“A little has been done. Two or three years ago a building association was organized by a few gentlemen of means, with a view to the purchase of property in this district and the erection of small but good houses, to be rented at moderate cost to honest and industrious people. A number of such houses have already been built, and they are now occupied by tenants of a better class, whose influence on their neighbors is becoming more and more apparent every day. Brady street—once the worst place in all this district—has changed wonderfully. There is scarcely a house in the two blocks through which it runs that does not show some improvement since the association pulled down half a dozen of its worst frame tenements and put neat brick dwellings in their places. It is no uncommon thing now to see pavement sweeping and washing in front of some of the smallest and poorest of the houses in Brady street where two years ago the dirt would stick to your feet in passing. A clean muslin half curtain, a paper shade or a pot of growing plants will meet your eyes at a window here and there as you pass along. The thieves who once harbored in this street, and hid their plunder in cellars and garrets until it could be sold or pawned, have abandoned the locality. They could not live side by side with honest industry.”
“And all this change may be traced to the work of our building association, limited as are its means and half-hearted as are its operations. The worst of our population—the common herd of thieves, beggars and vile women who expose themselves shamelessly on the street—are beginning to feel less at home and more in danger of arrest and exposure. The burning brands are no longer in such close contact, and so the fires of evil are raging less fiercely. Let in the light, and the darkness flees. Establish the good, and evil shrinks away, weak and abashed.”
SO the morning found them fast asleep. The man awoke first and felt the child against his bosom, soft and warm. It was some moments ere he understood what it meant. It seemed as if the wretched life he had been leading was all a horrible dream out of which he had awakened, and that the child sleeping in his bosom was his own tenderly-loved baby. But the sweet illusions faded away, and the hard, sorrowful truth stood out sternly before him.
Then Andy’s eyes opened and looked into his face. There was nothing scared in the look-hardly an expression of surprise. But the man saw a mute appeal and a tender confidence that made his heart swell and yearn toward the homeless little one.
“Had a nice sleep?” he asked, in a tone of friendly encouragement.
Andy nodded his head, and then gazed curiously about the room.
“Want some breakfast?”
The hungry face lit up with a flash of pleasure.
“Of course you do, little one.”