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Some Roundabout Papers - William Makepeace Thackeray

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Some Roundabout Papers


We have lately made the acquaintance of an old lady of ninety,
who has passed the last twenty-five years of her old life in a
great metropolitan establishment, the workhouse, namely, of the
parish of Saint Lazarus.  Stay -- twenty-three or four years ago,
she came out once, and thought to earn a little money by hop-
picking;  but being overworked, and having to lie out at night,
she got a palsy which has incapacitated her from all further
labour, and has caused her poor old limbs to shake ever since.

An illustration of that dismal proverb which tells us how poverty
makes us acquainted with strange bed-fellows, this poor old
shaking body has to lay herself down every night in her workhouse
bed by the side of some other old woman with whom she may or may
not agree.  She herself can't be a very pleasant bed-fellow, poor
thing! with her shaking old limbs and cold feet.  She lies awake
a deal of the night, to be sure, not thinking of happy old times,
for hers never were happy;  but sleepless with aches, and agues,
and rheumatism of old age.  "The gentleman gave me brandy-and-
water," she said, her old voice shaking with rapture at the
thought.  I never had a great love for Queen Charlotte, but I
like her better now from what this old lady told me.  The Queen,
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