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Prisoners walk in a circle in a stone-walled prison courtyard that admits very little light. The guards look on, wearing smarter clothes and top hats.
Newgate’s sombre walls suggest sad thoughts on the black spots which blur our civilization. Those who will not work, and have not the means of living honestly, are the pests of every society. The vagrants, the tramps, the beggars, the cheats, the finished rogues, are a formidable race among a population of more than three millions, closely massed. They are the despair of social reformers—for he who has once taken a liking to the bread of idleness is beyond redemption as a citizen. He will shift his ground, change his cheat, do anything save work. A couch under a hedge, a turnip stolen from a field, a feast of blackberries—anything to save the sweat of his ignoble brow. London has always been infested with the vagabond class.