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174 WILLIAM THOM, THE WEAVER POET.
My wife and I were conversing in sunken whispers about making an attempt to cook the handful of meal, when the youngest child awoke beyond its mother's power to hush it again to sleep, and then fell a-whimpering, and finally broke out in a steady scream, rendering it impossible any longer to keep the rest in a state of unconsciousness. Face after face sprang up, each with one consent exclaiming, ' Oh, mither, mither, gie me a piece.' "
The family took to the road, leaving the key of the miserable tenement with the landlord, in the hope of being eventually able to return to a home like that. By the sale to a pawnbroker in Dundee of "some relics of better days," — one can hardly imagine what relics or what days, — a small pack of cheap hawker's goods was procured for the wife, and four shillings' worth of books for the husband, to try to sell, but they can only have been the flimsiest disguise for the necessity of depending upon charity. The tramp began, the mother carrying the youngest child on her breast, and often bearing the next youngest also, who was unable to follow the weary road the whole distance. Sunset was followed by cold, sour east winds and rains. At nine o'clock they arrived at a comfortable farmhouse, where they were refused shelter, in the absence of the proprietor. All beseeching of the housekeeper was in vain, and the husband returned