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what fresh mouths the unions make "Only three dollars a month," said from them! Y' understand me, in my the woman in answer to Sophie's restaurant one thing on a time: you inquiry. cook or you think. If you wan' to The girl opened a grimy window think, you 'll think outside."
that faced a blank wall. "All right, then; give me my wages!" "Oi weh! not a bit of air!"
"What do you need yet air for the winter?" cried Hannah Breineh. "When the cold comes, the less air that blows into your room,
the warmer you can keep yourself. And when it gets hot in summer you can take your mattress up on the roof. Everybody sleeps on the roof in summer."
“But there's so little light," said Sophie.
"What more light do you yet need? A room is only for to sleep by night. When you come home from work, it's dark, anyway. Gottunui! it 's so dark on my heart with trouble, what difference does it make a little darkness in the room?"
“But I have to work in my room all day. I must have it light.”
"Nu, I'll let you keep the gas lighted all day long," Hannah Breineh promised.
"Three dollars a month," deliber
ated Sophie. The cheapness would " 'Do I pay you to think or to cook?'"
give her a sense of freedom that would
make up for the lack of light and air. she retorted, flaring up. “The czar is She paid down her first month's rent. dead. In America cooks are also Her house, securely hers. Yet with people.”
the flash of triumph came a stab of Sophie tore off her apron, and bitterness. All that was hers was so thrust it at the man.
wretched and so ugly! Had her eager To the cheapest part of the East spirit, eager to give, no claim to a bit Side she went in her search for a of beauty, a shred of comfort? room. Through the back alleys and Over the potato-barrel she flung a yards she sought for a place that red shawl, once her mother's, and promised to be within her means. looked through her bag for someAnd then a smeared square of card- thing to cover an ugly break in the board held between the iron grating plaster. She could find nothing but of a basement window caught her eye. the page torn from the college cata"Room to let-a bargain-cheap!" logue.
"It's not so sunny and airy here as this way. Her eyes wandered over to in your college office,” she said, tack- the bed, a hard, meager cot. “I must ing the photograph on the wall; “but remember to fix the leg, or it will tip maybe you 'd be a realer man if once to-night,” she mused. in your life you had to put up with a “Here I am," she cried despairhole like this for a room."
ingly, “thinking of my comforts again! Sophie spread her papers on the cot And I thought I'd want nothing; I'd beside her. With tense fingers she live only to write.” Her head sank to wrote down the title of her story, then the rough edge of the potato-barrel. stopped, and stared wildly at the “Perhaps I was a fool to give up all for ceiling.
this writing." Where was the vision that had “Too many writers and too few haunted her all these days? Where cooks": the dean's words closed like a were the thoughts and feelings that noose around her anguished soul. surged like torrents through her soul? When she looked up, the kind face Merely the act of putting her pencil of the college president smiled down to paper, her thoughts became a blur, at her. her feelings a dumb ache in her heart. “Then what is it in me that's tear
Ach, why must she kill herself to ing and gnawing and won't let me say what can never be said in words? rest?" she pleaded. The calm faith of But how did Emerson and Shakspere the eyes leveled steadily at her seemed seize hold of their vision? What was to rebuke her despair. The sure faith the source of their deathless power? of that lofty face lifted her out of herThe rusty clock struck six.
self. She was humble before such un“I ought to run out now for the stale wavering power. "Ach!” she prayed,
" bread, or it will be all sold out, and I “how can I be so sure like you? Help will have to pay twice as much for the me!" fresh,” flashed through her mind. Sophie became a creature possessed.
"Oi weh!" she wailed, covering her She lived for one idea, was driven by eyes, "it's a stomach slave I am, not one resistless passion, to write. As the a writer. I forget my story, I forget weeks and months passed and her everything, thinking only of saving a savings began to dwindle, her cheeks few pennies.”
grew paler and thinner, the shadows She dragged herself back to the page under her restless eyes were black holin front of her and resumed her task lows of fear. with renewed vigor.
There came a day more deadly than "Sarah Lubin was sixteen years old death, when she had to face failure. when she came to America. She came She took out the thinning wad from to get an education, but she had to go her stocking and counted out her reto a factory for bread," she wrote maining cash: one, two, three dollars, laboriously, and then drew back to and some nickles and dimes. How study her work. The sentences were long before the final surrender? If she wooden, dead, inanimate things. The kept up her rigorous ration of dry words laughed up at her, mockingly. bread and oatmeal, two or three weeks
Perhaps she was not a writer, after more at most. And then? all. Writers never started stories in An end to dreams. And end to
ambition. Back to the cook-stove, they could n't refuse to shelter her back to the stifling smells of tzimmas, just over night in a storm like this. hash, and miltz.
But when she reached the Beth No, she would never let herself sink Israel her heart sank. She looked
, back to the kitchen. But where could in timidly at the warm, beckoning she run from the terror of starvation? lights.
The bitterest barb of her agony was “Ach! how can I have the gall to ask her inability to surrender. She was them to take me in? They 'll think crushed, beaten, but she could not I'm only a beggar from the street.' give up the battle. The unvoiced She paced the driveway of the dream in her still clamored and ached building, back and forth and up and and strained to find voice. A resist. down, in envy of the sick who enless something in her that transcended joyed the luxury of warmth. reason rose up in defiance of defeat. "To the earth with my healthy
body!" she cursed. "Why can't I only $ 3
break a bone or something?” "A black year on the landlord!" With a sudden courage of despair screamed Hannah Breineh through she mounted the steps to the superinthe partition. “The rent he raised, tendent's office; but one glance of the what does he need to worry yet if the man's well-fed face robbed her of her gas freezes? Gottuniu! freeze should nerve. only the marrow from his bones!"
She sank down on the bench of the Sophie turned back to the little waiting applicants, glancing stealthily stove in an attempt to light the gas at the others, feeling all the guilt of a under the pan of oatmeal. The fee- condemned criminal. ble flame flickered and with a faint When her turn came, the blood in protest went out. Hannah Breineh her ears pounded from terror and hupoked in her tousled head for sym- miliation. She could not lift her eyes pathy.
from the floor to face this feelingless "Woe is me! Woe on the poor what judge of the sick and the suffering. ain't yet sick enough for the hospital!" "I 'm so killed with the cold," she
As the chill of the gathering dusk stammered, twisting the fringes of her intensified, Sophie seemed to see her shawl. “If I could only warm myself self carried out on a stretcher to the up in a bed for the night—" hospital, numb, frozen.
The man looked at her suspiciously. "God from the world! better a quick "If we fill up our place with people death than this slow freezing!” With like you, we 'll have no room left for the perpetual gnawing of hunger sap- the sick. We have a flu epidemic."
a ping her strength, Sophie had not the "So much you 're doing for the flu courage to face another night of tor- people, why can't you help me before ment. Drawing her shabby shawl I get it?” She spoke with that supmore tightly around her, she hurried pressed energy which was the key-note out. "Where now?" she asked as a of her whole personality. wave of stinging snow blinded her. "Have you a fever?” he asked, his Hannah Breineh's words came back to professional eye arrested by the unher:"the hospital!” Why not? Surely natural flush on her face.
“Fever?" she mumbled. “A person warm in their bellies, and the coffee has got to be already dead in his coffin tastes like wine from heaven." before you 'd lift a finger to help.” “Wine from heaven!" repeated the She sped from the office into the girl. “What wine but love from dreary reception-hall.
heaven?" and she clutched the magaOn her way out her eye was caught zine more tightly to her shrunken by the black-faced type on the cover chest. of a magazine that lay on the center- In the flicker of the gas-jet the photable.
tograph on the wall greeted her like a
living thing. With the feel of the SHORT-STORY COMPETITION
steady gaze upon her, she re-read the A Five-Hundred-Dollar Prize for message that was to her an invitation the Best Love-Story of a Working-Girl and a challenge; and as she read, the
dingy little room became alive with As she read the magical words, the light. The understanding eyes seemed color rushed to her cheeks. Forgot- to pour vision into her soul. What ten was the humiliation of the super- was the purpose of all the harsh expeintendent's refusal to take her in, forgotten were the cold, the hunger. Her whole being leaped at the words:
Write your own love-story, but if you have never lived love, let it be your dream of love.
"Your dream of love." The words were as wine in her blood. Was there ever a girl who hungered and dreamed of love as she? It was as though in the depths of her poverty and want the fates had challenged her to give substance to her dreams. She stumbled out of the huge building, her feet in the snow, her mind in the clouds.
"God from the world! the gas is burning again!” cried Hannah Breineh as she groped her way back into her cellar-room. “The children are dancing over the fire like for a holiday. All day they had nothing to
riences that had been hers till now but sense of having escaped from the to make her see just this, that love, trammels of her body, lifted her as on and love only, was the one vital force wings. Her radiant face met the reof life? What was the purpose of all sponsive glow of understanding that the privation and want she had en- shone down on her from the wall. dured but to make her see more poig. “It's your light shining through me,"
she exulted. "It's your kind eyes looking into mine that made my dumbness speak."
For the moment the contest was forgotten. She was seized by an irresistible impulse to take her out
pourings to the man who had inspired her.
"Let him only see what music "'Where did you get all this?'"
he made of me." Gathering tightly to her heart the scrib
bled sheets of paper, she hurried nantly this ethereal essence of love? to the university. The walls of her little room dissolved. A whole hour she waited at his office The longing for love that lay dumb door. As she saw him coming, she could within her all her years took shape in wait no longer, but ran toward him. human form. More real than life, "Read it only,” she said, thrusting closer than the beat within her heart, the manuscript at the bewildered man. was this radiant, all-consuming vision “I'll be back in an hour." that possessed her.
“What exotic creature was this, She groped for pencil and paper and with her scattered pages of scrawling wrote, unaware that she was writing. script and eager eyes?” President IrIt was as though a hand stronger than vine wondered. He concluded she was her own was laid upon hers. Her one of the immigrant group before power seemed to come from some which he had lectured. vast, fathomless source. The starved passions of all the starved ages poured
$4 through her in rhythmic torrent of She returned, to find the manuwords—words that flashed and leaped script still in his hand. with the resistless fire of youth burn- “Tell me,” he asked with an enthuing through generations of suppression. siasm new to him, "where did you get
Not until daylight filtered through all this?" the grating of her window did the "From the hunger in me. writing cease, nor was she aware of born to beat out the meaning of things any fatigue. An ethereal lightness, a out of my own heart."