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for a parent to send a boy or girl to trade upon the streets, exposing the child to every kind of temptation and vice. Our criminal population will not much diminish so long as we allow the children to learn their apprenticeship for crime as street arabs. There is, in fact, no better forcing-ground for criminals.” He is conspicuous among the city's band of social and religious reformers for his clear perception of Liverpool's special problem-that of an abundant child population, cut off from the industrial employments which exist in the great towns around.

the institutions we have visited, unspeakably beneficent as is their work, only faintly represent the deep and anxious feeling with which all classes regard the chief burden and menace of their city. In many other ways, and with extraordinary facility of resource, efforts are being made from innumerable Christian centres to mitigate an evil almost peculiar to the complex local conditions of so heterogeneous a population.

To learn more fully the scope of Christian work for children in Liverpool, we should have to visit many other valuable homes, shelters and refuges beyond those we have mentioned. At Dr. Barnardo's "

ever-open door” in Islington, we should see the best work of the famous Stepney Homes reproduced with beneficent results for a class of children perhaps worse off than London's waifs and strays of the streets. In every quarter of Liverpool, voluntary religious efforts on behalf of an excessive proportion of indigent and neglected children tell us how general and all-pervading is the sense of the city's special need.

Sunday in a city so largely Roman Sunday in Catholic as Liverpool has of course its Catholic Liverpool. own peculiar features, and in many

localities the latter part of the day lacks the religious aspects and observances to which the Protestant population are accustomed. But in the morning, from a comparatively early hour the services of the very numerous churches, and the extremely good attendances, both of children and adults, cannot but arrest the attention of the visitor. At the church of Francis Xavier, the most notable known Catholic building in Liverpool, a chapel has been set apart for the use of the boys of the homes.

Thus far our Sunday in Liverpool has Other Agencies.

shown us some of the chief attempts

to deal directly with the great evil which startles nearly every visitor as he walks the highways and by-ways of England's greatest seaport. We have seen some of the special voluntary agencies and methods by which Liverpool seeks to save the children of her streets. Yet

The great home missions for which Liverpool's City Missions. Liverpool is honourably distinguished,

are in a special sense the ever-wakeful eye of the city. They tell us nearly all that can be known of her sins and sorrows, and the fountains from which they flow. Amongst them are the Church of England Scripture Readers' Society; the Liverpool (Presbyterian) Town Mission, the Liverpool Wesleyan Mission, and the Liverpool Domestic Mission (Unitarian), and kindred organisations for visiting the dark places of the city.

They help to lay bare the secrets of early child life and its surroundings, and in some

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measure to trace the children's wrongs and sorrows to their source.

of their wages. Five for whom we had found situations have been turned away because their employers would not be annoyed by the calls of drunken fathers and mothers."

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Let us in the first instance make the The Wesleyan Mission

acquaintance of the Liverpool Wes

leyan Mission, of which the Rev. Charles Garrett is the venerable and veteran superintendent.

The Wesleyan Mission spreads itself all over the great seaport, and is in touch with the poorest and most densely populous quarters. It is equipped with eight mission-halls and chapels, which form centres of effort for the north, the south, and the riverside. The Sunday schools and Sunday evening services for children are in the first rank of the mission's activities. But it is the homes for rescued children to which our steps are now directed. The mission has four homes, two for boys and two for girls, in which are received the children whum the street missionaries gather in is the result of their house to house visitation.

“ The bare sight of the drawbacks all The brighter

around us," continued Mr. Garrett,

66 would take the heart out of a man of weak faith. Happily we have gleams of encouragement. Our mission-halls are the spiritual birthplaces of men and women quite as bad as the worst parents of the children in our homes. Drunkards are reformed, backsliders are reclaimed, husbands and wives kneel side by side and set out for heaven together, and then bring the drunken relative, weeping over him as he kneels before God seeking mercy. They have been taught the way to the fountain for sin and uncleanness. Men and women once our foremost enemies now sing in our mission-halls,

* The dying thief rejoiced to see

That fountain in his day, And there may I, as vile as he,

Wash all my sins away.'

Children: where born and bred.

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In the Shaw Street Boys' Home are The Drift boys whose mothers have forgotten

their offspring and left them alone in the street, each to shift for himself,

the older fathering the younger. The boy before us who reads the Sunday hymns in the homes was found in a cellar with a mother and five other women, hopelessly drunk. Another was taken from a house where in one small room were eight intoxicated women, moaning, groaning and drinking. Another comes from a cellar where the mother was found taking the clothes off a dying husband to pawn them for drink.

It would be painful and needless to dwell upon the picture of the parental “ homes ” thus brought before us.

We have already seen in a former paper something of the more sordid and squalid quarters of Liverpool's unskilled, migrant, and penniless poor.

We have seen the miles of insanitary houses by Scotland and Vauxhall Roads in the north, and the densely-populous settlements of labour at Toxteth in the south-scandals which civic Liverpool through its Corporation is strenuously striving to remove year by year, as the baleful heritage of generations of neglect.

“ There are pearls, diamonds, and precious jewels,” says Mr. Garrett's principal missionary (Mr. Dobson), “ hidden away in the great slum quarters of our city, down in the lower depths, but not so deep that they cannot be reached by that Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”

Such are some of the teachings of a Sunday spent with devoted fellow-labourers in the hallowed husbandry of this great seed-field. The tares are many, and they give the husbandmen no rest. Liverpool, as we have seen, has laid upon her a burden of service and sacrifice almost peculiar to herself. In how many ways, and with what energy, resource, and love for her poorer brethren, she is spending herself upon her appointed task is not easily seen. But her labours of love for “ these little ones are not unknown or honoured by their Father which is in heaven. Nor are they unobserved by Christian comrades in all parts of our land. To Liverpool come not a few of their true yoke-fellows in other towns —from London, the Midlands, and the North-to study for themselves her fruitful methods, and be inspired by her indomitable zeal. Many are the testimonies that they return home equipped and consecrated afresh, for the special ministries and higher service on which Christian Liverpool has shed a newer light.

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FTER the conversation on Reading in Mr. Life,' is very interesting, so I keep straight on

with it, but I could read anything else if I that our younger sister Mabel, usually a chose.” somewhat frivolous personage, became absorbed “Without finishing it?" ejaculated Helen. in thought. Correspondence of a mysterious “A little history, a little biography, a little science, nature began to take place; we surprised her once a little belles-lettres, a little fiction, all taken in or twice sending off letters to an unknown

twenty-minute doses ! W

an original idea !” address, and an air of dignified secrecy pervaded Why do you not read the whole forty minutes her demeanour. We asked each other in a little at a time?” inquired Stella. But it seemed that bewilderment what this might signify, but we this was considered too much of an intellectual were soon enlightened. One evening, when Helen strain to be recklessly encouraged by the Society. Hoffman was with us, Mabel announced, with an I am afraid we were unkind enough to make a important air which she vainly strove to render great deal of sport out of this new departure of indifferent :

our domestic butterfly's, and to throw doubts on “I have joined a Twenty Minutes' Reading the wise expenditure of her entrance fee. At last Society."

Mabel turned at bay, and with flashing eyes ex“ What on earth is that, my dear child ?” claimed: inquired Stella, laying down her work.

“ This is what comes of my trying to improve “Well, you have to read for twenty minutes myself ! After the talk at Mr. Beauchamp's, I twice a day,” returned Mabel, “ and if you don't did want to alter, for I know I don't read enough; you have to pay a fine.”

so I thought of this society as a good plan to help “ You have? Who makes you ? Who pockets me! I think you are too unkind about it all, and the fine? . What have you to read ?” These I shall just ask Mr. and Mrs. Beauchamp if it questions were hurled at her by all three of us; really is so ridiculous as you make out.” the last was the only one of much importance. We We were a little remorseful when we saw how learnt that the Society was a voluntary union, seriously Mabel took her Society, and tried to bound by certain rules, with an honorary secretary, soothe her, but in vain. She maintained that she who seemed to have a disproportionate amount of would speak to Mr. and Mrs. Beauchamp, whom trouble ; and that the choice of books was left to in many ways she regarded as oracles. And on the reader herself.

the next occasion of our meeting a few of our “ May you divide your twice twenty minutes friends in the artist's library, she at once proceeded into separate sections ?” asked Helen with good. to put her threat into execution, describing her humoured irony: “say, two minutes at a time? new effort after intellectual life, and appealing Does reading advertisements, or reading letters, against our ridicule. count?

“ What a shame to laugh at you !

said Mrs. “Of course not,” returned Mabel with haughti- Beauchamp kindly taking my little sister's hand. ness, to both queries.

“How could you be so unkind, girls ?” “ And can you fit from flower to flower ? ” We did not like to refer to the characteristics I asked.

of the Reading Society which we had deemed “I don't know what you mean by your attempts absurd, so were silent. at poetry,” replied the victim, “but if you will “It is a curious feature of the age,” murmured the speak in plain English, I will answer you."

Philosopher, with whom Mabel was no favourite, “Well, then ” I pursued mercilessly," have you " that young ladies nowadays should need the to take one book in hand and finish it, or can you stimulus of a 'society' for doing obvious duties, read here and there, as the fancy prompts you?” which in my time were matters of course for the

“Just as you like," answered Mabel, " the book individual conscience. We hear of societies for I am reading now, The Romance of a Blighted early rising, for practising-for

66

“I do not see why not,” said Mrs. Beauchamp, who noticed the colour rise in Mabel's cheek. “ Union is strength, in other matters; why should it not give strength to the will? But as to this question of reading, the society plan strikes me as a good idea enough.”

“I am so glad you think so !” exclaimed Mabel, with a triumphant glance in our direction.

“A reading society is good, because it draws attention to what is very likely to be overlooked," said Mr. Beauchamp, " and that is the imperative need of reading daily for a stated time. It may seem a commonplace to insist upon it, but it is by no means unnecessary. To read daily, even for a short period, is simply an indescribable advantage, and it is wonderfnl how much can be accomplished by the thriftily saved half-hours if more cannot be given: nay, even by less. Any regular daily time is immeasurably better than none at all.” 1

“Do you not think,” said Mrs. Beauchamp, “that there used to be a very different estimation of the occupation of reading for women, from what there is now? I am sure when I was a girl there was an impression abroad that a woman was never wasting time when she sat elaborating the most useless or hideous performances in fancywork, but if she let her fingers rest, and took up a book in the morning, she was not usefully employed,' and parents and guardians looked on the tendency with suspicion.”

“I can endorse your remark as to its not being unnecessary to insist on the duty of daily reading, said Mr. Arnold, “ for it is most extraordinary how, in any life that is not arbitrarily parcelled out, important voluntary work is apt to slip by. There is so much time; any day will do ; and one day follows another, and yet the matter waits a more convenient season. Do not you leisurely people know this from your own experience?”

We-most of us--did, and remorseful thoughts of practising neglected, calls unpaid, to say nothing of graver matters, hovered round my mind.

“ The great men of our day," continued Mr. Arnold, are those who have known how to fight with this insidious temptation to wait till tomorrow.'

Mr. Vavasour, whose reputation chiefly depended on the poems he was going to write, looked, I

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thought, a little uncomfortable. Mrs. Beauchamp referred to Mr. Churchill and the Romance that was never written, in Longfellow's beautiful story “ Kavanagb.” We seemed likely to drift away into a conversation on artistic inaction, when we were recalled by Mr. Waldegrave.

“I think a reading society is most valuable for young people, if only to form the habit of reading daily," he said.

" When the habit is once formed, the artificial support can be rejected. But of course the conditions must be rational : the reading must be consecutive, and must reach a certain standard. They furnish lists of books in your society, I suppose ?

Thus pressed, Mabel was fain to acknowledge the weak points in her cherished scheme, and confess the absence of restriction of any kind. The Philosopher was swift to seize upon her admission.

“What !” he ejaculated. “ You may read anything--even fiction ?"

Standard novels,” said poor Mabel, with a glance at me as though to entreat silence about the “ Romance of a Blighted Life.”

“ And who is to decide what are standard novels? You?” demanded Mr. Scrymgeour. it possible? And you may turn from one halfread book to another? Well! Of all the preposterous devices to delude young people into parting with their shillings, I.

“It is easy enough to criticise ! ” cried Mr. Merton chivalrously, “ but isn't even this better than nothing?"

“The Society would be admirable," said Mr. Beauchamp kindly, “if it only included among its rules one on systematic reading, and one as to the choice of books. It may be reserved for Mabel to suggest these additions, and to awake to find herself famous.”

“You see, to dwell solely on the importance of reading, without reference to what is read, or how, is like insisting that eating is important, without reference to what is eaten, or how,” remarked Mr. Waldegrave.

“And pray, why not ? ” observed Mr. Merton, who did not like to see Mabel's discomfiture, “ to eat anything edible is better than starvation, and it was Dr. Johnson who said, ' Read anything for five hours a day, and you

will soon be learned.'

“ You cannot carry out that comparison,” cried Mr. Scrymgeour pugnaciously ; “unwholesome diet may be better than starvation, but unwholesome reading is far worse than no reading at all. And, as to Dr. Johnson's remark, I have yet to learn that forty minutes a day can be equal to five hours.”

Mr. Arnold here calmed the fray by telling us that there were reading societies in existence which provided against the drawbacks that might be found in poor little Mabel's local organisation, and she was encouraged by being assured on all hands that her idea was excellent, even if there were a few defects in detail.

Mr. Vavasour, who had preserved an air of dreamy abstraction and aloofness, now came down to earth again, and remarked in a pensive tone:

6

1

An extract from the recently-published “Letters of Matthew Arnold” (1848–88) may be appropriate here: “If I were you,” writes Arnold to a female relative, “I should now take to some regular reading, if it were only an hour a day. It is the best thing in the world to have something of this sort as a point in the day, and far too few people know and use this secret. You would have your district still, and all your business as usual, but you would have this hour in your day in the midst of it all, and it would soon become of the greatest solace to you. Desultory reading is a mere anodyne; regular reading, well chosen, is restoring and edifying” (ii. 110). On this advice, the Right Hon. John Morley's comment in the Nineteenth Ce-tury for December last, runs as follows: “No wiser counsel could be devised either for women or men, and if an hour a day be for some a counsel of unattainable perfection, half-an-hour well used might suffice to keep the flow of intellectual interest alive and steady."

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"It would be interesting to me to collect opinions as to what should be read. The other evening I was informed in this very room, that the newspaper was to be our daily bread. May I inquire what—if anything – should be superadded ?"

“ His own poems, I suppose-luckily only about half a dozen in a thin volume, chiefly margin," savagely murmured the Philosopher, for my ear alone.

Mr. Beauchamp, to whom the Minor Poet's inquiry seemed addressed, disregarded its superciliousness, and replied :

“ Well, if time and opportunity are limited, as they generally are, and if the habit of reading has been once acquired, as Mr. Waldegrave has shown us it ought to be, I should say it is of the first importance that a man should find out what is his special bent of mind. Then he should specialise. It is fatal to take up first one book on one subject, then another on another subject, and so on, if he wishes to make any steady advance. Seneca said, definite reading is profitable : miscellaneous reading is pleasant.

“Does he, for instance, care for history ? Then let him first of all select some one period, ancient or modern, that appeals to his interest, and read all that he can possibly get hold of, in prose or poetry, about that one period, not scorning good historical plays or fiction side by side with more literal fact.”

“Let him always remember," breathed Mr. Vavasour, " that History would perish if she were not protected by romance.'

" There is, however, a risk in what you have suggested,” said Mr. Waldegrave, to whom, as a self-made authority on reading, we all listened attentively. “ Take two readers-one who knew one period of English history, say the Tudor period, alone, and was blind to all else---and another who knew no one period so thoroughly, but had, within the same limits of time, · looked round' generally in his reading, glanced at contemporary history all over the world—which of the two has the more sense of proportion, or is the better able to estimate the forces bearing on human development? which of the two, in fact, has the better conception of history as history? and which derives the more culture from his reading? There are dangers in specialism of every kind.”

“Dangers in specialism there may be," growled the Philosopher, “but who shall count the dangers of superficiality ?”

The discussion now waxed rather warm, for and against specialism in reading. The upholders of it, led by Mr. Scrymgeour, maintained that to know nothing well, was to be, in a literary sense, “Jack of all trades and master of none,” to favour shallowness, inaccuracy, and ignorant pretence, which, in every serious pursuit of life, were visited with stern disapprobation if not exclusion ; while each subject or book thoroughly mastered was a fresh power.

The upholders of “all round" reading maintained with great force that education, if it ran in a groove, was not necessarily intellectual emanci

pation ; that prodigies of learning on subject were usually not men of light and leading ; that information in itself was not always a wholly desirable end, and might mean

mere selfish acquisition, if, by the process of acquiring, no benefit to mind and character were gained. Somebody quoted the Greek motto, undèv ayar, “ Avoid excess," and the arguments became very trenchant on one side and the other.

“ Well ! ” cried Mr. Merton at length, “my favourite way of reading is to sit down in front of book-shelves like these, and pick out, first one volume and then another, on all manner of subjects, as the fancy seizes me. That is pleasure, if you like! The swift transition from subject to subject keeps the mind on the stretch, and is a fine intellectual stimulus, whatever good old Seneca may have said. What did he know about it?"

The Philosopher glared in speechless wrath.

“ That is all very well for you, as you have already reached a certain standpyint," said Mr. Beauchamp, smiling, “but we are discussing the subject with reference to the rank and file of readers, as well as the educated few. After all, does not the solution lie—as we found it did in Egotism v. Altruism - midway between two extremes? We seem driven back on the wellworn definition of culture 'to know something of everything, and everything of something.'”

“That means, I suppose, said Mabel, “that you would read generally first of all, some wellknown books, and after that, take up a special study or subject.” “Just so," replied Mr. Beauchamp.

“ There are great books of which no one can afford to be ignorant; but in a secondary place, comes the advantage of systematic study. And if our plan of even a brief definite period daily for reading can be carried out it is wonderful how much may be accomplished." “Do you believe in "

courses of reading ?'” asked Mrs. Arnold.

“ To a certain extent,” returned our host, “but the fact is that reading makes its own course for an intelligent reader. No sooner is one good book thoroughly laid hold of than fresh excursions and explorations are suggested by the text itself, and the world opens out. It is far better, then, to follow out such suggestions than to stick to a cut and dried list of books. This, however, is helpful as a starting point, and I should advise Emerson's Essay on Books,' to a would-be student.”

“ Do you think it is better to keep to one subject, or to one author in the way of specialising ?” inquired Helen.

“I do not know that it matters very much," replied Mr. Beauchamp, “it depends on the individual attraction felt. As a rule, I should think it is better to see what different minds have thought on the same subject, unless it be in the case of a poet, or an essayist. If one is fascinated, say, by Ruskin, Tennyson, Emerson, Browning, he will not be satisfied without reading all that has been said or sung by that author.”

"The great difficulty, after all, is time," said Mr. Merton. “We come back to the point we started from. I quite agree with, and I shall

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