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among them is aided by the hope that even these will not remain so. Happily, examples of good effected are too numerous to give in detail. Only from individual instances can the public gather news of what is being done. Look into a home situated in a certain mews, the master of which is a sincere convert. When first met with, that man's faith was the creed of Romanism. His inclinations towards "the old religion.” as he was disposed to style the papacy, were strong, and having as a young man served a family of distinction, and travelled upon the Continent, his prejudices were further strengthened. After a course of teaching in Bible truth, the man renounced Rome's deeply-rooted errors, and for a time trouble of soul interfered with his nightly rest. Here then was a man brought from native darkness into the border-land of light by means of another speaking to him while he waited for custom on a certain cab-stand. This man, as a small proprietor, owned three vehicles, and now in turn he had a question to put to his adviser, "What do you think of Sunday trading, sir?" Sunday trading is of course condemned, and, thrown into a state of unrest by some friendly advice, he ceased himself from driving on the Sabbath as he had hitherto done, though still allowing others to go out in his service. But an accusing conscience continued to speak until Sunday work was abolished, and the man, on giving evidence of a complete change of heart, became a church communicant.
In another house is a man who also drives his own cab. On one occasion he fell from his box while intoxicated-he was a notorious drunkard-and injuring his knee was carried to the hospital, where a true friend found him, talked to him of religion, and affectionately advised him to relinquish Sunday work. These words spoken in sickness bore fruit. The patient became a sober man, worked no more than six days a week, and as the head of a now happy home, went regularly to the house of God.
Every wellwisher of this in some respects unfortunate class will seek to promote the abolishing of Sunday labour. To eyes educated in street observation, the difference between those who profit by Sabbath rest, and those who perhaps enjoy no more than three or four days of such rest in a year, is plainly discernible. The six-day men carry a more hopeful expression, go about their work with greater cheerfulness, and are better clothed. Their homes also rejoice in possessing more comfort than the rooms of others who are so ceaselessly at work that they seldom see their children except when those children are in bed. Many masters are said to care less for a man than for a horse, and regarding men and cattle from a mere commercial stand-point, they are more anxious about the health of the animal than about that of the human chattel. This condition of affairs naturally ensures to the public a comparatively bad service, and hence the public would directly benefit by a reformation. To overwork horses as these men are overworked would ensure death in a brief period, hence these poor fellows complain, with some show of reason, of every man's hand being against them when subjected to treatment which no prudent farmer would mete out to his cattle. If symptoms of improvement already appear, scant thanks are due either to the masters or to the legislature. Other friends are abroad to whom probably the men themselves would point as to
their truest benefactors. Considering what human nature is, who can be surprised when drivers show a disposition to take revenge on the public on account of hardships endured. Let it be remembered that the cabman's calling is often the last resort of men overtaken by misfortune, and sometimes a formerly prosperous but now bankrupt tradesman is compelled to join their ranks.
Look into the home of a certain water-man, whose duties confine him to one stand. Time was when he showed a fanatical adherence to Mormonism, and, lacking victims of a better quality, the magnates of Mormonism in the neighbourhood elected the water-man one of their elders. He did what lay in his power to weaken the influence of Christianity, and to win converts among the healthy and the sick to his adopted faith. One day, while attending at the bedside of a sick comrade, he heard one read the parable of the Prodigal Son, and the words touched his heart. He had lived like a prodigal, and no better food was provided by Mormonism than the husks which others rejected. At best it was a swinish system, degrading to moral beings. Time passed, and anon the late adherent of a grovelling profession repented of his error with tears and alarm. He was directed into the good old way from which he had turned aside, and becoming changed in heart, was the means of reclaiming to Christ and purity several dupes of the repelling superstition which once enthralled him. To crown all, he assisted the district missionary he had lately opposed, and worked with the zeal of a converted opponent.
On the average, cabmen are as intelligent as other uneducated persons. Overworked, and often unkindly treated, numbers have found reason to be thankful for an agency which brings under their notice in the street the best things both of time and of eternity. Many men being abroad until midnight, and working seven days a week, have literally no other opportunity of reading and of listening to religious advice than the streets afford. When once whetted, their desire for knowledge is akin to that of more favoured mortals. They, in common with the omnibus-men, look out eagerly for the tracts and periodicals which are given away, and while the distribution is going on, one who is rapidly passing will take the trouble to stop, and call out for a copy. These are read at leisure on the stands, and when taken home, extend their influence to the women and children.
These men reveal to us a phase of London life sometimes novel, and always interesting, as true life proverbially is. A man is observed with a worn volume half-hidden beneath the cushion of his box, and in reply to "Are you fond of reading, my man, on the stand?" he says, “Oh yes; I never come out without my Bible. I find time to read it to myself and others. I know that the Lord is my Saviour, and I dare not hold back from persuading others to come to him." A small discovery like this does more to refresh the spirit of hard-working missionaries than any encomiums the public can bestow.*
* Having once given a twopenny Testament to a cabman, I was greatly surprised years after to find it drawn from his breast pocket as a precious treasure, for which he thanked me heartily. I had forgotten the man and the present, but he had not. I found him a believer, but in much soul distress, and had a long talk with him.—
C. H. S.
Another man is observed to be moved by some sudden joy, amounting even to an ecstasy of delight. Has some good-natured" fare" been treating him handsomely, or has a valuable treasure been discovered in his cab? The secret of his satisfaction is summed up in what is to him the grand fact of having found "a six-day master," and words fail to convey a proper impression of his gratitude. He has lately contracted a taste for religion, and now he will be able to accompany his family to a place of worship, like other people. The Sabbath will dawn upon him laden with rich blessings, the sweeter because long withheld, though his by heavenly privilege and right. It is well-nigh equivalent to giving such men another life when we give them the Sabbath. Not that there are not plenty on the stands ready enough to work on the Sabbath. A "seven-day" man was once heard bragging of what he could earn on the Sabbath; but, answered another, who immediately stepped up, "My coat is better than yours. I got it with six-days' work. You can't keep out of rags."
It is believed that as a body cabmen are fast improving, and naturally the improvement is more visible among the "six day" men than among those who labour on the Sabbath. They have reason, too, for working more heartily, and for showing better spirits than their more unfortunate comrades. They serve better masters, most of the employers who honour the Sabbath being of a more respectable type than others. Many of them are Christian men. The extension of the six-day system has also tended to decrease drunkenness among the drivers. Any endeavours to benefit cabmen are sure to be popular with the public, as obliging members of this genus are sure to be popular favourites. They may frequently be made the subjects of banter in comic prints, but if well used they will not be found such bad creatures as certain cynics would represent. Give them a chance to live respectably, and allow them to taste of domestic comfort, and they will not disappoint us any more than others will disappoint us whom we may desire to benefit.* Then of the immediate good arising from abolishing Sabbath labour we have abundant proof for encouragement. No longer a bond-slave, the man breathes more freely, and is a more favoured being in all respects than he was before. Nothing is more depressing to the spirits and more degrading to the moral nature than Sabbath labour; and the intellect suffers no less than the physical frame. One poor fellow, after a season of heavy toil, relieved by no Sabbath rest, confessed to becoming confused so as to forget, on reaching the mews, whether he had just returned home, or was about to start on a journey. Colney Hatch Asylum is also another unchallengable witness to the baneful effects arising from working seven days without relief. Let us give a hearing to the men who can give us a word on this subject. Said one honest fellow, "Why, sir, last Sunday I could have earned fourteen shillings, but I would not put my horse in the cab, for I begin to see it is all wrong, and I never mean to drive again on Sundays, if I could earn double the money; for I have a soul to be saved as well as the
*Personally I have found cabmen the most obliging and most honest of any class of men I have ever dealt with.-C. H. S.
rich man, and I will just tell you what I do, guv'ner. I get up early and go to the stable and clean my horse-for you know that must be done and do you know, directly I open the door, my horse looks round, begins making a noise, and I believe if he could speak he would say, 'I know you are not going to take me out to-day, for this is Sunday; and then he begins prancing, and I really believe, guv'ner, he begins to know all about it; and then I pats him down and tells him he is going to have a day's rest, as well as his master, and then he begins again, so that I have a job to keep him still; and strange to say, he only does this on Sunday mornings. I then go home and clean myself and go to church, aud again in the evening, and I assure you, I am all the better man for it; and when Monday comes, I get up quite fresh, and my horse is in order for work, and somehow or other I do not wait long on the rank before I get a job."
Visitors among the night cabmen pursue an arduous calling, and witness some remarkable scenes. Their constituents number a thousand men or more, all of a somewhat lower standard than their comrades of the day. Many of the drivers are aged men of quiet, respectable habits, and very teachable. In the night, too, perhaps more often than in the day, are depraved characters met with-men who have abandoned themselves to vice or gross sensual indulgence, and these stand aside by side with others whose only disqualifications for higher duties are their years and bodily infirmities. Some kind friends have sent me to visit you," was the salutation of a missionary, when first appointed to the work of night visitation. May God Almighty bless them," was the reply of several voices. The evangelist may be found on the stands even on cold, stormy nights, talking to men of Christ and salvation, and some will invite him to step inside a cab, where, shielded from the weather, both may speak at leisure. In coffee-rooms and public bars he is found, and years ago, before the new Act for closing refreshment houses came into force, he addressed many motley congregations between sunset and sunrise. He has had a congregation numbering between fifty and sixty persons, and composed of fallen women, cabmen, pugilists, mock niggers, thieves, low actors, and homeless outcasts. The people encountered at such times are civil and even attentive, and sufficiently garrulous to speak of their experience without hesitation. One will tell you without either shame or bravado that he has been imprisoned a dozen times. Another will confess to having received a university education. Yet another will tell of a sister, who, living far away in the country, writes him religious letters. Perhaps even a barman who remembers the lessons of youth in the rural Sunday-school will give his good wishes to the work. This is indeed a labour one may desire to see prosper; for as one far gone in depravity said, "If you do good to but one such as we are in a month, it will reward you." And speaking of his own work among the outcasts of the night, a missionary says, "I meet with no Pharisees. None attempt to justify their conduct. All I have to do is to direct them to him who came into the world to save the lost."
Thus on summer nights, when the delicious atmosphere tempts. idlers to linger in the open air, as well as in the trying winter time, when even hard-pressed casuals, as they sup upon "toke and skilly,"
bless their luck in having a place to sleep in, when the chill wind thins the streets, and drifts and freezes the snow, the missionary to the night cabmen pursues his way. As he approaches a stand he may be mistaken for a 66 fare," and though the men may experience momentary disappointment on discovering their mistake, they are sure to give their friend a welcome. There are few places into which that friend cannot enter-places even which are most difficult of access. Because the men experience considerable hardship in not being able legally to procure refreshments between the hours of one and four o'clock in the morning, certain enterprising publicans obligingly risk breaking the law for their own profit and their customers' convenience. "It's all right, guv'ner," said one of the nocturnal brotherhood, at 2.40 a.m., landlord, who, while serving refreshments to a famishing crowd, was naturally disconcerted at seeing a stranger with a bundle of tracts and papers enter by the guarded door as if quite familiar with the business. "It's all right, guv'ner; this is a very particular friend of ours, who is out night after night trying to do us good." After so satisfactory an introduction, Mr. Landlord will with seeming grace accept a British Workman. To others not in the secret, and who probably would have preferred not being disturbed, it seems akin to the Eighth Wonder of the World when one goes about talking of religion in the middle of the night. Those who are hospitably disposed, and who consider themselves under an obligation to "pay for anything," make the well-meant and really kind enquiry, "What will you take, sir?" We have heard these offers made to the "tract man," from the bar, but have never known them to be accepted.
When the eagerly-looked-for four a.m. arrives, the houses may legally open their doors, and in the vicinity of the principal railway termini, the coffee-room masters do not wait a minute over the time. The warm, inviting boxes are at once occupied with cold, fasting cabmen, and not unfrequently the night missionary will take his seat with the rest. While the company are drinking their steaming coffee, perhaps a portion of the New Testament is read and explained. Say it is the fifteenth chapter of Luke. Now, my men, what do you think of it," is asked. "Well, I will tell you what I think of it; it fetched tears from my eyes. When I was a boy at school I learned that chapter. I am just like that young man. But never mind, I shall be better some day, perhaps. It's a long lane that has no turning." This looking forward to "some day" is opposed as unreasonable and unscriptural. To be as wise as the Prodigal Son, we must "arise to-day." Then sympathising sighs come from one and another as a man reminds his companions of a comrade of theirs, who, after having braved the discomforts of the street during a certain night, died while sitting at breakfast when light and comfort came in the morning. A sad story surely, and one full of meaning! "We ought to think of religion more than we do," remarks one. "Ah, that we ought, mate," replies another. The diary of one missionary explains to us the nature of his work in the streets while the great city is asleep, e.g.
"One night we had a fearful storm of thunder and lightning. It was awfully grand, especially the latter. I happened to be at the Great Northern Railway Station, when a large number of cabmen congregated,