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Notes on Old Edinburgh

Isabella L. Bird

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ch makes life brighter for an[Pg 6] hour is at the lips without waiting or scuffling. How can our sad and sorely-tempted ones escape the snare? Limited water and unlimited whisky, crowded dens and unwholesome air; we need nothing more to make a city full of drunkards.

We followed this water grievance into thirty-seven houses that day, and there was scarcely one in which it was not enlarged upon. Did our eyes wander round a room ever so stealthily, its occupier was ready to forestall the glance by saying, “Ah, sirs, it’s the dirt ye’re looking at, but how’s puir folk like us to be clean as has to haul every drop of water from that well?” Did we shrink ever so slightly from a child whose head and clothing were one mass of dirt, the movement was perceived, and the want of water, the distance from the well, and the long long stair, were the apologies offered.

I merely give one instance, which might be multiplied almost indefinit. . . Read More