Further Away - Spotify - Rockfeedback Session Songtext - Ben Howard

Further Away - Spotify - Rockfeedback Session - Ben Howard



In the city, at that time, there were a number of charities similar in

nature to that of the captain's, which Hurstwood now patronised in a

like unfortunate way. One was a convent mission-house of the Sisters of

Mercy in Fifteenth Street--a row of red brick family dwellings, before

the door of which hung a plain wooden contribution box, on which was

painted the statement that every noon a meal was given free to all those

who might apply and ask for aid. This simple announcement was modest in

the extreme, covering, as it did, a charity so broad. Institutions and

charities are so large and so numerous in New York that such things as

this are not often noticed by the more comfortably situated. But to one

whose mind is upon the matter, they grow exceedingly under inspection.

Unless one were looking up this matter in particular, he could have

stood at Sixth Avenue and Fifteenth Street for days around the noon hour

and never have noticed that out of the vast crowd that surged along that

busy thoroughfare there turned out, every few seconds, some

weather-beaten, heavy-footed specimen of humanity, gaunt in countenance

and dilapidated in the matter of clothes. The fact is none the less

true, however, and the colder the day the more apparent it became. Space

and a lack of culinary room in the mission-house, compelled an

arrangement which permitted of only twenty-five or thirty eating at one

time, so that a line had to be formed outside and an orderly entrance

effected. This caused a daily spectacle which, however, had become so

common by repetition during a number of years that now nothing was

thought of it. The men waited patiently, like cattle, in the coldest

weather--waited for several hours before they could be admitted. No

questions were asked and no service rendered. They ate and went away

again, some of them returning regularly day after day the winter


A big, motherly looking woman invariably stood guard at the door during

the entire operation and counted the admissible number. The men moved up

in solemn order. There was no haste and no eagerness displayed. It was

almost a dumb procession. In the bitterest weather this line was to be

found here. Under an icy wind there was a prodigious slapping of hands

and a dancing of feet. Fingers and the features of the face looked as if

severely nipped by the cold. A study of these men in broad light proved

them to be nearly all of a type. They belonged to the class that sit on

the park benches during the endurable days and sleep upon them during

the summer nights. They frequent the Bowery and those down-at-the-heels

East Side streets where poor clothes and shrunken features are not

singled out as curious. They are the men who are in the lodging-house

sitting-rooms during bleak and bitter weather and who swarm about the

cheaper shelters which only open at six in a number of the lower East

Side streets. Miserable food, ill-timed and greedily eaten, had played

havoc with bone and muscle. They were all pale, flabby, sunken-eyed,

hollow-chested, with eyes that glinted and shone and lips that were a

sickly red by contrast. Their hair was but half attended to, their ears


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