"Hard work is good an' wholesome, past all doubt; But 'tain't so, ef the mind gits tuckered out."
--JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL: Biglow Papers.
A wise man of the old time, after a tour of observation, came home to say, "So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such, as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter." If this report had been written by one who had been climbing with me through the tenement houses of not less than a score of Boston streets, conversing with the sewing-women, looking on their poverty-lined faces and their ragged children, breathing the poisonous air of the quarters where they work, and listening to their heart-rending stories of cruelty and oppression, it would be an appropriate summary of our observation. It is my purpose, at this time, to take you with me on a tour of observation. As well-lighted streets are better than policemen to insure safety and good order, so I believe that the best possible service I can render the public is to turn on the light, and tell, as plainly and simply as I can, the story of what I have seen and heard and smelled in the white slave-quarters, which are a disgrace to our fair city. I shall confine myself at this time entirely to the work of women and children in their own homes.