Puslapio vaizdai

Do you

believe that the men and wom- the slum-dwellers! The father brutalen who broke their backs over the spin- ized by toil; the mother incapable of ning wheels, in the old cottages, had affection and service to her children; more freedom, more leisure, more crea- the boy destined to grow up a criminal; tive impulse than your cotton opera- the girl destined to walk the streets! tives of to-day? Why are the young I doubt if for the sake of your good men and women crowding from the intentions it will ever be forgiven you country into the towns? Is it for the that you have degraded the worker to gray life of the factory, or is it for the a position his worst oppressor has not movies? My dear young man, there is assigned him. And the horror of it more of the joy of life and more of is in the magnificent opportunity you health in the city-worker to-day than have missed! the workers have known at any time in 'Ladimer,' wailed Hartmann. the history of labor. But it is a big What an argument you might have subject and does not concern me at made of it! You might have said, present.'

“Look: in the face of exhausting labor, The auto horn outside broke into a of continuous anxiety about livelihood, fury of protest. Manning walked to of the permanent menace of ill health the window and with his arms sema- and old age, see how strong the worker phored to Hartmann for a few moments' is, how cheery, how capable of the ele

a indulgence.

mental joys of parenthood, neighborli“The plain fact is, of course, that ness, charity, unselfish devotion to the your labor champions, with the best in- common interest! You might have tentions in the world, have blackened shown that, whereas business is a comthe character of labor. What have you bat in which friend does not spare done for the women of the workers? friend, and brother brother, the unionThis: in order to drive home your plea ized worker will not hesitate to endure for minimum wages, for shorter hours, starvation in defense of his class inter- just and inevitable, I feel, - you ests. And then you should have said, have not been ashamed to create the “If this treasure of fine manhood and impression that every daughter of the clean womanhood can persist in spite workers is a potential recruit, a prob- of our iniquitous economic system, able recruit, for prostitution; and some what would not the worker become if of your most ardent friends of the work- he received his due?” Instead of denying-class have gone so far as to say that ing the dignity of labor you should have they do not blame the working-girl who enhanced it, exaggerated it, and made sells herself in order to purchase the it the title for greater claims and greatcomforts which society has denied her. er privileges. Everything, Dawson, can Pah!'

be forgiven except the sin against the *Easily verifiable by statistics,' said spirit; against the spirit of the working Dawson.

masses whom you have reduced to slum'Ladimer!' shouted Hartmann, loom- dwellers and candidates for the brothel. ing up in the doorway: ‘is it your in- Pah! Good-bye, Manning. I will write dention dot I perish of aboblexy on the you. Good-bye, Margaret,' — and he open highway? Come!'

bent his lips to hers. 'Good-bye, Daw'Away with your nasty formulas of son. Home, Hartmann.'

(The End)



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Week-work prevailed in the place. I

expected to get seven dollars a week Two weeks later, I had got strong to start with; but how great was my enough to go to work. As I did not want astonishment when in my pay envelto work in the presence of my former ope I found ten dollars! Destiny employer, I did not return there. seemed to play with me. I was so

One of Clara's friends, a cutter, took happy that evening when I brought me up to the place where he was em- my pay home. Breathlessly, I ran to ployed. It also was a non-union shop. break the news to Clara, and holding There were quite a number of shops the envelope tight in my hand, told her that remained unorganized, the work- to guess how much. She could not ers refusing to go down, trusting the guess. The highest she could think of bosses' promise to better their condi- was eight; but when I placed the entions without the help of the Union; velope near her eyes, she shouted with like sheep led by wolves, who make joy, them believe that the shepherd de- 'Here, here! You are a regular prives them of liberty; that he does not dressmaker already!' allow them to run in the spacious fields ‘Why, how dare you think otherand gather the best grass for them- wise?' I answered in the same tone. selves; that without the shepherd they It was not the money that made me would enjoy more freedom. The fool- feel so happy, it was my worth that I ish sheep, influenced by the wolves, thought of. I could not have expected would run away from the shepherd, to get ten dollars a week after having only to be eaten by the hungry wolves only a few weeks' experience. My forwho had purposely led them away from mer boss, claiming to be a good friend protection. They perished — victims of mine when I made five dollars a of their own stupidity.

week, used to remind me that he did It was the height of the season, la

not think that I was worth even that bor was scarce, the boss was obliged to much. Though a friend, he took adgrant all the union conditions, in order vantage of a learner, as nearly every to prevent his workers from leaving his other manufacturer does. place. The system in that shop was Now that I was able to make ends Very different from that in my first meet more easily, my mind was at place. Later I learned that each shop peace again. I began to think of my has its own system. I felt like a begin- home and decided to send for my ner again.

younger brother, a physically strongThe forelady, Yetta, bless her heart, built lad of eighteen. He, I thought, was a kind and gentle person. She gave having a good trade, will soon be able me all the necessary instructions, so to earn money, and both of us will help that I got used to the work quickly. the rest of the family. Here again my


friend Clara! She gave me a loan of sweater shop, was much pleasanter. fifty dollars, on payments of three dol- Very little talk about 'fellers,' swell lars a week. The money I sent home evening pumps, lace petticoats that the for my brother's ticket. I went on im- six dollar wage-earners were constantly proving in my work from day to day. discussing, in the sweater shop. Here Very shortly afterwards I was em- we talked about questions of the day, ployed in the sample-room to work on world-happenings, music, art, literasamples from time to time, and so I ture, and trade questions. One fault became a sample-maker.

I found with them — their indifference Things once more went on smoothly. to being members of the Dress-andThe strength of youth conquered. My Waist-Makers' Union. They would be

. cheerfulness returned. Again I went long, they all agreed, if they worked among my friends, entertaining them in a union shop; but they would not with song and infecting them with my trouble to unionize this shop. joyousness. Even in the shop I felt Now that I was provided with work happy. My neighbors were very kind again, I had time to think a little of myand gentle, each one helping the other self. It was a long time that I had not out of difficulties in her work.

had any kind of recreation. Before, I At lunch-time I was always among had not had any money, and then I the workers; very few would go out to was too busy to think of it. I longed so lunch. Bologna, salome, corned beef, much for a good opera or drama, for the Italian's egg-plant fried in a lot of they were the only places where my

а. olive oil — all spread such a mixed,

mind felt at ease. As food was necesunpleasant smell over the shop. The sary for my stomach hunger, music and few girls at my table would sit toge- drama were necessary for my mental ther, exchanging food with each other hunger. Not being able to see or hear - a cherry chocolate for an apple, of our world's masterpieces, I had to a piece of orange for a banana, a corn- find satisfaction in reading them. My ed-beef sandwich for some whitefish, fantasia would often stage such wonand many other varieties. I would derful sceneries, that when I happened take part in the conversation, but I to see the thing after I read it, I would never shared in the exchange of food. often feel disappointed, for the imperTheir kind offerings to me I refused, sonation on the stage would be much for I had nothing to give in return. My poorer than in my imagination. lunch consisted of either a cheese sand- At that time the Century Opera wich and milk, or an egg and milk. Company gave operas at popular The pint of milk I bought every morn- prices. When I had my last debt paid ing had to be used up, so I had a small up


friend, Clara, I at once went bottle and would always bring the rest to the Opera House, securing tickets of the milk for my lunch.

for five dollars at twenty-five cents ‘ No wonder you are so white, living each, so that I was provided with opera on milk so exclusively,' they would tickets for the next few weeks. I had often tease me.

also secured tickets for the Manhattan I told them that I liked nothing else, Opera Company, where the world's

, though often their pickles and smoked greatest dancer, Pavlova, danced at delicacies would awaken a sharp appe

that time. For Caruso I paid the hightite in me.

est prices. He would often cost me a Their conversation, very different few lunches and dinners that I saved from the vulgarities of the girls in the from, in order to have enough money




for a standing ticket. Sometimes I

the people, - but not for a library to would go right from work, without any enlighten the people's minds. dinner, to stand in line for general ad- A group of us young girls and boys mission. If it happened to rain, my got together, and with our own money, dress would be soaked through and after a long time of hard struggle, through, and with wet clothes I would created a small library, hoping to instand through the performance, chan- crease it from time to time. Not being ging from foot to foot, while there were able to get a permit from the governoften plenty of empty seats in the ment, we had to keep it in secret. But orchestra. Very often I would pay the chief of police soon learned of it. with a cold the next day. But the He immediately made a visit, searchmagic of the music was so great, that I ing for forbidden literature. The result forgot my cold as soon as it was over,

of his visit was the destruction of our and went again when I had another library, at that time two hundred rouopportunity.

bles' worth, and the arrest of many of The opera house was the only place our members. The worst thing of all where I envied the rich. I did not envy was, that he sold our books, obtained their expensive clothes, nor their many through such hardship, to his officers, valuable, useless diamonds; I envied for ten, fifteen cents a book, and we their comfortable chairs, which were could never get them back. We were reserved for them, standing the most left without any literature at all. This of the time during the performance was only a part of the many discourempty. They would more often come aging experiences I had in my native in the second act, and leave the house home, Russia. at the beginning of the last; some of Russia! How hateful the word them would yawn all through the per- sounds to me! The ignorance in which formance. Of course, the greater part

Russia is keeping her people, the many of the audience sat listening to the obstacles she puts in the way of my opera with great pleasure. But many nation, particularly the limitations of sat as if fulfilling a duty in listening to the civil rights for us, the desolation of the music.

our lives, and private ownership, that Besides the theatre, I also attended Russia is practicing so often, lights a the different lectures about modern lit- fire of hate for her in our hearts, that erature that I was so fond of. My fav- burns for a lifetime. orite authors were Ibsen, Strindberg, When our library was destroyed, we Maeterlinck, Prshebishevsky, Gorky, began to think of some other way of Andreev, and many others.

getting literature, for we could not get At home, in Russia, I always had along without it. time enough to read. In the small Many of us began to subscribe to town where I lived, there was no li- weekly magazines, which gave very brary. There was a small unimportant good classics as premiums in addition library in the public school, but only to the magazine. Some subscribed for for the scholars, not for the public. the monthly magazine, The Modern With the exception of the cities, where World, in which many of the modern there were good libraries, the govern- writers participated. A few of us had ment thought it unnecessary to install friends in the city, who supplied them libraries. Our town was big enough to with books through the mail. We keep two monopol (stores of vodka), would mostly read and discuss to- that drink being a cause of ruin to gether. That helped us in widening



our ideas and understanding of what is good for no human being to work in, we read. If any one happened to visit for it does not comply with the human the city, he or she would attend as necessities. many lectures as possible; also the the- It is not only the experience of my atre; and they would come home with own trade I speak of. I come in contact a supply of impressions, — with the

with the with people who work at all kinds of criticism of the lectures and perform- trades, and each one's life is worse than ances, and share it with the rest, who the other's. I saw no future for me sat at home waiting impatiently for sitting in the shop. It is impossible to literary, dramatical, and musical news. lead a decent, comfortable living, such Hard as it was for us to get what we as a human being is entitled to, for the wanted, still we succeeded in reading earnings they get at the present time. all the best classics, Russian and for- In order to get some better kind of eign as well, also a great deal of the a profession, I had to study English. modern literature. Our teachers,' who But how was I to do it? After work, I mostly came from the city, would be felt too tired to study. I made several astonished at our wide knowledge in attempts to do it, but had to stop it as the literary world. As a matter of fact, soon as I began, for I was not strong we, who met with such hardship in enough to stand a day's work and an getting literature, knew much more evening of study. than most of the city students, who My friend Clara accompanied me to had the privilege of the best libraries. the theatre to the last bench of the

Since I left home, I have done very family circle, so high that the people on little reading. The struggle for ńy ex- the stage looked like dwarfs. Here we istence, the worry about work, the sat silently waiting for the music to trouble in the shops which I passed start. My friend Clara made several through, occupied my mind and time. attempts to raise a conversation, but I

Now that I was more or less econom- tried to avoid it; it was hard for me to ically better off, I gave myself up en- talk. I was tired of telling her the same tirely to reading. I often visited the old stories over and over. She more or Public Library. I was not used to get less made peace with her surroundings; everything as easily as I could get it in economically she was much better off; the New York Library, and it made as an expert dressmaker she worked in me feel happy. If there is anything a steady private establishment, for a to pay this city credit for, that is decent salary. Besides the work, she her libraries and museums of art and found satisfaction in belonging to difhistory.

ferent clubs, while I got tired of those Two evenings in the week I went to clubs. They were too dry for me. Her the Opera, the rest of the evenings I spiritual development was on a much spent either in attending lectures, or smaller scale than mine, and she would reading, or at union meetings. But easily be inspired by things that did that did not satisfy me. I realized that not interest me at all. My temper was it was necessary for me to study the a more revolutionary one, and I was English language. I also realized that more sensitive. the shop was no place for me. The 'You must learn to take things easy, shop as it is under the present system she would say. 1 We had private teachers, for as I have al

“No, Clara, you are wrong; would ready mentioned, we were not admitted into the the people not take life so easy, we educational institutions. · THE AUTHOR. would have a much better world than

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