Shows R

he's written. Lord Shaftesbury takes it from him. Shaftesbury reads Syd's letter to the House of Lords. It calls for attention to the plight of the poor and begs the help of the city's leaders. The others shrug it off as unimportant, but Shaftesbury stands up for the people, saying that something must be done. The Lords respond with "Let Them Starve" while the Poor beg for mercy. Lord Shaftesbury, changed by his experience, pledges the Poor his undying support. John Giles, the cobbler, sings as he works. A group of Ragged Children join him. Giles is teaching the children how to read and write. He also gives them food. Giles seeks out Mary and asks about Annie and Joe. At home, Lady Shaftesbury helps her young son Francis pack for boarding school. She asks Anthony, his older brother, to help him make a smooth transition to life at Harrow, but Anthony frightens the boy with horrible tales from school. Francis is weak and coughs terribly, but insists he will be fine. Lord and Lady Shaftesbury see him off. Giles and the Crossing Sweeper arrive at the Lodging house to look for Annie and Joe. The Patterer and the Chorus chime in with "Be Up and Be Doing" which weaves in an out of the next few scenes. Giles is armed with "taties" and quickly convinces Annie to join his Ragged School. Annie brags that her brother is a great reader and Giles gives Joe a new book, hoping it will entice him to join as well. Joe takes the book gratefully, then runs off with Leary and his gang. At the Ragged School, Miss William plays the harmonium while the children sing. Joe arrives with Annie and surprises the teachers by having already read the new book - twice! The children are given fresh clothes and food to eat, but Leary arrives with his gang and wrecks the school. Stephen Storey and his friends discuss creating the Ragged School Union. Shaftesbury offers to serve as President. Back at the school, the children practice their studies. "Rob Roy" McGregor arrives with a way for the boys to make money and help the school as well. He suggests starting a shoeblack brigade. The boys will charge a penny a shine and split the money evenly with the school. He gives the boys badges, uniforms, and shoeshine boxes. Outside, Leary teases Joe about his new uniform and tries to get him back in the gang, but Joe refuses. Shaftesbury passes by and becomes Joe's first customer. Not knowing whose shoes he's shining, Joe talks about the great Lord Shaftesbury - a saint - and admits it's been a hard life on the street. Shaftesbury is charmed and gives Joe a sixpence. ACT TWO It seems that all of London is off to the Great Exhibition, including the new Ragged School Shoe Black Brigade. Annie comes to see Joe off, but is too sick to join in. Lord and Lady Shaftesbury arrive to wish the boys well, then continue on to visit Francis who is sick in bed at Harrow. Leary and his gang are also on their way to the Great Exhibition, ready to pick the pockets of the world's elite. At Harrow, the School Matron tells Lord and Lady Shaftesbury that they are too late - Francis died just thirty minutes before they arrived. A Ragged Boy appears and sings as Lady Shaftesbury breaks down. The boy leaves and is replaced by Annie, wrapped in a blanket. At Exeter Hall, Shaftesbury begs the city's leaders to do something about the condition of the poor. Holding up Annie as an example, he asks them to reach out to help save the lives of the children living in poverty. The boys are returning from their day at the Great Exhibition, their pockets full of money. They gather around Giles and McGregor as they count the money from the day - sixteen shillings and fourpence ha'penny! Young Sam accounts for the mysterious ha'penny - he gave a shoeshine to a one-legged man. The boys are proud of their work. The boys leave and Giles speaks to Joe about a revolutionary idea. The Ragged School Union has decided to help industrious children emigrate. Giles assures Joe that Annie is interested and tells Joe all about The Land of Opportunity. Joe will have none of it. At the Lodging House, Annie begs Joe to reconsider. She desperately wants to emigrate and believes Australia's sunny weather will cure her cough. Joe refuses - he doesn't think that Annie will survive the sixweek voyage. Frustrated, he runs out into the night. Annie succumbs to a fit of coughing and, comforted by Alice and the other Lodgers, she dies.