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PinkMonkey.com-Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens




39

muffin boys by their masters, which he very wisely urged were in
themselves a sufficient reason for the establishment of that
inestimable company. It seemed that the unhappy youths were
nightly turned out into the wet streets at the most inclement
periods of the year, to wander about, in darkness and rain--or it
might be hail or snow--for hours together, without shelter, food,
or warmth; and let the public never forget upon the latter point,
that while the muffins were provided with warm clothing and
blankets, the boys were wholly unprovided for, and left to their
own miserable resources. (Shame!) The honourable gentleman
related one case of a muffin boy, who having been exposed to this
inhuman and barbarous system for no less than five years, at
length fell a victim to a cold in the head, beneath which he
gradually sunk until he fell into a perspiration and recovered; this
he could vouch for, on his own authority, but he had heard (and he
had no reason to doubt the fact) of a still more heart-rending and
appalling circumstance. He had heard of the case of an orphan
muffin boy, who, having been run over by a hackney carriage, had
been removed to the hospital, had undergone the amputation of
his leg below the knee, and was now actually pursuing his
occupation on crutches. Fountain of justice, were these things to
last!

This was the department of the subject that took the meeting,
and this was the style of speaking to enlist their sympathies. The
men shouted; the ladies wept into their pocket-handkerchiefs till
they were moist, and waved them till they were dry; the
excitement was tremendous; and Mr Nickleby whispered his
friend that the shares were thenceforth at a premium of five-and-
twenty per cent.


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PinkMonkey.com-Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens



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