H.L. (again)

A few days ago, I posted on H.L. and his initial placement at Hart’s, and then at Heal and Son’s.

It seems things still didn’t go well for him there. In 1862, we find him again being helped by the Association. This time, their reporting and attitude is different. In both previous cases, they have made a lot of the fact that he is nearly blind, and that he only has one leg. Deaf and blind, and lame – he seems to be a poster case for the Association’s involvement.

If this is the same H.L, now, he’s simply ‘Lame as well as Deaf and Dumb’. And he’s not given a great deal of help either; simply a ‘box and stock of small articles to sell in the streets’. Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 14.57.35

This is still a reasonable living as long as it was consistent. Most of Victorian life was lived in the streets, which were extremely busy. There was a reasonable wage to be had if what you were selling was something that people wanted. Of course, there were some, like matchmakers and sellers, who were the lowest of the low and really extremely poor. H.L. hasn’t, therefore, hit rock bottom – but he’s no longer able to maintain regular work.

Part of the philanthropic trade-off in the 19th century was that, if you were given help, you demonstrated your gratitude by working hard to improve yourself. The AADD were clearly able, and willing to help some. But H.L.’s case suggests that he couldn’t keep to his end of the bargain, so expectations were adjusted.

Still, he hasn’t been relegated to the level of some who are simply sustained by AADD gifts, or placed by them in the workhouse. They do, at least, provide him with initial stock.

It’ll be interesting to see if he reappears further down the line… again.

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