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Old August 26th, 2011, 8:54 am
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Marina  Female.gif Marina is offline
Fifth Year
Join Date: 15th January 2003
Location: New Zealand
Age: 31
Posts: 754
The Bread of Kindness

Here's a story set in the Victorian Era, which I have put aside for the moment (there are several stories "put aside" at the moment though, thanks to study), which is about a woman who meets Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man.

Chapter One

Coughs of old, dusty-haired men mingled with gruff mutterings of the young males.

Grey-haired coiffeurs, the oldest at sixty, mingled with dulling tresses of male youth.

Faces, old and young, folded into valleys and hills of wrinkles.

Even the youngsters in this hellhole had hairlines of wrinkles on their foreheads and cheeks.

Nails yellowed with decades of tobacco, fingers calloused with months of workhouse strife.

Minds shut down, submitting to a life of hell in an isolated building.

A charity building without charity, embedded on the borders of Leicester.

“Leicester Union Workhouse”

Even the mud larks scrabbling on knees and hands in the rancid mud of the river banks preferred their job over the workhouse.

No one tolerated the idea of being in a workhouse, where men, women, and children toiled day in, day out.

Hell wasn’t a place of torture after death.

Hell was right here on Earth, in the middle of Victorian London.

Hell was right here, in the workhouses, in the eyes and hands of the tortured and the supervisors.

No need for torturing, agonising flames of hell when you had the Poor Law institutions.

The workhouse was an eternity of hell—such an eternity one could hardly have noticed when their lungs exhaled a final time, their eyelids drooping over glassy irises forever.

If one were to see the row upon row of male faces when visiting the Leicester Union Workhouse one would hardly notice anything alarming in their features.

Just their terrible weariness and drudgery work.

But as one’s eyes travelled over the increasingly younger faces, one’s expression took that of alarm and horror.

No one forgot his face, and none let him forget it.

He had not ever known a cordial handshake from womankind, nor had he been shown an ounce of charity since his dear mother died.

Yes, his aunt Jane and uncle Charles loved him dearly, took him into their home.

He tried to find work in order to support them, but in the end, was unable.

Jane was soon to have a baby, another mouth to feed.

Joseph feared he would be a burden if he stayed.

They insisted he stay, they would find a way to cope.

Still, Joseph Carey Merrick wished not to be a burden, and to the pain of his Uncle Charles and Jane, in March 1880, he entered the workhouse for the second time.

He had stayed once before for six weeks between December 1879 and March 1880, tried to find work, but was all in vain.

Back to the terror and misery, with no other way.

The other young men delighted in jeering at him, pushing him around, and making snide comments on his appearance.

Some dinners, someone would casually push his plate to the floor, making it seem like an accident.

No, he had to go hungry.

“Please sir, may I have some more?” would no more work for Joseph than it did for Oliver Twist.

Grime and dirt eclipsed the crisp sky of daytime and the star-studded wonder of night.

Floorboards squeaked with mice, fidgeted with the scrabble of rats’ feet.

Leaks dripped from the rafters, dripping into little puddles in various corners.

Worse still, visiting days were all too few and far in between.

How Joseph yearned to be able to see his Uncle Charles more often!

How he yearned to be able to write letters to him!

Alas, the workhouse forced all to be hermits, secluded on an island that held the foundations of hell on Earth.


Why are geology students the best people? Because we rock.

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