THESE houses differ from the saloons in two things - they are lower and viler, and their guests assemble for the purpose of dancing as well as drinking. They are owned chiefly by men, though there are some which are the property of and are managed by women. They are located in the worst quarters of the city, generally in the streets near the East and North Rivers, in order to be easy of access to the sailors.

The buildings are greatly out of repair, and have a rickety, dirty appearance. The main entrance leads to a long, narrow hall, the floor of which is well sanded. The walls ornamented with flashy prints, and the ceiling with colored tissue paper cut in various fantastic shapes. There is a bar at the farther end of the room, which is well stocked with the meanest liquors, and chairs and benches are scattered about.

From five to a dozen women, so bloated and horrible to look upon, that a decent man shudders with disgust as he beholds them, are lounging about the room. They have reached the last step in the downward career of fallen women, and will never leave this place until they are carried from it to their graves, which are not far distant. They are miserably clad, and are nearly always half crazy with liquor. They are cursed and kicked about by the brutal owner of the place, and suffer still greater violence, at times, in the drunken brawls for which these houses are famous. Their sleeping rooms are above. They are sought by sailors and by the lowest and most degraded of the city population. They are the slaves of their masters. They have no money of their own. He claims a part of their infamous earnings, and demands the rest for board and clothes. Few have the courage to fly from these hells, and if they make the attempt, they are forced back by the proprietor, who is frequently aided in this unholy act by the law of the land. They can not go into the streets naked, and he claims the clothes on their backs as his property. If they leave the premises with these clothes on, he charges them with theft.

                     HOW THE LAW AIDS VICE.

In Packard's Monthly, for September, 1868, the reader will find a deeply interesting article on this subject, by Mr. Oliver Dyer, from which we take the following illustration of our remarks.

There is, probably, not a police reporter in the city, of much experience, who has not seen one of these girls arraigned at the Tombs, or at some other police court, on a charge of theft; because in fleeing from the intolerable servitude of some den of vice, she had had to wear clothes belonging to the keeper - not having any of her own wherewith to hide her nakedness.

"We will give a scene of this kind. Place, the Tombs, time, six o'clock in the morning; present, police justice, officers of court, about thirty prisoners, policemen attending as witnesses, and parties preferring charges against prisoners. The name of the girl against whom complaint has been made having been called, the following examination took place:

"Justice. - 'What is the charge against this girl?'

"Policeman. - 'Felony-stealing wearing apparel.'

"Justice. - 'Who is the complainant?'

"Policeman. - 'This woman here,' pointing out the keeper of the den from which the girl had fled - a most villainous old hag.

"Justice (to the keeper). - 'What did the girl steal?'

"Keeper. - 'Every rag she's got on; bad luck to her.'

"Justice (to the girl). - 'Mary, who owns that shawl you have on?'

"Mary. - 'She does, sir;' pointing to the woman.

"Justice. - 'Who owns that hat and dress you have on?'

"Mary. - 'She does.'

"Justice. - 'Havn't, you any thing of your own to wear?'

"Mary. - 'Nothing, sir.'

"Justice. - 'This woman owns them all - all the clothes you have on, does she?'

"Mary. - 'Yes, sir.'

"Justice. - 'If they are hers you should not have taken them.'

"Mary. - 'Please, sir, I couldn't stay in her house any longer, and I couldn't go naked into the street.'

"Justice. - 'It is a hard case, Mary, but stealing is stealing, and I shall have to send you up for twenty days.'

"And so Mary is sent to the Penitentiary on Blackwell's Island for twenty days (and sometimes for a longer period), wearing the 'stolen' clothes; and the hag of a keeper goes back to her den and tells the other girls of Mary's fate, satisfied to give the shabby garment, in which the victim was attired, in exchange for the 'moral effect' of the girl's conviction and imprisonment on those who are still in her clutches.

"Justice Dowling, we believe, never convicts a girl of theft under such circumstances, but gives her accuser such a scoring down in open court as sends her back to her den in rage and shame."

                     WHERE THE WOMEN COME FROM.

Let no one suppose that these women entered upon such wretched lives voluntarily. Many were drugged and forced into them, but the majority are lost women who have come regularly down the ladder to this depth. You can find in these hells women who, but a few years ago, were ornaments of society. No woman who enters upon a life of shame can hope to avoid coming to these places in the end. As sure as she takes the first step in sin, she will take this last one also, struggle against it as she may. This is the last depth. It has but one bright ray in all its darkness - it does not last over a few months, for death soon ends it. But, oh! the horrors of such a death. No human being who has not looked on such a death-bed can imagine the horrible form in which the Great Destroyer comes. There is no hope. The poor wretch passes from untold misery in this life to the doom which awaits those who die in their sins.

O, parents, look well to your children. Guard them as you have never guarded them before. Make home happy and bright to them. Encircle them with love and tenderness. Weigh well your every act and word, for you may learn some day, when it is too late, that your criminal carelessness has been the cause of your child entering the path which leads inevitably down to hell.

The keepers of these dens use every means to decoy emigrant girls into their dens. As we have shown in another chapter, they frequently succeed. Mr. Oliver Dyer, in the article from which we have just quoted, relates the following, which will show how this is done. We merely remark that this is perhaps the only case in which the helpless victim has been rescued:

"In the month of February, 1852, Isaac W. England, Esq., formerly the city editor of the New York Tribune, subsequently the managing editor of the Chicago Republican, afterwards editor-in-chief of theJersey City Times, and now the managing editor of the New York Sun, was returning to this city from Liverpool in the emigrant packet ship New York, in which he had taken a second cabin passage, for the purpose of learning practically how emigrants fared in such vessels.

"Mr. England did this with a view to exposing the atrocities then practiced upon emigrants, and which he afterwards did expose, in the columns of the Tribune, with such effect as to be largely instrumental in the fundamental regeneration of the whole emigrant business, and the creation of the Castle Garden Commission.

"Among the passengers in the second cabin of the packet ship was a handsome English girl, some nineteen years of age, from near Mr. England's native town. The fact that the girl came from near his native town led Mr. England to feel an interest in her, and he learned that she was coming to America to join her brother, then living near Pottsville, in Pennsylvania.

"On landing in New York, the girl went to a boarding-house in Greenwich street, there to await her brother's arrival - it having been arranged that he should come to New York for her.

"Mary (for that was her name) had not been at the boarding-house many days when a German woman called there in search of a bar-maid, and seeing Mary, she at once sought to induce her to accept the situation. It is not uncommon for English girls, of the class to which Mary belonged, to act as bar-maids in England, that being there a respectable employment.

"Deceived by the complaisant manners, and lured by the liberal promises of the German woman, the unsuspecting English girl accepted her offer and went with her to her saloon - basement in William street, near Pearl.

"After one day's service as bar-maid, Mary was bluntly informed by her employer that she had been brought thither to serve in a capacity which we will, not name, and was ordered to make ready for at once entering upon a life of shame.

"The horror-stricken girl, frantic with, terror, set about immediately leaving the premises. But she was too valuable a prize to be allowed to escape. The hag into whose clutches she had fallen locked her up in a back basement room, extending under a grate in the yard, and open to the inclemency of the weather, and there she kept her for two days and two nights - the girl not daring to eat or drink any thing during all that time, for fear of being drugged to insensibility and ruin.

"The only sustenance that passed that girl's lips for eight and forty hours was the snow that she scraped from the area grating. Nor did she dare to close her eyes in sleep for an instant.

"And while thus imprisoned, constant efforts were made to intimidate or force her to the fate to which the keeper of the place was determined to drive her. For this purpose man after man was sent to her prison. With some of them a simple statement of the case was sufficient to turn them from their purpose; but against others she had to fight as if for life for that which was to her dearer than life.

"But lack of food and lack of sleep began to tell upon her. Her strength failed, her mind weakened, and it seemed as though her doom was sealed.

"On the third day of Mary's imprisonment Mr. England, who was about to start for Rhode Island, bethought himself of his young countrywoman, and determined to call at the boarding-house in Greenwich street, to see what had become of her. He did so, and was informed that she had engaged as bar-maid in the William street saloon.

"Having knowledge of such places, Mr. England was troubled at this news, and though pressed for time, he determined to call at the saloon and see what kind of hands Mary had fallen into. He went thither, and the moment he entered the place he discovered its character.

"On inquiring of the landlady for Mary, he was told that she had gone to Pennsylvania with her brother, who had come for her two days before. Something in the woman's manner excited Mr. England's suspicions, and he told her that he thought she was deceiving him, and that Mary was still in the house.

"At this the woman flew into a passion, and swore volubly at Mr. England in several languages. This strengthened his suspicions of foul play, and he grew more peremptory in his manner of speech. While he was contesting the matter with the landlady, one of the girls in waiting passed near him, and muttered something which he understood to be a statement that Mary was actually in the house.

"Upon this Mr. England took decided ground, and told the woman that unless she immediately produced the girl, he would go for an officer and have her arrested. This brought her to terms. She gave one of the waitresses a key, and an order in German, in pursuance of which the girl went and unlocked the room in which Mary was confined. As soon as the door was opened Mary came rushing out, and seeing Mr. England, she flew to him sobbing hysterically, and clinging to his arm - and cried:

"'Take me from this place, Mr. England; take me from this place!'

"After demanding Mary's trunk, which was delivered to him, with all her things, Mr. England immediately took the rescued girl to a place of safety.

"Mary's brother had died, as she soon learned, while she was on her voyage to meet him. But a young New York lawyer saw her and loved her, and wooed her, and won her, and married her, and she is now living, happy and prosperous, in Brooklyn.

"But suppose there had been no Mr. England in the case. Or, suppose Mr. England had gone to Rhode Island, without stopping to look after this homeless young stranger!

"Why, then, she would have met her wretched doom in that William street den, and been one of the class about, whom this article is written."