Page:Hannah More (1887 Charlotte Mary Yonge British).djvu/98

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was immense among the poor in those days. At Brentford, close to London, the most thrifty parents dressed their children in rags bought by the pound and patched together, and brushes and combs were utterly unknown; so what must the average child of the Mendips have been? Spinning and knitting would, it was hoped, be a step to enabling the girls to clothe themselves decently.

A spinning mistress was secured, and likewise an excellent widow who had seen better days, and had forty pounds a year of her own, Mrs. Baker, with her daughter, who were to conduct the school in the cottage that had been hired. When all was ready the two sisters, with their mistresses, took rooms at the "George" at Cheddar, and proceeded thither on Saturday, the 24th of October, taking a leg of mutton as their provision, and finding no room but the kitchen to sit in.

On Sunday, the 25th of October, 140 children assembled at the school, and the little mission party took them to church, which they found more crowded than it had been for forty years, except on a club day. The curate preached for twelve minutes on the laws of the land and the divine right of Kings, but the divine right of the King of Kings seemed to be a law above his comprehension. The farmers looked on in armed neutrality, with the prevailing sentiment that reading never did good to anyone, and that religion would be