With their flat caps and fingerless gloves, Dickensian orphans really are the best bet for an employer who wants to spend as little as possible on staffing. Their uses are manifold: for example, their tiny, malnourished fingers are excellent for removing hair and other foreign objects from the working parts of large machinery. And the best part is that they work for gruel, or even a cheap gruel substitute such as sawdust and despair.
I rented out several of DORS’s urchins, and I will admit that I was highly impressed with their service. For a start, it’s incredibly easy to find orphans who are best suited to one’s needs, with various different categories of available waifs. From pickpockets to chimney sweeps, many types of disposable Victorian child are offered, most of whom will perform difficult and monotonous tasks with a grateful manner and occasional song-and-dance numbers.
There’s a lot to recommend by the orphans that DORS has on its books. All of them were eager and willing to perform the perfunctory tasks I gave them, from rescuing valuable canaries from a collapsing mineshaft to obtaining petty cash through nefariously dipping their nimble fingers into the pockets of passing gentlemen. One of them, Oliver, sang with such a sweet voice that I bought his contract from DORS and sold him to Simon Cowell for a tidy profit.
That said, not everything about the Dickensian Orphan Rental Service is perfect. Of the four orphans I originally loaned, one of them was a coughing, wheezing weakling. When he passed out shortly after a thirty-six hour shift in one of my workhouses, I was informed that I was liable for his earnings in the next three weeks (his expected period of future use, had he not expired). This was a rather excessive fee for subjecting the boy to a normal working day, in my opinion. The lesson from this? Read the small-print.
All in all, though, the Dickensian Orphan Rental Service is an excellent way of getting that cheap employment that one sorely needs in the current economic climate. There are no questions asked, and the operators of the company, Fagin and Diana, are extremely helpful, especially for first-time renters. If you’re unsure of what kind of urchin to rent, they’ll be able to give you some useful tips and pointers. Oh, and they can also provide some rather spiffing – and cheap - gruel vendors.
One boy, boy for sale. He's going cheap. Only seven guineas. That - or thereabouts. Small boy... Rather pale... From lack of sleep. Feed him gruel dinners. Stop him getting stout. If I should say he wasn't very greedy... I could not, I'd be telling you a tale. One boy, boy for sale. Come take a peep. Have you ever seen as nice a boy for sale.