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Title: Neighbors - Life Stories of the Other Half
Author: Riis, Jacob A. (Jacob August), 1849-1914
Language: English
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NEIGHBORS

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO · DALLAS
ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED
LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
TORONTO

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "LITTLE LOUISA'S FINGERS WERE NIMBLER THAN HER MOTHER'S.
SHE WAS ONLY EIGHT, BUT SHE SOON LEARNED TO TIE A PLUME."]


NEIGHBORS

Life Stories of the Other Half

by

JACOB A. RIIS

Author of
"How the Other Half Lives," "The Making of
an American," "Children of the Tenements,"
"Hero Tales of the Far North," Etc.



New York
The Macmillan Company
1914
All rights reserved

Copyright, 1914,
By the Macmillan Company.

Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1914. Reprinted
December, 1914.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



PREFACE


These stories have come to me from many sources--some from my own
experience, others from settlement workers, still others from the records
of organized charity, that are never dry, as some think, but alive with
vital human interest and with the faithful striving to help the brother so
that it counts. They have this in common, that they are true. For good
reasons, names and places are changed, but they all happened as told here.
I could not have invented them had I tried; I should not have tried if I
could. For it is as pictures from the life in which they and we, you and
I, are partners, that I wish them to make their appeal to the neighbor who
lives but around the corner and does not know it.

JACOB A. RIIS.



CONTENTS


                                                          PAGE

  THE ANSWER OF LUDLOW STREET                                1

  KIN                                                       11

  THE WARS OF THE RILEYS                                    16

  LIFE'S BEST GIFT                                          31

  DRIVEN FROM HOME                                          42

  THE PROBLEM OF THE WIDOW SALVINI                          48

  PETER                                                     63

  KATE'S CHOICE                                             70

  THE MOTHER'S HEAVEN                                       82

  WHERE HE FOUND HIS NEIGHBOR                               86

  WHAT THE SNOWFLAKE TOLD                                  101

  THE CITY'S HEART                                         108

  CHIPS FROM THE MAELSTROM                                 122

  HEARTSEASE                                               139

  HIS CHRISTMAS GIFT                                       147

  OUR ROOF GARDEN AMONG THE TENEMENTS                      157

  THE SNOW BABIES' CHRISTMAS                               168

  AS TOLD BY THE RABBI                                     198

  THE STRAND FROM ABOVE                                    205



ILLUSTRATIONS


  "Little Louisa's fingers were nimbler than
  her mother's. She was only eight, but she
  soon learned to tie a plume"                  _Frontispiece_

                                                   FACING PAGE

  "He tied his feet together with the prayer
  shawl, and looked once upon the rising sun"                9

  "There he stood, indifferent, bored if
  anything, shiftless"                                      64

  "If Kate sees it, she steals up behind her,
  and, putting two affectionate arms around
  her neck, whispers in her ear, 'I love oo,
  Grannie'"                                                 80

  "When we had set up a Christmas tree
  together, to the wild delight of the
  children"                                                 95

  "Please, your Honor, let this man go! It
  is Christmas"                                            153



NEIGHBORS



THE ANSWER OF LUDLOW STREET


"You get the money, or out you go! I ain't in the business for me health,"
and the bang of the door and the angry clatter of the landlord's boots on
the stairs, as he went down, bore witness that he meant what he said.

Judah Kapelowitz and his wife sat and looked silently at the little dark
room when the last note of his voice had died away in the hall. They knew
it well enough--it was their last day of grace. They were two months
behind with the rent, and where it was to come from neither of them knew.
Six years of struggling in the Promised Land, and this was what it had
brought them.

A hungry little cry roused the woman from her apathy. She went over and
took the baby and put it mechanically to her poor breast. Holding it so,
she sat by the window and looked out upon the gray November day. Her
husband had not stirred. Each avoided the question in the other's eyes,
for neither had an answer.

They were young people as men reckon age in happy days, Judah scarce past
thirty; but it is not always the years that count in Ludlow Street. Behind
that and the tenement stretched the endless days of suffering in their
Galician home, where the Jew was hated and despised as the one thrifty
trader of the country, tortured alike by drunken peasant and cruel noble
when they were not plotting murder against one another. With all their
little savings they had paid Judah's passage to the land where men were
free to labor, free to worship as their fathers did--a twice-blessed
country, surely--and he had gone, leaving Sarah, his wife, and their child
to wait for word that Judah was rich and expected them.

The wealth he found in Ludlow Street was all piled on his push-cart, and
his persecutors would have scorned it. A handful of carrots, a few
cabbages and beets, is not much to plan transatlantic voyages on; but what
with Sarah's eager letters and Judah's starving himself daily to save
every penny, he managed in two long years to scrape together the money for
the steamship ticket that set all the tongues wagging in his home village
when it came: Judah Kapelowitz had made his fortune in the far land, it
was plain to be seen. Sarah and the boy, now grown big enough to speak his
father's name with an altogether cunning little catch, bade a joyous
good-by to their friends and set their faces hopefully toward the West.
Once they were together, all their troubles would be at an end.

In the poor tenement the peddler lay awake till far into the night,
hearkening to the noises of the street. He had gone hungry to bed, and he
was too tired to sleep. Over and over he counted the many miles of stormy
ocean and the days to their coming, Sarah and the little Judah. Once they
were together, he would work, work, work--and should they not make a
living in the great, wealthy city?

With the dawn lighting up the eastern sky he slept the sleep of
exhaustion, his question unanswered.

That was six years ago--six hard, weary years. They had worked together,
he at his push-cart, Sarah for the sweater, earning a few cents finishing
"pants" when she could. Little Judah did his share, pulling thread, until
his sister came and he had to mind her. Together they had kept a roof
overhead, and less and less to eat, till Judah had to give up his cart.
Between the fierce competition and the police blackmail it would no longer
keep body and soul together for its owner. A painter in the next house was
in need of a hand, and Judah apprenticed himself to him for a dollar a
day. If he could hold out a year or two, he might earn journeyman's wages
and have steady work. The boss saw that he had an eye for the business.
But, though Judah's eye was good, he lacked the "strong stomach" which is
even more important to a painter. He had starved so long that the smell of
the paint made him sick and he could not work fast enough. So the boss
discharged him. "The sheeny was no good," was all the character he gave
him.

It was then the twins came. There was not a penny in the house, and the
rent money was long in arrears. Judah went out and asked for work. He
sought no alms; he begged merely for a chance to earn a living at any
price, any wages. Nobody wanted him, as was right and proper, no doubt.
To underbid the living wage is even a worse sin against society than to
"debase its standard of living," we are told by those who should know.
Judah Kapelowitz was only an ignorant Jew, pleading for work that he might
earn bread for his starving babies. He knew nothing of standards, but he
would have sold his soul for a loaf of bread that day. He found no one to
pay the price, and he came home hungry as he had gone out. In the
afternoon the landlord called for the rent.

Another tiny wail came from the old baby carriage in which the twins
slept, and the mother turned her head from the twilight street where the
lights were beginning to come out. Judah rose heavily from his seat.

"I go get money," he said, slowly. "I work for Mr. Springer two days. He
will give me money." And he went out.

Mr. Springer was the boss painter. He did not give Judah his wages. He had
not earned them, he said, and showed him the door. The man pleaded hotly,
despairingly. They were hungry, the little kids and his wife. Only fifty
cents of the two dollars--fifty cents! The painter put him out, and when
he would not go, kicked him.

"Look out for that Jew, John," he said, putting up the shutters. "We shall
have him setting off a bomb on us next. They turn Anarchist when they get
desperate."

Mr. Springer was, it will be perceived, a man of discernment.

Judah Kapelowitz lay down beside his wife at night without a word of
complaint. "To-morrow," he said, "I do it."


[Illustration: "HE TIED HIS FEET TOGETHER WITH THE PRAYER SHAWL, AND
LOOKED ONCE UPON THE RISING SUN."]


He arose early and washed himself with care. He bound the praying-band
upon his forehead, and upon his wrist the tefillin with the Holy Name;
then he covered his head with the tallith and prayed to the God of his
fathers who brought them out of bondage, and blessed his house and his
children, little Judah and Miriam his sister, and the twins in the cradle.
As he kissed his wife good-by, he said that he had found work and wages,
and would bring back money. She saw him go down in his working clothes;
she did not know that he had hidden the tallith under his apron.

He did not leave the house, but, when the door was closed, went up to the
roof. Standing upon the edge of it, he tied his feet together with the
prayer shawl, looked once upon the rising sun, and threw himself into the
street, seventy feet below.

"It is Judah Kapelowitz, the painter," said the awed neighbors, who ran up
and looked in his dead face. The police came and took him to the
station-house, for Judah, who living had kept the law of God and man, had
broken both in his dying. They laid the body on the floor in front of the
prison cells and covered it with the tallith as with a shroud. Sarah, his
wife, sat by, white and tearless, with the twins at her breast. Little
Miriam hid her head in her lap, frightened at the silence about them. At
the tenement around the corner men were carrying her poor belongings out
and stacking them in the street. They were homeless and fatherless.

Ludlow Street had given its answer.



KIN


Early twilight was setting in on the Holy Eve. In the streets of the city
stirred the bustling preparation for the holiday. The great stores were
lighting up, and crowds of shoppers thronged the sidewalks and stood
stamping their feet in the snow at the crossings where endless streams of
carriages passed. At a corner where two such currents met sat an old man,
propped against a pillar of the elevated road, and played on a squeaky
fiddle. His thin hair was white as the snow that fell in great soft flakes
on his worn coat, buttoned tight to keep him warm; his face was pinched by
want and his back was bent. The tune he played was cracked and old like
himself, and it stirred no response in the passing crowd. The tin cup in
his lap held only a few coppers.

There was a jam of vehicles on the avenue and the crush increased. Among
the new-comers was a tall young woman in a fur coat, who stood quietly
musing while she waited, till a quavering note from the old man's violin
found its way into her reveries. She turned inquiringly toward him and
took in the forlorn figure, the empty cup, and the indifferent throng with
a glance. A light kindled in her eyes and a half-amused smile played upon
her lips; she stepped close to the fiddler, touched his shoulder lightly,
and, with a gesture of gentle assurance, took the violin from his hands.
She drew the bow across the strings once or twice, tightened them, and
pondered a moment.

Presently there floated out upon the evening the familiar strains of "Old
Black Joe" played by the hand of a master. It rose above the noise of the
street; through the rattle and roar of a train passing overhead, through
the calls of cabmen and hucksters, it made its way, and where it went a
silence fell. It was as if every ear was bent to listen. The crossing was
clear, but not a foot stirred at the sound of the policeman's whistle. As
the last strain of the tune died away, and was succeeded by the appealing
notes of "'Way Down upon the Suwanee River," every eye was turned upon the
young player. She stood erect, with heightened color, and nodded brightly
toward the old man. Silver coins began to drop in his cup. Twice she
played the tune to the end. At the repetition of the refrain,

  "Oh, darkies, how my heart grows weary,
      Far from the old folks at home,"

a man in a wide-brimmed hat who had been listening intently emptied his
pockets into the old man's lap and disappeared in the crowd.

Traffic on street and avenue had ceased; not a wheel turned. From street
cars and cabs heads were poked to find out the cause of the strange
hold-up. The policeman stood spellbound, the whistle in his half-raised
hand. In the hush that had fallen upon the world rose clear and sweet the
hymn, "It came upon a midnight clear," and here and there hats came off in
the crowd. Once more the young woman inclined her head toward the old
fiddler, and coins and banknotes were poured into his cup and into his lap
until they could hold no more. Her eyes were wet with laughing tears as
she saw it. When she had played the verse out, she put the violin back
into its owner's hands and with a low "Merry Christmas, friend!" was gone.

The policeman awoke and blew his whistle with a sudden blast, street cars
and cabs started up, business resumed its sway, the throng passed on,
leaving the old man with his hoard as he gazed with unbelieving eyes upon
it. The world moved once more, roused from its brief dream. But the dream
had left it something that was wanting before, something better than the
old man had found. Its heart had been touched.



THE WARS OF THE RILEYS


It was the night before Washington's Birthday that Mr. Riley broke loose.
They will speak of it long in the Windy City as "the night of the big
storm," and with good right--it was "that suddint and fierce," just like
Mr. Riley himself in his berserker moods. Mr. Riley was one of the
enlivening problems of "the Bureau" in the region back of the stock-yards
that kept it from being dulled by the routine of looking after the poor.
He was more: he rose to the dignity of a "cause" at uncertain intervals
when the cost of living, underpay and overtime, sickness and death,
overpopulation, and all the other well-worn props of poverty retired to
the wings and left the stage to Mr. Riley rampant, sufficient for the time
and as informing as a whole course at the School of Philanthropy. In
between, Mr. Riley was a capable meat-cutter earning good wages, who
wouldn't have done a neighbor out of a cent that was his due, a robust
citizen with more than his share of good looks, a devoted husband and a
doting father, inseparable when at home from little Mike, whose baby trick
of squaring off and offering to "bust his father's face" was the pride of
the block.

"Will yez look at de kid? Ain't he a foine one?" shouted Mr. Riley, with
peals of laughter; and the men smoking their pipes at the fence set the
youngster on with admiring taunts. Mike was just turned three. His great
stunt, when his father was not at hand, was to fall off everything in
sight. Daily alarms brought from the relief party of hurrying mothers the
unvarying cry, "Who's got hurted? Is it Mike?" But only Mike's feelings
were hurt. Doleful howls, as he hove in sight, convoyed and comforted by
Kate, aged seven, gave abundant proof that in wind and limb he was all
that could be desired.

This was Mr. Riley in his hours of ease and domesticity. Mr. Riley rampant
was a very different person. His arrival was invariably heralded by the
smashing of the top of the kitchen stove, followed by the summary ejection
of the once beloved family, helter-skelter, from the tenement. Three times
the Bureau had been at the expense of having the stove top mended to keep
the little Rileys from starving and freezing at once, and it was looking
forward with concern to the meat-cutter's next encounter with his
grievance. For there was a psychological reason for the manner of his
outbreaks. The Rileys had once had a boarder, when Kate was a baby. He
happened to be Mrs. Riley's brother, and he left, presuming on the
kinship, without paying his board. As long as the meat-cutter was sober he
remembered only the pleasant comradeship with his brother-in-law, and
extended the hospitality of a neighborly fireside to his wife's relations.
But no sooner had he taken a drink or two than the old grievance loomed
large, and grew, as he went on, into a capital injury, to be avenged upon
all and everything that in any way recalled the monstrous wrong of his
life. That the cooking-stove should come first was natural, from his
point of view. Upon it had been prepared the felonious meals, by it he had
smoked the pipe of peace with the false friend. The crash in the kitchen
had become the unvarying signal for the hasty exit of the rest of the
family and the organizing of Kate into a scouting party to keep Mrs. Riley
and the Bureau informed about the progress of events in the house where
the meat-cutter raged alone.

Mrs. Riley was a loyal, if not always a patient, woman--who can blame
her?--and accepted the situation as part of the marital compact, clearly
comprehended, perhaps foreshadowed, in her vow to cling to her husband
"for better for worse," and therefore not to be questioned. In times of
peace she remembered not the days of storm and stress. Once indeed, when
her best gingham had been sacrificed to the furies of war, she had
considered whether the indefinite multiplication of the tribe of Riley
were in the long run desirable, and had put it to the young woman from the
Bureau, who was superintending the repair of the stove top, this way: "I
am thinking, Miss Kane, if I will live with Mr. Riley any longer; would
you?"--to the blushing confusion of that representative of the social
order. However, that crisis passed. Mr. Riley took the pledge for the
fourth or fifth time, and the next day appeared at the office,
volunteering to assign himself and his earnings to the Bureau for the
benefit of his wife and his creditors, reserving only enough for luncheons
and tobacco, but nothing for drinks. The Bureau took an hour off to
recover from the shock. If it had misgivings, it refused to listen to
them. The world had turned a corner in the city by the lake and was on the
home-stretch: Mr. Riley had reformed.

And, in truth, so it seemed. For once he was as good as his word.
Christmas passed, and the manifold temptations of New Year, with Mike and
his father still chums. Kate was improving the chance to profit by the
school-learning so fatally interrupted in other days. Seventeen weeks went
by with Mr. Riley's wages paid in at the Bureau every Saturday; the grocer
smiled a fat welcome to the Riley children, the clock man and the spring
man and the other installment collectors had ceased to be importunate.
Mrs. Riley was having blissful visions of a new spring hat. Life back of
the stock-yards was in a way of becoming ordinary and slow, when the fatal
twenty-second of February hove in sight.

The night before, Mr. Riley, quitting work, met a friend at the gate, who,
pitying his penniless state, informed him that "there was the price of a
drink at the corner" for him, meaning at Quinlan's saloon. Now this was
prodding the meat-cutter in a tender spot. He hated waste as much as his
employers, who proverbially exploited all of the pig but the squeal. He
didn't want the drink, but to have it waiting there with no one to come
for it was wicked waste. It was his clear duty to save it, and he did.
Among those drinking at the bar were some of his fellow-workmen, who stood
treat. That called for a return, and Riley's credit was good. It was late
before the party broke up; it was 3 A.M. when the meat-cutter burst into
the tenement, roaring drunk, clamoring for the lives of brothers-in-law in
general and that of his own in particular, and smashed the stove lids with
crash after crash that aroused the slumbering household with a jerk.

For once it was caught napping. The long peace had bred a fatal sense of
security. Kate was off scouting duty and Mrs. Riley had her hands full
with Pat, Bridget, and the baby all having measles at once--too full to
take warning from her husband's suspicious absence at bedtime. Roused in
the middle of the night to the defense of her brood, she fought gallantly,
but without hope. The battle was bloody and brief. Beaten and bruised, she
gathered up her young and fled into the blinding storm to the house of a
pitying neighbor, who took them in, measles and all, to snuggle up with
his own while he mounted guard on the doorstep against any pursuing enemy.
But the meat-cutter merely slammed the door upon his evicted family. He
spent the rest of the night smashing the reminders of his brother-in-law's
hated kin. Kate, reconnoitering at daybreak, brought back word that he was
raging around the house with three other drunken men. The opening of the
Bureau found her encamped on the doorstep with a demand that help come
quickly--the worst had happened. "Has little Mike broken his neck?" they
asked in breathless chorus. "Worse nor that," she panted; "do be comin',
Miss Kane!"

"Oh, what is it? Are any of the children dead?"

"Worse nor that; Mr. Riley has broke loose!" Kate always spoke of her
father in his tantrums as Mister, as if he were a doubtful acquaintance.
Her story of the night's doings was so lurid that the intimacy of many a
_post-bellum_ remorse felt unequal to the strain, and Miss Kane
commandeered a policeman on the way to the house. The meat-cutter received
her with elaborate inebriate courtesy, loftily ignoring the officer.

"Who is he?" he asked, aside.

She tried evasion. "A friend of mine I met." She was sorry immediately.

"Is he that? Then he is no friend of mine. Oh, Miss Kane," he grieved,
"why did you go for to get him? You know I'd have protected you!" This
with an indignant scowl at his fellow-marauders, who were furtively
edging toward the door. An inquest of the house showed the devastation of
war. The kitchen was a wreck; the bedroom furniture smashed; the Morris
chair in which the family of young Rileys had reveled in the measles lay
in splinters. "It was so hot here last night," suggested the meat-cutter,
gravely, "it must have fell to pieces." In the course of the inspection
Mrs. Riley appeared, keeping close to the policeman, wrathful and fearful
at once, with a wondrous black eye. Her husband regarded it with expert
interest and ventured the reflection that it was a shame, and she the
fine-looking woman that she was! At that Mrs. Riley edged away toward her
husband and eyed the bluecoat with hostile looks.

Between crying and laughing, "the Bureau lady" dismissed the policeman
and officiated at the reunion of the family on condition that the
meat-cutter appear at the office and get the dressing down which he so
richly deserved, which he did. But his dignity had been offended by the
brass buttons, and he insisted upon its being administered by one of his
own sex.

"I like her," he explained, indicating Miss Kane with reproving
forefinger, "but she's gone back on me." Another grievance had been added
to that of the unpaid board.

The peace that was made lasted just ten days, when Mr. Riley broke loose
once more, and this time he was brought into court. The whole Bureau went
along to tell the story of the compact and the manner of its breaking. Mr.
Riley listened attentively to the recital of the black record.

"What have you to say to this?" scowled the Judge. The prisoner nodded.

"It is all true what the lady says, your Honor; she put it fair."

"I have a good mind to send you to Bridewell to break stone."

"Don't do that, Judge, and lose me job. I want to be wid me family." Mrs.
Riley looked imploringly at the bench. His Honor's glance took in her face
with the family group.

"Looks like it," he mused; but in the end he agreed to hand him over to
the Bureau for one more trial, first administering the pledge in open
court. Mr. Riley took the oath with great solemnity and entire good faith,
kissed the Bible with a smack, reached up a large red fist for the Judge
to shake, and the clerk. Then he pledged lasting friendship to the whole
Bureau, including Miss Kane, whom he generously forgave the wrong she had
done him, presented little Mike to the Court as "de foinest kid in de
ward," took the gurgling baby from Mrs. Riley and gallantly gave her his
arm. Leaning fondly upon it, a little lame and sore yet from the fight and
with one eye in deep mourning, she turned a proudly hopeful look upon her
husband, like a rainbow spanning a black departing cloud. And thus, with
fleet-footed Kate in the van proclaiming the peace, and three prattling
children clinging to their hands and clothes, they passed out into life to
begin it anew. And bench and Bureau, with sudden emotion, hopelessly
irrational and altogether hopeful and good, cheered them on their way.



LIFE'S BEST GIFT


Margaret Kelly is dead, and I need not scruple to call her by her own
name. For it is certain that she left no kin to mourn her. She did all the
mourning herself in her lifetime, and better than that when there was
need. She nursed her impetuous Irish father and her gentle English mother
in their old age--like the loving daughter she was--and, last of all, her
only sister. When she had laid them away, side by side, she turned to face
the world alone, undaunted, with all the fighting grit of her people from
both sides of the Channel. If troubles came upon her for which she was no
match, it can be truly said that she went down fighting. And who of her
blood would ask for more?

What I have set down here is almost as much as any one ever heard about
her people. She was an old woman when she came in a way of figuring in
these pages, and all that lay behind her.

Of her own past this much was known: that she had once been an exceedingly
prosperous designer of dresses, with a brown-stone house on Lexington
Avenue, and some of the city's wealthiest women for her customers.
Carriages with liveried footmen were not rarely seen at her door, and a
small army of seamstresses worked out her plans. Her sister was her
bookkeeper and the business head of the house. Fair as it seemed, it
proved a house of cards, and with the sister's death it fell. One loss
followed another. Margaret Kelly knew nothing of money or the ways of
business. She lost the house, and with it her fine clients. For a while
she made her stand in a flat with the most faithful of her sewing-women to
help her. But that also had to go when more money went out than came in
and nothing was left for the landlord. Younger rivals crowded her out. She
was stamped "old-fashioned," and that was the end of it. Her last friend
left her. Worry and perplexity made her ill, and while she was helpless in
Bellevue Hospital, being in a ward with no "next friend" on the books,
they sent her over to the Island with the paupers. Against this indignity
her proud spirit arose and made the body forget its ills. She dragged
herself down to the boat that took her back to the city, only to find
that her last few belongings were gone, the little hall room she had
occupied in a house in Twenty-ninth Street locked against her, and she, at
seventy-five, on the street, penniless, and without one who cared for her
in all the world.

Yes, there was one. A dressmaker who had known her in happier days saw
from her window opposite Father McGlynn's church a white-haired woman seek
shelter within the big storm-doors night after night in the bitter cold of
midwinter, and recognized in her the once proud and prosperous Miss Kelly.
Shocked and grieved, she went to the district office of the Charities with
money to pay for shelter and begged them to take the old lady in charge
and save her from want.

And what a splendid old lady she was! Famished with the hunger of weeks
and months, but with pride undaunted, straight as an arrow under the
burden of heavy years, she met the visitor with all the dignity of a
queen. The deep lines of suffering in her face grew deeper as she heard
her message. She drew the poor black alpaca about her with a gesture as if
she were warding off a blow: "Why," she asked, "should any one intrude
upon her to offer aid? She had not asked for anything, and was not--" she
faltered a bit, but went on resolutely--"did not want anything."

"Not work?" asked her caller, gently. "Would you not like me to find some
work for you?"

A sudden light came into the old eyes. "Work--yes, if she could get
that--" And then the reserve of the long, lonely years broke down. She
buried her face in her hands and wept.

They found her a place to sew in a house where she was made welcome as one
of the family. For all that, she went reluctantly. All her stubborn pride
went down before the kindness of these strangers. She was afraid that her
hand had lost its cunning, that she could not do justice to what was asked
of her, and she stipulated that she should receive only a dollar for her
day's work, if she could earn that. When her employer gave her the dollar
at the end of the day, the look that came into her face made that woman
turn quickly to hide her tears.

The worst of Margaret Kelly's hardships were over. She had a roof over her
head, and an "address." If she starved, that was her affair. And slowly
she opened her heart to her new friends and gave them room there. I have a
letter of that day from one of them that tells how they were getting on:
"She has a little box of a room where she almost froze all winter. A
window right over her bed and no heat. But she is a great old soldier and
never whines. Occasionally she comes to see me, and I give her something
to eat, but what she does between times God alone knows. When I give her a
little change, she goes to the bake-shop, but I think otherwise goes
without and pretends she is not hungry. A business man who knows her told
her if she needed nourishment to let him know; she said she did not need
anything. Her face looks starvation. When she was ill in the winter, I
tried to get her into a hospital; but she would not go, and no wonder. If
she had only a couple of dollars a week she could get along, as I could
get her clothing. She wears black for her sister."

The couple of dollars were found and the hunger was banished with the
homelessness. Margaret Kelly had two days' work every week, and in the
feeling that she could support herself once more new life came to her. She
was content.

So two years passed. In the second summer the old woman, now nearing
eighty, was sent out in the country for a vacation of five or six weeks.
She came back strong and happy; the rest and the peace had sunk into her
soul. "Some of the tragedy has gone out of her face," her friend wrote to
me. She was looking forward with courage to taking up her work again when
what seemed an unusual opportunity came her way. A woman who knew her
story was going abroad, leaving her home up near Riverside Drive in charge
of a caretaker. She desired a companion for her, and offered the place to
Miss Kelly. It was so much better a prospect than the cold and cheerless
hall room that her friends advised her to accept, and Margaret Kelly moved
into the luxurious stone house uptown, and once more was warmly and snugly
housed for the winter with congenial company.

Man proposes and God disposes. Along in February came a deadly cold spell.
The thermometer fell below zero. In the worst of it Miss Kelly's friend
from the "office," happening that way, rang the bell to inquire how she
was getting on. No one answered. She knocked at the basement door, but
received no reply. Concluding that the two women were in an upper story
out of hearing of the bell, she went away, and on her return later in the
day tried again, with no better success. It was too cold for the people in
the house to be out, and her suspicions were aroused. She went to the
police station and returned with help. The door was forced and the house
searched. In the kitchen they found the two old women sitting dead by the
stove, one with her head upon the other's shoulder. The fire had long been
out and their bodies were frozen. There was plenty of fuel in the house.
Apparently they had shut off the draught to save coal and raised the lid
of the stove, perhaps to enjoy the glow of the fire in the gloaming. The
escaping gas had put them both to sleep before they knew their peril.

So the police and the coroner concluded. "Two friends," said the official
report. Margaret Kelly had found more than food and shelter. Life at the
last had given her its best gift, and her hungry old heart was filled.



DRIVEN FROM HOME


"Doctor, what shall I do? My father wants me to tend bar on Sunday. I am
doing it nights, but Sunday--I don't want to. What shall I do?"

The pastor of Olivet Church looked kindly at the lad who stood before him,
cap in hand. The last of the Sunday-school had trailed out; the boy had
waited for this opportunity. Dr. Schauffler knew and liked him as one of
his bright boys. He knew, too, his home--the sordid, hard-fisted German
father and his patient, long-suffering mother.

"What do you think yourself, Karl?"

"I don't want to, Doctor. I know it is wrong."

"All right then, don't."

"But he will kick me out and never take me back. He told me so, and he'll
do it."

"Well--"

The boy's face flushed. At fourteen, to decide between home and duty is
not easy. And there was his mother. Knowing him, the Doctor let him fight
it out alone. Presently he squared his shoulders as one who has made his
choice.

"I can't help it if he does," he said; "it isn't right to ask me."

"If he does, come straight here. Good-by!"

Sunday night the door-bell of the pastor's study rang sharply. The Doctor
laid down his book and answered it himself. On the threshold stood Karl
with a small bundle done up in a bandana handkerchief.

"Well, I am fired," he said.

"Come in, then. I'll see you through."

The boy brought in his bundle. It contained a shirt, three collars, and a
pair of socks, hastily gathered up in his retreat. The Doctor hefted it.

"Going light," he smiled. "Men fight better for it sometimes. Great
battles have been won without baggage trains."

The boy looked soberly at his all.

"I have got to win now, Doctor. Get me a job, will you?"

Things moved swiftly with Karl from that Sunday. Monday morning saw him at
work as errand-boy in an office, earning enough for his keep at the
boarding-house where his mother found him at times when his father was
alone keeping bar. That night he registered at the nearest evening school
to complete his course. The Doctor kept a grip on his studies, as he had
promised, and saw him through. It was not easy sledding, but it was better
than the smelly saloon. From the public school he graduated into the
Cooper Institute, where his teachers soon took notice of the wide-awake
lad. Karl was finding himself. He took naturally to the study of
languages, and threw himself into it with all the ardor of an army
marching without baggage train to meet an enemy. He had "got to win," and
he did. All the while he earned his living working as a clerk by day--with
very little baggage yet to boast of--and sitting up nights with his books.
When he graduated from the Institute, the battle was half won.

The other half he fought on his own ground, with the enemy's tents in
sight. His attainments procured for him a place in the Lenox Library,
where his opportunity for reading was limited only by his ambition. He
made American history and literature his special study, and in the course
of time achieved great distinction in his field. "And they were married
and lived happily ever after" might by right be added to his story. He did
marry an East Side girl who had been his sweetheart while he was fighting
his uphill battle, and they have to-day two daughters attending college.

It is the drawback to these stories that, being true, they must respect
the privacy of their heroes. If that were not so, I should tell you that
this hero's name is not Karl, but one much better befitting his fight and
his victory; that he was chosen historian of his home State, and held the
office with credit until spoils politics thrust him aside, and that he
lives to-day in the capital city of another State, an authority whose word
is not lightly questioned on any matter pertaining to Americana. That is
the record of the East Side boy who was driven from home for refusing to
tend bar in his father's saloon on Sunday because it was not right.

He never saw his father again. He tried more than once, but the door of
his home was barred against him. Not with his mother's consent; in long
after years, when once again Dr. Schauffler preached at Olivet, a little
German woman came up after the sermon and held out her hand to him.

"You made my Karl a man," she said.

"No," replied the preacher, soberly, "God made him."



THE PROBLEM OF THE WIDOW SALVINI


The mere mention of the widow Salvini always brings before me that other
widow who came to our settlement when her rascal husband was dead after
beating her black and blue through a lifetime in Poverty Gap, during which
he did his best to make ruffians of the boys and worse of the girls by
driving them out into the street to earn money to buy him rum whenever he
was not on the Island, which, happily, he was most of the time. I know I
had a hand in sending him there nineteen times, more shame to the judge
whom I finally had to threaten with public arraignment and the certainty
of being made an accessory to wife-murder unless he found a way of keeping
him there. He did then, and it was during his long term that the fellow
died. What I started to say was that, when all was over and he out of the
way, his widow came in and wanted our advice as to whether she ought to
wear mourning earrings in his memory. Without rhyme or reason the two are
associated in my mind, for they were as different as could be. The widow
of Poverty Gap was Irish and married to a brute. Mrs. Salvini was an
Italian; her husband was a hard-working fellow who had the misfortune to
be killed on the railway. The point of contact is in the earrings. The
widow Salvini did wear mourning earrings, a little piece of crape draped
over the gold bangles of her care-free girlhood, and it was not funny but
infinitely touching. It just shows how little things do twist one's mind.

Signor Salvini was one of a gang of trackmen employed by the New York
Central Railroad. He was killed when they had been in America two years,
and left his wife with two little children and one unborn. There was a
Workmen's Compensation Law at the time under which she would have been
entitled to recover a substantial sum, some $1800, upon proof that he was
not himself grossly to blame, and suit was brought in her name; but before
it came up the Court of Appeals declared the act unconstitutional. The
railway offered her a hundred dollars, but Mrs. Salvini's lawyer refused,
and the matter took its slow course through the courts. No doubt the
company considered that the business had been properly dealt with. It is
quite possible that its well-fed and entirely respectable directors went
home from the meeting at which counsel made his report with an injured
feeling of generosity unappreciated--they were not legally bound to do
anything. In which they were right. Signor Salvini in life had belonged to
a benefit society of good intentions but poor business ways. It had
therefore become defunct at the time of his death. However, its members
considered their moral obligations and pitied the widow. They were all
poor workingmen, but they dug down into their pockets and raised two
hundred dollars for the stricken family. When the undertaker and the
cemetery and the other civilizing agencies that take toll of our dead
were paid, there was left twenty dollars for the widow to begin life with
anew.

When that weary autumn day had worn to an end, the lingering traces of the
death vigil been removed, the two bare rooms set to rights, and the last
pitying neighbor woman gone to her own, the widow sat with her dumb sorrow
by her slumbering little ones, and faced the future with which she was to
battle alone. Just what advice the directors of the railway that had
killed her husband--harsh words, but something may be allowed the
bitterness of such grief as hers--would have given then, surrounded by
their own sheltered ones at their happy firesides, I don't know. And yet
one might venture a safe guess if only some kind spirit could have brought
them face to face in that hour. But it is a long way from Madison Avenue
to the poor tenements of the Bronx, and even farther--pity our poor
limping democracy!--from the penniless Italian widow to her sister in the
fashionable apartment. As a household servant in the latter the widow
Salvini would have been a sad misfit even without the children; she would
have owned that herself. Her mistress would not have been likely to have
more patience with her. And so that door through which the two might have
met to their mutual good was closed. There were of course the homes for
the little ones, toward the support of which the apartment paid its share
in the tax bills. The thought crossed the mind of their mother as she sat
there, but at the sight of little Louisa and Vincenzo, the baby, sleeping
peacefully side by side, she put it away with a gesture of impatience. It
was enough to lose their father; these she would keep. And she crossed
herself as she bowed reverently toward the print of the Blessed Virgin,
before which burned a devout little taper. Surely, She knew!

It came into her mind as she sat thinking her life out that she had once
learned to crochet the fine lace of her native town, and that she knew of
a woman in the next block who sold it to the rich Americans. Making sure
that the children were sound asleep, she turned down the lamp, threw her
shawl over her head, and went to seek her.

The lace woman examined the small sample of her old skill which she had
brought, and promised to buy what she made. But she was not herself the
seller, and the price she got was very low. She could pay even less.
Unaccustomed fingers would not earn much at lace-making; everything
depended on being quick at it. But the widow knew nothing else. It was at
least work, and she went home to take up the craft of her half-forgotten
youth.

But it was one thing to ply her needle with deft young fingers and the
songs of sunny Italy in her ears, when the world and its tasks were but
play; another to bait grim poverty with so frail a weapon in a New York
tenement, with the landlord to pay and hungry children to feed. At the end
of the week, when she brought the product of her toil to the lace woman,
she received in payment thirty cents. It was all she had made, she was
told.

There was still the bigger part of her little hoard; but one more rent
day, and that would be gone. Thirty cents a week does not feed three
mouths, even with the thousand little makeshifts of poverty that
constitute its resources. The good-hearted woman next door found a spare
potato or two for the children; the neighbor across the hall, when she had
corned beef for dinner, brought her the water it was boiled in for soup.
But though neighbors were kind, making lace was business, like running a
railway, and its rule was the same--to buy cheap, lives or lace, and sell
dear. It developed, moreover, that the industry was sweated down to the
last cent. There was a whole string of women between the seller and the
widow at the end of the line, who each gave up part of her poor earnings
to the one next ahead as her patron, or _padrone_. The widow Salvini
reduced the chain of her industrial slavery by one link when she quit
making lace.

Upstairs in the tenement was a woman who made willow plumes, that were
just then the fashion. To her went the widow with the prayer that she
teach her the business, since she must work at home to take care of her
children; and the other good-naturedly gave her a seat at her table and
showed her the simple grips of her trade. Simple enough they were, but
demanding an intensity of application, attention that never flagged, and
deft manipulation in making the tiny knots that tie the vanes of the
feather together and make the droop of the plume. Faithfully as she
strove, the most she could make was three inches in a day. The price paid
was eleven cents an inch. Thirty-three cents a day was better than thirty
cents a week, but still a long way from the minimum wage we hear about. It
was then, when her little margin was all gone and the rent due again, that
the baby came. And with it came the charity workers, to back the helpful
neighborliness of the tenement that had never failed.

When she was able to be about again, she went back to her task of making
plumes. But the work went slower than before. The baby needed attention,
and there were the beds to make and the washing for two lodgers, who paid
the rent and to whom the charity workers closed their eyes even if they
had not directly connived at procuring them. It is thus that the grim
facts of poverty set at naught all the benevolent purposes of those who
fight it. It had forced upon the widow home-work and the lodger, two
curses of the tenement, and now it added the third in child labor. Little
Louisa's fingers were nimbler than her mother's. She was only eight, but
she learned soon to tie a plume as well as the mother. The charity
visitor, who had all the economic theories at her fingers' ends and knew
their soundness only too well, stood by and saw her do it, and found it
neither in her heart nor in her reason to object, for was she not
struggling to keep her family together? Five-year-old Vincenzo watched
them work.

"Could he make a plume, too?" she asked, with a sudden sinking of the
heart. Yes, but not so fast; his wee hands grew tired so soon. And the
widow let him show how he could tie the little strange knot. The baby
rolled on the floor, crooning and sucking the shears.

In spite of the reënforcement, the work lagged. The widow's eyes were
giving out and she grew more tired every day. Four days the three had
labored over one plume, and finished it at last. To-morrow she would take
it to the factory and receive for it ninety cents. But even this scant
wage was threatened. Willow plumes were going out of fashion, and the
harassed mother would have to make another start. At what?

The question was answered a month later as it must, not as it should be,
when to the three failures of the plan of well-ordered philanthropy was
added the fourth: Louisa and Vincenzo were put in the "college," as the
Italians call the orphan asylum. The charity workers put them there in
order that they might have proper food and enough of it. Willow plumes
having become a drug in the market, the widow went into a factory, paying
a neighbor in the tenement a few cents a day for taking care of the baby
in her absence. As an unskilled hand she was able to earn a bare living.
One poor home, that was yet a happy home once, was wiped out. The widow's
claim against the railway company still waits upon the court calendar.[1]

          [1] Her claim has since been settled for $1000.

Such as it is, it is society's present solution of the problem of the
widow Salvini. If any find fault with it, let them not blame the charity
workers, for they did what they could; nor the railway company, for its
ways are the ways of business, not of philanthropy; nor our highest court,
for we are told that impious is the hand that is stretched forth toward
that ark of the covenant of our liberties. Let them put the blame where it
belongs--upon us all who for thirty years have been silent under the
decision which forbade the abolition of industrial slavery in the Bohemian
cigar-makers' tenements because it would interfere with "the sacredness
and hallowed associations of the people's homes." That was the exact
phrase, if memory serves me right. Such was the sowing of our crop of
social injustice. Shall a man gather figs from thistles?



PETER


Miss Wald of the Nurses' Settlement told me the story of Peter, and I set
it down here as I remember it. She will forgive the slips. Peter has
nothing to forgive; rather, he would not have were he alive. He was all to
the good for the friendship he gave and took. Looking at it across the
years, it seems as if in it were the real Peter. The other, who walked
around, was a poor knave of a pretender.

This was Miss Wald's story:--

He came to me with the card of one of our nurses, a lanky, slipshod sort
of fellow of nineteen or thereabouts. The nurse had run across him begging
in a tenement. When she asked him why he did that, he put a question
himself: "Where would a fellow beg if not among the poor?" And now there
he stood, indifferent, bored if anything, shiftless, yet with some
indefinite appeal, waiting to see what I would do. She had told him that
he had better go and see me, and he had come. He had done his part; it was
up to me now.

He was a waiter, he said, used to working South in the winter, but it was
then too late. He had been ill. He suppressed a little hacking cough that
told its own story; he was a "lunger." Did he tramp? Yes, he said, and I
noticed that his breath smelled of whisky. He made no attempt to hide the
fact.

I explained to him that I might send him to some place in the country
where he could get better during the winter, but that it would be so
much effort wasted if he drank. He considered a while, and nodded in his
curious detached way; he guessed he could manage without it, if he had
plenty of hot coffee. The upshot of it was that he accepted my condition
and went.


[Illustration: "THERE HE STOOD, INDIFFERENT, BORED IF ANYTHING,
SHIFTLESS."]


Along in midwinter our door-bell was rung one night, and there stood
Peter. "Oh! did you come back? Too bad!" It slipped out before I had time
to think. But Peter bore with me. He smiled reassurance. "I did not run
away. The place burned down; we were sent back."

It was true; I remembered. But the taint of whisky was on his breath. "You
have been drinking again," I fretted. "You spent your money for that--"

"No," said he; "a man treated me."

"And did you have to take whisky?"

There was no trace of resentment in his retort: "Well, now, what would he
have said if I'd took milk?" It was as one humoring a child.

He went South on a waiter job. From St. Augustine he sent me a letter that
ended: "Write me in care of the post-office; it is the custom of the town
to get your letters there." Likely it was the first time in his life that
he had had a mail address. "This is a very nice place," ran his comment on
the old Spanish town, "but for business give me New York."

The _Wanderlust_ gripped Peter, and I heard from him next in the
Southwest. For years letters came from him at long intervals, showing that
he had not forgotten me. Once another tramp called on me with greeting
from him and a request for shoes. When "business" next took Peter to New
York and he called, I told him that I valued his acquaintance, but did not
care for that of many more tramps. He knew the man at once.

"Oh," he said, "isn't he a rotter? I didn't think he would do that." They
were tramping in Colorado, he explained, and one night the other man told
him of his mother. Peter, in the intimacy of the camp-fire, spoke of me.
The revelation of the other's baseness was like the betrayal of some
sacred rite. I would not have liked to be in the man's place when next
they met, if they ever did.

Some months passed, and then one day a message came from St. Joseph's
Home: "I guess I am up against it this time." He did not want to trouble
me, but would I come and say good-by? I went at once. Peter was dying, and
he knew it. Sitting by his bed, my mind went back to our first
meeting--perhaps his did too--and I said: "You have been real decent
several times, Peter. You must have come of good people; don't you want me
to find them for you?" He didn't seem to care very much, but at last he
gave me the address in Boston of his only sister. But she had moved, and
it was a long and toilsome task to find her. In the end, however, a friend
located her for me. She was a poor Irish dressmaker, and Peter's old
father lived with her. She wrote in answer to my summons that they would
come, if Peter wanted them very much, but that it would be a sacrifice.
He had always been their great trial--a born tramp and idler.

Peter was chewing a straw when I told him. I had come none too soon. His
face told me that. He heard me out in silence. When I asked if he wanted
me to send for them, he stopped chewing a while and ruminated.

"They might send me the money instead," he decided, and resumed his
straw.



KATE'S CHOICE


My winter lecture travels sometimes bring me to a town not a thousand
miles from New York, where my mail awaits me. If it happens then, as it
often does, that it is too heavy for me to attack alone--for it is the law
that if a man live by the pen he shall pay the penalty in kind--I send for
a stenographer, and in response there comes a knock at my door that ushers
in a smiling young woman, who answers my inquiries after "Grandma" with
the assurance that she is very well indeed, though she is getting older
every day. As to her, I can see for myself that she is fine, and I wonder
secretly where the young men's eyes are that she is still Miss Murray.
Before I leave town, unless the train table is very awkward, I am sure to
call on Grandma for a chat--in office hours, for then the old lady will
exhibit to me with unreserved pride "the child's" note-book, with the
pothooks which neither of us can make out, and tell me what a wonderful
girl she is. And I cry out with the old soul in rapture over it all, and
go away feeling happily that the world is all right with two such people
in it as Kate Murray and her grandmother, though the one is but a plain
stenographer and the other an old Irishwoman, but with the faithful,
loving heart of her kind. To me there is no better kind anywhere, and
Grandma Linton is the type as she is the flower of it. So that you shall
agree with me I will tell you their story, her story and the child's,
exactly as they have lived it, except that I will not tell you the name of
the town they live in or their own true names, because Kate herself does
not know all of it, and it is best that she shall not--yet.

When I say at the very outset that Margaret Linton, Kate's mother, was
Margaret Linton all her brief sad life, you know the reason why, and there
is no need of saying more. She was a brave, good girl, innocent as she was
handsome. At nineteen she was scrubbing offices to save her widowed
mother, whom rheumatism had crippled. That was how she met the young man
who made love to her, and listened to his false promises, as girls have
done since time out of mind to their undoing. She was nineteen when her
baby was born. From that day, as long as she lived, no word of reproach
fell from her mother's lips. "My Maggie" was more than ever the pride of
the widow's heart since the laughter had died in her bonny eyes. It was as
if in the fatherless child the strongest of all bonds had come between the
two silent women. Poor Margaret closed her eyes with the promise of her
mother that she would never forsake her baby, and went to sleep with a
tired little sigh.

Kate was three years old when her mother died. It was no time then for
Grandma Linton to be bothered with the rheumatics. It was one thing to be
a worn old woman with a big strong daughter to do the chores for you,
quite another to have this young life crying out to you for food and
shelter and care, a winsome elf putting two plump little arms around one's
neck and whispering with her mouth close to your ear, "I love oo,
Grannie." With the music of the baby voice in her ears the widow girded up
her loins and went out scrubbing, cleaning, became janitress of the
tenement in which she and Kate occupied a two-room flat--anything so that
the thorns should be plucked from the path of the child's blithesome feet.
Seven years she strove for her "lamb." When Kate was ten and getting to be
a big girl, she faced the fact that she could do it no longer. She was
getting too old.

What struggles it cost, knowing her, I can guess; but she brought that
sacrifice too. Friends who were good to the poor undertook to pay the
rent. She could earn enough to keep them; that she knew. But they soon
heard that the two were starving. Poor neighbors were sharing their meals
with them, who themselves had scarce enough to go around; and from Kate's
school came the report that she was underfed. Her grandmother's haggard
face told the same story plainly. There was still the "county" where no
one starves, however else she fares, and they tried to make her see that
it was her duty to give up and let the child be cared for in an
institution. But against that Grandma Linton set her face like flint. She
was her Maggie's own, and stay with her she would, as she had promised, as
long as she could get around at all. And with that she reached for her
staff--her old enemy, the rheumatics, was just then getting in its worst
twinges, as if to mock her--and set out to take up her work.

But it was all a vain pretense, and her friends knew it. They were at
their wits' end until it occurred to them to lump two families in one.
There was another widow, a younger woman with four small children, the
youngest a baby, who was an unsolved problem to them. The mother had work,
and was able to do it; but she could not be spared from home as things
were. They brought the two women together. They liked one another, and
took eagerly to the "club" plan. In the compact that was made Mrs. Linton
became the housekeeper of the common home, with five children to care for
instead of one, while the mother of the young brood was set free to earn
the living for the household.

Mother Linton took up her new and congenial task with the whole-hearted
devotion with which she had carried out her promise to Maggie. She
mothered the family of untaught children and brought them up as her own.
They had been running wild, but grew well-mannered and attractive, to her
great pride. They soon accepted her as their veritable "grannie," and they
call her that to this day.

The years went by, and Kate, out of short skirts, got her "papers" at the
school and went forth to learn typewriting. She wanted her own home then,
and the partnership which had proved so mutually helpful was dissolved.
Kate was getting along well, with steady work in an office, when the great
crisis came. Grandma became so feeble that their friends once more urged
her removal to an institution, where she could be made comfortable,
instead of having to make a home for her granddaughter. When, as before,
she refused to hear of it, they tried to bring things to a head by
refusing any longer to contribute toward the rent. They did it with fear
and trembling, but they did not know those two, after all. The day notice
had been given Kate called at the office.

She came to thank her friends for their help in the past. It was all right
for them to stop now, she said; it was her turn. "Grandma took care of me
when I was a little girl for years; now I can take care of her. I am
earning five dollars a week; that is more than when you first helped us,
and I shall soon get a raise. Grannie and I will move into other rooms
that are not so high up, for the stairs are hard on her. She shall stay
with me while she lives and I will mind her."

She was as good as her word. With her own hands and the aid of every man
in the tenement who happened to be about, she moved their belongings to
the new home, while the mothers and children cheered her on the way. They
live not far from there to-day, year by year more snugly housed, for Kate
is earning a stenographer's pay now. Her employers in the office raised
her wages when they heard, through her friends, of Kate's plucky choice;
but that is another thing Kate Murray does not know. Since then she has
set up in business for herself. Grandma, as I told you, is still living,
getting younger every day, in her adoration of the young woman who moves
about her, light-footed and light-hearted, patting her pillow, smoothing
her snowy hair, and showing affection for her in a thousand little ways.
Sometimes when the young woman sings the old Irish songs that Grandma
herself taught the girl's mother as a child, she looks up with a start,
thinking it is her Maggie come back. Then she remembers, and a shadow
flits across her kind old face. If Kate sees it, she steals up behind her,
and, putting two affectionate arms around her neck, whispers in her
ear, "I love oo, Grannie," and the elder woman laughs and lives again in
the blessed present. At such times I wonder how much Kate really does
know. But she keeps her own counsel.


[Illustration: "IF KATE SEES IT, SHE STEALS UP BEHIND HER, AND, PUTTING
TWO AFFECTIONATE ARMS AROUND HER NECK, WHISPERS IN HER EAR, 'I LOVE OO,
GRANNIE.'"]



THE MOTHER'S HEAVEN


The door-bell of the Nurses' Settlement rang loudly one rainy night, and a
Polish Jewess demanded speech with Miss Wald. This was the story she told:
She scrubbed halls and stairs in a nice tenement on the East Side. In one
of the flats lived the Schaibles, a young couple not long in the country.
He was a music teacher. Believing that money was found in the streets of
America, they furnished their flat finely on the installment plan,
expecting that he would have many pupils, but none came. A baby did
instead, and when they were three, what with doctor and nurse, their money
went fast. Now it was all gone; the installment collector was about to
seize their furniture for failure to pay, and they would lose all. The
baby was sick and going to die. It would have to be buried in "the
trench," for the father and mother were utterly friendless and penniless.

She told the story dispassionately, as one reciting an every-day event in
tenement-house life, until she came to the sick baby. Then her soul was
stirred.

"I couldn't take no money out of that house," she said. She gave her day's
pay for scrubbing to the poor young couple and came straight to Miss Wald
to ask her to send a priest to them. She had little ones herself, and she
knew that the mother's heart was grieved because she couldn't meet the
baby in her heaven if it died and was buried like a dog.

"'Tain't mine," she added with a little conscious blush at Miss Wald's
curious scrutiny; "but it wouldn't be heaven to her without her child,
would it?"

They are not Roman Catholics at the Nurses' Settlement, either, as it
happens, but they know the way well to the priest's door. Before the night
was an hour older a priest was in the home of the young people, and with
him came a sister of charity. Save the baby they could not, but keep it
from the Potter's Field they could and did. It died, and was buried with
all the comforting blessings of the Church, and the poor young parents
were no longer friendless. The installment collector, met by Miss Wald in
person, ceased to be a terror.

"And to think," said that lady indignantly from behind the coffee urn in
the morning, "to think that they don't have a pupil, not a single one!"

The residenters seated at the breakfast table laid down their spoons with
a common accord and gazed imploringly at her. They were used to having
their heads shampooed for the cause by unskilled hands, to have their dry
goods spoiled by tyros at dressmaking, and they knew the signs.

"Leading lady," they chorused, "oh, leading lady! _Have_ we got to take
music lessons?"



WHERE HE FOUND HIS NEIGHBOR


"Go quickly, please, to No. -- East Eleventh Street, near the river," was
the burden of a message received one day in the Charities Building; "a
Hungarian family is in trouble." The little word that covers the widest
range in the language gives marching orders daily to many busy feet
thereabouts, and, before the October sun had set, a visitor from the
Association for the Improvement of the Condition of the Poor had climbed
to the fourth floor of the tenement and found the Josefy family. This was
what she discovered there: a man in the last stages of consumption, a
woman within two weeks of her confinement, five hungry children, a
landlord clamoring for his rent. The man had long ceased to earn the
family living. His wife, taking up that burden with the rest, had worked
on cloaks for a sweater until she also had to give up. In fact, the work
gave out just as their need was greatest. Now, with the new baby coming,
no preparation had been made to receive it. For those already there, there
was no food in the house.

They had once been well off. Josefy was a tailor, and had employed nearly
a score of hands in the busy season. He paid forty-four dollars a month
rent then. That day the landlord had threatened to dispossess them for one
month's arrears of seven dollars, and only because of the rain had given
them a day's grace. All the money saved up in better days had gone to pay
doctor and druggist, without making Josefy any better. His wife listened
dismally to the recital of their troubles and asked for work--any light
work that she could do.

The rent was paid, and the baby came. They were eight then, subsisting, as
the society's records show, in January on the earnings of Mrs. Josefy
making ladies' blouse sleeves at twenty-five cents a dozen pairs, in
February on the receipts of embroidering initials on napkins at fifteen
cents apiece, in March on her labors in a downtown house on sample cloaks.
Three dollars a week was her wage there. To save car-fare she walked to
her work and back, a good two miles each way, getting up at 3 A.M. to do
her home washing and cleaning first. In bad weather they were poorer by
ten cents a day, because then she had to ride. The neighbors were kind;
the baker left them bread twice a week and the butcher gave them a little
meat now and then. The father's hemorrhages were more frequent. When, on a
slippery day, one of the children, going for milk, fell in the street and
spilled it, he went without his only food, as they had but eight cents in
the house. In May came the end. The tailor died, and in the house of
mourning there was one care less, one less to feed and clothe. The widow
gathered her flock close and faced the future dry-eyed. The luxury of
grief is not for those at close grips with stern poverty.

When word reached far-off Hungary, Mrs. Josefy's sister wrote to her to
come back; she would send the money. The widow's friends rejoiced, but she
shook her head. To face poverty as bitter there? This was her children's
country; it should be hers too. At the Consulate they reasoned with her;
the chance was too good to let pass. When she persisted, they told her to
put the children in a home, then; she could never make her way with so
many. No doubt they considered her an ungrateful person when she flatly
refused to do either. It is not in the record that she ever darkened the
door of the Consulate again.

The charitable committee had no better success. They offered her passage
money, and she refused it. "She is always looking for work," writes the
visitor in the register, for once in her life a little resentfully, it
would almost seem. When finally tickets came at the end of a year, Victor,
the oldest boy, must finish his schooling first. Exasperated, the
committee issues its ultimatum: she must go, or put the children away. Dry
bread was the family fare when Mrs. Josefy was confronted with it, but she
met it as firmly: Never! she would stay and do the best she could.

The record which I have followed states here that the committee dropped
her, but stood by to watch the struggle, half shamefacedly one cannot help
thinking, though they had given the best advice they knew. Six months
later the widow reports that "the children had never wanted something to
eat."

At this time Victor is offered a job, two dollars and a half a week, with
a chance of advancement. The mother goes out house-cleaning. Together they
live on bread and coffee to save money for the rent, but she refuses the
proffered relief. Victor is in the graduating class; he must finish his
schooling. Just then her sewing-machine is seized for debt. The committee,
retreating in a huff after a fresh defeat over the emigration question,
hastens to the rescue, glad of a chance, and it is restored. In sheer
admiration at her pluck they put it down that "she is doing the best she
can to keep her family together." There is a curious little entry here
that sizes up the children. They had sent them to Coney Island on a
vacation, but at night they were back home. "No one spoke to them there,"
is their explanation. They had their mother's pride.

It happened in the last month of that year that I went out to speak in a
suburban New Jersey town. "Neighbors" was my topic. I was the guest of the
secretary of a Foreign Mission Board that has its office in the
Presbyterian Building on Fifth Avenue. That night when we sat at dinner
the talk ran on the modern methods of organized charity. "Yes," said my
host, as his eyes rested on the quiverful seated around the board, "it is
all good. But best of all would be if you could find for me a widow, say,
with children like my own, whom my wife could help in her own way, and the
children learn to take an interest in. I have no chance, as you know. The
office claims all my time. But they--that would be best of all, for them
and for us."

And he was right; that would be charity in the real meaning of the word:
friendship, the neighborly lift that gets one over the hard places in the
road. The other half would cease to be, on that plan, and we should all be
one great whole, pulling together, and our democracy would become real. I
promised to find him such a widow.

But it proved a harder task than I had thought. None of the widows I knew
had six children. The charitable societies had no family that fitted my
friend's case. But in time I found people who knew about Mrs. Josefy. The
children were right--so many boys and so many girls; what they told me
of the mother made me want to know more. I went over to East Eleventh
Street at once. On the way the feeling grew upon me that I had found my
friend's Christmas present--I forgot to say that it was on Christmas
Eve--and when I saw them and gathered something of the fight that splendid
little woman had waged for her brood those eight long years, I knew that
my search was over. When we had set up a Christmas tree together, to the
wild delight of the children, and I had ordered a good dinner from a
neighboring restaurant on my friend's account, I hastened back to tell him
of my good luck and his. I knew he was late at the office with his mail.


[Illustration: "WHEN WE HAD SET UP A CHRISTMAS TREE TOGETHER, TO THE WILD
DELIGHT OF THE CHILDREN."]


Half-way across town it came to me with a sense of shock that I had
forgotten something. Mrs. Josefy had told me that she scrubbed in a
public building, but where I had not asked. Perhaps it would not have
seemed important to you. It did to me, and when I had gone all the way
back and she answered my question, I knew why. Where do you suppose she
scrubbed? In the Presbyterian Building! Under his own roof was the
neighbor he sought. Almost they touched elbows, yet were they farther
apart than the poles. Were, but no longer to be. The very next day brought
my friend and his wife in from their Jersey home to East Eleventh Street.
Long years after I found this entry on the register, under date January
20, 1899:

"Mrs. Josefy states that she never had such a happy Christmas since she
came to this country. The children were all so happy, and every one had
been so kind to them."

It was the beginning of better days for the Josefy family. Weary stretches
of hard road there were ahead yet, but they were no longer lonesome. The
ladies' committee that had once so hotly blamed her were her friends to
the last woman, for she had taught them with her splendid pluck what it
should mean to be a mother of Americans. They did not offer to carry her
then any more than before, but they went alongside with words of
neighborly cheer and saw her win over every obstacle. Two years later
finds her still working in the Presbyterian Building earning sixteen
dollars a month and leaving her home at five in the morning. Her oldest
boy is making four dollars and a half a week, and one of the girls is
learning dressmaking. The others are all in school. One may be sure
without asking that they are not laggards there. When the youngest, at
twelve, is wanted by her friends of the mission board to "live out" with
them, the mother refuses to let her go, at the risk of displeasing her
benefactors. The child must go to school and learn a trade. Three years
more, and all but the youngest are employed. Mrs. Josefy has had a long
illness, but she reports that she can help herself. They are now paying
fourteen dollars a month rent. On April 6, 1904, the last entry but one is
made on the register: the family is on dry ground and the "case is
closed."

The last but one. That one was added after a gap of eight years when I
made inquiries for the Josefys the other day. Eight years is a long time
in the Charities Buildings with a heavy burden of human woe and failure.
Perhaps for that very reason they had not forgotten Mrs. Josefy, but they
had lost trace of her. She had left her old home in Eleventh Street, and
all that was known was that she was somewhere up near Fort Washington. I
asked that they find her for me, and a week later I read this entry in the
register, where, let us hope, the case of the Josefys is now closed for
all time:

"The Josefys live now at No. -- West One Hundred and Eighty --st Street in
a handsome flat of six sunny rooms. The oldest son, who is a cashier in a
broker's office on a salary of $35 a week, is the head of the family. His
brother earns $20 a week in a downtown business. Two of the daughters are
happily married; another is a stenographer. The youngest, the baby of the
dark days in the East Side tenement, was graduated from school last year
and is ready to join the army of workers. The mother begins to feel her
years, but is happy with her children."

Some Christmas Eve I will go up and see them and take my friend from the
Presbyterian Building along.

This is the story of a poor woman, daughter of a proud and chivalrous
people, whose sons have helped make great fortunes grow in our land and
have received scant pay and scantier justice in return, and of whom it is
the custom of some Americans to speak with contempt as "Huns."



WHAT THE SNOWFLAKE TOLD


The first snowflake was wafted in upon the north wind to-day. I stood in
my study door and watched it fall and disappear; but I knew that many
would come after and hide my garden from sight ere long. What will the
winter bring us? When they wake once more, the flowers that now sleep
snugly under their blanket of dead leaves, what shall we have to tell?

The postman has just brought me a letter, and with it lying open before
me, my thoughts wandered back to "the hard winter" of a half-score seasons
ago which none of us has forgotten, when women and children starved in
cold garrets while men roamed gaunt and hollow-eyed vainly seeking work.
I saw the poor tenement in Rivington Street where a cobbler and his boy
were fighting starvation all alone save for an occasional visit from one
of Miss Wald's nurses who kept a watchful eye on them as on so many
another tottering near the edge in that perilous time, ready with the lift
that brought back hope when all things seemed at an end. One day she found
a stranger in the flat, a man with close-cropped hair and a hard look that
told their own story. The cobbler eyed her uneasily, and, when she went,
followed her out and made excuses. Yes! he was just out of prison and had
come to him for shelter. He used to know him in other days, and Jim was
not--

She interrupted him and shook her head. Was it good for the boy to have
that kind of a man in the house?

The cobbler looked at her thoughtfully and touched her arm gently.

"This," he said, "ain't no winter to let a feller from Sing Sing be on the
street."

The letter the postman brought made me see all this and more in the
snowflake that fell and melted in my garden. It came from a friend in the
far West, a gentle, high-bred lady, and told me this story: Her sister,
who devotes her life to helping the neighbor, had just been on a visit to
her home. One day my friend noticed her wearing an odd knitted shawl, and
spoke of it.

"Yes," said she, "that is the shawl the cook gave me."

"The cook?" with lifted eyebrows, I suppose. And then she heard how.

One day, going through the kitchen of the institution where she teaches,
she had seen the cook in tears and inquired the cause. The poor woman
sobbed out that her daughter had come home to die. The doctors had said
that she might live perhaps ten days, no longer, and early and late she
cried for her mother to be with her. But she had vainly tried every way to
get a cook to take her place--there was none, and her child was dying in
the hospital.

"And I told her to go to her right away, I would see to that; that was
all," concluded my friend's sister; "and she gave me this shawl when she
came back, and I took it, of course. She had worked it for the daughter
that died."

But it was not all. For during ten days of sweltering July heat that
gentle, delicate woman herself superintended the kitchen, did the cooking,
and took the place of the mother who was soothing her dying child's brow,
and no one knew it. Not here, that is. No doubt it is known, with a
hundred such daily happenings that make the real story of human life,
where that record is kept and cherished.

And clear across the continent it comes to solve a riddle that had puzzled
me. Recently I had long arguments with a friend about religion and dogmas
that didn't help either of us. At the end of three weeks we were farther
apart than when we began, and the arguments had grown into controversy
that made us both unhappy. We had to have a regular treaty of peace to
get over it. I know why now. The snowflake and my friend's letter told me.
Those two, the cobbler and the woman, were real Christians. They had the
secret. They knew the neighbor, if neither had ever heard of dogma or
creed. Our arguments were worse than wasted, though we both meant well,
for we were nearer neighbors when we began than when we left off.

I am not learned in such things. Perhaps I am wrong. No doubt dogmas are
useful--to wrap things in--but even then I would not tuck in the ends,
lest we hide the neighbor so that we cannot see him. After all, it is what
is _in_ the package that counts. To me it is the evidence of such as these
that God lives in human hearts--that we are molded in his image despite
flaws and failures in the casting--that keeps alive the belief that we
shall wake with the flowers to a fairer spring. Is it not so with all of
us?



THE CITY'S HEART


"Bosh!" said my friend, jabbing impatiently with his stick at a gaunt cat
in the gutter, "all bosh! A city has no heart. It's incorporated
selfishness; has to be. Slopping over is not business. City is all
business. A poet's dream, my good fellow; pretty but moonshine!"

We turned the corner of the tenement street as he spoke. The placid river
was before us, with the moonlight upon it. Far as the eye reached, up and
down the stream, the shores lay outlined by rows of electric lamps, like
strings of shining pearls; red lights and green fights moved upon the
water. From a roofed-over pier near by came the joyous shouts of troops
of children, and the rhythmic tramp of many feet to the strains of "Could
you be true to eyes of blue if you looked into eyes of brown?" A
"play-pier" in evening session.

I looked at my friend. He stood gazing out over the river, hat in hand,
the gentle sea-breeze caressing the lock at his temple that is turning
gray. Something he started to say had died on his lips. He was listening
to the laughter of the children. What thoughts of days long gone, before
the office and the market reports shut youth and sunshine out of his life,
came to soften the hard lines in his face, I do not know. As I watched,
the music on the pier died away in a great hush. The river with its lights
was gone; my friend was gone. The years were gone with their burden. The
world was young once more.

I was in a court-room full of men with pale, stern faces. I saw a child
brought in, carried in a horse-blanket, at the sight of which men wept
aloud. I saw it laid at the feet of the judge, who turned his face away,
and in the stillness of that court-room I heard a voice raised claiming
for the human child the protection men had denied it, in the name of the
homeless cur of the street. And I heard the story of little Mary Ellen
told again, that stirred the souls of a city and roused the conscience of
a world that had forgotten. The sweet-faced missionary who found Mary
Ellen was there, wife of a newspaper man--happy augury; where the gospel
of faith and the gospel of facts join hands the world moves. She told how
the poor consumptive in the dark slum tenement, at whose bedside she daily
read the Bible, could not die in peace while "the child they called Mary
Ellen" was beaten and tortured in the next flat; and how on weary feet she
went from door to door of the powerful, vainly begging mercy for it and
peace for her dying friend. The police told her to furnish evidence, prove
crime, or they could not move; the societies said: "bring the child to us
legally, and we will see; till then we can do nothing"; the charitable
said, "it is dangerous to interfere between parent and child; better let
it alone." And the judges said that it was even so; it was for them to see
that men walked in the way laid down, not to find it--until her woman's
heart rebelled in anger against it all, and she sought the great friend of
the dumb brute, who made a way.

"The child is an animal," he said. "If there is no justice for it as a
human being, it shall at least have the rights of the cur in the street.
It shall not be abused."

And as I looked I knew that I was where the first charter of the
Children's rights was written under warrant of that made for the dog; for
from that dingy court-room, whence a wicked woman went to jail, thirty
years ago came forth the Children's Society, with all it has meant to the
world's life. It is quickening its pulse to this day in lands and among
peoples who never spoke the name of my city and Mary Ellen's. For
her--her life has run since like an even summer stream between flowery
shores. When last I had news of her, she was the happy wife of a
prosperous farmer up-State.

The lights on the river shone out once more. From the pier came a chorus
of children's voices singing "Sunday Afternoon" as only East Side children
can. My friend was listening intently. Aye, well did I remember the wail
that came to the Police Board, in the days that are gone, from a pastor
over there. "The children disturb our worship," he wrote; "they gather in
the street at my church and sing and play while we would pray"; and the
bitter retort of the police captain of the precinct: "They have no other
place to play; better pray for sense to help them get one." I saw him the
other day--the preacher--singing to the children in the tenement street
and giving them flowers; and I knew that the day of sense and of charity
had swept him with it.

The present is swallowed up again, and there rises before me the wraith of
a village church in the far-off mountains of Pennsylvania. It is Sunday
morning at midsummer. In the pulpit a young clergyman is preaching from
the text: "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even the
least, ye did it unto me." The sun peeps through the windows, where
climbing roses nod. In the tall maples a dove is cooing; the drowsy hum of
the honey-bee is on the air. But he recks not of these, nor of the
peaceful day. His soul has seen a vision of hot and stony streets, of
squalid homes, of hard-visaged, unlovely childhood, of mankind made in His
image twisted by want and ignorance into monstrous deformity: and the
message he speaks goes straight to the heart of the plain farmers on the
benches; His brethren these, and steeped in the slum! They gather round
him after the service, their hearts burning within them.

I see him speeding the next day toward the great city, a messenger of love
and pity and help. I see him return before the week's end, nine starved
urchins clinging to his hands and the skirts of his coat, the first Fresh
Air party that went out of New York twoscore years ago. I see the
big-hearted farmers take them into their homes and hearts. I see the sun
and the summer wind put back color in the wan cheek, and life in the
shrunken and starved frame. I hear the message of one of the little ones
to her chums left behind in the tenement: "I can have two pieces of pie to
eat, and nobody says nothing if I take three pieces of cake"; and I know
what it means to them. Laugh? Yes! laugh and be glad. The world has sorrow
enough. Let in the sunshine where you can, and know that it means life to
these, life now and a glimpse of the hereafter. I can hear it yet, the
sigh of the tired mother under the trees on Twin Island, our Henry-street
children's summer home: "If heaven is like this, I don't care how soon I
go."

For the sermon had wings; and whithersoever it went blessings sprang in
its track. Love and justice grew; men read the brotherhood into the
sunlight and the fields and the woods, and the brotherhood became real. I
see the minister, no longer so young, sitting in his office in the
"Tribune" building, still planning Fresh Air holidays for the children of
the hot, stony city. But he seeks them himself no more. A thousand
churches, charities, kindergartens, settlements, a thousand preachers and
doers of the brotherhood, gather them in. A thousand trains of many
crowded cars carry them to the homes that are waiting for them wherever
men and women with warm hearts live. The message has traveled to the
farthest shores, and nowhere in the Christian world is there a place where
it has not been heard and heeded. Wherever it has, there you have seen
the heart of man laid bare; and the sight is good.

"'Way--down--yonder--in--the--corn-field," brayed the band, and the shrill
chorus took up the words. At last they meant something to them. It was
worth living in the day that taught that lesson to the children of the
tenements. Other visions, new scenes, came trooping by on the refrain: the
farm-homes far and near where they found, as the years passed and the new
love grew and warmed the hearts, that they had entertained angels
unawares; the host of boys and girls, greater than would people a city,
that have gone out to take with the old folks the place of the lads who
would not stay on the land, and have grown up sturdy men and women, good
citizens, governors of States some of them, cheating the slum of its due;
the floating hospitals that carry their cargoes of white and helpless
little sufferers down the bay in the hot summer days, and bring them back
at night sitting bolt upright at the supper-table and hammering it with
their spoons, shouting for more; the new day that shines through the
windows of our school-houses, dispelling the nightmare of dry-as-dust
pedagoguery, and plants brass-bands upon the roof of the school, where the
children dance and are happy under the stars; that builds play-piers and
neighborhood parks in which never a sign "Keep off the Grass" shall stand
to their undoing; that grows school-gardens in the steps of the
kindergarten, makes truck-farmers on city lots of the toughs they would
have bred, lying waste; that strikes the fetters of slavery from childhood
in home and workshop, and breaks the way for a better to-morrow. Happy
vision of a happy day that came in with the tears of little Mary Ellen.
Truly they were not shed in vain.

There was a pause in the play on the pier. Then the strains of "America"
floated down to us where we stood.

  "Long may our land be bright
  With Freedom's holy light,"

came loud and clear in the childish voices. They knew it by heart, and no
wonder. To their fathers, freedom was but an empty name, a mockery. My
friend stood bareheaded till the last line was sung:

  "Great God, our King!"

then he put on his hat and nodded to me to come. We walked away in
silence. To him, too, there had come in that hour the vision of the heart
of the great city; and before it he was dumb.



CHIPS FROM THE MAELSTROM


It is a good many years since I ran across the Murphy family while hunting
up a murder, in the old Mulberry Street days. That was not their name, but
no matter; it was one just as good. Their home was in Poverty Gap, and I
have seldom seen a worse. The man was a wife-beater when drunk, which he
was whenever he had "the price." Hard work and hard knocks had made a
wreck of his wife. The five children, two of them girls, were growing up
as they could, which was not as they should, but according to the way of
Poverty Gap: in the gutter.

We took them and moved them across town from the West Side to be nearer
us, for it was a case where to be neighbor one had to stand close. As
another step, I had the man taken up and sent to the Island. He came home
the next week, and before the sun set on another day had run his family to
earth. We found one of the boys bringing beer in a can and Mr. Murphy
having a good time on the money we had laid away against the landlord's
call. Mrs. Murphy was nursing a black eye at the sink. She had done her
best, but she was fighting against fate.

So it seemed; for as the years went by, though he sometimes stayed out his
month on the Island--more often, especially if near election time, he was
back the next or even the same day--and though we moved the family into
every unlikely neighborhood we could think of, always he found them out
and celebrated his return home by beating his wife and chasing the
children out to buy beer, the girls, as they grew up, to earn in the
street the money for his debauches. I had talked the matter over with the
Chief of Police, who was interested on the human side, and we had agreed
that there was no other way than to eliminate Mr. Murphy. All benevolent
schemes of reforming him were preposterous. So, between us, we sent him to
jail nineteen times. He did not always get there. Once he was back before
he could have reached the Island ferry; we never knew how. Another time,
when the doorman at the police station was locking him up, he managed to
get on the free side of the door, and, drunk as he was, slammed it on the
policeman and locked him in. Then he sat down outside, lighted his pipe
and cracked jokes at the helpless anger of his prisoner. Murphy was a
humorist in his way. Had he also been a poet he might have secured his
discharge as did his chum on the Island who delivered himself thus in his
own defense before the police judge:

  "Leaves have their time to fall,
      And so likewise have I.
  The reason, too, is the same,
      It comes of getting dry.
  The difference 'twixt leaves and me--
      I fall more harder and more frequently."

But Murphy was no poet, and his sense of humor was of a kind too fraught
with peril to life and limb. When he was arraigned the nineteenth time,
the judge in the Essex Market Court lost patience when I tried to persuade
him to break the Island routine and hold the man for the Special Sessions,
and ordered me sternly to "Stand down, sir! This court is not to be
dictated to by anybody." I had to remind his Honor that unless he could be
persuaded to deal rationally with Mr. Murphy the court might yet come to
be charged before the Grand Jury with being accessory to wife murder, for
assuredly it was coming to that. It helped, and Murphy's case was
considered in Sessions, where a sentence of two years and a half was
imposed upon him. While serving it he died.

The children had meanwhile grown into young men and women. The first
summer, when we sent the two girls to a clergyman's family in the
country, they stole some rings and came near wrecking all our plans. But
those good people had sense, and saw that the children stole as a magpie
steals--the gold looked good to them. They kept them, and they have since
grown into good women. To be sure, it was like a job of original creation.
They had to be built, morally and intellectually, from the ground up. But
in the end we beat Poverty Gap. The boys? That was a harder fight, for the
gutter had its grip on them. But we pulled them out. At all events, they
did better than their father. When they were fifteen they wore neckties,
which in itself was a challenge to the traditions of the Gap. I don't
think I ever saw Mr. Murphy with one, or a collar either. They will never
be college professors, but they promised fair to be honest workingmen,
which was much.

What to do with the mother was a sore puzzle for a while. She could not
hold a flat-iron in her hand; didn't know which end came first. She could
scrub, and we began at that. With infinite patience, she was taught
washing and ironing, and between visits from her rascal husband began to
make out well. For she was industrious, and, with hope reviving, life took
on some dignity, inconceivable in her old setting. In spite of all his
cruelty she never wholly cast off her husband. He was still to her Mr.
Murphy, the head of the house, if by chance he were to be caught out
sober; but the chance never befell. It was right that he should be locked
up, but outside of these official relations of his, as it were, with
society, she had no criticism to make upon him. Only once, when he dropped
a note showing that he had been carrying on a flirtation with a "scrub" on
the Island, did she exhibit any resentment. Mrs. Murphy was jealous; that
is, she was human.

Through all the years of his abuse, with the instinct of her race, she had
managed to keep up an insurance on his life that would give him a decent
burial. And when he lay dead at last she spent it all--more than a hundred
and fifty dollars--on a wake over the fellow, all except a small sum which
she reserved for her own adornment in his honor. She came over to the
Settlement to consult our head worker as to the proprieties of the thing:
should she wear mourning earrings in his memory?

Such is the plain record of the Murphy family, one of the oldest on our
books in Henry Street. Over against it let me set one of much more recent
date, and let them tell their own story.

Our gardener, when he came to dig up from their winter bed by the back
fence the privet shrubs that grow on our roof garden in summer, reported
that one was missing. It was not a great loss, and we thought no more
about it, till one day one of our kindergarten workers came tiptoeing in
and beckoned us out on the roof. Way down in the depth of the
tenement-house yard back of us, where the ice lay in a grimy crust long
after the spring flowers had begun to peep out in our garden above, grew
our missing shrub. A piece of ground, yard-wide, had been cleared of
rubbish and dug over. In the middle of the plot stood the privet shrub,
trimmed to make it impersonate a young tree. A fence had been built about
it with lath, and the whole thing had quite a festive look. A little lad
was watering and tending the "garden." He looked up and saw us and nodded
with perfect frankness. He was Italian, by the looks of him.

One of our workers went around in Madison Street to invite him to the
Settlement, where we would give him all the flowers he wanted.

"But come by the front door, not over the back fence," was the message
she bore, and he said he would. He made no bones of having raided our
yard. He wanted the "tree" and took it. But he didn't come. It was a long
way round; his was more direct. This spring the same worker caught him
climbing the back fence once more, and this time trying to drag back with
him a whole window-box. She was just in time to pull it back on our side.
He let go his grip without resentment. It was the fate of war; that time
we won. We renewed our invitation after that, and, when he didn't respond,
sent him four blossoming geraniums with the friendly regards of a neighbor
who bore no grudge. For in our social creed the longing for a flower in
the child-heart covers a maze of mischief; and a maze it is always with
the boys. No wonder we feel that way. Our work, all of it, sprang from
that longing and was built upon it. But that is another story.

The other day I looked down and saw our flowers blooming there, but with a
discouraged look I could make out even from that height. Still no news
from their owner. A little girl with blue ribbons in her hair was watering
them. I went around and struck up an acquaintance with her. Mike was in
the country, she said, on Long Island, where his sister was married. She,
too, was his sister. Her name was Rose, and a sweet little rose she did
look like in all the litter of that tenement yard. It was for her Mike had
made the garden and had built the summer-house which she and her friends
furnished. She took me to it, in the corner of the garden. You could just
put your head in; but it was worth while. The walls, made of old boxes and
boards, had been papered with colored supplements. The "Last Supper" was
there, and some bird pictures, a snipe and a wood-duck with a wholesome
suggestion of outdoors; on a nicely papered shelf some shining bits of
broken crockery to finish things off. A doll's bed and chair furnished
one-half of the "house," a wobbly parlor chair the other half. The
initials of the four girl friends were written in blue chalk over the
door.

The "garden" was one step across, two the long way. I saw at a glance why
the geraniums drooped, with leaves turning yellow. She had taken them out
of the pots and set them right on top of the ground.

"But that isn't the way," I said, and rolled up my sleeves to show her how
to plant a flower. I shall not soon get the smell of that sour soil out of
my nostrils and my memory. It welled up with a thousand foul imaginings of
the gutter the minute I dug into it with the lath she gave me for a spade.
Inwardly I resolved that before summer came again there should be a barrel
of the sweet wholesome earth from my own Long Island garden in that back
yard, in which a rosebush might live. But the sun?

"Does it ever come here?" I asked, doubtfully glancing up at the frowning
walls that hedged us in.

"Every evening it comes for a little while," she said cheerfully. It must
be a little while indeed, in that den. She showed me a straggling green
thing with no leaves. "That is a potato," she said, "and this is a bean.
That's the way they grow." The bean was trying feebly to climb a string to
the waste-pipe that crossed the "garden" and burrowed in it. Between the
shell-paved walk and the wall was a border two hands wide where there was
nothing.

"There used to be grass there," she said, "but the cats ate it." On the
wall above it was chalked the inevitable "Keep off the Grass." They had
done their best.

Three or four plants with no traditional prejudices as to soil grew in one
corner. "Mike found the seed of them," she said simply. I glanced at the
back fence and guessed where.

She was carrying water from the hydrant when I went out. "They're good
people," said the old housekeeper, who had come out to see what the
strange man was there for. On the stoop sat an old grandfather with a
child in his lap.

"It is the way of 'em," he said. "I asked this one," patting the child
affectionately, "what she wanted for her birthday. 'Gran'pa,' she said, 'I
want a flower.' Now did ye ever hear such a dern little fool?" and he
smoothed her tangled head. But I saw that he understood.

Chips from the maelstrom that swirls ever in our great city. We stand on
the shore and pull in such wrecks as we may. I set them down here without
comment, without theory. For it is not theory that in the last going over
we are brothers, being children of one Father. Hence our real heredity is
this, that we are children of God. Hence, also, our fight upon the
environment that would smother instincts proclaiming our birthright is the
great human issue, the real fight for freedom, in all days.

And Murphy, says my carping friend, where does he come in? He does not
come in; unless it be that the love and loyalty of his wife which not all
his cruelty could destroy, and the inhumanity of Poverty Gap, plead for
him that another chance may be given the man in him. Who knows?



HEARTSEASE


In a mean street, over on the West Side, I came across a doorway that bore
upon its plate the word "Heartsease." The house was as mean as the street.
It was flanked on one side by a jail, on the other by a big stable
barrack. In front, right under the windows, ran the elevated trains, so
close that to open the windows was impossible, for the noise and dirt.
Back of it they were putting up a building which, when completed, would
hug the rear wall so that you couldn't open the windows there at all.

After nightfall you would have found in that house two frail little women.
One of them taught school by day in the outlying districts of the city,
miles and miles away, across the East River. By night she came there to
sleep, and to be near her neighbors.

And who were these neighbors? Drunken, dissolute women, vile brothels and
viler saloons, for the saloon trafficked in the vice of the other. Those
who lived there were Northfield graduates, girls of refinement and
modesty. Yet these were the neighbors they had chosen for their own. At
all hours of the night the bell would ring, and they would come, sometimes
attended by policemen. Said one of these:

"We have this case. She isn't wanted in this home, or in that institution.
She doesn't come under their rules. We thought you might stretch yours to
take her in. Else she goes straight to the devil."

Yes! that was what he said. And she: "Bless you; we have no rules. Let her
come in." And she took her and put her to bed.

In the midnight hour my friend of Heartsease hears of a young girl,
evidently a new-comer, whom the brothel or the saloon has in its clutch,
and she gets out of bed, and, going after her, demands _her sister_, and
gets her out from the very jaws of hell. Again, on a winter's night, a
drunken woman finds her way to her door--a married woman with a husband
and children. And she gets out of her warm bed again, and, when the other
is herself, takes her home, never leaving her till she is safe.

I found her papering the walls and painting the floor in her room. I said
to her that I did not think you could do anything with those women,--and
neither can you, if they are just "those women" to you. Jesus could. One
came and sat at his feet and wept, and dried them with her hair.

"Oh," said she, "it isn't so! They come, and are glad to stay. I don't
know that they are finally saved, that they never fall again. But here,
anyhow, we have given them a resting spell and time to think. And plenty
turn good."

She told me of a girl brought in by her brother as incorrigible. No one
knew what to do with her. She stayed in that atmosphere of affection three
months, and went forth to service. That was nearly half a year before,
and she had "stayed good." A chorus girl lived twelve years with a man,
who then cast her off. Heartsease sent her out a domestic, at ten dollars
a month, and she, too, "stayed good."

"I don't consider," said the woman of Heartsease, simply, "that we are
doing it right, but we will yet."

I looked at her, the frail girl with this unshaken, unshakable faith in
the right, and asked her, not where she got her faith--I knew that--but
where she got the money to run the house. Alas, for poor human nature that
will not accept the promise that "all these things shall be added unto
you!" She laughed.

"The rent is pledged by half a dozen friends. The rest--comes."

"But how?"

She pointed to a lot of circulars, painfully written out in the night
watches.

"We are selling soap just now," she said; "but it is not always soap.
Here," patting a chair, "this is Larkin's soap; that chafing-dish is green
stamps; this set of dishes is Mother's Oats. We write to the people, you
see, and they buy the things, and we get the prizes. We've furnished the
house in that way. And some give us money. A man offered to give an
entertainment, promising to give us $450 of the receipts. And then the
Charity Organization Society warned us against him, and we had to give up
the $450," with a sigh. But she brightened up in a moment: "The very next
day we got $1000 for our building fund. We shall have to move some day."

The elevated train swept by the window with rattle and roar. You could
have touched it, so close did it run. "I won't let it worry me," she said,
with her brave little smile.

I listened to the crash of the vanishing train, and looked at the mean
surroundings, and my thoughts wandered to the great school in the
Massachusetts hills--her school--which I had passed only the day before.
It lay there beautiful in the spring sunlight. But something better than
its sunlight and its green hills had come down here to bear witness to the
faith which the founder of Northfield preached all his life,--this woman
who was a neighbor.

I forgot to ask in what special church fold she belonged. It didn't seem
to matter. I know that my friend, Sister Irene, who picked the outcast
waifs from the gutter where they perished till she came, was a Roman
Catholic, and that they both had sat at the feet of Him who is all
compassion, and had learned the answer there to the question that awaits
us at the end of our journey:

  "'I showed men God,' my Lord will say,
  'As I traveled along the King's highway.
    I eased the sister's troubled mind;
    I helped the blighted to be resigned;
    I showed the sky to the souls grown blind.
  And what did you?' my Lord will say,
  When we meet at the end of the King's highway."



HIS CHRISTMAS GIFT


"The prisoner will stand," droned out the clerk in the Court of General
Sessions. "Filippo Portoghese, you are convicted of assault with intent to
kill. Have you anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon
you?"

A sallow man with a hopeless look in his heavy eyes rose slowly in his
seat and stood facing the judge. There was a pause in the hum and bustle
of the court as men turned to watch the prisoner. He did not look like a
man who would take a neighbor's life, and yet so nearly had he done so, of
set purpose it had been abundantly proved, that his victim would carry
the disfiguring scar of the bullet to the end of his life, and only by
what seemed an almost miraculous chance had escaped death. The story as
told by witnesses and substantially uncontradicted was this:

Portoghese and Vito Ammella, whom he shot, were neighbors under the same
roof. Ammella kept the grocery on the ground floor. Portoghese lived
upstairs in the tenement. He was a prosperous, peaceful man, with a family
of bright children, with whom he romped and played happily when home from
his barber shop. The Black Hand fixed its evil eye upon the family group
and saw its chance. One day a letter came demanding a thousand dollars.
Portoghese put it aside with the comment that this was New York, not
Italy. Other letters followed, threatening harm to his children.
Portoghese paid no attention, but his wife worried. One day the baby,
little Vito, was missing, and in hysterics she ran to her husband's shop
crying that the Black Hand had stolen the child.

The barber hurried home and sought high and low. At last he came upon the
child sitting on Ammella's doorstep; he had wandered away and brought up
at the grocery; asked where he had been, the child pointed to the store.
Portoghese flew in and demanded to know what Ammella was doing with his
boy. The grocer was in a bad humor, and swore at him. There was an
altercation, and Ammella attacked the barber with a broom, beating him and
driving him away from his door. Black with anger, Portoghese ran to his
room and returned with a revolver. In the fight that followed he shot
Ammella through the head.

He was arrested and thrown into jail. In the hospital the grocer hovered
between life and death for many weeks. Portoghese lay in the Tombs
awaiting trial for more than a year, believing still that he was the
victim of a Black Hand conspiracy. When at last the trial came on, his
savings were all gone, and of the once prosperous and happy man only a
shadow was left. He sat in the court-room and listened in moody silence to
the witnesses who told how he had unjustly suspected and nearly murdered
his friend. He was speedily convicted, and the day of his sentence was
fixed for Christmas Eve. It was certain that it would go hard with him.
The Italians were too prone to shoot and stab, said the newspapers, and
the judges were showing no mercy.

The witnesses had told the truth, but there were some things they did not
know and that did not get into the evidence. The prisoner's wife was ill
from grief and want; their savings of years gone to lawyer's fees, they
were on the verge of starvation. The children were hungry. With the bells
ringing in the glad holiday, they were facing bitter homelessness in the
winter streets, for the rent was in arrears and the landlord would not
wait. And "Papa" away now for the second Christmas, and maybe for many yet
to come! Ten, the lawyer and jury had said: this was New York, not Italy.
In the Tombs the prisoner said it over to himself, bitterly. He had
thought only of defending his own.

So now he stood looking the judge and the jury in the face, yet hardly
seeing them. He saw only the prison gates opening for him, and the gray
walls shutting him out from his wife and little ones for--how many
Christmases was it? One, two, three--he fell to counting them over
mentally and did not hear when his lawyer whispered and nudged him with
his elbow. The clerk repeated his question, but he merely shook his head.
What should he have to say? Had he not said it to these men and they did
not believe him? About little Vito who was lost, and his wife who cried
her eyes out because of the Black Hand letters. He--

There was a step behind him, and a voice he knew spoke. It was the voice
of Ammella, his neighbor, with whom he used to be friends
before--before that day.


[Illustration: "PLEASE, YOUR HONOR, LET THIS MAN GO! IT IS CHRISTMAS."]


"Please, your Honor, let this man go! It is Christmas, and we should have
no unkind thoughts. I have none against Filippo here, and I ask you to let
him go."

It grew very still in the court-room as he spoke and paused for an answer.
Lawyers looked up from their briefs in astonishment. The jurymen in the
box leaned forward and regarded the convicted man and his victim with rapt
attention. Such a plea had not been heard in that place before. Portoghese
stood mute; the voice sounded strange and far away to him. He felt a hand
upon his shoulder that was the hand of a friend, and shifted his feet
uncertainly, but made no response. The gray-haired judge regarded the two
gravely but kindly.

"Your wish comes from a kind heart," he said. "But this man has been
convicted. The law must be obeyed. There is nothing in it that allows us
to let a guilty man go free."

The jurymen whispered together and one of them arose.

"Your Honor," he said, "a higher law than any made by man came into the
world at Christmas--that we love one another. These men would obey it.
Will you not let them? The jury pray as one man that you let mercy go
before justice on this Holy Eve."

A smile lit up Judge O'Sullivan's face. "Filippo Portoghese," he said,
"you are a very fortunate man. The law bids me send you to prison for ten
years, and but for a miraculous chance would have condemned you to death.
But the man you maimed for life pleads for you, and the jury that
convicted you begs that you go free. The Court remembers what you have
suffered and it knows the plight of your family, upon whom the heaviest
burden of your punishment would fall. Go, then, to your home. And to you,
gentlemen, a happy holiday such as you have given him and his! This court
stands adjourned."

The voice of the crier was lost in a storm of applause. The jury rose to
their feet and cheered judge, complainant, and defendant. Portoghese, who
had stood as one dazed, raised eyes that brimmed with tears to the bench
and to his old neighbor. He understood at last. Ammella threw his arm
around him and kissed him on both cheeks, his disfigured face beaming
with joy. One of the jurymen, a Jew, put his hand impulsively in his
pocket, emptied it into his hat, and passed the hat to his neighbor. All
the others followed his example. The court officer dropped in half a
dollar as he stuffed its contents into the happy Italian's pocket. "For
little Vito," he said, and shook his hand.

"Ah!" said the foreman of the jury, looking after the reunited friends
leaving the court-room arm in arm; "it is good to live in New York. A
merry Christmas to you, Judge!"



OUR ROOF GARDEN AMONG THE TENEMENTS


A year has gone since we built a roof garden on top of the gymnasium that
took away our children's playground by filling up the yard. In many ways
it has been the hardest of all the years we have lived through with our
poor neighbors. Poverty, illness, misrepresentation, and the hottest and
hardest of all summers for those who must live in the city's crowds--they
have all borne their share. But to the blackest cloud there is somewhere a
silver lining if you look long enough and hard enough for it, and ours has
been that roof garden. It is not a very great affair--some of you readers
would smile at it, I suppose. There are no palm trees and no "pergola,"
just a plain roof down in a kind of well with tall tenements all about.
Two big barrels close to the wall tell their own story of how the world is
growing up toward the light. For they once held whisky and trouble and
deviltry; now they are filled with fresh, sweet earth, and beautiful
Japanese ivy grows out of them and clings lovingly to the wall of our
house, spreading its soft, green tendrils farther and farther each season,
undismayed by the winter's cold. And then boxes and boxes on a brick
parapet, with hardy Golden Glow, scarlet geraniums, California privet, and
even a venturesome Crimson Rambler.

When first we got window boxes and filled them with the ivy that looks so
pretty and is seen so far, every child in the block accepted it as an
invitation to help himself when and how he could. They never touch it
nowadays. They like it too much. We didn't have to tell them. They do it
themselves. When this summer it became necessary on account of the crowd
to eliminate the husky boys from the roof garden and we gave them the gym
instead to romp in, they insisted on paying their way. Free on the roof
was one thing; this was quite another. They taxed themselves two cents a
week, one for the house, one for the club treasury, and they passed this
resolution that "any boy wot shoots craps or swears, or makes a row in the
house or is disrespectful to Mr. Smith or runs with any crooks, is put out
of the club." They were persuaded to fine the offender a cent instead of
expelling him, and it worked all right except with Sammy, who arose to
dispute the equity of it all and to demand the organization of a club
"where they don't put a feller out fer shootin' craps--wot's craps!"

But I was telling of the roof garden and what happened there. It was in
the long vacation when it is open from early morning until all the little
ones in the neighborhood are asleep and the house closes its doors. All
through the day the children own the garden and carry on their play there.
One evening each week our girls' club have an "at home" on the roof, and
on three nights the boys bring their friends and smoke and talk. Wednesday
and Friday are mothers' and children's nights. That was when they began
it. The little ones had been telling stories of Cinderella and Red Riding
Hood and Beauty and the Beast and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and before
they themselves realized that they were doing it, they were acting them.
The dramatic instinct is strong in these children. The "princess" of the
fairy tales appeals irresistibly, Cinderella even more. The triumph of
good over evil is rapturously applauded; the villain has to look out for
himself--and indeed, he had better! Don't I know? Have I forgotten the
time they put me out of the theater in Copenhagen for shrieking "Murder!
Police!" when the rascal lover--nice lover, he!--was on the very point of
plunging a gleaming knife into the heart of the beautiful maiden who slept
in an armchair, unconscious of her peril. And I was sixteen; these are
eight, or nine.

So the prince rode off with Cinderella in front of him on a fiery
kindergarten chair, and the wicked sisters were left to turn green with
envy; and another prince with black cotton mustache, on an even more
impetuous charger, a tuft of tissue paper in his cap for a feather,
galloped up to release Beauty with a kiss from her century of sleep; and
Beauty awoke as naturally as if she had but just closed her eyes, amid
volleys of applause from the roof and from the tenements, every window in
which was a reserved seat.

Next the Bad Wolf strode into the ring, with honeyed speech to beguile
little Red Riding Hood. The plays had rapidly become so popular that a
regular ring had to be made on the roof for a stage. When the seats gave
out, chalk lines took their place and the children and their mothers sat
on them with all the gravity befitting the dress-circle. Red Riding Hood
having happily escaped being eaten alive, Rebecca rode by with cheery
smile and pink parasol, as full of sunshine as the brook on her home farm.
The children shouted their delight.

"Where do you get it all?" asked one who did not know of our dog-eared
library they grew up with before the Carnegie branch came and we put ours
in the attic.

"We know the story--all we have to do is to act it," was the children's
reply. And act it they did, until the report went abroad that at the Riis
House there was a prime show every Wednesday and Friday night. That was
when the schools reopened and the recreation center at No. 1 in the next
block was closed. Then its crowds came and besieged our house until the
street was jammed and traffic impossible. For the first and only time in
its history a policeman had to be placed on the stoop, or we should have
been swamped past hope. But he is gone long ago. Don't let him deter you
from calling.

The nights are cold now, and Cinderella rides no more on the prancing
steed of her fairy prince. The children's songs have ceased. Beauty and
the Beast are tucked away with the ivy and the bulbs and the green shrubs
against the bright sunny days that are coming. The wolf is a bad memory,
and the tenement windows that were filled with laughing faces are vacant
and shut. But many a child smiles in its sleep, dreaming of the happy
hours in our roof garden, and many a mother's heavy burden was lightened
because of it and because of the children's joy. The garden was an
afterthought--we had taken their playground in the yard, and there was the
wide roof. It seemed as though it ought to be put to use. They said
flowers wouldn't grow down in that hole, and that the neighbors would
throw things, and anyway the children would despoil them. Well, they did
grow, never better, and the whole block grew up to them. Their message
went into every tenement house home. Not the crabbedest old bachelor ever
threw anything on our roof to disgrace it; and as for the children, they
loved the flowers. That tells it all. The stone we made light of proved
the cornerstone of the building. There is nothing in our house, full as it
is of a hundred activities to bring sweetening touch to weary lives, that
has half the cheer in it which our roof garden holds in summer, nothing
that has tenderer memories for us all the year round.

That is the story of the flowers in one garden as big as the average back
yard, and of the girls who took them to their hearts. For, of course, it
was the girls who did it. The boys--well! boys are boys in Henry Street as
on Madison Avenue. Perhaps on ours there is a trifle less veneering. They
had a party to end up with, and ice-cream, lots of it. But as the mothers
couldn't come, it being washday or something, and they didn't want their
sisters--they were hardly old enough to see the advantage of swapping
them over--they had to eat it themselves, all of it. I am not even sure
they didn't plan it so. The one redeeming feature was that they treated
the workers liberally first. Else they might have died of indigestion.
Whether they planned that, too, I wonder.



THE SNOW BABIES' CHRISTMAS


"All aboard for Coney Island!" The gates of the bridge train slammed, the
whistle shrieked, and the cars rolled out past rows of houses that grew
smaller and lower to Jim's wondering eyes, until they quite disappeared
beneath the track. He felt himself launching forth above the world of men,
and presently he saw, deep down below, the broad stream with ships and
ferry-boats and craft going different ways, just like the tracks and
traffic in a big, wide street; only so far away was it all that the
pennant on the topmast of a vessel passing directly under the train seemed
as if it did not belong to his world at all. Jim followed the white foam
in the wake of the sloop with fascinated stare, until a puffing tug
bustled across its track and wiped it out. Then he settled back in his
seat with a sigh that had been pent up within him twenty long, wondering
minutes since he limped down the Subway at Twenty-third Street. It was his
first journey abroad.

Jim had never been to the Brooklyn Bridge before. It is doubtful if he had
ever heard of it. If he had, it was as of something so distant, so unreal,
as to have been quite within the realm of fairyland, had his life
experience included fairies. It had not. Jim's frail craft had been
launched in Little Italy, half a dozen miles or more up-town, and there it
had been moored, its rovings being limited at the outset by babyhood and
the tenement, and later on by the wreck that had made of him a castaway
for life. A mysterious something had attacked one of Jim's ankles, and,
despite ointments and lotions prescribed by the wise women of the
tenement, had eaten into the bone and stayed there. At nine the lad was a
cripple with one leg shorter than the other by two or three inches, with a
stepmother, a squalling baby to mind for his daily task, hard words and
kicks for his wage; for Jim was an unprofitable investment, promising no
returns, but, rather, constant worry and outlay. The outlook was not the
most cheering in the world.

But, happily, Jim was little concerned about things to come. He lived in
the day that is, fighting his way as he could with a leg and a half and a
nickname,--"Gimpy" they called him for his limp,--and getting out of it
what a fellow so handicapped could. After all, there were compensations.
When the gang scattered before the cop, it did not occur to him to lay any
of the blame to Gimpy, though the little lad with the pinched face and
sharp eyes had, in fact, done scouting duty most craftily. It was partly
in acknowledgment of such services, partly as a concession to his sharper
wits, that Gimpy was tacitly allowed a seat in the councils of the Cave
Gang, though in the far "kid" corner. He limped through their campaigns
with them, learned to swim by "dropping off the dock" at the end of the
street into the swirling tide, and once nearly lost his life when one of
the bigger boys dared him to run through an election bonfire like his
able-bodied comrades. Gimpy started to do it at once, but stumbled and
fell, and was all but burned to death before the other boys could pull him
out. This act of bravado earned him full membership in the gang, despite
his tender years; and, indeed, it is doubtful if in all that region there
was a lad of his age as tough and loveless as Gimpy. The one affection of
his barren life was the baby that made it slavery by day. But, somehow,
there was that in its chubby foot groping for him in its baby sleep, or in
the little round head pillowed on his shoulder, that more than made up for
it all.

Ill luck was surely Gimpy's portion. It was not a month after he had
returned to the haunts of the gang, a battle-scarred veteran now since
his encounter with the bonfire, when "the Society's" officers held up the
huckster's wagon from which he was crying potatoes with his thin, shrill
voice, which somehow seemed to convey the note of pain that was the
prevailing strain of his life. They made Gimpy a prisoner, limp, stick,
and all. The inquiry that ensued as to his years and home setting, the
while Gimpy was undergoing the incredible experience of being washed and
fed regularly three times a day, set in motion the train of events that
was at present hurrying him toward Coney Island in midwinter, with a
snow-storm draping the land in white far and near, as the train sped
seaward. He gasped as he reviewed the hurrying events of the week: the
visit of the doctor from Sea Breeze, who had scrutinized his ankle as if
he expected to find some of the swag of the last raid hidden somewhere
about it. Gimpy never took his eyes off him during the examination. No
word or cry escaped him when it hurt most, but his bright, furtive eyes
never left the doctor or lost one of his movements. "Just like a weasel
caught in a trap," said the doctor, speaking of his charge afterward.

But when it was over, he clapped Gimpy on the shoulder and said it was all
right. He was sure he could help.

"Have him at the Subway to-morrow at twelve," was his parting direction;
and Gimpy had gone to bed to dream that he was being dragged down the
stone stairs by three helmeted men, to be fed to a monster breathing fire
and smoke at the foot of the stairs.

Now his wondering journey was disturbed by a cheery voice beside him.
"Well, bub, ever see that before?" and the doctor pointed to the gray
ocean line dead ahead. Gimpy had not seen it, but he knew well enough what
it was.

"It's the river," he said, "that I cross when I go to Italy."

"Right!" and his companion held out a helping hand as the train pulled up
at the end of the journey. "Now let's see how we can navigate."

And, indeed, there was need of seeing about it. Right from the step of the
train the snow lay deep, a pathless waste burying street and sidewalk out
of sight, blocking the closed and barred gate of Dreamland, of radiant
summer memory, and stalling the myriad hobby-horses of shows that slept
their long winter sleep. Not a whinny came on the sharp salt breeze. The
strident voice of the carpenter's saw and the rat-tat-tat of his hammer
alone bore witness that there was life somewhere in the white desert. The
doctor looked in dismay at Gimpy's brace and high shoe, and shook his
head.

"He never can do it. Hello, there!" An express wagon had come into view
around the corner of the shed. "Here's a job for you." And before he could
have said Jack Robinson, Gimpy felt himself hoisted bodily into the wagon
and deposited there like any express package. From somewhere a longish
something that proved to be a Christmas-tree, very much wrapped and
swathed about, came to keep him company. The doctor climbed up by the
driver, and they were off. Gimpy recalled with a dull sense of impending
events in which for once he had no shaping hand, as he rubbed his ears
where the bitter blast pinched, that to-morrow was Christmas.

A strange group was that which gathered about the supper-table at Sea
Breeze that night. It would have been sufficiently odd to any one
anywhere; but to Gimpy, washed, in clean, comfortable raiment, with his
bad foot set in a firm bandage, and for once no longer sore with the pain
that had racked his frame from babyhood, it seemed so unreal that once or
twice he pinched himself covertly to see if he were really awake. They
came weakly stumping with sticks and crutches and on club feet, the lame
and the halt, the children of sorrow and suffering from the city slums,
and stood leaning on crutch or chair for support while they sang their
simple grace; but neither in their clear childish voices nor yet in the
faces that were turned toward Gimpy in friendly scrutiny as the last
comer, was there trace of pain. Their cheeks were ruddy and their eyes
bright with the health of outdoors, and when they sang about the "Frog in
the Pond," in response to a spontaneous demand, laughter bubbled over
around the table. Gimpy, sizing his fellow-boarders up according to the
standards of the gang, with the mental conclusion that he "could lick the
bunch," felt a warm little hand worming its way into his, and, looking
into a pair of trustful baby eyes, choked with a sudden reminiscent pang,
but smiled back at his friend and felt suddenly at home. Little Ellen,
with the pervading affections, had added him to her family of brothers.
What honors were in store for him in that relation Gimpy never guessed.
Ellen left no one out. When summer came again she enlarged the family
further by adopting the President of the United States as her papa, when
he came visiting to Sea Breeze; and by rights Gimpy should have achieved a
pull such as would have turned the boss of his ward green with envy.

It appeared speedily that something unusual was on foot. There was a
subdued excitement among the children which his experience diagnosed at
first flush as the symptoms of a raid. But the fact that in all the waste
of snow on the way over he had seen nothing rising to the apparent dignity
of candy-shop or grocery-store made him dismiss the notion as untenable.
Presently unfamiliar doings developed. The children who could write
scribbled notes on odd sheets of paper, which the nurses burned in the
fireplace with solemn incantations. Something in the locked dining-room
was an object of pointed interest. Things were going on there, and
expeditions to penetrate the mystery were organized at brief intervals,
and as often headed off by watchful nurses.

When, finally, the children were gotten upstairs and undressed, from the
headpost of each of thirty-six beds there swung a little stocking, limp
and yawning with mute appeal. Gimpy had "caught on" by this time: it was a
wishing-bee, and old Santa Claus was supposed to fill the stockings with
what each had most desired. The consultation over, baby George had let him
into the game. Baby George did not know enough to do his own wishing, and
the thirty-five took it in hand while he was being put to bed.

"Let's wish for some little dresses for him," said big Mariano, who was
the baby's champion and court of last resort; "that's what he needs." And
it was done. Gimpy smiled a little disdainfully at the credulity of the
"kids." The Santa Claus fake was out of date a long while in his tenement.
But he voted for baby George's dresses, all the same, and even went to
the length of recording his own wish for a good baseball bat. Gimpy was
coming on.

Going to bed in that queer place fairly "stumped" Gimpy. "Peeli'" had
been the simplest of processes in Little Italy. Here they pulled a
fellow's clothes off only to put on another lot, heavier every way, with
sweater and hood and flannel socks and mittens to boot, as if the boy were
bound for a tussle with the storm outside rather than for his own warm
bed. And so, in fact, he was. For no sooner had he been tucked under the
blankets, warm and snug, than the nurses threw open all the windows, every
one, and let the gale from without surge in and through as it listed; and
so they left them. Gimpy shivered as he felt the frosty breath of the
ocean nipping his nose, and crept under the blanket for shelter. But
presently he looked up and saw the other boys snoozing happily like so
many little Eskimos equipped for the North Pole, and decided to keep them
company. For a while he lay thinking of the strange things that had
happened that day, since his descent into the Subway. If the gang could
see him now. But it seemed far away, with all his past life--farther than
the river with the ships deep down below. Out there upon the dark waters,
in the storm, were they sailing now, and all the lights of the city
swallowed up in gloom? Presently he heard through it all the train roaring
far off in the Subway and many hurrying feet on the stairs. The iron gates
clanked--and he fell asleep with the song of the sea for his lullaby.
Mother Nature had gathered her child to her bosom, and the slum had lost
in the battle for a life.

The clock had not struck two when from the biggest boy's bed in the corner
there came in a clear, strong alto the strains of "Ring, ring, happy
bells!" and from every room childish voices chimed in. The nurses hurried
to stop the chorus with the message that it was yet five hours to
daylight. They were up, trimming the tree in the dining-room; at the last
moment the crushing announcement had been made that the candy had been
forgotten, and a midnight expedition had set out for the city through the
storm to procure it. A semblance of order was restored, but cat naps ruled
after that, till, at daybreak, a gleeful shout from Ellen's bed
proclaimed that Santa Claus had been there, in very truth, and had left a
dolly in her stocking. It was the signal for such an uproar as had not
been heard on that beach since Port Arthur fell for the last time upon its
defenders three months before. From thirty-six stockings came forth a
veritable army of tops, balls, wooden animals of unknown pedigree,
oranges, music-boxes, and cunning little pocket-books, each with a shining
silver quarter in, love-tokens of one in the great city whose heart must
have been light with happy dreams in that hour. Gimpy drew forth from his
stocking a very able-bodied baseball bat and considered it with a stunned
look. Santa Claus was a fake, but the bat--there was no denying that, and
he _had_ wished for one the very last thing before he fell asleep!

Daylight struggled still with a heavy snow-squall when the signal was
given for the carol "Christmas time has come again," and the march down to
breakfast. That march! On the third step the carol was forgotten and the
band broke into one long cheer that was kept up till the door of the
dining-room was reached. At the first glimpse within, baby George's wail
rose loud and grievous: "My chair! my chair!" But it died in a shriek of
joy as he saw what it was that had taken its place. There stood the
Christmas-tree, one mass of shining candles, and silver and gold, and
angels with wings, and wondrous things of colored paper all over it from
top to bottom. Gimpy's eyes sparkled at the sight, skeptic though he was
at nine; and in the depths of his soul he came over, then and there, to
Santa Claus, to abide forever--only he did not know it yet.

To make the children eat any breakfast, with three gay sleds waiting to
take the girls out in the snow, was no easy matter; but it was done at
last, and they swarmed forth for a holiday in the open. All days are spent
in the open at Sea Breeze,--even the school is a tent,--and very cold
weather only shortens the brief school hour; but this day was to be given
over to play altogether. Winter it was "for fair," but never was coasting
enjoyed on New England hills as these sledding journeys on the sands where
the surf beat in with crash of thunder. The sea itself had joined in
making Christmas for its little friends. The day before, a regiment of
crabs had come ashore and surrendered to the cook at Sea Breeze. Christmas
morn found the children's "floor"--they called the stretch of clean, hard
sand between high-water mark and the surf-line by that name--filled with
gorgeous shells and pebbles, and strange fishes left there by the tide
overnight. The fair-weather friends who turn their backs upon old ocean
with the first rude blasts of autumn little know what wonderful surprises
it keeps for those who stand by it in good and in evil report.

When the very biggest turkey that ever strutted in barnyard was discovered
steaming in the middle of the dinner-table and the report went round in
whispers that ice-cream had been seen carried in in pails, and when, in
response to a pull at the bell, Matron Thomsen ushered in a squad of
smiling mamas and papas to help eat the dinner, even Gimpy gave in to the
general joy, and avowed that Christmas was "bully." Perhaps his acceptance
of the fact was made easier by a hasty survey of the group of papas and
mamas, which assured him that his own were not among them. A fleeting
glimpse of the baby, deserted and disconsolate, brought the old pucker to
his brow for a passing moment; but just then big Fred set off a snapper at
his very ear, and thrusting a pea-green fool's-cap upon his head, pushed
him into the roistering procession that hobbled round and round the table,
cheering fit to burst. And the babies that had been brought down from
their cribs, strapped, because their backs were crooked, in the frames
that look so cruel and are so kind, lifted up their feeble voices as they
watched the show with shining eyes. Little baby Helen, who could only
smile and wave "by-by" with one fat hand, piped in with her tiny voice,
"Here I is!" It was all she knew, and she gave that with a right good
will, which is as much as one can ask of anybody, even of a snow baby.

If there were still lacking a last link to rivet Gimpy's loyalty to his
new home for good and all, he himself supplied it when the band gathered
under the leafless trees--for Sea Breeze has a grove in summer, the only
one on the island--and whiled away the afternoon making a "park" in the
snow, with sea-shells for curbing and boundary stones. When it was all
but completed, Gimpy, with an inspiration that then and there installed
him leader, gave it the finishing touch by drawing a policeman on the
corner with a club, and a sign, "Keep off the grass." Together they gave
it the air of reality and the true local color that made them feel, one
and all, that now indeed they were at home.

Toward evening a snow-storm blew in from the sea, but instead of scurrying
for shelter, the little Eskimos joined the doctor in hauling wood for a
big bonfire on the beach. There, while the surf beat upon the shore hardly
a dozen steps away, and the storm whirled the snow-clouds in weird drifts
over sea and land, they drew near the fire, and heard the doctor tell
stories that seemed to come right out of the darkness and grow real while
they listened. Dr. Wallace is a Southerner and lived his childhood with
Br'er Rabbit and Mr. Fox, and they saw them plainly gamboling in the
firelight as the story went on. For the doctor knows boys and loves them,
that is how.

No one would have guessed that they were cripples, every one of that
rugged band that sat down around the Christmas supper-table, rosy-cheeked
and jolly--cripples condemned, but for Sea Breeze, to lives of misery and
pain, most of them to an early death and suffering to others. For their
enemy was that foe of mankind, the White Plague, that for thousands of
years has taken tithe and toll of the ignorance and greed and selfishness
of man, which sometimes we call with one name--the slum. Gimpy never
would have dreamed that the tenement held no worse threat for the baby he
yearned for than himself, with his crippled foot, when he was there. These
things you could not have told even the fathers and mothers; or if you
had, no one there but the doctor and the nurses would have believed you.
They knew only too well. But two things you could make out, with no
trouble at all, by the lamplight: one, that they were one and all on the
homeward stretch to health and vigor--Gimpy himself was a different lad
from the one who had crept shivering to bed the night before; and this
other, that they were the sleepiest crew of youngsters ever got together.
Before they had finished the first verse of "America" as their good night,
standing up like little men, half of them were down and asleep with their
heads pillowed upon their arms. And so Miss Brass, the head nurse,
gathered them in and off to bed.

"And now, boys," she said as they were being tucked in, "your prayers."
And of those who were awake each said his own: Willie his "Now I lay me,"
Mariano his "Ave," but little Bent from the Eastside tenement wailed that
he didn't have any. Bent was a newcomer like Gimpy.

"Then," said six-year-old Morris, resolutely,--he also was a Jew,--"I
learn him mine vat my fader tol' me." And getting into Bent's crib, he
crept under the blanket with his little comrade. Gimpy saw them reverently
pull their worsted caps down over their heads, and presently their tiny
voices whispered together, in the jargon of the East Side, their petition
to the Father of all, who looked lovingly down through the storm upon his
children of many folds.

The last prayer was said, and all was still. Through the peaceful
breathing of the boys all about him, Gimpy, alone wakeful, heard the deep
bass of the troubled sea. The storm had blown over. Through the open
windows shone the eternal stars, as on that night in the Judean hills when
shepherds herded their flocks and

  "The angels of the Lord came down."

He did not know. He was not thinking of angels; none had ever come to his
slum. But a great peace came over him and filled his child-soul. It may be
that the nurse saw it shining in his eyes and thought it fever. It may be
that she, too, was thinking in that holy hour. She bent over him and laid
a soothing hand upon his brow.

"You must sleep now," she said.

Something that was not of the tenement, something vital, with which his
old life had no concern, welled up in Gimpy at the touch. He caught her
hand and held it.

"I will if you will sit here," he said. He could not help it.

"Why, Jimmy?" She stroked back his shock of stubborn hair. Something
glistened on her eyelashes as she looked at the forlorn little face on the
pillow. How should Gimpy know that he was at that moment leading another
struggling soul by the hand toward the light that never dies?

"'Cause," he gulped hard, but finished manfully--"'cause I love you."

Gimpy had learned the lesson of Christmas,

  "And glory shone around."



AS TOLD BY THE RABBI


Three stories have come to me out of the past for which I would make
friends in the present. The first I have from a rabbi of our own day whom
I met last winter in the far Southwest. The other two were drawn from the
wisdom of the old rabbis that is as replete with human contradiction as
the strange people of whose life it was, and is, a part. If they help us
to understand how near we live to one another, after all, it is well.
Without other comment, I shall leave each reader to make his own
application of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

This was the story my friend the Arkansas rabbi told. It is from the
folk-lore of Russia:

A woman who had lain in torment a thousand years lifted her face toward
heaven and cried to the Lord to set her free, for she could endure it no
longer. And he looked down and said: "Can you remember one thing you did
for a human being without reward in your earth life?"

The woman groaned in bitter anguish, for she had lived in selfish ease;
the neighbor had been nothing to her.

"Was there not one? Think well!"

"Once--it was nothing--I gave to a starving man a carrot, and he thanked
me."

"Bring, then, the carrot. Where is it?"

"It is long since, Lord," she sobbed, "and it is lost."

"Not so; witness of the one unselfish deed of your life, it could not
perish. Go," said the Lord to an angel, "find the carrot and bring it
here."

The angel brought the carrot and held it over the bottomless pit, letting
it down till it was within reach of the woman. "Cling to it," he said. She
did as she was bidden, and found herself rising out of her misery.

Now, when the other souls in torment saw her drawn upward, they seized her
hands, her waist, her feet, her garments, and clung to them with
despairing cries, so that there rose out of the pit an ever-lengthening
chain of writhing, wailing humanity clinging to the frail root. Higher and
higher it rose till it was half-way to heaven, and still its burden grew.
The woman looked down, and fear and anger seized her--fear that the carrot
would break, and anger at the meddling of those strangers who put her in
peril. She struggled, and beat with hands and feet upon those below her.

"Let go," she cried; "it is _my_ carrot."

The words were hardly out of her mouth before the carrot broke, and she
fell, with them all, back into torment, and the pit swallowed them up.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a little German town the pious Rabbi Jisroel Isserlheim is deep in the
study of the sacred writings, when of a sudden the Messiah stands before
him. The time of trial of his people is past, so runs his message; that
very evening he will come, and their sufferings will be over. He prays
that his host will summon a carriage in which he may make his entry into
town. Trembling with pride and joy, the rabbi falls at his feet and
worships. But in the very act of rising doubts assail him.

"Thou temptest me, Master!" he exclaims; "it is written that the Messiah
shall come riding upon an ass."

"Be it so. Send thou for the ass." But in all the countryside far and near
no ass is to be found; the rabbi knows it. The Messiah waits.

"Do you not see that you are barring the way with your scruples to the
salvation you long for? The sun is far in the west; do not let it set, for
if this day pass, the Jews must suffer for untold ages to come. Would you
set an ass between me and the salvation of my people?"

The man stands irresolute. "Ten minutes, and I must go," urges his
visitor. But at last the rabbi has seen his duty clear.

"No Messiah without the ass," he cries; and the Messiah goes on his way.

       *       *       *       *       *

Once, so runs the legend, there lived in far Judean hills two affectionate
brothers, tilling a common field together. One had a wife and a houseful
of children; the other was a lonely man. One night in the harvest time the
older brother said to his wife: "My brother is a lonely man. I will go out
and move some of the sheaves from my side of the field over on his, so
that when he sees them in the morning his heart will be cheered by the
abundance." And he did.

That same night the other brother said to his workmen: "My brother has a
houseful and many mouths to fill. I am alone, and do not need all this
wealth. I will go and move some of my sheaves over on his field, so that
he shall rejoice in the morning when he sees how great is his store." And
he did. They did it that night and the next, in the sheltering dark. But
on the third night the moon came out as they met face to face, each with
his arms filled with sheaves. On that spot, says the legend, was built the
Temple of Jerusalem, for it was esteemed that there earth came nearest
heaven.



THE STRAND FROM ABOVE

From the Danish of JOHANNES JÖRGENSEN


The sun rose on a bright September morning. A thousand gems of dew
sparkled in the meadows, and upon the breeze floated, in the wake of
summer, the shining silken strands of which no man knoweth the whence or
the whither.

One of them caught in the top of a tree, and the skipper, a little
speckled yellow spider, quit his airship to survey the leafy demesne
there. It was not to his liking, and, with prompt decision, he spun a new
strand and let himself down straight into the hedge below.

There were twigs and shoots in plenty there to spin a web in, and he went
to work at once, letting the strand from above, by which he had come, bear
the upper corner of it.

A fine large web it was when finished, and with this about it that set it
off from all the other webs thereabouts, that it seemed to stand straight
up in the air, without anything to show what held it. It takes pretty
sharp eyes to make out a single strand of a spider-web, even a very little
way off.

The days went by. Flies grew scarcer, as the sun rose later, and the
spider had to make his net larger that it might reach farther and catch
more. And here the strand from above turned out a great help. With it to
brace the structure, the web was spun higher and wider, until it covered
the hedge all the way across. In the wet October mornings, when it hung
full of shimmering raindrops, it was like a veil stitched with precious
pearls.

The spider was proud of his work. No longer the little thing that had come
drifting out of the vast with nothing but its unspun web in its pocket, so
to speak, he was now a big, portly, opulent spider, with the largest web
in the hedge.

One morning he awoke very much out of sorts. There had been a frost in the
night, and daylight brought no sun. The sky was overcast; not a fly was
out. All the long gray autumn day the spider sat hungry and cross in his
corner. Toward evening, to kill time, he started on a tour of inspection,
to see if anything needed bracing or mending. He pulled at all the
strands; they were firm enough. But though he found nothing wrong, his
temper did not improve; he waxed crosser than ever.

At the farthest end of the web he came at last to a strand that all at
once seemed strange to him. All the rest went this way or that--the spider
knew every stick and knob they were made fast to, every one. But this
preposterous strand went nowhere--that is to say, went straight up in the
air and was lost. He stood up on his hind legs and stared with all his
eyes, but he could not make it out. To look at, the strand went right up
into the clouds, which was nonsense.

The longer he sat and glared to no purpose, the angrier the spider grew.
He had quite forgotten how on a bright September morning he himself had
come down this same strand. And he had forgotten how, in the building of
the web and afterward when it had to be enlarged, it was just this strand
he had depended upon. He saw only that here was a useless strand, a fool
strand, that went nowhere in sense or reason, only up in the air where
solid spiders had no concern....

"Away with it!" and with one vicious snap of his angry jaws he bit the
strand in two.

That instant the web collapsed, the whole proud and prosperous structure
fell in a heap, and when the spider came to he lay sprawling in the hedge
with the web all about his head like a wet rag. In one brief moment he had
wrecked it all--because he did not understand the use of _the strand from
above_.



The following pages contain advertisements of books by the same author or
on kindred subjects.


_THE WORKS OF JACOB A. RIIS_


_The death on May 26, 1914, of JACOB A. RIIS, social reformer and civil
worker, "New York's Most Useful Citizen," as he was deservedly called by
one who best knew the scope and extent of his efforts--ex-President
Roosevelt--awakens renewed interest in the works of this "Ideal American,"
books that should find a place in every American home._

_They illustrate as few other books can the possibilities of American life
and reveal how from an almost penniless and friendless immigrant, at times
on the verge of want in the search for work, he rose through trying and
strenuous experiences by the sheer force of will and character, to
well-deserved fame and an honored position in the councils of the
mightiest of the land._


THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN. An Autobiography

"It is refreshing to find a book so unique and captivating as 'The Making
of an American,' the volume in which Jacob A. Riis tells the strange story
of his life. For more than a quarter of a century Mr. Riis has been a
police reporter on a New York newspaper and he still believes there is no
more desirable position to be found anywhere.... Incidentally he has
gained a national reputation by writing 'How the Other Half Lives' and 'A
Ten Years' War,' and this ingenious autobiography will carry his fame
still further, for it is the most irresistibly entertaining book he has
written ... one of the brightest, wholesomest, most fascinating books of
the season."--_Record Herald_, Chicago.

  _With over 100 illustrations from photographs and original drawings
  Cloth, gilt top, $1.50 net; postage extra
  Also published in The Macmillan Standard Library Edition
  50 cents net; postage extra_


THE OLD TOWN

"It has a double charm, the charm that is associated with an old place,
shut off from the world's main currents, and the charm of showing the
origins of an interesting personality. The old town is Ribe, Mr. Riis's
native town in little Denmark, where the big winter storms sometimes drive
the sea up with a rush and a swirl to the old-fashioned houses, where
railroads were not known, where semi-mediæval customs still prevailed. It
is a book of the heart."

  _Illustrated by Wlatyslaw T. Benda; $2.00 net; postage extra_


HERO TALES OF THE FAR NORTH

"True stories of the famous heroes of Scandinavia, retold with all the
charm of style and sympathetic interpretation distinctive of Jacob A.
Riis. Seldom, if ever, has history appeared in so interesting a guise as
in these fascinating, stirring, and exciting stories of adventure."

_Illustrated with 25 full-page plates; decorated cloth, $1.35 net; postage
extra_


THEODORE ROOSEVELT: The Citizen

"It is written from the heart. It breathes sincerity and conviction in
every line. It emphasizes not so much the forces and influences which
lifted Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency, as the qualities that make
his personality and underlie his character. It gives a vivid impression of
his mental and moral self--his point of view, and the ideals on which his
public career has been based.... It is a refreshing and stimulating
picture--one that will carry encouragement to every reader whose heart is
enlisted in the struggle to exorcise corruption and oppression from our
body politic."--_New York Tribune._

  _Cloth, illustrated, $2.00 net; postage extra
  Also published in The Macmillan Standard Library Edition
  50 cents net; postage extra_


THE BATTLE WITH THE SLUM

Taking the subject of his earlier book, "The Ten Years' War," Mr. Riis has
completely rewritten it and added practically a third more new material,
bringing the whole up to date. The "War" was with the Slum, hence the new
title.

"It is not enough to say of Mr. Riis and his works that he is one man
among a thousand. He is unique. He does his work of benevolence and reform
under conditions that would harden the hearts of many men and certainly
excite disgust; but he comes out of the grime and dust with some cheery
note or some heroic incident, some story of self-sacrifice among the poor,
or some thought which ennobles the struggle."--_New York Mail._

_Profusely illustrated with reproductions from photographs by the author
and original drawings by Thomas Fogarty. Cloth, gilt top, $2.00 net;
postage extra_


CHILDREN OF THE TENEMENTS

"Deeply human, sympathetic stories of the youngsters of all nationalities
who crowd the parks, the newsboys' homes, and swarm in the big tenements
of the East Side of New York."

"Mr. Riis is a man who does not theorize, but who knows. His book is full
of pathetic pictures, painful in their truth but beautiful in their
meaning. No one who is interested in sociology can afford to miss what he
has to say."--_Current Literature._

Cloth, illustrated, $1.50 net; postage extra


IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS?

"A classic of childhood, one of Jacob Riis's most charming and attractive
books for boys and girls, one that will always live as a popular
gift-book."

_Cloth, 75 cents net; postage extra_



With Poor Immigrants to America

BY STEPHEN GRAHAM

_Decorated cover, 8vo, illustrated, $2.00 net; postage extra_

"We collected on the quay at Liverpool--English, Russians, Jews, Germans,
Swedes, Finns, all staring at one another curiously and trying to
understand languages we had never heard before. Three hundred yards out in
the harbor stood the red funneled Cunarder which was to bear us to
America." These words describe the beginning of the colorful travels of
which Mr. Graham writes in this book. Mr. Graham has the spirit of the
real adventurer. He prefers people to Pullmans, steerage passage to first
cabin. In his mingling with the poorer classes he comes in contact
intimately with a life which most writers know only by hearsay, and
interesting bits of this life and that which is picturesque and romantic
and unlooked for he transcribes to paper with a freshness and vividness
that mark him a good mixer with men, a keen observer, and a skillful adept
with the pen.


_By the Same Author_

With the Russian Pilgrims to Jerusalem

_Decorated cloth, 8vo, illustrated, $2.75 net_

The journey of the Russian peasants to Jerusalem has never been described
before in any language, not even in Russian. Yet it is the most
significant thing in the Russian life to-day. In the story lies a great
national epic.


A Tramp's Sketches

_Cloth, 8vo, illustrated, $1.75 net_

"Mr. Graham has seen many interesting parts of the world, and he tells of
his travels in a pleasing way."--_Suburban Life._



NEW MACMILLAN FICTION


The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman

By H. G. WELLS.

_Cloth, 12mo. $1.50 net._

The name of H. G. Wells upon a title page is an assurance of merit. It is
a guarantee that on the pages which follow will be found an absorbing
story told with master skill. In the present book Mr. Wells surpasses even
his previous efforts. He is writing of modern society life, particularly
of one very charming young woman, Lady Harman, who finds herself so bound
in by conventions, so hampered by restrictions, largely those of a well
intentioned but short sighted husband, that she is ultimately moved to
revolt. The real meaning of this revolt, its effect upon her life and
those of her associates are narrated by one who goes beneath the surface
in his analysis of human motives. In the group of characters, writers,
suffragists, labor organizers, social workers and society lights
surrounding Lady Harman, and in the dramatic incidents which compose the
years of her existence which are described by Mr. Wells, there is a novel
which is significant in its interpretation of the trend of affairs today,
and fascinatingly interesting as fiction. It is Mr. Wells at his best.


Saturday's Child

BY KATHLEEN NORRIS Author of "Mother," "The Treasure," etc.

WITH FRONTISPIECE IN COLORS BY F. GRAHAM COOTES

_Decorated cloth, 12mo, $1.50 net_

"A more ambitious piece of work than any Mrs. Norris has before attempted.
It has the same qualities of sincerity and humor which have helped to make
her former stories popular.... Mrs. Norris's admirers will find this new
book greatly to their liking."--_New York Times._

"This story will have a long and healthful period of popularity. Like
'Mother,' this new book has a heart in it. Like 'The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne,'
it has knowledge of life and an informed conception of living."--_New York
World._

"'Saturday's Child' is a study of young energy--its struggles, its groping
for use, for a place, and an achievement in the world of men and
women--and a study, moreover, of marked ability and sympathy.... The effect
is absolutely tonic.... It is a book to commend to all women."--_Louisville
Post._


The Game of Life and Death _Stories of the Sea_

BY LINCOLN COLCORD Author of "The Drifting Diamond," etc.

WITH FRONTISPIECE _Decorated cloth, 12mo, $1.25 net_

Upon the appearance of Mr. Colcord's "The Drifting Diamond," critics
throughout the country had a great deal to say on the pictures of the sea
which it contained. Mr. Colcord was compared to Conrad, to Stevenson, and
to others who have written of the sea with much success. It is gratifying,
therefore, that in this book the briny deep furnishes the background--in
some instances the plot itself--for each one of its eleven tales. Coupled
with his own intimate knowledge and appreciation of the oceans and the
life that is lived on them--a knowledge and appreciation born in him
through a long line of seafaring ancestry and fostered by his own love for
the sea--he has a powerful style of writing. Vividness is perhaps its
distinguishing characteristic, though fluency and a peculiar feeling for
words also mark it.


The Three Sisters

By MAY SINCLAIR, Author of "The Divine Fire," "The Return of the
Prodigal," etc.

_Cloth, 12mo. $1.35 net._

Every reader of _The Divine Fire_, in fact every reader of any of Miss
Sinclair's books, will at once accord her unlimited praise for her
character work. _The Three Sisters_ reveals her at her best. It is a story
of temperament, made evident not through tiresome analyses but by means of
a series of dramatic incidents. The sisters of the title represent three
distinct types of womankind. In their reaction under certain conditions
Miss Sinclair is not only telling a story of tremendous interest but she
is really showing a cross section of life.


The Rise of Jennie Cushing

By MARY S. WATTS, Author of "Nathan Burke," "Van Cleve," etc.

_Cloth, 12mo. $1.35 net._

In _Nathan Burke_ Mrs. Watts told with great power the story of a man. In
this, her new book, she does much the same thing for a woman. Jennie
Cushing is an exceedingly interesting character, perhaps the most
interesting of any that Mrs. Watts has yet given us. The novel is her life
and little else, but that is a life filled with a variety of experiences
and touching closely many different strata of humankind. Throughout it
all, from the days when as a thirteen-year-old, homeless, friendless waif,
Jennie is sent to a reformatory, to the days when her beauty is the
inspiration of a successful painter, there is in the narrative an appeal
to the emotions, to the sympathy, to the affections, that cannot be
gainsaid.


  PUBLISHED BY
  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  64-66 Fifth Avenue, New York





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