For this assignment you are required to write on TWO topics and only ONE topic can be chosen from a particular week. In short, a complete Gobbet Exercise should look something like this:
Primary source 1 (Course Reader: Module Week 1 – option A) 500-800 words
Primary Source 2 (Course Reader: Module Week 2 – option B) 500-800 words
For a complete assignment total of 1000 – 1600 words.
464 THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. March
LIFE ON A GUINEA A Tf/EEK
TeE present day is essentially one in whichbut few of us can afford to neglect the most rigid rules of economy, and so the question of making the most of a guinea per week has a vital interest for many thousands of individuals . This is especially the case with young men who have come to London to obtain, if not their fortune, at all events their daily bread .
It is only those who have, so to speak, gone through the mill that are in a position to speak of the extent to which a guinea a week can be squeezed when necessity compels. Tltat there are large numbers of young and middle-aged men in London absolutely de pendent upon twenty-one shillings per week is a proposition which admits of no question. And the manner in which this….:..to many an impoesible-scheme is carried into effect cannot but be intere sting to readers who have neither need nor inclination for pursuing a ,similar course of frugality.
It is upon clerks more particularly that the principles of economy fall hard when supplemented by an impera tive demand for respect
;a,bility. They must present a decent appearance and possess a very fair education-the more perfect and varied the better so far as the chance of obtaining a situation is concerned, but very rarely does it ,command an appreciably higher rate of &alary. These and many other collateral matters have scarcely any place in the calculations -of a mechanic or artisan, who preferably selects the coarsest and most wearable material as clothing. Even this is protected whilst the man is at work by a rough apron. If one of the lat ter class buys a three-and-sixpenny felt hat he makes it last for many months for Sundays, and after that it is 'good enough ' for a couple of years for everyday wear. With a clerk it is different; self-respect, if no thing else, would be sufficiently strong to prevent bis going ' to business ' in a battered hat. Very few journeymen mechanics are paid so little as a guinea per week, which is a very common salary for clerks who have long passed the junior stage. Bank clerks are of course paid at a higher rate.
But the primary object of this article is to show the possibilities of a weekly guinea, and bow the two ends are made to meet upon so small a sum. At the starting point a twelvemonth's outlay upon
1888 LIFE ON .A GUINEA .A WEEK. 465
clothing must be considered, and the following table is compiled from the present writer's 'weekly account' books:-
£ ,. d. 1 overcoat l 16 0 1 umbrella 7 I)
2 hate 6 0 1 silk bat 7 0 1 euit week-dayclothes 2 0 0 1 1uit Sunday clothes 2 10 0 4 pair eockeat 10d .• 3 4 1 pair boots 10 0 R epairing boots 0 0 2 under Tests • 5 0 2 flannel ebirta 6 0 4 eolian • 1 8 2 pair culfa 1 4 Cotton, button!, &c . . 1 0
8 10 10
From this total must be deducted exactly half the. prices of tht overcoat and umbrella, which brings the actual amount down to 7l. 188. 7d. Both these articles should last two [email protected] It will be observed that no allowance is made for' mending,' which most young men, however, learn to do for themselves, as the present writer knows from experience. Landladies are not over-anxious to sew on buttons at less than a penny each-a charge which the actual labour expended certainly does not warrant. Most men need flannels, chest protec tors, and several other little items, but I am only now concerned with my own positive personal and actual expenditure. The fifty second part of this amount is, roughly speaking, 3s. Id.; and the actual weekly payments may be tabulated in the following manner:- ,. d.
Rent 6 0 Breakfasts 1 8 Dioners • 0r, Teu 1 0 Boot-<:leaning . 0 3 Coal.a and v,ood 1 0 Wuhiog. 0 0 Tobacco, &:c. 0 0
This amount, added to the trifle over 31. above mentioned, comes to 198. 3d., and of the balance there was none left after an occasional visit to some theatre. As regards dinners, there is said to be con siderable beauty in variety, and this might have been the case with my dinners ; but I cannot call to mind any such implied degree of pleasure, and my experiments are of too recent a date to admit of much doubt on the subject. Five shillings cannot be considered an extravagant sum for seven dinners, the most expensive of which waa
466 THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. March
that on Sunday, and comprised the landlady's 'dollops' of fatty beef, greasy pork, or underdone mutton, with a digester by way of an extremely small bit of cheese and a huge hunch of bread. The very sight of such a ' spread ' wasenough to give on~ an attack of indiges tion. On other days if the quantity was smaller the quality was superior; but London landladies of the second grade appear to have no firith in any other than the former element, in the matter of Sunday dinner s at all events. I have never detected that ver1 desirable quality in any other direction.
There is considerable pleasure, and consequent benefit, in dining at a vegetarian restaurant, or in judiciously laying out sixpence or sevenpence in the middle of the day at an aerated bread shop. Everything at these places is scrupulously clean, and the viands there mpplied are, in my experience, a sort of incentive to eating when the appetite is sated or absent. I have found two vegetarian dinnen in one week quite sufficient in spring and autumn ; in winter one would be enough, but, speaking penonally, when I had an extra ex perimental 'fit' on during summer I have taken three. One day in the week I enjoyed an egg or two with bread-61ld-butter and tea or oocoa at the aerated bread shop. On another day ninepence would purchase a plate of rout beef, with potatoes, cabbage, and bread ; andusually on the following day a fish dinner served as the chief meal. Boiled or roe.st mutton, and boiled beef, with the usual supply of one or two vegetables, with or without bread, according to the part of the week or the state of the finances, would form the dinners of at least two days out of the seven. Breakfasts generally came to threepence, which would include an egg, with the chances as to its being good or bad about equally balanced. For a change a rasher of bacon was often tried, but its only merit, were a savoury odour and an evenness and thinn esa which did the carver great credit from his point of view. 'Tea and two' formed the almost invariable afternoon repast, and, by way of explanation, it may be stated that the colloquial phrase signifies a cup of tea and two slices of bread-and-butter. The extraordinary dirtiness and griminess of nearly all the English 'dining-rooms ' have often caused me to leave a meal untouched. I could not then, and can scarcely now, pass these places without an instinctive shudder. All the dirt of the immediate neighbourhood seems to accumulate in and around thellfl pestiferous ' eating-houses.' Suppers were either not approved of or resolved themselves into a penny bun, whichever happened to be the more convenient. It will be observed that no allowance is made in the foregoing table for beer or other strong drinks ; and the reason is not far to seek. Temperance should form a cardinal point in the creed of a man who wishes to live on a gninea a week and be at the same time respectable. The public-house and the fifty-second-rate billiard-room have proved the
l888 LIFE ON .A GUINEA A WEEK. 467
ruin of many hundreds of young clerks who desire to be thought that which they are not, and endeavour to live' fast 'without any possible means of keeping it up for long . The ordinary clerk baa very few chances of earning an income of 150l. or 200l. per annum, but what slender possibilities he may have had are too often broken beyond all hope through the mediums just indicated.
Such, then, is the very brief account of the writer's attempt at eking out an existence at one guinea per week. It can be done, and yet life not be a burden and a perpetual misery to the individual. Many clerks prefer to pay a small subscription to a club rather than visit the theatres or the music halls, and very probably their choice is the wiser. The Y.M.C . .A.'s and kindred institutions do excellent work,but their aims are too 'goody-goody ' for many men. A guinea a week, with careful management, can be made to go a very long way.
Gobbets Made Easy Vital Information for your AMH life
What the heck is a
A "gobbet” is a concise analytical comment on a short extract from a textual documentary source, or an image. It is an exercise in de-construction, aimed at extracting the maximum historical understanding from the source in question. The answer should be brief and sharply focused on the issues arising from the source.
Notes on How to Write Gobbets
The primary documents, normally an extract of text (especially a quotation) or image, is provided as a context for analysis, discussion, or translation.
A well written gobbet should have the following elements:
§ 500 to 800 words.
§ Avoids an over-lengthy introduction and gets to the point quickly.
§ Does not simply rephrase the wording of the gobbet; but analyzes it.
§ It will identify the primary source and context, including: § Its language
§ Whether the text provided is a translation or not
§ The place where this primary source was created
§ Its purpose
§ The main characters involved
§ It will comment on the particular point or points raised in the extract (ask yourself, why was this extract set?).
§ It will explain any distinctive words or phrases.
§ It will then, towards the end, comment more discursively on some of the broader issues involved.
§ Is this a true or accurate narrative of events?
§ Are the hopes of the protagonist ultimately realized?
§ Where does this extract fit into the wider context of what we know from our sources?
To explore a primary source adequately you will need to consider a number of areas: content, context, and authorship. The following slides should help to get you thinking along the right lines.
The questions listed are not intended to be exclusive or prescriptive, or to be learnt by heart and applied to every primary source.
If a question is not relevant to a particular primary source, do not waste time on it.
If other questions occur to you, answer them instead.
§ What is the source being analyzed? Is it a text, an image, a video?
§ What sort of material is it (journal entry, poem, song lyrics, painting, inscription, political pamphlet, documentary etc.)?
§ Who created it?
§ Why was it created?
§ Where and when was the source created?
§ How good was the creator’s knowledge of the events (s)he describes?
§ Is the creator biased? If so, which way? How is this shown in the primary source?
§ Is the creator trying to persuade the reader/listener of a particular point? If so, what? How?
§ Can anything be said about the creator’s attitudes from the passage? Does the creator’s attitude reflect or conflict with general attitudes at the time?
Thesepointsareimportantbecausetheyaffecttheinterpretationoftheprimarysource. Sources canpresentverydifferentviewsof thepastanditmakesadifferenceif thesewerecreatedatthe time of the events or centuries later. It will help you if you know the biographies of the authors/creatorsof thesource,butdonotsimplywriteall thedetailsoutat thebeginningofeach answer. Use the information where it is relevant to the interpretation of the primary source.
For example,if General Eisenhower discussed American warfare in a journal entry,the fact that he was an American general is relevant. If he is talking about Chinese warriors, it is not. If somethingyouknowabouttheauthorleadsyoutoreadthetextdifferently,mentionit.Otherwise, leaveitout.
Historical Content and
§ What does the primary source describe or show?
§ Where and when do the events take place?
§ Why did they take place there and then?
§ Who is involved? Who were they? Where did they come from? What else did they do?What happened to them afterwards?
§ Why are they doing it?
§ What happened before?
§ What happened afterwards?
§ What were the consequences of the events described in the passage?
§ What was happening concurrently in the larger historical picture (e.g. war, famine, the rise of Cthulhu) when the source was created?
§ How do the events fit into the larger historical picture?
When dealing with the historical content, do not simply paraphrase the passage. If your commentary says nothing beyond the information that is already in thepassageorprimarysourcedescription, yourgradewill suffer.
When putting the passage into its historical context, stay close to the passage itself – do notwrite a general essay on the bigger picture. You can say how the passage influences our understanding of the bigger picture, or how the passage says something different when it is placed in its proper context.
In the End
When you have worked through a primary source with the questions above in mind, you should be able to say what its significance is:
§ What does the source tell us and about what?
§ Why should your reader be interested in the source material?
Gobbet Exercise prompts can be found in the Course Reader. For this assignment you are required to write on TWO topics and only ONE topic can be chosen from a particular week. In short, a complete Gobbet Exercise should look something like this:
§ Primary source 1 (Course Reader:Week 1 – option A) 500-800 words
§ Primary Source 2 (Course Reader:Week 3 – option B) 500-800 words
Gobbet Exercises should also include citations (footnotes) and a bibliography. There should be at least one citation per primary source used.
§ Gobbets are designed to assess your ability to comment critically upon source material, whether a text or an object.
§ Each gobbet will have at least one specific point that should be addressed/analyzed, so always consider why a particular passage/image has been chosen.
§ For those of you also taking literature modules in other Schools, please note that history gobbets are less an exercise in textual criticism and much more an attempt to get to the heart
of the issues contained within a document, and the issues concerning the nature of the document itself.
EXAMPLE GOBBETS Can be found under Student Resources on Canvas
( 87 )
AT THE MEETING OF THE
SOCIETY FOR IMPROVING THE CONDITION
OF THE LABOURING CLASSES.
[ MAY 18TH, 1848.)
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,-·
vv:aEN Society for thefour years since this Improvement of the Condition of the
Labouring Classes was first established on its present footing, I accepted with great pleasure the offer of becoming its President.
I saw in this offer a proof of your appreciation of my feelings of sympathy and interest for that class of our community which has most of the toil, and least of the enjoyments, of this world. I conceived that great advantage would accrue from the endeavours of influential persons, who were wholly disinterested, to act the part of a friend to those who required that advice and assistance which none but a friend could tender with advantage.
This Society has always held this object before
88 SOCIETY FOR IMPROVING THE
its eyes, and has been labouring in that direction. You are all aware that it has established model lodging-houses, loan-funds, and the system of allotments of ground in different part s of the country; but it has been careful only to establish examples and models, mindful that any real im provement which was to take place must be the result of the exertions of the working people them.selves.
I have jus_t come from the model lodging house, the opening of which we celebrate this day; and I feel convinced that its existence will, by degrees, cause a complete change in the domestic comforts of the labouring classes, as it will exhibit to them, that with real economy can be combined advantages with which few of them have hitherto been acquainted ; whilst it will show to those who possess capital to invest, that they may do so with great profit and advantage to themselves, at the same time that they are dispensing those comforts to which I have alluded, to their poorer brethren.
Depend upon it, the inter ests of classes too often contrasted are identical, and it is only ignorance which prevents their uniting for each other's advantage. To dispel that ignorance, to show how man can help man, notwithstanding
CONDITION OF THE LABOURING CLASSES. 89
the complicated state of civilized society~ ought to be the aim of every philanthropic person; but it is more peculiarly the duty of those who, under the blessing of Divine Providence, enjoy station, wealth, and education.
Let them be careful, however, to avoid any dictatorial interference with labour and employ ment, which frightens away capital, destroys that freedom of thought and independence of action which must remain to every one if he is to work out his own happiness, and impairs that con fidence under which alone engagements for mutual benefit are possible.
God has created man imperfect, and left him with many wants, as it were to stimulate each to individual exertion, and to make. all feel that it is only by united exertions and combined action that these imperfections can be supplied, and these wants satisfied. This presupposes self reliance and confidence in each other. To .show the way how these individual exertions can be directed with the great.est benefit, and to foster that confidence upon which the readiness to assist each other depends, this Society deems its
most sacred duty. There has been no ostentatious display of
charity or munificence, nor the pretens ion of
90 SOCIETY FOR IMPROVING, E'l'C.
beco~ing the arbiter of the fate of thousands, but the quiet working out of particular schemes of social improvement; for which, however, a.s I said before, the Society has only established ex amples for the community at large to follow.
The report of the proceedings of last year will now be laid before you.
I must say- I hope I may say-that the So ciety has proceeded satisfactorily towards the ac complishment of its objects ; and that is owing particularly to the kind feelings, the great expe rience, and undoubted zeal of Lord Ashley.
The next step which we contemplate t.aking is
the erection of a model lodging-house for families. I have no doubt that the meeting will enable us to carry out that step, and that the attention of the public will be more generally directed to the objects which we have in view.
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