Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.
The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter.
I was a farmer's boy, not earning enough to keep myself, much less both of us, and she must have gone to the workhouse
but for our mistress
During his walk of a few yards he had had time and calmness enough to widen his view of consequences, and he saw that to get Jacob taken to the workhouse
or to the lock-up house as an offensive stranger might have awkward effects if his family took the trouble of inquiring after him.
Mrs Plornish's father,--a poor little reedy piping old gentleman, like a worn-out bird; who had been in what he called the music- binding business, and met with great misfortunes, and who had seldom been able to make his way, or to see it or to pay it, or to do anything at all with it but find it no thoroughfare,--had retired of his own accord to the Workhouse
which was appointed by law to be the Good Samaritan of his district (without the twopence, which was bad political economy), on the settlement of that execution which had carried Mr Plornish to the Marshalsea College.
That's yonder,--the great brick house, you know,--the workhouse
, most folks call it; but I mean to do my work first, and go there to be idle and enjoy myself.
However, if one designs to construct a dwelling-house, it behooves him to exercise a little Yankee shrewdness, lest after all he find himself in a workhouse
, a labyrinth without a clue, a museum, an almshouse, a prison, or a splendid mausoleum instead.
Patiently to earn a spare bare living, and quietly to die, untouched by workhouse
hands--this was her highest sublunary hope.
It was cruel that a stupid chance should have cut off her life when she was just entering upon it; but in the very moment of saying this to himself, Philip thought of the life which had been in store for her, the bearing of children, the dreary fight with poverty, the youth broken by toil and deprivation into a slatternly middle age--he saw the pretty face grow thin and white, the hair grow scanty, the pretty hands, worn down brutally by work, become like the claws of an old animal--then, when the man was past his prime, the difficulty of getting jobs, the small wages he had to take; and the inevitable, abject penury of the end: she might be energetic, thrifty, industrious, it would not have saved her; in the end was the workhouse
or subsistence on the charity of her children.
The tramp goes to the workhouse
in the end, and is paid for with other people's money.
, in the neighbourhood, completed the establishment.
And also how I, who never did a stroke of work in my life, am overburdened with wealth; whilst the children of the men who made that wealth are slaving as their fathers slaved, or starving, or in the workhouse
, or on the streets, or the deuce knows where.