Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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in the School Hill factory, and then removed to the small hamlet of Newtyle, near Dundee, where a cotton factory had been recently established. He now had a family of a wife and four children. In the commercial crash of 1836, after he had been there but a short time, the factory was suspended, only sufficient work being found for the operatives with families to allow them five shillings a week. Five shillings a week for six persons meant starva­tion and creeping death, " an empty armry and a cold hearthstone." Thorn and his family waited week after week, " hoping that times would mend," and with no prospect before them, if they aban­doned their miserable pittance, but roadside beg­gary. He gives the picture of the scene that drove them to the latter alternative.
"Imagine a cold spring forenoon. It is eleven o'clock, but our little dwelling shows none of the signs of that time of day. The four children were still asleep. There is a bed cover hung before the window to keep all within as much like night as possible ; and the mother sits beside the beds of her children to lull them back to sleep whenever any one shows an inclination to awake. For this there is a cause, for our weekly five shillings have not come as expected, and the only food in the house consists of a handful of oatmeal saved from the supper of last night. Our fuel is also exhausted.
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