ than myself, but no action was taken by them. I then de- 
j termined to assume the respimsible task myself ; and commence 1 
j at once the prosecution of inquiries, to the end that I might prc- 
) sent nothing but facts. I approached the task with diffidence, for 
S I felt that I was out of my proper sphere : but the motives which 
/ have prompted me, must prove my apology for that. 
} The perusal of a small volume, entitled " The Wrongs of Wo- 
J men," by Charlotte Elizabeth, in which the wrongs and sufferings 


the laboring class of her countrywomen are vividly depicted, left / 
( so deep and abiding an impression upon my mind, that my own ) 
attention and interest were fully awakened to the consideration 
of the subject. I observed, however, that her characters were 
j drawn exclusivelv from that class to whom toil and nardship seem 


to be a birthright heritage, — from those who, having enjoyed but 

few of the comforts of life, were in comparative ignorance of the 

, extent of their own privations. ' 

J In subsequent reflections, I could not fail to acknowledge that '. 
( the wrongs and sufferings so faithfully illustrated in the writings } 
( of Charlotte Elizabeth belonged not alone to female operatives of / 
( the English nation; but report, inquiry, and close observation have ; 
j alike borne testimony^ that even in our own midst the same ) 
grievances existed. Americans, however, have, alas ! their portion ( 
in the wrongs and oppressions too often heaped upon the class of ( 
female operatives ; and I did hope that some one of our female 
writers, whose talents and experience so well qualified them for 
the task, would bring, these wrongs before the public in some / 
more tangible shape than had yet been done. 

«In the pages which follow, there is no single line which cannot 
be su]»stantiated by abundant proof of its truth. Indeed, I fear 
that the friends of the operatives will accuse me of not telling 
enough ; for in no ccue have I assumed the lowest rate of wages 
paid, but invariably that which may be termed the fairest prices. 
I have perhaps committed an error in weaving a story with such 
a -subject : . but I felt well assured that a dry detail of facts, how- 
ever welUauthenticated, would be, if read at all, forgotten too soon 
for any advantage to accrue by exciting public sympathy to those 
whose advantage I had in view ; and I thought it proper therefore 
to endeavor to excite an interest in the characters portrayed, 
which I hoped might leave some permanent impression. 

I repeat, there is nothing of imagination in this volume. The ( 
family of Elliotts did reside in this city, but not under that name. ) 
) Sufferings such as I have detailed were their portion ; and there ^ 

; „_x^„ ^ 

is not a single street in this great metropolis which cannot famish 
a parallel case. 

{ In the introduction of the frauds perpetrated in one branch of 

i mnnufacture extensively carried on in this citj, Ckip making^ I 

( have obtained mj statements from one who suffered all the impo- 

) sitions detailed bj the girl whom I have called Miss Edwards, and ) 

\ much more and worse might also be related to the same effect. / 

I My sole object has been, to show to the public the utter inade- : 

I quacy of the compensation paid for female labor, taking into con- ( 

[ sideration the nature of the work, and the time consumed: and \ 
1 K 

\ my hope is, that some means may be devised whereby the condi- 

} tion of some thousands of female operatives in this city may be j 
\ ameliorated It is idle to say it cannot be done. If public sym- I 
) pathy is excited in their behalf, it will be done; and if the ladies of 
) New York, ever foremost in ©very good work, will but step forward, | 
r with their usual promptness and energy, I cannot doubt that suc- 
) cess would crown each effort. 

V I have in my possession facts establishing the most outrageous 
( frauds and impositions practiced upon the seamstresses ; but 
( although truth is stranger than fiction, I have declined to use them i 
j at present, for the very fear that they are too monstrous to obtain 
«' credence. If this part of the task I have thus taken on myself 
( shall meet with public approbation, I shall shortly ask attention 
I through another volume, to the condition of another class of ope- 
* ratives — those who are compelled to work in shops where from 

thirty to two hundred are daily assembled. I shall show the 
^' frauds and impositions practiced upon them, the temptations to ^ 

which they are hourly exposed, and the inevitable consequences ', 
\ of such associations. To that end, I shall gladly receive any well ( 



W'^^ ^^^^^^^M^^^^^^^^^^^^^^B^^^ 

» ™ ^ ^ — BP -^F- ^ ™ 

( «a1jieii(icatod statemeBts with reference to this branch of the snb- 

ject, and will thankfnllj avail mjself of any information which 
will enable me to present each facU as shall exhibit the evils I 
hope to see corrected, in their tnte aspects. The motives which 
have prompted me to present this volume, must prove the apolo- 

' gists for the defects in manner and matter, which are too palpable 
to be passed over. It has not been written for the sake of writing, 
but with the simple wish, that through the statements it contains, 
public attention maj be aroused to the true condition of the 
seamstresses of New York ; and some measures promptly adopted, 
as well to secure (to them) something like an adequate compensa- 
tion for their toil, as to guard and protect them from the frauds 

\ and impositions daily practiced on them, and to which female ope- 
ratives are always liable. 

^ Thx Axtthob. 





In an upper room of a small, but neatly furnished 
two story house, in one of the many streets which cross 
Broadway, in the city of New- York, a mother and two 
daughters are grouped about the sick couch of the hus- 
band and father. The white quilt thrown over him, 
is scarce more white than the thin, attenuated hands 
which are moving in quick and restless action upon it. 
The snowy pillow lends a marked contrast to the ghastly, 
sallow lineaments of the sufferer, whose frame is ever 
and anon convulsed with agony, in the efibrt to draw the 
fast-expiring breath. The eyes are fixed and glassy, 
lacking all expression, save that of terrible anguish. 
The lips, white and covered with froth, which the care- 
ful hand of the weeping wife wipes tenderly away, are 
colorless, and ever and anon contracted with terrible 
\ The husband and father — ^the kindest and best of 
\ both — ^is on his death-bed, and the wife, who has for 


fBF ^"^ '^ ■««w^*«^ ««*«*^^«*M* ^^» I \_i ~ \\m ~ i ~ — — III — — — i ~ i I — — — r~iL~*_ i '«^"i^*^^^^^^^ ■ ^^\w0k ^***^ B^ 


four and twenty years shared in his joys and sorrows — 
the wife, who has never known a change in her feelings ; 
or affections, from the hour in which, at the altar of God, 
she plighted her maiden vows, to the hour in which she 
stands by his dying couch — is by the side of the beloved 
husband, watching the glimmering of the lamp of life, 
as it flickers in its socket. 

The daughters, too, who have grown up under his 
tender care, who have ever been faithful, dutiful, af- 
fectionate children — the daughtersE, whose career from 
infancy to girlhood, from joyous girlhood to matured 
youth, he has watched, with jealous, affectionate care — 
are beside him, longing for one parting word, one look 
of kind remembrance, one single last farewell : but in 
vain. The eyes can no more return the affectionate 
glances which were wont to cheer him on his return J 
from his daily toil. The tongue, which never gave ut- 
terance to aught save words of love and kindness, can 

. no more respond to the greetings of heartfelt welcome, 
which ever awaited his return to his cheerful home. ) 

; All is hushed, and in a few moments the angel of 
death will have sounded that summons which all must 

A faint motion of the lips, a quivering of the whole 
frame, one long, deep-drawn breath — ^the last expiring 

I effort of nature in its struggle with the fell tyrant — and | 
the dust has returned to the dust whence it sprang — 

. the soul has returned to the great Being who gave it 

birth. s 

I Mrs. Elliott was a widow ; Clara and Laura Elliott \ 



were fatherless ; and oh ! how much do those two words 
reveal of misery, of agony, of wretchedness ! How 
much of awful solemnity is crowded into those two 
words — ^the widow and the fatherless ! 

Mrs. Elliott did not sob, nor shriek, nor swoon, as the 
event was not sudden nor unexpected ; fer her husband 
had laid upon that bed of sickness for many weary 
weeks, suffering more than fiills to the oommon lot of 
humanity, from a painful disease, but bearing his pains 
and anguish with resignation and fortitude, for he wa» 
upheld by a strength greater than his own, and by a 
grace which is never refused to those who seek it in sin- 
cerity and with faith. 

Clara and Laura, who possessed less firmness dian 
their mother, though they too had looked forward to 
the sad bereavement with trembling fearfulness, could 
scarcely realize that the worst had now befallen them, 
and their grief was manifested in tears of bitterness, 
and sobs, which they could not repress. Mrs. Elliott 
carefully drew the sheet over the cold and stiffened 
form of him she had loved so well, and sun^moning her 
daughters, left the chamber of death. 

The news was soon made known to the neighboi^ 
many of whom came in with tenders of their assistaaee ; 
if required, while others came to offer sympathy in their 
^ bereavement, and both were gratefully accepted; for 
when the heart is bowed down with grief, it readily re- 
ceives, and truly appreciates sympathy from feeling 
hearts, and willingly suffers itself to be lightened of a 
part of its dreary load. 

BK — 




In a few hours the hody was encased in its last habili- 
ments of death, the snowy shroud, and the narrow cof- 
fin, that common receptacle of humanity, held him in its 
cold embrace. 

On the second day after the death of Mr. Elliott, the 
1 house was thronged with friends, assembled to pay the 
last tribute of respect to the remains of one who had 
ever been eminently worthy of all respect and esteem 
while he was among and with them. The solemn tones 
of the pious minister of God, impressively urging upon 
his hearers the necessity of preparing themselves for a 
summons from the same inexorable tyrant, fell upon the 
ears of many who vowed inwardly that the lesson should 
not be lost upon them — upon some, who forgot it ere the 
sounds of his voice had died away — and upon the ears 
of others who had their lamps trimmed and filled with 
oil, awaiting the coming of the bridegroom, ready at any 
moment to go forth and enter with him into the marriage 

A long line of friends follows the body to its last 
resting-place; the earth receives the earth, and the 
crowd separate, each to return to his respective af- 
fairs, and to forget in a few hours the solemn scene in 
which he has performed a part. 

Mrs. Elliott and her daughters returned to their sad- 
dened home, and none accompanied them thither : for 
all felt that their grief was too holy and pure to be in- 
truded on by offers of comfort or words of consolation at 
such a time. Time alone could heal the wound which 
{ the arrow of death had left rankling in their bosoms, and 



time alone, at once the destroyer and the silent com- 
. forter, could restore to theiji the peace and serenity of 
which they had been robbed. And while they are 
j mourning in the sadness of their hearts, let me briefly 
I narrate some of the most material circumstances con- 
nected with their history, necessary to a proper appre- 
ciation of their characters and feelings. 

Mr. Elliott was a mechanic, who had married, almost 
as soon as he was out of his time, a girl whose prospects 
were not more brilliant or more cheering than his own. 
He was industrious, economical and temperate . Possess- 
ing a warm heart and an aflectionate disposition, he was 
well calculated for domestic happiness, and in the partner 
whom he had chosen to share his lot with him, he had 
found all he dared to look or hope for. 

Mrs. Elliott was the daughter of a worthy man, the 
only child, and she had been educated as well as his 
means would allow, but with the double purpose of mak- 
ing her useful to herself, in case occasion should require, 
as well as ornamental in society ; and she was as truly 
happy in the love of the honest, hard-working youth 
who sought her hand, as she could have been in the 
glitter and vain show of wealth, with all its heartlessness 
and pride. 

He prospered in his affairs, and sought no higher 
happiness than was to be found in the society of his 
beloved wife and beautiful children, Clara and Laura. 
A few years after his marriage, husband and wife were 
brought to the knowledge and love of God, and became 
hoping, trusting members of the church of Christ, and 




acting upon consistent principles, they sought early to 
instil the same glorious truths into the hearts of their 
children, which had ever brought peace and happiness 
to their home and hearts. 

Their lives were marked by no event of more than 
ordinary occurrence. Mr. Elliott prospered, and secured 
friends by his honest and prompt mode of dealing, while 
his wife and daughters grew into the hearts of all who 
were admitted to their friendship. 

Having by frugality and economy amassed a little 
money, he had invested it in the house in which he re- 
sided, leaving, however, nearly one half its value upon 
mortgage with the former owner, from whom he had 
purchased it. At the time he was taken sick, he was 
in treaty with the original owner, to exchange the house 
and lot for a snlall farm in a neighboring county, but 
his long-continued illness, and subsequent death, pre- 
vented him from completing an arrangement which he 
had long cherished at heart ; for he disliked much the 
idea of having any incumbrance on his property, and 
had purposed to procure the farm free from all indebt- 
edness. { 

An examination of his affairs, which took place soon ! 
after his death, showed that, although he was entirely 
free from indebtedness to any person, except some very 
triviar amounts, he had left nothing in the shape of pro- 
perty, except the house in which his family resided, and 
which, as I have said, was mortgaged for nearly, if not 
more than the half of its value, and the te|*m for which 
the mortgage was given had nearly expired. 


Mrs. Elliott consulted with a friend, in whom she 
placed implicit confidence, and acting under his advice, 
made efibrts to dispose of the house, nothing doubting 
that the surplus, after paying off the mortgage, would, 
if properly invested, enable her, by industry and fru- 
gality, to maintain her family in comfortable circum- 

The situation in which she was placed, rendered a 
sale absolutely necessary ; and much to her chagrin 
and disappointment, the property was disposed of at 
what might be almost termed a sacrifice, as not more 
than one hundred dollars were lefl for the widow, after 
the incumbrance upon the house had been paid off, and 
all the necessary expenses of selling, etc., defrayed. 

Smaller apartments were immediately hired, and into 
them she soon afterward removed, with her two daugh- 
ters, intending, as many others were compelled to do, 
to support themselves by their industry, not doubting 
that with their needles, they could earn a comfortable 
subsistence. Clara had learned* the trade of a dress- 
maker, and Laura had so often worked at tailors' work 
for her father, that she felt confident she would be able, 
ill a very short time, to earn a fair livelihood, while 
Mrs. Elliott was destined to the charge of their domes- 
tic arrangements, and to do all she could to assist the 
I They could not, of course, maintain the same position 
( in society which had been accorded to them during the 
^ lifetime of their father ; but they did not complain, for \ 
5 they were too to grieve at the loss of thf ir summer *, 






friends, who could rejoice with them only in their pros- 
perity, but who deserted and forsook them at the first 
cold breath of adversity ; and as they had never been 
educated or taught to rely for pleasure, much less for 
happiness, solely on the society of others, the loss of it 
caused them but trifling inconvenience, and they lived 
cheerfully and contentedly by themselves, and for them- 
selves alone, looking for true happiness only in the com- 
forts of a religious life, and placing their sole confidence 
and trust in the Great Power who ruleth the destinies 
of the earth — of its great and rich, as well as its poor 
and needy. 

— ' • •© 




In an elegantly furnished parlor, in (Mie of the &shion- 
a'ble squares in the upper part of the city, a lady, who 
has passed the age which is termed, by courtesy, uncer. 
tain, and on w^ose brow and cheek time had left traces ! 
which no art could entirely conceal — ^though art had 
! been called in to replace all that age had taken away of 
youth and beauty — ^is seated upon a soft velvet couch, 
! languidly giving directions to a servant, who is arrang- I 
ing a great variety of ornaments about the room for a 
large party to be held that evening. I 

Two young ladies, her daughters, are lounging each 
upon a sofa, watching the motions of the harassed ser- 
vant, and ever and anon turning to hear, and comment / 
with flippancy upon the directions which issue from the 
lips of their mother. The three are attired in loose 
morning dresses, and haye evidently passed the greater 
part of the morning hours in arranging them, so as to J 
\ present the appearance of being perfectly careless, but ) 
\ at the same time as becoming as possible. ! 

\ " There, John, that will do," said the elderly lady, as \ 
'. John moved for the twentieth time a magnificent cande- j 
i labra, which had been purchased for the occasion. ^ 


" Has Mr. Watson sent home that set of China I en- | 
gaged yesterday?" | 

"Yes, ma'am." 

" And the cut glass ?" 

"Yes, ma'am." 

" Very well, you may go now, and see if the articles 
ordered from the confectioner's have come home," and 
the obedient John withdrew, leaving the mother and 
daughters alone. 

" Mother," suddenly exclaimed the youngest of the 
young ladies, as if aroused by some sudden thought, 
and starting from her recumbent posture, "have you 
sent a card to Mr. Robertson ?" 

" Mr. Robertson ! Why certainly not. Nobody 
knows who Mr. Robertson is. We met him, it is true, 
at Doctor B * * * 's, the other night, but I am inclined 
to think he was only asked there because the doctor was 
a great friend of his father when he was in South Caro- 
lina, and could not well avoid asking him." 

" I am sure, mother," replied the young lady, who 

evidently was bent upon having Mr. Robertson among 

the guests of the evening, " I am sure I heard Doctor 

B * * * say he was a young man of excellent family, 

possessing brilliant talents, and that his acquaintance 

would be an acquisition in any circle. Besides, I am ] 

: sure he was very attentive to us, and I found him I 

} very interesting." j 

j " He may do for Doctor B * * * 's circle, but not for ( 

ours, Euphemia ; so make yourself easy," replied the ^ 

t mother, imperiously. " He is not a match for either of 






my girls, and I want no fortune-hunters running to my 
house. So consider that acquaintance as at an end.^' 

" Mother," chimed in Maria, the elder daughter, "I 
am quite sure you do Mr. Robertson injustice. He is 
not a fortune-hunter. Indeed, I do not think he has 
ever dreamed of a wife ; for he is just commencing his 
profession, and has barely means to support himself." 
\ " Well, well, I don't want to hear any more of Mr. 
j Robertson. He has not received a card, and will not 
I from me, and I doubt not we can manage to get on 
S without him for one evening." 

A very slight pout was perceptible upon the pretty 
lips of the pretty daughters, whose wishes were thus 
J firmly overruled, but they knew it was useless to con- 
tend with their mother upon such a point, and wisely 
forbore making any further allusion to Mr. Robertson. 
I Mr. Robertson, who appeared to have so much inter- 
( ested the young ladies, was a young gentleman of very 
( brilliant talents, as Doctor B * * * had said, who had 
moved to New- York to pursue the study of the law. 
His father had been immensely wealthy, but unfortunate 
speculations ruined him, and at his death, Charles was 
left with a slender income, barely sufficient for his sup- 
port ; but possessing a strong mind, he did not give way 
to useless repinings at the loss of his wealth, and having 
determined to carve out a fortune for himself, in the 
pursuit of some honorable profession, he had selected 
the law as most suited to his temperament and talents. 
Doctor B * * *, at whose house the ladies had met him, 
was an intimate acquaintance of his father's, and he soon 


learned to love the saa, not only for the father's sake, but ( 
for the very many excellent qualities which he was not ( 
long in discovering that he possessed. Of him it is un- { 
necessary to say more at present. i 

The ladies, whose brief conversation the reader has ( 
overheard, deserve a more particular notice. i 

Mr. Simmons had commenced life (so far as is known t 
to history,) as an errand boy in a lawyer's office, but his 
activity attracted the attention of one of his master's 
clients, a wholesale merchant, who had taken him into 
his employ for his board and clothing, until he could earn 
more, promising to advance him as his conduct should 
deserve. The advancement, however, did him little good, 
for his conduct in his new situation became so displeas- 
ing to his employer, that he was compelled to turn him 
adrift ; and he was, after wandering about for several 
weeks, almost in a state of starvation, picked up by a 
poor but charitable tailor, who taught him his trade. 

Of his parents he knew nothing, but it is charitable to 
presume they were very worthy and respectable peo- 
ple. He had not the most indistinct recollection of 
them, and therefore any allusion to them could not 
cause him any pain, nor was he in any danger of having 
their faults or vices — if they had any — ^thrown in his 
teeth, as he had no recollection at all of them. 
j He managed to stay with his kind master until he had ? 
( learned his trade sufficiently well to set up for himself; > 
and just when he was beginning to be useful to the man ^ ' 
who, through motives of charity, had given him food and 
shelter, he left him, to carve out a fortune for himself. 


At the age of twenty-three, he fell in with a pretty 

seamstress, who worked for the same shop as himself, 

and after a very short acquaintance, they were made 

man and wife. Her parents (she had the advantage of 

! Mr. Simmons, in knowing her parents,) had managed to 

! make a livelihood, the father as a shoemaker, and the 

|. i mother lending her assistance in the support of the 

domestic establishment, by keeping a stand in one of the 

i markets, for the sale of fruit, vegetables and flowers. 

Ellen, their only child, had none of the advantages of 

I education, but she had a strong, masculine mind, and 

I made up in boldness what she lacked in information. 

j Soon after the marriage of the happy couple, the parents I 

j of the young wife set her up in a small fancy store in 

I Division-street, while a room over the store served at 

I once for a parlor for the family, and a workshop for Mr. 
, Simmons, who contrived to get a good share of custom. 
{• "Great oaks from little acorns grow," and so it 
-proved with Mr. and Mrs. Simmons. In due process 
of time, Mr. Simmons opened a shop 'for himself, and 
<JVfrs. Simmons gave up the fancy store, to lend him a 
helping hand, and to take care of the two daughters, ; 
I IVfaria and Euphemia, who had blessed their union. 
I The small shop became in time a large one ; then it 
\ I was moved into a more fashionable street, and finally, 
I \ it was abandoned entirely, Mr. Simmons having gone 

iinto the wholesale clothing business, and Mrs. Simmons, 
whose parents by this time had died, having cut all her 
old associates, had set up for a fine lady, and suffered 
no available opportunity to pass without impressing j 




upon the minds of her daughters, now growing rapidly ( 
into womanhood, the necessity of forgetting, as much as ( 
they possibly could, by-gone times, and treating with \ 
contempt all who were poorer than themselves. ', 

They were sent to the most fashionable schools, and \ ■ 
Mrs. Simmons, who had sense enough to be fully eon- ( 
scions of her own ignorance, improved herself by taking , 
private lessons from a lady, whose poverty compelled j 
her to humble herself before this haughty, purse-proud i 
woman. . 

Mr. Simmons, at the time of his introduction to the | 
reader, has amassed a handsome fortune, lives in splen- 
did style, in one of the most fashionable squares in the 
city, moves in the best circles, gives magnificent enter- 
tainments, and no one inquires who he was or whence 
he sprang, while the same convenient neglect is extend- 
ed to Mrs. Simmons, to whom the position of a fashion- 
able woman is readily conceded, by those not more 
wealthy than herself. 

The daughters, Maria and Euphemia, are handsome, 
dashing, fashionable girls — ^too fashionable entirely, to 
I be of the least possible service to themselves, or to any 
human being, and too highly accomplished, to be ac- 
/ quainted with any useful branch of general education. 
They are both marriageable, and both anxious to be 
well settled, but both think too highly of birth and ) 
fashion, to unite themselves to any but one moving in 
the same rank of society with themselves. It is hardly ) 
necessary to say, that they are heartless, and that there i 
is not the most remote danger of either marrying beneath ( 



them for love, at least so long as fortune continues to 
shower her favors upon them. 

The reader must not deem that I have been too severe 
in exhibiting this family in their true aspects. They 
are seen now in all the pomp and pride of wealth and 
station, and accredited birth; and they will be seen 
again, moving in another, and, perhaps, more appro- 
> priate sphere. 

Mr. Simmons was the original owner of the house in 
which Mr. Elliott had resided, he having purchased it 
from him ; and he it was who had repurchased it, at a 
price barely covering his own mortgage, congratulating 
himself upon having made so excellent a bargain, but 
never for a moment casting a thought upon the widow 
and her orphan daughters, who were so suddenly re- 
duced from comparative comfort to a bare subsistence, 
through his instrumentality. 

During the lifetime of Mr. Elliott, he had always, 
when they met, treated him with respect ; for even he 
could not deny that Mr. Elliott was worthy of it ; but 
he knew of no consideration which called upon him to 
extend the same civility to the poor widow and her x 
daughters, who, in days of old,, he had so often noticed ( 
as "beautiful and truly interesting girls." Death had \ 
severed all connection with them, and they were entirely 
forgotten by him, except when he chanced to pass the 
house they had formerly owned, but which, having re- 
verted to himself, was now let to another family, pro- 
ducing him a handsome investment for his money. 







Mrs. Elliott and her daughters were comfortal 
situated, in small but neatly furnished apartments, 
one of the streets' on the eastern side of the city. Th 
felt the necessity of practicing the strictest economy, a 
had accordingly disposed of all their furniture, exa 
such as was necessary for the rooms they had tak( 
The money realized from this, though small in amou 

j added to the trifle left oVer from the sale of the house, v 
sufficient tQ keep them for a short time, until some defin 
plan could be laid out for the future, or until the gi 
could secure employment of some kind ; for they w< 
fully aware that they must now rely entirely upon th 
own industry. 

In a short time, the violence of their grief for 1 

I death of the husband and father, wore away ; a 

^ though they never ceased to mourn him, they nei 
permitted their sorrow for the dead so far to overcoi 
them, as to neglect the ordinary and necessary dut 
and responsibilities of life. 

Mrs. Elliott was the first to urge the necessity of th 
seeking work, and Laura was dispatched to the who 

) sale clothing establishment of Mr. Simmons, in Pea 


Street, to procure such work as she could do j and pro- 
vision was made for Clara, by having a small tin sign 
fastened on the front door, signifying that "dress- 
making" was performed within. 

Laura was received by Mr. Simmons with a coldness 
and haughtiness, which rendered her painfully sensible 
of the difference in their situations — for he had ever, 
during her father's lifetime, treated her with marked 
courtesy and kindness. On preferring her request, 
•that he would furnish her with work, he replied, very 
coldly : 

" I never trouble myself with that part of the business. 
My foreman, there, will give it out, if he has any. Mr. 
Jones," he added, turning to the individual alluded to as 
his foreman, " if you have anything ready, you may give 
it to this young woman," and he immediately moved 
away, to attend upon some customers who entered the 
store at that moment. * 

Laura turned to the foreman, a sleek, fashionably- 
dressed young man, highly perfumed, and wearing a , 
formidable pair of well-curled whiskers, which seemed | 
to be the object of his especial care and attention. 

He eyed her with a look, which she wished not to in- 
terpret into impertinence, for a few moments, and then 
asked, in very mild tones, if she had any choice of work. 

" None whatever ; anything he chose to give out, she 
would make up," was the reply, coldly but civilly given. | 

Calling a boy, who was in another part of the store, \ 
he whispered some directions to him, which he proceed- ! 
ed to obey, and meanwhile he essayed to open a conver- | 


\ sation with Laura. She was, however, obstinately 
j silent, replying only in monosyllables; so he set her 
j down for a fool, and thrusting a bundle at her, which the ) 
\ boy had brought to him, he said, as he handed her a little | 
^ book : ^ 

" Here is a book to keep your accounts. We pay off 
every fortnight, deducting always for bad work." 

Laura took the huge bundle with a heavy heart, but 
she gladly made her escape from a place where she was 
so rudely treated, and hurried homeward, determined, 
however, to say nothing of the vexations and imperti- 
nences to which she had been subjected, as she knew it 
would only cause pain to her mother and sister. 

When she reached home, she opened the bundle, 
which she found to contain six pair of coarse satinet 
pantaloons. She had not the most remote idea how 
much she was to receive for making them, but very 
foolishly considered that the remuneration would bear 
something like a proportion to the amount of work to be 
performed, and the time it would consume. Convinced 
in her own mind of this, she commenced her work with 
a cheerfulness which was worthy of imitation when her 
situation was considered. 

As for Clara, her prospects looked really encouraging. 
Her sign was scarcely dry, before she was waited upon 
by a couple of dashy, showy girls, who wished her to 
make up some dresses for them at their own residence ; 
and they left the street and number, on receiving Clara's 
promise to be punctual in her attendance on the follow- 
ing day. . 

— ® 



! Having partaken of an early breakfast, she started off, 
with a light and happy heart — ^as- light and happy, at 
least, as her recent loss would permit— (for she felt a 
pride in the thought, that she ipight be able to support 
herself )^and rejoicing in the good fortune which had 

j befallen her, in thus procuring work, at the first onset of 
her career. When she reached the house, she rang the 
bell, and the summons was answered by one of her visit- 
ors of the previous day, who conducted her into a back 
room, where her companion was seated. The material 
of which the dress was to be made up was brought out, 
and after Clara had been called on to admire and praise 
its beauty, the work was commenced, and the time passed \ 

on very pleasantly until the shades of night drew on, when 
she started for home, promising to return the following 
day, and finish the dress she had been making, and an- 
other one, also, which they wished to have made up. 

When the family were seated around the frugal table 
set for their evening meal, and after the blessing of God 
had been invoked upon it, the conversation naturally 
verged toward the occurrences of the day. Laura 
glossed over her share of the proceedings, as well, per- 
haps, to hide her own mortification at the manner of her 
reception by Mr. Simmons, from whom she had expected, 
at least, civility, as to avoid narrating that which she 
knew would cause her mother and sister unhappiness. 

Clara, however, was all life and happiness. " Six 
shillings to-day, mother, and six more to-morrow, is a 
pretty good beginning. Don't you think it is, Laura ?" 

Laura assented, and sighed as she wondered if she had 
& — 


made the same amount. She knew she had earned it, 

but whether she would receive that much, was something J 

yet to be ascertained. j 

"Six shillings a day, makes thirty-six shillings a J 

; week — four dollars and a half — and four dollars and a ( 
half for you, Laura, make nine dollars a week ; and if <; 
we can continue at that rate, dear mother here need not ^ 

) do anything but tend the house." 


" Ah, Clara, you build very pretty castles, but I am 
i afraid you do not make very good calculations," said 
her mother, rather seriously. " You have not made al- 
lowances for the days you must be without work — nor 
for sickness, which you know we are all liable to suffer 
— ^nor for the carelessness, to call it by no harsher word, 
of those who forget to pay the trifle which you must earn 
by such hard labor." 

" Ah ! but, mother," said Clara, smiling, " I don't mean 
to sew for any but those who pay promptly. I should 
like to get Miss Simmons' dresses to make. It would 
be a good thing for me to get such custom as that ; it 
would make me known, and then I should never want 

" But, my daughter, do you look forward ever to 

a life of toil ?" inquired Mrs. Elliott, with earnest- 

" Mother," said Clara, seriously, " what else do I dare 

look for ? We are poor, and must work ; and though, I 

confess, it is not pleasant to look forward to a life spent 

in toil, day after day, with nothing to cheer or comfort 

one, it is better to meet even that with cheerfulness, and 



make the most of it, than to sigh and pine over our mis- 
I fortunes ; for I am sure, crying or pining won't better 
our situation." 

" That is very true, my dear, and I am glad to see 
I you resigned to your fate — for fate, I fear, I must now 
\ call it, as I certainly look for no change for the better, 
I unless, indeed, some worthy man should marry one of 
my girls, and perhaps, for the daughter's sake, he would 
give the mother a shelter." 

"Oh, mother, dear mother," exclaimed both of her 
daughters at once, " we will never leave nor forsake 
you. You will always have the first place in our 
hearts, and we hope always to be worthy of the same in 
your own." 

" Who on earth," said Laura, gaily, " would marry a 
poor girl now-a-days ? Marry, indeed ! I hope, mother, 
you will live to see us both married ; you will reach a 
ripe old age, I promise you," and she broke into a 
merry laugh. j 

" Come, come, Laura," said Clara, " there's many a 
true word spoken in jest, so let us drop marriage, and 
talk of something more interesting, certainly more im- 
portant. I had made out just now a clear income of 
nearly five hundred dollars, when you interrupted me. 
I am sure we can live in comfort on that." 

" Yes ; but, Clara, you are counting my work the 
same as your own. I have no idea what I am to receive 
^ for these pantaloons," said Laura. 

" Receive ! why a dollar a pair, at least. They are 
{ coarse common stuff*, and I don't suppose they are worth i 






much more than a dollar a pair for making, and you 
know we cannot expect to get the full value for them. 
I have no doubt you will gel a dollar a pair, and you can 
make, let me see, how many pairs a week V* 

" I don't know ; it is rather heavy work, and I can tell 
better when these are done ; and when I carry them 
home, we can make our calculations with more accu- 
racy, for 1 shall then know how much I shall be paid. 
You know Mr. Simmons only pays every fortnight, at 
least so the foreman told me." 

" For my part,'' said Clara, " as soon as I have finished 
the dresses for these ladies, I mean to try and let the 
Misses Simmons know that I take in dress-making. 
Who knows but they may give me work, for father's 
sake, and if I can once get the custom of their friends, 
I may consider myself made." 

Laura said nothing, but she thought to herself, that 
if the daughters resembled the father, Clara's chances 
of sympathy or work, for the sake of their dear father, 
were very slender. She did not wish to discourage or 
dishearten her, however, so she kept her thoughts to 
herself, and merely nodded assent. 

Early on the following morning, Clara repaired to the 
house where she had passed the previous day, and she 
sewed so steadily and rapidly, that by night she had 
completed all the work they had for her, and had earned 
her twelve shillings. 

As she was putting on her hat and shawl to return 
home, one of the girls said to her : 

" You need not wait for the money now ; father will 




not be home until late, and we will send it to you in the 

Clara would much have preferred to receive the 
money at once, as she had made great calculations on 
being able to exhibit her first earnings to her mother 
! and sister; but seeing no way to avoid the delay, she 
thanked them, and left for home. 

It was past her usual hour, and the tea-table had 
been kept for her; for they could not think of sitting t 
down without her. As she entered the room, her ( 
mother saw, from the expression of her countenance, 
that something was wrong, and could not forbear ask- 
ing her what had occurred. 

'* Why, mother, to tell you the truth," said Clara, 
" I was grievously disappointed this evening, in not re- 
ceiving my money. I had anticipated so much plea- 
sure in presenting to you my first earnings, that the 
disappointment affected me more seriously than so 
trifling an occurrence ought to have done." 

" Ah ! my dear," replied Mrs. Elliott, shaking her 
head sadly, " this, I fear, is but the first of our trials. 
I have no doubt you will eventually receive your 
money, but those who employ are too apt, in the re- 
membrance of their own comforts, to forget the neces- 
sities of those who are compelled to toil for them." 
" Well, well, Clara," said Laura, encouragingly, 
I " don't be disheartened. A bad beginning, you know, 
/ sometimes makes a very good end ; and if you should 
get work from the Misses Simmons, you will, at least, 
be sure of your pay when it is done. 


^.' v-' "S . 



" Come, come, girls," exclaimed Mrs. Elliott, anxious 
to dispel the clouds cast over them, "don't think of 
this ; it is too trifling an occurrence to affect us so 
much. Let us confide in God, and all will yet be well. 
Laura here has been at work, steadily, since you left i 
the house, and has only finished one pair of the panta- j 
loons. I fear she will have to sew much faster, if she \ 
hopes to earn her own living, or Mr. Simmons will ( 
have to .pay a larger price than we anticipate." J 

A few words more of encouragement from the af- 
fectionate mother, and the disappointments of the day 
were forgotten. 

After tea, Laura resumed her work, while Clara 
seated herself, and penned *a very polite note to the 
Misses Simmons, informing them that she had com- 
menced dress-making, and would thankfully receive 
any work they might have for her, either at her house 
or their own. This she took herself, and delivered it 
to the servant at the door, returning home full of the 
most pleasing anticipations — so full, indeed, that she \ 
actually forgot for the moment the twelve shillings 
which she had earned with such hard labor, and which 
she had not yet received. 

Laura continued at her work until all the family had 
retired to rest, notwithstanding the remonstrances of her 
mother and sister ; for she was determined to earn her j 
share of the week's income, and she felt the necessity } 
of completing, if possible, the whole six pair of panta- 
loons during the week, although it was now Wednesday 
evening. To accomplish this, she must work early and 




commencing her day's toil at early dawn, and 
Qg only when nature, almost exhausted, demanded 
36 in sleep. 




The party given by Mrs. Simmons was all tha 
anticipated. Her rooms were crowded almost to s 
cation, and at every step she was stopped by some 
friend, who insisted upon assuring her how very a; 
able they found everything, and how magnificent 
all the arrangements. 

Misses Euphemia and Maria were, of course. 
magnets of the evening, and their superabur 
vanity was flattered to a surfeit, by the immodi 
amount of attention paid to them, and the thousand 
tering speeches poured into their willing ears. 

In the course of the evening, some one of the gi 
during a casual conversation, mentioned that an < 
was then in progress, on the part of some philan 
pists, for the amelioration of the condition of the 
This was a subject upon which Mr. Simmons wa 
culiarly at home, as he was well known for the e: 
of his donations to very many charitable institutions 
due acknowledgment of which always appeared m* 
ly in one of the city papers, most widely circulate 

" There is," said Mr. Simmons, " entirely too r 
\ said about the poor, and an improper sympathy ij 


cited in behalf of a very large class, who not only do 
not thank us for it, but who do not deserve the half of 

" And yet/' said the gentleman who started the con- 
versation, ** I have seen a vast deal of suffering among 
those who are least thought of among our citizens, I mean 
the seamstresses. Now, I have seen a mother and daugh- 
ter working at tailoYs' work from daylight until mid- 
night, to earn three or four shillings a day, and that 
was to feed five mouths, and clothe five human bodies, 
) besides paying for house-rent and fire, and other neces- 

" Yes," replied Mr. Simmons, elevating himself with 
conscious pride, and speaking in tones louder than com- 
mon, ** that may be the case with some establishments, 
but in mine I always pay such prices as insures to 
honest industry a fair reward," and he looked around 
the room, as if to say, who dared to doubt him. 

" I am glad to hear it," was the response, " for there 
are some who scruple not to oppress and beat down the 
poor girls who are compelled to work for them, until 
they are only preserved from actual starvation by ef- 
forts which neither you nor I could think we could 
make, under any possible circumstances." 

As Mr. Simmons had made this assertion before a 
large number of people, it is but fair to infer that he 
thought it true, and I have only narrated this brief con- 
versation — for much more of a similar nature occur- 
red — to show how erroneous are the ideas entertained 
on the part of some of the condition of this class of our 


population. Let us see how the facts stand ; and for 
that purpose let us return to Laura Elliott. 

The week has closed, and a weary week it has been 
to her — ^a week of ceaseless, arduous toil ; for she has 
endeavored, if possible, to work so as to earn as much 
as her sister. By devoting to her work many of the 
hours which exhausted nature demanded for repose, 
she has managed to finish in five days four pair of the 
pantaloons, out of the six which had been given out. 

Tying them up in a bundle, and taking her shop- 
book with her, she proceeded, on Saturday, just before 
dusk, to Mr. Simmons' warehouse, where she met a 
great number of females, assembled for the same pur- 
pose as herself, viz., to return their work. The sight 
of so many pale and anxious countenances affected her 
deeply, and she wondered within herself what could 
cause such a general appearance of melancholy upon 
the countenances of all, young and old, alike. She 
saw there, the mother of a large family, thin, pale, and 
' apparently ill able to sustain the large bundle she was 
i holding, patiently awaiting her turn to have the fore- 
) man set down the amount due to her in the shop-book. 
I She saw the young girl, too, who had scarce reached 
J the morn of youth, and whose days ought to have been 
{ passed in cheerful serenity, careworn, sad, and almost 
} exhausted. In vain she looked around for one happy, 
smiling face : not one was there to greet her eye, and 
she turned away from the spirit-broken group with a 
sinking heart. 

One by one they wero attended to, and at length her 



turn came. Trembling with anxiety, to learn how 
much she had earned, she placed her bundle on the 
coimter, and handed the book to the scented fop who 
stood behind it, and she watched him with fearful 
eagerness, as he examined her work. It appeared to 
satisfy him, for, laying it aside, he took the pen, which 
was placed behind his ear, half-buried in his flowing, 
well-oiled locks, and making an entry in her book, 
handed it to her, without saying a word, and extending 
his hand for the next one in turn. 

Laura did not look at the entry which had been made 
in the book, in the store, but hurried home, and before 
taking oflT any of her things, she went to the light, and 
opening the book with trembling eagerness, read it. 
The entry stood thus : 

Four pairs coarse pant's, 81,25 

The book fell from her hands, and she burst into an 
agony of tears. Five days and nights of ceaseless toil 
for the miserable pittance of ten shillings ! She could 
not, she would not believe it, and when she had some- 
what recovered from the feelings into which the read- 
ing of the entry had at first thrown her, she took up the 
book again, with the thought it might possibly mean 
that it was ten shillings per pair. That idea she soon 
abandoned, however, as preposterous, and another burst / 
of tears aflTorded some relief to her overcharged heart. 

" Ten shillings for five days and nights of such 
work as I have done!" she inwardly exclaimed. "Oh 
man, thou guardian and protector of our sex, how 
faithfully do ye fulfil your trust !" } 



Th6 entrance of her mother and sister at that moment, 
interrupted her train of thought, and with a bitter smile, 
she handed to them the book. 

" Good Heaven !*' exclaimed Mrs. Elliott; " why we 
shall starve at that rate.'* 

" Well, mother,'* said Laura, despondingly, " and 
who is there to care if we do ? We are now only poor 
seamstresses, and so long as we can work — so long as 
we have health and strength to use a needle, I dare say 
we can get employment sufficient to buy dry bread, and 
that is good enough for us." 

Clara's heart was too full for words. Deeply did 
she sympathize with her sister, for she had herself that 
day received a severe check to her happy anticipations. 
After going day after day for the twelve shillings she 
had earned, she was at last told, and in no very gentle 
terms, that her dunning was impertinent, and if it was 
repeated, she might look for her money where she could 
find it ; it would be sent to her when it was convenient 
for them to pay it, and she need give herself no further 

" Now," said Laura, with bitterness, after Clara had 
related her disappointment, " if it had been a man who 
had treated you in that manner, I would not have wonder- 
ed ; but I must confess I did expect more sympathy from 
our own sex. However, we are poor, and must bear it, 
and so make the best of it ; and now, what shall we do ? I 
cannot, at this rate, make, at4;he most, more than fifteen 
shillings a week, and to do that, I must work day and 
night, and my health would soon break under it. Let 




me see/^ she added, " that, at the rate I have worked — 
fourteen hours each day — is two and a quarter cents an 

" You must finfeh, Laura," said her mother, " the 
remaining two pairs of pantaloons, and when you take 
them back, ask the foreman for lighter work. It is 
very evident, your health cannot long stand such toil. 
Even if you make no more money by the change than 
. you can now, the labor may not be so severe ; and 
1 you, Clara, I fear your dress-making does not promise 
very auspicious results. However, it will not do to be 
discouraged so soon. You may fall in with honest peo- 
ple, who will not feel insulted if a poor girl should ask 
for her hard-earned money." 

" Give up ! no indeed," said Clara, rallying, and es- 
saying to be gay. " I hope yet to see my name in 
) very large letters on some large house in Broadway — 
' Madame Elliotte, from Paris.' You know it would not 
do to be Miss Elliott, so I put Madame, and then I con- 
vert myself into a French woman, by the simple addi- 
tion of the letter e. Nothing is easier." 

" Yes, very easy to fancy, my dear ; and although 
it is practiced every day, I feel that you will never 
reach that point. However, I wish you success, and a 
full realization of your anticipations." 

At this moment the family were startled by a rap at 

the door, which, on being opened, admitted a servant 

; of Mr. Simmons, who brought a message for Miss El- 

i liott to come to the house on Monday morning, to assist 


a dress-maker for the week, as they were going to have 
some dresses made up for a summer's jaunt. 

Clara could scarcely restrain her joy as the servant 
delivered his message, and as soon as he was out of 
sight and hearing, she danced about the room, in the 
exuberance of her joy. 

" There, mother, my fortune, and yours, too, is made. 
I have felt all along, if I could only get work from the 
Misses Simmons, it would make me known in such a 
set, that I must succeed. Oh, how truly thankful I 
am. Dear Laura, why don't you give up such kind 
of work, and learn dress-making ? I will teach you ; 
you can make a great deal more, and the work is not 
so hard." 

" Thank you, dear," said Laura, sadly. " My taste 
is not so good as yours, and I fear I never could be a 
good dress-maker. I will try and procure lighter 
work, and I may do T)etter at that." 

Clara was thrown into such a joyous state by the 
message from the Misses Simmons, that she forgot her 
twelve shillings, and all the hard feelings the disap- 
pointment had occasioned ; and she strove so hard to in- 
spire her mother and sister with cheerfulness, that she 
succeeded at length, and the remainder of the evening 
was passed in joyful anticipations of the future. 

The next day, the sabbath, as was their invariable i 
custom, they went to the house of God, and unlike very 
many females, they went in season. They had no new 
hats or dresses to exhibit ; and even had they been so 
fortunate as to possess such cherished and attractive 


) articles, it is due to them to say, they never would have 
chosen such a place for their exhibition. They were 
in their places early, and not a little were they shocked, 

to find that a very great portion of the female part of 
the congregration — those who were seated at the great- 
j est distance from the preacher, and who, in conse- 
quence, had the greatest distance to walk in the face 
of those already assembled — did not reach the sacred 
temple until the services were well commenced. They 
very charitably inferred that some domestic calamity 
had detained them so late, and never in their hearts for 
a moment attributed it to the love of display, at the 
sacrifice even of propriety. 

The services of the day were listened to by Mrs. 
Elliott and her daughters with attention, and the ad- v 
monitions of the preacher received with respect, while 
in the fervor and devotion with which they joined in 
the prayers, they derived a cheerfulness of spirit, and 
serenity of mind, which they knew and felt it was vain 
to look for elsewhere than from religion. 

The day was passed by them as Christians should 
pass it, and at night they retired to their humble 

couches, with hearts at peace with God and man, and | 
with their hope, trust and confidence more firmly fixed ' 
on, and more trustfully placed in, the Great Disposer 
• of events. 




Early on Monday morning, Clara proceeded to the 
splendid ipansion of Mr. Simmons, and was at once set 
at work by a fashionable dress-maker, whom she found 
already there, and who had succeeded in gaining that 
stand, and the custom of a certain fashionable set, which 
was the present height of Clara's ambition. It is true, J 
the Misses Simmons paid no more attention to her, than if 
she had not been in the room, except to give, occasion- 
ally, in very positive tones, directions respecting the 
work, and to interrupt her very frequently, by requir- 
ing her to show them the particular mode of doing cer- 
tain things. 

Their conversation was particularly directed to the 
dress-maker, who seemed to know a little of everything, 
and everybody's business; and Clara heard there the 
history of several families, of whom she had before 
known, painted in colors by no means flattering, if half 
I told of them was true ; and she was innocent enough to 
j suppose that they would not have ventured to use such 
( language in reference to them, unless the remarks were 
I true. 



Poor Laura, who was dreadfully disheartened, re- 
sumed her cheerless work, endeavoring to console her- 
self with the reflection, that the next work she would 
procure should be more easy, and she trusted, more 1 
profitable. By working with great assiduity, she com- I 
pleted the remaining two pairs of pantaloons so as to \ 
; carry them to the store on Tuesday, toward the close J 
of the day ; and after they had been examined, and the \ 
entry made in the book, she ventured to ask, if he could 
not give her work which was not so heavy, as she found 
her health and strength unequal to her present task. 

The foreman stared at her for an instant, with much 
the same look as Bumble, the beadle, gave to Oliver 
Twist, when he dared to ask for more, and was on the 
point of making some impudent reply, when he checked 
himself, and with a smile, which he intended to be fas- 
cinating, said : 

" Why, yes, I will try. Can you make vests ?" 

"Oh yes, sir," replied Laura, with something of 
eagerness in her manner, for she had made them for 
her father in bygone years — " Oh yes, sir ; and T should 
prefer them much to sueh heavy work as those panta- ; 

" Well, I will give you half-a-dozen v^sts. We pay 
two shillings and sixpence for them — ^the same as the 

Again Laura's heart sank within her. However, 
she had asked for the vests, and must take them ; so 
she received in silence the bundle which he handed 
her, saying, at the same time : ) 


" We are very much hurried now, and I wish you to 
I finish them as speedily as possible." i 

J Laura promised to do her best, and started home- ) 
! ward, with depressed spirits, for she feared that, with all i 
( her industry, she could not earn more than she would i 
;. have done by continuing upon the coarse pantaloons, ( 
{ nor at the expense of less time or labor, although the ^ 
work would not be so heavy, nor would it tax her health { 
and strength so much as sewing on the pantaloons. ' 

On her way home she met a young girl, whose face 
was familiar to her, carrying a bundle also, and she 
accosted her, asking if they had not met before. 

The girl replied that her name was Edwards, and 
reminded Laura that she had lived a near neighbor to 
her before the death of Mr. Elliott. i 

Laura remembered her then, as a girl who w^s employ- ' 
ed sewing on caps, and she had often felt her pity excited 
when she passed the house where she resided, as she ob- 
served her always seated near the window at work. 

Misery loves company, and Laura, hoping to derive ) 
some information from her which might prove of ser- ' 
vice to herself, invited her to call upon them some ! 
evening, giving her at the same time her own ad- j 
dress. j 

" I will come," replied Miss Edwards, " if you will ) 
let me bring my work with me, for I cannot waste an } 
hour for myself or my friends." 

" Certainly," replied Laura, and a tear started to J 
her eyes, as she reflected upon the similarity of their ) 
situations ; for she too dared not to waste an hour for ) 



aD3rthmg, no matter how pleasant or attractive it might 

When she reached her home, Laura threw her bun- \ 
die on the bed, and gave way to a hearty burst of tears, 
( which was perhaps excusable when it is considered that 
her health already began to decline under the effects of 
her dreadful overtasking, and that she was more than 
usually excitable and nervous. 

" What is the nu^tter, Laura ?" inquired her mother, 
who having been out in search of work, entered the room 
at that moment, and found Laura in tears. "You must 
not give way to these fits of despondency ; it is unwor- 
thy of you as a Christian." 

" I know it, mother," sobbed Laura, " but I cannot 
/ look at the dreary prospect before me with a smile. I see 
» nothing but a life of gloomy wretchedness— days and 
' nights of ceaseless, ill-requited toil, which must affect my 
/ health ; and for i^hat ? — why, perhaps, for two or three 
/ shillings each day — just enough to keep starvation from 
I the door. Dear mother, is it not enough to make me sad ?" 
I " True, my dear child ; but you know that cheerful- 
! ness takes away half the tedium of labor. Remember 
i the Bible teaches us that whatever we have to do, we 
- should perform with zeal and diligence, and also with 
a cheerful disposition. It is wrong to give way to these 
gloomy forebodings : * Sufficient unto the day, is the evil 

" Well, mother, I will try and be more cheerful, if it 
is only for your sake," and Laura wiped her eyes, until 
they were red and swollen. 




" See here, Laura,'* said her mother, untying her 
bundle ; " look at the work I have procured, and see ) 
if I too have no cause to grieve. See, here are two / 
dozen shirts, coarse it is true, but what do you suppose j 
I am to receive for making them ?" 

Laura looked at the shirts, and made a calculation in 
her mind how long it would take to make one. After a 
brief pause, she replied : 

" I suppose about three shillingsk— or no, say two and 

Mrs. Elliott smiled, but it was a smile full of bitter- 
ness, as she replied : 

" Ten cents ! Laura." * 

" Good Heaven ! mother, you cannot be in earnest ? 
Ten cents for making a shirt! Oh, surely, you are 

" Daughter, I wisn it were so. Ten cents each I am 
to receive for making these shirts ; and judge now if you 
have much greater cause to complain than myself, and 
yet you see I do not weep, or take on, as you did just 



" Forgive me, mother, I will never murmur again ; 
but oh ! what hearts must they have to expect such work 
from poor weak females for such a miserable sum. Can 
they have hearts or feelings ?" 

" Dear Laura, I went to a dozen places before I could 
get any at all, and nearly every one I asked, paid only 
eight cents. The man who let me have these, prides 
himself upon paying the highest prices, and delights to 





hear it said that the females in his employ cannot com- ! 
plain of him on that score." 
I " And how many can you make in a day ?" asked 

" I liave never made this kind of shirts, but as they 
are coarse, I suppose I can make two at first, and when 
I am more accustomed to them, perhaps three a day." 
" Thirty cents a day !" sighed Laura ; " and suppose 
any of us is taken sick — and I am sure we cannot stand 
I this work long, and keep our health — what can we do ?" 
I "Again, Laura, I must remind you that 'sufficient 
unto the day is the evil thereof,' " was the reply of the 
Christian mother. "You think we are badly off, my 
dear ; but when the time comes, and it may to us, as well 
I as others, that we can obtain no work at all, you will 
grieve to think that you have murmured or complained 
' because of our present situation. You remember Mrs. 
Hammond — do you not, my dear ? Her husband died, 
I and left her with three little children, perfectly desti- 

" Yes, I remember her perfectly well," was the reply, 
j " Well, as I was returning home with my bundle, I 
j met her, but she looked so pale and haggard, ^nd was 
( so altered, I never should have recognized her. She 
! remembered me, however, and spoke to me. She told 
' me she had been out of all work for nearly three months ! 
i Occasionally she had managed to get some shirts to make, 
j at five cents each !" 

J " Oh, mother, ^ve cents !" interrupted Laura, depre- 
j catingly. 


" Yes, my child, five cents, and she was glad to get 
them at that, to keep actual starvation away from her- j 
self and her little ones. It seems that many of those I 
who manufacture, or rather sell shirts, and the like, 
have a great stock made up during the winter season 
by girls in the country, farmers' daughters, who having/ 
no particular duties to perform at that season, willingly 
make up these coarse shirts for four and five cents a 
\ piece ; and thus those who are compelled to make them 
\ for a living, must work as cheaply, or get no work at 
\ all. She told me that for the past week, she had lived j 
on potatoes alone, which she had procured from the j 
Aims-House, cooking them with chips, which she was j 
allowed to pick up around the carpenters' shops and 
ship-yards. One of her children has been sick for some 
weeks, and is actually pining away for want of the com- 
mon necessaries of life. 

" She has a little room at the farthest extremity of a dark 
alley, and the only furniture she owns in the world, is 
( an old kettle, in which she cooks her potatoes. Every- 
thing else, even to her clothing, she has been obliged to 
part with, to keep starvation away yet a little longer; 
and her bed for herself and children is made of a few 
old garments, which she could not sell ; her pillow, a 
stick of wood ! And this woman has seen better days, 
' as well as ourselves. Oh, my daughter, you must not 
give way so readily to these fits of despondency." 

" Well, mother, I will not complain any more ; but 
it is very plain, that if we intend to live by our needles, 
we must think of nothing else. Thank Heaven, there 




is one day of rest, and live or die," added Laura, with 
energy, " I will neverdesecrate that. But it is a sad thing 
to contemplate : Here we must remain — ever confined 
— ever at work— denied all social intercourse — forbid- 
den even the necessary enjoyment and relaxation of ex- 
ercise — shut out from the world, with nothing to look for 
in the future but a life of dreary toil, or a death in the 
Aims-House. I wonder," she added, suddenly, as if a 
new thought had struck her, "if the employers know how | 
hard we do work ? I almost feel that if they did, they 
would do something for us. It seems to me they would 
pay something like a fair compensation, if they could 
but realize the time and labor consumed in earning the 
miserable pittance they now pay. What would they 
think, were they compelled, as we are, to work for two, 
! or at the very utmost, three cents, an hour, and from 
twelve to sixteen hours each day ? I toiU think they do 
not properly estimate our work, or they would mete to 
us, at least, the semblance of justice." 

" Hush, hush, Laura," said her mother ; " when you 
are older, and have seen a few more of the ways of men, 
and the world, you will be wiser than to indulge in such 
foolish ideas. Come, we must go to work, and be thank- 
ful that we can earn a subsistence at all. The em- 
ployers, you may rest assured, will never voluntarily 
take any steps to amend our condition, from the fear 
that it would operate against their profits." 

Mother and daughter commenced their tasks. At first, 
they chatted in tones of cheerfulness, but gradually they 
ceased, and their work was carried on in silence, inter- 






rupted only by the occasional rustling of the garments 
through which they plied their needles. 

Clara did not return from the Misses Simmons until 
after eight o'clock, and then all work was laid aside, to 
prepare their frugal evening meaL ^ 

" Well, Clara," said Laura to her sister, as they were 
laying the table, "I hope all your anticipations have 
been realized at Mr. Simmons's." 

" Laura," said Clara, pausing in her work, "I ^ould 
rather be Clara Elliott, the poor dress-maker, than to be 
Miss Simmons, with all her wealth, and all her pride s 
and heartlessness." 

" Oh, I expected as much," was the reply. " But 
how do you like the idea of working for them, and do 
you still think their custom will be of such service as 
you expected ?" 

" As to that, I cannot yet say, for they have paid no 
more attention to me than if I had been a cat or a dog; 
and I have heard things to-day, which I want to forget 
as soon as possible. I am thankful for their work, and 
shall be thankful for my money, when I receive it ; so 
let us say no more at present of the Misses Sim- 



After the evening meal was concluded, Mrs. Elliott 
exhibited to Clara the work she had obtained, and stated 
the price she was to receive for it; but she neither 
manifested nor expressed any surprise. 

" I am sure, mother, that is quite enough for a coarse 
shirt ; for how can the employers make money if they 
pay more ? No, no, ten cents is a good price. But if — 






no, I won't say what I was going to : it was wicked. 
Come, let me help you, mother, or you Laura." 
< " No, dear ; you have been at work all day, and need 
I rest." 

( c( 'yyell, and have you not toiled all day, too, I should 
j like to know, and who has a better right to help you 
I than I have? So, give me some work — ^I can't bear to 
be idle." 

^* God forgive me for murmuring," said Laura, as she 
looked at her sister. " I was wicked to-day, Clara, and \ 
cried myself almost sick ; but I will never do so again. 
I will follow your example, and make the best of it." 

" How much do you get for making those vests, 

" Two shillings and sixpence." 
" Well, I suppose that is enough for them," said Clara, 
in the same sarcastic tone in which she had spoken of 
the shirts. " Mr. Simmons, I dare say, tells everybody 
he gives a dollar apiece for making them, and everybody 
believes him. Oh, he is a noble, generous man ! I won- 
der what his daughters would say, if they should ever 
come down to making shirts at ten cents, pantaloons at 
two shillings and sixpence, and vests at the same exor- 
bitant price ? Such a thing may happen." 

" Hush, hush, Clara," said her mother; "you speak 
as if you almost wished it." 

" Well, and so I do, and may God forgive me for it. 
When I see wealth united to such pride, haughtiness and 
heartlessness, I think it but just that they should sufier 
some. If the wealthy only knew one half the sufferingB 



of those who toil to make them rich, and had any hearts, 
! do you suppose they could not amend our condition? 
J They are the only ones who can do it." 
f "How, my dear," asked Mrs. Elliott, "could they 
improve our condition?" 

" By placing the addition to the price of the article, 
instead of deducting it from the earnings of the toil-worn 
seamstress. Dou you suppose there is a man living, 
possessing the ordinary feelings of our nature, who would 
not cheerfully pay a shilling or two more, if it was re. 
quired, for a shirt, or vest, or any other garment, if he 
knew the money he paid went to remunerate the poor 
seamstress, who is compelled to subsist — for I don't call 
it living — on two or three shillings a day, at the very 
utmost — and even that miserable pittance earned by the 
most unceasing drudgery ?" 

" That is very good theory, Clara ; but most employ- 
ers prefer to undersell their neighbors, even though in 
order to do it, they must make up the difference to them- 
selves from the hard-earned wages of the seamstress. 
No, no, my dear, you must change human nature first, 
and then you may hope to see justice done to those situat- 
ed like ourselves." 

" But surely, mother, it does not require that man's 
nature should be changed, in order that we should re- 
ceive justice at his hands ? It is my firm belief, that 
many of those who employ seamstresses, are utterly ig- 
norant of the extent of their labors, ard the inadequacy 
of the compensation ; and perhaps they are fixed in the 
belief, that they have no cause for complaint, for the 



pie reason, that they do not complain. But I will 
harbor so poor an opinion of human nature yet." 
^ Well, my dear, you will learn ere long, I fear, that 
I must entertain such opinions. But come, let us drop 
I subject. It only renders us unhappy and discon- 



On the evening of Wednesday in the same week, 5 
Miss Edwards, the young girl who had been met in the \ 
street and recognised by Laura, paid her promised 
visit ; and, as she had said, brought her work with her, 
in order that she might lose no time. 

"I suppose," said Laura, as their visitor entered 
their humbly furnished room, " I need make no apology 
for the appearance of our room. All of our time is ; 
occupied with our work, and had we any to spare, I 
see no prospect at present of our earning sufficient to 
procure any thing further than the common necessaries 
of life. 

" Truly, you need make none," said Miss Edwards. 
" I have been compelled to toil with my needle for my I 
subsistence for years, and the most unceasing efforts on { 
my part, have not enabled me to lay by a single dollar | 
for emergencies. I am, as I must needs be, content to ( 
subsist, not live, and I never, if I can possibly avoid it, ( 
suffer myself to anticipate consequences, or to look to i 
the future." ! 

"You have one advantage over us," said Clara. 1 




" You have learned your lessons, bitter though they 
; may have been — ours are yet to come. I fear we have 
j hard tasks before us." 

j " I have no desire, I assure you, to discourage you, ( 
j or say any thing to dishearten you, but you have 
J indeed much that is unpleasant yet to learn — if, as Miss 
I Laura has said, you rely upon your industry entirely 
i for your living. Mine has been a bitter experience, 
I dearly bought, although it profits me but little." 

" Come, come, Louisa," said Mrs. Elliott, " let us have 
\ the benefit of your experience. It may serve us much 
j hereafter : and though it is prying into your confidence, 
1 perhaps the necessity which urges us to ask it, may ] 
i prove a suflScient apology for the liberty." 

" I will very cheerfully do so, and not think it any j 
liberty in asking," was the reply. " Mine, however, is 
an every-day story, but there are few who will believe 
! it to be so; and few I fear who can be found to believe 
it true ; and very few are there who pass me in the 
streets, as I go to and from my house to the shop for \ 
which I work, who would believe that I toil fourteen 
hours every day for less than three shillings. Ay, and 
I have worked more hours for less money, and have 
hfsen cheated out of that at last." 

" Do, that's a good girl," said Clara, whose interest 
began to be awakened ; " do tell us all about yourself. 
I have oflen noticed you in your window, sewing away 
so steadily and so cheerfully, I have set you down as 
a wonderfully industrious girl." 

" You are not wrong there," said Louisa, laughing, j 




" But I make a virtue out of necessity— or rather ne- 
cessity impels me to the practice of industry — without 
it, I should starve. But, to gratify you, I will, if you ; 
wish to hear it, give you the benefit of all my experi- 
ence, and at the risk of discouraging you, will tell you 
all I have suffered and the impositions practiced on 
me. I suppose, though, you don't care for hearing of j 
my earlier days ; for they can interest no person but 

" You are much mistaken there," said Mrs. Elliott ; 
" we should much like to hear all you choose to relate. 
We may, from even your experience, derive lessons 
which may prove useful to us." 

"It will recall many painful occurrences to me," re- 
plied Miss Edwards ; " but I have no right to check 
them, as the narration of them may serve a-s a warning 
to you, and may save you from being defrauded, as I 
have been." 

" It is hardly necessary, and would only tire you, to 
relate any thing concerning my girlish days ; I will, 
therefore, commence at the period when my father 

You may not remember my father," she continued, 
but he was an old friend of Mr. Elliott, and their 
friendship continued firm and unchanged for many 
years. Soon after the death of my poor dear mother, 
it seemed as if every thing went wrong with father. 
First, he lost his situation in the shop where he had 
worked ever since he was out of his time, and then his > 
health began to fail, and in less than a year from the ) 



time my mother was laid in her grave, he was laid by 
her side, and I was lefl alone in the world. I was then 
only fourteen years old, and not very well calculated, 
I assure you, to take care of mysel^^for I had been 
rather too much petted to be very useful. However, 

I Providence threw me in the way of a kind friend, who 
was too poor to be of any service to me, except by her 
advice and example, both of which were founded on 
purely Christian principles, and both of which she freely 
bestowed upon me. She was a seamstress, and worked 
on the clothing made up in what are termed slop shops ; 

! but I won't discourage you by telling now what she 
earned, and how hard she worked. 

" Of course, I had to do something for my own sup- 
port, and as she left it to me to make a selection 
of a trade, I chose cap making, as I thought it would 
be the easiest for me ; and one day having observed an 
advertisement in one of the penny papers of a man who 
wanted thirty or forty hands to learn the trade of cap 
making, I thought it would be a good chance for me, 
for a man who employed so many hands must do a large 
business, and would ensure steady work, especially to 
those who learned the trade with him. 

" I went down town, as directed by the advertise- 
ment, and, on entering the shop, found about twenty or 

I thirty girls, of all ages, waiting for the same purpose 

I which had brought me there. The proprietor of the 
establishment was a little keen-eyed man, very Jewish 

, in his appearance, but wonderfully polite te every one. 

{ He made verv few objections to any of the girls, but re- J 


quired all of them to walk up-stairs, wiiere the fore- 
wcHnan would instruct them. There were several 

among them who had worked at the business in other 
establishments, but none of these suited him, as he said 
he had plenty who knew the business, and wished only 

I those who desired to learn the trade. I was, of course, 
accepted, and was, with the rest sent up-stairs to com- 
mence at (Mice. 

" I found myself in a large room, around which were 
placed a great number of wooden chairs, nearly all of 
which were occupied, and having taken off my things, I 
prepared to take my first lesson in cap making. The 
forewoman was a hard-featured old maid, cross and sour 
as vinegar, but admirably suited for the government of 
so great a number of mischievous girls. I was not 
suffered to remain idle very long, as she soon placed 
some work in my hands, and gave me such directions, 
I could not well make any mistakes. Every few ; 
minutes she would go around the room, looking over the 
girls as they worked, and finding fault with almost 
every thing. I got along uncommonly well, however, 
and only had one scolding the whole day. 

" I found the work easy, and was pleased that I had j 

. chosen to learn this trade in preference to any other, for I ^ 
was a very fast sewer, and felt sure that, once acquainted 
with the business, I could earn as much as any one in the 
shop, besides that I had heard of several girls who could i 
make as much as three dollars a week at it, and that, > 

j you know, is large wages for a sewing girl. i 

y "It was not expected, of course, that we should be ^ 

k~^^^^ -™ — ^ :-.. ~^«l 




paid any thing for our labor until we had learned the 
trade, so I worked on very cheerfully and industriously, 
and in about a month I had mastered every branoh of 
it, so far as carried on by the establishment, and con- 
gratulated myself that I should not much longer be a 
burthen to my kind hearted friend, for she had given 
me food and shelter, such as she had herself, from mo- 
tives of the purest benevolence. 

" Yoli may guess of the amount of work done in that 
time by us, when I inform you that there were sixty- 
three girls at work, each one of whom made from three 
to ten caps per day ; so that in the month it required to 
learn the trade, Mr. B * * *, for that was the name of 

\ the proprietor, had an immense stock of caps of all 
kinds made up, and well made too, for every cap not 
made to suit the fof^oman, had to be made over again. | 

. "Just about the time I was beginning to think we 
knew the trade well enough to be paid something for 

1_ TIJ"- T» >k * 9k ..^ 0«_A 1 A ' 


more work at present — ^that he was satisfied with all of 
us, and when business commenced again he would give 
us the preference, and send for us. He was very sorry 
that it was so, but he could not help it. 

" This was a stunning blow to alKof us, for we had 
expected to be steadily employed for the remainder of 
the season, as we had worked so diligently and faith 
fully to learn the trade. 

" But there was no use of complaining. We had 
gone to his establishment to learn the trade, and nothing 

our work, Mr. B * * * came up one Saturday aflernoon, 
and in his blandest tones informed us that he had no 


! more. We had learned it, and that was something ; so 
with heavy hearts, we put on our things and started for 
our homes. 

" In a day or two afterwards I saw an advertisement 
similar to the one which had taken me to Mr. B * * *'s, 
and I thought I would go down and see if I could not 
get work. I went down ; and, on telling my business, 
the man behind the counter asked my name and resi- ( 
I dence, which I gave him readily, thinking myself sure j 
of a situation. My surprise was great, however, when 
I saw him look at a list he had in his hand, and, after 
I examining it a few moments, he said : 
i " We have nothing for you." 

) "I did not know what to make of this, but determined 
/ to look on, and see if I could find any clue to it. Soon 
) after another girl, whom I recognised as one who had | 
; learned her trade with Mr. B * * * at the same time with i 
/ myself, made a similar application, and received the > 
same reply, after the list had been examined. Another 
and another followed, each of whom had worked there, 
and this let me into the secret. Both these establish- | 
ments belonged to Mr. B * * *, and the list the man had 
in his hand, contained the names of those who had 
learned the trade at the same time with myself. 

" I saw through it at once. These advertisements, of 
course, brought hundreds of girls to his shop seeking 
employment, and, under the pretence of teaching them 
the trade, he kept them at work for a month or six 
weeks, in which time they could make up a very large : 
stock. By the time they had either learned the trade, } 


or had began to think they should be paid something, he 
always managed to get out of work, and, taking down 
the names and residences of those who had worked 
there, he discharged them, promising to send for them 
when he had work. This list he sent to his other es- 
tablishment, and advertised there for girls to learn the 
trade ; but none who had worked in one shop ever found 
work in the other. In this manner he managed twice or 
thrice in each year to get a large stock of caps made up 
for nothing, at each of his establishments, while the poor 
girls lived in hope that when the busy season came 
around again, they would find plenty of work from 

" Well," interrupted Laura, " if that is not perfectly 
infamous. I did not think there was so much mean- 
I ness in existence." 

" That is only one plan," rejoined Miss Edwards, half 
laughing. " I will tell you another for getting a good 
stock made up for nothing. I went home that day with a 
heavy heart, and related to my friend the discovery I 
had made, but she did not seem at all surprised, as she 
had gone through similar trials herself. 

" It was not long before I found another advertise- 
ment, headed — * Cap makers wanted on trial,' and this 
time i felt sure of success. I was a first rate work- 
man, and knew I could make caps as well as any one, 
so I went to the store named with confidence. 

'^ This man was an unmistakable Jew, and not so civil 
by half as Mr. B * * *, but that did not surprise me at all, 
for I did not expect so much politeness from a man who S 



was to pay for my work, as from one who received it 
for nothing. I informed him that I had learned my 
trade thoroughly, and that I was ready to make a cap 
or so on trial ; but he coolly handed me a large bundle, 
saying: * There are two dozen there — ^if you make 
them up to suit, I will pay the usual price, if not, I 
don't give any thing. If you suit I will give you steady 

"I felt so sure of satisfying him, I took my heavy 
bundle and trudged home with a light heart. In a week 
I had them all done, and well made too, for I had taken 
especial pains with them, and I started for the store 
with the certain prospect of receiving the sum I had 
earned, which was one'^dollar and a quarter. 

" On reaching the store, I opened my bundle with 
confidence ; but imagine my disappointment when he ^ 
commenced a scrutiny of my work, which at once j 
dampened my hopes. He found more or less fault with 
^ every cap, and, without giving mctime to say one word 
in my own defence, he wound up, saying: *He could 
not think of paying for such work as that, nor could he 
trust me with any more, if I could do no better than I 
had done.' This was a dreadful blow to me, and I fell 
back from the counter, my eyes filled with tears of bit- 
ter disappointment, which I could not suppress, and j 
I my heart sad within me." i 

J " In a few minutes another girl came in with her two ) 
( dozen caps, for each one had that number given to her . 
} on trial. The same scrutiny followed — the same faults ) 
' were found, and tho same excuse made for giving no 



more work. Now this man had given out two dozen 
eaps each to forty-seven girls, all on trial, to be paid 
for if they suited ; and, out of the whole number, there 
was not one whose work gave satisfaction, or who r^- 
\ ceived one cent for her labor. So you see he managed 
to get a nice little stock made up for nothing, and, by 
' repeating this operation three or five times a-year, the 
labor of making up his caps was not very expensive. 

" Well, I thought I had learned two or three of the 
worst tricks of that trade, and I was fain to be content 
with my experience, although it was dearly bought ; 
] but I was yet to learn a little more. 

" Another advertisement for cap makers attracted my 
attention, and this time as they were neither wanted 
s to learn the trade, or on trial, I indulged a reasonable 
i hope of being able to earn something, and what was 
{ more, of being paid. 

{ "I went to the store, and, without any difficulty, re- 
( ceived a large bundle, containing about four dozen caps, 
; for which I was to receive, when made up, one dol- 
\ lar, these being a very common article. I did not 
\ much like the looks of the establishment or the proprie- 
( tor. The store was in a large room oh the second floor, 
entirely unfurnished, except a very long counter, and 
one or two stools behind it. The proprietor was an 
/ easy spoken, civil man, but he did not look much like 
the personification of honesty, and as I had been de- 
ceived twice already, I thought it but fair to be on the 
look out for the third attempt, so I asked ii I should be 
])aid as soon as I brought my work home. 


" * Certainly, my dear,' was the reply. *Do you 
think I would cheat poor girls who have to sew so 
hard as you do for their living ? No, no ; short credits 
make long friends: only do your work well and I will 
do mine.' 

" Thus re-assured, I started homewards, quite elated 
with the certainty of earning my own living, and with 
the sure prospect of prompt payment. I worked faith- 
fully the whole week, and by dint of drawing pretty 
largely on those hours which ought to have been passed 
in sleep, I had my whole number finished by Saturday 
evening, and took them to the shop." 





" The proprietor was not there when I went in, but a 
boy who received the caps, told me he was quite sick 
at home, and in consequence could not get down to pay 
the girls off, but would endeavor to come early on Mon- 
day morning, and requested all of us to be there before 
nine o'clock, as he would then pay us for the work we 
had done, and give out more. This was told to all of 
us, for we had been urged not to neglect having all the 
'. work we took out finished by Saturday night, and I be- | 
lieve every one had done so. I must confess, I felt ! 
rather suspicious, but there was no use in saying any- 
thing, so I started homeward, but not so light-hearted as 
when I left it, determined, however, not to entertain any 
unjust suspicions. | 

" On Monday morning, I was at the store by eight ! 
o^clock, but it was not yet opened, so I waited at the j 
door, and soon the other girls came along, one by one, ( 
until upward of thirty were assembled, waiting the ar- 
rival of the proprietor. The gentleman who kept the 
store beneath, came out, after our patience was well nigh 
exhausted, and after learning the nature of our businesss, ! 



informed us that the second floor had been rented for one 
week only, by the man who recently occupied it, and that 
he had paid his rent and delivered the key to him on 
Saturday night. 

" Thus, for the third time, I was defrauded, and then 
I felt perfectly wretched. This man would go and hire 
a vacant store, or a large room, in the business part of 
the city for a week, generally paying his rent in ad- 
vance, and bringing no more stock there than he could 
j give out. Then he would advertise for cap-makers, and 
was sure of procuring from forty to fifty. To each he 
gave out caps according to the quality and the time it 
would require to make them up, always urging them to 
have their work done by Saturday night. 

" Thus, by changing about from one street to another, 
and by having two or three other persons connected with 
him, who acted at his other stores, (for it would never 
f do for him to be caught twice at the trick,) he could 
! manage, four or five times a year, to have an immense 
! stock made up, very cheaply too, he paying nothing but 
his week's rent. I do not mean to say, that these shame- 
ful deceptions are practiced by those who are establish- 
ed in a respectable business, although some of them have 
various methods of getting from the girls the greatest 
possible amount of labor, with the least expenditure of 
money, such, for instance, as paying them in cents, and 
giving only ninety-six for a dollar. 
. "These tricks are played by men of no character or 
reputation, who would not sufier by a public exposure, 
and who are not established in a regular business ; but 

^ ™k B.UOTX P^X... 67 i 

the poor girls suffer through them, and that is all from 

which I wished to warn you. 

" I had one or two similar trials afterward, but I was 
not quite so shamefully defrauded, so I pass them over, 
as I do not think they would afford you either interest 
or instruction. But at length I fell in with an honor- 
able employer, for whom I have worked steadily ever 
since — one who payi3 as much as any other for the same 
kind of work, and who has never attempted any of these 
shameful practices." 


" Well," said Laura, who had been deeply attentive , 
while Miss Edwards was narrating this little sketch of \ 
the experience she had purchased so dearly, " I did not ' 
\ think there were men with such principles in existence 
— ^I mean, men pretending to be men of business. I 
know that in most cases they beat down the wages of 
the girls, and oppress them almost to starvation point, 
but I did not imagine any could be found such as you 
have described, who would rack their brains to devise 
so many ways of defrauding those in their employ. 
Heaven knows, they receive little enough for their work 
as it is." 

" Ah, my dear," said Mrs. Elliott, " you have, and 
indeed we all have, I fear, very much to learn yet. 
And you, too, Clara," she added, turning to her — " Why, 
bless me, what are you crying about ?" she exclaimed, 
now noticing that Clara's eyes were filled with tears. 

" Oh, nothing, mother, nothing," replied Clara, hastily, 
and dashing the tears away, which filled her eyes ; " I 
i was thinking then of my own trifling disappointments. 




But no matter, they are passed, and I will not worry any 
more about them." 

" Ah !" exclaimed Miss Edwards, inquiringly, " you 
have suffered some then already ? I knew you would, 
as soon as I saw your sign out : there are so many ready 
to take advantage of young beginners." 

" But," said Clara, anxious to turn the conversation 
from herself and her disappointments, ** you say you 
have constant employment now : what can you earn a 
week ?" 

" Why, in very good times, and by working from 
fourteen to sixteen hours a day, I can make as much as 
two dollars, but the average for the year round is about 
one dollar and a half. Much, however, depends on the 
' kind of work." 

" And how long do you work for that V asked 

" Never less than twelve, and often fourteen and six- 
teen hours a day," was the reply, uttered as if uncon- 
scious that anything had been said to excite surprise. 

A dead silence followed this reply : it appeared so 
monstrous that, for such a miserable pittance, a girl, 
young, healthy and industrious, should be compelled to 
wear out her very life. 

" And how long have you been thus employed ?" 

" Four years next October," replied Miss Edwards. 
"During that time, thank God, I have never been so 
unfortunate as to know a sick day ; but I have never 
had a single day of recreation, during these four years, j 
; except on Sundays, New- Year's, and on the fourth of [ 





July — ^nor have I ever taken a single holiday, except on 
those days." 

" Don't you ever go out to see your friends ?" 
" Friends ! where is a poor girl who sews for a living, 
\ and an orphan, too, to find friends ? I have none. I have 
' a few acquaintances, but hardly ever visit them, for my 
I time is too precious to waste in paying visits. Day after 
\ day, week after week, and month after month, I sit in one 
place, and sew from morning to night, and the only exer- 
cise I ever take is when I go with my work to the shop, 
and return. On Sundays I am too much exhausted to go 
out, suid if I was ever so much inclined to go to church, I 
could not.'' 

" And why not ?" asked Mrs. Elliott, in evident sur- 

" You will find out before long yourselves," was the 
reply, as a blush tinged the cheek of the speaker ; and 
she immediately added, as if desirous of changing the 
current of her hearers' thoughts : " It is a lonely, weary 
life to lead, but I try to make the best of it. I do not dare to 
look to the future, but console myself with the reflection, 
that 'sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,' and try 
to be thankful for my present comforts." 

" And what would become of you should you be taken 
sick ?" inquired Clara, with trembling eagerness. 

" If I did not die too soon, I might possibly be sent to 
I the hospital, as a sick pauper." 

A long pause followed this reply, each one evidently 
deeply meditating on what they had heard ; and the 
countenances of her hearers showed that her words 



] had taught them how little of hope the future had for j 

them. 1 

" But," inquired Laura, " do you never have any one ( 

to come and sit with you ? Do you have nothing day , 

after day, but the cheerless solitude of your room, with , 




nothing to relieve the monotony of your work ? — ^no 
friend or acquaintance to beguile the tedium of your 
time ?" 

" Once in a great while, some one of the girls who 
work for the same shop that I do, Will come and bring 
her work for half a day ; and sometimes the woman 
with whom I board will come and sit a few minutes with 
me. Except those, I have no one, and still I would 
rather work there alone, than go to the shop and work 
among thirty or forty girls, whom one knows not, and 
perhaps, there are some whom it is better not to know.'* 

" What do you have to pay for your board ?" asked 
( Clara. 

'' A dollar and a half a week ; that is as cheap as I 
can get it now-a-days. But come, I won't tell you any 
more to-night. I have already told you too much: I 
see you are all out of spirits." 

'* No, no, not at all," exclaimed Mrs. Elliott. " We 
thank you, I am sure, for your kindness and confidence, 
for, in our ignorance, we must have been exposed to 
the same frauds as yourself, without the power to 
guard against them. Here is Clara, now ; she has been 
constantly at work since the day on which she first 
commenced dress-making, and she has not as yet re- 
ceived one single cent." 



" Why ? Have they not been able to pay for whom 
she worked ?" 

" Oh yes, I dare say they are all abundantly able to 
pay ; but they consider, probably, the amount due to 
her so triflmg, it is not worth while speaking of; and 

I Clara has already offended some of her customers, by 
asking for what she had earned. Her's is a hard case, 
but nothing to what you have suffered." 

"Ah, that is too often the case with the rich," re- 
plied Miss Edwards. " They forget that the sum wliich 
to them is a trifle, is to us almost wealth. They know 
not how many little necessaries for us are dependent 
on the prompt payment of those trifles." 

" Well, I have good customers now," said Clara, who 
did not much relish to have it known how unsuccessful 
she had been. 

! "I dare say you have, Miss Clara," said Louise ; 
" but the rich are not always the best customers. 
Mrs. Flender, the kind friend who took care of me 
afler my father's death, has told me that she was once 
employed as seamsti'ess in one of the wealthiest fami- 

I lies in the city, residing in a splendid mansion in 
W Place, where she worked without intermis- 
sion from ten to twelve hours each day — and what do 
you suppose they paid her ?" 

" I suppose six shillings a day," said Clara, who had 
estimated the price according to the amount of labor, a 

( mode of calculation which after experience taught her 

I was quite erroneous. 

! " Two shillings, and her board! Clara, and she lost 


her situation even then, because she would not make up 
for nothing some garments for the poor, whi^h Mrs. 
R * * * had taken to make up for some charitable 
society to which she belonged."* 

" There, for goodness' sake, don't tell us any more," 
said Laura, with a shudder. '^I have half a mind to 
have a good cry this minute." 

" That would be very foolish and very childish, Lau- 
ra," said her mother. "I am sure we have reason to 
thank Louise for her kindness in telling us of these 
things. It may prevent us from being deceived here- 
after, and I am confident that neither of you would bear 
up as she has done." 

" Well, I will go now," said Miss Edwards, rising, 
and gathering up her work. " It is growing late, and 
we all need rest, I am sure ; so, good night, but don't 
think too much on what I have told you, so as to let it 
worry you." 

" Mother," said Clara, after Miss Edwards had re- 
tired, " I have half a mind to give up dress-making. If I 
am to be cheated all the time, as I have been heretofore, 
out of my hard earnings, I had better give up at once, 
and try something else, at which I may at least feel sure 
of being paid for my labor." 

" No, no, not yet, my child ; you have a good opening 
now at Mr. Simmons's. Try and improve that for the 
present, and if the worst comes to the worst, you must 
give it up, and help us at home. I see no other course.** 

* This is an absolute fact, and if necessary the names could be 





j '' I think we shall have to make a new calculation as 
I to the extent of our earnings," said Clara, after a brief 
pause. ^' I believe, according to my last estimate, Lau- 
ra and I were to make up about nine dollars a week. ! 
> With the present prospect, if we get that much for the 
I month, we will have cause to be thankful." 

^* Yes, indeed," said Laura ; 'Uhese vests I am mak- 
I ing cannot bring me in just now over two dollars a week, 
at the utmost, for it is new work, comparatively, and I 
cannot, therefore, make as many at present as I hope to 
do hereafter. It takes me now a whole day of hard work 
\ to make one, and the price is two shillings and sixpence. 
I That lacks a shilling of the two dollars a week, and win- 
ter is coming on besides. Dear me, I fairly shudder to 
think of it." 

" Hush, hush, dear," said her mother, "do not begin 
to look ahead so far already. Remember we are only 
/ making experiments now ; we may succeed better by | 
I and by. It will never do to be so easily discouraged." 
; " Well, mother, we will hope for the best, but it is only 
' right to prepare for the worst. I knew we should have 
: many difficulties to contend with, and Louise has fairly 
I frightened me. But come, it is bed-time now, and I want 
to reflect upon what I have heard ; so, good night." 
Thus saying, and aflectionately kissing her mother and 
) sister, she retired. 

" I much fear, Clara," said Mrs. Elliott, when Laura 

/ had left the room, "that you will be under the necessity 

of abandoning the dress-making, unless you are more 

J successful than you have been heretofore. The sum 



^_^_^ ■,.._,-,_,-,_^,__^_,-^-_-^^,-,_,-,_^-._,-._,-._^,-^,-^^ -^^ -,_ -,_^-,_^ 

which Laura and I can earn, by the most unceasing in- 
dustry, is so small, we cannot possibly get on without in- | 
curring debt, and I can conceive of nothing which would ; 
render us more perfectly miserable than to be in debt, | 
under our present circumstances." 

'^ I am sure, mother, I shall be too glad to be of any as- 
sistance, and you know I only chose dress-making be- , 
' cause I hoped it would prove the most profitable. You ^ 
cannot feel for my disappointments as sensibly as I do 
myself. If I continue to be as unlucky as I have been, 
I shall gladly give up dress-making, and commence at 
something else, which will insure a certainty of remu- 
neration for my labor, however small. But I, too, must 
go to bed, for I have worked very steadily to-day, and 
am really weary ; so, good night, dear mother, and let 
us hope that 'brighter hours will come.' '' 

The week was passed by each at their respective 
duties. Laura sewed with incessant assiduity upon the 
vests, and by Saturday evening had completed six, 
which, at the price paid by the humane Mr. Simmons, 
who boasted of having always paid such prices, that the 
girls who worked for him could make a very comfortable 
living, would amount to the sum of one dollar and seven 
shillings ! 

Mrs. Elliott had made fourteen shirts during the 
week, and that only by working at the average of 
twelve hours each day : this, at ten cents each, would 
I bring in, as her share of the week's earnings, only ofnt 
^ dollar and forty cents ! But it is true, that when more 
\ accustomed to the work, she may make six more. | 


Clara had worked for four shillings per day on the 1 
dresses of the Misses Simmons ; for, being only an (u- / 

nstanty she was told they could not think of giving her \ 
the full wages paid to a regular dress-maker. How- | 
ever, as she felt that the payment of it was sure, she was ) 
grateful even for that much, and lefl for home, with a ( 
heart comparatively at ease. It is true, she had not 
been paid as yet, but she had not dared to ask for it, for 
fear of offending them, although her necessities loudly 
called upon her to do so ; while her lady employers were 

! too much engaged, in showing off the new made finery 
to some very dear friends, who chanced to drop in to- 
ward evening, to think of the poor seamstress, who had 
toiled so hard for them, and who, for aught they knew, 
or cared, might actually suffer for the want of the few 

; shillings they owed her. 

But presuming that the money from this source will 

certainly be paid on the following Monday, let us see 

how much the family have earned during the week. 

Laura, at fourteen hours per day, has worked eighty- 

four hours. 

Clara and Mrs. Elliott, each working twelve hours a 
day, have toiled through seventy-two hours each, making 
in all, two hundred and twenty-eight hours, and their | 
earnings show that they have worked for two and ! 


\ Let those who doubt, make the calculation for them- < 
I selves, and let those who deny the truth of what is here ( 
. stated, take the same trouble as has been taken, to ac- « 
I quire the proper information, and they will find no \ 




forced or unnatural statement, nor will they find that i 
iinaginatioii has hod any share in painting the above j 
picture. ' 




Let us return now to the fiimily of Mr. Sinunons, 

for they too must perform their share in pointing the 

moral I hope to draw in these pages. 

On Saturday evening, soon afler Clara had left the 

house, Mr. Simmons returned home from his store, and 

entering the room where the new made dresses were 

laid out for display, exclaimed : 
) '^ Well, I am glad to see you have heen so smart, 
I girls, and have got your things made up so soon, for 

you must he ready to start hy Monday eveoing, or \ 

Tuesday morning, at the very utmost." 

'' Why, dear pa !" exclaimed both the daughters in 

a breath, '^ you must be crazy. We have just got our 
I dresses finished, and there are a thousand things yet | 

to be purchased ; and then we must pack up, and see | 

our friends. Oh ! it is impossible— -it is entirely out of 
j the question !" 

<< Very well ; I have nothing to say if it is impossi- 

ble. Only let me tell you this : Mr. Seabrook, the 

rich young Southerner who was with us last summer, 
. oame in town this morning, on his road to the Springs, 


and he called on me to know when I proposed starting, 
as he said he must go on by Monday or Tuesday at the 
farthest, and was very desirous of making one of my 
party. I have made him promise to delay his departure 
until Tuesday morning, and told him I would put my Ij 
wife and daughters under his charge for the journey. 
If it is impossible to get ready by that time, why of 
course, you will have to wait until I go, and I can't j 
say how long business may detain me in the city." 

" Father, I declare you talk and act almost foolish- 
ly," said Euphemia, in tones certainly not the most af- 
fectionate. " The idea of engaging to have all our pre- 
parations made at two days' notice for a season at the 
Springs is preposterous, and I have a great mind not to 
go at all." 

" None of your impudence, Miss Phemey," said the 
fiither, rather nettled, "or perhaps I may say you shall 
not go at all. All I have to say is, if you are not ready 
to go with Mr. Seabrook, you lose the best chance you 
have ever had — mark my words. What is there you 
want which cannot be purchased on Monday ?" 

" Come, Phemey," said Maria, coaxingly, " don't get 
angry. Let us try our best. We can purchase almost 
all we want on Monday, and we can get the rest of the 
things at the Springs. Mary, you know, can be pack- 
ing up while we are out shopping, all we don't pack up 
to-morrow. Come, father, let us have the money, and 
I promise we will be ready on Tuesday to gooff in the 
morning boat." 

The cloud called up by the reply of Miss Euphemia ( 


was dispelled from Mr. Simmons's brow, by this ready 
acquiescence in his wishes, and he very cheerfully hand- 
ed each of his daughters a sum sufficient to purchase 
necessaries for a whole family for a year, but which 
they were to expend in showy useless finery. 

"There," said Clara, "consider it settled that we 
leave on Tuesday morning. So, if you see Mr. Sea- 
brook again, you may say we are ready. But I sup- 
pose he will be here to-morrow ?" 

" Yes ; I have asked him to dinner," was the reply. 

" How could you do that, Mr. Simmons," said his 
wife, with some asperity, " when you know the girls 
will require the whole day to fix and pack up, without 
having to leave off to dress for dinner ? How could you 
be so thoughtless ?" 

" Oh ! don't be finding so much fault. Such men as 
Mr. Seabrook are not to be caught every day, and I 
was not willing to lose so good a chance for the girls 
for the sake of a little inconvenience. You must get 
on as well as you can, for he is invited, and will be here, 
of course." 

" Well, go along now, pa, and leave us alone. We 
have plenty to do, and a very short time to do it in. I 
incline very much to the opinion that very few ladies 
ever made ready for a season at the Springs in two 

As soon as Mr. Simmons had left the room, the girls [ 
seated themselves, and entered into a long argument as \ 
to the best use they could make of the money he had • 
given them. It was very difficult to decide what they i 


j really did want ; but they finally agreed to start out 
on Monday on a shopping excursion, without any defi- 
nite object in view, but to leave their purchases to 

; On the following morning, in utter forgetfulness — 
and, indeed, without a single thought — ^that it was the 
sabbath, they commenced the work of packing up, and 
their room soon presented the appearance of a well 
stocked store, the various articles of dress and orna- 
ment being strewed about in luxurious profusion. 

The entire day, with the exception of the time ne- 
cessary to dress for dinner, and the hours passed at the J 
table, were devoted to the important task of making pre- 
parations for their journey, and evening closed upon 

them jaded, worried, and fatigued. 

On Monday morning, soon after breakfast, they start- 
ed out on their shopping excursion, leaving to Mary, 
the maid, the task of packing away the articles they 
had left out. While she was thus engaged, Clara El- 
liott called, in pursuance of the directions given by the 
ladies, for the three dollars she had earned during the | 
past week, and was told the young ladies were out, and ! 
had left word for her if they did not send it around on j 
Tuesday, she was to call on Wednesday ; and she said 
this with a full knowledge that they were to leave town 
on Tuesday. 

When the Misses Simmons returned home, near the J 
hour for dinner, Mary informed them of Clara's call, j 
and of the unblushing lie she had told her, for which 
they applauded her ingenuity amazingly, remarking ( 


that they had use for all the money their father had ; 
given them, and it was very thoughtfully done in 

"For my part,*' said Euphemia, "if I had been at 
I home, I would have told her to wait until I was ready 
I to pay her. I never heard any thing like the impu- 
dence of some of these sewing girls. They actually 
seem afiraid to trust one." 

" Never mind," said Maria, " it is just as well as it 
is. We will pay her when we come back from the 
Springs; and by that time, perhaps, she will have 
learned that it is not best to dun too soon." 

I am sure the reader can have, or feel no particular 
interest in these heartless worldly girls, so I will men-> 
tion, as briefly as possible, that, by dint of great exer- 
tion, and with no little loss of patience and temper, they 
managed to be in readiness to start for the Springs on 
the Tuesday morning, chaperoned by Mr. Seabrook, 
the wealthy Southerner, who was destined to be the 
husband of one of them ; and it was settled between 
them amicably that whoever should succeed in securing 
< him was to be the happy bride, no matter which one 
was to be the holder of this grand matrimonial prize— I 
and the unsuccessful one was pledged not to feel ag- I 
grieved. c 

Mrs. Elliott on Saturday evening had carried her I 
work home, and received her week's earnings, amount- j 
I ing to the sum of one dollar and forty cents, while 
, Laura, having two weeks due at the store of Mr. Sim- 
( mons, received three dollars and one shilling, together ( 


with another bundle of vests to be made up at the same 

Mrs. Elliott was not so fortunate in procuring more 
work, but was required to return on Monday morning 
early, by which time more would be cut out for her. 
She did go, and received with her large bundle a gen- 
tie hint, that, unless more care was bestowed upon 
those than on the last, her employer would feel com- 
pelled to cut her down to eight cents. 

When she had reached home, Clara had just returned 
from her unsuccessful visit to the Misses Simmons, 
and her eyes were yet red with the tears of bitter dis- 
appointment which she could not repress. 

'^ What, Clara," she exclaimed, as her daughter en- 
tered the room, " tears again ? Have you been dis- 
appointed by the Misses Simmons ?" 

^' Yes, mother, I am ashamed to say I have. I did 
certainly expect when I had earned my miserable 
wages with such hard labor, I should have no difficulty 
in being promptly paid by them ; but now I am put off 
until Wednesday." 

" Only till Wednesday ? I am sure that is not worth 
crying about. Come, come, dear, don't give way so 
easily under these trifling disappointments." 

" Well, I won't — ^there !" said Clara, actually dash- 
ing away the tears which had again forced themselves 
to her eyes ; " I won't cry again for any of them. I 
have done dress-making. My capital is not extensive 
enough for me to give such long credit, so I will help 




you on some shirts, and try to earn something toward 
our common livelihood." 

" I don't see but it is the best thing you can do/* 
said her mother, sadly. '' You have worked unceas- 
ingly now for two weeks, and I do not see that you are 
ever likely to get any thing for it. I have no idea the 
Misses Simmons will ever pay you." 

" Why, you don't surely think they would cheat 
me ?" asked Clara, eagerly. 

" Not exactly that, my dear ; but the sum is so small, 
they can never be brought to think that you really stand 
in need of it ; and, through very heedlessness, they will 
find a hundred modes of putting you off. I hope I am 
wrong, but I fear " 

" Well — ^I will give up the idea of ever getting that, 
too, but no more dress-making for me ; so give me one 
of your shirts, and I will try what I can earn by making 
shirts at ten cents a piece ; that, I believe, is what you 

Before they seated themselves again at work, Mrs. 
Elliott undertook to make a calculation of their proba- 
ble income and expenses. Let us follow her. 

Thus far, that is in two weeks, the sum total of their 
earnings received — for Mrs. Elliott had worked only 
one week — ^was four dollars and fifty-two cents. 

The rent of the two rooms they occupied was two 
dollars per week, and they had in this time made just 
fifty-two cents over and above the amount of rent, which 

1 was payable monthly. 

I This was certainly not a very pleasant picture, but i 


then allowances must be made for one week of idleness to 
Mrs. Elliott, and two weeks dead loss to Clara. So let us 
see what the next two weeks will produce. Allowing 
that Clara could and would earn as much at making 
shirts as Mrs. Elliott, their joint earnings for the week 
would amount to two dollars and eighty cents, or allow- 
ing that each could make one additional shirt, three 

Laura earned one dollar and seven shillings, and the 
whole amount of earnings for the week would amount 
to four dollars and seven shillings — for the two weeks, 
nine dollars and six shillings : out of this the rent would 
take four dollars, leaving five dollars and six shillings 
for fuel, raiment, food and necessaries for the whole 
three for the two weeks. This was cheerless enough in 
truth, but still it might be borne ; and with a full de- 
termination to hope for the best, they commenced their . 
daily task. 

On Wednesday morning, soon after breakfast, Clara 

hastened to Call at Mr. Simmons's residence, in the full 

confidence that she would find her money ready for her ; 

but her surprise was almost too great for expression, 

when she saw that the house was closed, and evidently 

for the summer. She rang at the bell, however, to be 

certain, and had performed this useless operation some 

half dozen times, when a servant in the adjoining house ! 

informed her that she might ring until dooms-day, be- 

! fore any one answered in that house, as the family had 

I started for the country on Tuesday morning. 

I "Are you sure they went on Tuesday?" inquired 




Clara, who had not forgotten what Mary, the maid, had 
told her. 

" Sure ? To he sure I am : didn't I see them go off 
before seven o'clock, bag and baggage V 

^' Then that girl told me a wilful lie," she could not 
help exclaiming. 

'** Maybe it's Mr. Simmons you want ? He ain*t gone 
to the country, I know, for I saw him at the house in 
the afternoon. You'll find him at his store, I guess, 
though he don't live at home when his family is 

Clara hesitated an instant, and then determined to go 
at once and see Mr. Simmons at his store, feeling sure 
that, when he was made acquainted with her circum- 
stances and necessities, he would not refuse to pay this 
trifling sum for his daughters, and that, too, after it had 
been so faithfully earned. 

She proceeded at once to the store, where she was 
shown into the private office of Mr. Simmons, and to 
him she opened the nature of her business, but with 
much confusion and hesitation, for it was the first time 
she had ever been compelled to apply for money to a 

" I dare say it is all correct," said that worthy and 
humane gentleman ; '^ but I can really do nothing until 
my girls come back. They will return in three months 
at the farthest, and then you will receive your 

* But, sir," she urged, " although it is a very small 
sum to you, it is really of consequence to me, and I^ 

^-i. ■^•~ 


should feel greatly obliged if you will let me have it 
now, and not compel me to wait three whole months." 

'^ I can see no possible objection, Miss, except that 
it would be breaking through the rules by which I con- 
duct my business, never to pay a bill, large or small, 
until I have ascertained its correctness. Now I do not 
doubt your word at all, but as for paying the bill, I 
could not think of such a thing, and I am sure three 
months is not such a very long time to wait." 

" To me, sir, it is an age. But if I have your an- ! 
swer, I need to say no more. Grood day, sir." 

Mr. Simmons returned her salutation with the greatest 
conceivable stiffness, and, as soon as she had left the 
office, he summoned his foreman. 

" James, do you give out work to a Miss Elliott ?" 

" Yes, sir," was, of course, the reply. ? 

" You will give her no more. That's all." 

James was too good a disciplinarian to inquire into 
reasons for any orders he received, but he retired in 
silence, wondering for a moment what could have 
caused Mr. Simmons to take such a kink into his head. 
He made a memoranda, however, of the order, and, in 
five minutes afterward, the whole subject had passed 
from his memory. 

Clara returned home, and narrated the occurrences 
of the morning, without shedding a tear. Her pride 
J was now aroused, and she was determined that she 
should not give way to the weakness which only ren- 
dered her more wretched. v 
\ " Well," she said, "there is an end for good of my 



i dress-making. Two weeks of ceaseless toil for nothing. 

I No matter — let it go. * Brighter hours will come/ ** 
she added, forcing a smile to her &ce, while her heart 
was fiercely aching with disappointment. 





The care-worn, struggling family, have as yet only 
tasted the cup of bitterness. The dregs remain to be 
quaffed, and the draught is not to be avoided much 

On Thursday morning, while the girls were clearing 
away the breakfast-table, Mrs. Elliott, who was seated 
at her work by the window, suddenly uttered a deep 
groan, and fell from her chair to the floor, in a state of 
insensibility. They r8^n to raise her up, and laid her 
on the bed, while Clara, without pausing to care for or 
think of anything but her dear, suflfering mother, > 
snatched up her hood, which was lying on a chair^ ; 
and ran out for a physician. 

Just as she turned the comer, she saw a gentleman in 
a one-horse carriage, and taking it for granted he must 
be a physician, she ran into the middle of the street, so 
hastily, that he had to turn his horse to avoid running 
over her. 

" Oh, sir, are you a doctor ?" she asked, in eager^ 
hurried tones. 

" Yes ; what do you want ?" 

" Quick, quick — my poor mother !" was all she could 

-^ -^"^^i^ '■^''%» 




i say, but it was enough for him who heard her, for he at 
' once drove his horse to the sidewalk, and leaving him 
, there in care of a boy, followed Clara into the house. 
f As soon as he saw Mrs. Elliott, he shook his head 

idespondingly, and that motion conveyed the intelligence 
in language not to be misunderstood — ^there was no hope 
for the dear mother. 
^ " Oh, dear doctor," exclaimed Laura, who was seated 
on the bed, holding her mother's drooping head, " do 
save her to us. We are not rich, but we will work for 
you and pay you ; only save her." 

" My dear young ladies, I cannot encourage you. 
Your mother may live some time longer, but she will be 
utterly helpless. She has had a paralytic stroke." 

" Oh Grod, have mercy on us !" exclaimed Clara, 
clasping her hands ; " what will become of us ?" 

" Do not grieve so ; I will do all that can be done for 
your mother," said the kind-hearted physician, " but I 
can give you no hope. Let me get near her," added 
he, and he proceeded to examine the unfortunate suf- 
ferer. Another and more distinct shake of the head, 
announced the result of this examination, and writing a 
prescription, he gave it to Laura, leaving also ample 
directions how she was to be attended to until he saw 
) her again. 

In the ailemoon of the same day he came again, and 
found Mrs. Elliott as he had left her — senseless and im- 
movable. She was certainly, though slowly, sinking, 
and he felt it his duty to tell the trutn to the weepijng 




It is better," he said; "she could only lie here 

' senseless and inanimate. It would be a living death, 

in fact ; but she will soon be at rest. There is no use 

in my prescribing any more for her now. I will call 

again in the morning.'* 

On the following morning he called, according to 
promise, but there was no alteration which would per- 
mit him to encourage the weeping, desponding daugh- 
' ters. However, he gave minute directions for every- 
thing which could tend to alleviate the sufferings of the 
helpless woman, and then left, with the promise of re- 
peating his visit daily, although perfectly conscious that 
he could render no possible service. 

And now commenced the sorest trial they had yet 
been called on to endure. Their dearly beloved mother 
lay before them in helpless suffering, and all their at- 
tention and time were required and cheerfully devoted 
to her. Occasionally, when ghe would seem to have 
dropped into a quiet sleep, they would take up their 
work, and seating themselves by her bedside, sewed on 
it until the tears, which they could not suppress, blind- 
ed their eyes, or until some sound or motion of the suf- 
ferer demanded their attention. 
I It was impossible, under these circumstances, that 
( they could earn anything, and in the course of the 
j week, it became absolutely necessary that money 
should be raised, as well to pay the rent of their apart- 
ments, as to purchase necessaries for themselves, and 
medicines for their beloved parent. 

The few articles of jewelry which fhey had coUeoit- 



ed in happier days, were freely sacrificed, and Clara 
took them to a pawn-broker's, receiving for them a sum 
approximating to the fourth part of their actual value, 
and which was barely sufficient to meet the demands 
of the landlord. 

Such articles of wearing apparel as could be most 
conveniently dispensed with, followed the jewelry, but 
they were given up without a sigh, for it was to add to 
the comfort of their suffering parent. 

For four weary weeks Mrs. Elliott lingered, wmtched 
daily with the most untiring fidelity by her loving chil- 
dren, who, in their sorrow for her sufferings, forgot all 
they were called on to undergo, and cheered by the 
hope which at times they loould entertain, that she 
might yet be restored to them. 

At length the summons went forth, and Mrs. Elliott j 
w&s gathered to the dust from whence she sprang, 
without having been able to utter one word of comfort, 
or to bestow her blessing upon her devoted children. 

It would be a thankless task to attempt to portray a 
grief so sacred as that which fills the hearts of affec- 
tionate children, when relentless death has robbed them 
of the dearly loved parent) and that parent too their 
only earthly stay and comfort. None can truly sym- 
pathise with them in such afHictions, but those who 
have been called to mourn a similar loss, and to such 
I need not address a single word. 

The change which this sad and sudden bereavement 
wrought in the condition and prospects of the unhappy 
orphans was great, and perhaps it is not too strong a 

»■,• ^1— v-- 



term to use, to call it terrible. They were by this 
unlooked for dispensation, left alone in the world, with- \ 
out one single friend to console or aid them. They ^ 
were young, and comparatively inexperienced; for 
having never been thrown in contact with that cheer- ' 
less, soulless world, they were consequently unac- 
quainted with most of its trials, its temptations, and as 
yet, but few of its harrowing disappointments liad they 
been called on to experience. 

They mourned the lost friend and parent, as the ' 
children of such a parent would and ever must mourn, j 
but their circumstances called upon them for great j 
I exertions, and they prayed for strength that they might ^ 
make them. They could not afford to indulge in symbols 
of exterior mourning for their beloved parent, but they 
commenced at once laying their plans for future useful- 
ness to themselves. Each felt that necessity loudly called 
upon them for redoubled exertions, and although the pros- • 
pect even with these efforts was dark and dreary, without < 
one single ray of hope to cheer the future, they deter- 
mined to make them, trusting in God for help. 

Their first step was to complete the work which their 
mother had taken from the shirt store, but when finish- , 
ed, neither of them knew where she had obtained it. ; 
They had not considered it worth their while to inquire 
previous to this sad event, and indeed each had been too 
much engrossed with their own tasks to think of it at . 
all. !' 

! This was a most awkward dilemma, and they felt 
! Ihat this ignorance might expose them to unjust awd 



cruel suspicions : for the poor are almost always ob- 
) jects of suspicion. What to do they knew not. Two 

I weeks had already elapsed since their mother's death, 
and they had vainly sought to find some clue which 

\ would enable them to deliver the shirts to the rightful 
owner. Chance, however, relieved them in this diffi- 
culty, and the sum they received for their work, 
enabled them to purchase a few necessary articles, of 
which they had been long deprived, and of which they 
stood sadly in need. 

Laura finished the vests, and took them to Mr. Sim- 
mons's store, intending to obtain double the number, in 
order that Clara too might work with her, as they con- 
cluded they could earn as much while working on them, 
as on any other branch of sewing. 

The foreman took her bundle, and asking for her pass- 
book, made the usual entry, which done, to her surprise, 
he handed her the amount due for them, and was turn- i 
ing away, when she addressed him, saying : 

" If you please, sir, I should like to have a dozen in- 
stead of six, as my sister works on them with me." 

" We have no more to give out," replied the young 
man, in obedience to the orders he had received from 
Mr. Simmons. 

" I hope, sir," said Laura, thinking that he refused 
to give her more work because she had so long delay- 
ed bringing these home — " I hope, sir, it is not because 

I I have not brought the present work home sooner. In- 
I deed I could not help it, for since I took them out^ we 





[ have lost our poor mother. That has caused the delay, 
sir, but I assure you it shall not occur again." 

" We have no more work to give out, miss,'' was the 
reply, but uttered with something like civility ; for the 
foreman could not avoid seeing that Laura's hat was 
trimmed in deep mourning, (the only exterior sign of 
her loss she could afford,) and that tears filled her eyes 
as she spoke of her bereavement. 

"I should like to see Mr. Simmons," meekly asked ! 
Laura, nothing doubting that there was some misunder- I 
standing. " I am sure if he knew how we are situated, 
he would not refuse to give^us work." . 

"It is not because you have delayed bringing these 
home," said the foreman, " but " and he hesitated. 

" Well, sir, and why do you refuse me ? Does not 
the work suit you ? I am sure I have done my best." 

" Oh no, not at all ; but the truth is," and the fore- 
man looked actually ashamed as he spoke, for he had 
some remnant of humanity in him, " Mr. Simmons left 
orders with me to give you no more work, and I have 
j no course but to obey." 

" I cannot possibly believe that," replied Laura, 
quickly ; " I will see Mr. Simmons himself." 
I " That you cannot do, unless you go to Saratoga, for 

< he lefl the city yesterday." 

I " Grood Heaven ! what shall I do ?" exclaimed she, | 
in accents of despair. " Why can he have given such 
an order ? I will not of course ask you to disobey him, 

< but can you recommend me to any other place where I 
J may obtain work ?" 



" I cannot, indeed," said the foreman, emboldened by 
the certainty that Laura was really distressed, and not [ 
i knowing how far he might venture with her in that state } 
\ of feeling. But in a moment after, he added: **I do ; 
j not mind taking the risk of letting you have work in j 
j some other manner, on one condition," and he leered at ; 
her with a look which could have but one meaning. 

The honest blood mounted to the neck, and cheek and j 
brow of the insulted girl, and the veins fairly swelled 
J on her forehead, as she gazed upon him for a single 
instant, but with a look of such withering contempt, 
that the miserable creature actually quailed beneath it, / 
and shrank abashed within his debased self. | 

S " Oh, well, you need not make such a time about it," / 
j he added, quickly, his face crimsoned with shame, but j 
) not daring to look at her. " The time may come when ^ 
j you will be glad to remember my offer. I have no | 
) work to give you now." | 

( "I would starve before I would accept it from your ; 
) hands," proudly replied the insulted girl, turning to ; 
; leave the store, as she thought, unnoticed. I 

J I say, as she thought ; but one person, whom she had | 
j not seen, had noticed her, and had overheard sufficient ' 
I of what had fallen from her lips, to judge of the nature ) 
/ of his conversation, and she felt proud of her sex, as she ( 
! saw the outraged and indignant girl turn to leave the ^ 
} store. j 

i This person was a young lady, Miss Eva Bellamy, j 
; who had called at the store to make interest for a young 
J girl who had been discharged, or rather to whom work 



) had been also refused, because she was delicate and 
( sickly, and was often more tardy in returning her work 
•^ than was agreeable to the foreman, 
i She had been shown into the private office attached to 
i the store, and having been interrupted in the business 
] which brought her there, by the entrance of Laura, \ 
had remained an anxious and attentive listener of their 
conversation, and her heart swelled with virtuous in- 
dignation, as she heard the proud reply of the insulted 
and outraged girl. 
I Miss Bellamy, though young, was an ardent, warm- 
I hearted philanthropist, and as a member of the Christian 
j church, the duties of which she discharged with the 
j most zealous fidelity, she was necessarily often thrown in 
contact with poverty and distress, in almost every shape 
in which they are presented in this great metropolis. 
Her heart was filled with tender sympathy for the suf- 
ferings and oppression of her sex, and although her 
i own means were comparatively limited, she found and 
i embraced more opportunities of doing good, and bestow- 
I ing happiness and pleasure, than thousands who were 
} more fortunately circumstanced, in point of pecuniary 
) ability. 

; The reader can care but little to know the personal 
I appearance of Miss Bellamy, and indeed that was not 
I sufficiently strikingtocommand especial notice. But her / 
) choicest treasure was in a mind, richly stored with every j 
good and virtuous feeling which could adorn the wear- ) 
er, and confer happiness and joy on all who came within 
\ the sphere of its generous, sympathizing influence. She ' 






was not formed to attract the gaze or admiration of 
every beholder, and indeed none could properly form 
any estimate of Eva's qualities, without having come 
within the influence of her pure and lovely mind. 

As Laura turned to leave the store, Eva involunta- 
rily rose, and was moving toward the door, with the same 
intention, when the foreman, again all politeness and 
fawning, begged her to be re-seated, assuring her that, 
now that troublesome girl was gone, he would attend to 
her with great pleasure, and if it was in his power, he 
would do anything to serve her. 

Eva restrained the bitter, cutting remarks which her 
heart prompted, and apologizing for the necessity which 
compelled her to postpone to a more distant season the 
transaction of her own business, hurried out after 

Laura had only proceeded two or three squares, when 
feeling her arm touched gently, she turned suddenly 
round, thinking it was the insolent foreman, but her coun- 
tenance immediately changed, when she perceived that it 
was one of her own sex, and one too, whose appearance 
bore the impress of peace, and truth, and virtue. 

** I beg your pardon, miss," said Eva, " but I over- 
heard your remarks to that insulting villain in Mr. 
Simmons's store, and while I feel a pride in the just 
rebuke you administered to him, I would gladly make 
an effort to avert the consequences which may be en- 
tailed upon you. Can I do anything to serve you?'' 

There was an air of such open frankness, such 
candor, such sincerity, in the countenance of the 




■^^^w^-* "s *-^-'' 


youthful speaker, Laura could not doubt her, and 
without hesitation, she replied, as she wiped the tears 
from her eyes : 

" In truth it has made me very unhappy. We are now 
so situated, that if we are deprived of work for any 
length of time, the consequences must be serious. I 
do not know how far you can serve me, unless indeed, 
you can inform me where I may obtain work.'* 

" Well, I think I can do that," said Eva. " There 
is no knowing, without trying, how much cme can 

" I shall be but too grateful for the assistance of any 
person now. I feel so lost and disheartened, I know not 
which way to turn." 

'^ May I intrude myself so far upon you, as to ask 
leave to accompany you to your home ? I can advise 
better with you there." ) 

<< Most certainly, and I shall be thankful too. We j 
need a friend now more than ever before." j 

There was something so winning, so attractive, in ^ 
Eva Bellamy's manner, something so natural, as if ( 
every word of kindness came fresh from a heart over- ! 
flowing with it, she insensibly gained Laura's confl- ; 
dence, and before they reached her home, Eva was \ , 
partially adquainted with the history of the orphans, j 
sufficiently so at least to feel a deep interest in their 
feture career. 
I When she entered their room, the air of neatness 
( which pervaded everything, in spite of the poverty 
I which was too apparent to be concealed, attracted her 



attention, and she sighed as she thought how sure it was 
that a change must ere long come over them. 

" Here, Clara," said Laura to her sister, as she en- 
tered the apartment, followed by Eva, "is a young 
lady — I almost feel like calling her an angel — ^who 
has been very kind to me." 

Clara looked at Eva for an instant, with some appear, 
ance of hesitation, but saw nothing to excite alarm or 
distrust. She then advanced, giving her hand frankly, 
and saying : 

" I am sure I shall be pleased to know you." j 

Clara heard with deep emotion the result of her sis- I 

ter's visit to Mr. Simmons's store, and as she concluded ( 

her recital, she said, with a sigh : 

" I am afraid, Laura, this is all my work." 
" Your work, dear sister — ^how can that be ?" 
" Nothing more easy. I went to Mr. Simmcms's 
store on the day I heard his &mily had lefl for the \ 
Springs, and was foolish enough to ask him for pay- | 
ment of the small sum his daughters owed me. Doubt- 
less I ofiended him, and hence the orders to give you 
no more work." 

" Oh do not let that annoy you," exclaimed Miss 

Bellamy. " Mr. Simmcms is very cruel in some res- 

pacts to those in his employ, though I believe he always 

pays them promptly, and I have no doubt, in a momen- 

, J tary fit of ill-humor, he did give those orders. When } 

} you, miss," she said, turning to Laura, "came into the i 

\ store to-day, I had just arrived there also, for the pur- j 

\ pose of interceding for a poor young girl, who had '• 




worked herself sick in his employ, and because while j 

sick she had not returned some work as soon as he ( 

thought she ought to have done, he discharged her. j 

However, now, 1 would not go back there again on any < 

account. But come, never mind Mr. Simmons ; let us ; 

f think of some one else. I think I know a place where ' 

I I can get you work, though not so good, nor perhaps so f 

! profitable as this you have had." j 

j " I tell you what," said Clara, turning to Laura, as | 

if she had not heard what Eva had said, " I have a mind 
\ to be independent for once, and give Mr. Simmons a 
I little of my mind." 

I " How would you do that ?" inquired Laura. ^ 

' " Why, he has gone to the Springs, I understand, 
where his wife and daughters are, and I have a mind 
to send him my bill for making his daughters' dresses, « 
receipted." j 

Miss Bellamy had listened attentively to what i 
Clara had said, and a flush came to her face, as j 
she said : I 

" Will you pardon a stranger for interfering at all, but \ 
really I think that would be in very bad taste, to say j 
nothing worse. You may have formed a wrong '. 
opinion in regard to Mr. Simmons, as you do not 
know the reason of his refusing work to your sister, 
although, as I before said, I do not doubt he did give | 
such orders, and you may thus offend a gentleman 
who certainly has it in his power to serve you." 

Clara looked confused as this well-merited rebuke | 
was administered, in mild and gentle tones, and at first | 



. she thought of being offended, but that passed off in an 

I instant, and she replied quickly : 

{ " You are right, miss, and I was wrong. I will do 

\ no such foolish act. Those three dollars may be very 

I acceptable in time to come, and besides insulting Mr. 

\ Simmons, I should be doing an injury to myself." 
" Come, young ladies," said Miss Bellamy, " I am a 
stranger to you, but believe me, not entirely uninterest- 
ed. From the moment Miss Laura there, answered so 
readily the insult of the contemptible fop at Mr. Sim- 
mons's store, I saw trouble brewing, and as I am used 
to similar occurrences, I thought I might prove ser- 
viceable to you. If it is not taking too great a liberty, 
may I ask if you depend entirely on your needles for 
support ?" 

" Entirely," was the reply. 

" Then I am sure you will not refuse to allow me to 
search for work for you. I know you cannot afford to 
be idle, and I think I know a gentleman who will not 
refuse me any reasonable request. I will, therefore, 
endeavor to procure work from him, but mind you, it 

\ is much more difficult and not so well paid for either, 
as the vests." 

" We must not stop to choose now," said Clara, "but 
will be thankful for anything. This is a hard blow so 
soon after our late bereavement " and without finish- 
ing the sentence, she burst into tears. 

" Pardon me," said Eva, rising, " for intruding upon 
your grief — I will retire." 

) " Oh no, no," exclaimed Laura. " We have not a ' 






friend in the wide world ; do not leave us now that we 
need one more than ever.'* 

Eva reseated herself, and learned briefly from Laura 
a history of the circumstances which had so reduced 
them, and every warm feeling ofher kind and generous \ 
heart was aroused in behalf of the bereaved orphans. 

" I must go now and see Mr. Oatman. He, I know, 
has a great deal of work done, and you shan't be idle 
long. So, good by — cheer up, and remember that the 
darkest hour is just before the dawn." 

So saying, she departed, leaving the sisters amazed, 
yet delighted. They were amazed to see one so young, 
so full of kindly, generous sympathy for her sex, little 
knowing that from her earliest girlhood Eva Bellamy had 
found her chief pleasure in doing good for others, and 
they were delighted to have found one who seemed so , 
competent to advise, and so willing to assist them in 
this hour of trying difficulty. 

Eva's mission of kindness proved successful, for in 
less than two hours after her departure, a large bundle 
was brought to them, with a note from her. The roll 
contained the materials for two dozen of "over-alls,"- 
a garment made of coarse twilled cotton, intended for 
cartmen, porters, etc., to draw on over their other j 
clothes, to save them from dirt and rents. The note j 
informed them that they were to receive one shilling a { 
pair for making them, and expressed her regret that } 
she QQuld not procure any more easy or profitable 

Before qonunencing work, Clara and Laura had a ) 


j Tlii! ELLIOTT FAillLV. 


long conversation upon their future prospects, and they 
came to the conclusion that it would be impossible for 
them to retain the rooms they now occupied, at the same 
rate of rent. They, therefore, determined to occupy but 
j one room, and to make that, for the present, serve all 
: purposes. It was rather a discouraging beginning, | 
( but they saw the necessity of the strictest economy, and ! 
( made up their minds to practice it, without a murmur. 





Lauea and her sister had yet some difficulties to \ 
overcome, which they had not anticipated. They con- i 
templated giving up all the rooms they had occupied 
during their mother's lifetime, except one, the rent of 
which they thought they might manage to pay without 
any very great difficulty. There was, however, a i 
month's rent of the rooms due to the landlord already, 
to meet which they had not a single cent, as the funeral 
expenses of their mother had absorbed all the money 
they had been able to procure, by pawning every article 
they could possibly spare; but they relied upon the 
humanity of the landlord to allow them a sufficient time 
to earn and save enough to pay him. 

The kind physician who had attended their dear 
mother with such assiduous care, saw at once their } 
situation, and aware of their inability to pay a physi- i 
cian's bill without distressing themselves, he positively i 
refused to accept of one single cent, assuring them at • 
the same time, that if they felt a confidence in him, he i 
should feel offended if they did not always call on him \ 
when a physician's services were required, an act of } 




kindness for which they thanked him from their 

They commenced their new work with heavy hearts, 
and every effort they made to be gay and cheerful, 
seemed only to sink them deeper in despair. The 
j work was very hard, and as it was new to them for the 
j first week, they could only make at the most two 
I pairs a day, and even that was not accomplished with, 
out the most incessant toil. This was earning two and 
a half cents per hour ; they working without cessation 
twelve hours a day. 
j Their landlord called upon them, to receive his rent, 
at the commencement of the ensuing week, and they 
then made the proposal to him, to release them from 
the other rooms, promising to pay up the back rent as 
fast as it could be earned. 
I This man had made the money which enabled him 
/ to be a landlord by keeping a low retail liquor store, 
/ an occupation not tending very much to elevate his 
■ character, or to inspire him with the most tender feel- 
ings for the sufferings of others. 

He listened to their proposal in silence, and when 
Clara had ceased speaking, he said, gruffly : 
What security am I to have for the rent ?" 
We cannot give any but our own word. The rent 
\ of the single room will be only one dollar a week, and 
j if we do not pay punctually, of course you will have it 
^ in your power to turn us out." 

" Yes, that is all very well, and lose my rent. No, 
no, that won't do ; I must have the back rent paid up j 





at once, and security given for the remainder, or you 
must go. I can't afford to let my rooms for nothing, 
when I can get plenty of good tenants who will pay." 

" But we cannot give security, and surely you will 
not turn us out of doors. We can earn the rent each 
week, and will pay it promptly.*' 

'< Well," said the hrute, '^ suppose you are taken sick, 
who is to pay me then V 

" We certainly ought to make allowance for that, for 
we are all liable to sickness; but in such a case, we 
should have to suffer, I suppose." \ 

" Well, if you can't do any better than that, you j 
can't have my rooms any longer. When your mother 
was alive, I did n't require security — ^but girls are so 
apt to cheat one." 

"Never mind, sir; you need not say any more," 
said Clara, proudly ; " we will try and procure other 



You may do that as soon as you please, only I'll 
thank you to pay the back rent." 

" That we will do, I assure you, as soon as we can 
possibly earn it. We will pay it in weekly instal- 

" And do you suppose I am such a fool as to let you 
take this furniture away without paying me ? No, no. 
I dare say you would pay me if you had the money, 
but as you have n't got it, I can't afford to wait till you 
can earn it ; so I must make the best of it, and you 
have no right to complain." 

So saying, the brutal landlord left them, in a fitltte of 

^^^^*^^^^%^'^^ ^ « 





the most painful suspense : for they were utterly ignorant 
of the power which the law gave to him over them. 

They seated themselves again at their work, but it 
was in vain : their eyes so filled with tears, they could 
not see a stitch they took, and it was laid aside. 

" I wonder, dear sister," said Clara, " what that man 
intends to do ? Surely he won't turn us out of doors 

" I don't know. He looks as if he wq^}(1 dp anything 
for money. However, we shall soon know, I dare say. 
How I wish that young lady was here now to advise us. 
She seems to be so familiar with everything of this kind, 
she eould tell us what to do." 

''She is a wonderful girl. She has so much kind- 
ness, so much sympathy, so much courage, I declare I 
fell fairly in love with her at first sight." 

" Here is somebody coming up — ^but it is not Eva," 
said Laura, as a heavy step was heard ascending the 
i Btaiirs toward their room, and immediately afler a rap 
at the door announced a visitor. In answer to the 
^' come in," a tall, hard- featured, coarse-looking man 
entered, and with an attempt at civility, said : 

'' I am sorry to disturb you, ladies, but the law must 
take its course." 

At the mention of the word law, the hearts of the or- 
I )^ans sank within them. It conveyed to them thousands 
of ill-defined terrors, and for an instant they scarcely 
seemed to breathe. 

" I don't know what you mean by saying the law 
must take its course. I am sure we have done nothing 



to offend the law," said Clara, who first found voice to 

"I didn't say you had, but I've got a warrant here 

{ to seize this 'ere furniture, and to see you safe out of the 

i house." 

\ " Grood Heaven !" exclaimed Clara, starting up, "you 
do not mean to say that Mr. Ellis has seized our furni- 
ture ?" 

"No, ma'am, I didn't mean any such a thing; I 
mean to say that I do, though, for him, by virtue of this 

f 'ere warrant. So I must do my duty." 

" Surely you will not take all this furniture for the 

I paltry sum we owe him ?" asked Laura, looking aroimd 

j upon their neatly furnished room. 

"I don't know why I should not. Furniture at auc- 

I tion, just now, won't bring much more than a quarter 

i of its value ; but that's your misfortune." 

" Oh, for Heaven's sake ! sir, don't be so cruel as to » 

1 leave us entirely destitute. We will pay the rent as \ 

) soon as we can possibly earn it." 

) " I dare say that is all very correct, miss, but I have 

I got no choice. I am ordered to seize on this 'ere fur- 

i niture, and seize it I must. But, I tell you what I will 
do. You look as if you would n't try to cheat me, so 
I'll leave the furniture here till to-morrow morning, 

I and perhaps you may be able to raise the money in the 

\ meantime. You must promise me you won't try to 
get any of it away." I 

" Indeed, indeed, we will not ; and although I have j 
no hope we shall be able to procure any money, we ( 




may find a place where we can go after we are turned 

" Well, I will trust you so far ; but mind you, if you 
do play me any tricks, it will be all the worse for you, 
I tell you. So good-bye ; I will be here again to-mor- 
row morning, about this time," and he left them. 

A good hearty cry seemed to relieve their hearts, 
and after the first feelings of grief had subsided, they 
I turned their thoughts to the future. ( 

" Now," said Laura, " I will go and seek Miss Bel- 
lamy. She can advise us how to act, and as she appears 
to know so much better than we do about everything, 
her advice will be of service to us, and I know she 
will cheerfully give it." 

" Oh yes, go by all means," said Clara, who felt her 
own inability to act in this trying crisis ; " go, by all 
means, and ask her to come here in the morning. Who 
knows but that constable may impose on us, because 
of our very ignorance in such matters. I am sure for 
the trifle we owe Mr. Ellis, he ought not to take all our 
furniture, and leave us completely destitute." 

" I am sure I cannot tell or imagine what he may do, 
I am so perfectly ignorant. But I will now go and 
seek Miss Bellamy. Perhaps she can help us in our 
trouble ; so don't be frightened if I should stay out 
rather long." 
; So saying, Laura departed in search of the young . 
friend on whose advice they relied so much, and after ( 
a weary search of two hours, returned without having 
t succeeded in finding her. 


** I am sure I don't know what we shall do. It is 
really dreadful to be so imposed on/' exclaimed Clara^ 
\ when she learned the ill success of her sister's search. 
< " Well, we must bear it as well as we can. The 
) law can only take away what we have got, and we can 
go to work and earn more. For my part, I don't mean 
to cry about it any more." 

" It is all very well to talk so, Laura ; but what are 
we going to do, when all our furniture is gone? Where 
are we to sleep ? Where to eat ?" 

" Sleep ? eat ? Who #ver heard of poor girls think- 
ing about sleeping and eating ?" exclaimed Laura, in { 
tones of bitter sarcasm. " No, no, don't let such ideas ! 
as that distress you ! We require only work ; we can 
live on that," she added, with bitterness, while tears 
forced themselves to her eyes. 
j That night was passed in sleepless worrying, and re- 
grets that they had not succeeded in finding Miss Bel- c 
! lamy, but they hoped that chance might bring her in | 
their neighborhood in the morning, before the constable j 
! returned. \ 

In this, however, they were disappointed, as he was | 
punctual to a minute, and Eva had not yet made her ap- \ 
pearance. s 

" Well, girls, I suppose you've got the money forme ?" \ 
he said, as he made a clumsy obeisance. 

" I am very sorry to say we have not," said Laura, 

" Well, then, my course is plain. I must take the 
things and sell them." 

^^ You surely will not take all this furniture, for so 
trifling a claim as that against us. Mr. Ellis could 
never have given any such orders. He is not so cruel 
as that." 

*' I don't know any thing about Mr. Ellis of his or- 
ders. I have got a warrant here to distrain for one ' 
month's rent and costs, and I rather guess that all this 
furniture, if sold in Chatham street, won't more than 
pay it. But if there is any left, I will, of course, pay 
it over to you. I must, however, do my duty ; so I 
suppose I can send them off at once." 

" But we can keep our clothes ?" inquired Clara. 

"Oh, certainly ; only you must get them out quick, as 
I have lost half a day already by trying to oblige you." 

The girls saw there was no use of arguing further 
with a man who had but the one idea in his head, and 
taking their clothes from their only bureau, they laid 
them in their trunks, and piece by piece the room was 
stripped of every article of furniture, wbioh was rudely 
and carelessly piled on a cart, which the constable had 
J brought with him. 

As the last article was carried off, and the officer of 
[' the law had bowed himself out of the room, with " I am 
really very sorry for you, girls, but the law must have 
its course," the sisters seated themselves on their trunks, 
and gave way to a hearty flow of tears. 

But even this luxury was denied them long, for they 
were interrupted by a knock at the door, and, in reply 
to their " come in," « smiling good-natured little woman 
I entered. 



« m—i^'n^^a^i^it'tu^mt^tm^iiti^^ 


"Well, my dears," she said, familiarly, "I have 
rented these rooms, as Mr. Ellis told me you were leav- 
ing ; but if you ain't ready to go yet, just say so, and I 
will leave you in them till to-morrow." 

" Go !" exclaimed Clara, " where can we go ? Mr. 
Ellis has turned us out of doors, and we have no place 
to lay our heads. He has stripped us of every article 
of furniture, and bids us go." 

" And has Mr. Ellis done that ?" inquired the stran- 
ger, her little gray eyes flashing. 

" He has, indeed," replied Laura, sobbing. 

" Then you may stay here just as long as you choose. 
I have only got one little child, and don't want all the 
rooms, so you can have one, and I've got plenty of fur- 
niture, such as it is ; so make your hearts easy on that 
score. I've paid my rent in advance, and he can't 
hinder me from doing what I choose with my own 


The sisters expressed their most grateful thanks for 
this unexpected act of kindness, which they accepted, 
assuring their kind hostess that they would cheerfully j 
pay her whatever she might deem proper to ask for 
their board. 

" Come, come, make your hearts perfectly easy, 
girls. I am poor, but poverty has not steeled my heart / 
against the distresses of my fellow-creatures. I have j 
j- to sew for my living, as I dare say you do, and there is | 
no use in our worrying each other. You shall have j 
the room for what you can afford to pay, and I will make 
you as comfortable as possible. I am sure I should 



never have another night's rest, if I were to let you go out 
of the house without knowing where you were to go, or 
which way to turn. Come, my things will be here 
right away, and if we work sharp, we can get all 
straight by dinner time.' 

Mrs. Stewart, for that was the name of this kind little ' 
woman, bustled about to such good purpose, and the 
sisters assisted her so readily, that, as she predicted, the 
rooms were in order by dinner time. 

Clara and Laura could scarcely realize the change, 
so sudden had it been. A few short hours before, and 
they were houseless, homeless — without a friend to look 
to, and the prospect before them dark indeed. They 
felt that Providence had especially interposed in their 
behalf, and they poured out in the very fullness of their 
hearts their grateful thanks to God for his unceasing 
goodness, imploring also grace to be able to submit with 
humility and cheerfulness to any dispensation which 
the future might bring upon them. The entire day was 
occupied by them in assisting Mrs. Stewart, and at 
night they retired to rest weary and fatigued, but with 
hearts comparatively at ease. 



Mr. Simmons, with his interesting family, had been 
i at the Springs some three or four weeks, living in the 
most luxurious and extravagant style, exciting the ad- 
miration of some and the envy of others. 

It was settled between the amiable sisters that Mr. 
Seabrook, the wealthy Southerner, was to be the hus- 
band of one of them before the season closed. The 
heart had nothing whatever to do with any marriage of 
theirs, which they might contract, so that was not to 
be counselled. He was wealthy, and what was to 
them quite as desirable, was of a most ancient and 
aristocratic family ; so he was plied with attentions with 
which no man possessed of less than the ordinary share 
of common sense could fail to feel flattered. He was 
quite at a loss which of the two to choose. He had 
made up his mind that one of them was to be his wife, ( 



but it was very difl[icult to decide between them. Day ) 
after day he was with them on riding, fishing, or pic 
nic excursions, and each day his indecision became 
more harassing. 

One day he had made up his mind to select Euphe- \ 




mia, but on the next Maria had been so exceedingly ! 
fascinating, he was again turned. ' 

While the future husband of one of the young ladies 
was in this unpleasant predicament, Mr. Simmons one 
! day received a letter from his head clerk, the contents 
of which caused him so much agitation that he could | 
I not conceal it, and Mr. Seabrook, who was with him at | 
the time, could not forbear asking if he had received 
any unpleasant news. 

" No— not at all ; rather singular though," was the 
reply, given in a hurried and excited manner ; so much 
so as to induce the suspicion in the mind of Mr. Sea- j 
brook that it was exactly the reverse. And Mr. Sim- ( 
mons added, ^* But I must go down to the city and in- j 
quire into it. Shall I leave my family in your charge^ 
Mr. Seabrook ?" he inquired, in his blandest tones. 

" With the greatest pleasure in the world. I shall 
be too happy in having such a charge confided to me," ; 
politely replied that gentleman. 

By the next conveyance, Mr. Simmons was on the 
road to the city, and in no very amiable state of mind. 
The letter from his clerk informed him that drafts to a 
large amount, drawn by a heavy Southern house in his 
favor, had been dishonored, and there was good reason 
to apprehend a crash. 

Mr. Simmons foresaw that, if this house &iled, his 
own ruin was inevitable. For the past few months he ) 
had been much harassed for money, and this disap- j 
pointment would effectually cripple him. He knew | 
that prompt and decisive measures alone could save ) 


him, and he was hastening to the city to put them in • 
j operation. 

i On reaching the store, he found that he had arrived 
i too late. The Southern house was gone past hope, and [ 
) those who knew his intimate connection with them, ! 
( foresaw his downfall. Bills were poured in upon him ! 
j with the most appalling celerity. Friends on whom he J 
( had often before relied, were now hard run ; they j 
I could afford him no assistance. At least, they said so, ' 
I and he had the additional mortification of knowing that 
it was not true, but that this excuse was only made to 
( soften a refusal of the required loan. 
! At length one heavy day came, and Mr. Simmons 
( was compelled to allow his notes to lie over. The 
news of a failure such as his, was not long unknown in 
a great commercial city like New- York, and before 
j night of that day, every piece of property he owned in j 
( the world was attached. j 

' Hurriedly he wrote a note to his wife and daughters, j 
informing them of his failure, and urging them to se- j 
cure Mr. Seabrook, at all hazards. \ 

I But that gentleman was not so easily secured. He ' 

suspected from the manner of Mr. Simmons that all was 
not right, and had written to a mercantile friend in the ] 
city to inform him of the state of his future father-in- ' 
.' law's affairs. The reply was so perfectly satisfactory j 
( that, on the morning after its receipt, he found himself j 
' called home by the most alarming intelligence as to the ; 
» health of an aged uncle, whose heir he was to be, nor I 
( could all the entreaties of Mrs. Simmons, aided by the ' 


imploring looks of the fascinating daughters, keep him 
a single hour, and he departed amid sighs of regret. 

The day after his departure, the letter from Mr. Sim- 
moos reached its destination, and the news came like a 
thunder clap upon them. A council was at once held, 

I and, as securing Mr. Seabrook was now impossible, it 

j was determined to secure, if possible, some other equally 

j eligible match. 

} But here again they were checked. The failure of 
Mr. Simmons had been publicly announced, and long 
before the .mother and daughters had arrange? their 
plans, eveiy visitor at the Springs knew of it. The 
cold looks of their quondam friends — ^the expressions of 
sympathy for their misfortune — ^the ill-concealed sneers 
of those who had formerly envied them — added gall to 
the bitter draught they had been forced to swallow, and 
seeing that Saratoga was no longer the place for them, 
they made preparations for leaving. 

Here again, however, another unlocked for difficulty 
presented itself. They had run up an enormous bill 


at the expensive hotel where they had resided, and all 


the ready money which Mr. Simmons had so freely 
lavished on them, had long since been dissipated in 
foolish extravagances. The landlord, however, proved 
more accommodating than they had anticipated, and \ 
permitted them to depart, with the assurance that his j 
{ bill should be settled immediately upon their reaching 
! the city. He had not the least idea he should ever see 
j one cent, but he wisely thought that he had better have 
I his rooms vacant, than to support upon so poor a pros- 


pect of remuneration, so extravagant and trouUesohte ii 
family as that of Mr. Simmons's. 

Mr. Simmons's failure was, in truth, perfectly ruin- 
ous. He had lived up to the very height of his in- 
come, and had not assets enough to pay fifty cents on 
the dollar. This created much hard feeling against 
him among his creditors, who had been disposed at first 
to treat him with lenity, but when his books Were ex- 
hibited and his personal expenses made known, he was 
required to give up every thing to satisfy their de- 

Mrs. Simmons and her daughters could scarcely 
realize the change which the short period of two weeks 
had made in their circumstances. Reduced suddenly 
from wealth to a poverty as chilling as that of their 
earliest years, they were utterly unable to bear up 
against it. True, wealth had suddenly flowed in upon 
them, and as suddenly vanished. True, they had 
risen from the humblest walks in life to a rank and 
station attained by very few, except by those who have 
wealth at their command ; and that, too, by a chain of 
circumstances purely fortuitous. But they had grown 
proud, haughty and conceited, as they grew rich, and, 
as each year added to their importance, they felt it impos- 
sible that they could recede. They had never suffered 
a thought that poverty was a thing of possible occur- 
rence with them to disturb the quiet of their days, and 
were, therefore, entirely unprepared for the change. 

Nor had they any source of comfort or consolation in j 
their own hearts. Each looked upon the other now ; 



with distrust. Each felt that the other was in her 
way, and each one was prepared, at any moment, to 
sacrifice the other, if, by so doing, she could be again 
elevated to the height from which they had been thus 
' suddenly precipitated. 

Mr. Simmons knew well what he had to do. He 
saw around him a family entirely unfitted to be of the 
least possible service to him. True, his daughters 
had been elegantly educated, and were what the world 
terms accomplished. They could play, and sing, and 
dance, and, in company could make themselves agreea- 
ble. But in their own home they were perfectly use- 
less fixtures i of the ordinary domestic duties profoundly ( 
ignorant, they could be of no service at home, and they 
displayed no desire to be useful to themselves or to 
others abroad. 

Mrs. Simmons felt the sudden revulsion as bitterly 
as did either of her daughters ; but she had in earlier 
; days been accustomed to poverty, and, with all her 
) faults, she loved her husband too well to desire to see 
him alone and comfortless now. She knew well the cha- 
racters of her children, and had good cause to dread for 
them, but she determined to neglect no precaution which 
might save them. 
^ A small house was taken in the upper part of the < 
j city, and Mr. Simmons, having procured a clerkship in ( 
> a large store at a fair salary, hoped to enjoy compara- ! 
J tive peace. But he little knew, or remembered that he 
') who sows the wind must expect to reap the whirlwind. 
I His daughters had been brought up amid the refinements \ 





J of ease and luxury, ever so readily attained by those 
I who have wealth at their command ; and among the j 
earliest lessons impressed upon their minds, was a per- | 
\ feet and unmitigated contempt for poverty. The idea j 
; of feeling for the wants of another was something so \ 
! strange, it never found a place in their hearts, and as 
{ for sympathy with their suffering fellow-creatures, it 
was an emotion they had never experienced. 

They had, however, some lessons yet to learn, which 
were to make ineffaceable impressions on their minds ; 
and they were doomed to drink to the dregs of the cup [ 
they had so often held to the lips of others. They had, j 
in the vanity of their hearts, conceived that the atten- ( 
tions paid to them, and the flatteries so often poured j 
/ into their willing ears, were tributes to their worth, to i 
) their graces, and to their accomplishments, and while j 
j they had ever felt happy in exciting envy in others, by | 
} the display which their father's wealth enabled them 
to make, they haa never dreamed that Providence 
j might reverse the picture, and place them in the posi- i 
( tion of those whom they delighted to torment. } 

' All the efforts of their father and mother to induce S 
them to apply themselves to some useful occupation 
proved unavailing, and their time was passed in gad- ^ 
ding from house to house. ( 

But the coldness of their reception was such at nearly j 
( every place they visited, they could not longer even ! 
fancy themselves welcome, and could they have heard > 
one half of the remarks drawn forth by their visit, shame ) 
( would have deterred them from repeating it. [ 



Of all the families with whom in the hour of their 
I prosperity they had been on terms of intimacy, not one 
) was there but received them with the most freezing 
) coldness, and, on one occasion, as they were about 
; leaving the house of one who had been one of their 
) " dearest friends,*' they overheard the order given — 
i" Not at home in future to the Misses Simmons !" 
At home, they frittered away their time in useless 
repinings, instead of applying themselves to. domestic 
employments, and the consequence was they soon be- 
came sullen and morose, quarrelling with each other^ 
impertinent to their parents, and a burthen to them- 
) Mr. Simmons regretted this sad change in his cir- 
I cumstances full as much for the sake of his children as 
1 for himself, for he was sufficiently a man of the world 
to know that, while they were counted wealthy, all 
their faults would be overlooked, and they might make 
almost any marriage they chose. But as the children 
) of a poor man, and with faults so glaring in their cha- 
; racters, such as he saw too plainly, he knew that their 
S prospects of settlement were poor indeed, and he used 
j every effort to impress upon their minds the necessity 
of an alteration in their conduct and manners. But 
they heeded his advice with contemptuous indifference, 
and promised not long to be a burthen to him. 

In this manner this unhappy family passed several 
) months, their house being daily a scene of wrangling 
; and quarrelling, producing a bitterness of feeling which, 
\ in the end, extinguished almost every spark of affec- 



tion, and which severed the hearts of the sisters as c 
pletely as though they had been strangers to < 
other, or, perhaps, acquaintances of the hour. 

But, leaving them for the time, let us return to C 
and Laura Elliott, whom we left in the care of the k 
hearted Mri. Stewart. 





The day after the occurrences detailed in a previous 
chapter, while Clara and her sister were seated at their 
work, they received an unexpected, hut most welcome 
call from Miss Bellamy, who had heen absent from the 
city for a few days. 

'^ Why, girls,'' said she, as soon as she entered their 
! little room, " what have you been doing ? You have 
{ changed all your furniture." 

Tears started to the eyes of the sisters, as they heard 
the remark, but checking them, they proceeded to nar- 
rate the circumstances which led to the alteration in the 
appearance of their apartment. Eva listened with deep 
attention, and her generous heart glowed with kindly 
sympathy, as she wept over the trials of the unfortunate 

" Well," she exclaimed, when the narrative was J 
finished, *^ you have one comfort left, of which all the 
constables in the world cannot deprive you. You have 
God in whom to trust, and he will not desert you, I am ^ 

Yes, dear Miss Bellamy, and we have in you one 





earthly friend, whose generous sympathy has lightened 
many heavy hours of their load. We may never be 
able to repay your kindness, but we never will forget 
it, or cease to remember you in our prayers." ( 

" You will pain me," replied Eva, ** by speaking 

thus. I act ever from the promptings of my own ( 

heart, and in the consciousness that I perform my { 

duty, I have ever derived my highest reward. But ( 

1 how fare you ? How do you get on with your work ? \ 

! Have you ascertained yet how much you can make at 

S it." 

\ " I fear," replied Clara, " that our prospects are not 

I the most flattering. At the very most, we cannot make 

\\ more than two pairs of these each in a day, and that 

gives us only twelve shillings apiece for the week's { 

work." I 

" I wish I could assist you myself," exclaimed Eva, j 

in the fullness of her heart, " but I cannot ; my poor • 

. mother is very feeble, and all the time I can spare, I ( 

must devote to her comfort. Besides, all the duties of j 

our little household devolve upon me, and however good } 

my will may be, my powers will not permit me to per* j 

form more than I now do." { 

" We surely could not expect that, Miss Bellamy, j 

But do not deprive us of your friendship, your advice, j 

and your occasional visits. Besides yourself, there is 

no human being whom we may call friend, and our in- 1 

experience renders us sadly in need of your assist- i 

ance." j 

" I would I could do more for you, indeed, than to ! 



advise ; but do not despair. When you have. seen one- 
half the suffering I have been compelled to witness, you 
will think your own lot comparatively happy. There 
is one sentence I wish to impress deeply upon your 
j minds — so deeply, I hope you will never forget it. It 
/ is my own motto, and it has supported me through 
} many hours of sad, weary, and cheerless anxiety: 
I * Brighter hours will come,' Bear this in mind, and if 
it brings to your hearts half the peace those precious 
words have bestowed on me, when I felt that all was 
dark and cheerless, without one ray of hope, you will 
submit with cheerfulness to your lot. Believe me, 
girls, I have had my sufferings, and though I have not 
yet been called on to bear the lot of poverty, I have ex- 
perienced that which I would gladly exchange even for 
a portion so dreary." 

Eva spoke this with a serious, almost solemn earnest- 
ness, that told much more than met the ear ; for the 
girls could not imagine that one situated as she was, 
I blessed in the affection of a mother, enjoying the com- 
( forts of a home, and shedding peace, joy and happiness 
K on all around her, could have any grief which these 
\ few words could assuage. But, alas ! how mysterious 
are the workings of the human heart, and how few 
there are to whom it is given to read them. 

After an hour passed in pleasant sociable chat, in j 
which she used every effort to cheer and encourage | 
them, Eva left the unfortunate orphans, promising to | 
repeat her visit at an early day, but taking care before j 
her departure, to impress again and again upon them, ( 



the comfort brought to her heart by the motto of her 
life — " Brighter hours mil come.^* 

The girls continued at their worH for several weeks 
with the most assiduous zeal, but sadly overtasking 
themselves, in the hope that they might be able to lay 
up something against the approach of the winter season, 
which was now rapidly drawing near. But with all 
their efforts, they found it impossible to do more than 
pay their board, and with the small surplus left from \ 
each week's earnings, purchase some trifling article of j 
absolute necessity, to replace those which the long- | 
continued sickness of their mother, and her funeral ex* \ 
penses, had compelled them to part with. ^ 

They were cheered, however, once in each week by a 
visit from Eva, whose loveliness of temper, and open, 
frank-heartedness of manner, had so won their hearts, ) 
they had learned to love her as a sister, and worthy, 
well worthy, did she prove herself of all their aflection.- 

! ate regard. 

I One bitter day in November, Laura had carried home . 
the work finished during the week, and before she 
had reached home on her return, a cold, driving sleet 
came on, which penetrated through her clothing, un- 
suited as it was to the inclemency of the season ; and 
in a few hours after reaching home, she was taken siok 
with a raging fever. 

The kind physician, whose generous aid had been so ( 
freely and voluntarily extended to them during their ! 

/ mother's sickness, was at once sent for, and he came | 
with as much cheerfulness and alacrity, as though he } 



was on a visit to his most wealthy patient, for Ms heart 
could make no distinction between rich and poor, where 
his skill and services were required to alleviate suffer- 

Laura was in a high fever, and from the looks of the 
physician Clara drew unfavorable omens, but he, ob- ' 
serving the cloud upon her brow, dispelled it, by assur- 
ing her that there was no danger to be immediately ap- 
prehended. While he was preparing a prescription 
for the sufferer, Eva came in, whom he at once recog- 
nized — for he had often met her at the residences of hia 
poor patients — and turning to Clara, he said : 

" You need fear nothing where this young lady is. 
I find her everywhere, where suffering is to be alle- 
viated, and where kindness and sympathy can &WoTd 
consolation. You must be a happy girl, Miss Bellamy," 
added he, turning to Eva, ** for you are always doing 
some good to your fellow-creatures." 

Eva blushed at this well-merited compliment, for in 
the earnest sincerity of her heart, she could never 
feel that the performance of the duty imposed by reli- 
gion, and which always afforded her great pleasure, 
was a proper subject for compliments, and they always 
occasioned her real pain, instead of pleasure, as many 
too often imagined. 

The prescription for Laura was left with Clara, and 

/ after the kind doctor had left, Eva discovered from her 

} manner that something was amiss, as she appeared 

) strangely agitated. 

) << Allow me to go out and have ik» pre«|Qriptio9 put 

- — — m 


up,*' she said, rightly divining the cause of her emotion, ( 

which was, in truth, that she had not the means to pay ] 

even for medicine for a sick and suffering sister. j 

"Indeed, Miss Bellamy," exclaimed Clara, "I am \ 

ashamed to say it, but I have not the money to procure ' 
j It. \ 


" And why should you be ashamed, Clara ? I am j 
sure poverty is no crime, and your paucity of means ( 
does not arise from indolence, certainly. Give me the 
prescription, and don't call me Miss Bellamy again, j 
unless you wish to offend me very much." 

" Dear, dear Eva, may God bless you, and make you ( 
as happy as your kindness has made us," exclaimed ( 
Clara, bursting into tears. ) 

*' There, there — don't cry — Laura wants something ; i 
see to her." So saying, she glided gently out of the ( 
room, her own eyes suffused with tears, which she ( 
could not repress. \ 

I will not weary the reader by detailing the occur- v 
I rences of the following four weeks. Laura's illness ( 
) was most serious, and she required such constant atten- ! 
» tion, Clara had no time to work. Occasionally she ;! 
{ would hastily take up the work before her, and seating j 
herself by the bedside of the sufferer, would endeavor • 
to sew ; but soon the tears would blind her eyes, as she ' 
thought upon the future, and before she could again j 
collect herself, Laura would require something at her j 
hands. ! 

Eva Bellamy knew the deplorable state of destitution ' 
to which the orphans were reduced, through the sick- ; 



ness of the one, and the inahility of the other to work ; 
but her generous heart was ever as ready to practice 
as to render sympathy, and with the most persevering 
energy, she went about among her friends, narrating 
the sad circumstances in which they were placed, and 
receiving from one and from another such contributions 
as enabled her to pay their board weekly, and to pro- 
vide such necessaries and comforts as Laura^s situation 

Laura was coniined to her bed for four weeks, and 
it was two months before she was enabled again to re- 
sume her needle ; but it was evident that sickness had 
made an inroad upon her constitution, which time would 
tend only to increase. In fact, it could not be concealed 
that her health was completely broken up, and her con- 
stitution so shattered, that she could not long survive. 

She felt conscious of it herself, and it caused her no 
pain, except when the remembrance of what her sister 
must suffer when left alone came across her mind ; for 
she could well imagine how she herself would feel were 
she left alone, to struggle with poverty and distress. 
Day by day she drooped, and day by day Clara and 

Eva watched her fading into her early grave, their 
' hearts aching with grief, as they felt they could do 
nothing for her. 

But the fiat had gone forth, and in a few short weeks 
) Laura Elliott was numbered with the dead. 

Eva Bellamy had been during the whole of her sick- 
ness a daily visitor, adding to the joy which her own 
welcome presence inspired, the consolations of that reli- 


gion which was all in all to her ; and they had the bliss- 
ful pleasure of realizing that the patient sufferer had 
departed from a world of sorrows and troubles here, to 
enjoy the rest and reward prepared and promised in 
Heaven, to those who loved and served the Lord in this 
earthly tabernacle. 

Soon afker Laura's death, Eva was called to go wiUi ; 
her mother into the country, where aha remained fimoh 
longer than she had anticipated, and on her return to 
the city, she immediately proceeded to Clara's rosidcoace. 
Her astonishment, however, was great to find a pile of 
ruins, denoting that the building had &llen a prey to 
the flames, nor did her persevering efforts to discover 
the object of her search, bring her any nearer to the 

/ desire of her heart. 

Often, very often, would she sit, and sigh, and wonder 

) what had been the destiny of the poor orphan, and she 
hoped, almost against hope, that the " brighter hoar^' 
had come for her. 

Mr. Oatman, from whom she had obtained work, on- 
til the state of her health compelled her to change the 
employment, was applied to, but he could only trace 
her to an establishment in Broadway, where he had re- 
commended her. All trace of her was lost, and Rva 

! could only hope that the trust and confidence in the 
goodness of Grod, which was always her own sole re- 
liance, had supported the poor girl through life, and if 
death had claimed her as his victim, had opened to her 

{ an entrance into that kingdom where toils and trouUet 

(cease for ever. 






Claba felt lonely and weary at heart when she found 
herself deprived of the company of Eva, for she had 
so linked herself with her own destiny, she looked to 
her with the same confidence she would have enter- 
tained for a beloved sister. 

Her many acts of unobtrusive kindness during the 
kmg continued illness of Laura, were remembered with 
the most grateful emotions, and she never forgot to 
ofier up daily prayers for her happiness, in whatever 
sphere her lot might be cast. 

The unceasing watchings and attentions rec^uired by 
Laura in the last few weeks of her existence had made 
sad inroads upon Clara's health, and she felt the ne- 
cessity of having some relaxation from her arduous 
labors. But how could she enjoy this ? She knew 
that the kind-hearted woman with whom she boarded, 
could not afford to keep her without promptly receiving 
her board, however willing she might be to do so ; for ) 
she had to struggle hard enough herself to procure a 
maintenance for herself and child. She must, there- 
fore, work, although die felt more like going to b^r 

ner ) 


bed, and receiving the attention and kindness which 
her weak state of health demanded, than sitting for 
twelve and fourteen hours a day at work. 

Mr. Oatman, the friend of Eva, continued to provide 
for her work, of the same kind as that she had been 
engaged upon, but she found it impossible, after a few 
week's further trial, to continue at it. Her strength 
was inadequate to sew on such heavy material as that I 
from which the over-alls were made, and before long 
she found herself under the absolute necessity of seek- 
ing other employment which should not be so hard, and 
the more especially was she urged to this, as her strength 
now permitted her to earn, at the utmost, a dollar and a 
shilling a week, and this with twelve hours of incessant 

Through the recommendation of this kind-hearted 
\ man, and thanks to the kindness of Eva Bellamy, who 
had urged him to befriend the unfortunate orphan, 
during her absence from the city, she was enabled to 
procure some shirts to make up from one of the most ^ 
fashionable establishments in Broadway, for which she \ 

was to receive three shillings each. The material 


being lighter, she felt confident that she could earn 
more with less bodily labor, and miserable as was the 
price to be paid for her labor on them, she received 
them with a grateful heart. 

She was, however, not very long in making the dis- 
covery that she had not made a change for the better. 
The garments were required to be made with great 
neatness, and before she had worked one week at them, 



• she found that the fine stitching was wearing upon her 
j eye-sight. She endeavored to persuade herself that 
/ this was only occasioned by working at night, so she ! 
) determined to rise at an earlier hour in the morning, ^ 
( and not sew any more at night than was absolutely ne- 
i cessary to enable her to earn enough to pay her board. 
j For another week she adhered to this change, and, j 
\ although she found her eye-sight improved, she felt that j 
j her strength was sinking under her dreadful overtask- ) 
i ing. But what could she do ? She must sew on, or j 

• Starve, and with a frame gradually wasting away for ' 
J the want of exercise and wholesome air — with spirits ;, 
( depressed from being cut off from all social intercourse — ; 
j with a heart filled with despair, as she trusted herself \ 
! to look at the dreary prospect before her, she worked ) 



At length she grew so weak she could no longer sit i 
up to sew, but, propping herself up in her humble bed \ 
\ with pillows, she continued her cheerless task — ^the kind ; 
I landlady taking her work to the shop when finished, | 
1 and bringing home more as required, 
j No one will expect me to paint the feelings of the i 
j desolate, broken-hearted orphan, as she pursued in i 
< dreary solitude her daily work. At times, memory ] 
would bring to her the happy days gone by ; when, ! 
blessed with every comfort which the care of affectionate , 


\ parents could procure, her life glided on in one stream \ 
of peaceful happiness. She thought of those earlier \ 
days with bitterness, but she never dared to indulge the i 

^ hope that even their shadows might return to her. She { 


I tried to make her heart believe that " brighter houra" 
might come, but as each day passed over, the darkness 
seemed to grow more deep and black around her, and J 
i she sunk into utter, hopeless despair. { 

j She thought of her dear mother, and oh, how she 
wished from her heart of hearts that she might have 
been spared to her ; not that she too might pass her 
days and nights in unrequited toil, but that she might 
be cheered by her presence— inspired by her admoni- 
tions— encouraged by her sympathy, and blessed by 
her alBTection. She checked herself then, for she felt 
j that such a mother was far happier now, and she derived } 
) some consolation in the reflection that she could not 
J much longer be separated from her. j 

\ Laura, too, the loving sympathizing sister, who had 
gone to join their mother in Heaven, often rose up be- 
fore her, and so real did her presence sometimes seem 
j to the desolate girl, she almost felt that she had been 
I with her in person, and had conununed with her. 
\ And Eva Bellamy, the kind, benevolent Eva, whose 
sympathy had so often lightened her weary heart of i 
half its load. How she did long for her presence once ) 
I more. She felt that one moment of ccnnmunion with • 
I her would re-animate her sinking frame and give her 
! renewed strength, for in her presence she could not feel | 

desponding. But no— all comfort was denied to her. 
\ In the solitude of her cheerless chamber — propped up ! 
{ in her bed, she pursued her weary task, and found no 
peace, no ray of hope, no glimmer of light, save "whaa, 
forgetting all the changii^ vanities of earth, abe turned ; 


her thoughts to God and heaven. Then a holy peace- 
ful calm would steal over her soul, and, for a time, in 
the blissful anticip«itions of the great and endless future, 
she fi>rgot the suffering, the misery, the anguish of the 
present. Daily her thoughts ascended more frequently 
and fervently to God, and at length she was enabled, in 
answer to her unceasing prayers, to look forward to the 
hour which should end her course on earth, as the only 
blessing yet unbestowed on her. 

One night, after working rather later than usual, she 
laid her task aside, and was preparing to retire for the 
( night, when, fancying she perceived a smell of smoke, 
I as from wood burning, she called to Mrs. Stewart, 
} whose room adjoined her own, for she was too feeble 
/ to be capable of any great exertion herself. 
) Mrs. Stewart, who had retired, worn out and ex- 
hausted with her day's toil, was fast asleep, and had 
not awakened. As the smell became more and more 
perceptible, Clara's fears gave her strength, and she 
opened her door, to examine for herself. A single 
glance sufficed to inform her that there was fire some- 
i where very near, for she saw volumes of smoke rising 
! from the lower floor. 

( The urgency of the occasion imparted more than 
) usual strength to Clara, and summoning all her ener- 
) gies, she aroused Mrs. Stewart effectually, and snatch- \ 
) ing her child from the cradle where it was asleep, hur- j 
ried down stairs, shouting at the top of her feeble voice, J 
i in order to alarm the other inmates of the burning build- I 
^ ing. She had not been too prompt^ for spf^rcely had she ( 


reached the street, when the flames burst forth from the ^ 
lower room, and before a general alarm could be given, 
the building was wrapped in flames, beyond the hope ] 
of preservation, and all the efforts of the generous fire- 1 
men were turned to save the adjoining dwellings. } 

Without shedding a single tear, Clara, seated on the j 
steps of a house opposite, watched the ravages of the 
devouring element, as it roared and raged through the ) 
building, and in a few minues, that which before had j 
been her home — cheerless though it was — ^lay before her 
a heap of smouldering ruins. 

She had been unable to save one single article of her 
clothing, and what grieved her yet more, even amid the 
horrors of the scene, was the certainty that the work 
she had obtained from the shop to make up, had fallen 
a prey to the flames. 

Tears at length did come to her relief — bitter, scald- 
ing tears — and they coursed down her wan cheek, as ) 
she reflected on her truly desolate situation. Without \ 
f a shelter to cover her — without a single article of cloth- ( 
ing, save those she had on, when she made her escape \ 
from the burning building — without one friend in the j 
wide world, save Eva, and she absent from the city, . 
where could she turn ? what could she do ? I 

Burying her face in her hands, she yielded to her j 
K feelings, and prayed that the great God would spare I 
her further suffering, and take her to himself. But the 
cup destined to be drained by her, was not yet emptied { 
I of all its bitterness. How long she remained in this ; 
^ position, she knew not, but she was aroused by a gentle 


j touch on the arm, and looking up, she saw before her 
( one of the city watchmen. 

! " Come, I guess it's time for you to go home,'* he said, 
j in tones which he intended to be civil, but which grated j 
; most harshly upon her feelings. j 

( " Home ! sir ? alas, I have now no home. There was j 
! my home a few hours ago," and she pointed to the still j 
\ smoking ruins. J 

! " Well, I guess you'd better go and find your friends, 
; then. It won't do^'to be sitting here all night. They 
j will give you a home, of course, under these circum- j 
stances." ' 

" I have now no home on earth, and no friend but 
God. I am sure, sir, I know not where to go, or whi- 
ther to turn." ( 
" Then you'd better go to the watch-house with me," ! 
replied the man, whose rough nature was touched by j 
her evident distress, and who knew of no other course to 
^ advise. 

I Clara shrunk back at the mention of the watch- 
) house, for every idea she had ever formed of that place } 
I was abhorrent, and she could not bear the thought of i 
{ being shut up with vagrants, felons, drunkards, and ( 
} the like. j 

) The watchman at once interpreted her feelings, and 
i kindly assured her that she should be made perfectly 
I comfortable, and would be left alone as much as possi- 
I ble. He pointed out the folly of sitting there alone in i 
J the night air, and convinced her that she would be none j 
I the better off by remaining there, than by going with j 


V him. Conquering, therefore, her repugnance, she ac- ! 
' companied the guardian of the night, and true to his \ 
! promise, he did make her comfortable, and placed her • 
i apart from the other inmates, so that except being com- j 

pelled to hear what was passing, she was comparatively l 

) In the morning, when the watch was discharged, she 
J was told that she had better be going, as the watch- 
\ house was about to be closed ; so thanking the men for 

the shelter afforded her — for rest she had not enjoyed — 

she left. 

Faint, weary and hungry, and with scarcely strength 

left to walk, she moved on unconsciously, not knowing 

whither she was going, nor having any purpose in view. 

Her steps led her to the Park, and seeing a large num- 
} her of females gathered about the door of a long, yellow 
) building, she inquired of one who passed her, stagger- ; 
\ ing under a heavy bag, filled with something she could 
j not tell what, as to the cause of the gathering. 
) The woman stared at her for an instant, as if in won- 
{ der at her ignorance, and replied : 
" Sure and it's the Alms-House." 
Clara had heard of the Aims-House before, and the 

blood mounted to her pale cheeks, as she thought that 

now she must go there or starve. She soon reached the 
\ door, but on looking in, perceived that the large room 
j in which the office was held, was densely crowded, so 
\ densely, hours must elapse ere her turn could come to j 

apply, and as she had not the strength to stand up while | 

waiting, she withdrew, and seated herself upon a pile I 



of stones near the door, for there was no other place for 
her, the door steps even being crowded with applicants, 
nearly every one of whom were Irish women. 

She saw some of them go down into the large cellar, 
and soon afler return laden with a bag, or a basket, full 
of potatoes, and she inquired of another woman, who 
had taken a seat near her on the stones, if that was all 
the relief they received. 

" No," was the reply ; "sometimes they give what 
they call out-door relief, to those whom they think need 



" In what shape V 

" Why, two shillings, or perhaps four shillings a 
week, in cash, and in winter time, perhaps a half a 
load or so of wood during the season." 

" Grod help the poor l*^ involuntarily exclaimed Clara. 
" But," she added, " do they not admit them into the 
I Aims-House, when they really require it ?" 

"Oh yes, when it is not too full ; but now they 
say it is overflowing, and they can't take in any 



< " Then you don't think I can get in ?" was the in- 

[ quiry again. 

{ "No, I haven't the least idea you can just now. 

I However, there's nothing like tr3ring. But there's 

I one thing very much against you." 

; " And what is that?" asked Clara, in some astonish- 


S " Why, you ain't a foreigner." 

: This was a riddle to Clara, and as she did not think 



the solution would add much to her information, she \ 
forbore asking any further questions, and the woman 
soon after left her. 

For four weary hours did Clara Elliott remain seat- 
ed there. Not a morsel of food had passed her lips 
since early on the previous evening. She was faint, 
weary and broken-hearted, and she longed to lie down 
and die. 

At length there seemed a chance that she might gain 
admittance, and with an effort, for she was fairly stif- 
fened by remaining so long seated, she arose from her 
seat on the stones, and made her way into the office, 
where she found only two or three of the females 
in waiting. 
\ When they had gone, she moved up to the desk, and 
holding by the rail which ran across it for support, she 
preferred her request for relief, the blood mounting to 
the very roots of her hair, and scalding tears forcing 
i themselves from her eyes as she did so. 

" What is your name ?" asked a clerk, very gruffly. 

" Clara Elliott,'' was the reply. 

" Where do you live V 

" I have no home, sir." 

" Oh, I see," said a portly, well-fed, sleek-looking man 
behind the bar, gazing at her over his gold spectacles ; S 
"sick, and turned out of doors, eh?" ^ 

Clara did not understand the full import of this 
question, and in the innocence of her heart she replied 
to him, though had she understood the insinuation in- ^ 
tended to be conveyed, she would have died of starva 

■^.•'^•' s- "> *-",'* V 


tion at his feet, before a word would have passed her 
I lips in answer to such a question : 
{ "I am in very feeble health, sir, and was turned out 
/ of my home last night by a fire, which destroyed the 
j house in which I boarded." 

I " Well, what do you expect we can do for you ?" 
\ asked the portly gentleman, apparently getting tired of 
} the conversation. 

\ '' I do not know, sir. I am suffering now from actual 
I hunger. I have no home — ^no friends, nor means.'' 
} " Well, do you want to go up ?" 
) " I don't know what you mean, sir," replied Clara, 
j and she really did not. The brute had taken it for 
/ granted, because Clara was pale and thin, and con- 
/ fessed that she was in ill health, that she was one of 
{ those unfortunate girls whom despair does sometimes 
\ drive to lead a life of sin, in preference to a death by 
! starvation, and who sometimes are sent up to the hospi- 
) tal, at the public expense. 

" I suppose you have never been up before ?" he 
asked, as if he well knew that she had, but would deny 
it to him. 

" Never, sir ; and I don't even know what you mean 
by 'going up.' If you can send me where I shall re- 
ceive food and shelter, I shall be truly grateful." 

" Well," rejoined the inquisitor, who began to feel 
that he might be mistaken, " we have no room in the 
Aims-House just now. Come next week, on Wednes- 
day, (this was Wednesday,) and we shall see what we ; 
can do for you." i 


___._^^ * 

^^ I shall die of starvation before that time, sir/' urged 
Clara, whose strength was fast giving way. 

" Oh, no danger of that. Folks never starve in New- ] 
York ; we take too good care of them for that. Here, j 
James, give this girl a quarter, and charge it to the out- | 
door account." J 

Tho clerk threw a quarter of a dollar to her, and j 
said : 

''There; go along now; come next week— go 

With a bursting heaxt, Clara withdrew from the j 
room, and again seating herself on the same pile of j 
stones, gave way to a flood of bitter tears. No one, I 
however, seemed to take any notice of her, each being 
too much occupied with his own aflairs to think of the 
suflerings of another; and there she remained, the 
generous sum given by the proud city of New- York to 
maintain a sick and starving girl for a whole week, 
clutched in her emaciated hand. 





■« ^^^^^■^^^^^^^ta^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^"^^^ ^^ 





Claju Elliott remained seated on the pile of stones 
for a long time, lost in meditation. Thought, however, 
brought no comfort to her, and, with an effort, she arose 
} and fairly staggered off, for she was so weak and stif- 
> fened from long continued abstinence, and from being 
\ seated so long on the cold hard stones, it was with the 
1^ utmost difficulty she was able to move at all. She 
■ stopped at the first baker's shop she reached, and, wi^h 
/ a part of the generous gift from the proud city of New- 
\ York, whose representative boasted that people never 
< starved within her precincts, she purchased some bread, 
J which she devoured with a relish to be realized only \ 
! by those who have, like her, suffered the pangs of hun- 
I ger. Having by this frugal, but most acceptable meal, 
j gained a little strength, she wended her way toward 
\ the scene of the last night's conflagration, and when she 
; reached it, the occurrences of that sad night were f 
I brought to her mind with such vivid freshness she could ' 
/ not restrain her tears. | 

J Before her lay the ruins of that which, a few short \ 
\ hours before, had been a home to her — ^humble though | 


it was. Beneath the smouldering ruins lay the remains 

of all she had possessed on earth, and now she was a 
houseless wanderer, without clothes, without the means 
of procuring shelter, without a friend in the wide world, J 
and she looked upon the passing hundreds who went by j 
with feelings almost of envy, which must be pardoned, 
for the thought came to her heart that each one had a \ 
home and friends, and the contrast which a few short , 
hours had drawn between herself and them was harrow- j 
ing. She remained seated, gazing in silence for some ( 
time upon the ruin caused by the devastating element, { 
when she was aroused by a voice which, before she J 
looked up, she recognised as that of the kind-hearted \ 
Mrs. Stewart. \ 

" Why, Clara, where have you come from ? I thought \ 
you were burnt up in the house ; although I was sure j 
I saw you go out when you gave the alarm. Where J 
have you been ?" she exclaimed, as she gazed upon ■ 
Clara, her countenance exhibiting real pleasure at the j 
unexpected meeting. i 

" To the Aims-House V responded Clara, sadly, and j 
as she spoke, tears again broke forth. She could say j 
no more. Those few words seemed to convey such ideas ; 
of hopeless misery, she felt that more were useless. j 

" But where have you been all night, I mean ? I ex- j 
pect the Aims-House will be our portion yet for good, < 
but I hope not. Where did you pass the night V ) 

" In the watch-house !" ; 

*• Good Heavens ! poor Clara," exclaimed the kind- • 
^ hearted little woman, whose ideas of a night in the j 




J watch-house, even for shelter, were akin to those of 
' Clara. " I went in to Mrs. Harris's, round the corner, 
i after the house was burned down, and we looked all 
( over for you, without being able to find you. But 
J come, come in with me, she gave me a place to lie ! 
down in last night, and I am sure, though she is poor, ( 
she will not refuse you a shelter too. Every thing I 
had in the world was burnt up, and what I am to do, 
heaven only knows. But I'll try and not complain." 
Clara willingly accompained her friend to the house 
she had spoken of. It was situated in the rear of the , 
street, the entrance being through a long dark alley. 
) The room occupied by Mrs. Harris was on the second 
. floor, the ascent to which was almost impossible, so dark 
was the entry, and so dilapidated the stairs leading to 
it. However, they managed to effect an entrance, and 
sad at heart as was poor Clara, her soul revolted at the 
{ thought of remaining in such a place. The room was 
small and darkened by the old rags which had been 
stuffed into the places left by the broken panes of glass. 
On either hand lay a pile of rags, which served as a 
bed for the miserable occupant, while a few broken 
stools and an old table formed the entire furniture of 
the apartment. 

" Walk in, walk in," said the occupant of this den, 
as Clara and her companion reached the door. " You 
are welcome, God knows, to such as I have got." 
1 Clara looked at the speaker, who was seated by the 
i window on one of the broken stools, sewing upon some 

J coarse flannel shirts, but she did not rise from her work. 

m- -- .~^- -- .-. .-. -■--. -...--... ....0 


She seated herself, and gave way to her feelings in 
tears. She knew it was wrong — perhaps sinful, thus 
to yield to her grief, but, for her life, she could not re- 
press them. 

" Come, my dear, don't cry. That won't mend your 
situation at all. I have lived in this room, just as you 
see it, for two years ; and I have to work so hard to 
keep soul and body together, I have no time for grief. 
If you are the girl Mrs. Stewart has spoken of, you are 
perfectly welcome to stay here as long as you choose." 

" Forgive me," said Clara, wiping her eyes, and en- 
deavoring to compose herself, " I will try and not 
give way to grief again, but I could not help it now. 
I see you have work— can you tell me where I can get 
some ?" 

" Indeed, I don't know ; unless, perhaps, where I pro- , 
cured this. I have been four months before this, without 
a stitch. I had two children, but they died a month 
ago of actual starvation — for all I could get for them I 
had to beg for in the streets. I wandered about day 
after day looking for work, but I could not find any, 
until last week I got these shirts to make. They give 
me eight cents a piece, and I can make ten a week, by 
daylight — I cannot work at night, for I can't afford to 
get candles. As it is, I only make enough to procure j 
food." j 

" I shall be thankful even for that," said Clara, " for j 
I am entirely destitute — quite as much so as yourself, i 
I will go out at once and see if I cannot get some work, | 
for I too cannot remain idle." i 


"You had better lie down and jest a while," said I 
Mrs. Harris, kindly. Mrs. Stewart has been telling me • 



about you, and I am glad I can serve you, even by let- I 
ting you stay in this miseraole hole. You are welcome 
to stay here as long as you choose, unless you can get a 
better place. Do lie down, you look as if you could 
hardly stand up at all." 1 

Clara declined her kind offer of taking rest, and, 
having ascertained the number of the store where Mrs. 
Harris procured her work, she started off. First, how- 

1 ever, she determined to go to the store in Broadway, 
where she had obtained the shirts which were destroyed 
at the time of the fire ; and she hoped that, notwith- 
standing their loss, she would be able to obtain more 
from the same place, for she knew it was through no 

) fault on her part that they were destroyed. 

In that expectation, however, she was grievously dis- 
appointed. The proprietor listened to her story with 
something of impatience in his manner, and, although 

I he could not but be impressed with the truth of her nar- 
rative, and with the reality of her destitute situation, 
which was fully vouched for by her wretched appear- 
ance, he refused to give her any more work. 

With a heavy heart she went thence to the store 
named by Mrs. Harris, and, on stating her business, 
was offered some coarse shirts, dXfive cents each. 
She ventured to remonstrate at the inadequacy of the 

; pay, and urged that she could not live at that rate ; but 
the proprietor cut her short by saying he could get them 
madp up by the thousand for the same price in the \ 





country. This recalled to her mind what her mother 
had said, respecting the mode by which some employers 
are enabled to have their garments made up at half the 
usual prices by girls in the country during the winter, 
who have nothing else to do at that season. 

The man, seeing her hesitation, was about replacing 
( the shirts he had laid before her, but, reflecting that she . 
must take these or starve, she took .up the bundle and 

When she re-entered the wretched room which was 
I henceforward to be her future abode, she endeavored to 
appear more cheerful, and seated herself by the side 
of Mrs. Harris, to commence her work. 

The exertion, however, of walking so far in her 
weakened state, had proved too much for her. Excite- 
ment alone had enabled her to keep up thus long, but 
nature was now exhausted, and she had scarcely taken 
a dozen stitches, when she fell backward to the floor, 
\ in a state of insensibility. 

i Mrs. Harris could do nothing for her but rub her 
I temples and forehead with cold water, for she was too 
\ poor to have at command any other restorative, and 
' with this she was at length brought back to a state of 
\ consciousness. She was utterly unable, from sheer ex- 
i haustion, to resume her work, and when Mrs. Harris 
{ again insisted upon her lying down and taking some 
i rest, she did not now refuse, but threw herself upon 
\ the bundle of rags, which had been the resting place 
of Mrs. Harris for so many weary months, and was soon 
lost in profound sleep. 



She slept until a late hour in the morning, and when 
she awoke, Mrs. Harris was again seated hy the win- 
dow at her work. 

" Come, Clara," said the kind-hearted woman, who 
could feel for the sufferings of the poor orphan, " here 
is some breakfast for you ; get up, and it will give you 
strength, poor as it is. I have had no better for the last 
twelve months." 

The breakfast consisted of a piece of dry bread, and 
some salt mackerel, which she was glad to wash down 
with some water, drank from an old broken tea-cup, 
the only one owned by Mrs. Harris ; and wretched as 
such a breakfast was, it did afford some strength. 

By working with less assiduity than she had been 
wont to use, she gradually gained a little strength, and 
in a few days she was comparatively restored. By or- 
dinary exertion, she was able to earn sixty cents in a 
week at the shirts, and as that would procure food 
enough to keep off starvation, she was fain to be con- 
I In this manner, and with the kind Mrs. Harris, she 
I lived for four months, never earning more than seventy 
\ cents each week, and receiving even that thankfully. 

The winter season was now rapidly approaching, and ; 
they were actually suffering from cold. An applica- 
tion to the Aims-House procured for them half a load 
of wood, which they carried into their own room — -for 
they dared not leave it exposed where others quite as 
poor, but not so conscientious, as themselves, could get 
at it. By using this with the greatest economy, and by 



filling up the cracks in the doors and sides of their 
rooms with rags, they managed to keep themselves from 
freezing. And thus they lived, and toiled, and kept 
starvation from their door. j 

Thus long they had been allowed to occupy the miser- i 
able room without paying any rent, but the owner had ' 

recently sold the lot, and the new landlord had deter- 
mined on tearing down the wretched shanties on it, and 
erect comfortable buildings in their stead. This rendered J 
their removal necessary, and they started offin search of 
other apartments, and after many weary days, they found 
a room, in one of the streets near the east river, which ] 
they were allowed to occupy for Jifty cents a week. ! 
No where could they procure one at a less rate, and 
even at this exorbitant rent, they were glad to have a I 

Into this new room they removed ; but now another 
difficulty presented itself: no more work could be had. 
The proprietor of the store for which they had worked, 
. had now as large a stock as he wanted made up, prin- 
cipally by girls in the country, at rates less than half 
those paid to women in the city, and until that was ex- 
hausted, he could give them no more. 

Day after day, they wandered about, seeking employ- 
ment, but in vain, and they were reduced to begging) 
from door to door for victuals to keep them from star-i» 
vation. A second application to the Aims-House for j 
wood was refused, nor could any entreaties induce those ! 
in authority there, to give them the smallest relief. ! 
Entreaties to be sent to the Aims-House were disre- . 



garded : it was crowded now, and they had already so 
many on the out-door books, their appropriations were 

[ nearly exhausted. 

I I can follow them no farther, but will only add my 
'' amen" to Clara's ejaculation, as she sat on the stones 
by the Aims-House : " God help the poor !" 

6^ . 




One year makes no very great changes in the face 
of nature, and perhaps, as a general rule, does not affect 
materially the condition of mankind. But when sick- 
ness, poverty and distress are crowding thick and fast 
upon us — when gloomy forebodings, or the dark shades 
of despair are threatening our way, the year can then 
bring changes, which the heart yvould fain not realize. 

One year has passerf 'nee Eva Bellamy parted from ) 
Clara Elliott, and dui ^ that time, though she had ( 
neglected no opportunity of making inquiries, she had ( 
not been able to obtain any tidings concerning her. ( 
Yet was she not forgotten. Eva ceased not to remem- ( 
ber her in her daily prayers to that kind Providence j 
whose protecting power was spread alike over the des- 
tinies of both. Clara had been from infancy the child 
of many prayers, and now when the voice of parents ^ 
and sister were hushed in death — when no longer arose, ( 
morning and evening, their earnest solicitations at the < 
) Throne of Grace for her welfare, sympathy and Christian 
love in the heart of Eva Bellamy had come to supply \ 
their place. 


Let US turn to Mr. Simmons, and his family. He ! 
had taken a large house in the lower part of the city, 
for the purpose of establishing a boarding-house, at the 
earnest instigation of his daughters, who felt that their 
only chance for matrimony now, was to be found in 
such an establishment. 

The house was well furnished, the rooms were all 
filled, and the girls for a time seemed happy in the 
change. But it was too great a change for them to 
bear in quiet. With the comparative prosperity which 
I their father now enjoyed, their visions of ambition grew 
/ stronger and stronger, until they began again to enter- 
) tain the idea that they were once n.oro on the road to 
, the temple of rank and fashion, froni which they had so 
\ long been excluded, by reason of their poverty. The 
t consequence was, that they adopted such airs as dis- 
' gusted the more sensible and worthy of their boarders, 
) who might perchance have been attracted by their 
! beauty or their accomplishments — for they were both 
beautiful and accomplished. 

They insisted upon dressing in the most expensive and 
fashionable style, and in consequence, their extravagance 
f deterred more than one who would have made them good 
husbands, from venturing into matrimony with such ex- 
travagant and reckless partners. Another consequence j 
was, that Mr. Simmons became again involved through 
their extravagant expenditures for dress and show. 
His furniture was seized, and he was again compelled 
to retire to his salary as clerk. 

The girls, however, were determined not to submit j 


long to this third change in silence, and they soon after- 
ward brought grief and shame upon their parents, by 
connecting themselves with men of abandoned princi- 
ples, whom they had met in some of their Sunday 

Euphemia became the wife, or rather the servant, of 
a noted gambler, whose only recommendaticms were a 
fine person, a great display of jewelry, and an impu- 
dence which nothing could put to blush. 

Maria soon followed the example set by her sister, 
and was married to the keeper of a billiard saloon, 
whose days and nights were passed in one continued 
round of reckless dissipation. She scarcely ever saw 
him, except on Sundays, and then he was always so 
engaged with some of his bar-room friends, she never 
had the opportunity of going with him in his excur- 

The reader can readily imagine the consequent 
\ misery of their career. Mr. and Mrs. Simmons remain 
the same worldly-minded, selfish, calculating couple. 
The salary which he receives, enables him to live in 
comparative comfort ; and without a thought or care for ( 
the future, their days glide on in noiseless apathy, which 
will only be disturbed by the rushing of the mighty 
waters on the sea of eternity, toward which they are so 
surely and steadily advancing. 

But let us turn to the contemplation of other and more 
agreeable changes. What has one year acdbmplished 
for good or evil in the career of Eva Bellamy ? 
; One lovely moonlight evening, she might have boen ) 


seen walking with a gentleman in the upper part of our ) 
city. The quiet calmness of the hour, has shed its { 
{ softening influence upon the hearts of both, which the \ 
{ noise and activity around them fails to dispel. So J 
( earnestly are they engaged in conversation, they heed 
( nothing of the busy scenes through which they pass ; 
\ but with the tenderness of mutual love, they are re- \ 
! calling days gone by, while she unfolds the long pent { 
J secrets of her heart — for the time has come when such j 
j may find unchecked expression. } 


^ She now rests, with all the trusting confidence of a 
loving and beloved woman, upon the arm of one to 
whom long since her heart was given. Nor had their's 
j been a happy love, smiled upon by friends, and blessed 
I of Providence. A pressure of most painful circum- I 
\ stances had placed a barrier beyond which even ven- 
\ turous hope — ^the potent comforter of all the afRict- 
{ ed — ^had scarcely dared to look. But one year had 
! brought a joyous change. Religion had been Eva's 
I only solace and stay, and by the aid of divine grace, I 
( she had passed through hours of trial and temptation ^ 
I of no common order. 

{ Her character had been strengthened and elevated 
} by the contest ; but these sorrows had passed away, 
I and '^ brighter hours had come," when he who had 
^ so well appreciated the excellencies of her heart — ^who 
had so long in secret adored, might now avow to her, 
and to the world, the love which through years of trial 
) had been the guiding star of his life — love which had ! 
whispered words of cheering to his heart, when despair, ! 



at the unsuccessful struggles of existence, seemed ready 
to overwhelm. j 

Now all appeared forgotten : Eva's former sad j 
thoughtfulness of expression had given place to a { 
peaceful calm, produced only by the attainment of the \ 
heart's dearest, fondest wish ; and as the moon irra- \ 
diated her fair and saint-like countenance, it seemed to \ 
be^m with holy light, well assimilating with the purity j 
of the heart within. Doubts, fears and anxieties are \ 
banished. She no longer treads the rough and thorny \ 
path of life alone, and is looking forward with unalloy- )- 
ed joy to the hour which shall make her the bride of 
one, whose self-sacrificing devotion so well deserved 
the love of the warm-hearted, trusting Eva Bellamy, j 

Though they had passed unheedingly on their way, 
their course had not been unheeded. At some distance, 
following with the uneven steps of weakness and disease, i 
was a woman, in whom traces of beauty and better days s 
might be marked, through the feeble and ragged appear- j 
ance now presented. , 

They had passed, but not noticed her, seated upon a | 

stoop, with outstretched hands, hoping to receive a few s 
pence, with which she might procure food and shelter s 
for the night ; but she had seen and recognized Eva, \ 
] and hope and affection gave her strength to track the \ 
\ footsteps of the only being on earth around whom her ! 
J affection lingered ; but shame or diffidence — which not ) 
j even poverty could subdue — prevented her addressing j 
I Eva ; but she thought to trace her to her home, with the f 
I strange hope, not of present relief, for extreme weak- j 


ncss told her it would not be long before the last sad 
{ paitinghour must come, but that she might not die alone. 
** She will come," said she to herself, "and when dying, 
her sweet voice will bless me." 
)' Such was the expectation of Clara Elliott — for she it ; 
\ was who had followed, unperceived, until she saw Eva 
' enter her home. Then tears, sad tears, came to her 
relief; the past events of her troubled life were drawn 
before her ; again she watched beside the dying bed of 
( mother and sister ; again she thought over the days of 
• wretchedness, of weary suffering, which since then had 
J crushed her heart ; but amid all these gloomy reflec- 
^ tions, there came one thought of joy to her broken 
heart : though starvation had often threatened — though 
unsustained by one word of friendly counsel — ^though 
temptations to vice from without assailed in every form, 
she had never faltered. Though a thousand times she j 
prayed for death, as a means of relief, still no thought ] 
of vice, as a resource, had polluted the pure current of \ 
J her thoughts. She had not proved unworthy of herself, 
\ and could yet see Eva with an unstained name. 
I She now retraced her steps, and sought her own 
wretched abode, with a more cheerful spirit than when 
she left. To the poor woman, whose only bed she 
shared, she related what had passed, and with that 
strange kind of presentiment which sometimes seems to 
warn of approaching dissolution, directed her to seek, 
in ease of need, the residence of Eva Bellamy, and say, 
" Clara asked to see her." . 

Oil this same night Eva Bellamy sought her cham- j 




ber, with a heart filled with the repose of present joy, 
yet hopes and dreams of the future bade slumber fly 
her pillow. She had not yet slept, when her attention 
was suddenly arrested, by hearing the inquiry, in a 

j strong Irish accent : 

" Sure, and is it here that one Miss Eva Bell — amy 
is ? A poor crature that's been ailing a long time sint 
me, with this bit of paper, to ask if the good lady would 
look in upon her. My house isn't far up yonder, and 
I'll fetch her the way meself." 

Eva took the paper, and read with surprise the name 
of "Clara Elliott," traced in such feeble characters, 
that she knew she must be very ill. She was soon 
ready, and taking a few things she thought might be 
necessary, hastened to her former friend. 

Upon the way, she gathered from the woman who \ 
guided her, the few past events of Clara's history, 
with which she was unacquainted. They soon enter- 
ed the small, still room, where on a bed in one corner 
lay the almost expiring Clara. The exertions of the 
evening — ^the excitement of feeling she had undergone, 
had hastened this event. Eva seized a candle which 

( stood near, and approached the bed of the sufferer. 

/ One glance sufficed to assure her that Clara Elliott 

^ lay there ; and the same glance also told her, the spirit 
was fast passing away. 

I Replacing the candle, she again drew near, and, | 

I bending her face close to that of the hapless girl, she 
whispered, gently — "Clara, Eva is with you." 

j The sufferer, with an effort, opened her eyes ; that 

m — ^ -^-^^ — 


beloved voice had been recognized, and a smile of peace 
and happiness stole over her wan features. 

" Speak to me, dear Clara !" she said, seizing the 
hand of the sufferer. " Speak to me ; can I do any 
thing for you ?" 

Clara returned a look of gratitude and affection — ^her 
wish was now fulfilled. Her hand in dying rested 
within that of Eva's, her voice blessed her — she did not 
die alone, and soflly, gently, did her weary, time-worn 
spirit return to the God who gave it being. 

" You will be rewarded hereafter, my good woman," 
said Eva, as soon as her emotion would permit her to 
speak. " I will soon return again to attend to all things 

" God bless you, mibs ; I do not wish to be rewarded 
for my trouble. I'm poor myself — and it's only the poor 
that know how to feel for each other. 

Eva soon a,fler left the house, and, upon her return 
home, sought and communicated to her betrothed the cir- 
cumstances under which she had known Clara and her 
sister ; and, as she proceeded, he could not refrain from 
raising his thanks to Grod for the inestimable blessing 
conferred upon him, in the love of such a woman. The 
remains of Clara were decently interred by the side of 

I her sister — Eva and her lover alone attending them to 

) their last resting place. 

\ And thus ended the career of Clara Elliott, and thus 

( has ended that of many before her. 



,1 — ■_i-'^i_ir- _ 



^t may to some seem impossible that such a state of 
things can exist in a great city like that of New- York, 
and yet it is so. In the preceding pages, the author has 
had no occassion to draw upon his imagination for one 
single line. Indisputable facts — statements susceptible 
of ready proof, and the history of a family, told by one 
who knew them, have formed the basis of this little » 
J work. The citizens of New- York have long been ac- J 
\ customed to read in the papers accounts of the distress ( 
I which prevails to a great extent among the female 
J operatives, but they are read only to be forgotten in 
! the next hour ; and it has been in the hope of arousing 
the attention of philanthropists to this subject, these 
pages have been written. 

There is not a street in the city of New-York where j 
< more than one family like that of the Elliotts may not 
be found, but with one sad exception. Few of these 
females, when young, are impressed with those stem 
principles of virtue, religion, and morality, which, cling- 
ing to them through all their trials and temptations, 
enable them to come off victorious in the direful strug- 
gle. How few there are who, with nothing of the future 
j to look to but a life of unceasing, ill- requited toil — with | 
the prospect of abject poverty — sickness, perhaps starva- J 
tion, prefer to face even that, relying upon the promises \ 
i held out in the gospel for strength according to their ') 
J need, rather than, after a brief pilgrimage, every step j 
] of which sinks them deeper and deeper in sin — sink i 
j into an untimely and a dishonored grave. Such of them j 
^ whose early religious impressions have been too feebly \ 



made to be lasting, see only the dark side of the picture. 
They see only a life of toil, suffering, oppression, cruelty 
and wrong, from those who were given as their guardians 
and protectors, and, preferring even a death of shame 
when it shall come, to such a life, throw themselves into 
the vortex, from which no earthly power serves to res- 
cue them, 
j How many of those unfortunates who throng our 
j streets are driven to their course of life by absolute des- 
! titution. How many, placed by their necessities in the 
I power of unprincipled men, either employers, overseers, 
) or clerks, fall a prey to them. But it may be said they 
j earn proportionately as much as men, who toil ten times 
I more arduously. A brief calculation will show the 
j fallacy of this reasoning. 

j Females working on shirts at three shillings each, 
j can not make more than three in a week — thus earning 
j nine shillings. If they can earn this by working only 
j twelve hours in a day, they receive, at the rate of one 
i and a half cents per hour. U^ however, it requires 
• fourteen hours each day to make the same amount, j 
' they earn one and about a quarter of a cent per hour. 
Females working on common shirts, at eight cents 
each, for that is the actual rate paid, earn twelve shil- 
lings per week. At twelve hours per day, they receive 
two and one-eighth of a cent per hour ; and at fourteen 
hours, one and nineteen-twentieths of a cent. 

Those who work on custom vests at five shillings I 
each, earn two dollars and a half per week. At twelve j 
, hours, they receive three and a half cents j and at four- j 


teen hours, nearly three cents per hour. Now the truth 
of these calculations can be ascertained by any person \ 
disposed to inquire into the matter at all ; and will it I 
be longer a matter of wonder that there should be some 
found, who would prefer the life they are driven to lead 
than to wear it out in ceaseless toil, requited at such 
rates as those above ? 

There is a broad field laid open to the labor of the 
philanthropist, and to such the work is commended, as 
worthy of all their exertions and all their efforts. 

I have made no attempt to appeal to the feelings of 
those who may have perused these pages. I have nar- 
rated the simple truth, and, I repeat, there is not a street 
in New- York which cannot furnish a parallel case. 

In the hope that the attention of those who can do 
much to ameliorate the condition of the unfortunate 
class of females to whom allusion is made, may be 
aroused to the task, these pages have been written. ! 
Much has been said and more written upon this sub- 
ject, but no combined effort has yet been made — ^no 
step taken which could tend to any available end. A 
change in this condition of things can be effected ; and 
if, through any thing here written, any alteration, how- 
ever slight, shall be made for the better in the prospects 
of the female operatives, all the aim of the author will 
be attained ; and in the consciousness that an impetus 
has been given to the good work, which public feeling 
will carry on to consummation, all the satisfaction de« 
I sired will be obtained. 




..v.'. 13 1954