Now, I am not what you might call a ‘political’ fellow. Partisan politics leaves me cold, what with one politician being just as self-serving as another. And, with this being the year 1870 and what with me being a man of somewhat limited means, the right to vote has not yet been granted to the likes of me anyway.
No, I consider myself to be an ‘independent’. I follow my own path through life, troubled as it may be, and try not to stray onto those what are more trodden down. An opportunist, some may say, if I spy a way to line my pockets with a few pennies then I will take it, whether that way strictly follows the letter of the law or not; oh yes, your Sloper can be just as self-serving and opportunistic as any of these politicians.
So, what of anarchy? It was becoming quite the thing in London at this time. Well meaning and earnest young folk, often of the middle-classes, attempting to convert the London poor to their cause. Recruiting us as foot-soldiers in their war against the establishment; telling us that we do not need to do what those in charge tell us to do. And the way to free ourselves from our bondage? Why, just to do what these firebrands tell us to do instead!! As you may imagine, they were often served short shrift for their pains.
Our friend, Arthur Morrison, wrote a story about just such a thing in Tales of Mean Streets, which you can read free and gratis here…