Stevens 1882-12-11

A close up of a newspaper

Thomas Henry Hone’s wife, a tidy little woman with 4 young children called and asked me to give her her elder boy’s money out of the “penny bank” to get him a pair of shoes. I told her I could not give her that which the Trustees had put in for the child to be kept for him till he leaves School, but that I could give her anything he had put in himself. She replied that it would be no use as there was so little beside his three School premiums, viz. 7/6. Then she asked whether the Charity would give him a pair, to which I replied that the charity could not afford it. She told me her husband had constant work at 12/- per week and I showed her how much better off she was than many whom I had seen today whose husbands either had no work to do or could not do it, through illness. I reminded her that she had 10 cwt. of coals given her last month and would have 10 cwt. more next month, and that this week she would have 11/6 worth of clothing, and that many of the people in the place had none of these gifts. I offered to give her an order for a pair of boots for the boy instead of the clothing ticket, but she said that would not do, as she wanted clothing as well, if not more, than the boots. Then she asked whether I would give her a note for Mr. Oddie to give her a pair, but I told her that he had informed me he had no more to give away.

She said  that she  had never “had anything given her” – but I reminded her that she had had a great deal given her.

My experience of the poor here is that what is given to them  makes them, as a rule, only more and more selfish. When I reminded her that she was much better off than many others and that if the Trustees had anything to spare they would be likely to think of them before giving her anything more – she replied that they had no “claim” and consequently could not “expect anything”.