There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon, for two or three days, and the dinners had been rather meagre.
A jailer stood reclining against the dock-rail, tapping his nose listlessly with a large key, except when he repressed an undue tendency to conversation among the idlers, by proclaiming silence; or looked sternly up to bid some woman ’Take that baby out,’ when the gravity of justice was disturbed by feeble cries, half-smothered in the mother’s shawl, from some meagre infant.
Nor were there wanting other indications of the good gentleman’s having gone down in the world of late: for a great scarcity of furniture, and total absence of comfort, together with the disappearance of all such small moveables as spare clothes and linen, bespoke a state of extreme poverty; while the meagre and attenuated condition of Mr. Sikes himself would have fully confirmed these symptoms, if they had stood in any need of corroboration.
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They danced for the rest of the half hour, stopping to swallow their meager lunches only while Signor Carlotti was changing the phonograph between songs.
Margaret Peterson Haddix -- Uprising
Inside, along with the rest of our meager possessions, were the Tales.