Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
The Rushden Echo, 18th February, 1910, transcribed by Jim Hollis
A Rushden Man’s Sad Tale

A Bitter Experience


A pathetic communication reaches us as follows:-

“I do hope you can get some work this week. You know we was just getting over the last time you was out, and now you are out again. It seems as though we are not to get on. We are getting behind with the rent, our boy wants some new clothes, but it is impossible for me to keep straight without thinking of anything extra.”

I could see the see the tears glistening in the eyes of my wife as she was talking. I could understand her feelings – a strong woman who was prepared to work her fingers to the bone, crushed through circumstances over which she had no control.

I felt as though I was a brute – a criminal if you like – although no one has tried more to get work than I have. I thought at that moment that I should be justified in breaking any of the ten commandments if only by doing so I could bring something into the house.

“Have you any prospects of getting a job?” she continued. “Is there any factory that you have not tried, or have you got a promise from any of them that you have been to?”

What could I say? I knew that I had been to nearly every place in the district where there was a prospect of getting employment, and all of them with the exception of one, had given me to understand that

My Chance Was Hopeless

The one exception had told me that if they could give me a job they would let me know by sending a postcard to reach me by the last post on Thursday, but I felt convinced that they had only told me that because they had not the courage to tell me plainly that there was no chance.

I told my wife all. She was more hopeful than the circumstances justified. “Perhaps they will write,” she said, “and it is Thursday to-day and only wants an hour to the last post. Let us go up street and do what shopping is necessary. Then when we come back perhaps the postcard will be there.”

We went, and after looking at the things we wanted, and buying some things that we did not want because they were the cheapest, for we had to buy according to our pocket and not according to our wants, we came back home.

My Wife’s Spirits

ran high, although, I confess that I did not feel very elated, and could not believe that the postcard would be there. We arrived home and opened the door – and judge of my surprise on seeing a postcard that had been pushed through the letter-box.

My wife laughed! Ah! Did I say “laughed”? She fairly danced with joy. “We can pay our way now and our boy can have his new shoes next week,” she shouted in her glee, “just read the card and see when you can start.”

Her question roused me; I stooped, picked it up, and read –

A collection will be made in aid of the
Saturday next.

The card fell from my hand – a cry came from my lips – I think it was meant for a bitter laugh – if so, it was a hopeless failure, it was more like a cry of despair or of a strong man in anguish. I sank into a chair and turned to try and comfort my wife, but – she had found relief in a flood of tears.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the History index
Click here to e-mail us