The Dark Years
It was the custom at that time for workmen to be paid usually on Saturdays in public houses, either in cash or by cheque or a written order to be cashed by the publican, it being understood that men obliged in this way would spend most of their earnings on the premises.
A niece of Matt Talbot recalled hearing her grandmother, Matt's mother, relate how Matt would come home on Saturdays, hand his mother a shilling, all that remained of his week's wages, and say, 'Here, mother. Is that any good to you?' Mrs Talbot a very patient woman would reply, 'God forgive you, Matt! Is that the way to treat your mother?'
Matt himself recalls how his addiction to alcohol reached its lowest point when he and his brothers stole a fiddle from a blind street player and sold it for the price of a drink.
It was now 1882 and by this time Matt had reached the darkest period of his life, he had ceased going to the sacraments, but continued to attend Mass on Sundays. On the few occasions in later life when he referred to his youth Matt admitted that from his early teens until his late twenties his only aim in life was heavy drinking.