Chapter 13: Planning for the Future
Now I began to form a Plan for my future Campaign. I had begun to reflect thus:- "You have made a great mistake in running about the Country as you have done with the idea of getting work. It is not reasonable to expect employment from anyone in the condition that you have been in - tramping about the Country without Shoes and Stockings and mere Rags to look upon. No! No! You must change your course if you would succeed!"
"Well, well," says I, "that is true. When I set out again I will have a different outfit. This I will do. I have about six months until April before I can make another start. I can make about eighteen pence or two shilling a Week if I work hard. I will save every penny I can make up to look tidy."
"Buy a good Hat and rig-out, so that you don't look like a Workhouse Bird."
Having arranged this in my mind, I sought to carry it out. Having made known my scheme to Mr Tomkins the Master Tailor I have no doubt he put me forward what he could in giving me plenty of Work.
The Parish allowed one shilling for a Man's Suit. They had three pence for the fitting out and I had the ninepence. I could make two suits a week, working hard so that I could make eighteen pence a week. And, as there was only one pocket for each garment allowed by the Parish, those men that wanted two pockets had to pay three pence for each extra Pocket; so that if there were any extra pockets wanted by the men whose Garments were in hand, it was all the better for the Tailor. Well, now I was full of work and hope. - O hope sweet hope! Hope it sweetens Toil and Care - Time ran on fast: Winter was gone and April not far off, so I bethought me to make a Napsack to carry my extra things. We had a lot of Old Police Clothing in the Shop. I asked the Master whether I might have some of that to make my Napsack. He gave me leave to take what I wanted. So I had the stuff; but how could I make a Bag of it with four corners such as I wanted? Single it would not do, for it was too limp: so I tried it double by back-stitching. Well, that would not do either! So I consulted with myself what to do next? So I thought I would get some cane and sew it into each Corner. So I bought three pennorth and did so, and made a Cover to fit well. So now I got it into shape; but something, I thought, was wanting.
"How will it be" says I "when you are on the Road and it comes on to Rain? All your things will get wet! Ah! that will not do. Well what next?"
"Get some Canvas to cover outside the Cloth".
"Well", I thought "that will do".
So I got some canvas, for which I paid nine pence, and sewed that on. That would not do without it was painted. So I got some Black Paint from our Painter, who had his cupboard below our Stairs. So the bag was finished, with the exception of three pennyworth of Buckles and Strapping. Now I went to Monmouth Street, which was then a great place for all kinds of second-hand. There I bought a Silk hat and a blue Surtout Coat and Waistcoat and a pair of Workhouse trousers which I dyed black. These formed my outfit for the next Start.