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106

LABOUR CONDITIONS

fire? Oh yes, it was the general practice for two of us to stop at home on Sunday to be ready in case of a chimney being a-f ire. — You say it is general to compel the boys to go up chimneys on fire? Yes, boys get very ill treated if they do not go up." — Lords' Minutes, p. 34.

The bed of these poor little wretches is often the soot they have swept in the day.

"How are the boys generally lodged; where do they sleep at night? Some masters may be better than others, but I know I have slept on the soot that was gathered in the day myself. — Where do boys generally sleep? Never on a bed; I never slept on a bed while I was apprentice. — Do they sleep in cellars? Yes, very often; I have slept in the cellar myself on the sacks I took out. — What had you to cover you? The same. — Had you any pillow? No further than my breeches and jacket under my head. — How were you clothed? When I was apprentice we had a pair of leather breeches and a small flannel jacket. Any shoes or stockings? Oh dear no; no stockings. — Had you any other clothes for Sunday? Sometimes we had an old bit of a jacket, that we might wash out ourselves, and a shirt." — Lords' Minutes, p. 40.

According to the humanity of the master, the soot remains upon the bodies of the children, unwashed off, for any time from a week to a year.

"Are the boys generally washed regularly? No, unless they wash themselves. — Did not your master take care you were

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