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Rebecca Jarrett's Narrative

(c. 1928) Salvation Army Heritage Centre

Her experience written by herself for God Glory not for my Glory for herself but for God alone[.] Well a great many heard a lot about me some years ago. What a bad character I had been well yes it was true but a lot has to do with the bringing up. My father died and left my mother with 7 young children with no means to keep them[.] the eldest of them begged of my mother never to marry again they would do what they could to help her[.] two of them got into Woolich dock yard[.] from there they went off on ships[.] the eldest worked in the dockyard for some time[.] my eldest sister was sent to Melbourne in Australia[.] we never heard of her again[.] I was the baby left[.] the two boys got lost in the ship 2 sisters died with cholerie so I was only left with my mother[.] she had to keep her home on for me and her self[.] she had to work hard for her living[.] she sent me to a good private school but I was left a lot to my self [.] on Sunday my mother was at home it took her all morning to clean up and get her home clean and strait look after my clothes to see they were clean and tidy for me to go to school with the next day[.] she was very proud of my hair Poor old mother[.]

I had very fair hair then it took her some time to wash it and keep it clean and then if it was fine she take me to Cremorne gardens if she had the money to spare if not there was Public house right facing Chelsea college[.] in that gardens was as much wrong going on as there was in Cremorne but they were the old pensioners and the women[.] it was little summer houses many a time I had to bring my poor mother home the worse for drink on Sunday night. I was only 8 or 10 years off age[.] you wonder why so young I got in the way off an impure life why I was brought up in it though clean but impure[.] That was why I left my home so early to begin my life of sin and degradation[.] at Cremorne I got my money was well known[.] at age 13 I was standing looking at the buses being filled with people at the Public House in Chelsea[.] an old man stood at my side doing the same as I was I thought till he said to me would you like a ride in a bus I said will you bring me home again he said I will[.] I went in the bus with him he took me too Hyde Park[.] got out there went into the Park it was quite dark[.] I could not see him but I found as he was moving what his meaning was[.] I got away from him and run home[.] I never stood to watch the buses again[.] that old man was 70 I feel quite sure so when I got converted that was my first aim[.] off course the life I led with my mother and her drink I took to drink[.] I got such a sudden drinker I cared for nothing to eat. I went time after time to the doctors they said I must give up the drink or it would take me off[.] I tried hard[.] I could not eat so the drink was what I lived on for some years till one day I stopped at the hotel seeing in front a large board on it was Salvation Army Jail great doing were going on Sunday[.] I asked some one what it meant they told me it was a new religion got up like the Mormons[.] out of curiosity I went the S.A. I expect my dress drawed the attention of some of the S.A. people[.] then my hat with great blue feathers and my fair hair drawed their attention[.] they found out where I was stopping they came to see me in the hotel they found me so ill they took me to their doctor he told them it was drink[.] they got me up to London to see Mrs Booth I was taken November 1885 I was introduced to Mrs. Bramwell Booth in a Poor little home in Hanbury at Whitechapel[.] I had to go into the hospital for their poor little home was not able to nurse and look after me in fact they never had such a bad drink case[.] fancy? from a girl of 13 or 14 right up to 35 too old to be taken into a home[.] I was taken to the London hospital kept their for 10 weeks came out cured and well been watched with the greatest care by the S.A. and Mrs. Josephine Butler and other precious friends[.] right up till to day I have neither taken any or even wanted as each year makes me stronger and stronger not only from the drink but from my unclean life all together[.] My Jesus has done a perfect work in me[.] My aim directly was to help other wich I did try at the time of the Armstrong case came on[.] I had 9 girls wich I had got off from their bad life I prayed with them each day told them How God had changed my Heart. I had a good Home a nice large house I had every help I needed when I was asked to prove I could get a poor child of 13 year of age I was asked to prove it wich you all know I did[.] the mother was in the Public house drinking with the money I had just given her told her I was a loose woman she did not even come over to bid her good bye[.] the poor child was taken the greatest care off taken too a lovely home with a real titled lady so I was went to prison for 6 months[.] the care I proved God took off me made me more and more stronger in his work[.] of course my home had to be closed while I went to prison the poor sick girls were cared for by the S.A. at first I was taken to Clerkenwell House of Dentention for a time[.] my letter were all read before I got them by the clergyman[.] He could not bear the S.A. I was in their a week one afternoon all at once I heard some one singing[.] the Prisoners who was there detained as well as me shouted out the S.A. was coming in singing[.] no never alone He as promised never to leave me[.] when near were I was I found it was Miss Eva Booth come to cheer me up[.] the clergyman did not like it but the Prisoners they all did [.] from their I went to Bow Street what a time[.] not one hair off my head got hurt[.] we prayed each night like poor Daniel going down into the lions den for Our Father care[.] it was given to me one night I had to walk out alone right down in the middle off those people[.] I heard some off them say I know her when I see her[.] there I was in the middle of them[.] My Father care off me[.] the S.A. did all they could to help me[.] another time I was put into a cab by 1 dozen policemen who started me with 100 round me yelling at the top off their voices trying to turn the cab over but the police kept the mob off[.] the cabmen just got me away from the police but not far out of Bow St. when he put me down said he could not take me any further[.] we happened to see what he was doing he was waiting for the rabble to come up to me where there was no police[.] we asked what he was stopping for He said I cannot take you any further[.] why we only just got into the cab but we jumped out[.] we did not stop to argue with him the crowd would have got up to us and no police near[.] we see another cab standing empty we jumped into it before he could turn around we was gone[.] another time we took a cab and was driving down Whitehall road when some off the rougher ones called out general Booth in the cab so that about 100 of the rougher class shouted[.] we could not make out why they were shouting at last one off the roughs got in front off the cab said why it is two women you fools so they turned back[.] then my trial commenced[.] I was out on Bail I valued 500L [.] 2 gentlemen was responsible for the money when I found out who they were I thanked them[.] they said so kindly to me Rebecca if it had been 2 thousand pound we would have been your bailers[.] was it not lovely off them[.] God was good[.] so on the strength off the bailing out I went to Brighton and spent my time at the sea side[.] each time I went into the sea I had a great thick rope round me waist you see I valued 500L[.] I often laughed over it all[.] then I went back to finish my trial[.] my sentence was 6 months in Millbank Prison[.] I must say I was treated by all the officers with the greatest kindness and care and respect[.] the dear old Army Mother walked with 90 ladies with many more names to get me out but the Home Secretary came to see me asked me how I was in my health I said pretty fair but I felt the cold[.] through the petition I got a warmer cell[.] I had indoor exercise May God reward those dear ladies who walked with the dear old Army Mother with that petition but the Chaplin said be brave you have done a good work for that cause[.] on Xmas day 1886 I spent in my prison cell a tin cup of gruel was my Xmas breakfast with a dry small loaf[.] the dear old Commissioner Railton wrote me such a lovely letter to cheer me up[.] He wished he could take my place but the Chaplin Mr. Merrick told me they could not for if they let me free they would have to do for others who really got like poor children for the immoral purpose. So I settled down to spend my Xmas in my Prison cell[.] off course some of the prisoners was noisy we went to church[.] it was awfull not such much as a bit off green to cheer us[.] we were all locked in during the dinner hour it was awfull[.] the grumbling and swearing they all declare they never did anything to get there they only stood outside a liner draper shop a roll of flanellette fell down they were caught picking it up and locked up 3 months and etc none of them had not any business to be there by their own tale[.] I was the only one who was guilty but the dear old Army Mother wrote to me Mrs Bramwell Booth Mrs Josh Butler and about 20 other[.] the warm vest I had sent into me 4 warm shawls made by ladies one old lady made me a rung worked in wool with her own hands the word were With loving kindness has I with drawn there therefore with love will i watch over thee

Alleluia Praise God

so my month went on every one kind and good to me[.] I was taken ill near the end off my time I laid on my plank off wood just 2 inches from the stone floor all night when the morning came the cell door was opened I got up and went out to the officer and told her how ill she took me back to my cell and made me lay down again[.] I see the doctor about 10 was carried up stairs but to bed on a bedstead[.] I had a cup off tea the first I had since I had been in Millbank Prison[.] I asked to let me die but He looked so kindly at me no No 4 you have to get better and do more work yet[.] His kind face and the officers care got me up again[.] I then had a nice hot dinner a knife and fork to eat them with[.] I then was taken into the ward[.] I had been in a small room by my self I got tea up there it was all right even those poor thing who had done some to get there was nice and kind to me and treated me with the greatest off respect[.] as I looked in there poor faces I felt a great big lump off gratitude raise up in my heart only for God's children I might have been worse than them[.] my prison cell (illegible) praying me my Jesus was there my Friends outside was bearing me up now while I was in that ward wich was only 1 week[.] some of those Prisoners said to me do you know who is up here dyeing[.] I said no[.] they said the french woman who had been selling the drugs to stupify poor little children off 13 years of age before they were used by those wretched men[.] it was too dull there senses it was to deaden shame it was to deprive them off that modesty that ought to have been[.] what wretched characters to use poor little girls thank God their are some good workers but we want more[.] I have spent many years in the SA 259 Mare Street so I see a great deal their effort to save our young sisters[.] well my time went on getting near my 6 months end the weather began to get a bit warmer[.] I could go out side now for exercise as we all marched round in a circle[.] they used too talk to each other[.] you was not supposed to let the officer who stands in the middle hear you but she would hear the talking but as they all seemed to be talking together she could not correct but they were not allowed to talk out if she caught one she would stop their exercise for 1 week so they do it very quietly walking strait behind one another[.] one morning I was outside exercising when at the back off me some one said I know who you are I said who she said Jarrett off the Armstrong case[.] I said well she said you time is near up I said yes two more week she said will to try to get me out when you go[.] I said who are you[.] she said Lucy I forget the surname she did tell me[.] I said what you have done[.] she said the same as you have done[.] I said how long have you got 5 years she said me and my man[.] I said Lucy I am sorry for you I could not turn around and see her face but it was for showing that work up you and your man getting a living by getting those poor little children sometimes drugging them[.] I thanked God for helping to show it up[.] I said no Lucy Mr Stead nor any off my friends will listen to me you remember you and your man getting a living for 7 years from it think off those poor young girls in a Christian country with Christians all around[.] so I done my 6 months in Millbank prison I left with 7s 6d good conduct money[.] I left early 8 oclock was dressed with no end of parcels over 200 letters[.] I was loaded[.] every one of the officers bid me good bye and helped me with all my parcels and letters and 76 good conduct money[.] I had a cab waiting outside for me[.] I got in with all my luggage the cab was told to take me to Westminister bridge[.] at 8.15 I got then one carriage I was told to get out and see who it was in it[.] as I got near I see a bonnet there sat one off my faithful friends Mrs. Bramwell Booth who took me and all my parcel to get some tea as I had no gruel as I was leaving early Alleluia Praise God

For allowing me to do something
For His Blessed Name
Jesus

I left Millbank prison on April 10[.] tried to open my home again but I could not it was too trying just coming my self out off Prison[.] letters I had sent to me by people who said I was in the wrong place I ought be shielded from outside life all together off course from outside they did not understand my life[.] they felt I ought to be shut up in a box and never let out again[.] it is a mistake I would not do it[.] I should have lost my reason but my Precious Friend Mrs. Gen. Booth held on to me[.] Here I am 40 years since I first entered the Salvation Army Home in Hanbury St. a poor drunken broken up woman Mrs. Gen. and Mrs. Bramwell Booth did not look at that side[.] I was degraded sunken down low by drink[.] their work was to try and raise me up they first got me into the hospital were I was kept 10 week to defeat the old devil Drink[.] the doctors did their work and helped when I came out off the hospital I was watched and cared for[.] to day I have defeated the devil drink 39 years[.] Here I am living amongst those who like myself once are fighting the drink[.] I pray each day for God to help me I am now nearing my other Home[.] I am near 79 years in age but I am closing my earthly life with sincere gratitude to the Salvation Army and the precious officers for their care and devotion to me.

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