Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/228

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

added zest to the thing, and she departed, sure of finding adventures, if not Spurgeon.

If an omnibus conductor had not befriended her, she would probably have found herself at Hampstead or Chelsea, for London busses are as bewildering as London streets. Thanks to this amiable man, who evidently felt that the stranger in his gates needed all his care, the old lady safely reached the Elephant and Castle, and was dismissed with a moss rose-bud from the lips of her friend, a reassuring pat on the shoulder, and a paternal, "'Ere yer are, my dear," which unexpected attentions caused her to depart with speed.

There certainly was need of a Tabernacle in that quarter, for the poverty and wickedness were very dreadful. Boys not yet in their teens staggered by half tipsy, or lounged at the doors of gin-shops. Bonnetless girls roamed about singing and squabbling. Forlorn babies played in the gutter, and men and women in every stage of raggedness and degradation marred the beauty of that fair Sunday morning.

Crowds were swarming into the Tabernacle; but, thanks to the order a friend had given her, Miss