In 1880 Lady Brabazon, now the Countess of Meath, offered a grant of money for materials to any workhouse or infirmary that would try her scheme. The scheme consists in teaching infirm and crippled inmates of workhouses to employ their idle hands usefully, and in this way “beguile many a weary hour, and add zest to their lives.” Carlyle's picturesque tourist well describes the condition of many a workhouse inmate: “They sat there near by one another, but in a kind of torpor, especially in a silence, which was very striking. In silence! for what word was to be said—an earth all lying round, crying, ‘Come and till me,’ ‘Come and reap me?’ Yet we sit here enchanted, we know not why. In the eyes and brows of many of these men hung the gloomiest expression—not of anger, but of grief and shame, and manifold inarticulate distress and weariness.”
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