more observed in private houses. The Duke of Wellington had brought back from India the remarkable habit of taking a bath every day; his prestige was such that an ever larger number of citizens was following it -- if not daily, perhaps every other day, or at the least weekly.5 A curiously shaped tin container, with a high back, called a hip bath, would be put out on a large white piece of linen called a Bath Sheet. Within it would be a large can of hot water, coloured a grained brown and often with the words HOT WATER on it for greater clarity; a towel would be draped across this, and beside it (though not standing in the bath) would be another unlabelled jug containing cold water. There would also be a cake of soap and some smaller towels provided; locked in with these, the master or mistress of the house would do whatever he or she thought right.

There were two other more important advances on which the citizen might have congratulated himself. The one was negative; this was the first year in which what were called the Three Bashaws of Somerset House ceased to reign. 'Bashaws' was the Victorian (pretty correct) way of pronouncing what were later called Pashas, and the three men thus oddly named were three officials who had for thirteen years been administering a revised Poor Law, with the assistance of a relentless civil servant named Edwin Chadwick. Their principle had been simple: That relief in or out of the workhouse to the destitute (through unemployment or illness) should be administered in such a way as to be more disagreeable than the most disagreeable way of earning a living outside. This was called the principle of deterrence, for it was assumed that if a man was out of work it was his own fault and he could remedy it if he chose. If the guardians

-18-

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Story of a Year, 1848
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Illustrations 7
  • Prefatory Note 9
  • I- January 11
  • II- February 54
  • III- March 86
  • IV- April 107
  • V- May 134
  • VI- June and July 165
  • VII- August 194
  • VIII- September and October 210
  • IX- November 240
  • X- December 248
  • References 271
  • Index 281
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