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The Jungle
by
Upton Sinclair
(1906)

Chapter 1

It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began
to arrive. There had been a crowd following all the wayowing to the
exuberance of Marija Berczynskas. The occasion rested heavily upon
Marija's broad shoulders--it was her task to see that all things went
in due formand after the best home traditions; andflying wildly
hither and thitherbowling every one out of the wayand scolding and
exhorting all day with her tremendous voiceMarija was too eager to
see that others conformed to the proprieties to consider them herself.
She had left the church last of allanddesiring to arrive first at
the hallhad issued orders to the coachman to drive faster. When that
personage had developed a will of his own in the matterMarija had
flung up the window of the carriageandleaning outproceeded to tell
him her opinion of himfirst in Lithuanianwhich he did not understand
and then in Polishwhich he did. Having the advantage of her in altitude
the driver had stood his ground and even ventured to attempt to speak;
and the result had been a furious altercationwhichcontinuing all the
way down Ashland Avenuehad added a new swarm of urchins to the cortege
at each side street for half a mile.

This was unfortunatefor already there was a throng before the door.
The music had started upand half a block away you could hear the dull
broom, broomof a cellowith the squeaking of two fiddles which vied
with each other in intricate and altitudinous gymnastics. Seeing the
throngMarija abandoned precipitately the debate concerning the ancestors
of her coachmanandspringing from the moving carriageplunged in and
proceeded to clear a way to the hall. Once withinshe turned and began
to push the other wayroaringmeantimeEik! Eik! Uzdaryk-duris!
in tones which made the orchestral uproar sound like fairy music.

Z. Graiczunas, Pasilinksminimams darzas. Vynas. Sznapsas. Wines and
Liquors. Union Headquarters--that was the way the signs ran. The reader
who perhaps has never held much converse in the language of far-off
Lithuaniawill be glad of the explanation that the place was the rear
room of a saloon in that part of Chicago known as "back of the yards."
This information is definite and suited to the matter of fact; but how
pitifully inadequate it would have seemed to one who understood that it
was also the supreme hour of ecstasy in the life of one of God's gentlest
creaturesthe scene of the wedding feast and the joy-transfiguration
of little Ona Lukoszaite!

She stood in the doorwayshepherded by Cousin Marijabreathless from
pushing through the crowdand in her happiness painful to look upon.
There was a light of wonder in her eyes and her lids trembledand her
otherwise wan little face was flushed. She wore a muslin dress
conspicuously whiteand a stiff little veil coming to her shoulders.
There were five pink paper roses twisted in the veiland eleven bright


green rose leaves. There were new white cotton gloves upon her hands
and as she stood staring about her she twisted them together feverishly.
It was almost too much for her--you could see the pain of too great emotion
in her faceand all the tremor of her form. She was so young--not quite
sixteen--and small for her agea mere child; and she had just been
married--and married to Jurgis* (*Pronounced Yoorghis) of all men
to Jurgis Rudkushe with the white flower in the buttonhole of his new
black suithe with the mighty shoulders and the giant hands.

Ona was blue-eyed and fairwhile Jurgis had great black eyes with beetling
browsand thick black hair that curled in waves about his ears--in short
they were one of those incongruous and impossible married couples with which
Mother Nature so often wills to confound all prophetsbefore and after.
Jurgis could take up a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound quarter of beef and
carry it into a car without a staggeror even a thought; and now he stood
in a far cornerfrightened as a hunted animaland obliged to moisten his
lips with his tongue each time before he could answer the congratulations
of his friends.

Gradually there was effected a separation between the spectators and the
guests--a separation at least sufficiently complete for working purposes.
There was no time during the festivities which ensued when there were not
groups of onlookers in the doorways and the corners; and if any one of
these onlookers came sufficiently closeor looked sufficiently hungry
a chair was offered himand he was invited to the feast. It was one of
the laws of the veselija that no one goes hungry; andwhile a rule made
in the forests of Lithuania is hard to apply in the stockyards district of
Chicagowith its quarter of a million inhabitantsstill they did their
bestand the children who ran in from the streetand even the dogswent
out again happier. A charming informality was one of the characteristics
of this celebration. The men wore their hatsorif they wishedthey
took them offand their coats with them; they ate when and where they
pleasedand moved as often as they pleased. There were to be speeches
and singingbut no one had to listen who did not care to; if he wished
meantimeto speak or sing himselfhe was perfectly free. The resulting
medley of sound distracted no onesave possibly alone the babiesof which
there were present a number equal to the total possessed by all the guests
invited. There was no other place for the babies to beand so part of
the preparations for the evening consisted of a collection of cribs and
carriages in one corner. In these the babies sleptthree or four together
or wakened togetheras the case might be. Those who were still older
and could reach the tablesmarched about munching contentedly at meat bones
and bologna sausages.

The room is about thirty feet squarewith whitewashed wallsbare save for
a calendar. a picture of a race horseand a family tree in a gilded frame.
To the right there is a door from the saloonwith a few loafers in the
doorwayand in the corner beyond it a barwith a presiding genius clad
in soiled whitewith waxed black mustaches and a carefully oiled curl
plastered against one side of his forehead. In the opposite corner are
two tablesfilling a third of the room and laden with dishes and cold
viandswhich a few of the hungrier guests are already munching. At the
headwhere sits the brideis a snow-white cakewith an Eiffel tower of
constructed decorationwith sugar roses and two angels upon itand a
generous sprinkling of pink and green and yellow candies. Beyond opens
a door into the kitchenwhere there is a glimpse to be had of a range with
much steam ascending from itand many womenold and youngrushing hither
and thither. In the corner to the left are the three musiciansupon a
little platformtoiling heroically to make some impression upon the hubbub;
also the babiessimilarly occupiedand an open window whence the populace
imbibes the sights and sounds and odors.

Suddenly some of the steam begins to advanceandpeering through it


you discern Aunt ElizabethOna's stepmother--Teta Elzbietaas they call
her--bearing aloft a great platter of stewed duck. Behind her is Kotrina
making her way cautiouslystaggering beneath a similar burden; and half a
minute later there appears old Grandmother Majauszkienewith a big yellow
bowl of smoking potatoesnearly as big as herself. Sobit by bitthe
feast takes form--there is a ham and a dish of sauerkrautboiled rice
macaronibologna sausagesgreat piles of penny bunsbowls of milkand
foaming pitchers of beer. There is alsonot six feet from your back
the barwhere you may order all you please and do not have to pay for it.
Eiksz! Graicziau!screams Marija Berczynskasand falls to work herself-for
there is more upon the stove inside that will be spoiled if it be
not eaten.

Sowith laughter and shouts and endless badinage and merrimentthe guests
take their places. The young menwho for the most part have been huddled
near the doorsummon their resolution and advance; and the shrinking
Jurgis is poked and scolded by the old folks until he consents to seat
himself at the right hand of the bride. The two bridesmaidswhose
insignia of office are paper wreathscome nextand after them the rest
of the guestsold and youngboys and girls. The spirit of the occasion
takes hold of the stately bartenderwho condescends to a plate of stewed
duck; even the fat policeman--whose duty it will belater in the evening
to break up the fights--draws up a chair to the foot of the table. And the
children shout and the babies yelland every one laughs and sings and
chatters--while above all the deafening clamor Cousin Marija shouts orders
to the musicians.

The musicians--how shall one begin to describe them? All this time they
have been thereplaying in a mad frenzy--all of this scene must be read
or saidor sungto music. It is the music which makes it what it is;
it is the music which changes the place from the rear room of a saloon
in back of the yards to a fairy placea wonderlanda little comer of
the high mansions of the sky.

The little person who leads this trio is an inspired man. His fiddle is
out of tuneand there is no rosin on his bowbut still he is an inspired
man--the hands of the muses have been laid upon him. He plays like one
possessed by a demonby a whole horde of demons. You can feel them in
the air round about himcapering frenetically; with their invisible feet
they set the paceand the hair of the leader of the orchestra rises on end
and his eyeballs start from their socketsas he toils to keep up with them.

Tamoszius Kuszleika is his nameand he has taught himself to play the
violin by practicing all nightafter working all day on the "killing beds."
He is in his shirt sleeveswith a vest figured with faded gold horseshoes
and a pink-striped shirtsuggestive of peppermint candy. A pair of
military trouserslight blue with a yellow stripeserve to give that
suggestion of authority proper to the leader of a band. He is only about
five feet highbut even so these trousers are about eight inches short
of the ground. You wonder where he can have gotten them or rather you
would wonderif the excitement of being in his presence left you time to
think of such things.

For he is an inspired man. Every inch of him is inspired--you might
almost say inspired separately. He stamps with his feethe tosses his
headhe sways and swings to and fro; he has a wizened-up little face
irresistibly comical; andwhen he executes a turn or a flourishhis brows
knit and his lips work and his eyelids wink--the very ends of his necktie
bristle out. And every now and then he turns upon his companionsnodding
signalingbeckoning frantically--with every inch of him appealing
imploringin behalf of the muses and their call.

For they are hardly worthy of Tamosziusthe other two members of the
orchestra. The second violin is a Slovaka tallgaunt man with black



rimmed spectacles and the mute and patient look of an overdriven mule;
he responds to the whip but feeblyand then always falls back into his
old rut. The third man is very fatwith a roundredsentimental nose
and he plays with his eyes turned up to the sky and a look of infinite
yearning. He is playing a bass part upon his celloand so the excitement
is nothing to him; no matter what happens in the trebleit is his task to
saw out one long-drawn and lugubrious note after anotherfrom four o'clock
in the afternoon until nearly the same hour next morningfor his third of
the total income of one dollar per hour.

Before the feast has been five minutes under wayTamoszius Kuszleika
has risen in his excitement; a minute or two more and you see that he is
beginning to edge over toward the tables. His nostrils are dilated and
his breath comes fast--his demons are driving him. He nods and shakes
his head at his companionsjerking at them with his violinuntil at last
the long form of the second violinist also rises up. In the end all three
of them begin advancingstep by stepupon the banquetersValentinavyczia
he cellistbumping along with his instrument between notes. Finally all
three are gathered at the foot of the tablesand there Tamoszius mounts
upon a stool.

Now he is in his glorydominating the scene. Some of the people are
eatingsome are laughing and talking--but you will make a great mistake
if you think there is one of them who does not hear him. His notes are
never trueand his fiddle buzzes on the low ones and squeaks and
scratches on the high; but these things they heed no more than they heed
the dirt and noise and squalor about them--it is out of this material that
they have to build their liveswith it that they have to utter their souls.
And this is their utterance; merry and boisterousor mournful and wailing
or passionate and rebelliousthis music is their musicmusic of home.
It stretches out its arms to themthey have only to give themselves up.
Chicago and its saloons and its slums fade away--there are green meadows
and sunlit riversmighty forests and snowclad hills. They behold home
landscapes and childhood scenes returning; old loves and friendships begin
to wakenold joys and griefs to laugh and weep. Some fall back and close
their eyessome beat upon the table. Now and then one leaps up with a cry
and calls for this song or that; and then the fire leaps brighter in
Tamoszius' eyesand he flings up his fiddle and shouts to his companions
and away they go in mad career. The company takes up the chorusesand men
and women cry out like all possessed; some leap to their feet and stamp upon
the floorlifting their glasses and pledging each other. Before long it
occurs to some one to demand an old wedding songwhich celebrates the
beauty of the bride and the joys of love. In the excitement of this
masterpiece Tamoszius Kuszleika begins to edge in between the tables
making his way toward the headwhere sits the bride. There is not a foot
of space between the chairs of the guestsand Tamoszius is so short that
he pokes them with his bow whenever he reaches over for the low notes;
but still he presses inand insists relentlessly that his companions
must follow. During their progressneedless to saythe sounds of the
cello are pretty well extinguished; but at last the three are at the head
and Tamoszius takes his station at the right hand of the bride and begins
to pour out his soul in melting strains.

Little Ona is too excited to eat. Once in a while she tastes a little
somethingwhen Cousin Marija pinches her elbow and reminds her; butfor
the most partshe sits gazing with the same fearful eyes of wonder.
Teta Elzbieta is all in a flutterlike a hummingbird; her sisterstoo
keep running up behind herwhisperingbreathless. But Ona seems
scarcely to hear them--the music keeps callingand the far-off look
comes backand she sits with her hands pressed together over her heart.
Then the tears begin to come into her eyes; and as she is ashamed to wipe
them awayand ashamed to let them run down her cheeksshe turns and
shakes her head a littleand then flushes red when she sees that Jurgis
is watching her. When in the end Tamoszius Kuszleika has reached her side


and is waving his magic wand above herOna's cheeks are scarletand she
looks as if she would have to get up and run away.

In this crisishowevershe is saved by Marija Berczynskaswhom the
muses suddenly visit. Marija is fond of a songa song of lovers' parting;
she wishes to hear itandas the musicians do not know itshe has risen
and is proceeding to teach them. Marija is shortbut powerful in build.
She works in a canning factoryand all day long she handles cans of beef
that weigh fourteen pounds. She has a broad Slavic facewith prominent
red cheeks. When she opens her mouthit is tragicalbut you cannot help
thinking of a horse. She wears a blue flannel shirt-waistwhich is now
rolled up at the sleevesdisclosing her brawny arms; she has a carving
fork in her handwith which she pounds on the table to mark the time.
As she roars her songin a voice of which it is enough to say that it
leaves no portion of the room vacantthe three musicians follow her
laboriously and note by notebut averaging one note behind; thus they
toil through stanza after stanza of a lovesick swain's lamentation: --

Sudiev' kvietkeli, tu brangiausis;
Sudiev' ir laime, man biednam,
Matau--paskyre teip Aukszcziausis,
Jog vargt ant svieto reik vienam!


When the song is overit is time for the speechand old Dede Antanas
rises to his feet. Grandfather AnthonyJurgis' fatheris not more than
sixty years of agebut you would think that he was eighty. He has been
only six months in Americaand the change has not done him good. In his
manhood he worked in a cotton millbut then a coughing fell upon him
and he had to leave; out in the country the trouble disappearedbut he
has been working in the pickle rooms at Durham'sand the breathing of
the colddamp air all day has brought it back. Now as he rises he is
seized with a coughing fitand holds himself by his chair and turns away
his wan and battered face until it passes.

Generally it is the custom for the speech at a veselija to be taken out
of one of the books and learned by heart; but in his youthful days Dede
Antanas used to be a scholarand really make up all the love letters
of his friends. Now it is understood that he has composed an original
speech of congratulation and benedictionand this is one of the events
of the day. Even the boyswho are romping about the roomdraw near and
listenand some of the women sob and wipe their aprons in their eyes.
It is very solemnfor Antanas Rudkus has become possessed of the idea
that he has not much longer to stay with his children. His speech leaves
them all so tearful that one of the guestsJokubas Szedvilaswho keeps
a delicatessen store on Halsted Streetand is fat and heartyis moved
to rise and say that things may not be as bad as thatand then to go on
and make a little speech of his ownin which he showers congratulations
and prophecies of happiness upon the bride and groomproceeding to
particulars which greatly delight the young menbut which cause Ona
to blush more furiously than ever. Jokubas possesses what his wife
complacently describes as "poetiszka vaidintuve"--a poetical imagination.

Now a good many of the guests have finishedandsince there is no
pretense of ceremonythe banquet begins to break up. Some of the men
gather about the bar; some wander aboutlaughing and singing; here and
there will be a little groupchanting merrilyand in sublime indifference
to the others and to the orchestra as well. Everybody is more or less
restless--one would guess that something is on their minds. And so it
proves. The last tardy diners are scarcely given time to finishbefore
the tables and the debris are shoved into the cornerand the chairs and
the babies piled out of the wayand the real celebration of the evening
begins. Then Tamoszius Kuszleikaafter replenishing himself with a pot
of beerreturns to his platformandstanding upreviews the scene;
he taps authoritatively upon the side of his violinthen tucks it


carefully under his chinthen waves his bow in an elaborate flourish
and finally smites the sounding strings and closes his eyesand floats
away in spirit upon the wings of a dreamy waltz. His companion follows
but with his eyes openwatching where he treadsso to speak; and finally
Valentinavycziaafter waiting for a little and beating with his foot to
get the timecasts up his eyes to the ceiling and begins to saw--"Broom!
broom! broom!"

The company pairs off quicklyand the whole room is soon in motion.
Apparently nobody knows how to waltzbut that is nothing of any
consequence--there is musicand they danceeach as he pleasesjust
as before they sang. Most of them prefer the "two-step especially
the young, with whom it is the fashion. The older people have dances
from home, strange and complicated steps which they execute with grave
solemnity. Some do not dance anything at all, but simply hold each other's
hands and allow the undisciplined joy of motion to express itself with
their feet. Among these are Jokubas Szedvilas and his wife, Lucija, who
together keep the delicatessen store, and consume nearly as much as they
sell; they are too fat to dance, but they stand in the middle of the floor,
holding each other fast in their arms, rocking slowly from side to side and
grinning seraphically, a picture of toothless and perspiring ecstasy.

Of these older people many wear clothing reminiscent in some detail
of home--an embroidered waistcoat or stomacher, or a gaily colored
handkerchief, or a coat with large cuffs and fancy buttons. All these
things are carefully avoided by the young, most of whom have learned to
speak English and to affect the latest style of clothing. The girls wear
ready-made dresses or shirt waists, and some of them look quite pretty.
Some of the young men you would take to be Americans, of the type of
clerks, but for the fact that they wear their hats in the room. Each of
these younger couples affects a style of its own in dancing. Some hold
each other tightly, some at a cautious distance. Some hold their hands
out stiffly, some drop them loosely at their sides. Some dance springily,
some glide softly, some move with grave dignity. There are boisterous
couples, who tear wildly about the room, knocking every one out of
their way. There are nervous couples, whom these frighten, and who cry,
Nusfok! Kas yra?" at them as they pass. Each couple is paired for the
evening--you will never see them change about. There is Alena Jasaityte
for instancewho has danced unending hours with Juozas Racziusto whom
she is engaged. Alena is the beauty of the eveningand she would be really
beautiful if she were not so proud. She wears a white shirtwaistwhich
representsperhapshalf a week's labor painting cans. She holds her skirt
with her hand as she danceswith stately precisionafter the manner of the
grandes dames. Juozas is driving one of Durham's wagonsand is making big
wages. He affects a "tough" aspectwearing his hat on one side and keeping
a cigarette in his mouth all the evening. Then there is Jadvyga Marcinkus
who is also beautifulbut humble. Jadvyga likewise paints cansbut then
she has an invalid mother and three little sisters to support by itand
so she does not spend her wages for shirtwaists. Jadvyga is small and
delicatewith jet-black eyes and hairthe latter twisted into a little
knot and tied on the top of her head. She wears an old white dress which
she has made herself and worn to parties for the past five years; it is
high-waisted--almost under her armsand not very becoming--but that
does not trouble Jadvygawho is dancing with her Mikolas. She is small
while he is big and powerful; she nestles in his arms as if she would hide
herself from viewand leans her head upon his shoulder. He in turn has
clasped his arms tightly around heras if he would carry her away; and so
she dancesand will dance the entire eveningand would dance forever
in ecstasy of bliss. You would smileperhapsto see them--but you would
not smile if you knew all the story. This is the fifth yearnowthat
Jadvyga has been engaged to Mikolasand her heart is sick. They would
have been married in the beginningonly Mikolas has a father who is drunk
all dayand he is the only other man in a large family. Even so they might
have managed it (for Mikolas is a skilled man) but for cruel accidents which


have almost taken the heart out of them. He is a beef-bonerand that is
a dangerous tradeespecially when you are on piecework and trying to earn
a bride. Your hands are slipperyand your knife is slipperyand you are
toiling like madwhen somebody happens to speak to youor you strike a
bone. Then your hand slips up on the bladeand there is a fearful gash.
And that would not be so badonly for the deadly contagion. The cut may
healbut you never can tell. Twice now; within the last three years
Mikolas has been lying at home with blood poisoning--once for three months
and once for nearly seven. The last timetoohe lost his joband that
meant six weeks more of standing at the doors of the packing housesat six
o'clock on bitter winter morningswith a foot of snow on the ground and
more in the air. There are learned people who can tell you out of the
statistics that beef-boners make forty cents an hourbutperhapsthese
people have never looked into a beef-boner's hands.

When Tamoszius and his companions stop for a restas perforce they
mustnow and thenthe dancers halt where they are and wait patiently.
They never seem to tire; and there is no place for them to sit down if
they did. It is only for a minuteanywayfor the leader starts up
againin spite of all the protests of the other two. This time it
is another sort of a dancea Lithuanian dance. Those who prefer to
go on with the two-stepbut the majority go through an intricate series
of motionsresembling more fancy skating than a dance. The climax of
it is a furious prestissimoat which the couples seize hands and begin
a mad whirling. This is quite irresistibleand every one in the room
joins inuntil the place becomes a maze of flying skirts and bodies
quite dazzling to look upon. But the sight of sights at this moment
is Tamoszius Kuszleika. The old fiddle squeaks and shrieks in protest
but Tamoszius has no mercy. The sweat starts out on his foreheadand he
bends over like a cyclist on the last lap of a race. His body shakes and
throbs like a runaway steam engineand the ear cannot follow the flying
showers of notes--there is a pale blue mist where you look to see his
bowing arm. With a most wonderful rush he comes to the end of the tune
and flings up his hands and staggers back exhausted; and with a final
shout of delight the dancers fly apartreeling here and therebringing
up against the walls of the room.

After this there is beer for every onethe musicians includedand the
revelers take a long breath and prepare for the great event of the
eveningwhich is the acziavimas. The acziavimas is a ceremony which
once begunwill continue for three or four hoursand it involves one
uninterrupted dance. The guests form a great ringlocking handsand
when the music starts upbegin to move around in a circle. In the center
stands the brideandone by onethe men step into the enclosure and
dance with her. Each dances for several minutes--as long as he pleases;
it is a very merry proceedingwith laughter and singingand when the
guest has finishedhe finds himself face to face with Teta Elzbieta
who holds the hat. Into it he drops a sum of money--a dollaror perhaps
five dollarsaccording to his powerand his estimate of the value of
the privilege. The guests are expected to pay for this entertainment;
if they be proper gueststhey will see that there is a neat sum left over
for the bride and bridegroom to start life upon.

Most fearful they are to contemplatethe expenses of this entertainment.
They will certainly be over two hundred dollars and maybe three hundred;
and three hundred dollars is more than the year's income of many a person
in this room. There are able-bodied men here who work from early morning
until late at nightin ice-cold cellars with a quarter of an inch of
water on the floor--men who for six or seven months in the year never
see the sunlight from Sunday afternoon till the next Sunday morning-and
who cannot earn three hundred dollars in a year. There are little
children herescarce in their teenswho can hardly see the top of the
work benches--whose parents have lied to get them their places--and who
do not make the half of three hundred dollars a yearand perhaps not


even the third of it. And then to spend such a sumall in a single day
of your lifeat a wedding feast! (For obviously it is the same thing
whether you spend it at once for your own weddingor in a long time
at the weddings of all your friends.)

It is very imprudentit is tragic--butahit is so beautiful! Bit by
bit these poor people have given up everything else; but to this they
cling with all the power of their souls--they cannot give up the
veselija! To do that would meannot merely to be defeatedbut to
acknowledge defeat--and the difference between these two things is what
keeps the world going. The veselija has come down to them from a far-off
time; and the meaning of it was that one might dwell within the cave and
gaze upon shadowsprovided only that once in his lifetime he could break
his chainsand feel his wingsand behold the sun; provided that once in
his lifetime he might testify to the fact that lifewith all its cares
and its terrorsis no such great thing after allbut merely a bubble
upon the surface of a rivera thing that one may toss about and play
with as a juggler tosses his golden ballsa thing that one may quaff
like a goblet of rare red wine. Thus having known himself for the master
of thingsa man could go back to his toil and live upon the memory all
his days.

Endlessly the dancers swung round and round--when they were dizzy they
swung the other way. Hour after hour this had continued--the darkness
had fallen and the room was dim from the light of two smoky oil lamps.
The musicians had spent all their fine frenzy by nowand played only
one tunewearilyploddingly. There were twenty bars or so of itand
when they came to the end they began again. Once every ten minutes or
so they would fail to begin againbut instead would sink back exhausted;
a circumstance which invariably brought on a painful and terrifying scene
that made the fat policeman stir uneasily in his sleeping place behind
the door.

It was all Marija Berczynskas. Marija was one of those hungry souls who
cling with desperation to the skirts of the retreating muse. All day long
she had been in a state of wonderful exaltation; and now it was leaving-and
she would not let it go. Her soul cried out in the words of Faust
Stay, thou art fair!Whether it was by beeror by shoutingor by music
or by motionshe meant that it should not go. And she would go back to
the chase of it--and no sooner be fairly started than her chariot would
be thrown off the trackso to speakby the stupidity of those thrice
accursed musicians. Each timeMarija would emit a howl and fly at them
shaking her fists in their facesstamping upon the floorpurple and
incoherent with rage. In vain the frightened Tamoszius would attempt
to speakto plead the limitations of the flesh; in vain would the puffing
and breathless ponas Jokubas insistin vain would Teta Elzbieta implore.
Szalin!Marija would scream. "Palauk! isz kelio! What are you paid for
children of hell?" And soin sheer terrorthe orchestra would strike up
againand Marija would return to her place and take up her task.

She bore all the burden of the festivities now. Ona was kept up by her
excitementbut all of the women and most of the men were tired--the soul
of Marija was alone unconquered. She drove on the dancers--what had once
been the ring had now the shape of a pearwith Marija at the stempulling
one way and pushing the other. shoutingstampingsinginga very volcano
of energy. Now and then some one coming in or out would leave the door
openand the night air was chill; Marija as she passed would stretch out
her foot and kick the doorknoband slam would go the door! Once this
procedure was the cause of a calamity of which Sebastijonas Szedvilas was
the hapless victim. Little Sebastijonasaged threehad been wandering
about oblivious to all thingsholding turned up over his mouth a bottle
of liquid known as "pop pink-colored, ice-cold, and delicious. Passing
through the doorway the door smote him full, and the shriek which followed


brought the dancing to a halt. Marija, who threatened horrid murder a
hundred times a day, and would weep over the injury of a fly, seized
little Sebastijonas in her arms and bid fair to smother him with kisses.
There was a long rest for the orchestra, and plenty of refreshments, while
Marija was making her peace with her victim, seating him upon the bar,
and standing beside him and holding to his lips a foaming schooner of beer.

In the meantime there was going on in another corner of the room an
anxious conference between Teta Elzbieta and Dede Antanas, and a few of
the more intimate friends of the family. A trouble was come upon them.
The veselija is a compact, a compact not expressed, but therefore only the
more binding upon all. Every one's share was different--and yet every one
knew perfectly well what his share was, and strove to give a little more.
Now, however, since they had come to the new country, all this was changing;
it seemed as if there must be some subtle poison in the air that one
breathed here--it was affecting all the young men at once. They would
come in crowds and fill themselves with a fine dinner, and then sneak off.
One would throw another's hat out of the window, and both would go out to
get it, and neither could be seen again. Or now and then half a dozen of
them would get together and march out openly, staring at you, and making fun
of you to your face. Still others, worse yet, would crowd about the bar,
and at the expense of the host drink themselves sodden, paying not the
least attention to any one, and leaving it to be thought that either they
had danced with the bride already, or meant to later on.

All these things were going on now, and the family was helpless with
dismay. So long they had toiled, and such an outlay they had made!
Ona stood by, her eyes wide with terror. Those frightful bills--how they
had haunted her, each item gnawing at her soul all day and spoiling her
rest at night. How often she had named them over one by one and figured
on them as she went to work--fifteen dollars for the hall, twenty-two
dollars and a quarter for the ducks, twelve dollars for the musicians,
five dollars at the church, and a blessing of the Virgin besides--and so
on without an end! Worst of all was the frightful bill that was still
to come from Graiczunas for the beer and liquor that might be consumed.
One could never get in advance more than a guess as to this from a
saloonkeeper--and then, when the time came he always came to you scratching
his head and saying that he had guessed too low, but that he had done his
best--your guests had gotten so very drunk. By him you were sure to be
cheated unmercifully, and that even though you thought yourself the dearest
of the hundreds of friends he had. He would begin to serve your guests
out of a keg that was half full, and finish with one that was half empty,
and then you would be charged for two kegs of beer. He would agree to
serve a certain quality at a certain price, and when the time came you
and your friends would be drinking some horrible poison that could not be
described. You might complain, but you would get nothing for your pains
but a ruined evening; while, as for going to law about it, you might as
well go to heaven at once. The saloonkeeper stood in with all the big
politics men in the district; and when you had once found out what it
meant to get into trouble with such people, you would know enough to pay
what you were told to pay and shut up.

What made all this the more painful was that it was so hard on the few
that had really done their best. There was poor old ponas Jokubas, for
instance--he had already given five dollars, and did not every one know
that Jokubas Szedvilas had just mortgaged his delicatessen store for two
hundred dollars to meet several months' overdue rent? And then there was
withered old poni Aniele--who was a widow, and had three children, and the
rheumatism besides, and did washing for the tradespeople on Halsted Street
at prices it would break your heart to hear named. Aniele had given the
entire profit of her chickens for several months. Eight of them she owned,
and she kept them in a little place fenced around on her backstairs.
All day long the children of Aniele were raking in the dump for food for
these chickens; and sometimes, when the competition there was too fierce,


you might see them on Halsted Street walking close to the gutters, and with
their mother following to see that no one robbed them of their finds.
Money could not tell the value of these chickens to old Mrs. Jukniene-she
valued them differently, for she had a feeling that she was getting
something for nothing by means of them--that with them she was getting the
better of a world that was getting the better of her in so many other ways.
So she watched them every hour of the day, and had learned to see like an
owl at night to watch them then. One of them had been stolen long ago,
and not a month passed that some one did not try to steal another. As the
frustrating of this one attempt involved a score of false alarms, it will
be understood what a tribute old Mrs. Jukniene brought, just because Teta
Elzbieta had once loaned her some money for a few days and saved her from
being turned out of her house.

More and more friends gathered round while the lamentation about these
things was going on. Some drew nearer, hoping to overhear the conversation,
who were themselves among the guilty--and surely that was a thing to try
the patience of a saint. Finally there came Jurgis, urged by some one,
and the story was retold to him. Jurgis listened in silence, with his
great black eyebrows knitted. Now and then there would come a gleam
underneath them and he would glance about the room. Perhaps he would have
liked to go at some of those fellows with his big clenched fists; but then,
doubtless, he realized how little good it would do him. No bill would be
any less for turning out any one at this time; and then there would be the
scandal--and Jurgis wanted nothing except to get away with Ona and to let
the world go its own way. So his hands relaxed and he merely said quietly:
It is doneand there is no use in weepingTeta Elzbieta." Then his look
turned toward Onawho stood close to his sideand he saw the wide look
of terror in her eyes. "Little one he said, in a low voice, do not
worry--it will not matter to us. We will pay them all somehow. I will
work harder." That was always what Jurgis said. Ona had grown used to
it as the solution of all difficulties--"I will work harder!" He had
said that in Lithuania when one official had taken his passport from him
and another had arrested him for being without itand the two had divided
a third of his belongings. He had said it again in New Yorkwhen the
smooth-spoken agent had taken them in hand and made them pay such high
pricesand almost prevented their leaving his placein spite of their
paying. Now he said it a third timeand Ona drew a deep breath; it was
so wonderful to have a husbandjust like a grown woman--and a husband who
could solve all problemsand who was so big and strong!

The last sob of little Sebastijonas has been stifledand the orchestra
has once more been reminded of its duty. The ceremony begins again--but
there are few now left to dance withand so very soon the collection is
over and promiscuous dances once more begin. It is now after midnight
howeverand things are not as they were before. The dancers are dull
and heavy--most of them have been drinking hardand have long ago passed
the stage of exhilaration. They dance in monotonous measureround after
roundhour after hourwith eyes fixed upon vacancyas if they were
only half consciousin a constantly growing stupor. The men grasp the
women very tightlybut there will be half an hour together when neither
will see the other's face. Some couples do not care to danceand have
retired to the cornerswhere they sit with their arms enlaced. Others
who have been drinking still morewander about the roombumping into
everything; some are in groups of two or threesingingeach group
its own song. As time goes on there is a variety of drunkennessamong
the younger men especially. Some stagger about in each other's arms
whispering maudlin words--others start quarrels upon the slightest pretext
and come to blows and have to be pulled apart. Now the fat policeman wakens
definitelyand feels of his club to see that it is ready for business.
He has to be prompt--for these two-o'clock-in-the-morning fightsif they
once get out of handare like a forest fireand may mean the whole
reserves at the station. The thing to do is to crack every fighting head
that you seebefore there are so many fighting heads that you cannot


crack any of them. There is but scant account kept of cracked heads in
back of the yardsfor men who have to crack the heads of animals all day
seem to get into the habitand to practice on their friendsand even on
their familiesbetween times. This makes it a cause for congratulation
that by modern methods a very few men can do the painfully necessary work
of head-cracking for the whole of the cultured world.

There is no fight that night--perhaps because Jurgistoois watchful-even
more so than the policeman. Jurgis has drunk a great dealas any
one naturally would on an occasion when it all has to be paid forwhether
it is drunk or not; but he is a very steady manand does not easily lose
his temper. Only once there is a tight shave--and that is the fault of
Marija Berczynskas. Marija has apparently concluded about two hours ago
that if the altar in the cornerwith the deity in soiled whitebe not
the true home of the musesit isat any ratethe nearest substitute on
earth attainable. And Marija is just fighting drunk when there come to her
ears the facts about the villains who have not paid that night. Marija goes
on the warpath straight offwithout even the preliminary of a good cursing
and when she is pulled off it is with the coat collars of two villains in
her hands. Fortunatelythe policeman is disposed to be reasonableand so
it is not Marija who is flung out of the place.

All this interrupts the music for not more than a minute or two. Then again
the merciless tune begins--the tune that has been played for the last
half-hour without one single change. It is an American tune this time
one which they have picked up on the streets; all seem to know the words
of it--orat any ratethe first line of itwhich they hum to themselves
over and over again without rest: "In the good old summertime--in the good
old summertime! In the good old summertime--in the good old summertime!"
There seems to be something hypnotic about thiswith its endlessly
recurring dominant. It has put a stupor upon every one who hears it
as well as upon the men who are playing it. No one can get away from it
or even think of getting away from it; it is three o'clock in the morning
and they have danced out all their joyand danced out all their strength
and all the strength that unlimited drink can lend them--and still there
is no one among them who has the power to think of stopping. Promptly at
seven o'clock this same Monday morning they will every one of them have to
be in their places at Durham's or Brown's or Jones'seach in his working
clothes. If one of them be a minute latehe will be docked an hour's pay
and if he be many minutes latehe will be apt to find his brass check
turned to the wallwhich will send him out to join the hungry mob that
waits every morning at the gates of the packing housesfrom six o'clock
until nearly half-past eight. There is no exception to this rulenot even
little Ona--who has asked for a holiday the day after her wedding day
a holiday without payand been refused. While there are so many who are
anxious to work as you wishthere is no occasion for incommoding yourself
with those who must work otherwise.

Little Ona is nearly ready to faint--and half in a stupor herselfbecause
of the heavy scent in the room. She has not taken a dropbut every one
else there is literally burning alcoholas the lamps are burning oil;
some of the men who are sound asleep in their chairs or on the floor are
reeking of it so that you cannot go near them. Now and then Jurgis gazes
at her hungrily--he has long since forgotten his shyness; but then the
crowd is thereand he still waits and watches the doorwhere a carriage
is supposed to come. It does notand finally he will wait no longer
but comes up to Onawho turns white and trembles. He puts her shawl about
her and then his own coat. They live only two blocks awayand Jurgis does
not care about the carriage.

There is almost no farewell--the dancers do not notice themand all of the
children and many of the old folks have fallen asleep of sheer exhaustion.
Dede Antanas is asleepand so are the Szedvilaseshusband and wife
the former snoring in octaves. There is Teta Elzbietaand Marijasobbing


loudly; and then there is only the silent nightwith the stars beginning
to pale a little in the east. Jurgiswithout a wordlifts Ona in his
armsand strides out with herand she sinks her head upon his shoulder
with a moan. When he reaches home he is not sure whether she has fainted
or is asleepbut when he has to hold her with one hand while he unlocks
the doorhe sees that she has opened her eyes.

You shall not go to Brown's today, little one,he whispersas he climbs
the stairs; and she catches his arm in terrorgasping: "No! No! I dare
not! It will ruin us!"

But he answers her again: "Leave it to me; leave it to me. I will earn
more money--I will work harder."

Chapter 2

Jurgis talked lightly about workbecause he was young. They told him
stories about the breaking down of menthere in the stockyards of
Chicagoand of what had happened to them afterward--stories to make
your flesh creepbut Jurgis would only laugh. He had only been there
four monthsand he was youngand a giant besides. There was too much
health in him. He could not even imagine how it would feel to be beaten.
That is well enough for men like you,he would saysilpnas, puny
fellows--but my back is broad.

Jurgis was like a boya boy from the country. He was the sort of man the
bosses like to get hold ofthe sort they make it a grievance they cannot
get hold of. When he was told to go to a certain placehe would go there
on the run. When he had nothing to do for the momenthe would stand round
fidgetingdancingwith the overflow of energy that was in him. If he
were working in a line of menthe line always moved too slowly for him
and you could pick him out by his impatience and restlessness. That was
why he had been picked out on one important occasion; for Jurgis had stood
outside of Brown and Company's "Central Time Station" not more than half
an hourthe second day of his arrival in Chicagobefore he had been
beckoned by one of the bosses. Of this he was very proudand it made him
more disposed than ever to laugh at the pessimists. In vain would they all
tell him that there were men in that crowd from which he had been chosen
who had stood there a month--yesmany months--and not been chosen yet.
Yes,he would saybut what sort of men? Broken-down tramps and goodfor-
nothings, fellows who have spent all their money drinking, and want to
get more for it. Do you want me to believe that with these arms--and he
would clench his fists and hold them up in the airso that you might see
the rolling muscles--that with these arms people will ever let me starve?"

It is plain,they would answer to thisthat you have come from the
country, and from very far in the country.And this was the fact
for Jurgis had never seen a cityand scarcely even a fair-sized town
until he had set out to make his fortune in the world and earn his right
to Ona. His fatherand his father's father before himand as many
ancestors back as legend could gohad lived in that part of Lithuania
known as Breloviczthe Imperial Forest. This is a great tract of a
hundred thousand acreswhich from time immemorial has been a hunting
preserve of the nobility. There are a very few peasants settled in it
holding title from ancient times; and one of these was Antanas Rudkus
who had been reared himselfand had reared his children in turnupon
half a dozen acres of cleared land in the midst of a wilderness. There had
been one son besides Jurgisand one sister. The former had been drafted
into the army; that had been over ten years agobut since that day nothing
had ever been heard of him. The sister was marriedand her husband had
bought the place when old Antanas had decided to go with his son.


It was nearly a year and a half ago that Jurgis had met Onaat a horse
fair a hundred miles from home. Jurgis had never expected to get married-he
had laughed at it as a foolish trap for a man to walk into; but here
without ever having spoken a word to herwith no more than the exchange
of half a dozen smileshe found himselfpurple in the face with
embarrassment and terrorasking her parents to sell her to him for his
wife--and offering his father's two horses he had been sent to the fair
to sell. But Ona's father proved as a rock--the girl was yet a child
and he was a rich manand his daughter was not to be had in that way.
So Jurgis went home with a heavy heartand that spring and summer toiled
and tried hard to forget. In the fallafter the harvest was overhe saw
that it would not doand tramped the full fortnight's journey that lay
between him and Ona.

He found an unexpected state of affairs--for the girl's father had died
and his estate was tied up with creditors; Jurgis' heart leaped as he
realized that now the prize was within his reach. There was Elzbieta
LukoszaiteTetaor Auntas they called herOna's stepmotherand there
were her six childrenof all ages. There was also her brother Jonas
a dried-up little man who had worked upon the farm. They were people of
great consequenceas it seemed to Jurgisfresh out of the woods; Ona
knew how to readand knew many other things that he did not knowand now
the farm had been soldand the whole family was adrift--all they owned in
the world being about seven hundred rubles which is half as many dollars.
They would have had three times thatbut it had gone to courtand the
judge had decided against themand it had cost the balance to get him to
change his decision.

Ona might have married and left thembut she would notfor she loved
Teta Elzbieta. It was Jonas who suggested that they all go to America
where a friend of his had gotten rich. He would workfor his part
and the women would workand some of the childrendoubtless--they
would live somehow. Jurgistoohad heard of America. That was
a country wherethey saida man might earn three rubles a day;
and Jurgis figured what three rubles a day would meanwith prices as
they were where he livedand decided forthwith that he would go to
America and marryand be a rich man in the bargain. In that country
rich or poora man was freeit was said; he did not have to go into
the armyhe did not have to pay out his money to rascally officials-he
might do as he pleasedand count himself as good as any other man.
So America was a place of which lovers and young people dreamed. If one
could only manage to get the price of a passagehe could count his
troubles at an end.

It was arranged that they should leave the following springand meantime
Jurgis sold himself to a contractor for a certain timeand tramped nearly
four hundred miles from home with a gang of men to work upon a railroad
in Smolensk. This was a fearful experiencewith filth and bad food
and cruelty and overwork; but Jurgis stood it and came out in fine trim
and with eighty rubles sewed up in his coat. He did not drink or fight
because he was thinking all the time of Ona; and for the resthe was
a quietsteady manwho did what he was told todid not lose his temper
oftenand when he did lose it made the offender anxious that he should
not lose it again. When they paid him off he dodged the company gamblers
and dramshopsand so they tried to kill him; but he escapedand tramped
it homeworking at odd jobsand sleeping always with one eye open.

So in the summer time they had all set out for America. At the last
moment there joined them Marija Berczynskaswho was a cousin of Ona's.
Marija was an orphanand had worked since childhood for a rich farmer
of Vilnawho beat her regularly. It was only at the age of twenty
that it had occurred to Marija to try her strengthwhen she had risen
up and nearly murdered the manand then come away.


There were twelve in all in the partyfive adults and six children-and
Onawho was a little of both. They had a hard time on the passage;
there was an agent who helped thembut he proved a scoundreland got
them into a trap with some officialsand cost them a good deal of their
precious moneywhich they clung to with such horrible fear. This happened
to them again in New York--forof coursethey knew nothing about the
countryand had no one to tell themand it was easy for a man in a blue
uniform to lead them awayand to take them to a hotel and keep them there
and make them pay enormous charges to get away. The law says that the
rate card shall be on the door of a hotelbut it does not say that it
shall be in Lithuanian.

It was in the stockyards that Jonas' friend had gotten richand so to
Chicago the party was bound. They knew that one wordChicago and that
was all they needed to knowat leastuntil they reached the city.
Thentumbled out of the cars without ceremonythey were no better off
than before; they stood staring down the vista of Dearborn Streetwith
its big black buildings towering in the distanceunable to realize that
they had arrivedand whywhen they said "Chicago people no longer
pointed in some direction, but instead looked perplexed, or laughed,
or went on without paying any attention. They were pitiable in their
helplessness; above all things they stood in deadly terror of any sort
of person in official uniform, and so whenever they saw a policeman they
would cross the street and hurry by. For the whole of the first day
they wandered about in the midst of deafening confusion, utterly lost;
and it was only at night that, cowering in the doorway of a house,
they were finally discovered and taken by a policeman to the station.
In the morning an interpreter was found, and they were taken and put upon
a car, and taught a new word--stockyards." Their delight at discovering
that they were to get out of this adventure without losing another share
of their possessions it would not be possible to describe.

They sat and stared out of the window. They were on a street which seemed
to run on forevermile after mile--thirty-four of themif they had known
it--and each side of it one uninterrupted row of wretched little two-story
frame buildings. Down every side street they could seeit was the same-never
a hill and never a hollowbut always the same endless vista of ugly
and dirty little wooden buildings. Here and there would be a bridge
crossing a filthy creekwith hard-baked mud shores and dingy sheds and
docks along it; here and there would be a railroad crossingwith a tangle
of switchesand locomotives puffingand rattling freight cars filing by;
here and there would be a great factorya dingy building with innumerable
windows in itand immense volumes of smoke pouring from the chimneys
darkening the air above and making filthy the earth beneath. But after
each of these interruptionsthe desolate procession would begin again--the
procession of dreary little buildings.

A full hour before the party reached the city they had begun to note the
perplexing changes in the atmosphere. It grew darker all the timeand
upon the earth the grass seemed to grow less green. Every minuteas the
train sped onthe colors of things became dingier; the fields were grown
parched and yellowthe landscape hideous and bare. And along with the
thickening smoke they began to notice another circumstancea strange
pungent odor. They were not sure that it was unpleasantthis odor;
some might have called it sickeningbut their taste in odors was not
developedand they were only sure that it was curious. Nowsitting in
the trolley carthey realized that they were on their way to the home
of it--that they had traveled all the way from Lithuania to it. It was
now no longer something far off and faintthat you caught in whiffs;
you could literally taste itas well as smell it--you could take hold
of italmostand examine it at your leisure. They were divided in their
opinions about it. It was an elemental odorraw and crude; it was rich


almost rancidsensualand strong. There were some who drank it in as if
it were an intoxicant; there were others who put their handkerchiefs to
their faces. The new emigrants were still tasting itlost in wonder
when suddenly the car came to a haltand the door was flung openand a
voice shouted--"Stockyards!"

They were left standing upon the cornerstaring; down a side street
there were two rows of brick housesand between them a vista: half a
dozen chimneystall as the tallest of buildingstouching the very
sky--and leaping from them half a dozen columns of smokethickoily
and black as night. It might have come from the center of the world
this smokewhere the fires of the ages still smolder. It came as if
self-impelleddriving all before ita perpetual explosion. It was
inexhaustible; one staredwaiting to see it stopbut still the great
streams rolled out. They spread in vast clouds overheadwrithingcurling;
thenuniting in one giant riverthey streamed away down the sky
stretching a black pall as far as the eye could reach.

Then the party became aware of another strange thing. Thistoolike
the colorwas a thing elemental; it was a sounda sound made up of ten
thousand little sounds. You scarcely noticed it at first--it sunk into
your consciousnessa vague disturbancea trouble. It was like the
murmuring of the bees in the springthe whisperings of the forest; it
suggested endless activitythe rumblings of a world in motion. It was
only by an effort that one could realize that it was made by animals
that it was the distant lowing of ten thousand cattlethe distant
grunting of ten thousand swine.

They would have liked to follow it upbutalasthey had no time for
adventures just then. The policeman on the corner was beginning to
watch them; and soas usualthey started up the street. Scarcely had
they gone a blockhoweverbefore Jonas was heard to give a cryand began
pointing excitedly across the street. Before they could gather the meaning
of his breathless ejaculations he had bounded awayand they saw him enter
a shopover which was a sign: "J. SzedvilasDelicatessen." When he came
out again it was in company with a very stout gentleman in shirt sleeves
and an apronclasping Jonas by both hands and laughing hilariously.
Then Teta Elzbieta recollected suddenly that Szedvilas had been the name
of the mythical friend who had made his fortune in America. To find that
he had been making it in the delicatessen business was an extraordinary
piece of good fortune at this juncture; though it was well on in the
morningthey had not breakfastedand the children were beginning to
whimper.

Thus was the happy ending to a woeful voyage. The two families literally
fell upon each other's necks--for it had been years since Jokubas Szedvilas
had met a man from his part of Lithuania. Before half the day they were
lifelong friends. Jokubas understood all the pitfalls of this new world
and could explain all of its mysteries; he could tell them the things
they ought to have done in the different emergencies--and what was still
more to the pointhe could tell them what to do now. He would take them
to poni Anielewho kept a boardinghouse the other side of the yards;
old Mrs. Juknienehe explainedhad not what one would call choice
accommodationsbut they might do for the moment. To this Teta Elzbieta
hastened to respond that nothing could be too cheap to suit them just
then; for they were quite terrified over the sums they had had to expend.
A very few days of practical experience in this land of high wages had
been sufficient to make clear to them the cruel fact that it was also a
land of high pricesand that in it the poor man was almost as poor as in
any other corner of the earth; and so there vanished in a night all the
wonderful dreams of wealth that had been haunting Jurgis. What had made
the discovery all the more painful was that they were spendingat American
pricesmoney which they had earned at home rates of wages--and so were
really being cheated by the world! The last two days they had all but


starved themselves--it made them quite sick to pay the prices that the
railroad people asked them for food.

Yetwhen they saw the home of the Widow Jukniene they could not but
recoileven so. ln all their journey they had seen nothing so bad
as this. Poni Aniele had a four-room flat in one of that wilderness of
two-story frame tenements that lie "back of the yards." There were four
such flats in each buildingand each of the four was a "boardinghouse"
for the occupancy of foreigners--LithuaniansPolesSlovaksor Bohemians.
Some of these places were kept by private personssome were cooperative.
There would be an average of half a dozen boarders to each room--sometimes
there were thirteen or fourteen to one roomfifty or sixty to a flat.
Each one of the occupants furnished his own accommodations--that is
a mattress and some bedding. The mattresses would be spread upon the
floor in rows--and there would be nothing else in the place except a stove.
It was by no means unusual for two men to own the same mattress in common
one working by day and using it by nightand the other working at night
and using it in the daytime. Very frequently a lodging house keeper would
rent the same beds to double shifts of men.

Mrs. Jukniene was a wizened-up little womanwith a wrinkled face.
Her home was unthinkably filthy; you could not enter by the front
door at allowing to the mattressesand when you tried to go up the
backstairs you found that she had walled up most of the porch with old
boards to make a place to keep her chickens. It was a standing jest of
the boarders that Aniele cleaned house by letting the chickens loose in
the rooms. Undoubtedly this did keep down the verminbut it seemed
probablein view of all the circumstancesthat the old lady regarded it
rather as feeding the chickens than as cleaning the rooms. The truth was
that she had definitely given up the idea of cleaning anythingunder
pressure of an attack of rheumatismwhich had kept her doubled up in
one corner of her room for over a week; during which time eleven of her
boardersheavily in her debthad concluded to try their chances of
employment in Kansas City. This was Julyand the fields were green.
One never saw the fieldsnor any green thing whateverin Packingtown;
but one could go out on the road and "hobo it as the men phrased it,
and see the country, and have a long rest, and an easy time riding on
the freight cars.

Such was the home to which the new arrivals were welcomed. There was
nothing better to be had--they might not do so well by looking further,
for Mrs. Jukniene had at least kept one room for herself and her three
little children, and now offered to share this with the women and the
girls of the party. They could get bedding at a secondhand store, she
explained; and they would not need any, while the weather was so hot-doubtless
they would all sleep on the sidewalk such nights as this, as did
nearly all of her guests. Tomorrow Jurgis said, when they were left
alone, tomorrow I will get a joband perhaps Jonas will get one also;
and then we can get a place of our own."

Later that afternoon he and Ona went out to take a walk and look about them
to see more of this district which was to be their home. In back of the
yards the dreary two-story frame houses were scattered farther apart
and there were great spaces bare--that seemingly had been overlooked by the
great sore of a city as it spread itself over the surface of the prairie.
These bare places were grown up with dingyyellow weedshiding
innumerable tomato cans; innumerable children played upon themchasing
one another here and therescreaming and fighting. The most uncanny
thing about this neighborhood was the number of the children; you thought
there must be a school just outand it was only after long acquaintance
that you were able to realize that there was no schoolbut that these
were the children of the neighborhood--that there were so many children
to the block in Packingtown that nowhere on its streets could a horse and


buggy move faster than a walk!

It could not move faster anyhowon account of the state of the streets.
Those through which Jurgis and Ona were walking resembled streets less
than they did a miniature topographical map. The roadway was commonly
several feet lower than the level of the houseswhich were sometimes
joined by high board walks; there were no pavements--there were mountains
and valleys and riversgullies and ditchesand great hollows full of
stinking green water. In these pools the children playedand rolled
about in the mud of the streets; here and there one noticed them digging
in itafter trophies which they had stumbled on. One wondered about this
as also about the swarms of flies which hung about the sceneliterally
blackening the airand the strangefetid odor which assailed one's
nostrilsa ghastly odorof all the dead things of the universe.
It impelled the visitor to questions and then the residents would explain
quietlythat all this was "made" landand that it had been "made" by
using it as a dumping ground for the city garbage. After a few years the
unpleasant effect of this would pass awayit was said; but meantime
in hot weather--and especially when it rained--the flies were apt to
be annoying. Was it not unhealthful? the stranger would askand the
residents would answerPerhaps; but there is no telling.

A little way farther onand Jurgis and Onastaring open-eyed and
wonderingcame to the place where this "made" ground was in process
of making. Here was a great holeperhaps two city blocks square
and with long files of garbage wagons creeping into it. The place had
an odor for which there are no polite words; and it was sprinkled over
with childrenwho raked in it from dawn till dark. Sometimes visitors
from the packing houses would wander out to see this "dump and they
would stand by and debate as to whether the children were eating the food
they got, or merely collecting it for the chickens at home. Apparently
none of them ever went down to find out.

Beyond this dump there stood a great brickyard, with smoking chimneys.
First they took out the soil to make bricks, and then they filled it
up again with garbage, which seemed to Jurgis and Ona a felicitous
arrangement, characteristic of an enterprising country like America.
A little way beyond was another great hole, which they had emptied and
not yet filled up. This held water, and all summer it stood there,
with the near-by soil draining into it, festering and stewing in the sun;
and then, when winter came, somebody cut the ice on it, and sold it to
the people of the city. This, too, seemed to the newcomers an economical
arrangement; for they did not read the newspapers, and their heads were
not full of troublesome thoughts about germs."

They stood there while the sun went down upon this sceneand the sky
in the west turned blood-redand the tops of the houses shone like fire.
Jurgis and Ona were not thinking of the sunsethowever--their backs
were turned to itand all their thoughts were of Packingtownwhich
they could see so plainly in the distance. The line of the buildings
stood clear-cut and black against the sky; here and there out of the
mass rose the great chimneyswith the river of smoke streaming away to
the end of the world. It was a study in colors nowthis smoke; in the
sunset light it was black and brown and gray and purple. All the sordid
suggestions of the place were gone--in the twilight it was a vision of
power. To the two who stood watching while the darkness swallowed it up
it seemed a dream of wonderwith its talc of human energyof things being
doneof employment for thousands upon thousands of menof opportunity
and freedomof life and love and joy. When they came awayarm in arm
Jurgis was sayingTomorrow I shall go there and get a job!

Chapter 3


In his capacity as delicatessen venderJokubas Szedvilas had many
acquaintances. Among these was one of the special policemen employed
by Durhamwhose duty it frequently was to pick out men for employment.
Jokubas had never tried itbut he expressed a certainty that he could
get some of his friends a job through this man. It was agreedafter
consultationthat he should make the effort with old Antanas and
with Jonas. Jurgis was confident of his ability to get work for himself
unassisted by any one. As we have said beforehe was not mistaken
in this. He had gone to Brown's and stood there not more than half
an hour before one of the bosses noticed his form towering above
the restand signaled to him. The colloquy which followed was brief
and to the point:

Speak English?

No; Lit-uanian.(Jurgis had studied this word carefully.)

Job?

Je.(A nod.)

Worked here before?

No 'stand.

(Signals and gesticulations on the part of the boss. Vigorous
shakes of the head by Jurgis.)

Shovel guts?

No 'stand.(More shakes of the head.)

Zarnos. Pagaiksztis. Szluofa!(Imitative motions.)

Je.

See door. Durys?(Pointing.)

Je.

To-morrow, seven o'clock. Understand? Rytoj! Prieszpietys! Septyni!

Dekui, tamistai!(Thank yousir.) And that was all. Jurgis turned
awayand then in a sudden rush the full realization of his triumph
swept over himand he gave a yell and a jumpand started off on a run.
He had a job! He had a job! And he went all the way home as if upon
wingsand burst into the house like a cycloneto the rage of the
numerous lodgers who had just turned in for their daily sleep.

Meantime Jokubas had been to see his friend the policemanand received
encouragementso it was a happy party. There being no more to be done
that daythe shop was left under the care of Lucijaand her husband
sallied forth to show his friends the sights of Packingtown. Jokubas did
this with the air of a country gentleman escorting a party of visitors
over his estate; he was an old-time residentand all these wonders had
grown up under his eyesand he had a personal pride in them. The packers
might own the landbut he claimed the landscapeand there was no one to
say nay to this.

They passed down the busy street that led to the yards. It was still
early morningand everything was at its high tide of activity.


A steady stream of employees was pouring through the gate--employees
of the higher sortat this hourclerks and stenographers and such.
For the women there were waiting big two-horse wagonswhich set off
at a gallop as fast as they were filled. In the distance there was heard
again the lowing of the cattlea sound as of a far-off ocean calling.
They followed itthis timeas eager as children in sight of a circus
menagerie--whichindeedthe scene a good deal resembled. They crossed
the railroad tracksand then on each side of the street were the pens
full of cattle; they would have stopped to lookbut Jokubas hurried
them onto where there was a stairway and a raised galleryfrom which
everything could be seen. Here they stoodstaringbreathless with wonder.

There is over a square mile of space in the yardsand more than half
of it is occupied by cattle pens; north and south as far as the eye can
reach there stretches a sea of pens. And they were all filled--so many
cattle no one had ever dreamed existed in the world. Red cattleblack
whiteand yellow cattle; old cattle and young cattle; great bellowing
bulls and little calves not an hour born; meek-eyed milch cows and fierce
long-horned Texas steers. The sound of them here was as of all the
barnyards of the universe; and as for counting them--it would have taken
all day simply to count the pens. Here and there ran long alleysblocked
at intervals by gates; and Jokubas told them that the number of these gates
was twenty-five thousand. Jokubas had recently been reading a newspaper
article which was full of statistics such as thatand he was very proud
as he repeated them and made his guests cry out with wonder. Jurgis too
had a little of this sense of pride. Had he not just gotten a joband
become a sharer in all this activitya cog in this marvelous machine?
Here and there about the alleys galloped men upon horsebackbooted
and carrying long whips; they were very busycalling to each other
and to those who were driving the cattle. They were drovers and stock
raiserswho had come from far statesand brokers and commission
merchantsand buyers for all the big packing houses.

Here and there they would stop to inspect a bunch of cattleand there
would be a parleybrief and businesslike. The buyer would nod or drop
his whipand that would mean a bargain; and he would note it in his
little bookalong with hundreds of others he had made that morning.
Then Jokubas pointed out the place where the cattle were driven to be
weighedupon a great scale that would weigh a hundred thousand pounds at
once and record it automatically. It was near to the east entrance that
they stoodand all along this east side of the yards ran the railroad
tracksinto which the cars were runloaded with cattle. All night long
this had been going onand now the pens were full; by tonight they would
all be emptyand the same thing would be done again.

And what will become of all these creatures?cried Teta Elzbieta.

By tonight,Jokubas answeredthey will all be killed and cut up;
and over there on the other side of the packing houses are more
railroad tracks, where the cars come to take them away.

There were two hundred and fifty miles of track within the yardstheir
guide went on to tell them. They brought about ten thousand head of
cattle every dayand as many hogsand half as many sheep--which meant
some eight or ten million live creatures turned into food every year.
One stood and watchedand little by little caught the drift of the tide
as it set in the direction of the packing houses. There were groups of
cattle being driven to the chuteswhich were roadways about fifteen feet
wideraised high above the pens. In these chutes the stream of animals
was continuous; it was quite uncanny to watch thempressing on to their
fateall unsuspicious a very river of death. Our friends were not
poeticaland the sight suggested to them no metaphors of human destiny;
they thought only of the wonderful efficiency of it all. The chutes into
which the hogs went climbed high up--to the very top of the distant


buildings; and Jokubas explained that the hogs went up by the power of
their own legsand then their weight carried them back through all the
processes necessary to make them into pork.

They don't waste anything here,said the guideand then he laughed
and added a witticismwhich he was pleased that his unsophisticated
friends should take to be his own: "They use everything about the hog
except the squeal." In front of Brown's General Office building there
grows a tiny plot of grassand thisyou may learnis the only bit
of green thing in Packingtown; likewise this jest about the hog and his
squealthe stock in trade of all the guidesis the one gleam of humor
that you will find there.

After they had seen enough of the pensthe party went up the street
to the mass of buildings which occupy the center of the yards. These
buildingsmade of brick and stained with innumerable layers of
Packingtown smokewere painted all over with advertising signsfrom
which the visitor realized suddenly that he had come to the home of many
of the torments of his life. It was here that they made those products
with the wonders of which they pestered him so--by placards that defaced
the landscape when he traveledand by staring advertisements in the
newspapers and magazines--by silly little jingles that he could not get
out of his mindand gaudy pictures that lurked for him around every
street corner. Here was where they made Brown's Imperial Hams and Bacon
Brown's Dressed BeefBrown's Excelsior Sausages! Here was the
headquarters of Durham's Pure Leaf Lardof Durham's Breakfast Bacon
Durham's Canned BeefPotted HamDeviled ChickenPeerless Fertilizer!

Entering one of the Durham buildingsthey found a number of other visitors
waiting; and before long there came a guideto escort them through the
place. They make a great feature of showing strangers through the packing
plantsfor it is a good advertisement. But Ponas Jokubas whispered
maliciously that the visitors did not see any more than the packers
wanted them to. They climbed a long series of stairways outside of the
buildingto the top of its five or six stories. Here was the chute
with its river of hogsall patiently toiling upward; there was a place
for them to rest to cool offand then through another passageway they
went into a room from which there is no returning for hogs.

It was a longnarrow roomwith a gallery along it for visitors. At the
head there was a great iron wheelabout twenty feet in circumference
with rings here and there along its edge. Upon both sides of this wheel
there was a narrow spaceinto which came the hogs at the end of their
journey; in the midst of them stood a great burly Negrobare-armed and
bare-chested. He was resting for the momentfor the wheel had stopped
while men were cleaning up. In a minute or twohoweverit began slowly
to revolveand then the men upon each side of it sprang to work. They had
chains which they fastened about the leg of the nearest hogand the other
end of the chain they hooked into one of the rings upon the wheel. Soas
the wheel turneda hog was suddenly jerked off his feet and borne aloft.

At the same instant the car was assailed by a most terrifying shriek;
the visitors started in alarmthe women turned pale and shrank back.
The shriek was followed by anotherlouder and yet more agonizing-for
once started upon that journeythe hog never came back; at the
top of the wheel he was shunted off upon a trolleyand went sailing
down the room. And meantime another was swung upand then another
and anotheruntil there was a double line of themeach dangling by
a foot and kicking in frenzy--and squealing. The uproar was appalling
perilous to the eardrums; one feared there was too much sound for the room
to hold--that the walls must give way or the ceiling crack. There were
high squeals and low squealsgruntsand wails of agony; there would
come a momentary lulland then a fresh outburstlouder than ever
surging up to a deafening climax. It was too much for some of the


visitors--the men would look at each otherlaughing nervouslyand the
women would stand with hands clenchedand the blood rushing to their
facesand the tears starting in their eyes.

Meantimeheedless of all these thingsthe men upon the floor were going
about their work. Neither squeals of hogs nor tears of visitors made any
difference to them; one by one they hooked up the hogsand one by one
with a swift stroke they slit their throats. There was a long line of hogs
with squeals and lifeblood ebbing away together; until at last each started
againand vanished with a splash into a huge vat of boiling water.

It was all so very businesslike that one watched it fascinated. It was
porkmaking by machineryporkmaking by applied mathematics. And yet
somehow the most matter-of-fact person could not help thinking of the
hogs; they were so innocentthey came so very trustingly; and they were
so very human in their protests--and so perfectly within their rights!
They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury
as the thing was done hereswinging them up in this cold-blooded
impersonal waywithout a pretense of apologywithout the homage of
a tear. Now and then a visitor weptto be sure; but this slaughtering
machine ran onvisitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime
committed in a dungeonall unseen and unheededburied out of sight and
of memory.

One could not stand and watch very long without becoming philosophical
without beginning to deal in symbols and similesand to hear the hog
squeal of the universe. Was it permitted to believe that there was
nowhere upon the earthor above the eartha heaven for hogswhere
they were requited for all this suffering? Each one of these hogs was a
separate creature. Some were white hogssome were black; some were brown
some were spotted; some were oldsome young; some were long and lean
some were monstrous. And each of them had an individuality of his own
a will of his owna hope and a heart's desire; each was full of self-
confidenceof self-importanceand a sense of dignity. And trusting and
strong in faith he had gone about his businessthe while a black shadow
hung over him and a horrid Fate waited in his pathway. Now suddenly
it had swooped upon himand had seized him by the leg. Relentless
remorselessit was; all his protestshis screamswere nothing to it-it
did its cruel will with himas if his wisheshis feelingshad simply
no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life.
And now was one to believe that there was nowhere a god of hogsto whom
this hog personality was preciousto whom these hog squeals and agonies
had a meaning? Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him
reward him for his work well doneand show him the meaning of his
sacrifice? Perhaps some glimpse of all this was in the thoughts of our
humble-minded Jurgisas he turned to go on with the rest of the party
and muttered: "Dieve--but I'm glad I'm not a hog!"

The carcass hog was scooped out of the vat by machineryand then it
fell to the second floorpassing on the way through a wonderful machine
with numerous scraperswhich adjusted themselves to the size and shape
of the animaland sent it out at the other end with nearly all of its
bristles removed. It was then again strung up by machineryand sent
upon another trolley ride; this time passing between two lines of men
who sat upon a raised platformeach doing a certain single thing to
the carcass as it came to him. One scraped the outside of a leg;
another scraped the inside of the same leg. One with a swift stroke cut
the throat; another with two swift strokes severed the headwhich fell
to the floor and vanished through a hole. Another made a slit down
the body; a second opened the body wider; a third with a saw cut the
breastbone; a fourth loosened the entrails; a fifth pulled them out-and
they also slid through a hole in the floor. There were men to scrape
each side and men to scrape the back; there were men to clean the carcass
insideto trim it and wash it. Looking down this roomone sawcreeping


slowlya line of dangling hogs a hundred yards in length; and for every
yard there was a manworking as if a demon were after him. At the end of
this hog's progress every inch of the carcass had been gone over several
times; and then it was rolled into the chilling roomwhere it stayed for
twenty-four hoursand where a stranger might lose himself in a forest of
freezing hogs.

Before the carcass was admitted herehoweverit had to pass a government
inspectorwho sat in the doorway and felt of the glands in the neck for
tuberculosis. This government inspector did not have the manner of a man
who was worked to death; he was apparently not haunted by a fear that the
hog might get by him before he had finished his testing. If you were a
sociable personhe was quite willing to enter into conversation with you
and to explain to you the deadly nature of the ptomaines which are found in
tubercular pork; and while he was talking with you you could hardly be so
ungrateful as to notice that a dozen carcasses were passing him untouched.
This inspector wore a blue uniformwith brass buttonsand he gave an
atmosphere of authority to the sceneandas it wereput the stamp of
official approval upon the things which were done in Durham's.

Jurgis went down the line with the rest of the visitorsstaring
openmouthedlost in wonder. He had dressed hogs himself in the forest
of Lithuania; but he had never expected to live to see one hog dressed
by several hundred men. It was like a wonderful poem to himand he took
it all in guilelessly--even to the conspicuous signs demanding immaculate
cleanliness of the employees. Jurgis was vexed when the cynical Jokubas
translated these signs with sarcastic commentsoffering to take them to
the secret rooms where the spoiled meats went to be doctored.

The party descended to the next floorwhere the various waste materials
were treated. Here came the entrailsto be scraped and washed clean for
sausage casings; men and women worked here in the midst of a sickening
stenchwhich caused the visitors to hasten bygasping. To another room
came all the scraps to be "tanked which meant boiling and pumping off
the grease to make soap and lard; below they took out the refuse, and this,
too, was a region in which the visitors did not linger. In still other
places men were engaged in cutting up the carcasses that had been through
the chilling rooms. First there were the splitters the most expert
workmen in the plant, who earned as high as fifty cents an hour, and did
not a thing all day except chop hogs down the middle. Then there were
cleaver men great giants with muscles of iron; each had two men to
attend him--to slide the half carcass in front of him on the table,
and hold it while he chopped it, and then turn each piece so that he might
chop it once more. His cleaver had a blade about two feet long, and he
never made but one cut; he made it so neatly, too, that his implement
did not smite through and dull itself--there was just enough force for a
perfect cut, and no more. So through various yawning holes there slipped
to the floor below--to one room hams, to another forequarters, to another
sides of pork. One might go down to this floor and see the pickling rooms,
where the hams were put into vats, and the great smoke rooms, with their
airtight iron doors. In other rooms they prepared salt pork--there were
whole cellars full of it, built up in great towers to the ceiling. In yet
other rooms they were putting up meats in boxes and barrels, and wrapping
hams and bacon in oiled paper, sealing and labeling and sewing them.
From the doors of these rooms went men with loaded trucks, to the platform
where freight cars were waiting to be filled; and one went out there and
realized with a start that he had come at last to the ground floor of this
enormous building.

Then the party went across the street to where they did the killing of
beef--where every hour they turned four or five hundred cattle into meat.
Unlike the place they had left, all this work was done on one floor;
and instead of there being one line of carcasses which moved to the
workmen, there were fifteen or twenty lines, and the men moved from one


to another of these. This made a scene of intense activity, a picture of
human power wonderful to watch. It was all in one great room, like a
circus amphitheater, with a gallery for visitors running over the center.

Along one side of the room ran a narrow gallery, a few feet from
the floor; into which gallery the cattle were driven by men with goads
which gave them electric shocks. Once crowded in here, the creatures
were prisoned, each in a separate pen, by gates that shut, leaving them
no room to turn around; and while they stood bellowing and plunging,
over the top of the pen there leaned one of the knockers armed with
a sledge hammer, and watching for a chance to deal a blow. The room
echoed with the thuds in quick succession, and the stamping and kicking
of the steers. The instant the animal had fallen, the knocker" passed
on to another; while a second man raised a leverand the side of the
pen was raisedand the animalstill kicking and strugglingslid out
to the "killing bed." Here a man put shackles about one legand pressed
another leverand the body was jerked up into the air. There were
fifteen or twenty such pensand it was a matter of only a couple of
minutes to knock fifteen or twenty cattle and roll them out. Then once
more the gates were openedand another lot rushed in; and so out of
each pen there rolled a steady stream of carcasseswhich the men upon
the killing beds had to get out of the way.

The manner in which they did this was something to be seen and never
forgotten. They worked with furious intensityliterally upon the run-at
a pace with which there is nothing to be compared except a football
game. It was all highly specialized laboreach man having his task
to do; generally this would consist of only two or three specific cuts
and he would pass down the line of fifteen or twenty carcassesmaking
these cuts upon each. First there came the "butcher to bleed them;
this meant one swift stroke, so swift that you could not see it--only the
flash of the knife; and before you could realize it, the man had darted
on to the next line, and a stream of bright red was pouring out upon the
floor. This floor was half an inch deep with blood, in spite of the best
efforts of men who kept shoveling it through holes; it must have made
the floor slippery, but no one could have guessed this by watching the
men at work.

The carcass hung for a few minutes to bleed; there was no time lost,
however, for there were several hanging in each line, and one was always
ready. It was let down to the ground, and there came the headsman
whose task it was to sever the head, with two or three swift strokes.
Then came the floorsman to make the first cut in the skin; and then
another to finish ripping the skin down the center; and then half a dozen
more in swift succession, to finish the skinning. After they were through,
the carcass was again swung up; and while a man with a stick examined the
skin, to make sure that it had not been cut, and another rolled it tip
and tumbled it through one of the inevitable holes in the floor, the beef
proceeded on its journey. There were men to cut it, and men to split it,
and men to gut it and scrape it clean inside. There were some with hose
which threw jets of boiling water upon it, and others who removed the feet
and added the final touches. In the end, as with the hogs, the finished
beef was run into the chilling room, to hang its appointed time.

The visitors were taken there and shown them, all neatly hung in rows,
labeled conspicuously with the tags of the government inspectors--and
some, which had been killed by a special process, marked with the sign
of the kosher rabbi, certifying that it was fit for sale to the orthodox.
And then the visitors were taken to the other parts of the building,
to see what became of each particle of the waste material that had
vanished through the floor; and to the pickling rooms, and the salting
rooms, the canning rooms, and the packing rooms, where choice meat was
prepared for shipping in refrigerator cars, destined to be eaten in all
the four corners of civilization. Afterward they went outside, wandering


about among the mazes of buildings in which was done the work auxiliary
to this great industry. There was scarcely a thing needed in the business
that Durham and Company did not make for themselves. There was a great
steam power plant and an electricity plant. There was a barrel factory,
and a boiler-repair shop. There was a building to which the grease was
piped, and made into soap and lard; and then there was a factory for
making lard cans, and another for making soap boxes. There was a building
in which the bristles were cleaned and dried, for the making of hair
cushions and such things; there was a building where the skins were dried
and tanned, there was another where heads and feet were made into glue,
and another where bones were made into fertilizer. No tiniest particle
of organic matter was wasted in Durham's. Out of the horns of the
cattle they made combs, buttons, hairpins, and imitation ivory; out of
the shinbones and other big bones they cut knife and toothbrush handles,
and mouthpieces for pipes; out of the hoofs they cut hairpins and
buttons, before they made the rest into glue. From such things as feet,
knuckles, hide clippings, and sinews came such strange and unlikely
products as gelatin, isinglass, and phosphorus, bone black, shoe blacking,
and bone oil. They had curled-hair works for the cattle tails, and a
wool pullery" for the sheepskins; they made pepsin from the stomachs
of the pigsand albumen from the bloodand violin strings from the
ill-smelling entrails. When there was nothing else to be done with
a thingthey first put it into a tank and got out of it all the tallow
and greaseand then they made it into fertilizer. All these industries
were gathered into buildings near byconnected by galleries and
railroads with the main establishment; and it was estimated that they
had handled nearly a quarter of a billion of animals since the founding
of the plant by the elder Durham a generation and more ago. If you
counted with it the other big plants--and they were now really all
one--it wasso Jokubas informed themthe greatest aggregation of labor
and capital ever gathered in one place. It employed thirty thousand men;
it suppported directly two hundred and fifty thousand people in its
neighborhoodand indirectly it supported half a million. It sent its
products to every country in the civilized worldand it furnished the
food for no less than thirty million people!

To all of these things our friends would listen openmouthed--it seemed
to them impossible of belief that anything so stupendous could have been
devised by mortal man. That was why to Jurgis it seemed almost profanity
to speak about the place as did Jokubasskeptically; it was a thing as
tremendous as the universe--the laws and ways of its working no more than
the universe to be questioned or understood. All that a mere man could do
it seemed to Jurgiswas to take a thing like this as he found itand do
as he was told; to be given a place in it and a share in its wonderful
activities was a blessing to be grateful foras one was grateful for the
sunshine and the rain. Jurgis was even glad that he had not seen the
place before meeting with his triumphfor he felt that the size of it
would have overwhelmed him. But now he had been admitted--he was a part
of it all! He had the feeling that this whole huge establishment had
taken him under its protectionand had become responsible for his welfare.
So guileless was heand ignorant of the nature of businessthat he did
not even realize that he had become an employee of Brown'sand that Brown
and Durham were supposed by all the world to be deadly rivals--were even
required to be deadly rivals by the law of the landand ordered to try
to ruin each other under penalty of fine and imprisonment!

Chapter 4

Promptly at seven the next morning Jurgis reported for work. He came to
the door that had been pointed out to himand there he waited for nearly
two hours. The boss had meant for him to enterbut had not said this


and so it was only when on his way out to hire another man that he came
upon Jurgis. He gave him a good cursingbut as Jurgis did not understand
a word of it he did not object. He followed the bosswho showed him
where to put his street clothesand waited while he donned the working
clothes he had bought in a secondhand shop and brought with him in a
bundle; then he led him to the "killing beds." The work which Jurgis was
to do here was very simpleand it took him but a few minutes to learn it.
He was provided with a stiff besomsuch as is used by street sweepers
and it was his place to follow down the line the man who drew out the
smoking entrails from the carcass of the steer; this mass was to be swept
into a trapwhich was then closedso that no one might slip into it.
As Jurgis came inthe first cattle of the morning were just making their
appearance; and sowith scarcely time to look about himand none to
speak to any onehe fell to work. It was a sweltering day in July
and the place ran with steaming hot blood--one waded in it on the floor.
The stench was almost overpoweringbut to Jurgis it was nothing. His
whole soul was dancing with joy--he was at work at last! He was at work
and earning money! All day long he was figuring to himself. He was paid
the fabulous sum of seventeen and a half cents an hour; and as it proved
a rush day and he worked until nearly seven o'clock in the eveninghe went
home to the family with the tidings that he had earned more than a dollar
and a half in a single day!

At homealsothere was more good news; so much of it at once that there
was quite a celebration in Aniele's hall bedroom. Jonas had been to have
an interview with the special policeman to whom Szedvilas had introduced
himand had been taken to see several of the bosseswith the result that
one had promised him a job the beginning of the next week. And then there
was Marija Berczynskaswhofired with jealousy by the success of Jurgis
had set out upon her own responsibility to get a place. Marija had nothing
to take with her save her two brawny arms and the word "job laboriously
learned; but with these she had marched about Packingtown all day, entering
every door where there were signs of activity. Out of some she had been
ordered with curses; but Marija was not afraid of man or devil, and asked
every one she saw--visitors and strangers, or workpeople like herself,
and once or twice even high and lofty office personages, who stared at
her as if they thought she was crazy. In the end, however, she had reaped
her reward. In one of the smaller plants she had stumbled upon a room
where scores of women and girls were sitting at long tables preparing
smoked beef in cans; and wandering through room after room, Marija came
at last to the place where the sealed cans were being painted and labeled,
and here she had the good fortune to encounter the forelady." Marija did
not understand thenas she was destined to understand laterwhat there
was attractive to a "forelady" about the combination of a face full of
boundless good nature and the muscles of a dray horse; but the woman had
told her to come the next day and she would perhaps give her a chance to
learn the trade of painting cans. The painting of cans being skilled
pieceworkand paying as much as two dollars a dayMarija burst in upon
the family with the yell of a Comanche Indianand fell to capering about
the room so as to frighten the baby almost into convulsions.

Better luck than all this could hardly have been hoped for; there was only
one of them left to seek a place. Jurgis was determined that Teta Elzbieta
should stay at home to keep houseand that Ona should help her. He would
not have Ona working--he was not that sort of a manhe saidand she was
not that sort of a woman. It would be a strange thing if a man like him
could not support the familywith the help of the board of Jonas and
Marija. He would not even hear of letting the children go to work--there
were schools here in America for childrenJurgis had heardto which
they could go for nothing. That the priest would object to these schools
was something of which he had as yet no ideaand for the present his mind
was made up that the children of Teta Elzbieta should have as fair a chance
as any other children. The oldest of themlittle Stanislovaswas but
thirteenand small for his age at that; and while the oldest son of


Szedvilas was only twelveand had worked for over a year at Jones'sJurgis
would have it that Stanislovas should learn to speak Englishand grow up
to be a skilled man.

So there was only old Dede Antanas; Jurgis would have had him rest too
but he was forced to acknowledge that this was not possibleandbesides
the old man would not hear it spoken of--it was his whim to insist that
he was as lively as any boy. He had come to America as full of hope as
the best of them; and now he was the chief problem that worried his son.
For every one that Jurgis spoke to assured him that it was a waste of time
to seek employment for the old man in Packingtown. Szedvilas told him
that the packers did not even keep the men who had grown old in their
own service--to say nothing of taking on new ones. And not only was it
the rule hereit was the rule everywhere in Americaso far as he knew.
To satisfy Jurgis he had asked the policemanand brought back the message
that the thing was not to be thought of. They had not told this to old
Anthonywho had consequently spent the two days wandering about from
one part of the yards to anotherand had now come home to hear about
the triumph of the otherssmiling bravely and saying that it would be
his turn another day.

Their good luckthey felthad given them the right to think about
a home; and sitting out on the doorstep that summer eveningthey held
consultation about itand Jurgis took occasion to broach a weighty
subject. Passing down the avenue to work that morning he had seen two
boys leaving an advertisement from house to house; and seeing that there
were pictures upon itJurgis had asked for oneand had rolled it up and
tucked it into his shirt. At noontime a man with whom he had been talking
had read it to him and told him a little about itwith the result that
Jurgis had conceived a wild idea.

He brought out the placardwhich was quite a work of art. It was nearly
two feet longprinted on calendered paperwith a selection of colors so
bright that they shone even in the moonlight. The center of the placard
was occupied by a housebrilliantly paintednewand dazzling. The roof
of it was of a purple hueand trimmed with gold; the house itself was
silveryand the doors and windows red. It was a two-story buildingwith
a porch in frontand a very fancy scrollwork around the edges; it was
complete in every tiniest detaileven the doorknoband there was a
hammock on the porch and white lace curtains in the windows. Underneath
thisin one cornerwas a picture of a husband and wife in loving embrace;
in the opposite corner was a cradlewith fluffy curtains drawn over it
and a smiling cherub hovering upon silver-colored wings. For fear that
the significance of all this should be lostthere was a labelin Polish
Lithuanianand German--"Dom. Namai. Heim." "Why pay rent?" the
linguistic circular went on to demand. "Why not own your own home?
Do you know that you can buy one for less than your rent? We have built
thousands of homes which are now occupied by happy families."--So it became
eloquentpicturing the blissfulness of married life in a house with
nothing to pay. It even quoted "HomeSweet Home and made bold to
translate it into Polish--though for some reason it omitted the Lithuanian
of this. Perhaps the translator found it a difficult matter to be
sentimental in a language in which a sob is known as a gukcziojimas and
a smile as a nusiszypsojimas.

Over this document the family pored long, while Ona spelled out its contents.
It appeared that this house contained four rooms, besides a basement, and
that it might be bought for fifteen hundred dollars, the lot and all.
Of this, only three hundred dollars had to be paid down, the balance being
paid at the rate of twelve dollars a month. These were frightful sums,
but then they were in America, where people talked about such without fear.
They had learned that they would have to pay a rent of nine dollars a month
for a flat, and there was no way of doing better, unless the family of
twelve was to exist in one or two rooms, as at present. If they paid rent,


of course, they might pay forever, and be no better off; whereas, if they
could only meet the extra expense in the beginning, there would at last
come a time when they would not have any rent to pay for the rest of
their lives.

They figured it up. There was a little left of the money belonging to
Teta Elzbieta, and there was a little left to Jurgis. Marija had about
fifty dollars pinned up somewhere in her stockings, and Grandfather Anthony
had part of the money he had gotten for his farm. If they all combined,
they would have enough to make the first payment; and if they had
employment, so that they could be sure of the future, it might really
prove the best plan. It was, of course, not a thing even to be talked
of lightly; it was a thing they would have to sift to the bottom. And yet,
on the other hand, if they were going to make the venture, the sooner they
did it the better, for were they not paying rent all the time, and living
in a most horrible way besides? Jurgis was used to dirt--there was nothing
could scare a man who had been with a railroad gang, where one could gather
up the fleas off the floor of the sleeping room by the handful. But that
sort of thing would not do for Ona. They must have a better place of some
sort soon--Jurgis said it with all the assurance of a man who had just
made a dollar and fifty-seven cents in a single day. Jurgis was at a loss
to understand why, with wages as they were, so many of the people of this
district should live the way they did.

The next day Marija went to see her forelady and was told to report
the first of the week, and learn the business of can-painter. Marija went
home, singing out loud all the way, and was just in time to join Ona and
her stepmother as they were setting out to go and make inquiry concerning
the house. That evening the three made their report to the men--the thing
was altogether as represented in the circular, or at any rate so the agent
had said. The houses lay to the south, about a mile and a half from the
yards; they were wonderful bargains, the gentleman had assured them-personally,
and for their own good. He could do this, so he explained
to them, for the reason that he had himself no interest in their sale-he
was merely the agent for a company that had built them. These were
the last, and the company was going out of business, so if any one wished
to take advantage of this wonderful no-rent plan, he would have to be
very quick. As a matter of fact there was just a little uncertainty as
to whether there was a single house left; for the agent had taken so many
people to see them, and for all he knew the company might have parted with
the last. Seeing Teta Elzbieta's evident grief at this news, he added,
after some hesitation, that if they really intended to make a purchase,
he would send a telephone message at his own expense, and have one of the
houses kept. So it had finally been arranged--and they were to go and
make an inspection the following Sunday morning.

That was Thursday; and all the rest of the week the killing gang at
Brown's worked at full pressure, and Jurgis cleared a dollar seventy-
five every day. That was at the rate of ten and one-half dollars a week,
or forty-five a month. Jurgis was not able to figure, except it was a
very simple sum, but Ona was like lightning at such things, and she worked
out the problem for the family. Marija and Jonas were each to pay sixteen
dollars a month board, and the old man insisted that he could do the same
as soon as he got a place--which might be any day now. That would make
ninety-three dollars. Then Marija and Jonas were between them to take a
third share in the house, which would leave only eight dollars a month
for Jurgis to contribute to the payment. So they would have eighty-five
dollars a month--or, supposing that Dede Antanas did not get work at once,
seventy dollars a month--which ought surely to be sufficient for the
support of a family of twelve.

An hour before the time on Sunday morning the entire party set out.
They had the address written on a piece of paper, which they showed to
some one now and then. It proved to be a long mile and a half, but they


walked it, and half an hour or so later the agent put in an appearance.
He was a smooth and florid personage, elegantly dressed, and he spoke
their language freely, which gave him a great advantage in dealing with
them. He escorted them to the house, which was one of a long row of the
typical frame dwellings of the neighborhood, where architecture is a
luxury that is dispensed with. Ona's heart sank, for the house was not
as it was shown in the picture; the color scheme was different, for one
thing, and then it did not seem quite so big. Still, it was freshly
painted, and made a considerable show. It was all brand-new, so the
agent told them, but he talked so incessantly that they were quite
confused, and did not have time to ask many questions. There were all
sorts of things they had made up their minds to inquire about, but when
the time came, they either forgot them or lacked the courage. The other
houses in the row did not seem to be new, and few of them seemed to be
occupied. When they ventured to hint at this, the agent's reply was that
the purchasers would be moving in shortly. To press the matter would have
seemed to be doubting his word, and never in their lives had any one of
them ever spoken to a person of the class called gentleman" except with
deference and humility.

The house had a basementabout two feet below the street lineand a
single storyabout six feet above itreached by a flight of steps.
In addition there was an atticmade by the peak of the roofand having
one small window in each end. The street in front of the house was
unpaved and unlightedand the view from it consisted of a few exactly
similar housesscattered here and there upon lots grown up with dingy
brown weeds. The house inside contained four roomsplastered white;
the basement was but a framethe walls being unplastered and the floor
not laid. The agent explained that the houses were built that wayas the
purchasers generally preferred to finish the basements to suit their own
taste. The attic was also unfinished--the family had been figuring that
in case of an emergency they could rent this atticbut they found that
there was not even a floornothing but joistsand beneath them the lath
and plaster of the ceiling below. All of thishoweverdid not chill
their ardor as much as might have been expectedbecause of the volubility
of the agent. There was no end to the advantages of the houseas he
set them forthand he was not silent for an instant; he showed them
everythingdown to the locks on the doors and the catches on the windows
and how to work them. He showed them the sink in the kitchenwith
running water and a faucetsomething which Teta Elzbieta had never in
her wildest dreams hoped to possess. After a discovery such as that it
would have seemed ungrateful to find any faultand so they tried to shut
their eyes to other defects.

Stillthey were peasant peopleand they hung on to their money by
instinct; it was quite in vain that the agent hinted at promptness-they
would seethey would seethey told himthey could not decide until
they had had more time. And so they went home againand all day and
evening there was figuring and debating. It was an agony to them to have
to make up their minds in a matter such as this. They never could agree
all together; there were so many arguments upon each sideand one would
be obstinateand no sooner would the rest have convinced him than it
would transpire that his arguments had caused another to waver. Once
in the eveningwhen they were all in harmonyand the house was as good
as boughtSzedvilas came in and upset them again. Szedvilas had no use
for property owning. He told them cruel stories of people who had been
done to death in this "buying a home" swindle. They would be almost sure
to get into a tight place and lose all their money; and there was no end
of expense that one could never foresee; and the house might be good-fornothing
from top to bottom--how was a poor man to know? Thentoothey
would swindle you with the contract--and how was a poor man to understand
anything about a contract? It was all nothing but robberyand there was
no safety but in keeping out of it. And pay rent? asked Jurgis. Ahyes
to be surethe other answeredthat too was robbery. It was all robbery


for a poor man. After half an hour of such depressing conversationthey
had their minds quite made up that they had been saved at the brink of a
precipice; but then Szedvilas went awayand Jonaswho was a sharp little
manreminded them that the delicatessen business was a failureaccording
to its proprietorand that this might account for his pessimistic views.
Whichof coursereopened the subject!

The controlling factor was that they could not stay where they were--they
had to go somewhere. And when they gave up the house plan and decided
to rentthe prospect of paying out nine dollars a month forever they
found just as hard to face. All day and all night for nearly a whole
week they wrestled with the problemand then in the end Jurgis took the
responsibility. Brother Jonas had gotten his joband was pushing a truck
in Durham's; and the killing gang at Brown's continued to work early and
lateso that Jurgis grew more confident every hourmore certain of his
mastership. It was the kind of thing the man of the family had to decide
and carry throughhe told himself. Others might have failed at itbut he
was not the failing kind--he would show them how to do it. He would work
all dayand all nighttooif need be; he would never rest until the
house was paid for and his people had a home. So he told themand so in
the end the decision was made.

They had talked about looking at more houses before they made the purchase;
but then they did not know where any more wereand they did not know any
way of finding out. The one they had seen held the sway in their thoughts;
whenever they thought of themselves in a houseit was this house that
they thought of. And so they went and told the agent that they were ready
to make the agreement. They knewas an abstract propositionthat in
matters of business all men are to be accounted liars; but they could not
but have been influenced by all they had heard from the eloquent agent
and were quite persuaded that the house was something they had run a risk
of losing by their delay. They drew a deep breath when he told them that
they were still in time.

They were to come on the morrowand he would have the papers all
drawn up. This matter of papers was one in which Jurgis understood
to the full the need of caution; yet he could not go himself--every one
told him that he could not get a holidayand that he might lose his job
by asking. So there was nothing to be done but to trust it to the women
with Szedvilaswho promised to go with them. Jurgis spent a whole
evening impressing upon them the seriousness of the occasion--and then
finallyout of innumerable hiding places about their persons and in their
baggagecame forth the precious wads of moneyto be done up tightly in a
little bag and sewed fast in the lining of Teta Elzbieta's dress.

Early in the morning they sallied forth. Jurgis had given them so many
instructions and warned them against so many perilsthat the women were
quite pale with frightand even the imperturbable delicatessen vender
who prided himself upon being a businessmanwas ill at ease. The agent
had the deed all readyand invited them to sit down and read it; this
Szedvilas proceeded to do--a painful and laborious processduring which
the agent drummed upon the desk. Teta Elzbieta was so embarrassed that
the perspiration came out upon her forehead in beads; for was not this
reading as much as to say plainly to the gentleman's face that they
doubted his honesty? Yet Jokubas Szedvilas read on and on; and presently
there developed that he had good reason for doing so. For a horrible
suspicion had begun dawning in his mind; he knitted his brows more and
more as he read. This was not a deed of sale at allso far as he could
see--it provided only for the renting of the property! It was hard to
tellwith all this strange legal jargonwords he had never heard before;
but was not this plain--"the party of the first part hereby covenants and
agrees to rent to the said party of the second part!" And then again-"
a monthly rental of twelve dollarsfor a period of eight years and four
months!" Then Szedvilas took off his spectaclesand looked at the agent


and stammered a question.

The agent was most politeand explained that that was the usual formula;
that it was always arranged that the property should be merely rented.
He kept trying to show them something in the next paragraph; but Szedvilas
could not get by the word "rental"--and when he translated it to Teta
Elzbietashe too was thrown into a fright. They would not own the home
at allthenfor nearly nine years! The agentwith infinite patience
began to explain again; but no explanation would do now. Elzbieta had
firmly fixed in her mind the last solemn warning of Jurgis: "If there is
anything wrongdo not give him the moneybut go out and get a lawyer."
It was an agonizing momentbut she sat in the chairher hands clenched
like deathand made a fearful effortsummoning all her powersand gasped
out her purpose.

Jokubas translated her words. She expected the agent to fly into a
passionbut he wasto her bewildermentas ever imperturbable; he even
offered to go and get a lawyer for herbut she declined this. They went
a long wayon purpose to find a man who would not be a confederate.
Then let any one imagine their dismaywhenafter half an hourthey
came in with a lawyerand heard him greet the agent by his first name!
They felt that all was lost; they sat like prisoners summoned to hear
the reading of their death warrant. There was nothing more that they
could do--they were trapped! The lawyer read over the deedand when
he had read it he informed Szedvilas that it was all perfectly regular
that the deed was a blank deed such as was often used in these sales.
And was the price as agreed? the old man asked--three hundred dollars
downand the balance at twelve dollars a monthtill the total of
fifteen hundred dollars had been paid? Yesthat was correct. And it
was for the sale of such and such a house--the house and lot and everything?
Yes--and the lawyer showed him where that was all written. And it was
all perfectly regular--there were no tricks about it of any sort? They
were poor peopleand this was all they had in the worldand if there
was anything wrong they would be ruined. And so Szedvilas went on
asking one trembling question after anotherwhile the eyes of the women
folks were fixed upon him in mute agony. They could not understand what
he was sayingbut they knew that upon it their fate depended. And when
at last he had questioned until there was no more questioning to be done
and the time came for them to make up their mindsand either close the
bargain or reject itit was all that poor Teta Elzbieta could do to keep
from bursting into tears. Jokubas had asked her if she wished to sign;
he had asked her twice--and what could she say? How did she know if this
lawyer were telling the truth--that he was not in the conspiracy? And yet
how could she say so--what excuse could she give? The eyes of every one
in the room were upon herawaiting her decision; and at lasthalf blind
with her tearsshe began fumbling in her jacketwhere she had pinned the
precious money. And she brought it out and unwrapped it before the men.
All of this Ona sat watchingfrom a corner of the roomtwisting her
hands togethermeantimein a fever of fright. Ona longed to cry out
and tell her stepmother to stopthat it was all a trap; but there seemed
to be something clutching her by the throatand she could not make a sound.
And so Teta Elzbieta laid the money on the tableand the agent picked it
up and counted itand then wrote them a receipt for it and passed them
the deed. Then he gave a sigh of satisfactionand rose and shook hands
with them allstill as smooth and polite as at the beginning. Ona had
a dim recollection of the lawyer telling Szedvilas that his charge was a
dollarwhich occasioned some debateand more agony; and thenafter they
had paid thattoothey went out into the streether stepmother clutching
the deed in her hand. They were so weak from fright that they could not
walkbut had to sit down on the way.

So they went homewith a deadly terror gnawing at their souls; and that
evening Jurgis came home and heard their storyand that was the end.
Jurgis was sure that they had been swindledand were ruined; and he


tore his hair and cursed like a madmanswearing that he would kill
the agent that very night. In the end he seized the paper and rushed
out of the houseand all the way across the yards to Halsted Street.
He dragged Szedvilas out from his supperand together they rushed to
consult another lawyer. When they entered his office the lawyer sprang up
for Jurgis looked like a crazy personwith flying hair and bloodshot eyes.
His companion explained the situationand the lawyer took the paper and
began to read itwhile Jurgis stood clutching the desk with knotted hands
trembling in every nerve.

Once or twice the lawyer looked up and asked a question of Szedvilas;
the other did not know a word that he was sayingbut his eyes were
fixed upon the lawyer's facestriving in an agony of dread to read
his mind. He saw the lawyer look up and laughand he gave a gasp;
the man said something to Szedvilasand Jurgis turned upon his friend
his heart almost stopping.

Well?he panted.

He says it is all right,said Szedvilas.

All right!

Yes, he says it is just as it should be.And Jurgisin his relief
sank down into a chair.

Are you sure of it?he gaspedand made Szedvilas translate question
after question. He could not hear it often enough; he could not ask
with enough variations. Yesthey had bought the housethey had really
bought it. It belonged to themthey had only to pay the money and it
would be all right. Then Jurgis covered his face with his handsfor
there were tears in his eyesand he felt like a fool. But he had had
such a horrible fright; strong man as he wasit left him almost too weak
to stand up.

The lawyer explained that the rental was a form--the property was said
to be merely rented until the last payment had been madethe purpose
being to make it easier to turn the party out if he did not make the
payments. So long as they paidhoweverthey had nothing to fearthe
house was all theirs.

Jurgis was so grateful that he paid the half dollar the lawyer asked
without winking an eyelashand then rushed home to tell the news to
the family. He found Ona in a faint and the babies screamingand the
whole house in an uproar--for it had been believed by all that he had
gone to murder the agent. It was hours before the excitement could be
calmed; and all through that cruel night Jurgis would wake up now and
then and hear Ona and her stepmother in the next roomsobbing softly
to themselves.

Chapter 5

They had bought their home. It was hard for them to realize that the
wonderful house was theirs to move into whenever they chose. They spent
all their time thinking about itand what they were going to put into it.
As their week with Aniele was up in three daysthey lost no time in
getting ready. They had to make some shift to furnish itand every
instant of their leisure was given to discussing this.

A person who had such a task before him would not need to look very far
in Packingtown--he had only to walk up the avenue and read the signs


or get into a streetcarto obtain full information as to pretty much
everything a human creature could need. It was quite touchingthe
zeal of people to see that his health and happiness were provided for.
Did the person wish to smoke? There was a little discourse about cigars
showing him exactly why the Thomas Jefferson Five-cent Perfecto was the
only cigar worthy of the name. Had heon the other handsmoked too much?
Here was a remedy for the smoking habittwenty-five doses for a quarter
and a cure absolutely guaranteed in ten doses. In innumerable ways such
as thisthe traveler found that somebody had been busied to make smooth
his paths through the worldand to let him know what had been done for him.
In Packingtown the advertisements had a style all of their ownadapted to
the peculiar population. One would be tenderly solicitous. "Is your wife
pale?" it would inquire. "Is she discourageddoes she drag herself about
the house and find fault with everything? Why do you not tell her to try
Dr. Lanahan's Life Preservers?" Another would be jocular in tone
slapping you on the backso to speak. "Don't be a chump!" it would
exclaim. "Go and get the Goliath Bunion Cure." "Get a move on you!"
would chime in another. "It's easyif you wear the Eureka Two-fifty Shoe."

Among these importunate signs was one that had caught the attention of
the family by its pictures. It showed two very pretty little birds
building themselves a home; and Marija had asked an acquaintance to read
it to herand told them that it related to the furnishing of a house.
Feather your nest,it ran--and went on to say that it could furnish
all the necessary feathers for a four-room nest for the ludicrously
small sum of seventy-five dollars. The particularly important thing
about this offer was that only a small part of the money need be had
at once--the rest one might pay a few dollars every month. Our friends
had to have some furniturethere was no getting away from that; but their
little fund of money had sunk so low that they could hardly get to sleep
at nightand so they fled to this as their deliverance. There was more
agony and another paper for Elzbieta to signand then one night when
Jurgis came homehe was told the breathless tidings that the furniture
had arrived and was safely stowed in the house: a parlor set of four
piecesa bedroom set of three piecesa dining room table and four
chairsa toilet set with beautiful pink roses painted all over it
an assortment of crockeryalso with pink roses--and so on. One of
the plates in the set had been found broken when they unpacked it
and Ona was going to the store the first thing in the morning to make
them change it; also they had promised three saucepansand there had
only two comeand did Jurgis think that they were trying to cheat them?

The next day they went to the house; and when the men came from work
they ate a few hurried mouthfuls at Aniele'sand then set to work at
the task of carrying their belongings to their new home. The distance
was in reality over two milesbut Jurgis made two trips that night
each time with a huge pile of mattresses and bedding on his head
with bundles of clothing and bags and things tied up inside. Anywhere
else in Chicago he would have stood a good chance of being arrested;
but the policemen in Packingtown were apparently used to these informal
movingsand contented themselves with a cursory examination now and then.
It was quite wonderful to see how fine the house lookedwith all the
things in iteven by the dim light of a lamp: it was really home
and almost as exciting as the placard had described it. Ona was fairly
dancingand she and Cousin Marija took Jurgis by the arm and escorted
him from room to roomsitting in each chair by turnsand then insisting
that he should do the same. One chair squeaked with his great weight
and they screamed with frightand woke the baby and brought everybody
running. Altogether it was a great day; and tired as they wereJurgis
and Ona sat up latecontented simply to hold each other and gaze in
rapture about the room. They were going to be married as soon as they
could get everything settledand a little spare money put by; and this
was to be their home--that little room yonder would be theirs!


It was in truth a never-ending delightthe fixing up of this house.
They had no money to spend for the pleasure of spendingbut there were
a few absolutely necessary thingsand the buying of these was a perpetual
adventure for Ona. It must always be done at nightso that Jurgis
could go along; and even if it were only a pepper cruetor half a dozen
glasses for ten centsthat was enough for an expedition. On Saturday
night they came home with a great basketful of thingsand spread them
out on the tablewhile every one stood roundand the children climbed
up on the chairsor howled to be lifted up to see. There were sugar
and salt and tea and crackersand a can of lard and a milk pailand a
scrubbing brushand a pair of shoes for the second oldest boyand a can
of oiland a tack hammerand a pound of nails. These last were to be
driven into the walls of the kitchen and the bedroomsto hang things on;
and there was a family discussion as to the place where each one was to
be driven. Then Jurgis would try to hammerand hit his fingers because
the hammer was too smalland get mad because Ona had refused to let him
pay fifteen cents more and get a bigger hammer; and Ona would be invited
to try it herselfand hurt her thumband cry outwhich necessitated the
thumb's being kissed by Jurgis. Finallyafter every one had had a try
the nails would be drivenand something hung up. Jurgis had come home
with a big packing box on his headand he sent Jonas to get another that
he had bought. He meant to take one side out of these tomorrowand put
shelves in themand make them into bureaus and places to keep things for
the bedrooms. The nest which had been advertised had not included feathers
for quite so many birds as there were in this family.

They hadof courseput their dining table in the kitchenand the
dining room was used as the bedroom of Teta Elzbieta and five of her
children. She and the two youngest slept in the only bedand the
other three had a mattress on the floor. Ona and her cousin dragged a
mattress into the parlor and slept at nightand the three men and the
oldest boy slept in the other roomhaving nothing but the very level
floor to rest on for the present. Even sohoweverthey slept soundly-it
was necessary for Teta Elzbieta to pound more than once on the at a
quarter past five every morning. She would have ready a great pot full
of steaming black coffeeand oatmeal and bread and smoked sausages;
and then she would fix them their dinner pails with more thick slices
of bread with lard between them--they could not afford butter--and some
onions and a piece of cheeseand so they would tramp away to work.

This was the first time in his life that he had ever really worked
it seemed to Jurgis; it was the first time that he had ever had anything
to do which took all he had in him. Jurgis had stood with the rest up
in the gallery and watched the men on the killing bedsmarveling at their
speed and power as if they had been wonderful machines; it somehow never
occurred to one to think of the flesh-and-blood side of it--that isnot
until he actually got down into the pit and took off his coat. Then he saw
things in a different lighthe got at the inside of them. The pace they
set hereit was one that called for every faculty of a man--from the
instant the first steer fell till the sounding of the noon whistleand
again from half-past twelve till heaven only knew what hour in the late
afternoon or eveningthere was never one instant's rest for a manfor his
hand or his eye or his brain. Jurgis saw how they managed it; there were
portions of the work which determined the pace of the restand for these
they had picked men whom they paid high wagesand whom they changed
frequently. You might easily pick out these pacemakersfor they worked
under the eye of the bossesand they worked like men possessed. This was
called "speeding up the gang and if any man could not keep up with the
pace, there were hundreds outside begging to try.

Yet Jurgis did not mind it; he rather enjoyed it. It saved him the
necessity of flinging his arms about and fidgeting as he did in most work.
He would laugh to himself as he ran down the line, darting a glance now
and then at the man ahead of him. It was not the pleasantest work one


could think of, but it was necessary work; and what more had a man the
right to ask than a chance to do something useful, and to get good pay
for doing it?

So Jurgis thought, and so he spoke, in his bold, free way; very much
to his surprise, he found that it had a tendency to get him into trouble.
For most of the men here took a fearfully different view of the thing.
He was quite dismayed when he first began to find it out--that most of
the men hated their work. It seemed strange, it was even terrible, when
you came to find out the universality of the sentiment; but it was
certainly the fact--they hated their work. They hated the bosses and
they hated the owners; they hated the whole place, the whole neighborhood-even
the whole city, with an all-inclusive hatred, bitter and fierce.
Women and little children would fall to cursing about it; it was rotten,
rotten as hell--everything was rotten. When Jurgis would ask them what
they meant, they would begin to get suspicious, and content themselves
with saying, Never mindyou stay here and see for yourself."

One of the first problems that Jurgis ran upon was that of the unions.
He had had no experience with unionsand he had to have it explained
to him that the men were banded together for the purpose of fighting
for their rights. Jurgis asked them what they meant by their rights
a question in which he was quite sincerefor he had not any idea of any
rights that he hadexcept the right to hunt for a joband do as he was
told when he got it. Generallyhoweverthis harmless question would
only make his fellow workingmen lose their tempers and call him a fool.
There was a delegate of the butcher-helpers' union who came to see Jurgis
to enroll him; and when Jurgis found that this meant that he would have
to part with some of his moneyhe froze up directlyand the delegate
who was an Irishman and only knew a few words of Lithuanianlost his
temper and began to threaten him. In the end Jurgis got into a fine rage
and made it sufficiently plain that it would take more than one Irishman
to scare him into a union. Little by little he gathered that the main
thing the men wanted was to put a stop to the habit of "speeding-up";
they were trying their best to force a lessening of the pacefor there
were somethey saidwho could not keep up with itwhom it was killing.
But Jurgis had no sympathy with such ideas as this--he could do the work
himselfand so could the rest of themhe declaredif they were good
for anything. If they couldn't do itlet them go somewhere else.
Jurgis had not studied the booksand he would not have known how to
pronounce "laissez faire"; but he had been round the world enough to know
that a man has to shift for himself in itand that if he gets the worst
of itthere is nobody to listen to him holler.

Yet there have been known to be philosophers and plain men who swore by
Malthus in the booksand wouldneverthelesssubscribe to a relief fund
in time of a famine. It was the same with Jurgiswho consigned the
unfit to destructionwhile going about all day sick at heart because of
his poor old fatherwho was wandering somewhere in the yards begging for
a chance to earn his bread. Old Antanas had been a worker ever since he
was a child; he had run away from home when he was twelvebecause his
father beat him for trying to learn to read. And he was a faithful man
too; he was a man you might leave alone for a monthif only you had made
him understand what you wanted him to do in the meantime. And now here
he wasworn out in soul and bodyand with no more place in the world
than a sick dog. He had his homeas it happenedand some one who would
care for him it he never got a job; but his son could not help thinking
suppose this had not been the case. Antanas Rudkus had been into every
building in Packingtown by this timeand into nearly every room; he had
stood mornings among the crowd of applicants till the very policemen had
come to know his face and to tell him to go home and give it up. He had
been likewise to all the stores and saloons for a mile aboutbegging
for some little thing to do; and everywhere they had ordered him out
sometimes with cursesand not once even stopping to ask him a question.


Soafter allthere was a crack in the fine structure of Jurgis' faith
in things as they are. The crack was wide while Dede Antanas was hunting
a job--and it was yet wider when he finally got it. For one evening the
old man came home in a great state of excitementwith the tale that he
had been approached by a man in one of the corridors of the pickle rooms
of Durham'sand asked what he would pay to get a job. He had not known
what to make of this at first; but the man had gone on with matter-of-fact
frankness to say that he could get him a jobprovided that he were
willing to pay one-third of his wages for it. Was he a boss? Antanas
had asked; to which the man had replied that that was nobody's business
but that he could do what he said.

Jurgis had made some friends by this timeand he sought one of them and
asked what this meant. The friendwho was named Tamoszius Kuszleika
was a sharp little man who folded hides on the killing bedsand he
listened to what Jurgis had to say without seeming at all surprised.
They were common enoughhe saidsuch cases of petty graft. It was
simply some boss who proposed to add a little to his income. After Jurgis
had been there awhile he would know that the plants were simply honeycombed
with rottenness of that sort--the bosses grafted off the menand they
grafted off each other; and some day the superintendent would find out
about the bossand then he would graft off the boss. Warming to the
subjectTamoszius went on to explain the situation. Here was Durham's
for instanceowned by a man who was trying to make as much money out
of it as he couldand did not care in the least how he did it; and
underneath himranged in ranks and grades like an armywere managers
and superintendents and foremeneach one driving the man next below
him and trying to squeeze out of him as much work as possible. And all
the men of the same rank were pitted against each other; the accounts
of each were kept separatelyand every man lived in terror of losing
his jobif another made a better record than he. So from top to bottom
the place was simply a seething caldron of jealousies and hatreds; there
was no loyalty or decency anywhere about itthere was no place in it
where a man counted for anything against a dollar. And worse than there
being no decencythere was not even any honesty. The reason for that?
Who could say? It must have been old Durham in the beginning; it was a
heritage which the self-made merchant had left to his sonalong with
his millions.

Jurgis would find out these things for himselfif he stayed there long
enough; it was the men who had to do all the dirty jobsand so there
was no deceiving them; and they caught the spirit of the placeand did
like all the rest. Jurgis had come thereand thought he was going to
make himself usefuland rise and become a skilled man; but he would soon
find out his error--for nobody rose in Packingtown by doing good work.
You could lay that down for a rule--if you met a man who was rising in
Packingtownyou met a knave. That man who had been sent to Jurgis'
father by the bosshe would rise; the man who told tales and spied upon
his fellows would rise; but the man who minded his own business and did his
work--whythey would "speed him up" till they had worn him outand then
they would throw him into the gutter.

Jurgis went home with his head buzzing. Yet he could not bring himself
to believe such things--noit could not be so. Tamoszius was simply
another of the grumblers. He was a man who spent all his time fiddling;
and he would go to parties at night and not get home till sunrise
and so of course he did not feel like work. Thentoohe was a puny
little chap; and so he had been left behind in the raceand that was
why he was sore. And yet so many strange things kept coming to Jurgis'
notice every day!

He tried to persuade his father to have nothing to do with the offer.
But old Antanas had begged until he was worn outand all his courage


was gone; he wanted a jobany sort of a job. So the next day he went
and found the man who had spoken to himand promised to bring him
a third of all he earned; and that same day he was put to work in Durham's
cellars. It was a "pickle room where there was never a dry spot to
stand upon, and so he had to take nearly the whole of his first week's
earnings to buy him a pair of heavy-soled boots. He was a squeedgie" man;
his job was to go about all day with a long-handled mopswabbing up the
floor. Except that it was damp and darkit was not an unpleasant job
in summer.

Now Antanas Rudkus was the meekest man that God ever put on earth; and so
Jurgis found it a striking confirmation of what the men all saidthat
his father had been at work only two days before he came home as bitter
as any of themand cursing Durham's with all the power of his soul.
For they had set him to cleaning out the traps; and the family sat round
and listened in wonder while he told them what that meant. It seemed
that he was working in the room where the men prepared the beef for
canningand the beef had lain in vats full of chemicalsand men with
great forks speared it out and dumped it into trucksto be taken to
the cooking room. When they had speared out all they could reachthey
emptied the vat on the floorand then with shovels scraped up the
balance and dumped it into the truck. This floor was filthyyet they
set Antanas with his mop slopping the "pickle" into a hole that
connected with a sinkwhere it was caught and used over again forever;
and if that were not enoughthere was a trap in the pipewhere all the
scraps of meat and odds and ends of refuse were caughtand every few
days it was the old man's task to clean these outand shovel their
contents into one of the trucks with the rest of the meat!

This was the experience of Antanas; and then there came also Jonas and
Marija with tales to tell. Marija was working for one of the independent
packersand was quite beside herself and outrageous with triumph over
the sums of money she was making as a painter of cans. But one day she
walked home with a pale-faced little woman who worked opposite to her
Jadvyga Marcinkus by nameand Jadvyga told her how sheMarijahad
chanced to get her job. She had taken the place of an Irishwoman who
had been working in that factory ever since any one could remember.
For over fifteen yearsso she declared. Mary Dennis was her name
and a long time ago she had been seducedand had a little boy; he was
a crippleand an epilepticbut still he was all that she had in the
world to loveand they had lived in a little room alone somewhere back
of Halsted Streetwhere the Irish were. Mary had had consumption
and all day long you might hear her coughing as she worked; of late
she had been going all to piecesand when Marija camethe "forelady"
had suddenly decided to turn her off. The forelady had to come up to
a certain standard herselfand could not stop for sick peopleJadvyga
explained. The fact that Mary had been there so long had not made any
difference to her--it was doubtful if she even knew thatfor both the
forelady and the superintendent were new peoplehaving only been there
two or three years themselves. Jadvyga did not know what had become of
the poor creature; she would have gone to see herbut had been sick
herself. She had pains in her back all the timeJadvyga explained
and feared that she had womb trouble. It was not fit work for a woman
handling fourteen-pound cans all day.

It was a striking circumstance that Jonastoohad gotten his job by the
misfortune of some other person. Jonas pushed a truck loaded with hams
from the smoke rooms on to an elevatorand thence to the packing rooms.
The trucks were all of ironand heavyand they put about threescore hams
on each of thema load of more than a quarter of a ton. On the uneven
floor it was a task for a man to start one of these trucksunless he was
a giant; and when it was once started he naturally tried his best to keep
it going. There was always the boss prowling aboutand if there was a
second's delay he would fall to cursing; Lithuanians and Slovaks and such


who could not understand what was said to themthe bosses were wont to
kick about the place like so many dogs. Therefore these trucks went for
the most part on the run; and the predecessor of Jonas had been jammed
against the wall by one and crushed in a horrible and nameless manner.

All of these were sinister incidents; but they were trifles compared to
what Jurgis saw with his own eyes before long. One curious thing he had
noticedthe very first dayin his profession of shoveler of guts; which
was the sharp trick of the floor bosses whenever there chanced to come
a "slunk" calf. Any man who knows anything about butchering knows that
the flesh of a cow that is about to calveor has just calvedis not fit
for food. A good many of these came every day to the packing houses--and
of courseif they had chosenit would have been an easy matter for the
packers to keep them till they were fit for food. But for the saving of
time and fodderit was the law that cows of that sort came along with
the othersand whoever noticed it would tell the bossand the boss would
start up a conversation with the government inspectorand the two would
stroll away. So in a trice the carcass of the cow would be cleaned out
and entrails would have vanished; it was Jurgis' task to slide them
into the trapcalves and alland on the floor below they took out
these "slunk" calvesand butchered them for meatand used even the skins
of them.

One day a man slipped and hurt his leg; and that afternoonwhen the
last of the cattle had been disposed ofand the men were leaving
Jurgis was ordered to remain and do some special work which this injured
man had usually done. It was latealmost darkand the government
inspectors had all goneand there were only a dozen or two of men on
the floor. That day they had killed about four thousand cattleand these
cattle had come in freight trains from far statesand some of them had
got hurt. There were some with broken legsand some with gored sides;
there were some that had diedfrom what cause no one could say; and they
were all to be disposed ofhere in darkness and silence. "Downers the
men called them; and the packing house had a special elevator upon which
they were raised to the killing beds, where the gang proceeded to handle
them, with an air of businesslike nonchalance which said plainer than
any words that it was a matter of everyday routine. It took a couple of
hours to get them out of the way, and in the end Jurgis saw them go into
the chilling rooms with the rest of the meat, being carefully scattered
here and there so that they could not be identified. When he came home
that night he was in a very somber mood, having begun to see at last
how those might be right who had laughed at him for his faith in America.

Chapter 6

Jurgis and Ona were very much in love; they had waited a long time-it
was now well into the second year, and Jurgis judged everything by
the criterion of its helping or hindering their union. All his thoughts
were there; he accepted the family because it was a part of Ona. And he
was interested in the house because it was to be Ona's home. Even the
tricks and cruelties he saw at Durham's had little meaning for him just
then, save as they might happen to affect his future with Ona.

The marriage would have been at once, if they had had their way;
but this would mean that they would have to do without any wedding
feast, and when they suggested this they came into conflict with the
old people. To Teta Elzbieta especially the very suggestion was an
affliction. What! she would cry. To be married on the roadside like
a parcel of beggars! No! No!--Elzbieta had some traditions behind her;
she had been a person of importance in her girlhood--had lived on a big
estate and had servants, and might have married well and been a lady,


but for the fact that there had been nine daughters and no sons in the
family. Even so, however, she knew what was decent, and clung to her
traditions with desperation. They were not going to lose all caste,
even if they had come to be unskilled laborers in Packingtown; and that
Ona had even talked of omitting a Yeselija was enough to keep her
stepmother lying awake all night. It was in vain for them to say that
they had so few friends; they were bound to have friends in time, and then
the friends would talk about it. They must not give up what was right
for a little money--if they did, the money would never do them any good,
they could depend upon that. And Elzbieta would call upon Dede Antanas
to support her; there was a fear in the souls of these two, lest this
journey to a new country might somehow undermine the old home virtues of
their children. The very first Sunday they had all been taken to mass;
and poor as they were, Elzbieta had felt it advisable to invest a little
of her resources in a representation of the babe of Bethlehem, made in
plaster, and painted in brilliant colors. Though it was only a foot high,
there was a shrine with four snow-white steeples, and the Virgin standing
with her child in her arms, and the kings and shepherds and wise men
bowing down before him. It had cost fifty cents; but Elzbieta had a
feeling that money spent for such things was not to be counted too
closely, it would come back in hidden ways. The piece was beautiful
on the parlor mantel, and one could not have a home without some sort
of ornament.

The cost of the wedding feast would, of course, be returned to them;
but the problem was to raise it even temporarily. They had been in
the neighborhood so short a time that they could not get much credit,
and there was no one except Szedvilas from whom they could borrow even
a little. Evening after evening Jurgis and Ona would sit and figure the
expenses, calculating the term of their separation. They could not
possibly manage it decently for less than two hundred dollars, and even
though they were welcome to count in the whole of the earnings of Marija
and Jonas, as a loan, they could not hope to raise this sum in less than
four or five months. So Ona began thinking of seeking employment herself,
saying that if she had even ordinarily good luck, she might be able to
take two months off the time. They were just beginning to adjust
themselves to this necessity, when out of the clear sky there fell a
thunderbolt upon them--a calamity that scattered all their hopes to the
four winds.

About a block away from them there lived another Lithuanian family,
consisting of an elderly widow and one grown son; their name was
Majauszkis, and our friends struck up an acquaintance with them before
long. One evening they came over for a visit, and naturally the first
subject upon which the conversation turned was the neighborhood and its
history; and then Grandmother Majauszkiene, as the old lady was called,
proceeded to recite to them a string of horrors that fairly froze their
blood. She was a wrinkled-up and wizened personage--she must have been
eighty--and as she mumbled the grim story through her toothless gums,
she seemed a very old witch to them. Grandmother Majauszkiene had lived
in the midst of misfortune so long that it had come to be her element,
and she talked about starvation, sickness, and death as other people
might about weddings and holidays.

The thing came gradually. In the first place as to the house they had
bought, it was not new at all, as they had supposed; it was about fifteen
years old, and there was nothing new upon it but the paint, which was so
bad that it needed to be put on new every year or two. The house was one
of a whole row that was built by a company which existed to make money
by swindling poor people. The family had paid fifteen hundred dollars
for it, and it had not cost the builders five hundred, when it was new.
Grandmother Majauszkiene knew that because her son belonged to a political
organization with a contractor who put up exactly such houses. They used
the very flimsiest and cheapest material; they built the houses a dozen


at a time, and they cared about nothing at all except the outside shine.
The family could take her word as to the trouble they would have, for she
had been through it all--she and her son had bought their house in exactly
the same way. They had fooled the company, however, for her son was a
skilled man, who made as high as a hundred dollars a month, and as he had
had sense enough not to marry, they had been able to pay for the house.

Grandmother Majauszkiene saw that her friends were puzzled at this remark;
they did not quite see how paying for the house was fooling the company."
Evidently they were very inexperienced. Cheap as the houses werethey
were sold with the idea that the people who bought them would not be able
to pay for them. When they failed--if it were only by a single month-they
would lose the house and all that they had paid on itand then
the company would sell it over again. And did they often get a chance
to do that? Dieve! (Grandmother Majauszkiene raised her hands.) They did
it--how often no one could saybut certainly more than half of the time.
They might ask any one who knew anything at all about Packingtown as to
that; she had been living here ever since this house was builtand she
could tell them all about it. And had it ever been sold before?
Susimilkie! Whysince it had been builtno less than four families
that their informant could name had tried to buy it and failed. She would
tell them a little about it.

The first family had been Germans. The families had all been of different
nationalities--there had been a representative of several races that had
displaced each other in the stockyards. Grandmother Majauszkiene had
come to America with her son at a time when so far as she knew there was
only one other Lithuanian family in the district; the workers had all
been Germans then--skilled cattle butchers that the packers had brought
from abroad to start the business. Afterwardas cheaper labor had come
these Germans had moved away. The next were the Irish--there had been
six or eight years when Packingtown had been a regular Irish city.
There were a few colonies of them still hereenough to run all the
unions and the police force and get all the graft; but most of those
who were working in the packing houses had gone away at the next drop
in wages--after the big strike. The Bohemians had come thenand after
them the Poles. People said that old man Durham himself was responsible
for these immigrations; he had sworn that he would fix the people of
Packingtown so that they would never again call a strike on himand so
he had sent his agents into every city and village in Europe to spread
the tale of the chances of work and high wages at the stockyards.
The people had come in hordes; and old Durham had squeezed them tighter
and tighterspeeding them up and grinding them to pieces and sending
for new ones. The Poleswho had come by tens of thousandshad been
driven to the wall by the Lithuaniansand now the Lithuanians were
giving way to the Slovaks. Who there was poorer and more miserable than
the SlovaksGrandmother Majauszkiene had no ideabut the packers would
find themnever fear. It was easy to bring themfor wages were really
much higherand it was only when it was too late that the poor people
found out that everything else was higher too. They were like rats in
a trapthat was the truth; and more of them were piling in every day.
By and by they would have their revengethoughfor the thing was
getting beyond human enduranceand the people would rise and murder
the packers. Grandmother Majauszkiene was a socialistor some such
strange thing; another son of hers was working in the mines of Siberia
and the old lady herself had made speeches in her time--which made her
seem all the more terrible to her present auditors.

They called her back to the story of the house. The German family
had been a good sort. To be sure there had been a great many of them
which was a common failing in Packingtown; but they had worked hard
and the father had been a steady manand they had a good deal more
than half paid for the house. But he had been killed in an elevator
accident in Durham's.


Then there had come the Irishand there had been lots of themtoo;
the husband drank and beat the children--the neighbors could hear them
shrieking any night. They were behind with their rent all the time
but the company was good to them; there was some politics back of that
Grandmother Majauszkiene could not say just whatbut the Laffertys
had belonged to the "War Whoop League which was a sort of political
club of all the thugs and rowdies in the district; and if you belonged
to that, you could never be arrested for anything. Once upon a time
old Lafferty had been caught with a gang that had stolen cows from
several of the poor people of the neighborhood and butchered them in
an old shanty back of the yards and sold them. He had been in jail only
three days for it, and had come out laughing, and had not even lost his
place in the packing house. He had gone all to ruin with the drink,
however, and lost his power; one of his sons, who was a good man,
had kept him and the family up for a year or two, but then he had got
sick with consumption.

That was another thing, Grandmother Majauszkiene interrupted herself-this
house was unlucky. Every family that lived in it, some one was
sure to get consumption. Nobody could tell why that was; there must
be something about the house, or the way it was built--some folks said
it was because the building had been begun in the dark of the moon.
There were dozens of houses that way in Packingtown. Sometimes there
would be a particular room that you could point out--if anybody slept
in that room he was just as good as dead. With this house it had been
the Irish first; and then a Bohemian family had lost a child of it-though,
to be sure, that was uncertain, since it was hard to tell what
was the matter with children who worked in the yards. In those days
there had been no law about the age of children--the packers had worked
all but the babies. At this remark the family looked puzzled, and
Grandmother Majauszkiene again had to make an explanation--that it was
against the law for children to work before they were sixteen. What was
the sense of that? they asked. They had been thinking of letting little
Stanislovas go to work. Well, there was no need to worry, Grandmother
Majauszkiene said--the law made no difference except that it forced
people to lie about the ages of their children. One would like to know
what the lawmakers expected them to do; there were families that had no
possible means of support except the children, and the law provided them
no other way of getting a living. Very often a man could get no work in
Packingtown for months, while a child could go and get a place easily;
there was always some new machine, by which the packers could get as
much work out of a child as they had been able to get out of a man,
and for a third of the pay.

To come back to the house again, it was the woman of the next family
that had died. That was after they had been there nearly four years,
and this woman had had twins regularly every year--and there had been
more than you could count when they moved in. After she died the man
would go to work all day and leave them to shift for themselves--the
neighbors would help them now and then, for they would almost freeze
to death. At the end there were three days that they were alone,
before it was found out that the father was dead. He was a floorsman"
at Jones'sand a wounded steer had broken loose and mashed him against
a pillar. Then the children had been taken awayand the company had
sold the house that very same week to a party of emigrants.

So this grim old women went on with her tale of horrors. How much
of it was exaggeration--who could tell? It was only too plausible.
There was that about consumptionfor instance. They knew nothing about
consumption whateverexcept that it made people cough; and for two weeks
they had been worrying about a coughing-spell of Antanas. It seemed to
shake him all overand it never stopped; you could see a red stain
wherever he had spit upon the floor.


And yet all these things were as nothing to what came a little later.
They had begun to question the old lady as to why one family had been
unable to paytrying to show her by figures that it ought to have been
possible; and Grandmother Majauszkiene had disputed their figures-"
You say twelve dollars a month; but that does not include the interest."

Then they stared at her. "Interest!" they cried.

Interest on the money you still owe,she answered.

But we don't have to pay any interest!they exclaimedthree or four
at once. "We only have to pay twelve dollars each month."

And for this she laughed at them. "You are like all the rest she said;
they trick you and eat you alive. They never sell the houses without
interest. Get your deedand see."

Thenwith a horrible sinking of the heartTeta Elzbieta unlocked her
bureau and brought out the paper that had already caused them so many
agonies. Now they sat roundscarcely breathingwhile the old lady
who could read Englishran over it. "Yes she said, finally, here it
isof course: 'With interest thereon monthlyat the rate of seven per
cent per annum.'"

And there followed a dead silence. "What does that mean?" asked Jurgis
finallyalmost in a whisper.

That means,replied the otherthat you have to pay them seven dollars
next month, as well as the twelve dollars.

Then again there was not a sound. It was sickeninglike a nightmare
in which suddenly something gives way beneath youand you feel yourself
sinkingsinkingdown into bottomless abysses. As if in a flash of
lightning they saw themselves--victims of a relentless fatecornered
trappedin the grip of destruction. All the fair structure of their
hopes came crashing about their ears.--And all the time the old woman
was going on talking. They wished that she would be still; her voice
sounded like the croaking of some dismal raven. Jurgis sat with his
hands clenched and beads of perspiration on his foreheadand there was
a great lump in Ona's throatchoking her. Then suddenly Teta Elzbieta
broke the silence with a wailand Marija began to wring her hands and
sobAi! Ai! Beda man!

All their outcry did them no goodof course. There sat Grandmother
Majauszkieneunrelentingtypifying fate. Noof course it was not fair
but then fairness had nothing to do with it. And of course they had not
known it. They had not been intended to know it. But it was in the deed
and that was all that was necessaryas they would find when the time came.

Somehow or other they got rid of their guestand then they passed a
night of lamentation. The children woke up and found out that something
was wrongand they wailed and would not be comforted. In the morning
of coursemost of them had to go to workthe packing houses would not
stop for their sorrows; but by seven o'clock Ona and her stepmother were
standing at the door of the office of the agent. Yeshe told them
when he cameit was quite true that they would have to pay interest.
And then Teta Elzbieta broke forth into protestations and reproaches
so that the people outside stopped and peered in at the window. The agent
was as bland as ever. He was deeply painedhe said. He had not told
themsimply because he had supposed they would understand that they had
to pay interest upon their debtas a matter of course.

So they came awayand Ona went down to the yardsand at noontime saw


Jurgis and told him. Jurgis took it stolidly--he had made up his mind
to it by this time. It was part of fate; they would manage it somehow-he
made his usual answerI will work harder.It would upset their
plans for a time; and it would perhaps be necessary for Ona to get work
after all. Then Ona added that Teta Elzbieta had decided that little
Stanislovas would have to work too. It was not fair to let Jurgis and
her support the family--the family would have to help as it could.
Previously Jurgis had scouted this ideabut now knit his brows and
nodded his head slowly--yesperhaps it would be best; they would all
have to make some sacrifices now.

So Ona set out that day to hunt for work; and at night Marija came home
saying that she had met a girl named Jasaityte who had a friend that
worked in one of the wrapping rooms in Brown'sand might get a place
for Ona there; only the forelady was the kind that takes presents--it
was no use for any one to ask her for a place unless at the same time
they slipped a ten-dollar bill into her hand. Jurgis was not in the
least surprised at this now--he merely asked what the wages of the place
would be. So negotiations were openedand after an interview Ona came
home and reported that the forelady seemed to like herand had said that
while she was not sureshe thought she might be able to put her at work
sewing covers on hamsa job at which she would earn as much as eight or
ten dollars a week. That was a bidso Marija reportedafter consulting
her friend; and then there was an anxious conference at home. The work
was done in one of the cellarsand Jurgis did not want Ona to work in
such a place; but then it was easy workand one could not have everything.
So in the end Onawith a ten-dollar bill burning a hole in her palmhad
another interview with the forelady.

Meantime Teta Elzbieta had taken Stanislovas to the priest and gotten
a certificate to the effect that he was two years older than he was;
and with it the little boy now sallied forth to make his fortune in
the world. It chanced that Durham had just put in a wonderful new
lard machineand when the special policeman in front of the time
station saw Stanislovas and his documenthe smiled to himself and
told him to go--"Czia! Czia!" pointing. And so Stanislovas went down
a long stone corridorand up a flight of stairswhich took him into
a room lighted by electricitywith the new machines for filling lard
cans at work in it. The lard was finished on the floor aboveand it
came in little jetslike beautifulwrigglingsnow-white snakes of
unpleasant odor. There were several kinds and sizes of jetsand after
a certain precise quantity had come outeach stopped automatically
and the wonderful machine made a turnand took the can under another jet
and so onuntil it was filled neatly to the brimand pressed tightly
and smoothed off. To attend to all this and fill several hundred cans
of lard per hourthere were necessary two human creaturesone of whom
knew how to place an empty lard can on a certain spot every few seconds
and the other of whom knew how to take a full lard can off a certain spot
every few seconds and set it upon a tray.

And soafter little Stanislovas had stood gazing timidly about him for
a few minutesa man approached himand asked what he wantedto which
Stanislovas saidJob.Then the man said "How old?" and Stanislovas
answeredSixtin.Once or twice every year a state inspector would
come wandering through the packing plantsasking a child here and
there how old he was; and so the packers were very careful to comply
with the lawwhich cost them as much trouble as was now involved in
the boss's taking the document from the little boyand glancing at it
and then sending it to the office to be filed away. Then he set some one
else at a different joband showed the lad how to place a lard can every
time the empty arm of the remorseless machine came to him; and so was
decided the place in the universe of little Stanislovasand his destiny
till the end of his days. Hour after hourday after dayyear after
yearit was fated that he should stand upon a certain square foot of


floor from seven in the morning until noonand again from half-past
twelve till half-past fivemaking never a motion and thinking never a
thoughtsave for the setting of lard cans. In summer the stench of the
warm lard would be nauseatingand in winter the cans would all but freeze
to his naked little fingers in the unheated cellar. Half the year it would
be dark as night when he went in to workand dark as night again when he
came outand so he would never know what the sun looked like on weekdays.
And for thisat the end of the weekhe would carry home three dollars to
his familybeing his pay at the rate of five cents per hour--just about
his proper share of the total earnings of the million and three-quarters of
children who are now engaged in earning their livings in the United States.

And meantimebecause they were youngand hope is not to be stifled before
its timeJurgis and Ona were again calculating; for they had discovered
that the wages of Stanislovas would a little more than pay the interest
which left them just about as they had been before! It would be but fair
to them to say that the little boy was delighted with his workand at the
idea of earning a lot of money; and also that the two were very much in
love with each other.

Chapter 7

All summer long the family toiledand in the fall they had money enough
for Jurgis and Ona to be married according to home traditions of decency.
In the latter part of November they hired a halland invited all their
new acquaintanceswho came and left them over a hundred dollars in debt.

It was a bitter and cruel experienceand it plunged them into an agony
of despair. Such a timeof all timesfor them to have itwhen their
hearts were made tender! Such a pitiful beginning it was for their
married life; they loved each other soand they could not have the
briefest respite! It was a time when everything cried out to them that
they ought to be happy; when wonder burned in their heartsand leaped
into flame at the slightest breath. They were shaken to the depths
of themwith the awe of love realized--and was it so very weak of them
that they cried out for a little peace? They had opened their hearts
like flowers to the springtimeand the merciless winter had fallen
upon them. They wondered if ever any love that had blossomed in the
world had been so crushed and trampled!

Over themrelentless and savagethere cracked the lash of want;
the morning after the wedding it sought them as they sleptand drove
them out before daybreak to work. Ona was scarcely able to stand with
exhaustion; but if she were to lose her place they would be ruined
and she would surely lose it if she were not on time that day. They all
had to goeven little Stanislovaswho was ill from overindulgence in
sausages and sarsaparilla. All that day he stood at his lard machine
rocking unsteadilyhis eyes closing in spite of him; and he all but
lost his place even sofor the foreman booted him twice to waken him.

It was fully a week before they were all normal againand meantime
with whining children and cross adultsthe house was not a pleasant
place to live in. Jurgis lost his temper very littlehoweverall
things considered. It was because of Ona; the least glance at her was
always enough to make him control himself. She was so sensitive--she
was not fitted for such a life as this; and a hundred times a day
when he thought of herhe would clench his hands and fling himself
again at the task before him. She was too good for himhe told himself
and he was afraidbecause she was his. So long he had hungered to
possess herbut now that the time had come he knew that he had not
earned the right; that she trusted him so was all her own simple


goodnessand no virtue of his. But he was resolved that she should
never find this outand so was always on the watch to see that he did not
betray any of his ugly self; he would take care even in little matters
such as his mannersand his habit of swearing when things went wrong.
The tears came so easily into Ona's eyesand she would look at him so
appealingly--it kept Jurgis quite busy making resolutionsin addition
to all the other things he had on his mind. It was true that more things
were going on at this time in the mind of Jurgis than ever had in all his
life before.

He had to protect herto do battle for her against the horror he saw
about them. He was all that she had to look toand if he failed she
would be lost; he would wrap his arms about herand try to hide her
from the world. He had learned the ways of things about him now. It was
a war of each against alland the devil take the hindmost. You did not
give feasts to other peopleyou waited for them to give feasts to you.
You went about with your soul full of suspicion and hatred; you understood
that you were environed by hostile powers that were trying to get your
moneyand who used all the virtues to bait their traps with. The storekeepers
plastered up their windows with all sorts of lies to entice you;
the very fences by the waysidethe lampposts and telegraph poleswere
pasted over with lies. The great corporation which employed you lied
to youand lied to the whole country--from top to bottom it was nothing
but one gigantic lie.

So Jurgis said that he understood it; and yet it was really pitiful
for the struggle was so unfair--some had so much the advantage!
Here he wasfor instancevowing upon his knees that he would save
Ona from harmand only a week later she was suffering atrociously
and from the blow of an enemy that he could not possibly have thwarted.
There came a day when the rain fell in torrents; and it being December
to be wet with it and have to sit all day long in one of the cold cellars
of Brown's was no laughing matter. Ona was a working girland did not
own waterproofs and such thingsand so Jurgis took her and put her on
the streetcar. Now it chanced that this car line was owned by gentlemen
who were trying to make money. And the city having passed an ordinance
requiring them to give transfersthey had fallen into a rage; and first
they had made a rule that transfers could be had only when the fare was
paid; and latergrowing still uglierthey had made another--that the
passenger must ask for the transferthe conductor was not allowed to
offer it. Now Ona had been told that she was to get a transfer; but it
was not her way to speak upand so she merely waitedfollowing the
conductor about with her eyeswondering when he would think of her.
When at last the time came for her to get outshe asked for the transfer
and was refused. Not knowing what to make of thisshe began to argue
with the conductorin a language of which he did not understand a word.
After warning her several timeshe pulled the bell and the car went
on--at which Ona burst into tears. At the next corner she got out
of course; and as she had no more moneyshe had to walk the rest of
the way to the yards in the pouring rain. And so all day long she sat
shiveringand came home at night with her teeth chattering and pains
in her head and back. For two weeks afterward she suffered cruelly-and
yet every day she had to drag herself to her work. The forewoman was
especially severe with Onabecause she believed that she was obstinate
on account of having been refused a holiday the day after her wedding.
Ona had an idea that her "forelady" did not like to have her girls
marry--perhaps because she was old and ugly and unmarried herself.

There were many such dangersin which the odds were all against them.
Their children were not as well as they had been at home; but how could
they know that there was no sewer to their houseand that the drainage
of fifteen years was in a cesspool under it? How could they know that
the pale-blue milk that they bought around the corner was watered
and doctored with formaldehyde besides? When the children were not


well at homeTeta Elzbieta would gather herbs and cure them; now she
was obliged to go to the drugstore and buy extracts--and how was she to
know that they were all adulterated? How could they find out that their
tea and coffeetheir sugar and flourhad been doctored; that their
canned peas had been colored with copper saltsand their fruit jams with
aniline dyes? And even if they had known itwhat good would it have
done themsince there was no place within miles of them where any other
sort was to be had? The bitter winter was comingand they had to save
money to get more clothing and bedding; but it would not matter in the
least how much they savedthey could not get anything to keep them warm.
All the clothing that was to be had in the stores was made of cotton and
shoddywhich is made by tearing old clothes to pieces and weaving the
fiber again. If they paid higher pricesthey might get frills and
fancinessor be cheated; but genuine quality they could not obtain for
love nor money. A young friend of Szedvilas'recently come from abroad
had become a clerk in a store on Ashland Avenueand he narrated with
glee a trick that had been played upon an unsuspecting countryman by
his boss. The customer had desired to purchase an alarm clockand the
boss had shown him two exactly similartelling him that the price of
one was a dollar and of the other a dollar seventy-five. Upon being
asked what the difference wasthe man had wound up the first halfway
and the second all the wayand showed the customer how the latter
made twice as much noise; upon which the customer remarked that he was
a sound sleeperand had better take the more expensive clock!

There is a poet who sings that

Deeper their heart grows and nobler their bearing,
Whose youth in the fires of anguish hath died.


But it was not likely that he had reference to the kind of anguish that
comes with destitutionthat is so endlessly bitter and crueland yet
so sordid and pettyso uglyso humiliating--unredeemed by the slightest
touch of dignity or even of pathos. It is a kind of anguish that poets
have not commonly dealt with; its very words are not admitted into the
vocabulary of poets--the details of it cannot be told in polite society
at all. Howfor instancecould any one expect to excite sympathy among
lovers of good literature by telling how a family found their home alive
with verminand of all the suffering and inconvenience and humiliation
they were put toand the hard-earned money they spentin efforts to get
rid of them? After long hesitation and uncertainty they paid twenty-five
cents for a big package of insect powder--a patent preparation which
chanced to be ninety-five per cent gypsuma harmless earth which had
cost about two cents to prepare. Of course it had not the least effect
except upon a few roaches which had the misfortune to drink water after
eating itand so got their inwards set in a coating of plaster of Paris.
The familyhaving no idea of thisand no more money to throw away
had nothing to do but give up and submit to one more misery for the rest
of their days.

Then there was old Antanas. The winter cameand the place where he
worked was a darkunheated cellarwhere you could see your breath
all dayand where your fingers sometimes tried to freeze. So the
old man's cough grew every day worseuntil there came a time when it
hardly ever stoppedand he had become a nuisance about the place.
Thentooa still more dreadful thing happened to him; he worked in
a place where his feet were soaked in chemicalsand it was not long
before they had eaten through his new boots. Then sores began to break
out on his feetand grow worse and worse. Whether it was that his blood
was bador there had been a cuthe could not say; but he asked the men
about itand learned that it was a regular thing--it was the saltpeter.
Every one felt itsooner or laterand then it was all up with him
at least for that sort of work. The sores would never heal--in the end
his toes would drop offif he did not quit. Yet old Antanas would not


quit; he saw the suffering of his familyand he remembered what it had
cost him to get a job. So he tied up his feetand went on limping about
and coughinguntil at last he fell to piecesall at once and in a heap
like the One-Horse Shay. They carried him to a dry place and laid him
on the floorand that night two of the men helped him home. The poor
old man was put to bedand though he tried it every morning until the
endhe never could get up again. He would lie there and cough and cough
day and nightwasting away to a mere skeleton. There came a time when
there was so little flesh on him that the bones began to poke through-which
was a horrible thing to see or even to think of. And one night
he had a choking fitand a little river of blood came out of his mouth.
The familywild with terrorsent for a doctorand paid half a dollar
to be told that there was nothing to be done. Mercifully the doctor did
not say this so that the old man could hearfor he was still clinging
to the faith that tomorrow or next day he would be betterand could go
back to his job. The company had sent word to him that they would keep
it for him--or rather Jurgis had bribed one of the men to come one Sunday
afternoon and say they had. Dede Antanas continued to believe itwhile
three more hemorrhages came; and then at last one morning they found him
stiff and cold. Things were not going well with them thenand though
it nearly broke Teta Elzbieta's heartthey were forced to dispense with
nearly all the decencies of a funeral; they had only a hearseand one
hack for the women and children; and Jurgiswho was learning things fast
spent all Sunday making a bargain for theseand he made it in the
presence of witnessesso that when the man tried to charge him for all
sorts of incidentalshe did not have to pay. For twenty-five years old
Antanas Rudkus and his son had dwelt in the forest togetherand it was
hard to part in this way; perhaps it was just as well that Jurgis had to
give all his attention to the task of having a funeral without being
bankruptedand so had no time to indulge in memories and grief.

Now the dreadful winter was come upon them. In the forestsall summer
longthe branches of the trees do battle for lightand some of them
lose and die; and then come the raging blastsand the storms of snow
and hailand strew the ground with these weaker branches. Just so it
was in Packingtown; the whole district braced itself for the struggle
that was an agonyand those whose time was come died off in hordes.
All the year round they had been serving as cogs in the great packing
machine; and now was the time for the renovating of itand the replacing
of damaged parts. There came pneumonia and grippestalking among them
seeking for weakened constitutions; there was the annual harvest of those
whom tuberculosis had been dragging down. There came cruelcoldand
biting windsand blizzards of snowall testing relentlessly for failing
muscles and impoverished blood. Sooner or later came the day when the
unfit one did not report for work; and thenwith no time lost in waiting
and no inquiries or regretsthere was a chance for a new hand.

The new hands were here by the thousands. All day long the gates of the
packing houses were besieged by starving and penniless men; they came
literallyby the thousands every single morningfighting with each
other for a chance for life. Blizzards and cold made no difference
to themthey were always on hand; they were on hand two hours before the
sun rosean hour before the work began. Sometimes their faces froze
sometimes their feet and their hands; sometimes they froze all together-but
still they camefor they had no other place to go. One day Durham
advertised in the paper for two hundred men to cut ice; and all that day
the homeless and starving of the city came trudging through the snow from
all over its two hundred square miles. That night forty score of them
crowded into the station house of the stockyards district--they filled
the roomssleeping in each other's lapstoboggan fashionand they
piled on top of each other in the corridorstill the police shut the
doors and left some to freeze outside. On the morrowbefore daybreak
there were three thousand at Durham'sand the police reserves had to be


sent for to quell the riot. Then Durham's bosses picked out twenty of
the biggest; the "two hundred" proved to have been a printer's error.

Four or five miles to the eastward lay the lakeand over this the bitter
winds came raging. Sometimes the thermometer would fall to ten or twenty
degrees below zero at nightand in the morning the streets would be
piled with snowdrifts up to the first-floor windows. The streets through
which our friends had to go to their work were all unpaved and full of
deep holes and gullies; in summerwhen it rained harda man might have
to wade to his waist to get to his house; and now in winter it was no
joke getting through these placesbefore light in the morning and after
dark at night. They would wrap up in all they ownedbut they could not
wrap up against exhaustion; and many a man gave out in these battles with
the snowdriftsand lay down and fell asleep.

And if it was bad for the menone may imagine how the women and children
fared. Some would ride in the carsif the cars were running; but when
you are making only five cents an houras was little Stanislovasyou
do not like to spend that much to ride two miles. The children would
come to the yards with great shawls about their earsand so tied up
that you could hardly find them--and still there would be accidents.
One bitter morning in February the little boy who worked at the lard
machine with Stanislovas came about an hour lateand screaming with pain.
They unwrapped himand a man began vigorously rubbing his ears; and as
they were frozen stiffit took only two or three rubs to break them
short off. As a result of thislittle Stanislovas conceived a terror of
the cold that was almost a mania. Every morningwhen it came time to
start for the yardshe would begin to cry and protest. Nobody knew quite
how to manage himfor threats did no good--it seemed to be something that
he could not controland they feared sometimes that he would go into
convulsions. In the end it had to be arranged that he always went with
Jurgisand came home with him again; and oftenwhen the snow was deep
the man would carry him the whole way on his shoulders. Sometimes Jurgis
would be working until late at nightand then it was pitifulfor there
was no place for the little fellow to waitsave in the doorways or in
a corner of the killing bedsand he would all but fall asleep there
and freeze to death.

There was no heat upon the killing beds; the men might exactly as well
have worked out of doors all winter. For that matterthere was very
little heat anywhere in the buildingexcept in the cooking rooms and
such places--and it was the men who worked in these who ran the most
risk of allbecause whenever they had to pass to another room they
had to go through ice-cold corridorsand sometimes with nothing on
above the waist except a sleeveless undershirt. On the killing beds
you were apt to be covered with bloodand it would freeze solid; if you
leaned against a pillaryou would freeze to thatand if you put your
hand upon the blade of your knifeyou would run a chance of leaving
your skin on it. The men would tie up their feet in newspapers and old
sacksand these would be soaked in blood and frozenand then soaked
againand so onuntil by nighttime a man would be walking on great
lumps the size of the feet of an elephant. Now and thenwhen the bosses
were not lookingyou would see them plunging their feet and ankles into
the steaming hot carcass of the steeror darting across the room to the
hot-water jets. The cruelest thing of all was that nearly all of them-all
of those who used knives--were unable to wear glovesand their arms
would be white with frost and their hands would grow numband then of
course there would be accidents. Also the air would be full of steam
from the hot water and the hot bloodso that you could not see five feet
before you; and thenwith men rushing about at the speed they kept up
on the killing bedsand all with butcher kniveslike razorsin their
hands-- wellit was to be counted as a wonder that there were not more
men slaughtered than cattle.


And yet all this inconvenience they might have put up withif only it
had not been for one thing--if only there had been some place where they
might eat. Jurgis had either to eat his dinner amid the stench in which
he had workedor else to rushas did all his companionsto any one of
the hundreds of liquor stores which stretched out their arms to him.
To the west of the yards ran Ashland Avenueand here was an unbroken
line of saloons--"Whiskey Row they called it; to the north was Forty-
seventh Street, where there were half a dozen to the block, and at the
angle of the two was Whiskey Point a space of fifteen or twenty acres,
and containing one glue factory and about two hundred saloons.

One might walk among these and take his choice: Hot pea-soup and boiled
cabbage today." "Sauerkraut and hot frankfurters. Walk in." "Bean soup
and stewed lamb. Welcome." All of these things were printed in many
languagesas were also the names of the resortswhich were infinite
in their variety and appeal. There was the "Home Circle" and the
Cosey Corner; there were "Firesides" and "Hearthstones" and "Pleasure
Palaces" and "Wonderlands" and "Dream Castles" and "Love's Delights."
Whatever else they were calledthey were sure to be called "Union
Headquarters and to hold out a welcome to workingmen; and there was
always a warm stove, and a chair near it, and some friends to laugh
and talk with. There was only one condition attached,--you must drink.
If you went in not intending to drink, you would be put out in no time,
and if you were slow about going, like as not you would get your head
split open with a beer bottle in the bargain. But all of the men
understood the convention and drank; they believed that by it they were
getting something for nothing--for they did not need to take more than
one drink, and upon the strength of it they might fill themselves up with
a good hot dinner. This did not always work out in practice, however,
for there was pretty sure to be a friend who would treat you, and then
you would have to treat him. Then some one else would come in--and,
anyhow, a few drinks were good for a man who worked hard. As he went
back he did not shiver so, he had more courage for his task; the deadly
brutalizing monotony of it did not afflict him so,--he had ideas while
he worked, and took a more cheerful view of his circumstances. On the
way home, however, the shivering was apt to come on him again; and so
he would have to stop once or twice to warm up against the cruel cold.
As there were hot things to eat in this saloon too, he might get home
late to his supper, or he might not get home at all. And then his
wife might set out to look for him, and she too would feel the cold;
and perhaps she would have some of the children with her--and so a
whole family would drift into drinking, as the current of a river drifts
downstream. As if to complete the chain, the packers all paid their men
in checks, refusing all requests to pay in coin; and where in Packingtown
could a man go to have his check cashed but to a saloon, where he could
pay for the favor by spending a part of the money?

From all of these things Jurgis was saved because of Ona. He never
would take but the one drink at noontime; and so he got the reputation
of being a surly fellow, and was not quite welcome at the saloons,
and had to drift about from one to another. Then at night he would
go straight home, helping Ona and Stanislovas, or often putting the
former on a car. And when he got home perhaps he would have to trudge
several blocks, and come staggering back through the snowdrifts with a
bag of coal upon his shoulder. Home was not a very attractive place-at
least not this winter. They had only been able to buy one stove,
and this was a small one, and proved not big enough to warm even the
kitchen in the bitterest weather. This made it hard for Teta Elzbieta
all day, and for the children when they could not get to school. At night
they would sit huddled round this stove, while they ate their supper off
their laps; and then Jurgis and Jonas would smoke a pipe, after which
they would all crawl into their beds to get warm, after putting out the
fire to save the coal. Then they would have some frightful experiences
with the cold. They would sleep with all their clothes on, including


their overcoats, and put over them all the bedding and spare clothing
they owned; the children would sleep all crowded into one bed, and yet
even so they could not keep warm. The outside ones would be shivering
and sobbing, crawling over the others and trying to get down into the
center, and causing a fight. This old house with the leaky weatherboards
was a very different thing from their cabins at home, with great thick
walls plastered inside and outside with mud; and the cold which came
upon them was a living thing, a demon-presence in the room. They would
waken in the midnight hours, when everything was black; perhaps they would
hear it yelling outside, or perhaps there would be deathlike stillness-and
that would be worse yet. They could feel the cold as it crept in
through the cracks, reaching out for them with its icy, death-dealing
fingers; and they would crouch and cower, and try to hide from it, all
in vain. It would come, and it would come; a grisly thing, a specter
born in the black caverns of terror; a power primeval, cosmic, shadowing
the tortures of the lost souls flung out to chaos and destruction. It was
cruel iron-hard; and hour after hour they would cringe in its grasp,
alone, alone. There would be no one to hear them if they cried out;
there would be no help, no mercy. And so on until morning--when they
would go out to another day of toil, a little weaker, a little nearer
to the time when it would be their turn to be shaken from the tree.

Chapter 8

Yet even by this deadly winter the germ of hope was not to be kept from
sprouting in their hearts. It was just at this time that the great
adventure befell Marija.

The victim was Tamoszius Kuszleika, who played the violin. Everybody
laughed at them, for Tamoszius was petite and frail, and Marija could
have picked him up and carried him off under one arm. But perhaps that
was why she fascinated him; the sheer volume of Marija's energy was
overwhelming. That first night at the wedding Tamoszius had hardly taken
his eyes off her; and later on, when he came to find that she had really
the heart of a baby, her voice and her violence ceased to terrify him,
and he got the habit of coming to pay her visits on Sunday afternoons.
There was no place to entertain company except in the kitchen, in the
midst of the family, and Tamoszius would sit there with his hat between
his knees, never saying more than half a dozen words at a time, and turning
red in the face before he managed to say those; until finally Jurgis would
clap him upon the back, in his hearty way, crying, Come nowbrother
give us a tune." And then Tamoszius' face would light up and he would
get out his fiddletuck it under his chinand play. And forthwith
the soul of him would flame up and become eloquent--it was almost an
improprietyfor all the while his gaze would be fixed upon Marija's face
until she would begin to turn red and lower her eyes. There was no
resisting the music of Tamosziushowever; even the children would sit
awed and wonderingand the tears would run down Teta Elzbieta's cheeks.
A wonderful privilege it was to be thus admitted into the soul of a man
of geniusto be allowed to share the ecstasies and the agonies of his
inmost life.

Then there were other benefits accruing to Marija from this friendship-benefits
of a more substantial nature. People paid Tamoszius big money
to come and make music on state occasions; and also they would invite
him to parties and festivalsknowing well that he was too good-natured
to come without his fiddleand that having brought ithe could be made
to play while others danced. Once he made bold to ask Marija to accompany
him to such a partyand Marija acceptedto his great delight--after which
he never went anywhere without herwhile if the celebration were given by
friends of hishe would invite the rest of the family also. In any case


Marija would bring back a huge pocketful of cakes and sandwiches for the
childrenand stories of all the good things she herself had managed to
consume. She was compelledat these partiesto spend most of her time
at the refreshment tablefor she could not dance with anybody except
other women and very old men; Tamoszius was of an excitable temperament
and afflicted with a frantic jealousyand any unmarried man who ventured
to put his arm about the ample waist of Marija would be certain to throw
the orchestra out of tune.

It was a great help to a person who had to toil all the week to be able
to look forward to some such relaxation as this on Saturday nights.
The family was too poor and too hardworked to make many acquaintances;
in Packingtownas a rulepeople know only their near neighbors and
shopmatesand so the place is like a myriad of little country villages.
But now there was a member of the family who was permitted to travel and
widen her horizon; and so each week there would be new personalities to
talk about--how so-and-so was dressedand where she workedand what
she gotand whom she was in love with; and how this man had jilted his
girland how she had quarreled with the other girland what had passed
between them; and how another man beat his wifeand spent all her earnings
upon drinkand pawned her very clothes. Some people would have scorned
this talk as gossip; but then one has to talk about what one knows.

It was one Saturday nightas they were coming home from a wedding
that Tamoszius found courageand set down his violin case in the street
and spoke his heart; and then Marija clasped him in her arms. She told
them all about it the next dayand fairly cried with happinessfor she
said that Tamoszius was a lovely man. After that he no longer made love
to her with his fiddlebut they would sit for hours in the kitchen
blissfully happy in each other's arms; it was the tacit convention of
the family to know nothing of what was going on in that corner.

They were planning to be married in the springand have the garret
of the house fixed upand live there. Tamoszius made good wages;
and little by little the family were paying back their debt to Marija
so she ought soon to have enough to start life upon--onlywith her
preposterous softheartednessshe would insist upon spending a good part
of her money every week for things which she saw they needed. Marija was
really the capitalist of the partyfor she had become an expert can
painter by this time--she was getting fourteen cents for every hundred
and ten cansand she could paint more than two cans every minute.
Marija feltso to speakthat she had her hand on the throttleand the
neighborhood was vocal with her rejoicings.

Yet her friends would shake their heads and tell her to go slow; one could
not count upon such good fortune forever--there were accidents that always
happened. But Marija was not to be prevailed uponand went on planning
and dreaming of all the treasures she was going to have for her home;
and sowhen the crash did comeher grief was painful to see.

For her canning factory shut down! Marija would about as soon have
expected to see the sun shut down--the huge establishment had been to
her a thing akin to the planets and the seasons. But now it was shut!
And they had not given her any explanationthey had not even given her
a day's warning; they had simply posted a notice one Saturday that all
hands would be paid off that afternoonand would not resume work for
at least a month! And that was all that there was to it--her job was gone!

It was the holiday rush that was overthe girls said in answer to
Marija's inquiries; after that there was always a slack. Sometimes the
factory would start up on half time after a whilebut there was no
telling--it had been known to stay closed until way into the summer.
The prospects were bad at presentfor truckmen who worked in the
storerooms said that these were piled up to the ceilingsso that the


firm could not have found room for another week's output of cans. And they
had turned off three-quarters of these menwhich was a still worse sign
since it meant that there were no orders to be filled. It was all a
swindlecan-paintingsaid the girls--you were crazy with delight because
you were making twelve or fourteen dollars a weekand saving half of it;
but you had to spend it all keeping alive while you were outand so your
pay was really only half what you thought.

Marija came homeand because she was a person who could not rest without
danger of explosionthey first had a great house cleaningand then she
set out to search Packingtown for a job to fill up the gap. As nearly all
the canning establishments were shut downand all the girls hunting work
it will be readily understood that Marija did not find any. Then she took
to trying the stores and saloonsand when this failed she even traveled
over into the far-distant regions near the lake frontwhere lived the
rich people in great palacesand begged there for some sort of work that
could be done by a person who did not know English.

The men upon the killing beds felt also the effects of the slump which
had turned Marija out; but they felt it in a different wayand a way
which made Jurgis understand at last all their bitterness. The big packers
did not turn their hands off and close downlike the canning factories;
but they began to run for shorter and shorter hours. They had always
required the men to be on the killing beds and ready for work at seven
o'clockalthough there was almost never any work to be done till the
buyers out in the yards had gotten to workand some cattle had come over
the chutes. That would often be ten or eleven o'clockwhich was bad
enoughin all conscience; but nowin the slack seasonthey would
perhaps not have a thing for their men to do till late in the afternoon.
And so they would have to loaf aroundin a place where the thermometer
might be twenty degrees below zero! At first one would see them running
aboutor skylarking with each othertrying to keep warm; but before the
day was over they would become quite chilled through and exhaustedand
when the cattle finally cameso near frozen that to move was an agony.
And then suddenly the place would spring into activityand the merciless
speeding-upwould begin!

There were weeks at a time when Jurgis went home after such a day as
this with not more than two hours' work to his credit--which meant about
thirty- five cents. There were many days when the total was less than
half an hourand others when there was none at all. The general average
was six hours a daywhich meant for Jurgis about six dollars a week;
and this six hours of work would be done after standing on the killing bed
till one o'clockor perhaps even three or four o'clockin the afternoon.
Like as not there would come a rush of cattle at the very end of the day
which the men would have to dispose of before they went homeoften working
by electric light till nine or tenor even twelve or one o'clockand
without a single instant for a bite of supper. The men were at the mercy
of the cattle. Perhaps the buyers would be holding off for better prices-if
they could scare the shippers into thinking that they meant to buy
nothing that daythey could get their own terms. For some reason the
cost of fodder for cattle in the yards was much above the market price-and
you were not allowed to bring your own fodder! Thentooa number of
cars were apt to arrive late in the daynow that the roads were blocked
with snowand the packers would buy their cattle that nightto get them
cheaperand then would come into play their ironclad rulethat all
cattle must be killed the same day they were bought. There was no use
kicking about this--there had been one delegation after another to see
the packers about itonly to be told that it was the ruleand that
there was not the slightest chance of its ever being altered. And so
on Christmas Eve Jurgis worked till nearly one o'clock in the morning
and on Christmas Day he was on the killing bed at seven o'clock.


All this was bad; and yet it was not the worst. For after all the hard
work a man didhe was paid for only part of it. Jurgis had once been
among those who scoffed at the idea of these huge concerns cheating;
and so now he could appreciate the bitter irony of the fact that it
was precisely their size which enabled them to do it with impunity.
ne of the rules on the killing beds was that a man who was one minute
late was docked an hour; and this was economicalfor he was made to
work the balance of the hour--he was not allowed to stand round and wait.
And on the other hand if he came ahead of time he got no pay for that-though
often the bosses would start up the gang ten or fifteen minutes
before the whistle. And this same custom they carried over to the end of
the day; they did not pay for any fraction of an hour--for "broken time."
A man might work full fifty minutesbut if there was no work to fill out
the hourthere was no pay for him. Thus the end of every day was a sort
of lottery--a struggleall but breaking into open war between the bosses
and the menthe former trying to rush a job through and the latter
trying to stretch it out. Jurgis blamed the bosses for thisthough the
truth to be told it was not always their fault; for the packers kept them
frightened for their lives--and when one was in danger of falling behind
the standardwhat was easier than to catch up by making the gang work
awhile "for the church"? This was a savage witticism the men hadwhich
Jurgis had to have explained to him. Old man Jones was great on missions
and such thingsand so whenever they were doing some particularly
disreputable jobthe men would wink at each other and sayNow we're
working for the church!

One of the consequences of all these things was that Jurgis was no
longer perplexed when he heard men talk of fighting for their rights.
He felt like fighting now himself; and when the Irish delegate of the
butcher-helpers' union came to him a second timehe received him in
a far different spirit. A wonderful idea it now seemed to Jurgis
this of the men--that by combining they might be able to make a stand
and conquer the packers! Jurgis wondered who had first thought of it;
and when he was told that it was a common thing for men to do in America
he got the first inkling of a meaning in the phrase "a free country."
The delegate explained to him how it depended upon their being able to
get every man to join and stand by the organizationand so Jurgis
signified that he was willing to do his share. Before another month
was byall the working members of his family had union cardsand wore
their union buttons conspicuously and with pride. For fully a week they
were quite blissfully happythinking that belonging to a union meant an
end to all their troubles.

But only ten days after she had joinedMarija's canning factory closed
downand that blow quite staggered them. They could not understand why
the union had not prevented itand the very first time she attended a
meeting Marija got up and made a speech about it. It was a business
meetingand was transacted in Englishbut that made no difference to
Marija; she said what was in herand all the pounding of the chairman's
gavel and all the uproar and confusion in the room could not prevail.
Quite apart from her own troubles she was boiling over with a general
sense of the injustice of itand she told what she thought of the
packersand what she thought of a world where such things were allowed
to happen; and thenwhile the echoes of the hall rang with the shock of
her terrible voiceshe sat down again and fanned herselfand the meeting
gathered itself together and proceeded to discuss the election of a
recording secretary.

Jurgis too had an adventure the first time he attended a union meeting
but it was not of his own seeking. Jurgis had gone with the desire to
get into an inconspicuous corner and see what was done; but this attitude
of silent and open-eyed attention had marked him out for a victim.
Tommy Finnegan was a little Irishmanwith big staring eyes and a wild
aspecta "hoister" by tradeand badly cracked. Somewhere back in the


far-distant past Tommy Finnegan had had a strange experienceand the
burden of it rested upon him. All the balance of his life he had done
nothing but try to make it understood. When he talked he caught his
victim by the buttonholeand his face kept coming closer and closer-which
was tryingbecause his teeth were so bad. Jurgis did not mind that
only he was frightened. The method of operation of the higher intelligences
was Tom Finnegan's themeand he desired to find out if Jurgis had ever
considered that the representation of things in their present similarity
might be altogether unintelligible upon a more elevated plane. There were
assuredly wonderful mysteries about the developing of these things; and
thenbecoming confidentialMr. Finnegan proceeded to tell of some
discoveries of his own. "If ye have iver had onything to do wid
shperrits said he, and looked inquiringly at Jurgis, who kept shaking
his head. Niver mindniver mind continued the other, but their
influences may be operatin' upon ye; it's shure as I'm tellin' yeit's
them that has the reference to the immejit surroundin's that has the most
of power. It was vouchsafed to me in me youthful days to be acquainted
with shperrits" and so Tommy Finnegan went onexpounding a system of
philosophywhile the perspiration came out on Jurgis' foreheadso great
was his agitation and embarrassment. In the end one of the menseeing
his plightcame over and rescued him; but it was some time before he was
able to find any one to explain things to himand meanwhile his fear
lest the strange little Irishman should get him cornered again was enough
to keep him dodging about the room the whole evening.

He never missed a meetinghowever. He had picked up a few words of
English by this timeand friends would help him to understand. They
were often very turbulent meetingswith half a dozen men declaiming
at oncein as many dialects of English; but the speakers were all
desperately in earnestand Jurgis was in earnest toofor he understood
that a fight was onand that it was his fight. Since the time of his
disillusionmentJurgis had sworn to trust no manexcept in his own
family; but here he discovered that he had brothers in affliction
and allies. Their one chance for life was in unionand so the struggle
became a kind of crusade. Jurgis had always been a member of the church
because it was the right thing to bebut the church had never touched
himhe left all that for the women. Herehoweverwas a new religion-one
that did touch himthat took hold of every fiber of him; and with all
the zeal and fury of a convert he went out as a missionary. There were
many nonunion men among the Lithuaniansand with these he would labor
and wrestle in prayertrying to show them the right. Sometimes they
would be obstinate and refuse to see itand Jurgisalaswas not always
patient! He forgot how he himself had been blinda short time ago-after
the fashion of all crusaders since the original oneswho set out
to spread the gospel of Brotherhood by force of arms.

Chapter 9

One of the first consequences of the discovery of the union was that
Jurgis became desirous of learning English. He wanted to know what
was going on at the meetingsand to be able to take part in them
and so he began to look about himand to try to pick up words.
The childrenwho were at schooland learning fastwould teach him
a few; and a friend loaned him a little book that had some in it
and Ona would read them to him. Then Jurgis became sorry that he
could not read himself; and later on in the winterwhen some one
told him that there was a night school that was freehe went and
enrolled. After thatevery evening that he got home from the yards
in timehe would go to the school; he would go even if he were in
time for only half an hour. They were teaching him both to read and
to speak English--and they would have taught him other thingsif only


he had had a little time.

Also the union made another great difference with him--it made him
begin to pay attention to the country. It was the beginning of democracy
with him. It was a little statethe uniona miniature republic;
its affairs were every man's affairsand every man had a real say
about them. In other wordsin the union Jurgis learned to talk politics.
In the place where he had come from there had not been any politics-in
Russia one thought of the government as an affliction like the
lightning and the hail. "Ducklittle brotherduck the wise old
peasants would whisper; everything passes away." And when Jurgis had
first come to America he had supposed that it was the same. He had heard
people say that it was a free country--but what did that mean? He found
that hereprecisely as in Russiathere were rich men who owned everything;
and if one could not find any workwas not the hunger he began to feel
the same sort of hunger?

When Jurgis had been working about three weeks at Brown'sthere had come
to him one noontime a man who was employed as a night watchmanand who
asked him if he would not like to take out naturalization papers and
become a citizen. Jurgis did not know what that meantbut the man
explained the advantages. In the first placeit would not cost him
anythingand it would get him half a day offwith his pay just the
same; and then when election time came he would be able to vote--and
there was something in that. Jurgis was naturally glad to acceptand so
the night watchman said a few words to the bossand he was excused for
the rest of the day. Whenlater onhe wanted a holiday to get married
he could not get it; and as for a holiday with pay just the same--what
power had wrought that miracle heaven only knew! Howeverhe went with
the manwho picked up several other newly landed immigrantsPoles
Lithuaniansand Slovaksand took them all outsidewhere stood a great
four-horse tallyho coachwith fifteen or twenty men already in it.
It was a fine chance to see the sights of the cityand the party had a
merry timewith plenty of beer handed up from inside. So they drove
downtown and stopped before an imposing granite buildingin which they
interviewed an officialwho had the papers all readywith only the names
to be filled in. So each man in turn took an oath of which he did not
understand a wordand then was presented with a handsome ornamented
document with a big red seal and the shield of the United States upon it
and was told that he had become a citizen of the Republic and the equal
of the President himself.

A month or two later Jurgis had another interview with this same man
who told him where to go to "register." And then finallywhen election
day camethe packing houses posted a notice that men who desired to vote
might remain away until nine that morningand the same night watchman
took Jurgis and the rest of his flock into the back room of a saloon
and showed each of them where and how to mark a ballotand then gave
each two dollarsand took them to the polling placewhere there was
a policeman on duty especially to see that they got through all right.
Jurgis felt quite proud of this good luck till he got home and met Jonas
who had taken the leader aside and whispered to himoffering to vote
three times for four dollarswhich offer had been accepted.

And now in the union Jurgis met men who explained all this mystery
to him; and he learned that America differed from Russia in that its
government existed under the form of a democracy. The officials who
ruled itand got all the grafthad to be elected first; and so
there were two rival sets of graftersknown as political parties
and the one got the office which bought the most votes. Now and then
the election was very closeand that was the time the poor man came in.
In the stockyards this was only in national and state electionsfor in
local elections the Democratic Party always carried everything. The ruler
of the district was therefore the Democratic bossa little Irishman


named Mike Scully. Scully held an important party office in the state
and bossed even the mayor of the cityit was said; it was his boast
that he carried the stockyards in his pocket. He was an enormously rich
man--he had a hand in all the big graft in the neighborhood. It was
Scullyfor instancewho owned that dump which Jurgis and Ona had seen
the first day of their arrival. Not only did he own the dumpbut he
owned the brick factory as welland first he took out the clay and made
it into bricksand then he had the city bring garbage to fill up the
holeso that he could build houses to sell to the people. Thentoo
he sold the bricks to the cityat his own priceand the city came and
got them in its own wagons. And also he owned the other hole near by
where the stagnant water was; and it was he who cut the ice and sold it;
and what was moreif the men told truthhe had not had to pay any
taxes for the waterand he had built the icehouse out of city lumber
and had not had to pay anything for that. The newspapers had got hold of
that storyand there had been a scandal; but Scully had hired somebody
to confess and take all the blameand then skip the country. It was said
toothat he had built his brick-kiln in the same wayand that the workmen
were on the city payroll while they did it; howeverone had to press
closely to get these things out of the menfor it was not their business
and Mike Scully was a good man to stand in with. A note signed by him
was equal to a job any time at the packing houses; and also he employed
a good many men himselfand worked them only eight hours a dayand paid
them the highest wages. This gave him many friends--all of whom he had
gotten together into the "War Whoop League whose clubhouse you might
see just outside of the yards. It was the biggest clubhouse, and the
biggest club, in all Chicago; and they had prizefights every now and then,
and cockfights and even dogfights. The policemen in the district all
belonged to the league, and instead of suppressing the fights, they sold
tickets for them. The man that had taken Jurgis to be naturalized was
one of these Indians as they were called; and on election day there
would be hundreds of them out, and all with big wads of money in their
pockets and free drinks at every saloon in the district. That was another
thing, the men said--all the saloon-keepers had to be Indians and
to put up on demand, otherwise they could not do business on Sundays,
nor have any gambling at all. In the same way Scully had all the jobs
in the fire department at his disposal, and all the rest of the city
graft in the stockyards district; he was building a block of flats
somewhere up on Ashland Avenue, and the man who was overseeing it for
him was drawing pay as a city inspector of sewers. The city inspector
of water pipes had been dead and buried for over a year, but somebody was
still drawing his pay. The city inspector of sidewalks was a barkeeper
at the War Whoop Cafe--and maybe he could make it uncomfortable for any
tradesman who did not stand in with Scully!

Even the packers were in awe of him, so the men said. It gave them
pleasure to believe this, for Scully stood as the people's man, and
boasted of it boldly when election day came. The packers had wanted
a bridge at Ashland Avenue, but they had not been able to get it till
they had seen Scully; and it was the same with Bubbly Creek which
the city had threatened to make the packers cover over, till Scully
had come to their aid. Bubbly Creek" is an arm of the Chicago River
and forms the southern boundary of the yards: all the drainage of the
square mile of packing houses empties into itso that it is really a
great open sewer a hundred or two feet wide. One long arm of it is blind
and the filth stays there forever and a day. The grease and chemicals
that are poured into it undergo all sorts of strange transformations
which are the cause of its name; it is constantly in motionas if huge
fish were feeding in itor great leviathans disporting themselves in its
depths. Bubbles of carbonic acid gas will rise to the surface and burst
and make rings two or three feet wide. Here and there the grease and
filth have caked solidand the creek looks like a bed of lava; chickens
walk about on itfeedingand many times an unwary stranger has started
to stroll acrossand vanished temporarily. The packers used to leave


the creek that waytill every now and then the surface would catch on
fire and burn furiouslyand the fire department would have to come and
put it out. Oncehoweveran ingenious stranger came and started to
gather this filth in scowsto make lard out of; then the packers took
the cueand got out an injunction to stop himand afterward gathered it
themselves. The banks of "Bubbly Creek" are plastered thick with hairs
and this also the packers gather and clean.

And there were things even stranger than thisaccording to the gossip of
the men. The packers had secret mainsthrough which they stole billions
of gallons of the city's water. The newspapers had been full of this
scandal--once there had even been an investigationand an actual
uncovering of the pipes; but nobody had been punishedand the thing
went right on. And then there was the condemned meat industrywith its
endless horrors. The people of Chicago saw the government inspectors in
Packingtownand they all took that to mean that they were protected from
diseased meat; they did not understand that these hundred and sixty-three
inspectors had been appointed at the request of the packersand that
they were paid by the United States government to certify that all the
diseased meat was kept in the state. They had no authority beyond that;
for the inspection of meat to be sold in the city and state the whole
force in Packingtown consisted of three henchmen of the local political
machine!*

(*Rules and Regulations for the Inspection of Livestock and Their Products.
United States Department of AgricultureBureau of Animal Industries
Order No. 125:--

Section 1. Proprietors of slaughterhousescanningsaltingpacking
or rendering establishments engaged in the slaughtering of cattle
sheep. or swineor the packing of any of their productsthe carcasses
or products of which are to become subjects of interstate or foreign
commerceshall make application to the Secretary of Agriculture for
inspection of said animals and their products....

Section 15. Such rejected or condemned animals shall at once be removed
by the owners from the pens containing animals which have been inspected
and found to be free from disease and fit for human foodand shall be
disposed of in accordance with the lawsordinancesand regulations of
the state and municipality in which said rejected or condemned animals
are located....

Section 25. A microscopic examination for trichinae shall be made of
all swine products exported to countries requiring such examination.
No microscopic examination will be made of hogs slaughtered for interstate
tradebut this examination shall be confined to those intended for the
export trade.)

And shortly afterward one of thesea physicianmade the discovery that
the carcasses of steers which had been condemned as tubercular by the
government inspectorsand which therefore contained ptomaineswhich are
deadly poisonswere left upon an open platform and carted away to be
sold in the city; and so he insisted that these carcasses be treated
with an injection of kerosene--and was ordered to resign the same week!
So indignant were the packers that they went fartherand compelled the
mayor to abolish the whole bureau of inspection; so that since then
there has not been even a pretense of any interference with the graft.
There was said to be two thousand dollars a week hush money from the
tubercular steers alone; and as much again from the hogs which had
died of cholera on the trainsand which you might see any day being
loaded into boxcars and hauled away to a place called Globein Indiana
where they made a fancy grade of lard.

Jurgis heard of these things little by littlein the gossip of those


who were obliged to perpetrate them. It seemed as if every time you met
a person from a new departmentyou heard of new swindles and new crimes.
There wasfor instancea Lithuanian who was a cattle butcher for the
plant where Marija had workedwhich killed meat for canning only; and to
hear this man describe the animals which came to his place would have been
worthwhile for a Dante or a Zola. It seemed that they must have agencies
all over the countryto hunt out old and crippled and diseased cattle
to be canned. There were cattle which had been fed on "whisky-malt
the refuse of the breweries, and had become what the men called steerly"-which
means covered with boils. It was a nasty job killing thesefor when
you plunged your knife into them they would burst and splash foul-smelling
stuff into your face; and when a man's sleeves were smeared with blood
and his hands steeped in ithow was he ever to wipe his faceor to clear
his eyes so that he could see? It was stuff such as this that made the
embalmed beefthat had killed several times as many United States
soldiers as all the bullets of the Spaniards; only the army beefbesides
was not fresh cannedit was old stuff that had been lying for years in
the cellars.

Then one Sunday eveningJurgis sat puffing his pipe by the kitchen stove
and talking with an old fellow whom Jonas had introducedand who worked
in the canning rooms at Durham's; and so Jurgis learned a few things about
the great and only Durham canned goodswhich had become a national
institution. They were regular alchemists at Durham's; they advertised a
mushroom-catsupand the men who made it did not know what a mushroom
looked like. They advertised "potted chicken--and it was like the
boardinghouse soup of the comic papers, through which a chicken had
walked with rubbers on. Perhaps they had a secret process for making
chickens chemically--who knows? said Jurgis' friend; the things that went
into the mixture were tripe, and the fat of pork, and beef suet, and hearts
of beef, and finally the waste ends of veal, when they had any. They put
these up in several grades, and sold them at several prices; but the
contents of the cans all came out of the same hopper. And then there
was potted game" and "potted grouse potted ham and deviled ham"-de-
vyledas the men called it. "De-vyled" ham was made out of the waste
ends of smoked beef that were too small to be sliced by the machines;
and also tripedyed with chemicals so that it would not show white;
and trimmings of hams and corned beef; and potatoesskins and all;
and finally the hard cartilaginous gullets of beefafter the tongues
had been cut out. All this ingenious mixture was ground up and flavored
with spices to make it taste like something. Anybody who could invent a
new imitation had been sure of a fortune from old Durhamsaid Jurgis'
informant; but it was hard to think of anything new in a place where
so many sharp wits had been at work for so long; where men welcomed
tuberculosis in the cattle they were feedingbecause it made them fatten
more quickly; and where they bought up all the old rancid butter left over
in the grocery stores of a continentand "oxidized" it by a forced-air
processto take away the odorrechurned it with skim milkand sold it
in bricks in the cities! Up to a year or two ago it had been the custom
to kill horses in the yards--ostensibly for fertilizer; but after long
agitation the newspapers had been able to make the public realize that
the horses were being canned. Now it was against the law to kill horses
in Packingtownand the law was really complied with--for the present
at any rate. Any dayhoweverone might see sharp-horned and shaggy-
haired creatures running with the sheep and yet what a job you would have
to get the public to believe that a good part of what it buys for lamb
and mutton is really goat's flesh!

There was another interesting set of statistics that a person might have
gathered in Packingtown--those of the various afflictions of the workers.
When Jurgis had first inspected the packing plants with Szedvilashe had
marveled while he listened to the tale of all the things that were made
out of the carcasses of animalsand of all the lesser industries that
were maintained there; now he found that each one of these lesser


industries was a separate little infernoin its way as horrible as the
killing bedsthe source and fountain of them all. The workers in each
of them had their own peculiar diseases. And the wandering visitor might
be skeptical about all the swindlesbut he could not be skeptical about
thesefor the worker bore the evidence of them about on his own person-generally
he had only to hold out his hand.

There were the men in the pickle roomsfor instancewhere old Antanas
had gotten his death; scarce a one of these that had not some spot of
horror on his person. Let a man so much as scrape his finger pushing
a truck in the pickle roomsand he might have a sore that would put
him out of the world; all the joints in his fingers might be eaten by
the acidone by one. Of the butchers and floorsmenthe beef-boners
and trimmersand all those who used knivesyou could scarcely find a
person who had the use of his thumb; time and time again the base of it
had been slashedtill it was a mere lump of flesh against which the man
pressed the knife to hold it. The hands of these men would be crisscrossed
with cutsuntil you could no longer pretend to count them or to
trace them. They would have no nails--they had worn them off pulling
hides; their knuckles were swollen so that their fingers spread out like
a fan. There were men who worked in the cooking roomsin the midst of
steam and sickening odorsby artificial light; in these rooms the germs
of tuberculosis might live for two yearsbut the supply was renewed
every hour. There were the beef-luggerswho carried two-hundred-pound
quarters into the refrigerator-cars; a fearful kind of workthat began
at four o'clock in the morningand that wore out the most powerful men
in a few years. There were those who worked in the chilling roomsand
whose special disease was rheumatism; the time limit that a man could
work in the chilling rooms was said to be five years. There were the
wool-pluckerswhose hands went to pieces even sooner than the hands of
the pickle men; for the pelts of the sheep had to be painted with acid
to loosen the wooland then the pluckers had to pull out this wool with
their bare handstill the acid had eaten their fingers off. There were
those who made the tins for the canned meat; and their handstoowere
a maze of cutsand each cut represented a chance for blood poisoning.
Some worked at the stamping machinesand it was very seldom that one
could work long there at the pace that was setand not give out and
forget himself and have a part of his hand chopped off. There were the
hoisters,as they were calledwhose task it was to press the lever
which lifted the dead cattle off the floor. They ran along upon a rafter
peering down through the damp and the steam; and as old Durham's architects
had not built the killing room for the convenience of the hoistersat every
few feet they would have to stoop under a beamsay four feet above the one
they ran on; which got them into the habit of stoopingso that in a few
years they would be walking like chimpanzees. Worst of anyhoweverwere
the fertilizer menand those who served in the cooking rooms. These people
could not be shown to the visitor--for the odor of a fertilizer man would
scare any ordinary visitor at a hundred yardsand as for the other men
who worked in tank rooms full of steamand in some of which there were
open vats near the level of the floortheir peculiar trouble was that
they fell into the vats; and when they were fished outthere was never
enough of them left to be worth exhibiting--sometimes they would be
overlooked for daystill all but the bones of them had gone out to the
world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard!

Chapter 10

During the early part of the winter the family had had money enough
to live and a little over to pay their debts with; but when the
earnings of Jurgis fell from nine or ten dollars a week to five or six
there was no longer anything to spare. The winter wentand the


spring cameand found them still living thus from hand to mouth
hanging on day by daywith literally not a month's wages between
them and starvation. Marija was in despairfor there was still
no word about the reopening of the canning factoryand her savings
were almost entirely gone. She had had to give up all idea of
marrying then; the family could not get along without her--though for
that matter she was likely soon to become a burden even upon them
for when her money was all gonethey would have to pay back what
they owed her in board. So Jurgis and Ona and Teta Elzbieta would
hold anxious conferences until late at nighttrying to figure how
they could manage this too without starving.

Such were the cruel terms upon which their life was possible
that they might never have nor expect a single instant's respite
from worrya single instant in which they were not haunted by the
thought of money. They would no sooner escapeas by a miracle
from one difficultythan a new one would come into view. In addition
to all their physical hardshipsthere was thus a constant strain
upon their minds; they were harried all day and nearly all night by
worry and fear. This was in truth not living; it was scarcely even
existingand they felt that it was too little for the price they paid.
They were willing to work all the time; and when people did their best
ought they not to be able to keep alive?

There seemed never to be an end to the things they had to buy and to
the unforeseen contingencies. Once their water pipes froze and burst;
and whenin their ignorancethey thawed them outthey had a
terrifying flood in their house. It happened while the men were away
and poor Elzbieta rushed out into the street screaming for help
for she did not even know whether the flood could be stoppedor whether
they were ruined for life. It was nearly as bad as the latterthey
found in the endfor the plumber charged them seventy-five cents
an hourand seventy-five cents for another man who had stood and
watched himand included all the time the two had been going and
comingand also a charge for all sorts of material and extras.
And then againwhen they went to pay their January's installment on
the housethe agent terrified them by asking them if they had had the
insurance attended to yet. In answer to their inquiry he showed them
a clause in the deed which provided that they were to keep the house
insured for one thousand dollarsas soon as the present policy ran out
which would happen in a few days. Poor Elzbietaupon whom again fell
the blowdemanded how much it would cost them. Seven dollarsthe man
said; and that night came Jurgisgrim and determinedrequesting that
the agent would be good enough to inform himonce for allas to all
the expenses they were liable for. The deed was signed nowhe said
with sarcasm proper to the new way of life he had learned--the deed was
signedand so the agent had no longer anything to gain by keeping quiet.
And Jurgis looked the fellow squarely in the eyeand so the fellow
wasted no time in conventional protestsbut read him the deed.
They would have to renew the insurance every year; they would have to
pay the taxesabout ten dollars a year; they would have to pay the
water taxabout six dollars a year--(Jurgis silently resolved to
shut off the hydrant). Thisbesides the interest and the monthly
installmentswould be all--unless by chance the city should happen
to decide to put in a sewer or to lay a sidewalk. Yessaid the agent
they would have to have thesewhether they wanted them or notif the
city said so. The sewer would cost them about twenty-two dollars
and the sidewalk fifteen if it were woodtwenty-five if it were cement.

So Jurgis went home again; it was a relief to know the worstat any rate
so that he could no more be surprised by fresh demands. He saw now
how they had been plundered; but they were in for itthere was no
turning back. They could only go on and make the fight and win-for
defeat was a thing that could not even be thought of.


When the springtime camethey were delivered from the dreadful cold
and that was a great deal; but in addition they had counted on the
money they would not have to pay for coal--and it was just at this
time that Marija's board began to fail. Thentoothe warm weather
brought trials of its own; each season had its trialsas they found.
In the spring there were cold rainsthat turned the streets into
canals and bogs; the mud would be so deep that wagons would sink
up to the hubsso that half a dozen horses could not move them.
Thenof courseit was impossible for any one to get to work with
dry feet; and this was bad for men that were poorly clad and shod
and still worse for women and children. Later came midsummerwith the
stifling heatwhen the dingy killing beds of Durham's became a very
purgatory; one timein a single daythree men fell dead from sunstroke.
All day long the rivers of hot blood poured forthuntilwith the sun
beating downand the air motionlessthe stench was enough to knock
a man over; all the old smells of a generation would be drawn out by
this heat--for there was never any washing of the walls and rafters
and pillarsand they were caked with the filth of a lifetime.
The men who worked on the killing beds would come to reek with foulness
so that you could smell one of them fifty feet away; there was simply
no such thing as keeping decentthe most careful man gave it up in
the endand wallowed in uncleanness. There was not even a place
where a man could wash his handsand the men ate as much raw blood as
food at dinnertime. When they were at work they could not even wipe off
their faces--they were as helpless as newly born babes in that respect;
and it may seem like a small matterbut when the sweat began to run
down their necks and tickle themor a fly to bother themit was a
torture like being burned alive. Whether it was the slaughterhouses
or the dumps that were responsibleone could not saybut with the
hot weather there descended upon Packingtown a veritable Egyptian plague
of flies; there could be no describing this--the houses would be black
with them. There was no escaping; you might provide all your doors
and windows with screensbut their buzzing outside would be like
the swarming of beesand whenever you opened the door they would
rush in as if a storm of wind were driving them.

Perhaps the summertime suggests to you thoughts of the country
visions of green fields and mountains and sparkling lakes. It had
no such suggestion for the people in the yards. The great packing
machine ground on remorselesslywithout thinking of green fields;
and the men and women and children who were part of it never saw
any green thingnot even a flower. Four or five miles to the east
of them lay the blue waters of Lake Michigan; but for all the good
it did them it might have been as far away as the Pacific Ocean.
They had only Sundaysand then they were too tired to walk.
They were tied to the great packing machineand tied to it for life.
The managers and superintendents and clerks of Packingtown were all
recruited from another classand never from the workers; they scorned
the workersthe very meanest of them. A poor devil of a bookkeeper
who had been working in Durham's for twenty years at a salary of
six dollars a weekand might work there for twenty more and do
no betterwould yet consider himself a gentlemanas far removed
as the poles from the most skilled worker on the killing beds;
he would dress differentlyand live in another part of the town
and come to work at a different hour of the dayand in every way
make sure that he never rubbed elbows with a laboring man. Perhaps
this was due to the repulsiveness of the work; at any ratethe people
who worked with their hands were a class apartand were made to feel it.

In the late spring the canning factory started up againand so
once more Marija was heard to singand the love-music of Tamoszius
took on a less melancholy tone. It was not for longhowever;
for a month or two later a dreadful calamity fell upon Marija.


Just one year and three days after she had begun work as a can-painter
she lost her job.

It was a long story. Marija insisted that it was because of her
activity in the union. The packersof coursehad spies in all
the unionsand in addition they made a practice of buying up
a certain number of the union officialsas many as they thought
they needed. So every week they received reports as to what was
going onand often they knew things before the members of the
union knew them. Any one who was considered to be dangerous by them
would find that he was not a favorite with his boss; and Marija had
been a great hand for going after the foreign people and preaching
to them. However that might bethe known facts were that a few
weeks before the factory closedMarija had been cheated out of her
pay for three hundred cans. The girls worked at a long table
and behind them walked a woman with pencil and notebookkeeping count
of the number they finished. This woman wasof courseonly human
and sometimes made mistakes; when this happenedthere was no
redress--if on Saturday you got less money than you had earned
you had to make the best of it. But Marija did not understand this
and made a disturbance. Marija's disturbances did not mean anything
and while she had known only Lithuanian and Polishthey had done no harm
for people only laughed at her and made her cry. But now Marija was
able to call names in Englishand so she got the woman who made the
mistake to disliking her. Probablyas Marija claimedshe made
mistakes on purpose after that; at any rateshe made themand the
third time it happened Marija went on the warpath and took the matter
first to the foreladyand when she got no satisfaction thereto the
superintendent. This was unheard-of presumptionbut the superintendent
said he would see about itwhich Marija took to mean that she was
going to get her money; after waiting three daysshe went to see
the superintendent again. This time the man frownedand said that he
had not had time to attend to it; and when Marijaagainst the advice
and warning of every onetried it once morehe ordered her back to
her work in a passion. Just how things happened after that Marija was
not surebut that afternoon the forelady told her that her services
would not be any longer required. Poor Marija could not have been
more dumfounded had the woman knocked her over the head; at first she
could not believe what she heardand then she grew furious and swore
that she would come anywaythat her place belonged to her. In the end
she sat down in the middle of the floor and wept and wailed.

It was a cruel lesson; but then Marija was headstrong--she should
have listened to those who had had experience. The next time she
would know her placeas the forelady expressed it; and so Marija
went outand the family faced the problem of an existence again.

It was especially hard this timefor Ona was to be confined before long
and Jurgis was trying hard to save up money for this. He had heard
dreadful stories of the midwiveswho grow as thick as fleas in
Packingtown; and he had made up his mind that Ona must have a
man-doctor. Jurgis could be very obstinate when he wanted to
and he was in this casemuch to the dismay of the womenwho felt
that a man-doctor was an improprietyand that the matter really
belonged to them. The cheapest doctor they could find would charge
them fifteen dollarsand perhaps more when the bill came in;
and here was Jurgisdeclaring that he would pay iteven if he had
to stop eating in the meantime!

Marija had only about twenty-five dollars left. Day after day she
wandered about the yards begging a jobbut this time without hope
of finding it. Marija could do the work of an able-bodied man
when she was cheerfulbut discouragement wore her out easily
and she would come home at night a pitiable object. She learned


her lesson this timepoor creature; she learned it ten times over.
All the family learned it along with her--that when you have once
got a job in Packingtownyou hang on to itcome what will.

Four weeks Marija huntedand half of a fifth week. Of course she
stopped paying her dues to the union. She lost all interest in the
unionand cursed herself for a fool that she had ever been dragged
into one. She had about made up her mind that she was a lost soul
when somebody told her of an openingand she went and got a place
as a "beef-trimmer." She got this because the boss saw that she
had the muscles of a manand so he discharged a man and put Marija
to do his workpaying her a little more than half what he had been
paying before.

When she first came to PackingtownMarija would have scorned such
work as this. She was in another canning factoryand her work
was to trim the meat of those diseased cattle that Jurgis had been
told about not long before. She was shut up in one of the rooms
where the people seldom saw the daylight; beneath her were the
chilling roomswhere the meat was frozenand above her were
the cooking rooms; and so she stood on an ice-cold floorwhile her
head was often so hot that she could scarcely breathe. Trimming beef
off the bones by the hundred-weightwhile standing up from early
morning till late at nightwith heavy boots on and the floor
always damp and full of puddlesliable to be thrown out of work
indefinitely because of a slackening in the tradeliable again
to be kept overtime in rush seasonsand be worked till she trembled
in every nerve and lost her grip on her slimy knifeand gave herself
a poisoned wound--that was the new life that unfolded itself before Marija.
But because Marija was a human horse she merely laughed and went
at it; it would enable her to pay her board againand keep the
family going. And as for Tamoszius--wellthey had waited a long time
and they could wait a little longer. They could not possibly get
along upon his wages aloneand the family could not live without hers.
He could come and visit herand sit in the kitchen and hold her hand
and he must manage to be content with that. But day by day the
music of Tamoszius' violin became more passionate and heartbreaking;
and Marija would sit with her hands clasped and her cheeks wet and
all her body atremblehearing in the wailing melodies the voices
of the unborn generations which cried out in her for life.

Marija's lesson came just in time to save Ona from a similar fate.
Onatoowas dissatisfied with her placeand had far more reason
than Marija. She did not tell half of her story at homebecause she
saw it was a torment to Jurgisand she was afraid of what he might do.
For a long time Ona had seen that Miss Hendersonthe forelady in
her departmentdid not like her. At first she thought it was the
old-time mistake she had made in asking for a holiday to get married.
Then she concluded it must be because she did not give the forelady
a present occasionally--she was the kind that took presents from
the girlsOna learnedand made all sorts of discriminations in favor
of those who gave them. In the endhoweverOna discovered that
it was even worse than that. Miss Henderson was a newcomerand it was
some time before rumor made her out; but finally it transpired that
she was a kept womanthe former mistress of the superintendent of
a department in the same building. He had put her there to keep
her quietit seemed--and that not altogether with successfor once
or twice they had been heard quarreling. She had the temper of a hyena
and soon the place she ran was a witch's caldron. There were some
of the girls who were of her own sortwho were willing to toady
to her and flatter her; and these would carry tales about the rest
and so the furies were unchained in the place. Worse than this
the woman lived in a bawdyhouse downtownwith a coarsered-faced


Irishman named Connorwho was the boss of the loading-gang outside
and would make free with the girls as they went to and from their work.
In the slack seasons some of them would go with Miss Henderson to
this house downtown--in factit would not be too much to say that
she managed her department at Brown's in conjunction with it.
Sometimes women from the house would be given places alongside of
decent girlsand after other decent girls had been turned off to
make room for them. When you worked in this woman's department
the house downtown was never out of your thoughts all day--there were
always whiffs of it to be caughtlike the odor of the Packingtown
rendering plants at nightwhen the wind shifted suddenly. There would
be stories about it going the rounds; the girls opposite you would be
telling them and winking at you. In such a place Ona would not have
stayed a daybut for starvation; andas it wasshe was never sure
that she could stay the next day. She understood now that the real
reason that Miss Henderson hated her was that she was a decent
married girl; and she knew that the talebearers and the toadies
hated her for the same reasonand were doing their best to make her
life miserable.

But there was no place a girl could go in Packingtownif she was
particular about things of this sort; there was no place in it
where a prostitute could not get along better than a decent girl.
Here was a populationlow-class and mostly foreignhanging always
on the verge of starvationand dependent for its opportunities of
life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as
the old-time slave drivers; under such circumstances immorality
was exactly as inevitableand as prevalentas it was under the
system of chattel slavery. Things that were quite unspeakable
went on there in the packing houses all the timeand were taken
for granted by everybody; only they did not showas in the old
slavery timesbecause there was no difference in color between
master and slave.

One morning Ona stayed homeand Jurgis had the man-doctor
according to his whimand she was safely delivered of a fine baby.
It was an enormous big boyand Ona was such a tiny creature herself
that it seemed quite incredible. Jurgis would stand and gaze at the
stranger by the hourunable to believe that it had really happened.

The coming of this boy was a decisive event with Jurgis. It made
him irrevocably a family man; it killed the last lingering impulse
that he might have had to go out in the evenings and sit and talk
with the men in the saloons. There was nothing he cared for now
so much as to sit and look at the baby. This was very curious
for Jurgis had never been interested in babies before. But then
this was a very unusual sort of a baby. He had the brightest
little black eyesand little black ringlets all over his head;
he was the living image of his fathereverybody said--and Jurgis
found this a fascinating circumstance. It was sufficiently perplexing
that this tiny mite of life should have come into the world at all
in the manner that it had; that it should have come with a comical
imitation of its father's nose was simply uncanny.

PerhapsJurgis thoughtthis was intended to signify that it was
his baby; that it was his and Ona'sto care for all its life.
Jurgis had never possessed anything nearly so interesting--a baby was
when you came to think about itassuredly a marvelous possession.
It would grow up to be a mana human soulwith a personality all
its owna will of its own! Such thoughts would keep haunting Jurgis
filling him with all sorts of strange and almost painful excitements.
He was wonderfully proud of little Antanas; he was curious about all
the details of him--the washing and the dressing and the eating and


the sleeping of himand asked all sorts of absurd questions. It took
him quite a while to get over his alarm at the incredible shortness
of the little creature's legs.

Jurgis hadalasvery little time to see his baby; he never felt
the chains about him more than just then. When he came home at night
the baby would be asleepand it would be the merest chance if he awoke
before Jurgis had to go to sleep himself. Then in the morning there
was no time to look at himso really the only chance the father
had was on Sundays. This was more cruel yet for Onawho ought
to have stayed home and nursed himthe doctor saidfor her own
health as well as the baby's; but Ona had to go to workand leave him
for Teta Elzbieta to feed upon the pale blue poison that was called
milk at the corner grocery. Ona's confinement lost her only a
week's wages--she would go to the factory the second Mondayand the
best that Jurgis could persuade her was to ride in the carand let
him run along behind and help her to Brown's when she alighted.
After that it would be all rightsaid Onait was no strain sitting
still sewing hams all day; and if she waited longer she might find
that her dreadful forelady had put some one else in her place.
That would be a greater calamity than ever nowOna continued
on account of the baby. They would all have to work harder now
on his account. It was such a responsibility--they must not have
the baby grow up to suffer as they had. And this indeed had been
the first thing that Jurgis had thought of himself--he had clenched
his hands and braced himself anew for the strugglefor the sake of
that tiny mite of human possibility.

And so Ona went back to Brown's and saved her place and a week's wages;
and so she gave herself some one of the thousand ailments that women
group under the title of "womb trouble and was never again a well
person as long as she lived. It is difficult to convey in words all
that this meant to Ona; it seemed such a slight offense, and the
punishment was so out of all proportion, that neither she nor any one
else ever connected the two. Womb trouble" to Ona did not mean
a specialist's diagnosisand a course of treatmentand perhaps
an operation or two; it meant simply headaches and pains in the back
and depression and heartsicknessand neuralgia when she had to go to
work in the rain. The great majority of the women who worked in
Packingtown suffered in the same wayand from the same cause
so it was not deemed a thing to see the doctor about; instead Ona
would try patent medicinesone after anotheras her friends told
her about them. As these all contained alcoholor some other
stimulantshe found that they all did her good while she took them;
and so she was always chasing the phantom of good healthand losing
it because she was too poor to continue.

Chapter 11

During the summer the packing houses were in full activity again
and Jurgis made more money. He did not make so muchhoweveras
he had the previous summerfor the packers took on more hands.
There were new men every weekit seemed--it was a regular system;
and this number they would keep over to the next slack season
so that every one would have less than ever. Sooner or later
by this planthey would have all the floating labor of Chicago
trained to do their work. And how very cunning a trick was that!
The men were to teach new handswho would some day come and break
their strike; and meantime they were kept so poor that they could
not prepare for the trial!


But let no one suppose that this superfluity of employees meant
easier work for any one! On the contrarythe speeding-up seemed to
be growing more savage all the time; they were continually inventing
new devices to crowd the work on--it was for all the world like the
thumbscrew of the medieval torture chamber. They would get new
pacemakers and pay them more; they would drive the men on with new
machinery--it was said that in the hog-killing rooms the speed at
which the hogs moved was determined by clockworkand that it was
increased a little every day. In piecework they would reduce the time
requiring the same work in a shorter timeand paying the same wages;
and thenafter the workers had accustomed themselves to this new speed
they would reduce the rate of payment to correspond with the reduction
in time! They had done this so often in the canning establishments
that the girls were fairly desperate; their wages had gone down by
a full third in the past two yearsand a storm of discontent was
brewing that was likely to break any day. Only a month after Marija
had become a beef-trimmer the canning factory that she had left posted
a cut that would divide the girls' earnings almost squarely in half;
and so great was the indignation at this that they marched out without
even a parleyand organized in the street outside. One of the
girls had read somewhere that a red flag was the proper symbol for
oppressed workersand so they mounted oneand paraded all about
the yardsyelling with rage. A new union was the result of this
outburstbut the impromptu strike went to pieces in three days
owing to the rush of new labor. At the end of it the girl who had
carried the red flag went downtown and got a position in a great
department storeat a salary of two dollars and a half a week.

Jurgis and Ona heard these stories with dismayfor there was no telling
when their own time might come. Once or twice there had been rumors
that one of the big houses was going to cut its unskilled men to fifteen
cents an hourand Jurgis knew that if this was donehis turn would
come soon. He had learned by this time that Packingtown was really
not a number of firms at allbut one great firmthe Beef Trust.
And every week the managers of it got together and compared notes
and there was one scale for all the workers in the yards and one
standard of efficiency. Jurgis was told that they also fixed the
price they would pay for beef on the hoof and the price of all
dressed meat in the country; but that was something he did not
understand or care about.

The only one who was not afraid of a cut was Marijawho
congratulated herselfsomewhat naivelythat there had been one
in her place only a short time before she came. Marija was getting
to be a skilled beef-trimmerand was mounting to the heights again.
During the summer and fall Jurgis and Ona managed to pay her back the
last penny they owed herand so she began to have a bank account.
Tamoszius had a bank account alsoand they ran a raceand began
to figure upon household expenses once more.

The possession of vast wealth entails cares and responsibilities
howeveras poor Marija found out. She had taken the advice of a friend
and invested her savings in a bank on Ashland Avenue. Of course she
knew nothing about itexcept that it was big and imposing--what
possible chance has a poor foreign working girl to understand the
banking businessas it is conducted in this land of frenzied finance?
So Marija lived in a continual dread lest something should happen
to her bankand would go out of her way mornings to make sure that
it was still there. Her principal thought was of firefor she had
deposited her money in billsand was afraid that if they were burned
up the bank would not give her any others. Jurgis made fun of her
for thisfor he was a man and was proud of his superior knowledge
telling her that the bank had fireproof vaultsand all its millions
of dollars hidden safely away in them.


Howeverone morning Marija took her usual detourandto her horror
and dismaysaw a crowd of people in front of the bankfilling the
avenue solid for half a block. All the blood went out of her face
for terror. She broke into a runshouting to the people to ask what
was the matterbut not stopping to hear what they answeredtill she had
come to where the throng was so dense that she could no longer advance.
There was a "run on the bank they told her then, but she did not
know what that was, and turned from one person to another, trying in
an agony of fear to make out what they meant. Had something gone wrong
with the bank? Nobody was sure, but they thought so. Couldn't she get
her money? There was no telling; the people were afraid not, and they
were all trying to get it. It was too early yet to tell anything-the
bank would not open for nearly three hours. So in a frenzy of
despair Marija began to claw her way toward the doors of this building,
through a throng of men, women, and children, all as excited as
herself. It was a scene of wild confusion, women shrieking and
wringing their hands and fainting, and men fighting and trampling
down everything in their way. In the midst of the melee Marija
recollected that she did not have her bankbook, and could not get
her money anyway, so she fought her way out and started on a run
for home. This was fortunate for her, for a few minutes later the
police reserves arrived.

In half an hour Marija was back, Teta Elzbieta with her, both of them
breathless with running and sick with fear. The crowd was now formed
in a line, extending for several blocks, with half a hundred policemen
keeping guard, and so there was nothing for them to do but to take
their places at the end of it. At nine o'clock the bank opened and
began to pay the waiting throng; but then, what good did that do
Marija, who saw three thousand people before her--enough to take out
the last penny of a dozen banks?

To make matters worse a drizzling rain came up, and soaked them
to the skin; yet all the morning they stood there, creeping slowly
toward the goal--all the afternoon they stood there, heartsick,
seeing that the hour of closing was coming, and that they were going
to be left out. Marija made up her mind that, come what might,
she would stay there and keep her place; but as nearly all did
the same, all through the long, cold night, she got very little
closer to the bank for that. Toward evening Jurgis came; he had
heard the story from the children, and he brought some food and
dry wraps, which made it a little easier.

The next morning, before daybreak, came a bigger crowd than ever,
and more policemen from downtown. Marija held on like grim death,
and toward afternoon she got into the bank and got her money--all in
big silver dollars, a handkerchief full. When she had once got her
hands on them her fear vanished, and she wanted to put them back again;
but the man at the window was savage, and said that the bank would
receive no more deposits from those who had taken part in the run.
So Marija was forced to take her dollars home with her, watching to
right and left, expecting every instant that some one would try to
rob her; and when she got home she was not much better off. Until she
could find another bank there was nothing to do but sew them up in her
clothes, and so Marija went about for a week or more, loaded down with
bullion, and afraid to cross the street in front of the house, because
Jurgis told her she would sink out of sight in the mud. Weighted this
way she made her way to the yards, again in fear, this time to see
if she had lost her place; but fortunately about ten per cent of the
working people of Packingtown had been depositors in that bank,
and it was not convenient to discharge that many at once. The cause
of the panic had been the attempt of a policeman to arrest a drunken
man in a saloon next door, which had drawn a crowd at the hour the people


were on their way to work, and so started the run."

About this time Jurgis and Ona also began a bank account. Besides
having paid Jonas and Marijathey had almost paid for their furniture
and could have that little sum to count on. So long as each of them
could bring home nine or ten dollars a weekthey were able to get
along finely. Also election day came round againand Jurgis made half
a week's wages out of thatall net profit. It was a very close election
that yearand the echoes of the battle reached even to Packingtown.
The two rival sets of grafters hired halls and set off fireworks and
made speechesto try to get the people interested in the matter.
Although Jurgis did not understand it allhe knew enough by this time
to realize that it was not supposed to be right to sell your vote.
Howeveras every one did itand his refusal to join would not have
made the slightest difference in the resultsthe idea of refusing would
have seemed absurdhad it ever come into his head.

Now chill winds and shortening days began to warn them that the winter
was coming again. It seemed as if the respite had been too short-they
had not had time enough to get ready for it; but still it came
inexorablyand the hunted look began to come back into the eyes
of little Stanislovas. The prospect struck fear to the heart of
Jurgis alsofor he knew that Ona was not fit to face the cold and
the snowdrifts this year. And suppose that some day when a blizzard
struck them and the cars were not runningOna should have to give up
and should come the next day to find that her place had been given to
some one who lived nearer and could be depended on?

It was the week before Christmas that the first storm cameand then
the soul of Jurgis rose up within him like a sleeping lion. There were
four days that the Ashland Avenue cars were stalledand in those days
for the first time in his lifeJurgis knew what it was to be really
opposed. He had faced difficulties beforebut they had been
child's play; now there was a death struggleand all the furies
were unchained within him. The first morning they set out two hours
before dawnOna wrapped all in blankets and tossed upon his shoulder
like a sack of mealand the little boybundled nearly out of sight
hanging by his coat-tails. There was a raging blast beating in his face
and the thermometer stood below zero; the snow was never short of his
kneesand in some of the drifts it was nearly up to his armpits.
It would catch his feet and try to trip him; it would build itself
into a wall before him to beat him back; and he would fling himself
into itplunging like a wounded buffalopuffing and snorting in rage.
So foot by foot he drove his wayand when at last he came to Durham's
he was staggering and almost blindand leaned against a pillar
gaspingand thanking God that the cattle came late to the killing
beds that day. In the evening the same thing had to be done again;
and because Jurgis could not tell what hour of the night he would
get offhe got a saloon-keeper to let Ona sit and wait for him in
a corner. Once it was eleven o'clock at nightand black as the pit
but still they got home.

That blizzard knocked many a man outfor the crowd outside begging
for work was never greaterand the packers would not wait long for
any one. When it was overthe soul of Jurgis was a songfor he
had met the enemy and conqueredand felt himself the master of
his fate.--So it might be with some monarch of the forest that has
vanquished his foes in fair fightand then falls into some cowardly
trap in the night-time.

A time of peril on the killing beds was when a steer broke loose.
Sometimesin the haste of speeding-upthey would dump one of
the animals out on the floor before it was fully stunnedand it


would get upon its feet and run amuck. Then there would be a yell
of warning--the men would drop everything and dash for the nearest
pillarslipping here and there on the floorand tumbling over
each other. This was bad enough in the summerwhen a man could see;
in wintertime it was enough to make your hair stand upfor the room
would be so full of steam that you could not make anything out five
feet in front of you. To be surethe steer was generally blind and
franticand not especially bent on hurting any one; but think of
the chances of running upon a knifewhile nearly every man had one
in his hand! And thento cap the climaxthe floor boss would come
rushing up with a rifle and begin blazing away!


It was in one of these melees that Jurgis fell into his trap. That is
the only word to describe it; it was so crueland so utterly not to
be foreseen. At first he hardly noticed itit was such a slight
accident--simply that in leaping out of the way he turned his ankle.
There was a twinge of painbut Jurgis was used to painand did not
coddle himself. When he came to walk homehoweverhe realized that
it was hurting him a great deal; and in the morning his ankle was
swollen out nearly double its sizeand he could not get his foot into
his shoe. Stilleven thenhe did nothing more than swear a little
and wrapped his foot in old ragsand hobbled out to take the car.
It chanced to be a rush day at Durham'sand all the long morning
he limped about with his aching foot; by noontime the pain was so great
that it made him faintand after a couple of hours in the afternoon
he was fairly beatenand had to tell the boss. They sent for the
company doctorand he examined the foot and told Jurgis to go home
to bedadding that he had probably laid himself up for months by
his folly. The injury was not one that Durham and Company could be
held responsible forand so that was all there was to itso far as
the doctor was concerned.


Jurgis got home somehowscarcely able to see for the painand with
an awful terror in his soulElzbieta helped him into bed and bandaged
his injured foot with cold water and tried hard not to let him see
her dismay; when the rest came home at night she met them outside and
told themand theytooput on a cheerful facesaying it would only
be for a week or twoand that they would pull him through.


When they had gotten him to sleephoweverthey sat by the kitchen fire
and talked it over in frightened whispers. They were in for a siege
that was plainly to be seen. Jurgis had only about sixty dollars in
the bankand the slack season was upon them. Both Jonas and Marija
might soon be earning no more than enough to pay their boardand besides
that there were only the wages of Ona and the pittance of the little boy.
There was the rent to payand still some on the furniture; there was
the insurance just dueand every month there was sack after sack of coal.
It was Januarymidwinteran awful time to have to face privation.
Deep snows would come againand who would carry Ona to her work now?
She might lose her place--she was almost certain to lose it. And then
little Stanislovas began to whimper--who would take care of him?


It was dreadful that an accident of this sortthat no man can help
should have meant such suffering. The bitterness of it was the daily
food and drink of Jurgis. It was of no use for them to try to
deceive him; he knew as much about the situation as they didand he
knew that the family might literally starve to death. The worry of it
fairly ate him up--he began to look haggard the first two or three
days of it. In truthit was almost maddening for a strong man
like hima fighterto have to lie there helpless on his back.
It was for all the world the old story of Prometheus bound. As Jurgis
lay on his bedhour after hour there came to him emotions that he
had never known before. Before this he had met life with a welcome-it
had its trialsbut none that a man could not face. But now



in the nighttimewhen he lay tossing aboutthere would come stalking
into his chamber a grisly phantomthe sight of which made his flesh
curl and his hair to bristle up. It was like seeing the world fall
away from underneath his feet; like plunging down into a bottomless
abyss into yawning caverns of despair. It might be truethen
after allwhat others had told him about lifethat the best powers
of a man might not be equal to it! It might be true thatstrive as
he wouldtoil as he wouldhe might failand go down and be destroyed!
The thought of this was like an icy hand at his heart; the thought
that herein this ghastly home of all horrorhe and all those who
were dear to him might lie and perish of starvation and cold
and there would be no ear to hear their cryno hand to help them!
It was trueit was true--that here in this huge citywith its
stores of heaped-up wealthhuman creatures might be hunted down and
destroyed by the wild-beast powers of naturejust as truly as ever
they were in the days of the cave men!

Ona was now making about thirty dollars a monthand Stanislovas
about thirteen. To add to this there was the board of Jonas and
Marijaabout forty-five dollars. Deducting from this the rent
interestand installments on the furniturethey had left sixty
dollarsand deducting the coalthey had fifty. They did without
everything that human beings could do without; they went in old and
ragged clothingthat left them at the mercy of the coldand when the
children's shoes wore outthey tied them up with string. Half invalid
as she wasOna would do herself harm by walking in the rain and cold
when she ought to have ridden; they bought literally nothing but
food--and still they could not keep alive on fifty dollars a month.
They might have done itif only they could have gotten pure food
and at fair prices; or if only they had known what to get--if they
had not been so pitifully ignorant! But they had come to a new country
where everything was differentincluding the food. They had always
been accustomed to eat a great deal of smoked sausageand how could
they know that what they bought in America was not the same--that its
color was made by chemicalsand its smoky flavor by more chemicals
and that it was full of "potato flour" besides? Potato flour is the
waste of potato after the starch and alcohol have been extracted;
it has no more food value than so much woodand as its use as a food
adulterant is a penal offense in Europethousands of tons of it are
shipped to America every year. It was amazing what quantities of
food such as this were needed every dayby eleven hungry persons.
A dollar sixty-five a day was simply not enough to feed themand there
was no use trying; and so each week they made an inroad upon the pitiful
little bank account that Ona had begun. Because the account was in
her nameit was possible for her to keep this a secret from her
husbandand to keep the heartsickness of it for her own.

It would have been better if Jurgis had been really ill; if he had
not been able to think. For he had no resources such as most
invalids have; all he could do was to lie there and toss about from
side to side. Now and then he would break into cursingregardless
of everything; and now and then his impatience would get the better
of himand he would try to get upand poor Teta Elzbieta would
have to plead with him in a frenzy. Elzbieta was all alone with him
the greater part of the time. She would sit and smooth his forehead
by the hourand talk to him and try to make him forget. Sometimes it
would be too cold for the children to go to schooland they would
have to play in the kitchenwhere Jurgis wasbecause it was the
only room that was half warm. These were dreadful timesfor Jurgis
would get as cross as any bear; he was scarcely to be blamedfor he
had enough to worry himand it was hard when he was trying to take
a nap to be kept awake by noisy and peevish children.

Elzbieta's only resource in those times was little Antanas; indeed


it would be hard to say how they could have gotten along at all if
it had not been for little Antanas. It was the one consolation of
Jurgis' long imprisonment that now he had time to look at his baby.
Teta Elzbieta would put the clothesbasket in which the baby slept
alongside of his mattressand Jurgis would lie upon one elbow and
watch him by the hourimagining things. Then little Antanas would
open his eyes--he was beginning to take notice of things now; and he
would smile--how he would smile! So Jurgis would begin to forget
and be happy because he was in a world where there was a thing so
beautiful as the smile of little Antanasand because such a world
could not but be good at the heart of it. He looked more like his
father every hourElzbieta would sayand said it many times a day
because she saw that it pleased Jurgis; the poor little terror-stricken
woman was planning all day and all night to soothe the prisoned giant
who was intrusted to her care. Jurgiswho knew nothing about the
agelong and everlasting hypocrisy of womanwould take the bait and
grin with delight; and then he would hold his finger in front of
little Antanas' eyesand move it this way and thatand laugh with
glee to see the baby follow it. There is no pet quite so fascinating
as a baby; he would look into Jurgis' face with such uncanny seriousness
and Jurgis would start and cry: "Palauk! LookMumahe knows his papa!
He doeshe does! Tu mano szirdelethe little rascal!"

Chapter 12

For three weeks after his injury Jurgis never got up from bed. It was
a very obstinate sprain; the swelling would not go downand the pain
still continued. At the end of that timehoweverhe could contain
himself no longerand began trying to walk a little every day
laboring to persuade himself that he was better. No arguments could
stop himand three or four days later he declared that he was going
back to work. He limped to the cars and got to Brown'swhere he
found that the boss had kept his place--that iswas willing to
turn out into the snow the poor devil he had hired in the meantime.
Every now and then the pain would force Jurgis to stop workbut he
stuck it out till nearly an hour before closing. Then he was forced
to acknowledge that he could not go on without fainting; it almost
broke his heart to do itand he stood leaning against a pillar and
weeping like a child. Two of the men had to help him to the car
and when he got out he had to sit down and wait in the snow till some
one came along.

So they put him to bed againand sent for the doctoras they ought
to have done in the beginning. It transpired that he had twisted a
tendon out of placeand could never have gotten well without attention.
Then he gripped the sides of the bedand shut his teeth together
and turned white with agonywhile the doctor pulled and wrenched
away at his swollen ankle. When finally the doctor lefthe told
him that he would have to lie quiet for two monthsand that if he
went to work before that time he might lame himself for life.

Three days later there came another heavy snowstormand Jonas and
Marija and Ona and little Stanislovas all set out togetheran hour
before daybreakto try to get to the yards. About noon the last two
came backthe boy screaming with pain. His fingers were all frosted
it seemed. They had had to give up trying to get to the yards
and had nearly perished in a drift. All that they knew how to do
was to hold the frozen fingers near the fireand so little Stanislovas
spent most of the day dancing about in horrible agonytill Jurgis
flew into a passion of nervous rage and swore like a madmandeclaring
that he would kill him if he did not stop. All that day and night


the family was half-crazed with fear that Ona and the boy had lost
their places; and in the morning they set out earlier than ever
after the little fellow had been beaten with a stick by Jurgis.
There could be no trifling in a case like thisit was a matter of
life and death; little Stanislovas could not be expected to realize
that he might a great deal better freeze in the snowdrift than lose
his job at the lard machine. Ona was quite certain that she would find
her place goneand was all unnerved when she finally got to Brown's
and found that the forelady herself had failed to comeand was therefore
compelled to be lenient.

One of the consequences of this episode was that the first joints of
three of the little boy's fingers were permanently disabledand another
that thereafter he always had to be beaten before he set out to work
whenever there was fresh snow on the ground. Jurgis was called upon
to do the beatingand as it hurt his foot he did it with a vengeance;
but it did not tend to add to the sweetness of his temper. They say that
the best dog will turn cross if he be kept chained all the timeand it
was the same with the man; he had not a thing to do all day but lie and
curse his fateand the time came when he wanted to curse everything.

This was never for very longhoweverfor when Ona began to cry
Jurgis could not stay angry. The poor fellow looked like a homeless
ghostwith his cheeks sunken in and his long black hair straggling
into his eyes; he was too discouraged to cut itor to think about
his appearance. His muscles were wasting awayand what were left
were soft and flabby. He had no appetiteand they could not afford
to tempt him with delicacies. It was betterhe saidthat he should
not eatit was a saving. About the end of March he had got hold of
Ona's bankbookand learned that there was only three dollars left
to them in the world.

But perhaps the worst of the consequences of this long siege was that
they lost another member of their family; Brother Jonas disappeared.
One Saturday night he did not come homeand thereafter all their
efforts to get trace of him were futile. It was said by the boss
at Durham's that he had gotten his week's money and left there.
That might not be trueof coursefor sometimes they would say that
when a man had been killed; it was the easiest way out of it for
all concerned. Whenfor instancea man had fallen into one of
the rendering tanks and had been made into pure leaf lard and peerless
fertilizerthere was no use letting the fact out and making his
family unhappy. More probablehoweverwas the theory that Jonas
had deserted themand gone on the roadseeking happiness. He had
been discontented for a long timeand not without some cause.
He paid good boardand was yet obliged to live in a family where
nobody had enough to eat. And Marija would keep giving them all
her moneyand of course he could not but feel that he was called
upon to do the same. Then there were crying bratsand all sorts
of misery; a man would have had to be a good deal of a hero to stand
it all without grumblingand Jonas was not in the least a hero--he was
simply a weatherbeaten old fellow who liked to have a good supper and
sit in the corner by the fire and smoke his pipe in peace before he
went to bed. Here there was not room by the fireand through the
winter the kitchen had seldom been warm enough for comfort. Sowith
the springtimewhat was more likely than that the wild idea of
escaping had come to him? Two years he had been yoked like a horse
to a half-ton truck in Durham's dark cellarswith never a rest
save on Sundays and four holidays in the yearand with never a word
of thanks--only kicks and blows and cursessuch as no decent dog
would have stood. And now the winter was overand the spring winds
were blowing--and with a day's walk a man might put the smoke of
Packingtown behind him foreverand be where the grass was green and
the flowers all the colors of the rainbow!


But now the income of the family was cut down more than one-third
and the food demand was cut only one-eleventhso that they were
worse off than ever. Also they were borrowing money from Marija
and eating up her bank accountand spoiling once again her hopes
of marriage and happiness. And they were even going into debt to
Tamoszius Kuszleika and letting him impoverish himself. Poor Tamoszius
was a man without any relativesand with a wonderful talent besides
and he ought to have made money and prospered; but he had fallen
in loveand so given hostages to fortuneand was doomed to be
dragged down too.

So it was finally decided that two more of the children would have
to leave school. Next to Stanislovaswho was now fifteenthere was
a girllittle Kotrinawho was two years youngerand then two boys
Vilimaswho was elevenand Nikalojuswho was ten. Both of these
last were bright boysand there was no reason why their family
should starve when tens of thousands of children no older were
earning their own livings. So one morning they were given a quarter
apiece and a roll with a sausage in itandwith their minds top-heavy
with good advicewere sent out to make their way to the city and
learn to sell newspapers. They came back late at night in tears
having walked for the five or six miles to report that a man had
offered to take them to a place where they sold newspapersand had
taken their money and gone into a store to get themand nevermore
been seen. So they both received a whippingand the next moming
set out again. This time they found the newspaper placeand procured
their stock; and after wandering about till nearly noontimesaying
Paper?to every one they sawthey had all their stock taken away
and received a thrashing besides from a big newsman upon whose
territory they had trespassed. Fortunatelyhoweverthey had
already sold some papersand came back with nearly as much as they
started with.

After a week of mishaps such as thesethe two little fellows began
to learn the ways of the trade--the names of the different papers
and how many of each to getand what sort of people to offer them to
and where to go and where to stay away from. After thisleaving home
at four o'clock in the morningand running about the streetsfirst
with morning papers and then with eveningthey might come home late
at night with twenty or thirty cents apiece--possibly as much as
forty cents. From this they had to deduct their carfaresince the
distance was so great; but after a while they made friendsand learned
still moreand then they would save their carfare. They would get
on a car when the conductor was not lookingand hide in the crowd;
and three times out of four he would not ask for their fareseither
not seeing themor thinking they had already paid; or if he did ask
they would hunt through their pocketsand then begin to cryand either
have their fares paid by some kind old ladyor else try the trick
again on a new car. All this was fair playthey felt. Whose fault
was it that at the hours when workingmen were going to their work
and backthe cars were so crowded that the conductors could not
collect all the fares? And besidesthe companies were thieves
people said--had stolen all their franchises with the help of
scoundrelly politicians!

Now that the winter was byand there was no more danger of snow
and no more coal to buyand another room warm enough to put the
children into when they criedand enough money to get along from
week to week withJurgis was less terrible than he had been.
A man can get used to anything in the course of timeand Jurgis
had gotten used to lying about the house. Ona saw thisand was
very careful not to destroy his peace of mindby letting him know
how very much pain she was suffering. It was now the time of the


spring rainsand Ona had often to ride to her workin spite of
the expense; she was getting paler every dayand sometimesin spite
of her good resolutionsit pained her that Jurgis did not notice it.
She wondered if he cared for her as much as everif all this misery
was not wearing out his love. She had to be away from him all the time
and bear her own troubles while he was bearing his; and thenwhen she
came homeshe was so worn out; and whenever they talked they had
only their worries to talk of--truly it was hardin such a life
to keep any sentiment alive. The woe of this would flame up in Ona
sometimes--at night she would suddenly clasp her big husband in her
arms and break into passionate weepingdemanding to know if he really
loved her. Poor Jurgiswho had in truth grown more matter-of-fact
under the endless pressure of penurywould not know what to make of
these thingsand could only try to recollect when he had last been
cross; and so Ona would have to forgive him and sob herself to sleep.

The latter part of April Jurgis went to see the doctorand was given
a bandage to lace about his ankleand told that he might go back
to work. It needed more than the permission of the doctorhowever
for when he showed up on the killing floor of Brown'she was told
by the foreman that it had not been possible to keep his job for him.
Jurgis knew that this meant simply that the foreman had found some one
else to do the work as well and did not want to bother to make a change.
He stood in the doorwaylooking mournfully onseeing his friends
and companions at workand feeling like an outcast. Then he went
out and took his place with the mob of the unemployed.

This timehoweverJurgis did not have the same fine confidence
nor the same reason for it. He was no longer the finest-looking
man in the throngand the bosses no longer made for him; he was
thin and haggardand his clothes were seedyand he looked miserable.
And there were hundreds who looked and felt just like himand who
had been wandering about Packingtown for months begging for work.
This was a critical time in Jurgis' lifeand if he had been a weaker
man he would have gone the way the rest did. Those out-of-work
wretches would stand about the packing houses every morning till the
police drove them awayand then they would scatter among the saloons.
Very few of them had the nerve to face the rebuffs that they would
encounter by trying to get into the buildings to interview the bosses;
if they did not get a chance in the morningthere would be nothing
to do but hang about the saloons the rest of the day and night.
Jurgis was saved from all this--partlyto be surebecause it was
pleasant weatherand there was no need to be indoors; but mainly
because he carried with him always the pitiful little face of his wife.
He must get workhe told himselffighting the battle with despair
every hour of the day. He must get work! He must have a place again
and some money saved upbefore the next winter came.

But there was no work for him. He sought out all the members of his
union--Jurgis had stuck to the union through all this--and begged them
to speak a word for him. He went to every one he knewasking for
a chancethere or anywhere. He wandered all day through the buildings;
and in a week or twowhen he had been all over the yardsand into
every room to which he had accessand learned that there was not
a job anywherehe persuaded himself that there might have been
a change in the places he had first visitedand began the round
all over; till finally the watchmen and the "spotters" of the
companies came to know him by sight and to order him out with threats.
Then there was nothing more for him to do but go with the crowd in
the morningand keep in the front row and look eagerand when he
failedgo back homeand play with little Kotrina and the baby.

The peculiar bitterness of all this was that Jurgis saw so plainly
the meaning of it. In the beginning he had been fresh and strong


and he had gotten a job the first day; but now he was second-hand
a damaged articleso to speakand they did not want him. They had
got the best of him--they had worn him outwith their speeding-up
and their carelessnessand now they had thrown him away! And Jurgis
would make the acquaintance of others of these unemployed men and find
that they had all had the same experience. There were someof course
who had wandered in from other placeswho had been ground up in other
mills; there were others who were out from their own fault--some
for instancewho had not been able to stand the awful grind without
drink. The vast majorityhoweverwere simply the worn-out parts
of the great merciless packing machine; they had toiled thereand kept
up with the pacesome of them for ten or twenty yearsuntil finally
the time had come when they could not keep up with it any more.
Some had been frankly told that they were too oldthat a sprier man
was needed; others had given occasionby some act of carelessness
or incompetence; with mosthoweverthe occasion had been the same
as with Jurgis. They had been overworked and underfed so long
and finally some disease had laid them on their backs; or they had cut
themselvesand had blood poisoningor met with some other accident.
When a man came back after thathe would get his place back only by
the courtesy of the boss. To this there was no exceptionsave when
the accident was one for which the firm was liable; in that case they
would send a slippery lawyer to see himfirst to try to get him to
sign away his claimsbut if he was too smart for thatto promise
him that he and his should always be provided with work. This promise
they would keepstrictly and to the letter--for two years. Two years
was the "statute of limitations and after that the victim could not sue.

What happened to a man after any of these things, all depended upon
the circumstances. If he were of the highly skilled workers, he would
probably have enough saved up to tide him over. The best paid men,
the splitters made fifty cents an hour, which would be five or
six dollars a day in the rush seasons, and one or two in the dullest.
A man could live and save on that; but then there were only half
a dozen splitters in each place, and one of them that Jurgis knew
had a family of twenty-two children, all hoping to grow up to be
splitters like their father. For an unskilled man, who made ten
dollars a week in the rush seasons and five in the dull, it all
depended upon his age and the number he had dependent upon him.
An unmarried man could save, if he did not drink, and if he was
absolutely selfish--that is, if he paid no heed to the demands of
his old parents, or of his little brothers and sisters, or of any
other relatives he might have, as well as of the members of his union,
and his chums, and the people who might be starving to death next door.

Chapter 13

During this time that Jurgis was looking for work occurred the
death of little Kristoforas, one of the children of Teta Elzbieta.
Both Kristoforas and his brother, Juozapas, were cripples, the latter
having lost one leg by having it run over, and Kristoforas having
congenital dislocation of the hip, which made it impossible for him
ever to walk. He was the last of Teta Elzbieta's children, and
perhaps he had been intended by nature to let her know that she had
had enough. At any rate he was wretchedly sick and undersized;
he had the rickets, and though he was over three years old, he was
no bigger than an ordinary child of one. All day long he would
crawl around the floor in a filthy little dress, whining and fretting;
because the floor was full of drafts he was always catching cold,
and snuffling because his nose ran. This made him a nuisance, and a
source of endless trouble in the family. For his mother, with


unnatural perversity, loved him best of all her children, and made
a perpetual fuss over him--would let him do anything undisturbed,
and would burst into tears when his fretting drove Jurgis wild.

And now he died. Perhaps it was the smoked sausage he had eaten that
morning--which may have been made out of some of the tubercular pork
that was condemncd as unfit for export. At any rate, an hour after
eating it, the child had begun to cry with pain, and in another hour
he was rolling about on the floor in convulsions. Little Kotrina,
who was all alone with him, ran out screaming for help, and after a
while a doctor came, but not until Kristoforas had howled his last howl.
No one was really sorry about this except poor Elzbieta, who was
inconsolable. Jurgis announced that so far as he was concerned
the child would have to be buried by the city, since they had no
money for a funeral; and at this the poor woman almost went out of
her senses, wringing her hands and screaming with grief and despair.
Her child to be buried in a pauper's grave! And her stepdaughter to
stand by and hear it said without protesting! It was enough to make
Ona's father rise up out of his grave to rebuke her! If it had come
to this, they might as well give up at once, and be buried all of
them together!. . . In the end Marija said that she would help
with ten dollars; and Jurgis being still obdurate, Elzbieta went
in tears and begged the money from the neighbors, and so little
Kristoforas had a mass and a hearse with white plumes on it, and a
tiny plot in a graveyard with a wooden cross to mark the place.
The poor mother was not the same for months after that; the mere
sight of the floor where little Kristoforas had crawled about would
make her weep. He had never had a fair chance, poor little fellow,
she would say. He had been handicapped from his birth. If only she
had heard about it in time, so that she might have had that great
doctor to cure him of his lameness!. . . Some time ago, Elzbieta
was told, a Chicago billionaire had paid a fortune to bring a great
European surgeon over to cure his little daughter of the same disease
from which Kristoforas had suffered. And because this surgeon had
to have bodies to demonstrate upon, he announced that he would treat
the children of the poor, a piece of magnanimity over which the papers
became quite eloquent. Elzbieta, alas, did not read the papers,
and no one had told her; but perhaps it was as well, for just then they
would not have had the carfare to spare to go every day to wait upon
the surgeon, nor for that matter anybody with the time to take the child.

All this while that he was seeking for work, there was a dark shadow
hanging over Jurgis; as if a savage beast were lurking somewhere in the
pathway of his life, and he knew it, and yet could not help approaching
the place. There are all stages of being out of work in Packingtown,
and he faced in dread the prospect of reaching the lowest. There is
a place that waits for the lowest man--the fertilizer plant!

The men would talk about it in awe-stricken whispers. Not more than
one in ten had ever really tried it; the other nine had contented
themselves with hearsay evidence and a peep through the door.
There were some things worse than even starving to death. They would
ask Jurgis if he had worked there yet, and if he meant to; and Jurgis
would debate the matter with himself. As poor as they were, and making
all the sacrifices that they were, would he dare to refuse any sort
of work that was offered to him, be it as horrible as ever it could?
Would he dare to go home and eat bread that had been earned by Ona,
weak and complaining as she was, knowing that he had been given
a chance, and had not had the nerve to take it?--And yet he might
argue that way with himself all day, and one glimpse into the
fertilizer works would send him away again shuddering. He was a man,
and he would do his duty; he went and made application--but surely
he was not also required to hope for success!


The fertilizer works of Durham's lay away from the rest of the plant.
Few visitors ever saw them, and the few who did would come out
looking like Dante, of whom the peasants declared that he had been
into hell. To this part of the yards came all the tankage" and
the waste products of all sorts; here they dried out the bones--and
in suffocating cellars where the daylight never came you might see
men and women and children bending over whirling machines and sawing
bits of bone into all sorts of shapesbreathing their lungs full
of the fine dustand doomed to dieevery one of themwithin a
certain definite time. Here they made the blood into albumen
and made other foul-smelling things into things still more foul-smelling.
In the corridors and caverns where it was done you might lose yourself
as in the great caves of Kentucky. In the dust and the steam the
electric lights would shine like far-off twinkling stars--red and
blue-green and purple starsaccording to the color of the mist and
the brew from which it came. For the odors of these ghastly charnel
houses there may be words in Lithuanianbut there are none in English.
The person entering would have to summon his courage as for a
cold-water plunge. He would go in like a man swimming under water;
he would put his handkerchief over his faceand begin to cough and
choke; and thenif he were still obstinatehe would find his head
beginning to ringand the veins in his forehead to throbuntil
finally he would be assailed by an overpowering blast of ammonia fumes
and would turn and run for his lifeand come out half-dazed.

On top of this were the rooms where they dried the "tankage the mass
of brown stringy stuff that was left after the waste portions of the
carcasses had had the lard and tallow dried out of them. This dried
material they would then grind to a fine powder, and after they had
mixed it up well with a mysterious but inoffensive brown rock which
they brought in and ground up by the hundreds of carloads for that
purpose, the substance was ready to be put into bags and sent out
to the world as any one of a hundred different brands of standard
bone phosphate. And then the farmer in Maine or California or Texas
would buy this, at say twenty-five dollars a ton, and plant it with
his corn; and for several days after the operation the fields would
have a strong odor, and the farmer and his wagon and the very horses
that had hauled it would all have it too. In Packingtown the fertilizer
is pure, instead of being a flavoring, and instead of a ton or so
spread out on several acres under the open sky, there are hundreds
and thousands of tons of it in one building, heaped here and there
in haystack piles, covering the floor several inches deep, and filling
the air with a choking dust that becomes a blinding sandstorm when
the wind stirs.

It was to this building that Jurgis came daily, as if dragged by
an unseen hand. The month of May was an exceptionally cool one,
and his secret prayers were granted; but early in June there came
a record-breaking hot spell, and after that there were men wanted
in the fertilizer mill.

The boss of the grinding room had come to know Jurgis by this time,
and had marked him for a likely man; and so when he came to the door
about two o'clock this breathless hot day, he felt a sudden spasm
of pain shoot through him--the boss beckoned to him! In ten minutes
more Jurgis had pulled off his coat and overshirt, and set his teeth
together and gone to work. Here was one more difficulty for him to
meet and conquer!

His labor took him about one minute to learn. Before him was one
of the vents of the mill in which the fertilizer was being ground-rushing
forth in a great brown river, with a spray of the finest
dust flung forth in clouds. Jurgis was given a shovel, and along


with half a dozen others it was his task to shovel this fertilizer
into carts. That others were at work he knew by the sound, and by
the fact that he sometimes collided with them; otherwise they might
as well not have been there, for in the blinding dust storm a man
could not see six feet in front of his face. When he had filled
one cart he had to grope around him until another came, and if there
was none on hand he continued to grope till one arrived. In five
minutes he was, of course, a mass of fertilizer from head to feet;
they gave him a sponge to tie over his mouth, so that he could breathe,
but the sponge did not prevent his lips and eyelids from caking up
with it and his ears from filling solid. He looked like a brown ghost
at twilight--from hair to shoes he became the color of the building and
of everything in it, and for that matter a hundred yards outside it.
The building had to be left open, and when the wind blew Durham and
Company lost a great deal of fertilizer.

Working in his shirt sleeves, and with the thermometer at over
a hundred, the phosphates soaked in through every pore of Jurgis'
skin, and in five minutes he had a headache, and in fifteen was
almost dazed. The blood was pounding in his brain like an engine's
throbbing; there was a frightful pain in the top of his skull,
and he could hardly control his hands. Still, with the memory of
his four months' siege behind him, he fought on, in a frenzy of
determination; and half an hour later he began to vomit--he vomited
until it seemed as if his inwards must be torn into shreds. A man
could get used to the fertilizer mill, the boss had said, if he would
make up his mind to it; but Jurgis now began to see that it was
a question of making up his stomach.

At the end of that day of horror, he could scarcely stand. He had
to catch himself now and then, and lean against a building and get
his bearings. Most of the men, when they came out, made straight
for a saloon--they seemed to place fertilizer and rattlesnake poison
in one class. But Jurgis was too ill to think of drinking--he could
only make his way to the street and stagger on to a car. He had a
sense of humor, and later on, when he became an old hand, he used to
think it fun to board a streetcar and see what happened. Now, however,
he was too ill to notice it--how the people in the car began to gasp
and sputter, to put their handkerchiefs to their noses, and transfix
him with furious glances. Jurgis only knew that a man in front of
him immediately got up and gave him a seat; and that half a minute
later the two people on each side of him got up; and that in a full
minute the crowded car was nearly empty--those passengers who could
not get room on the platform having gotten out to walk.

Of course Jurgis had made his home a miniature fertilizer mill a
minute after entering. The stuff was half an inch deep in his skin-his
whole system was full of it, and it would have taken a week not
merely of scrubbing, but of vigorous exercise, to get it out of him.
As it was, he could be compared with nothing known to men, save that
newest discovery of the savants, a substance which emits energy for
an unlimited time, without being itself in the least diminished
in power. He smelled so that he made all the food at the table taste,
and set the whole family to vomiting; for himself it was three days
before he could keep anything upon his stomach--he might wash his hands,
and use a knife and fork, but were not his mouth and throat filled
with the poison?

And still Jurgis stuck it out! In spite of splitting headaches he
would stagger down to the plant and take up his stand once more,
and begin to shovel in the blinding clouds of dust. And so at the
end of the week he was a fertilizer man for life--he was able to
eat again, and though his head never stopped aching, it ceased to
be so bad that he could not work.


So there passed another summer. It was a summer of prosperity,
all over the country, and the country ate generously of packing
house products, and there was plenty of work for all the family,
in spite of the packers' efforts to keep a superfluity of labor.
They were again able to pay their debts and to begin to save a
little sum; but there were one or two sacrifices they considered
too heavy to be made for long--it was too bad that the boys should
have to sell papers at their age. It was utterly useless to caution
them and plead with them; quite without knowing it, they were taking
on the tone of their new environment. They were learning to swear
in voluble English; they were learning to pick up cigar stumps and
smoke them, to pass hours of their time gambling with pennies and
dice and cigarette cards; they were learning the location of all
the houses of prostitution on the Levee and the names of the
madames" who kept themand the days when they gave their state
banquetswhich the police captains and the big politicians all
attended. If a visiting "country customer" were to ask them
they could show him which was "Hinkydink's" famous saloonand could
even point out to him by name the different gamblers and thugs and
hold-up menwho made the place their headquarters. And worse yet
the boys were getting out of the habit of coming home at night.
What was the usethey would askof wasting time and energy and
a possible carfare riding out to the stockyards every night when
the weather was pleasant and they could crawl under a truck or into
an empty doorway and sleep exactly as well? So long as they brought
home a half dollar for each daywhat mattered it when they brought it?
But Jurgis declared that from this to ceasing to come at all would
not be a very long stepand so it was decided that Vilimas and
Nikalojus should return to school in the falland that instead
Elzbieta should go out and get some workher place at home being
taken by her younger daughter.

Little Kotrina was like most children of the poorprematurely made old;
she had to take care of her little brotherwho was a crippleand also
of the baby; she had to cook the meals and wash the dishes and
clean houseand have supper ready when the workers came home in
the evening. She was only thirteenand small for her agebut she
did all this without a murmur; and her mother went outand after
trudging a couple of days about the yardssettled down as a servant
of a "sausage machine."

Elzbieta was used to workingbut she found this change a hard one
for the reason that she had to stand motionless upon her feet from
seven o'clock in the morning till half-past twelveand again from
one till half-past five. For the first few days it seemed to her
that she could not stand it--she suffered almost as much as Jurgis
had from the fertilizerand would come out at sundown with her head
fairly reeling. Besides thisshe was working in one of the dark holes
by electric lightand the dampnesstoowas deadly--there were
always puddles of water on the floorand a sickening odor of moist
flesh in the room. The people who worked here followed the ancient
custom of naturewhereby the ptarmigan is the color of dead leaves
in the fall and of snow in the winterand the chameleonwho is black
when he lies upon a stump and turns green when he moves to a leaf.
The men and women who worked in this department were precisely the
color of the "fresh country sausage" they made.

The sausage-room was an interesting place to visitfor two or
three minutesand provided that you did not look at the people;
the machines were perhaps the most wonderful things in the entire plant.
Presumably sausages were once chopped and stuffed by handand if so
it would be interesting to know how many workers had been displaced


by these inventions. On one side of the room were the hoppers
into which men shoveled loads of meat and wheelbarrows full of spices;
in these great bowls were whirling knives that made two thousand
revolutions a minuteand when the meat was ground fine and adulterated
with potato flourand well mixed with waterit was forced to the
stuffing machines on the other side of the room. The latter were
tended by women; there was a sort of spoutlike the nozzle of a hose
and one of the women would take a long string of "casing" and put
the end over the nozzle and then work the whole thing onas one
works on the finger of a tight glove. This string would be twenty
or thirty feet longbut the woman would have it all on in a jiffy;
and when she had several onshe would press a leverand a stream
of sausage meat would be shot outtaking the casing with it as it came.
Thus one might stand and see appearmiraculously born from the
machinea wriggling snake of sausage of incredible length. In front
was a big pan which caught these creaturesand two more women who
seized them as fast as they appeared and twisted them into links.
This was for the uninitiated the most perplexing work of all; for all
that the woman had to give was a single turn of the wrist; and in
some way she contrived to give it so that instead of an endless chain
of sausagesone after anotherthere grew under her hands a bunch
of stringsall dangling from a single center. It was quite like
the feat of a prestidigitator--for the woman worked so fast that
the eye could literally not follow herand there was only a mist
of motionand tangle after tangle of sausages appearing. In the
midst of the misthoweverthe visitor would suddenly notice the
tense set facewith the two wrinkles graven in the foreheadand the
ghastly pallor of the cheeks; and then he would suddenly recollect
that it was time he was going on. The woman did not go on; she stayed
right there--hour after hourday after dayyear after yeartwisting
sausage links and racing with death. It was pieceworkand she was apt
to have a family to keep alive; and stern and ruthless economic laws
had arranged it that she could only do this by working just as she did
with all her soul upon her workand with never an instant for a glance
at the well-dressed ladies and gentlemen who came to stare at her
as at some wild beast in a menagerie.

Chapter 14

With one member trimming beef in a canneryand another working in
a sausage factorythe family had a first-hand knowledge of the
great majority of Packingtown swindles. For it was the custom
as they foundwhenever meat was so spoiled that it could not be
used for anything elseeither to can it or else to chop it up
into sausage. With what had been told them by Jonaswho had worked
in the pickle roomsthey could now study the whole of the spoiled-meat
industry on the insideand read a new and grim meaning into that old
Packingtown jest--that they use everything of the pig except the squeal.

Jonas had told them how the meat that was taken out of pickle would
often be found sourand how they would rub it up with soda to take
away the smelland sell it to be eaten on free-lunch counters;
also of all the miracles of chemistry which they performedgiving
to any sort of meatfresh or saltedwhole or choppedany color
and any flavor and any odor they chose. In the pickling of hams
they had an ingenious apparatusby which they saved time and
increased the capacity of the plant--a machine consisting of a hollow
needle attached to a pump; by plunging this needle into the meat
and working with his foota man could fill a ham with pickle in
a few seconds. And yetin spite of thisthere would be hams
found spoiledsome of them with an odor so bad that a man could


hardly bear to be in the room with them. To pump into these the
packers had a second and much stronger pickle which destroyed the
odor--a process known to the workers as "giving them thirty per cent."
Alsoafter the hams had been smokedthere would be found some that had
gone to the bad. Formerly these had been sold as "Number Three Grade
but later on some ingenious person had hit upon a new device, and now
they would extract the bone, about which the bad part generally lay,
and insert in the hole a white-hot iron. After this invention there
was no longer Number One, Two, and Three Grade--there was only Number
One Grade. The packers were always originating such schemes--they had
what they called boneless hams which were all the odds and ends of
pork stuffed into casings; and California hams which were the
shoulders, with big knuckle joints, and nearly all the meat cut out;
and fancy skinned hams which were made of the oldest hogs, whose
skins were so heavy and coarse that no one would buy them--that is,
until they had been cooked and chopped fine and labeled head cheese!"

It was only when the whole ham was spoiled that it came into the
department of Elzbieta. Cut up by the two-thousand-revolutionsa-
minute flyersand mixed with half a ton of other meatno odor
that ever was in a ham could make any difference. There was never
the least attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would
come all the way back from Europe old sausage that had been rejected
and that was moldy and white--it would be dosed with borax and
glycerineand dumped into the hoppersand made over again for home
consumption. There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor
in the dirt and sawdustwhere the workers had tramped and spit
uncounted billions of consumption germs. There would be meat stored
in great piles in rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip
over itand thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark
in these storage places to see wellbut a man could run his hand over
these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats.
These rats were nuisancesand the packers would put poisoned bread
out for them; they would dieand then ratsbreadand meat would
go into the hoppers together. This is no fairy story and no joke;
the meat would be shoveled into cartsand the man who did the
shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one-there
were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which
a poisoned rat was a tidbit. There was no place for the men to wash
their hands before they ate their dinnerand so they made a practice
of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage.
There were the butt-ends of smoked meatand the scraps of corned beef
and all the odds and ends of the waste of the plantsthat would be
dumped into old barrels in the cellar and left there. Under the
system of rigid economy which the packers enforcedthere were some
jobs that it only paid to do once in a long timeand among these
was the cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every spring they did it;
and in the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale
water--and cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped
into the hoppers with fresh meatand sent out to the public's breakfast.
Some of it they would make into "smoked" sausage--but as the smoking
took timeand was therefore expensivethey would call upon their
chemistry departmentand preserve it with borax and color it with
gelatine to make it brown. All of their sausage came out of the
same bowlbut when they came to wrap it they would stamp some of
it "special and for this they would charge two cents more a pound.

Such were the new surroundings in which Elzbieta was placed, and such was
the work she was compelled to do. It was stupefying, brutalizing work;
it left her no time to think, no strength for anything. She was part
of the machine she tended, and every faculty that was not needed for
the machine was doomed to be crushed out of existence. There was
only one mercy about the cruel grind--that it gave her the gift of


insensibility. Little by little she sank into a torpor--she fell
silent. She would meet Jurgis and Ona in the evening, and the three
would walk home together, often without saying a word. Ona, too,
was falling into a habit of silence--Ona, who had once gone about
singing like a bird. She was sick and miserable, and often she would
barely have strength enough to drag herself home. And there they
would eat what they had to eat, and afterward, because there was
only their misery to talk of, they would crawl into bed and fall into
a stupor and never stir until it was time to get up again, and dress
by candlelight, and go back to the machines. They were so numbed
that they did not even suffer much from hunger, now; only the children
continued to fret when the food ran short.

Yet the soul of Ona was not dead--the souls of none of them were dead,
but only sleeping; and now and then they would waken, and these were
cruel times. The gates of memory would roll open--old joys would
stretch out their arms to them, old hopes and dreams would call to them,
and they would stir beneath the burden that lay upon them, and feel its
forever immeasurable weight. They could not even cry out beneath it;
but anguish would seize them, more dreadful than the agony of death.
It was a thing scarcely to be spoken--a thing never spoken by all
the world, that will not know its own defeat.

They were beaten; they had lost the game, they were swept aside.
It was not less tragic because it was so sordid, because it had to do
with wages and grocery bills and rents. They had dreamed of freedom;
of a chance to look about them and learn something; to be decent
and clean, to see their child grow up to be strong. And now it was all
gone--it would never be! They had played the game and they had lost.
Six years more of toil they had to face before they could expect the
least respite, the cessation of the payments upon the house; and how
cruelly certain it was that they could never stand six years of such
a life as they were living! They were lost, they were going down-and
there was no deliverance for them, no hope; for all the help it
gave them the vast city in which they lived might have been an ocean
waste, a wilderness, a desert, a tomb. So often this mood would come
to Ona, in the nighttime, when something wakened her; she would lie,
afraid of the beating of her own heart, fronting the blood-red eyes
of the old primeval terror of life. Once she cried aloud, and woke
Jurgis, who was tired and cross. After that she learned to weep
silently--their moods so seldom came together now! It was as if
their hopes were buried in separate graves.

Jurgis, being a man, had troubles of his own. There was another
specter following him. He had never spoken of it, nor would he allow
any one else to speak of it--he had never acknowledged its existence
to himself. Yet the battle with it took all the manhood that he had-and
once or twice, alas, a little more. Jurgis had discovered drink.

He was working in the steaming pit of hell; day after day, week after
week--until now, there was not an organ of his body that did its
work without pain, until the sound of ocean breakers echoed in his
head day and night, and the buildings swayed and danced before him
as he went down the street. And from all the unending horror of
this there was a respite, a deliverance--he could drink! He could
forget the pain, he could slip off the burden; he would see clearly
again, he would be master of his brain, of his thoughts, of his will.
His dead self would stir in him, and he would find himself laughing
and cracking jokes with his companions--he would be a man again,
and master of his life.

It was not an easy thing for Jurgis to take more than two or three drinks.
With the first drink he could eat a meal, and he could persuade himself
that that was economy; with the second he could eat another meal--but


there would come a time when he could eat no more, and then to pay
for a drink was an unthinkable extravagance, a defiance of the agelong
instincts of his hunger-haunted class. One day, however, he took
the plunge, and drank up all that he had in his pockets, and went
home half piped as the men phrase it. He was happier than he
had been in a year; and yet, because he knew that the happiness would
not last, he was savage, too with those who would wreck it, and with
the world, and with his life; and then again, beneath this, he was
sick with the shame of himself. Afterward, when he saw the despair
of his family, and reckoned up the money he had spent, the tears came
into his eyes, and he began the long battle with the specter.

It was a battle that had no end, that never could have one. But Jurgis
did not realize that very clearly; he was not given much time for
reflection. He simply knew that he was always fighting. Steeped in
misery and despair as he was, merely to walk down the street was
to be put upon the rack. There was surely a saloon on the corner-perhaps
on all four corners, and some in the middle of the block
as well; and each one stretched out a hand to him each one had a
personality of its own, allurements unlike any other. Going and
coming--before sunrise and after dark--there was warmth and a glow
of light, and the steam of hot food,and perhaps music, or a friendly
face, and a word of good cheer. Jurgis developed a fondness for
having Ona on his arm whenever he went out on the street, and he would
hold her tightly, and walk fast. It was pitiful to have Ona know
of this--it drove him wild to think of it; the thing was not fair,
for Ona had never tasted drink, and so could not understand.
Sometimes, in despeate hours, he would find himself wishing that
she might learn what it was, so that he need not be ashamed in
her presence. They might drink together, and escape from the horror-escape
for a while, come what would.

So there came a time when nearly all the conscious life of Jurgis
consisted of a struggle with the craving for liquor. He would have
ugly moods, when he hated Ona and the whole family, because they
stood in his way. He was a fool to have married; he had tied
himself down, had made himself a slave. It was all because he was
a married man that he was compelled to stay in the yards; if it had
not been for that he might have gone off like Jonas, and to hell
with the packers. There were few single men in the fertilizer mill-and
those few were working only for a chance to escape. Meantime, too,
they had something to think about while they worked,--they had the
memory of the last time they had been drunk, and the hope of the time
when they would be drunk again. As for Jurgis, he was expected to bring
home every penny; he could not even go with the men at noontime--he was
supposed to sit down and eat his dinner on a pile of fertilizer dust.

This was not always his mood, of course; he still loved his family.
But just now was a time of trial. Poor little Antanas, for instance-who
had never failed to win him with a smile--little Antanas was
not smiling just now, being a mass of fiery red pimples. He had
had all the diseases that babies are heir to, in quick succession,
scarlet fever, mumps, and whooping cough in the first year, and now
he was down with the measles. There was no one to attend him but
Kotrina; there was no doctor to help him, because they were too poor,
and children did not die of the measles--at least not often. Now and
then Kotrina would find time to sob over his woes, but for the greater
part of the time he had to be left alone, barricaded upon the bed.
The floor was full of drafts, and if he caught cold he would die.
At night he was tied down, lest he should kick the covers off him,
while the family lay in their stupor of exhaustion. He would lie
and scream for hours, almost in convulsions; and then, when he was
worn out, he would lie whimpering and wailing in his torment. He was
burning up with fever, and his eyes were running sores; in the daytime


he was a thing uncanny and impish to behold, a plaster of pimples
and sweat, a great purple lump of misery.

Yet all this was not really as cruel as it sounds, for, sick as he was,
little Antanas was the least unfortunate member of that family.
He was quite able to bear his sufferings--it was as if he had all
these complaints to show what a prodigy of health he was. He was
the child of his parents' youth and joy; he grew up like the conjurer's
rosebush, and all the world was his oyster. In general, he toddled
around the kitchen all day with a lean and hungry look--the portion
of the family's allowance that fell to him was not enough, and he was
unrestrainable in his demand for more. Antanas was but little over
a year old, and already no one but his father could manage him.

It seemed as if he had taken all of his mother's strength--had left
nothing for those that might come after him. Ona was with child
again now, and it was a dreadful thing to contemplate; even Jurgis,
dumb and despairing as he was, could not but understand that yet
other agonies were on the way, and shudder at the thought of them.

For Ona was visibly going to pieces. In the first place she was
developing a cough, like the one that had killed old Dede Antanas.
She had had a trace of it ever since that fatal morning when the greedy
streetcar corporation had turned her out into the rain; but now it was
beginning to grow serious, and to wake her up at night. Even worse
than that was the fearful nervousness from which she suffered;
she would have frightful headaches and fits of aimless weeping;
and sometimes she would come home at night shuddering and moaning,
and would fling herself down upon the bed and burst into tears.
Several times she was quite beside herself and hysterical; and then
Jurgis would go half-mad with fright. Elzbieta would explain to him
that it could not be helped, that a woman was subject to such things
when she was pregnant; but he was hardly to be persuaded, and would
beg and plead to know what had happened. She had never been like
this before, he would argue--it was monstrous and unthinkable.
It was the life she had to live, the accursed work she had to do,
that was killing her by inches. She was not fitted for it--no woman
was fitted for it, no woman ought to be allowed to do such work;
if the world could not keep them alive any other way it ought to kill
them at once and be done with it. They ought not to marry, to have
children; no workingman ought to marry--if he, Jurgis, had known what
a woman was like, he would have had his eyes torn out first. So he
would carry on, becoming half hysterical himself, which was an
unbearable thing to see in a big man; Ona would pull herself together
and fling herself into his arms, begging him to stop, to be still,
that she would be better, it would be all right. So she would lie
and sob out her grief upon his shoulder, while he gazed at her,
as helpless as a wounded animal, the target of unseen enemies.

Chapter 15

The beginning of these perplexing things was in the summer; and each
time Ona would promise him with terror in her voice that it would not
happen again--but in vain. Each crisis would leave Jurgis more and
more frightened, more disposed to distrust Elzbieta's consolations,
and to believe that there was some terrible thing about all this
that he was not allowed to know. Once or twice in these outbreaks he
caught Ona's eye, and it seemed to him like the eye of a hunted animal;
there were broken phrases of anguish and despair now and then, amid her
frantic weeping. It was only because he was so numb and beaten himself
that Jurgis did not worry more about this. But he never thought of it,


except when he was dragged to it--he lived like a dumb beast of burden,
knowing only the moment in which he was.

The winter was coming on again, more menacing and cruel than ever.
It was October, and the holiday rush had begun. It was necessary
for the packing machines to grind till late at night to provide food
that would be eaten at Christmas breakfasts; and Marija and Elzbieta
and Ona, as part of the machine, began working fifteen or sixteen
hours a day. There was no choice about this--whatever work there
was to be done they had to do, if they wished to keep their places;
besides that, it added another pittance to their incomes. So they
staggered on with the awful load. They would start work every morning
at seven, and eat their dinners at noon, and then work until ten or
eleven at night without another mouthful of food. Jurgis wanted to
wait for them, to help them home at night, but they would not think
of this; the fertilizer mill was not running overtime, and there was
no place for him to wait save in a saloon. Each would stagger out
into the darkness, and make her way to the corner, where they met;
or if the others had already gone, would get into a car, and begin
a painful struggle to keep awake. When they got home they were always
too tired either to eat or to undress; they would crawl into bed with
their shoes on, and lie like logs. If they should fail, they would
certainly be lost; if they held out, they might have enough coal
for the winter.

A day or two before Thanksgiving Day there came a snowstorm. It began
in the afternoon, and by evening two inches had fallen. Jurgis tried
to wait for the women, but went into a saloon to get warm, and took
two drinks, and came out and ran home to escape from the demon;
there he lay down to wait for them, and instantly fell asleep.
When he opened his eyes again he was in the midst of a nightmare,
and found Elzbieta shaking him and crying out. At first he could not
realize what she was saying--Ona had not come home. What time was it,
he asked. It was morning--time to be up. Ona had not been home
that night! And it was bitter cold, and a foot of snow on the ground.

Jurgis sat up with a start. Marija was crying with fright and the
children were wailing in sympathy--little Stanislovas in addition,
because the terror of the snow was upon him. Jurgis had nothing
to put on but his shoes and his coat, and in half a minute he was
out of the door. Then, however, he realized that there was no need
of haste, that he had no idea where to go. It was still dark as
midnight, and the thick snowflakes were sifting down--everything was
so silent that he could hear the rustle of them as they fell. In the
few seconds that he stood there hesitating he was covered white.

He set off at a run for the yards, stopping by the way to inquire in
the saloons that were open. Ona might have been overcome on the way;
or else she might have met with an accident in the machines. When he
got to the place where she worked he inquired of one of the watchmen-there
had not been any accident, so far as the man had heard. At the
time office, which he found already open, the clerk told him that
Ona's check had been turned in the night before, showing that she
had left her work.

After that there was nothing for him to do but wait, pacing back and
forth in the snow, meantime, to keep from freezing. Already the yards
were full of activity; cattle were being unloaded from the cars in
the distance, and across the way the beef-luggers" were toiling in
the darknesscarrying two-hundred-pound quarters of bullocks into
the refrigerator cars. Before the first streaks of daylight there
came the crowding throngs of workingmenshiveringand swinging
their dinner pails as they hurried by. Jurgis took up his stand
by the time-office windowwhere alone there was light enough for


him to see; the snow fell so quick that it was only by peering
closely that he could make sure that Ona did not pass him.


Seven o'clock camethe hour when the great packing machine began
to move. Jurgis ought to have been at his place in the fertilizer
mill; but instead he was waitingin an agony of fearfor Ona.
It was fifteen minutes after the hour when he saw a form emerge from
the snow mistand sprang toward it with a cry. It was sherunning
swiftly; as she saw himshe staggered forwardand half fell into
his outstretched arms.


What has been the matter?he criedanxiously. "Where have you been?"


It was several scconds before she could get breath to answer him.
I couldn't get home,she exclaimed. "The snow--the cars had stopped."


But where were you then?he demanded.


I had to go home with a friend,she panted--"with Jadvyga."


Jurgis drew a deep breath; but then he noticed that she was sobbing
and trembling--as if in one of those nervous crises that he dreaded so.
But what's the matter?he cried. "What has happened?"


Oh, Jurgis, I was so frightened!she saidclinging to him wildly.
I have been so worried!


They were near the time station windowand people were staring at them.
Jurgis led her away. "How do you mean?" he askedin perplexity.


I was afraid--I was just afraid!sobbed Ona. "I knew you wouldn't
know where I wasand I didn't know what you might do. I tried to
get homebut I was so tired. OhJurgisJurgis!"


He was so glad to get her back that he could not think clearly about
anything else. It did not seem strange to him that she should be
so very much upset; all her fright and incoherent protestations did
not matter since he had her back. He let her cry away her tears;
and thenhecause it was nearly eight o'clockand they would lose
another hour if they delayedhe left her at the packing house door
with her ghastly white face and her haunted eyes of terror.


There was another brief interval. Christmas was almost come; and because
the snow still heldand the searching coldmorning after morning
Jurgis hall carried his wife to her poststaggering with her through
the darkness; until at lastone nightcame the end.


It lacked but three days of the holidays. About midnight Marija and
Elzbieta came homeexclaiming in alarm when they found that Ona
had not come. The two had agreed to meet her; andafter waiting
had gone to the room where she worked; only to find that the
ham-wrapping girls had quit work an hour beforeand left. There was
no snow that nightnor was it especially cold; and still Ona had
not come! Something more serious must be wrong this time.


They aroused Jurgisand he sat up and listened crossly to the story.
She must have gone home again with Jadvygahe said; Jadvyga lived
only two blocks from the yardsand perhaps she had been tired.
Nothing could have happened to her--and even if there hadthere was
nothing could be done about it until morning. Jurgis turned over
in his bedand was snoring again before the two had closed the door.


In the morninghoweverhe was up and out nearly an hour before the
usual time. Jadvyga Marcinkus lived on the other side of the yards



beyond Halsted Streetwith her mother and sistersin a single
basement room--for Mikolas had recently lost one hand from blood
poisoningand their marriage had been put off forever. The door
of the room was in the rearreached by a narrow courtand Jurgis
saw a light in the window and heard something frying as he passed;
he knockedhalf expecting that Ona would answer.

Instead there was one of Jadvyga's little sisterswho gazed at him
through a crack in thc door. "Where's Ona?" he demanded; and the child
looked at him in perplexity. "Ona?" she said.

Yes,said Jurgis. isn't she here?"

No,said the childand Jurgis gave a start. A moment later came
Jadvygapeering over the child's head. When she saw who it was
she slid around out of sightfor she was not quite dressed.
Jurgis must excuse hershe beganher mother was very ill-


Ona isn't here?Jurgis demandedtoo alarmed to wait for her to finish.

Why, no,said Jadvyga. "What made you think she would be here?
Had she said she was coming?"

No,he answered. "But she hasn't come home--and I thought she
would be here the same as before."

As before?echoed Jadvygain perplexity.

The time she spent the night here,said Jurgis.

There must be some mistake,she answeredquickly. "Ona has never
spent the night here."

He was only half able to realize the words. "Why--why--" he exclaimed.
Two weeks ago. Jadvyga! She told me so the night it snowed, and she
could not get home.

There must be some mistake,declared the girlagain; "she didn't
come here."

He steadied himself by the doorsill; and Jadvyga in her anxiety--for
she was fond of Ona--opened the door wideholding her jacket across
her throat. "Are you sure you didn't misunderstand her?" she cried.
She must have meant somewhere else. She--

She said here,insisted Jurgis. "She told me all about youand how
you wereand what you said. Are you sure? You haven't forgotten?
You weren't away?"

No, no!she exclaimed--and then came a peevish voice--"Jadvyga
you are giving the baby a cold. Shut the door!" Jurgis stood for
half a minute morestammering his perplexity through an eighth of
an inch of crack; and thenas there was really nothing more to be said
he excused himself and went away.

He walked on half dazedwithout knowing where he went. Ona had
deceived him! She had lied to him! And what could it mean--where
had she been? Where was she now? He could hardly grasp the thing-much
less try to solve it; but a hundred wild surmises came to him
a sense of impending calamity overwhelmed him.

Because there was nothing else to dohe went back to the time office
to watch again. He waited until nearly an hour after sevenand then
went to the room where Ona worked to make inquiries of Ona's "forelady."


The "forelady he found, had not yet come; all the lines of cars
that came from downtown were stalled--there had been an accident
in the powerhouse, and no cars had been running since last night.
Meantime, however, the ham-wrappers were working away, with some one
else in charge of them. The girl who answered Jurgis was busy,
and as she talked she looked to see if she were being watched.
Then a man came up, wheeling a truck; he knew Jurgis for Ona's husband,
and was curious about the mystery.


Maybe the cars had something to do with it he suggested--maybe she
had gone down-town."


No,said Jurgis. "she never went down-town."


Perhaps not,said the man. Jurgis thought he saw him exchange
a swift glance with the girl as he spokeand he demanded quickly.
What do you know about it?


But the man had seen that the boss was watching him; he started on
againpushing his truck. "I don't know anything about it he said,
over his shoulder. How should I know where your wife goes?"


Then Jurgis went out again and paced up and down before the building.
All the morning he stayed therewith no thought of his work.
About noon he went to the police station to make inquiriesand then
came back again for another anxious vigil. Finallytoward the middle
of the alternoonhe set out for home once more.


He was walking out Ashland Avenue. The streetcars had begun running
againand several passed himpacked to the steps with people.
The sight of them set Jurgis to thinking again of the man's sarcastic
remark; and half involuntarily he found himself watching the cars-with
the result that he gave a sudden startled exclamationand stopped
short in his tracks.


Then he broke into a run. For a whole block he tore after the car
only a little ways behind. That rusty black hat with the drooping
red flowerit might not be Ona'sbut there was very little likelihood
of it. He would know for certain very soonfor she would get out
two blocks ahead. He slowed downand let the car go on.


She got out: and as soon as she was out of sight on the side street
Jurgis broke into a run. Suspicion was rife in him nowand he was
not ashamed to shadow her: he saw her turn the corner near their home
and then he ran againand saw her as she went up the porch steps
of the house. After that he turned backand for five minutes paced
up and downhis hands clenched tightly and his lips sethis mind
in a turmoil. Then he went home and entered.


As he opened the doorhe saw Elzbietawho had also been looking
for Onaand had come home again. She was now on tiptoeand had
a finger on her lips. Jurgis waited until she was close to him.


Don't make any noise,she whisperedhurriedly.


What's the matter'?he asked. "Ona is asleep she panted.
She's been very ill. I'm afraid her mind's been wanderingJurgis.
She was lost on the street all nightand I've only just succeeded
in getting her quiet."


When did she come in?he asked.


Soon after you left this morning,said Elzbieta.



And has she been out since?No, of course not. She's so weak,
Jurgis, she--

And he set his teeth hard together. "You are lying to me he said.

Elzbieta started, and turned pale. Why!" she gasped. "What do you mean?"

But Jurgis did not answer. He pushed her asideand strode to the
bedroom door and opened it.

Ona was sitting on the bed. She turned a startled look upon him as
he entered. He closed the door in Elzbieta's faceand went toward
his wife. "Where have you been?" he demanded.

She had her hands clasped tightly in her lapand he saw that her
face was as white as paperand drawn with pain. She gasped once or
twice as she tried to answer himand then beganspeaking low
and swiftly. "JurgisI--I think I have been out of my mind. I started
to come last nightand I could not find the way. I walked--I walked
all nightI thinkand--and I only got home--this morning."

You needed a rest,he saidin a hard tone. "Why did you go out again?"

He was looking her fairly in the faceand he could read the sudden
fear and wild uncertainty that leaped into her eyes. "I--I had to
go to--to the store she gasped, almost in a whisper, I had to go--"

You are lying to me,said Jurgis. Then he clenched his hands and
took a step toward her. "Why do you lie to me?" he criedfiercely.
What are you doing that you have to lie to me?

Jurgis!she exclaimedstarting up in fright. "OhJurgishow
can you?"

You have lied to me, I say!he cried. "You told me you had been
to Jadvyga's house that other nightand you hadn't. You had been
where you were last night--somewheres downtownfor I saw you get
off the car. Where were you?"

It was as if he had struck a knife into her. She seemed to go all
to pieces. For half a second she stoodreeling and swaying
staring at him with horror in her eyes; thenwith a cry of anguish
she tottered forwardstretching out her arms to him. But he stepped
asidedeliberatelyand let her fall. She caught herself at the
side of the bedand then sank downburying her face in her hands
and bursting into frantic weeping.

There came one of those hysterical crises that had so often
dismayed him. Ona sobbed and wepther fear and anguish building
themselves up into long climaxes. Furious gusts of emotion would
come sweeping over hershaking her as the tempest shakes the trees
upon the hills; all her frame would quiver and throb with them--it was
as if some dreadful thing rose up within her and took possession of her
torturing hertearing her. This thing had been wont to set Jurgis
quite beside himself; but now he stood with his lips set tightly and
his hands clenched--she might weep till she killed herselfbut she
should not move him this time--not an inchnot an inch. Because the
sounds she made set his blood to running cold and his lips to quivering
in spite of himselfhe was glad of the diversion when Teta Elzbieta
pale with frightopened the door and rushed in; yet he turned upon
her with an oath. "Go out!" he criedgo out!And thenas she
stood hesitatingabout to speakhe seized her by the armand half
flung her from the roomslamming the door and barring it with a table.
Then he turned again and faced Onacrying--"Nowanswer me!"


Yet she did not hear him--she was still in the grip of the fiend.
Jurgis could see her outstretched handsshaking and twitching
roaming here and there over the bed at willlike living things;
he could see convulsive shudderings start in her body and run through
her limbs. She was sobbing and choking--it was as if there were too
many sounds for one throatthey came chasing each otherlike waves
upon the sea. Then her voice would begin to rise into screams
louder and louder until it broke in wildhorrible peals of laughter.
Jurgis bore it until he could bear it no longerand then he sprang
at herseizing her by the shoulders and shaking hershouting into
her ear: "Stop itI say! Stop it!"

She looked up at himout of her agony; then she fell forward at
his feet. She caught them in her handsin spite of his efforts
to step asideand with her face upon the floor lay writhing. It
made a choking in Jurgis' throat to hear herand he cried again
more savagely than before: "Stop itI say!"

This time she heeded himand caught her breath and lay silent
save for the gasping sobs that wrenched all her frame. For a long
minute she lay thereperfectly motionlessuntil a cold fear seized
her husbandthinking that she was dying. Suddenlyhowever
he heard her voicefaintly: "Jurgis! Jurgis!"

What is it?he said.

He had to bend down to hershe was so weak. She was pleading
with himin broken phrasespainfully uttered: "Have faith in me!
Believe me!"

Believe what?he cried.

Believe that I--that I know best--that I love you! And do not
ask me--what you did. Oh, Jurgis, please, please! It is for the
best--it is--

He started to speak againbut she rushed on franticallyheading
him off. "If you will only do it! If you will only--only believe me!
It wasn't my fault--I couldn't help it--it will be all right--it is
nothing--it is no harm. OhJurgis--pleaseplease!"

She had hold of himand was trying to raise herself to look at him;
he could feel the palsied shaking of her hands and the heaving of the
bosom she pressed against him. She managed to catch one of his hands
and gripped it convulsivelydrawing it to her faceand bathing it
in her tears. "Ohbelieve mebelieve me!" she wailed again; and he
shouted in furyI will not!

But still she clung to himwailing aloud in her despair: "OhJurgis
think what you are doing! It will ruin us--it will ruin us! Ohno
you must not do it! Nodon'tdon't do it. You must not do it!
It will drive me mad--it will kill me--nonoJurgisI am crazy-it
is nothing. You do not really need to know. We can be happy-we
can love each other just the same. Ohpleasepleasebelieve me!"

Her words fairly drove him wild. He tore his hands looseand flung
her off. "Answer me he cried. God damn itI say--answer me!"

She sank down upon the floorbeginning to cry again. It was like
listening to the moan of a damned souland Jurgis could not stand it.
He smote his fist upon the table by his sideand shouted again at her
Answer me!


She began to scream aloudher voice like the voice of some wild beast:
Ah! Ah! I can't! I can't do it!


Why can't you do it?he shouted.


I don't know how!


He sprang and caught her by the armlifting her upand glaring
into her face. "Tell me where you were last night!" he panted.
Quick, out with it!


Then she began to whisperone word at a time: "I--was in--a house-downtown--"


What house? What do you mean?


She tried to hide her eyes awaybut he held her. "Miss Henderson's
house she gasped. He did not understand at first. Miss Henderson's
house he echoed. And then suddenly, as in an explosion, the horrible
truth burst over him, and he reeled and staggered back with a scream.
He caught himself against the wall, and put his hand to his forehead,
staring about him, and whispering, Jesus! Jesus!"


An instant later he leaped at heras she lay groveling at his feet.
He seized her by the throat. "Tell me!" he gaspedhoarsely.
Quick! Who took you to that place?"


She tried to get awaymaking him furious; he thought it was fear
of the pain of his clutch--he did not understand that it was the agony
of her shame. Still she answered himConnor.


Connor,he gasped. "Who is Connor?"


The boss,she answered. "The man--"


He tightened his gripin his frenzyand only when he saw her eyes
closing did he realize that he was choking her. Then he relaxed his
fingersand crouchedwaitinguntil she opened her lids again.
His breath beat hot into her face.


Tell me,he whisperedat lasttell me about it.


She lay perfectly motionlessand he had to hold his breath to catch
her words. "I did not want--to do it she said; I tried--I tried
not to do it. I only did it--to save us. It was our only chance."


Againfor a spacethere was no sound but his panting. Ona's eyes
closed and when she spoke again she did not open them. "He told me-he
would have me turned off. He told me he would--we would all of us
lose our places. We could never get anything to do--here--again.
He--he meant it--he would have ruined us."


Jurgis' arms were shaking so that he could scarcely hold himself up
and lurched forward now and then as he listened. "When--when did
this begin?" he gasped.


At the very first,she said. She spoke as if in a trance. "It was
all--it was their plot--Miss Henderson's plot. She hated me.
And he--he wanted me. He used to speak to me--out on the platform.
Then he began to--to make love to me. He offered me money. He begged
me--he said he loved me. Then he threatened me. He knew all about us
he knew we would starve. He knew your boss--he knew Marija's.
He would hound us to deathhe said--then he said if I would--if
I--we would all of us be sure of work--always. Then one day he



caught hold of me--he would not let go--he--he--"

Where was this?

In the hallway--at night--after every one had gone. I could not
help it. I thought of you--of the baby--of mother and the children.
I was afraid of him--afraid to cry out.

A moment ago her face had been ashen graynow it was scarlet.
She was beginning to breathe hard again. Jurgis made not a sound.

That was two months ago. Then he wanted me to come--to that house.
He wanted me to stay there. He said all of us--that we would not
have to work. He made me come there--in the evenings. I told you-you
thought I was at the factory. Then--one night it snowed,
and I couldn't get back. And last night--the cars were stopped.
It was such a little thing--to ruin us all. I tried to walk, but I
couldn't. I didn't want you to know. It would have--it would have
been all right. We could have gone on--just the same--you need never
have known about it. He was getting tired of me--he would have let
me alone soon. I am going to have a baby--I am getting ugly. He told
me that--twice, he told me, last night. He kicked me--last night--too.
And now you will kill him--you--you will kill him--and we shall die.

All this she had said without a quiver; she lay still as death
not an eyelid moving. And Jurgistoosaid not a word. He lifted
himself by the bedand stood up. He did not stop for another glance
at herbut went to the door and opened it. He did not see Elzbieta
crouching terrified in the corner. He went outhatlessleaving
the street door open behind him. The instant his feet were on the
sidewalk he broke into a run.

He ran like one possessedblindlyfuriouslylooking neither to the
right nor left. He was on Ashland Avenue before exhaustion compelled
him to slow downand thennoticing a carhe made a dart for it
and drew himself aboard. His eyes were wild and his hair flying
and he was breathing hoarselylike a wounded bull; but the people
on the car did not notice this particularly--perhaps it seemed natural
to them that a man who smelled as Jurgis smelled should exhibit an
aspect to correspond. They began to give way before him as usual.
The conductor took his nickel gingerlywith the tips of his fingers
and then left him with the platform to himself. Jurgis did not even
notice it--his thoughts were far away. Within his soul it was like a
roaring furnace; he stood waitingwaitingcrouching as if for a spring.

He had some of his breath back when the car came to the entrance of
the yardsand so he leaped off and started againracing at full speed.
People turned and stared at himbut he saw no one--there was the
factoryand he bounded through the doorway and down the corridor.
He knew the room where Ona workedand he knew Connorthe boss of the
loading-gang outside. He looked for the man as he sprang into the room.

The truckmen were hard at workloading the freshly packed boxes and
barrels upon the cars. Jurgis shot one swift glance up and down the
platform--the man was not on it. But then suddenly he heard a voice
in the corridorand started for it with a bound. In an instant more
he fronted the boss.

He was a bigred-faced Irishmancoarse-featuredand smelling of
liquor. He saw Jurgis as he crossed the thresholdand turned white.
He hesitated one secondas if meaning to run; and in the next his
assailant was upon him. He put up his hands to protect his face
but Jurgislunging with all the power of his arm and bodystruck him


fairly between the eyes and knocked him backward. The next moment he
was on top of himburying his fingers in his throat.

To Jurgis this man's whole presence reeked of the crime he had committed;
the touch of his body was madness to him--it set every nerve of him
atrembleit aroused all the demon in his soul. It had worked its
will upon Onathis great beast--and now he had ithe had it! It was
his turn now! Things swam blood before himand he screamed aloud
in his furylifting his victim and smashing his head upon the floor.

The placeof coursewas in an uproar; women fainting and shrieking
and men rushing in. Jurgis was so bent upon his task that he knew
nothing of thisand scarcely realized that people were trying to
interfere with him; it was only when half a dozen men had seized him
by the legs and shoulders and were pulling at himthat he understood
that he was losing his prey. In a flash he had bent down and sunk his
teeth into the man's cheek; and when they tore him away he was dripping
with bloodand little ribbons of skin were hanging in his mouth.

They got him down upon the floorclinging to him by his arms and legs
and still they could hardly hold him. He fought like a tigerwrithing
and twistinghalf flinging them offand starting toward his
unconscious enemy. But yet others rushed inuntil there was a
little mountain of twisted limbs and bodiesheaving and tossing
and working its way about the room. In the endby their sheer weight
they choked the breath out of himand then they carried him to the
company police stationwhere he lay still until they had summoned
a patrol wagon to take him away.

Chapter 16

When Jurgis got up again he went quietly enough. He was exhausted
and half-dazedand besides he saw the blue uniforms of the policemen.
He drove in a patrol wagon with half a dozen of them watching him;
keeping as far away as possiblehoweveron account of the fertilizer.
Then he stood before the sergeant's desk and gave his name and address
and saw a charge of assault and battery entered against him. On his
way to his cell a burly policeman cursed him because he started down
the wrong corridorand then added a kick when he was not quick enough;
neverthelessJurgis did not even lift his eyes--he had lived two years
and a half in Packingtownand he knew what the police were. It was
as much as a man's very life was worth to anger themhere in their
inmost lair; like as not a dozen would pile on to him at onceand pound
his face into a pulp. It would be nothing unusual if he got his skull
cracked in the melee--in which case they would report that he had been
drunk and had fallen downand there would be no one to know the
difference or to care.

So a barred door clanged upon Jurgis and he sat down upon a bench and
buried his face in his hands. He was alone; he had the afternoon and
all of the night to himself.

At first he was like a wild beast that has glutted itself; he was in
a dull stupor of satisfaction. He had done up the scoundrel pretty
well--not as well as he would have if they had given him a minute more
but pretty wellall the same; the ends of his fingers were still
tingling from their contact with the fellow's throat. But then
little by littleas his strength came back and his senses cleared
he began to see beyond his momentary gratification; that he had nearly
killed the boss would not help Ona--not the horrors that she had borne
nor the memory that would haunt her all her days. It would not help


to feed her and her child; she would certainly lose her placewhile
he--what was to happen to him God only knew.

Half the night he paced the floorwrestling with this nightmare;
and when he was exhausted he lay downtrying to sleepbut finding
insteadfor the first time in his lifethat his brain was too much
for him. In the cell next to him was a drunken wife-beater and in
the one beyond a yelling maniac. At midnight they opened the station
house to the homeless wanderers who were crowded about the door
shivering in the winter blastand they thronged into the corridor
outside of the cells. Some of them stretched themselves out on the
bare stone floor and fell to snoringothers sat uplaughing and
talkingcursing and quarreling. The air was fetid with their breath
yet in spite of this some of them smelled Jurgis and called down the
torments of hell upon himwhile he lay in a far corner of his cell
counting the throbbings of the blood in his forehead.

They had brought him his supperwhich was "duffers and dope"--being
hunks of dry bread on a tin plateand coffeecalled "dope" because
it was drugged to keep the prisoners quiet. Jurgis had not known this
or he would have swallowed the stuff in desperation; as it was
every nerve of him was aquiver with shame and rage. Toward morning
the place fell silentand he got up and began to pace his cell;
and then within the soul of him there rose up a fiendred-eyed and
crueland tore out the strings of his heart.

It was not for himself that he suffered--what did a man who worked
in Durham's fertilizer mill care about anything that the world might
do to him! What was any tyranny of prison compared with the tyranny
of the pastof the thing that had happened and could not be recalled
of the memory that could never be effaced! The horror of it drove
him mad; he stretched out his arms to heavencrying out for deliverance
from it--and there was no deliverancethere was no power even in
heaven that could undo the past. It was a ghost that would not drown;
it followed himit seized upon him and beat him to the ground.
Ahif only he could have foreseen it--but thenhe would have
foreseen itif he had not been a fool! He smote his hands upon
his foreheadcursing himself because he had ever allowed Ona to work
where she hadbecause he had not stood between her and a fate which
every one knew to be so common. He should have taken her awayeven if
it were to lie down and die of starvation in the gutters of Chicago's
streets! And now--ohit could not be true; it was too monstrous
too horrible.

It was a thing that could not be faced; a new shuddering seized him
every time he tried to think of it. Nothere was no bearing the
load of itthere was no living under it. There would be none for
her--he knew that he might pardon hermight plead with her on his
kneesbut she would never look him in the face againshe would
never be his wife again. The shame of it would kill her--there
could be no other deliveranceand it was best that she should die.

This was simple and clearand yetwith cruel inconsistency
whenever he escaped from this nightmare it was to suffer and cry out
at the vision of Ona starving. They had put him in jailand they
would keep him here a long timeyears maybe. And Ona would surely
not go to work againbroken and crushed as she was. And Elzbieta
and Marijatoomight lose their places--if that hell fiend Connor
chose to set to work to ruin themthey would all be turned out.
And even if he did notthey could not live--even if the boys left
school againthey could surely not pay all the bills without him
and Ona. They had only a few dollars now--they had just paid the rent
of the house a week agoand that after it was two weeks overdue.
So it would be due again in a week! They would have no money to pay


it then--and they would lose the houseafter all their long
heartbreaking struggle. Three times now the agent had warned him
that he would not tolerate another delay. Perhaps it was very base
of Jurgis to be thinking about the house when he had the other
unspeakable thing to fill his mind; yethow much he had suffered
for this househow much they had all of them suffered! It was their
one hope of respiteas long as they lived; they had put all their
money into it--and they were working peoplepoor peoplewhose money
was their strengththe very substance of thembody and soul
the thing by which they lived and for lack of which they died.

And they would lose it all; they would be turned out into the streets
and have to hide in some icy garretand live or die as best they could!
Jurgis had all the night--and all of many more nights--to think about
thisand he saw the thing in its details; he lived it allas if he
were there. They would sell their furnitureand then run into debt
at the storesand then be refused credit; they would borrow a little
from the Szedvilaseswhose delicatessen store was tottering on the
brink of ruin; the neighbors would come and help them a little--poor
sick Jadvyga would bring a few spare penniesas she always did when
people were starvingand Tamoszius Kuszleika would bring them the
proceeds of a night's fiddling. So they would struggle to hang on
until he got out of jail--or would they know that he was in jail
would they be able to find out anything about him? Would they be
allowed to see him--or was it to be part of his punishment to be kept
in ignorance about their fate?

His mind would hang upon the worst possibilities; he saw Ona ill and
torturedMarija out of her placelittle Stanislovas unable to get
to work for the snowthe whole family turned out on the street.
God Almighty! would they actually let them lie down in the street
and die? Would there be no help even then--would they wander about
in the snow till they froze? Jurgis had never seen any dead bodies
in the streetsbut he had seen people evicted and disappearno one
knew where; and though the city had a relief bureauthough there
was a charity organization society in the stockyards districtin all
his life there he had never heard of either of them. They did not
advertise their activitieshaving more calls than they could attend
to without that.

--So on until morning. Then he had another ride in the patrol
wagonalong with the drunken wife-beater and the maniacseveral
plain drunksand "saloon fighters a burglar, and two men who had
been arrested for stealing meat from the packing houses. Along with
them he was driven into a large, white-walled room, stale-smelling
and crowded. In front, upon a raised platform behind a rail, sat a
stout, florid-faced personage, with a nose broken out in purple blotches.

Our friend realized vaguely that he was about to be tried. He wondered
what for--whether or not his victim might be dead, and if so, what
they would do with him. Hang him, perhaps, or beat him to death-nothing
would have surprised Jurgis, who knew little of the laws.
Yet he had picked up gossip enough to have it occur to him that
the loud-voiced man upon the bench might be the notorious Justice
Callahan, about whom the people of Packingtown spoke with bated breath.

Pat" Callahan--"Growler" Patas he had been known before he
ascended the bench--had begun life as a butcher boy and a bruiser
of local reputation; he had gone into politics almost as soon as
he had learned to talkand had held two offices at once before
he was old enough to vote. If Scully was the thumbPat Callahan
was the first finger of the unseen hand whereby the packers held
down the people of the district. No politician in Chicago ranked
higher in their confidence; he had been at it a long time--had been


the business agent in the city council of old Durhamthe self-made
merchantway back in the early dayswhen the whole city of Chicago
had been up at auction. "Growler" Pat had given up holding city
offices very early in his career--caring only for party power
and giving the rest of his time to superintending his dives and
brothels. Of late yearshoweversince his children were growing up
he had begun to value respectabilityand had had himself made a
magistrate; a position for which he was admirably fittedbecause
of his strong conservatism and his contempt for "foreigners."

Jurgis sat gazing about the room for an hour or two; he was in
hopes that some one of the family would comebut in this he was
disappointed. Finallyhe was led before the barand a lawyer for
the company appeared against him. Connor was under the doctor's care
the lawyer explained brieflyand if his Honor would hold the prisoner
for a week--"Three hundred dollars said his Honor, promptly.

Jurgis was staring from the judge to the lawyer in perplexity.
Have you any one to go on your bond?" demanded the judgeand then
a clerk who stood at Jurgis' elbow explained to him what this meant.
The latter shook his headand before he realized what had happened
the policemen were leading him away again. They took him to a room
where other prisoners were waiting and here he stayed until court
adjournedwhen he had another long and bitterly cold ride in a
patrol wagon to the county jailwhich is on the north side of
the cityand nine or ten miles from the stockyards.

Here they searched Jurgisleaving him only his moneywhich
consisted of fifteen cents. Then they led him to a room and told
him to strip for a bath; after which he had to walk down a long
gallerypast the grated cell doors of the inmates of the jail.
This was a great event to the latter--the daily review of the new
arrivalsall stark nakedand many and diverting were the comments.
Jurgis was required to stay in the bath longer than any onein the
vain hope of getting out of him a few of his phosphates and acids.
The prisoners roomed two in a cellbut that day there was one
left overand he was the one.

The cells were in tiersopening upon galleries. His cell was about
five feet by seven in sizewith a stone floor and a heavy wooden
bench built into it. There was no window--the only light came from
windows near the roof at one end of the court outside. There were
two bunksone above the othereach with a straw mattress and a pair
of gray blankets--the latter stiff as boards with filthand alive
with fleasbedbugsand lice. When Jurgis lifted up the mattress
he discovered beneath it a layer of scurrying roachesalmost as
badly frightened as himself.

Here they brought him more "duffers and dope with the addition of
a bowl of soup. Many of the prisoners had their meals brought in
from a restaurant, but Jurgis had no money for that. Some had books
to read and cards to play, with candles to burn by night, but Jurgis
was all alone in darkness and silence. He could not sleep again;
there was the same maddening procession of thoughts that lashed him
like whips upon his naked back. When night fell he was pacing up
and down his cell like a wild beast that breaks its teeth upon the
bars of its cage. Now and then in his frenzy he would fling himself
against the walls of the place, beating his hands upon them. They cut
him and bruised him--they were cold and merciless as the men who had
built them.

In the distance there was a church-tower bell that tolled the hours
one by one. When it came to midnight Jurgis was lying upon the floor
with his head in his arms, listening. Instead of falling silent at


the end, the bell broke into a sudden clangor. Jurgis raised his head;
what could that mean--a fire? God! Suppose there were to be a fire
in this jail! But then he made out a melody in the ringing;
there were chimes. And they seemed to waken the city--all around,
far and near, there were bells, ringing wild music; for fully a minute
Jurgis lay lost in wonder, before, all at once, the meaning of it
broke over him--that this was Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve--he had forgotten it entirely! There was a breaking
of floodgates, a whirl of new memories and new griefs rushing into
his mind. In far Lithuania they had celebrated Christmas; and it
came to him as if it had been yesterday--himself a little child,
with his lost brother and his dead father in the cabin--in the deep
black forest, where the snow fell all day and all night and buried
them from the world. It was too far off for Santa Claus in Lithuania,
but it was not too far for peace and good will to men, for the
wonder-bearing vision of the Christ Child. And even in Packingtown
they had not forgotten it--some gleam of it had never failed to break
their darkness. Last Christmas Eve and all Christmas Day Jurgis
had toiled on the killing beds, and Ona at wrapping hams, and still
they had found strength enough to take the children for a walk upon
the avenue, to see the store windows all decorated with Christmas trees
and ablaze with electric lights. In one window there would be live
geese, in another marvels in sugar--pink and white canes big enough
for ogres, and cakes with cherubs upon them; in a third there would be
rows of fat yellow turkeys, decorated with rosettes, and rabbits and
squirrels hanging; in a fourth would be a fairyland of toys--lovely
dolls with pink dresses, and woolly sheep and drums and soldier hats.
Nor did they have to go without their share of all this, either.
The last time they had had a big basket with them and all their
Christmas marketing to do--a roast of pork and a cabbage and some
rye bread, and a pair of mittens for Ona, and a rubber doll that
squeaked, and a little green cornucopia full of candy to be hung
from the gas jet and gazed at by half a dozen pairs of longing eyes.

Even half a year of the sausage machines and the fertilizer mill had
not been able to kill the thought of Christmas in them; there was
a choking in Jurgis' throat as he recalled that the very night Ona
had not come home Teta Elzbieta had taken him aside and shown him
an old valentine that she had picked up in a paper store for three
cents--dingy and shopworn, but with bright colors, and figures of
angels and doves. She had wiped all the specks off this, and was
going to set it on the mantel, where the children could see it.
Great sobs shook Jurgis at this memory--they would spend their
Christmas in misery and despair, with him in prison and Ona ill
and their home in desolation. Ah, it was too cruel! Why at least
had they not left him alone--why, after they had shut him in jail,
must they be ringing Christmas chimes in his ears!

But no, their bells were not ringing for him--their Christmas was not
meant for him, they were simply not counting him at all. He was of
no consequence--he was flung aside, like a bit of trash, the carcass
of some animal. It was horrible, horrible! His wife might be dying,
his baby might be starving, his whole family might be perishing in
the cold--and all the while they were ringing their Christmas chimes!
And the bitter mockery of it--all this was punishment for him!
They put him in a place where the snow could not beat in, where the
cold could not eat through his bones; they brought him food and
drink--why, in the name of heaven, if they must punish him, did they
not put his family in jail and leave him outside--why could they find
no better way to punish him than to leave three weak women and six
helpless children to starve and freeze? That was their law, that was
their justice!


Jurgis stood upright; trembling with passion, his hands clenched and
his arms upraised, his whole soul ablaze with hatred and defiance.
Ten thousand curses upon them and their law! Their justice--it was
a lie, it was a lie, a hideous, brutal lie, a thing too black and
hateful for any world but a world of nightmares. It was a sham and
a loathsome mockery. There was no justice, there was no right,
anywhere in it--it was only force, it was tyranny, the will and
the power, reckless and unrestrained! They had ground him beneath
their heel, they had devoured all his substance; they had murdered
his old father, they had broken and wrecked his wife, they had crushed
and cowed his whole family; and now they were through with him,
they had no further use for him--and because he had interfered
with them, had gotten in their way, this was what they had done
to him! They had put him behind bars, as if he had been a wild
beast, a thing without sense or reason, without rights, without
affections, without feelings. Nay, they would not even have treated
a beast as they had treated him! Would any man in his senses have
trapped a wild thing in its lair, and left its young behind to die?

These midnight hours were fateful ones to Jurgis; in them was
the beginning of his rebellion, of his outlawry and his unbelief.
He had no wit to trace back the social crime to its far sources-he
could not say that it was the thing men have called the system"
that was crushing him to the earth that it was the packershis masters
who had bought up the law of the landand had dealt out their brutal
will to him from the seat of justice. He only knew that he was wronged
and that the world had wronged him; that the lawthat societywith all
its powershad declared itself his foe. And every hour his soul grew
blackerevery hour he dreamed new dreams of vengeanceof defiance
of ragingfrenzied hate.

The vilest deedslike poison weeds
Bloom well in prison air;
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there;
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate
And the Warder is Despair.


So wrote a poetto whom the world had dealt its justice-


I know not whether Laws be right
Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
Is that the wall is strong.
And they do well to hide their hell
For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
Ever should look upon!


Chapter 17

At seven o'clock the next morning Jurgis was let out to get water
to wash his cell--a duty which he performed faithfullybut which
most of the prisoners were accustomed to shirkuntil their cells
became so filthy that the guards interposed. Then he had more
duffers and dope,and afterward was allowed three hours for exercise
in a longcement-walked court roofed with glass. Here were all the
inmates of the jail crowded together. At one side of the court was
a place for visitorscut off by two heavy wire screensa foot apart
so that nothing could be passed in to the prisoners; here Jurgis
watched anxiouslybut there came no one to see him.


Soon after he went back to his cella keeper opened the door to let
in another prisoner. He was a dapper young fellowwith a light
brown mustache and blue eyesand a graceful figure. He nodded
to Jurgisand thenas the keeper closed the door upon himbegan
gazing critically about him.

Well, pal,he saidas his glance encountered Jurgis again
good morning.

Good morning,said Jurgis.

A rum go for Christmas, eh?added the other.
Jurgis nodded.

The newcomer went to the bunks and inspected the blankets; he lifted
up the mattressand then dropped it with an exclamation. "My God!"
he saidthat's the worst yet.

He glanced at Jurgis again. "Looks as if it hadn't been slept in
last night. Couldn't stand iteh?"

I didn't want to sleep last night,said Jurgis.

When did you come in?
Yesterday.

The other had another look aroundand then wrinkled up his nose.
There's the devil of a stink in here,he saidsuddenly. "What is it?"

It's me,said Jurgis.
You?


Yes, me.
Didn't they make you wash?


Yes, but this don't wash.
What is it?


Fertilizer.
Fertilizer! The deuce! What are you?


I work in the stockyards--at least I did until the other day.
It's in my clothes.

That's a new one on me,said the newcomer. "I thought I'd been up
against 'em all. What are you in for?"

I hit my boss.Oh--that's it. What did he do?

He--he treated me mean.
I see. You're what's called an honest workingman!


What are you?Jurgis asked.
I?The other laughed. "They say I'm a cracksman he said.



What's that?" asked Jurgis.

Safes, and such things,answered the other.

Oh,said Jurgiswonderinglyand stated at the speaker in awe.
You mean you break into them--you--you--

Yes,laughed the otherthat's what they say.

He did not look to be over twenty-two or threethoughas Jurgis
found afterwardhe was thirty. He spoke like a man of education
like what the world calls a "gentleman."

Is that what you're here for?Jurgis inquired.

No,was the answer. "I'm here for disorderly conduct. They were
mad because they couldn't get any evidence.

What's your name?the young fellow continued after a pause.
My name's Duane--Jack Duane. I've more than a dozen, but that's my
company one.He seated himself on the floor with his back to the wall
and his legs crossedand went on talking easily; he soon put Jurgis
on a friendly footing--he was evidently a man of the worldused to
getting onand not too proud to hold conversation with a mere
laboring man. He drew Jurgis outand heard all about his life all
but the one unmentionable thing; and then he told stories about his
own life. He was a great one for storiesnot always of the choicest.
Being sent to jail had apparently not disturbed his cheerfulness;
he had "done time" twice beforeit seemedand he took it all with
a frolic welcome. What with women and wine and the excitement of
his vocationa man could afford to rest now and then.

Naturallythe aspect of prison life was changed for Jurgis by the
arrival of a cell mate. He could not turn his face to the wall
and sulkhe had to speak when he was spoken to; nor could he help
being interested in the conversation of Duane--the first educated
man with whom he had ever talked. How could he help listening with
wonder while the other told of midnight ventures and perilous escapes
of feastings and orgiesof fortunes squandered in a night? The young
fellow had an amused contempt for Jurgisas a sort of working mule;
hetoohad felt the world's injusticebut instead of bearing it
patientlyhe had struck backand struck hard. He was striking all
the time--there was war between him and society. He was a genial
freebooterliving off the enemywithout fear or shame. He was not
always victoriousbut then defeat did not mean annihilationand need
not break his spirit.

Withal he was a goodhearted fellow--too much soit appeared.
His story came outnot in the first daynor the secondbut in the
long hours that dragged byin which they had nothing to do but talk
and nothing to talk of but themselves. Jack Duane was from the East;
he was a college-bred man--had been studying electrical engineering.
Then his father had met with misfortune in business and killed himself;
and there had been his mother and a younger brother and sister.
Alsothere was an invention of Duane's; Jurgis could not understand
it clearlybut it had to do with telegraphingand it was a very
important thing--there were fortunes in itmillions upon millions
of dollars. And Duane had been robbed of it by a great company
and got tangled up in lawsuits and lost all his money. Then somebody
had given him a tip on a horse raceand he had tried to retrieve
his fortune with another person's moneyand had to run away
and all the rest had come from that. The other asked him what had
led him to safebreaking--to Jurgis a wild and appalling occupation
to think about. A man he had methis cell mate had replied--one


thing leads to another. Didn't he ever wonder about his family
Jurgis asked. Sometimesthe other answeredbut not often--he didn't
allow it. Thinking about it would make it no better. This wasn't
a world in which a man had any business with a family; sooner or
later Jurgis would find that out alsoand give up the fight and
shift for himself.

Jurgis was so transparently what he pretended to be that his cell mate
was as open with him as a child; it was pleasant to tell him adventures
he was so full of wonder and admirationhe was so new to the ways
of the country. Duane did not even bother to keep back names and
places--he told all his triumphs and his failureshis loves and
his griefs. Also he introduced Jurgis to many of the other prisoners
nearly half of whom he knew by name. The crowd had already given
Jurgis a name--they called him "he stinker." This was cruel
but they meant no harm by itand he took it with a goodnatured grin.

Our friend had caught now and then a whiff from the sewers over
which he livedbut this was the first time that he had ever been
splashed by their filth. This jail was a Noah's ark of the city's
crime--there were murderershold-up menand burglarsembezzlers
counterfeiters and forgersbigamistsshoplifters,confidence men,
petty thieves and pickpocketsgamblers and procurersbrawlers
beggarstramps and drunkards; they were black and whiteold and
youngAmericans and natives of every nation under the sun. There were
hardened criminals and innocent men too poor to give bail; old men
and boys literally not yet in their teens. They were the drainage
of the great festering ulcer of society; they were hideous to look
uponsickening to talk to. All life had turned to rottenness and
stench in them--love was a beastlinessjoy was a snareand God was
an imprecation. They strolled here and there about the courtyard
and Jurgis listened to them. He was ignorant and they were wise;
they had been everywhere and tried everything. They could tell the
whole hateful story of itset forth the inner soul of a city in
which justice and honorwomen's bodies and men's soulswere for
sale in the marketplaceand human beings writhed and fought and
fell upon each other like wolves in a pit; in which lusts were
raging firesand men were fueland humanity was festering and
stewing and wallowing in its own corruption. Into this wild-beast
tangle these men had been born without their consentthey had taken
part in it because they could not help it; that they were in jail
was no disgrace to themfor the game had never been fairthe dice
were loaded. They were swindlers and thieves of pennies and dimes
and they had been trapped and put out of the way by the swindlers
and thieves of millions of dollars.

To most of this Jurgis tried not to listen. They frightened him
with their savage mockery; and all the while his heart was far away
where his loved ones were calling. Now and then in the midst of it
his thoughts would take flight; and then the tears would come into
his eyes--and he would be called back by the jeering laughter of
his companions.

He spent a week in this companyand during all that time he had
no word from his home. He paid one of his fifteen cents for a
postal cardand his companion wrote a note to the familytelling
them where he was and when he would be tried. There came no answer
to ithoweverand at lastthe day before New Year'sJurgis bade
good-by to Jack Duane. The latter gave him his addressor rather
the address of his mistressand made Jurgis promise to look him up.
Maybe I could help you out of a hole some day,he saidand added
that he was sorry to have him go. Jurgis rode in the patrol wagon
back to Justice Callahan's court for trial.


One of the first things he made out as he entered the room was Teta
Elzbieta and little Kotrinalooking pale and frightenedseated far
in the rear. His heart began to poundbut he did not dare to try
to signal to themand neither did Elzbieta. He took his seat in
the prisoners' pen and sat gazing at them in helpless agony.
He saw that Ona was not with themand was full of foreboding as to
what that might mean. He spent half an hour brooding over this-and
then suddenly he straightened up and the blood rushed into
his face. A man had come in--Jurgis could not see his features for
the bandages that swathed himbut he knew the burly figure.
It was Connor! A trembling seized himand his limbs bent as if
for a spring. Then suddenly he felt a hand on his collarand heard
a voice behind him: "Sit downyou son of a--!"

He subsidedbut he never took his eyes off his enemy. The fellow
was still alivewhich was a disappointmentin one way; and yet it
was pleasant to see himall in penitential plasters. He and the
company lawyerwho was with himcame and took seats within the
judge's railing; and a minute later the clerk called Jurgis' name
and the policeman jerked him to his feet and led him before the bar
gripping him tightly by the armlest he should spring upon the boss.

Jurgis listened while the man entered the witness chairtook the oath
and told his story. The wife of the prisoner had been employed in
a department near himand had been discharged for impudence to him.
Half an hour later he had been violently attackedknocked down
and almost choked to death. He had brought witnesses-


They will probably not be necessary,observed the judge and he
turned to Jurgis. "You admit attacking the plaintiff?" he asked.

Him?inquired Jurgispointing at the boss.

Yes,said the judge. "I hit himsir said Jurgis.

Say 'your Honor'" said the officerpinching his arm hard.

Your Honor,said Jurgisobediently.

You tried to choke him?

Yes, sir, your Honor.

Ever been arrested before?

No, sir, your Honor.

What have you to say for yourself?

Jurgis hesitated. What had he to say? In two years and a half he
had learned to speak English for practical purposesbut these had
never included the statement that some one had intimidated and
seduced his wife. He tried once or twicestammering and balking
to the annoyance of the judgewho was gasping from the odor of
fertilizer. Finallythe prisoner made it understood that his
vocabulary was inadequateand there stepped up a dapper young man
with waxed mustachesbidding him speak in any language he knew.

Jurgis began; supposing that he would be given timehe explained
how the boss had taken advantage of his wife's position to make
advances to her and had threatened her with the loss of her place.
When the interpreter had translated thisthe judgewhose calendar
was crowdedand whose automobile was ordered for a certain hour


interrupted with the remark: "OhI see. Wellif he made love to
your wifewhy didn't she complain to the superintendent or leave
the place?"


Jurgis hesitatedsomewhat taken aback; he began to explain that
they were very poor--that work was hard to get-


I see,said Justice Callahan; "so instead you thought you would
knock him down." He turned to the plaintiffinquiringIs there
any truth in this story, Mr. Connor?


Not a particle, your Honor,said the boss. "It is very unpleasant-they
tell some such tale every time you have to discharge a woman--"


Yes, I know,said the judge. "I hear it often enough. The fellow
seems to have handled you pretty roughly. Thirty days and costs.
Next case."


Jurgis had been listening in perplexity. It was only when the
policeman who had him by the arm turned and started to lead him away
that he realized that sentence had been passed. He gazed round him
wildly. "Thirty days!" he panted and then he whirled upon the judge.
What will my family do?he cried frantically. "I have a wife and baby
sirand they have no money--my Godthey will starve to death!"


You would have done well to think about them before you committed
the assault,said the judge drylyas he turned to look at the
next prisoner.


Jurgis would have spoken againbut the policeman had seized him by
the collar and was twisting itand a second policeman was making
for him with evidently hostile intentions. So he let them lead
him away. Far down the room he saw Elzbieta and Kotrinarisen from
their seatsstaring in fright; he made one effort to go to them
and thenbrought back by another twist at his throathe bowed his
head and gave up the struggle. They thrust him into a cell room
where other prisoners were waiting; and as soon as court had adjourned
they led him down with them into the "Black Maria and drove him away.


This time Jurgis was bound for the Bridewell a petty jail where
Cook County prisoners serve their time. It was even filthier and
more crowded than the county jail; all the smaller fry out of the
latter had been sifted into it--the petty thieves and swindlers,
the brawlers and vagrants. For his cell mate Jurgis had an Italian
fruit seller who had refused to pay his graft to the policeman,
and been arrested for carrying a large pocketknife; as he did not
understand a word of English our friend was glad when he left.
He gave place to a Norwegian sailor, who had lost half an ear in
a drunken brawl, and who proved to be quarrelsome, cursing Jurgis
because he moved in his bunk and caused the roaches to drop upon
the lower one. It would have been quite intolerable, staying in
a cell with this wild beast, but for the fact that all day long
the prisoners were put at work breaking stone.


Ten days of his thirty Jurgis spent thus, without hearing a word
from his family; then one day a keeper came and informed him that
there was a visitor to see him. Jurgis turned white, and so weak
at the knees that he could hardly leave his cell.


The man led him down the corridor and a flight of steps to the
visitors' room, which was barred like a cell. Through the grating
Jurgis could see some one sitting in a chair; and as he came into the
room the person started up, and he saw that it was little Stanislovas.
At the sight of some one from home the big fellow nearly went to



pieces--he had to steady himself by a chair, and he put his other hand
to his forehead, as if to clear away a mist. Well?" he saidweakly.

Little Stanislovas was also tremblingand all but too frightened
to speak. "They--they sent me to tell you--" he saidwith a gulp.

Well?Jurgis repeated. He followed the boy's glance to where the
keeper was standing watching them. "Never mind that Jurgis cried,
wildly. How are they?"

Ona is very sick,Stanislovas said; "and we are almost starving.
We can't get along; we thought you might be able to help us."

Jurgis gripped the chair tighter; there were beads of perspiration
on his foreheadand his hand shook. "I--can't help you he said.

Ona lies in her room all day the boy went on, breathlessly.
She won't eat anythingand she cries all the time. She won't tell
what is the matter and she won't go to work at all. Then a long time
ago the man came for the rent. He was very cross. He came again
last week. He said he would turn us out of the house. And then Marija--"

A sob choked Stanislovasand he stopped. "What's the matter with
Marija?" cried Jurgis.

She's cut her hand!said the boy. "She's cut it badthis time
worse than before. She can't work and it's all turning green
and the company doctor says she may--she may have to have it cut off.
And Marija cries all the time--her money is nearly all gonetoo
and we can't pay the rent and the interest on the house; and we have
no coal and nothing more to eatand the man at the storehe says--"

The little fellow stopped againbeginning to whimper. "Go on!"
the other panted in frenzy--"Go on!"

I--I will,sobbed Stanislovas. "It's so--so cold all the time.
And last Sunday it snowed again--a deepdeep snow--and I couldn't-couldn't
get to work."

God!Jurgis half shoutedand he took a step toward the child.
There was an old hatred between them because of the snow--ever since
that dreadful morning when the boy had had his fingers frozen and
Jurgis had had to beat him to send him to work. Now he clenched
his handslooking as if he would try to break through the grating.
You little villain,he criedyou didn't try!

I did--I did!wailed Stanislovasshrinking from him in terror.
I tried all day--two days. Elzbieta was with me, and she couldn't
either. We couldn't walk at all, it was so deep. And we had nothing
to eat, and oh, it was so cold! I tried, and then the third day Ona
went with me--

Ona!

Yes. She tried to get to work, too. She had to. We were all
starving. But she had lost her place--

Jurgis reeledand gave a gasp. "She went back to that place?"
he screamed. "She tried to said Stanislovas, gazing at him in
perplexity. Why notJurgis?"

The man breathed hardthree or four times. "Go--on he panted,
finally.


I went with her said Stanislovas, but Miss Henderson wouldn't take
her back. And Connor saw her and cursed her. He was still bandaged
up--why did you hit himJurgis?" (There was some fascinating mystery
about thisthe little fellow knew; but he could get no satisfaction.)

Jurgis could not speak; he could only starehis eyes starting out.
She has been trying to get other work,the boy went on; "but she's
so weak she can't keep up. And my boss would not take me back
either--Ona says he knows Connorand that's the reason; they've all
got a grudge against us now. So I've got to go downtown and sell
papers with the rest of the boys and Kotrina--"

Kotrina!

Yes, she's been selling papers, too. She does best, because she's
a girl. Only the cold is so bad--it's terrible coming home at night,
Jurgis. Sometimes they can't come home at all--I'm going to try to
find them tonight and sleep where they do, it's so late and it's such
a long ways home. I've had to walk, and I didn't know where it was-I
don't know how to get back, either. Only mother said I must come,
because you would want to know, and maybe somebody would help your
family when they had put you in jail so you couldn't work. And I
walked all day to get here--and I only had a piece of bread for
breakfast, Jurgis. Mother hasn't any work either, because the
sausage department is shut down; and she goes and begs at houses
with a basket, and people give her food. Only she didn't get much
yesterday; it was too cold for her fingers, and today she was crying--

So little Stanislovas went onsobbing as he talked; and Jurgis stood
gripping the table tightlysaying not a wordbut feeling that his
head would burst; it was like having weights piled upon himone after
anothercrushing the life out of him. He struggled and fought
within himself--as if in some terrible nightmarein which a man
suffers an agonyand cannot lift his handnor cry outbut feels
that he is going madthat his brain is on fire-


Just when it seemed to him that another turn of the screw would
kill himlittle Stanislovas stopped. "You cannot help us?" he
said weakly.

Jurgis shook his head.

They won't give you anything here?

He shook it again.

When are you coming out?

Three weeks yet,Jurgis answered.

And the boy gazed around him uncertainly. "Then I might as well go
he said.

Jurgis nodded. Then, suddenly recollecting, he put his hand into
his pocket and drew it out, shaking. Here he said, holding out
the fourteen cents. Take this to them."

And Stanislovas took itand after a little more hesitationstarted
for the door. "Good-byJurgis he said, and the other noticed
that he walked unsteadily as he passed out of sight.

For a minute or so Jurgis stood clinging to his chair, reeling and
swaying; then the keeper touched him on the arm, and he turned and
went back to breaking stone.


Chapter 18

Jurgis did not get out of the Bridewell quite as soon as he had
expected. To his sentence there were added court costs" of a dollar
and a half--he was supposed to pay for the trouble of putting him
in jailand not having the moneywas obliged to work it off by
three days more of toil. Nobody had taken the trouble to tell him
this--only after counting the days and looking forward to the end
in an agony of impatiencewhen the hour came that he expected to
be free he found himself still set at the stone heapand laughed
at when he ventured to protest. Then he concluded he must have
counted wrong; but as another day passedhe gave up all hope-and
was sunk in the depths of despairwhen one morning after
breakfast a keeper came to him with the word that his time was up
at last. So he doffed his prison garband put on his old fertilizer
clothingand heard the door of the prison clang behind him.

He stood upon the stepsbewildered; he could hardly believe that
it was true--that the sky was above him again and the open street
before him; that he was a free man. But then the cold began to
strike through his clothesand he started quickly away.

There had been a heavy snowand now a thaw had set in; fine sleety
rain was fallingdriven by a wind that pierced Jurgis to the bone.
He had not stopped for his-overcoat when he set out to "do up" Connor
and so his rides in the patrol wagons had been cruel experiences;
his clothing was old and worn thinand it never had been very warm.
Now as he trudged on the rain soon wet it through; there were six inches
of watery slush on the sidewalksso that his feet would soon have
been soakedeven had there been no holes in his shoes.

Jurgis had had enough to eat in the jailand the work had been
the least trying of any that he had done since he came to Chicago;
but even sohe had not grown strong--the fear and grief that had
preyed upon his mind had worn him thin. Now he shivered and shrunk
from the rainhiding his hands in his pockets and hunching his
shoulders together. The Bridewell grounds were on the outskirts
of the city and the country around them was unsettled and wild-on
one side was the big drainage canaland on the other a maze of
railroad tracksand so the wind had full sweep.

After walking a waysJurgis met a little ragamuffin whom he hailed:
Hey, sonny!The boy cocked one eye at him--he knew that Jurgis
was a "jailbird" by his shaven head. "Wot yer want?" he queried.

How do you go to the stockyards?Jurgis demanded.

I don't go,replied the boy.

Jurgis hesitated a momentnonplussed. Then he saidI mean which
is the way?

Why don't yer say so then?was the responseand the boy pointed
to the northwestacross the tracks. "That way."

How far is it?Jurgis asked. "I dunno said the other.
Mebbe twenty miles or so."

Twenty miles!Jurgis echoedand his face fell. He had to walk
every foot of itfor they had turned him out of jail without a penny


in his pockets.

Yetwhen he once got startedand his blood had warmed with walking
he forgot everything in the fever of his thoughts. All the dreadful
imaginations that had haunted him in his cell now rushed into his
mind at once. The agony was almost over--he was going to find out;
and he clenched his hands in his pockets as he strodefollowing his
flying desirealmost at a run. Ona--the baby--the family--the house-he
would know the truth about them all! And he was coming to the
rescue--he was free again! His hands were his ownand he could
help themhe could do battle for them against the world.

For an hour or so he walked thusand then he began to look about him.
He seemed to be leaving the city altogether. The street was turning
into a country roadleading out to the westward; there were
snow-covered fields on either side of him. Soon he met a farmer
driving a two-horse wagon loaded with strawand he stopped him.

Is this the way to the stockyards?he asked.

The farmer scratched his head. "I dunno jest where they be he said.
But they're in the city somewhereand you're going dead away from
it now."

Jurgis looked dazed. "I was told this was the way he said.

Who told you?"

A boy.

Well, mebbe he was playing a joke on ye. The best thing ye kin do
is to go back, and when ye git into town ask a policeman. I'd take
ye in, only I've come a long ways an' I'm loaded heavy. Git up!

So Jurgis turned and followedand toward the end of the morning
he began to see Chicago again. Past endless blocks of two-story
shanties he walkedalong wooden sidewalks and unpaved pathways
treacherous with deep slush holes. Every few blocks there would be
a railroad crossing on the level with the sidewalka deathtrap for
the unwary; long freight trains would be passingthe cars clanking
and crashing togetherand Jurgis would pace about waitingburning up
with a fever of impatience. Occasionally the cars would stop for
some minutesand wagons and streetcars would crowd together waiting
the drivers swearing at each otheror hiding beneath umbrellas out
of the rain; at such times Jurgis would dodge under the gates and run
across the tracks and between the carstaking his life into his hands.

He crossed a long bridge over a river frozen solid and covered
with slush. Not even on the river bank was the snow white--the rain
which fell was a diluted solution of smokeand Jurgis' hands and
face were streaked with black. Then he came into the business
part of the citywhere the streets were sewers of inky blackness
with horses sleeping and plungingand women and children flying
across in panic-stricken droves. These streets were huge canyons
formed by towering black buildingsechoing with the clang of car
gongs and the shouts of drivers; the people who swarmed in them were
as busy as ants--all hurrying breathlesslynever stopping to look at
anything nor at each other. The solitary trampish-looking foreigner
with water-soaked clothing and haggard face and anxious eyeswas as
much alone as he hurried past themas much unheeded and as lost
as if he had been a thousand miles deep in a wilderness.

A policeman gave him his direction and told him that he had five miles
to go. He came again to the slum districtsto avenues of saloons


and cheap storeswith long dingy red factory buildingsand coalyards
and railroad tracks; and then Jurgis lifted up his head and began
to sniff the air like a startled animal--scenting the far-off odor
of home. It was late afternoon thenand he was hungrybut the dinner
invitations hung out of the saloons were not for him.

So he came at last to the stockyardsto the black volcanoes of smoke
and the lowing cattle and the stench. Thenseeing a crowded car
his impatience got the better of him and he jumped aboardhiding
behind another manunnoticed by the conductor. In ten minutes more
he had reached his streetand home.

He was half running as he came round the corner. There was the house
at any rate--and then suddenly he stopped and stared. What was the
matter with the house?

Jurgis looked twicebewildered; then he glanced at the house next
door and at the one beyond--then at the saloon on the corner.
Yesit was the right placequite certainly--he had not made
any mistake. But the house--the house was a different color!

He came a couple of steps nearer. Yes; it had been gray and now it
was yellow! The trimmings around the windows had been redand now
they were green! It was all newly painted! How strange it made it seem!

Jurgis went closer yetbut keeping on the other side of the street.
A sudden and horrible spasm of fear had come over him. His knees
were shaking beneath himand his mind was in a whirl. New paint on
the houseand new weatherboardswhere the old had begun to rot off
and the agent had got after them! New shingles over the hole in
the rooftoothe hole that had for six months been the bane of his
soul--he having no money to have it fixed and no time to fix it himself
and the rain leaking inand overflowing the pots and pans he put to
catch itand flooding the attic and loosening the plaster. And now
it was fixed! And the broken windowpane replaced! And curtains in
the windows! Newwhite curtainsstiff and shiny!

Then suddenly the front door opened. Jurgis stoodhis chest heaving
as he struggled to catch his breath. A boy had come outa stranger
to him; a bigfatrosy-cheeked youngstersuch as had never been
seen in his home before.

Jurgis stared at the boyfascinated. He came down the steps
whistlingkicking off the snow. He stopped at the footand picked
up someand then leaned against the railingmaking a snowball.
A moment later he looked around and saw Jurgisand their eyes met;
it was a hostile glancethe boy evidently thinking that the other
had suspicions of the snowball. When Jurgis started slowly across
the street toward himhe gave a quick glance aboutmeditating
retreatbut then he concluded to stand his ground.

Jurgis took hold of the railing of the stepsfor he was a little
unsteady. "What--what are you doing here?" he managed to gasp.

Go on!said the boy.

You--Jurgis tried again. "What do you want here?"

Me?answered the boyangrily. "I live here."

You live here!Jurgis panted. He turned white and clung more
tightly to the railing. "You live here! Then where's my family?"

The boy looked surprised. "Your family!" he echoed.


And Jurgis started toward him. "I--this is my house!" he cried.

Come off!said the boy; then suddenly the door upstairs opened
and he called: "Heyma! Here's a fellow says he owns this house."

A stout Irishwoman came to the top of the steps. "What's that?"
she demanded.

Jurgis turned toward her. "Where is my family?" he criedwildly.
I left them here! This is my home! What are you doing in my home?

The woman stared at him in frightened wondershe must have thought
she was dealing with a maniac--Jurgis looked like one. "Your home!"
she echoed.

My home!he half shrieked. "I lived hereI tell you."

You must be mistaken,she answered him. "No one ever lived here.
This is a new house. They told us so. They--"

What have they done with my family?shouted Jurgisfrantically.

A light had begun to break upon the woman; perhaps she had had doubts
of what "they" had told her. "I don't know where your family is
she said. I bought the house only three days agoand there was
nobody hereand they told me it was all new. Do you really mean
you had ever rented it?"

Rented it!panted Jurgis. "I bought it! I paid for it! I own it!
And they--my Godcan't you tell me where my people went?"

She made him understand at last that she knew nothing. Jurgis' brain
was so confused that he could not grasp the situation. It was as if
his family had been wiped out of existence; as if they were proving
to be dream peoplewho never had existed at all. He was quite
lost--but then suddenly he thought of Grandmother Majauszkiene
who lived in the next block. She would know! He turned and
started at a run.

Grandmother Majauszkiene came to the door herself. She cried out when
she saw Jurgiswild-eyed and shaking. Yesyesshe could tell him.
The family had moved; they had not been able to pay the rent and they
had been turned out into the snowand the house had been repainted
and sold again the next week. Noshe had not heard how they were
but she could tell him that they had gone back to Aniele Jukniene
with whom they had stayed when they first came to the yards.
Wouldn't Jurgis come in and rest? It was certainly too bad--if only
he had not got into jail-


And so Jurgis turned and staggered away. He did not go very far
round the corner he gave out completelyand sat down on the steps
of a saloonand hid his face in his handsand shook all over with dry
racking sobs.

Their home! Their home! They had lost it! Griefdespairrage
overwhelmed him--what was any imagination of the thing to this
heartbreakingcrushing reality of it--to the sight of strange people
living in his househanging their curtains to his windowsstaring
at him with hostile eyes! It was monstrousit was unthinkable-they
could not do it--it could not be true! Only think what he
had suffered for that house--what miseries they had all suffered
for it--the price they had paid for it!


The whole long agony came back to him. Their sacrifices in the
beginningtheir three hundred dollars that they had scraped
togetherall they owned in the worldall that stood between them
and starvation! And then their toilmonth by monthto get together
the twelve dollarsand the interest as welland now and then the
taxesand the other chargesand the repairsand what not! Why
they had put their very souls into their payments on that house
they had paid for it with their sweat and tears--yesmorewith their
very lifeblood. Dede Antanas had died of the struggle to earn that
money--he would have been alive and strong today if he had not had
to work in Durham's dark cellars to earn his share. And Onatoo
had given her health and strength to pay for it--she was wrecked and
ruined because of it; and so was hewho had been a bigstrong man
three years agoand now sat here shiveringbrokencowedweeping
like a hysterical child. Ah! they had cast their all into the fight;
and they had lostthey had lost! All that they had paid was gone-every
cent of it. And their house was gone--they were back where
they had started fromflung out into the cold to starve and freeze!

Jurgis could see all the truth now--could see himselfthrough the
whole long course of eventsthe victim of ravenous vultures that
had torn into his vitals and devoured him; of fiends that had
racked and tortured himmocking himmeantimejeering in his face.
AhGodthe horror of itthe monstroushideousdemoniacal
wickedness of it! He and his familyhelpless women and children
struggling to liveignorant and defenseless and forlorn as they
were--and the enemies that had been lurking for themcrouching upon
their trail and thirsting for their blood! That first lying circular
that smooth-tongued slippery agent! That trap of the extra payments
the interestand all the other charges that they had not the means
to payand would never have attempted to pay! And then all the
tricks of the packerstheir mastersthe tyrants who ruled them-the
shutdowns and the scarcity of workthe irregular hours and
the cruel speeding-upthe lowering of wagesthe raising of prices!
The mercilessness of nature about themof heat and coldrain and snow;
the mercilessness of the cityof the country in which they lived
of its laws and customs that they did not understand! All of these
things had worked together for the company that had marked them for
its prey and was waiting for its chance. And nowwith this last
hideous injusticeits time had comeand it had turned them out
bag and baggageand taken their house and sold it again! And they
could do nothingthey were tied hand and foot--the law was against
themthe whole machinery of society was at their oppressors' command!
If Jurgis so much as raised a hand against themback he would go
into that wild-beast pen from which he had just escaped!

To get up and go away was to give upto acknowledge defeatto leave
the strange family in possession; and Jurgis might have sat shivering
in the rain for hours before he could do thathad it not been for
the thought of his family. It might be that he had worse things yet
to learn--and so he got to his feet and started awaywalking on
wearilyhalf-dazed.

To Aniele's housein back of the yardswas a good two miles;
the distance had never seemed longer to Jurgisand when he saw
the familiar dingy-gray shanty his heart was beating fast. He ran
up the steps and began to hammer upon the door.

The old woman herself came to open it. She had shrunk all up with
her rheumatism since Jurgis had seen her lastand her yellow
parchment face stared up at him from a little above the level of
the doorknob. She gave a start when she saw him. "Is Ona here?"
he criedbreathlessly.


Yes,was the answershe's here.

How--Jurgis beganand then stopped shortclutching convulsively
at the side of the door. From somewhere within the house had come
a sudden crya wildhorrible scream of anguish. And the voice
was Ona's. For a moment Jurgis stood half-paralyzed with fright;
then he bounded past the old woman and into the room.

It was Aniele's kitchenand huddled round the stove were half a
dozen womenpale and frightened. One of them started to her feet
as Jurgis entered; she was haggard and frightfully thinwith one
arm tied up in bandages--he hardly realized that it was Marija.
He looked first for Ona; thennot seeing herhe stared at the women
expecting them to speak. But they sat dumbgazing back at him
panic-stricken; and a second later came another piercing scream.

It was from the rear of the houseand upstairs. Jurgis bounded to
a door of the room and flung it open; there was a ladder leading
through a trap door to the garretand he was at the foot of it when
suddenly he heard a voice behind himand saw Marija at his heels.
She seized him by the sleeve with her good handpanting wildly
No, no, Jurgis! Stop!

What do you mean?he gasped.

You mustn't go up,she cried.

Jurgis was half-crazed with bewilderment and fright. "What's the
matter?" he shouted. "What is it?"

Marija clung to him tightly; he could hear Ona sobbing and moaning
aboveand he fought to get away and climb upwithout waiting for
her reply. "Nono she rushed on. Jurgis! You mustn't go up!
It's--it's the child!"

The child?he echoed in perplexity. "Antanas?"

Marija answered himin a whisper: "The new one!"

And then Jurgis went limpand caught himself on the ladder. He stared
at her as if she were a ghost. "The new one!" he gasped. "But it
isn't time he added, wildly.

Marija nodded. I know she said; but it's come."

And then again came Ona's screamsmiting him like a blow in the face
making him wince and turn white. Her voice died away into a wail-then
he heard her sobbing againMy God--let me die, let me die!
And Marija hung her arms about himcrying: "Come out! Come away!"

She dragged him back into the kitchenhalf carrying himfor he had
gone all to pieces. It was as if the pillars of his soul had fallen
in--he was blasted with horror. In the room he sank into a chair
trembling like a leafMarija still holding himand the women staring
at him in dumbhelpless fright.

And then again Ona cried out; he could hear it nearly as plainly here
and he staggered to his feet. "How long has this been going on?"
he panted.

Not very long,Marija answeredand thenat a signal from Aniele
she rushed on: "You go awayJurgis you can't help--go away and come
back later. It's all right--it's--"


Who's with her?Jurgis demanded; and thenseeing Marija hesitating
he cried againWho's with her?

She's--she's all right,she answered. "Elzbieta's with her."

But the doctor!he panted. "Some one who knows!"

He seized Marija by the arm; she trembledand her voice sank beneath
a whisper as she repliedWe--we have no money.Thenfrightened
at the look on his faceshe exclaimed: "It's all rightJurgis!
You don't understand--go away--go away! Ahif you only had waited!"

Above her protests Jurgis heard Ona again; he was almost out of
his mind. It was all new to himraw and horrible--it had fallen
upon him like a lightning stroke. When little Antanas was born he
had been at workand had known nothing about it until it was over;
and now he was not to be controlled. The frightened women were at
their wits' end; one after another they tried to reason with him
to make him understand that this was the lot of woman. In the end
they half drove him out into the rainwhere he began to pace up
and downbareheaded and frantic. Because he could hear Ona from
the streethe would first go away to escape the soundsand then
come back because he could not help it. At the end of a quarter
of an hour he rushed up the steps againand for fear that he would
break in the door they had to open it and let him in.

There was no arguing with him. They could not tell him that all
was going well--how could they knowhe cried--whyshe was dying
she was being torn to pieces! Listen to her--listen! Whyit was
monstrous--it could not be allowed--there must be some help for it!
Had they tried to get a doctor? They might pay him afterward--they
could promise-


We couldn't promise, Jurgis,protested Marija. "We had no money-we
have scarcely been able to keep alive."

But I can work,Jurgis exclaimed. "I can earn money!"

Yes,she answered--"but we thought you were in jail. How could we
know when you would return? They will not work for nothing."

Marija went on to tell how she had tried to find a midwifeand how
they had demanded tenfifteeneven twenty-five dollarsand that
in cash. "And I had only a quarter she said. I have spent every
cent of my money--all that I had in the bank; and I owe the doctor
who has been coming to see meand he has stopped because he thinks
I don't mean to pay him. And we owe Aniele for two weeks' rent
and she is nearly starvingand is afraid of being turned out.
We have been borrowing and begging to keep aliveand there is nothing
more we can do--"

And the children?cried Jurgis.

The children have not been home for three days, the weather has been
so bad. They could not know what is happening--it came suddenly,
two months before we expected it.

Jurgis was standing by the tableand he caught himself with his hand;
his head sank and his arms shook--it looked as if he were going to
collapse. Then suddenly Aniele got up and came hobbling toward him
fumbling in her skirt pocket. She drew out a dirty ragin one corner
of which she had something tied.


Here, Jurgis!she saidI have some money. Palauk! See!


She unwrapped it and counted it out--thirty-four cents. "You gonow
she said, and try and get somebody yourself. And maybe the rest can
help--give him some moneyyou; he will pay you back some dayand it
will do him good to have something to think abouteven if he doesn't
succeed. When he comes backmaybe it will be over."


And so the other women turned out the contents of their pocketbooks;
most of them had only pennies and nickelsbut they gave him all.
Mrs. Olszewskiwho lived next doorand had a husband who was a
skilled cattle butcherbut a drinking mangave nearly half a dollar
enough to raise the whole sum to a dollar and a quarter. Then Jurgis
thrust it into his pocketstill holding it tightly in his fist
and started away at a run.


Chapter 19


Madame Haupt, Hebamme, ran a sign, swinging from a second-story
window over a saloon on the avenue; at a side door was another sign,
with a hand pointing up a dingy flight of stairs. Jurgis went up them,
three at a time.


Madame Haupt was frying pork and onions, and had her door half open
to let out the smoke. When he tried to knock upon it, it swung open
the rest of the way, and he had a glimpse of her, with a black bottle
turned up to her lips. Then he knocked louder, and she started and
put it away. She was a Dutchwoman, enormously fat--when she walked
she rolled like a small boat on the ocean, and the dishes in the
cupboard jostled each other. She wore a filthy blue wrapper, and her
teeth were black.


Vot is it?" she saidwhen she saw Jurgis.


He had run like mad all the way and was so out of breath he could
hardly speak. His hair was flying and his eyes wild--he looked
like a man that had risen from the tomb. "My wife!" he panted.
Come quickly!Madame Haupt set the frying pan to one side and
wiped her hands on her wrapper.


You vant me to come for a case?she inquired.


Yes,gasped Jurgis.


I haf yust come back from a case,she said. "I haf had no time to
eat my dinner. Still--if it is so bad--"


Yes--it is!cried he. "Velldenperhaps--vot you pay?"


I--I--how much do you want?Jurgis stammered.


Tventy-five dollars.His face fell. "I can't pay that he said.


The woman was watching him narrowly. How much do you pay?" she demanded.


Must I pay now--right away?


Yes; all my customers do.


I--I haven't much money,Jurgis began in an agony of dread.
I've been in--in trouble--and my money is gone. But I'll pay you-



every cent--just as soon as I can; I can work--

Vot is your work?

I have no place now. I must get one. But I--

How much haf you got now?

He could hardly bring himself to reply. When he said "A dollar and
a quarter the woman laughed in his face.

I vould not put on my hat for a dollar and a quarter she said.

It's all I've got he pleaded, his voice breaking. I must get
some one--my wife will die. I can't help it--I--"

Madame Haupt had put back her pork and onions on the stove. She turned
to him and answeredout of the steam and noise: "Git me ten dollars
cashund so you can pay me the rest next mont'."

I can't do it--I haven't got it!Jurgis protested. "I tell you I
have only a dollar and a quarter."

The woman turned to her work. "I don't believe you she said.
Dot is all to try to sheat me. Vot is de reason a big man like
you has got only a dollar und a quarter?"

I've just been in jail,Jurgis cried--he was ready to get down upon
his knees to the woman--"and I had no money beforeand my family has
almost starved."

Vere is your friends, dot ought to help you?

They are all poor,he answered. "They gave me this. I have done
everything I can--"

Haven't you got notting you can sell?

I have nothing, I tell you--I have nothing,he cried
frantically.

Can't you borrow it, den? Don't your store people trust you?
Thenas he shook his headshe went on: "Listen to me--if you git
me you vill be glad of it. I vill save your wife und baby for you
and it vill not seem like mooch to you in de end. If you loose dem
now how you tink you feel den? Und here is a lady dot knows her
business--I could send you to people in dis blockund dey vould
tell you--"

Madame Haupt was pointing her cooking-fork at Jurgis persuasively;
but her words were more than he could bear. He flung up his hands
with a gesture of despair and turned and started away. "It's no use
he exclaimed--but suddenly he heard the woman's voice behind him again-


I vill make it five dollars for you."

She followed behind himarguing with him. "You vill be foolish not
to take such an offer she said. You von't find nobody go out on
a rainy day like dis for less. VyI haf never took a case in my life
so sheap as dot. I couldn't pay mine room rent--"

Jurgis interrupted her with an oath of rage. "If I haven't got it
he shouted, how can I pay it? Damn itI would pay you if I could
but I tell you I haven't got it. I haven't got it! Do you hear me


I haven't got it!"

He turned and started away again. He was halfway down the stairs
before Madame Haupt could shout to him: "Vait! I vill go mit you!
Come back!"

He went back into the room again.

It is not goot to tink of anybody suffering,she saidin a
melancholy voice. "I might as vell go mit you for noffing as vot
you offer mebut I vill try to help you. How far is it?"

Three or four blocks from here.

Tree or four! Und so I shall get soaked! Gott in Himmel, it ought
to be vorth more! Vun dollar und a quarter, und a day like dis!-But
you understand now--you vill pay me de rest of twenty-five
dollars soon?

As soon as I can.

Some time dis mont'?

Yes, within a month,said poor Jurgis. "Anything! Hurry up!"

Vere is de dollar und a quarter?persisted Madame Hauptrelentlessly.

Jurgis put the money on the table and the woman counted it and stowed
it away. Then she wiped her greasy hands again and proceeded to
get readycomplaining all the time; she was so fat that it was
painful for her to moveand she grunted and gasped at every step.
She took off her wrapper without even taking the trouble to turn her
back to Jurgisand put on her corsets and dress. Then there was
a black bonnet which had to be adjusted carefullyand an umbrella
which was mislaidand a bag full of necessaries which had to be
collected from here and there--the man being nearly crazy with
anxiety in the meantime. When they were on the street he kept about
four paces ahead of herturning now and thenas if he could hurry
her on by the force of his desire. But Madame Haupt could only go
so far at a stepand it took all her attention to get the needed
breath for that.

They came at last to the houseand to the group of frightened women
in the kitchen. It was not over yetJurgis learned--he heard Ona
crying still; and meantime Madame Haupt removed her bonnet and laid
it on the mantelpieceand got out of her bagfirst an old dress
and then a saucer of goose greasewhich she proceeded to rub upon
her hands. The more cases this goose grease is used inthe better
luck it brings to the midwifeand so she keeps it upon her kitchen
mantelpiece or stowed away in a cupboard with her dirty clothes
for monthsand sometimes even for years.

Then they escorted her to the ladderand Jurgis heard her give an
exclamation of dismay. "Gott in Himmelvot for haf you brought me
to a place like dis? I could not climb up dot ladder. I could not
git troo a trap door! I vill not try it--vyI might kill myself
already. Vot sort of a place is dot for a woman to bear a child in-up
in a garretmit only a ladder to it? You ought to be ashamed of
yourselves!" Jurgis stood in the doorway and listened to her scolding
half drowning out the horrible moans and screams of Ona.

At last Aniele succeeded in pacifying herand she essayed the ascent;
thenhowevershe had to be stopped while the old woman cautioned
her about the floor of the garret. They had no real floor--they had


laid old boards in one part to make a place for the family to live;
it was all right and safe therebut the other part of the garret had
only the joists of the floorand the lath and plaster of the ceiling
belowand if one stepped on this there would be a catastrophe.
As it was half dark up aboveperhaps one of the others had best go up
first with a candle. Then there were more outcries and threatening
until at last Jurgis had a vision of a pair of elephantine legs
disappearing through the trap doorand felt the house shake as
Madame Haupt started to walk. Then suddenly Aniele came to him and
took him by the arm.

Now,she saidyou go away. Do as I tell you--you have done all
you can, and you are only in the way. Go away and stay away.

But where shall I go?Jurgis askedhelplessly.

I don't know where,she answered. "Go on the streetif there is
no other place--only go! And stay all night!"

In the end she and Marija pushed him out of the door and shut it
behind him. It was just about sundownand it was turning cold-the
rain had changed to snowand the slush was freezing. Jurgis
shivered in his thin clothingand put his hands into his pockets
and started away. He had not eaten since morningand he felt weak
and ill; with a sudden throb of hope he recollected he was only a few
blocks from the saloon where he had been wont to eat his dinner.
They might have mercy on him thereor he might meet a friend. He set
out for the place as fast as he could walk.

Hello, Jack,said the saloonkeeperwhen he entered--they call all
foreigners and unskilled men "Jack" in Packingtown. "Where've you been?"

Jurgis went straight to the bar. "I've been in jail he said,
and I've just got out. I walked home all the wayand I've not
a centand had nothing to eat since this morning. And I've lost
my homeand my wife's illand I'm done up."

The saloonkeeper gazed at himwith his haggard white face and
his blue trembling lips. Then he pushed a big bottle toward him.
Fill her up!he said.

Jurgis could hardly hold the bottlehis hands shook so.

Don't be afraid,said the saloonkeeperfill her up!

So Jurgis drank a large glass of whiskyand then turned to the
lunch counterin obedience to the other's suggestion. He ate all
he daredstuffing it in as fast as he could; and thenafter trying
to speak his gratitudehe went and sat down by the big red stove
in the middle of the room.

It was too good to lasthowever--like all things in this hard world.
His soaked clothing began to steamand the horrible stench of
fertilizer to fill the room. In an hour or so the packing houses
would be closing and the men coming in from their work; and they
would not come into a place that smelt of Jurgis. Also it was
Saturday nightand in a couple of hours would come a violin and
a cornetand in the rear part of the saloon the families of the
neighborhood would dance and feast upon wienerwurst and lager
until two or three o'clock in the morning. The saloon-keeper coughed
once or twiceand then remarkedSay, Jack, I'm afraid you'll have
to quit.

He was used to the sight of human wrecksthis saloonkeeper; he "fired"


dozens of them every nightjust as haggard and cold and forlorn as
this one. But they were all men who had given up and been counted out
while Jurgis was still in the fightand had reminders of decency
about him. As he got up meeklythe other reflected that he had
always been a steady manand might soon be a good customer again.
You've been up against it, I see,he said. "Come this way."

In the rear of the saloon were the cellar stairs. There was a door
above and another belowboth safely padlockedmaking the stairs
an admirable place to stow away a customer who might still chance
to have moneyor a political light whom it was not advisable to
kick out of doors.

So Jurgis spent the night. The whisky had only half warmed him
and he could not sleepexhausted as he was; he would nod forward
and then start upshivering with the coldand begin to remember
again. Hour after hour passeduntil he could only persuade himself
that it was not morning by the sounds of music and laughter and singing
that were to be heard from the room. When at last these ceased
he expected that he would be turned out into the street; as this did
not happenhe fell to wondering whether the man had forgotten him.

In the endwhen the silence and suspense were no longer to be borne
he got up and hammered on the door; and the proprietor cameyawning
and rubbing his eyes. He was keeping open all nightand dozing
between customers.

I want to go home,Jurgis said. "I'm worried about my wife--I can't
wait any longer."

Why the hell didn't you say so before?said the man. "I thought
you didn't have any home to go to." Jurgis went outside. It was
four o'clock in the morningand as black as night. There were three
or four inches of fresh snow on the groundand the flakes were falling
thick and fast. He turned toward Aniele's and started at a run.

There was a light burning in the kitchen window and the blinds
were drawn. The door was unlocked and Jurgis rushed in.

AnieleMarijaand the rest of the women were huddled about the stove
exactly as before; with them were several newcomersJurgis noticed-also
he noticed that the house was silent.

Well?he said.

No one answered himthey sat staring at him with their pale faces.
He cried again: "Well?"

And thenby the light of the smoky lamphe saw Marija who sat
nearest himshaking her head slowly. "Not yet she said.

And Jurgis gave a cry of dismay. Not yet?"

Again Marija's head shook. The poor fellow stood dumfounded. "I don't
hear her he gasped.

She's been quiet a long time replied the other.

There was another pause--broken suddenly by a voice from the attic:
Hellothere!"

Several of the women ran into the next roomwhile Marija sprang
toward Jurgis. "Wait here!" she criedand the two stoodpale and


tremblinglistening. In a few moments it became clear that Madame
Haupt was engaged in descending the ladderscolding and exhorting
againwhile the ladder creaked in protest. In a moment or two she
reached the groundangry and breathlessand they heard her coming
into the room. Jurgis gave one glance at herand then turned white
and reeled. She had her jacket offlike one of the workers on the
killing beds. Her hands and arms were smeared with bloodand blood
was splashed upon her clothing and her face.

She stood breathing hardand gazing about her; no one made a sound.
I haf done my best,she began suddenly. "I can do noffing more-dere
is no use to try."

Again there was silence.

It ain't my fault,she said. "You had ought to haf had a doctor
und not vaited so long--it vas too late already ven I come." Once more
there was deathlike stillness. Marija was clutching Jurgis with all
the power of her one well arm.

Then suddenly Madame Haupt turned to Aniele. "You haf not got
something to drinkhey?" she queried. "Some brandy?"

Aniele shook her head.

Herr Gott!exclaimed Madame Haupt. "Such people! Perhaps you vill
give me someting to eat den--I haf had noffing since yesterday morning
und I haf vorked myself near to death here. If I could haf known it
vas like disI vould never haf come for such money as you gif me."
At this moment she chanced to look roundand saw Jurgis: She shook
her finger at him. "You understand me she said, you pays me dot
money yust de same! It is not my fault dat you send for me so late
I can't help your vife. It is not my fault if der baby comes mit
one arm firstso dot I can't save it. I haf tried all night
und in dot place vere it is not fit for dogs to be bornund mit
notting to eat only vot I brings in mine own pockets."

Here Madame Haupt paused for a moment to get her breath; and Marija
seeing the beads of sweat on Jurgis's foreheadand feeling the
quivering of his framebroke out in a low voice: "How is Ona?"

How is she?echoed Madame Haupt. "How do you tink she can be ven
you leave her to kill herself so? I told dem dot ven they send for
de priest. She is youngund she might haf got over itund been
vell und strongif she had been treated right. She fight hard
dot girl--she is not yet quite dead."

And Jurgis gave a frantic scream. "Dead!"

She vill die, of course,said the other angrily. "Der baby is
dead now."

The garret was lighted by a candle stuck upon a board; it had almost
burned itself outand was sputtering and smoking as Jurgis rushed
up the ladder. He could make out dimly in one corner a pallet of
rags and old blanketsspread upon the floor; at the foot of it was
a crucifixand near it a priest muttering a prayer. In a far corner
crouched Elzbietamoaning and wailing. Upon the pallet lay Ona.

She was covered with a blanketbut he could see her shoulders and
one arm lying bare; she was so shrunken he would scarcely have known
her--she was all but a skeletonand as white as a piece of chalk.
Her eyelids were closedand she lay still as death. He staggered
toward her and fell upon his knees with a cry of anguish: "Ona! Ona!"


She did not stir. He caught her hand in hisand began to clasp it
franticallycalling: "Look at me! Answer me! It is Jurgis come
back--don't you hear me?"

There was the faintest quivering of the eyelidsand he called again
in frenzy: "Ona! Ona!"

Then suddenly her eyes opened one instant. One instant she looked
at him--there was a flash of recognition between themhe saw her
afar offas through a dim vistastanding forlorn. He stretched out
his arms to herhe called her in wild despair; a fearful yearning
surged up in himhunger for her that was agonydesire that was a
new being born within himtearing his heartstringstorturing him.
But it was all in vain--she faded from himshe slipped back and
was gone. And a wail of anguish burst from himgreat sobs shook
all his frameand hot tears ran down his cheeks and fell upon her.
He clutched her handshe shook herhe caught her in his arms and
pressed her to him but she lay cold and still--she was gone--she was gone!

The word rang through him like the sound of a bellechoing in the far
depths of himmaking forgotten chords to vibrateold shadowy fears
to stir--fears of the darkfears of the voidfears of annihilation.
She was dead! She was dead! He would never see her againnever hear
her again! An icy horror of loneliness seized him; he saw himself
standing apart and watching all the world fade away from him--a world
of shadowsof fickle dreams. He was like a little childin his
fright and grief; he called and calledand got no answerand his
cries of despair echoed through the housemaking the women downstairs
draw nearer to each other in fear. He was inconsolablebeside
himself--the priest came and laid his hand upon his shoulder and
whispered to himbut he heard not a sound. He was gone away himself
stumbling through the shadowsand groping after the soul that had fled.

So he lay. The gray dawn came up and crept into the attic.
The priest leftthe women leftand he was alone with the still
white figure--quieter nowbut moaning and shudderingwrestling with
the grisly fiend. Now and then he would raise himself and stare at
the white mask before himthen hide his eyes because he could not
bear it. Dead! dead! And she was only a girlshe was barely
eighteen! Her life had hardly begun--and here she lay murdered-mangled
tortured to death!

It was morning when he rose up and came down into the kitchen-haggard
and ashen grayreeling and dazed. More of the neighbors
had come inand they stared at him in silence as he sank down upon
a chair by the table and buried his face in his arms.

A few minutes later the front door opened; a blast of cold and snow
rushed inand behind it little Kotrinabreathless from running
and blue with the cold. "I'm home again!" she exclaimed. "I could
hardly--"

And thenseeing Jurgisshe stopped with an exclamation. Looking
from one to another she saw that something had happenedand she asked
in a lower voice: "What's the matter?"

Before anyone could replyJurgis started up; he went toward her
walking unsteadily. "Where have you been?" he demanded.

Selling papers with the boys,she said. "The snow--"

Have you any money?he demanded.


Yes.

How much?

Nearly three dollars, Jurgis.

Give it to me.

Kotrinafrightened by his mannerglanced at the others. "Give it
to me!" he commanded againand she put her hand into her pocket and
pulled out a lump of coins tied in a bit of rag. Jurgis took it
without a wordand went out of the door and down the street.

Three doors away was a saloon. "Whisky he said, as he entered,
and as the man pushed him some, he tore at the rag with his teeth
and pulled out half a dollar. How much is the bottle?" he said.
I want to get drunk.

Chapter 20

But a big man cannot stay drunk very long on three dollars. That was
Sunday morningand Monday night Jurgis came homesober and sick
realizing that he had spent every cent the family ownedand had not
bought a single instant's forgetfulness with it.

Ona was not yet buried; but the police had been notifiedand on the
morrow they would put the body in a pine coffin and take it to the
potter's field. Elzbieta was out begging nowa few pennies from
each of the neighborsto get enough to pay for a mass for her;
and the children were upstairs starving to deathwhile he
good-for-nothing rascalhad been spending their money on drink.
So spoke Anielescornfullyand when he started toward the fire
she added the information that her kitchen was no longer for him
to fill with his phosphate stinks. She had crowded all her boarders
into one room on Ona's accountbut now he could go up in the garret
where he belonged--and not there much longereitherif he did not
pay her some rent.

Jurgis went without a wordandstepping over half a dozen sleeping
boarders in the next roomascended the ladder. It was dark up above;
they could not afford any light; also it was nearly as cold as outdoors.
In a corneras far away from the corpse as possiblesat Marija
holding little Antanas in her one good arm and trying to soothe him
to sleep. In another corner crouched poor little Juozapaswailing
because he had had nothing to eat all day. Marija said not a word
to Jurgis; he crept in like a whipped curand went and sat down
by the body.

Perhaps he ought to have meditated upon the hunger of the children
and upon his own baseness; but he thought only of Onahe gave himself
up again to the luxury of grief. He shed no tearsbeing ashamed
to make a sound; he sat motionless and shuddering with his anguish.
He had never dreamed how much he loved Onauntil now that she was gone;
until now that he sat hereknowing that on the morrow they would
take her awayand that he would never lay eyes upon her again--never
all the days of his life. His old lovewhich had been starved
to deathbeaten to deathawoke in him again; the floodgates of
memory were lifted--he saw all their life togethersaw her as he
had seen her in Lithuaniathe first day at the fairbeautiful as
the flowerssinging like a bird. He saw her as he had married her


with all her tendernesswith her heart of wonder; the very words
she had spoken seemed to ring now in his earsthe tears she had shed
to be wet upon his cheek. The longcruel battle with misery and
hunger had hardened and embittered himbut it had not changed her-she
had been the same hungry soul to the endstretching out her arms
to himpleading with himbegging him for love and tenderness.
And she had suffered--so cruelly she had sufferedsuch agonies
such infamies--ahGodthe memory of them was not to be borne.
What a monster of wickednessof heartlessnesshe had been!
Every angry word that he had ever spoken came back to him and cut
him like a knife; every selfish act that he had done--with what
torments he paid for them now! And such devotion and awe as welled
up in his soul--now that it could never be spokennow that it was
too latetoo late! His bosom-was choking with itbursting with it;
he crouched here in the darkness beside herstretching out his arms
to her--and she was gone forevershe was dead! He could have
screamed aloud with the horror and despair of it; a sweat of agony
beaded his foreheadyet he dared not make a sound--he scarcely dared
to breathebecause of his shame and loathing of himself.

Late at night came Elzbietahaving gotten the money for a mass
and paid for it in advancelest she should be tempted too sorely
at home. She brought also a bit of stale rye bread that some one
had given herand with that they quieted the children and got them
to sleep. Then she came over to Jurgis and sat down beside him.

She said not a word of reproach--she and Marija had chosen that
course before; she would only plead with himhere by the corpse of
his dead wife. Already Elzbieta had choked down her tearsgrief
being crowded out of her soul by fear. She had to bury one of her
children--but then she had done it three times beforeand each time
risen up and gone back to take up the battle for the rest. Elzbieta
was one of the primitive creatures: like the anglewormwhich goes
on living though cut in half; like a henwhichdeprived of her
chickens one by onewill mother the last that is left her. She did
this because it was her nature--she asked no questions about the
justice of itnor the worth-whileness of life in which destruction
and death ran riot.

And this old common-sense view she labored to impress upon Jurgis
pleading with him with tears in her eyes. Ona was deadbut the
others were left and they must be saved. She did not ask for her
own children. She and Marija could care for them somehowbut there
was Antanashis own son. Ona had given Antanas to him--the little
fellow was the only remembrance of her that he had; he must treasure
it and protect ithe must show himself a man. He knew what Ona would
have had him dowhat she would ask of him at this momentif she
could speak to him. It was a terrible thing that she should have
died as she had; but the life had been too hard for herand she
had to go. It was terrible that they were not able to bury her
that he could not even have a day to mourn her--but so it was.
Their fate was pressing; they had not a centand the children would
perish--some money must be had. Could he not be a man for Ona's sake
and pull himself together? In a little while they would be out of
danger--now that they had given up the house they could live more
cheaplyand with all the children working they could get along
if only he would not go to pieces. So Elzbieta went onwith feverish
intensity. It was a struggle for life with her; she was not afraid
that Jurgis would go on drinkingfor he had no money for that
but she was wild with dread at the thought that he might desert them
might take to the roadas Jonas had done.

But with Ona's dead body beneath his eyesJurgis could not well
think of treason to his child. Yeshe saidhe would tryfor the


sake of Antanas. He would give the little fellow his chance--would
get to work at onceyestomorrowwithout even waiting for Ona to be
buried. They might trust himhe would keep his wordcome what might.

And so he was out before daylight the next morningheadache
heartacheand all. He went straight to Graham's fertilizer mill
to see if he could get back his job. But the boss shook his head
when he saw him--nohis place had been filled long agoand there
was no room for him.

Do you think there will be?Jurgis asked. "I may have to wait."

No,said the otherit will not be worth your while to wait--there
will be nothing for you here.

Jurgis stood gazing at him in perplexity. "What is the matter?"
he asked. "Didn't I do my work?"

The other met his look with one of cold indifferenceand answered
There will be nothing for you here, I said.

Jurgis had his suspicions as to the dreadful meaning of that incident
and he went away with a sinking at the heart. He went and took his
stand with the mob of hungry wretches who were standing about in
the snow before the time station. Here he stayedbreakfastless
for two hoursuntil the throng was driven away by the clubs of
the police. There was no work for him that day.

Jurgis had made a good many acquaintances in his long services at the
yards--there were saloonkeepers who would trust him for a drink and a
sandwichand members of his old union who would lend him a dime at
a pinch. It was not a question of life and death for himtherefore;
he might hunt all dayand come again on the morrowand try hanging
on thus for weekslike hundreds and thousands of others. Meantime
Teta Elzbieta would go and begover in the Hyde Park district
and the children would bring home enough to pacify Anieleand keep
them all alive.

It was at the end of a week of this sort of waitingroaming about
in the bitter winds or loafing in saloonsthat Jurgis stumbled on
a chance in one of the cellars of Jones's big packing plant. He saw
a foreman passing the open doorwayand hailed him for a job.

Push a truck?inquired the manand Jurgis answeredYes, sir!
before the words were well out of his mouth.

What's your name?demanded the other.

Jurgis Rudkus.

Worked in the yards before?

Yes.

Whereabouts?

Two places--Brown's killing beds and Durham's fertilizer mill.

Why did you leave there?

The first time I had an accident, and the last time I was sent up
for a month.

I see. Well, I'll give you a trial. Come early tomorrow and ask


for Mr. Thomas.

So Jurgis rushed home with the wild tidings that he had a job--that
the terrible siege was over. The remnants of the family had quite
a celebration that night; and in the morning Jurgis was at the place
half an hour before the time of opening. The foreman came in shortly
afterwardand when he saw Jurgis he frowned.

Oh,he saidI promised you a job, didn't I?

Yes, sir,said Jurgis.

Well, I'm sorry, but I made a mistake. I can't use you.

Jurgis stareddumfounded. "What's the matter?" he gasped.

Nothing,said the manonly I can't use you.

There was the same coldhostile stare that he had had from the boss
of the fertilizer mill. He knew that there was no use in saying
a wordand he turned and went away.

Out in the saloons the men could tell him all about the meaning of it;
they gazed at him with pitying eyes--poor devilhe was blacklisted!
What had he done? they asked--knocked down his boss? Good heavens
then he might have known! Whyhe stood as much chance of getting
a job in Packingtown as of being chosen mayor of Chicago. Why had
he wasted his time hunting? They had him on a secret list in every
officebig and littlein the place. They had his name by this time
in St. Louis and New Yorkin Omaha and Bostonin Kansas City and
St. Joseph. He was condemned and sentencedwithout trial and
without appeal; he could never work for the packers again--he could
not even clean cattle pens or drive a truck in any place where they
controlled. He might try itif he choseas hundreds had tried it
and found out for themselves. He would never be told anything about it;
he would never get any more satisfaction than he had gotten just now;
but he would always find when the time came that he was not needed.
It would not do for him to give any other nameeither--they had
company "spotters" for just that purposeand he wouldn't keep a job
in Packingtown three days. It was worth a fortune to the packers to
keep their blacklist effectiveas a warning to the men and a means
of keeping down union agitation and political discontent.

Jurgis went homecarrying these new tidings to the family council.
It was a most cruel thing; here in this district was his home
such as it wasthe place he was used to and the friends he knew-and
now every possibility of employment in it was closed to him.
There was nothing in Packingtown but packing houses; and so it was
the same thing as evicting him from his home.

He and the two women spent all day and half the night discussing it.
It would be convenientdowntownto the children's place of work;
but then Marija was on the road to recoveryand had hopes of getting
a job in the yards; and though she did not see her old-time lover
once a monthbecause of the misery of their stateyet she could
not make up her mind to go away and give him up forever. Thentoo
Elzbieta had heard something about a chance to scrub floors in
Durham's offices and was waiting every day for word. In the end
it was decided that Jurgis should go downtown to strike out for
himselfand they would decide after he got a job. As there was
no one from whom he could borrow thereand he dared not beg for
fear of being arrestedit was arranged that every day he should
meet one of the children and be given fifteen cents of their earnings
upon which he could keep going. Then all day he was to pace the


streets with hundreds and thousands of other homeless wretches
inquiring at storeswarehousesand factories for a chance; and at
night he was to crawl into some doorway or underneath a truck
and hide there until midnightwhen he might get into one of the
station housesand spread a newspaper upon the floorand lie down
in the midst of a throng of "bums" and beggarsreeking with alcohol
and tobaccoand filthy with vermin and disease.

So for two weeks more Jurgis fought with the demon of despair.
Once he got a chance to load a truck for half a dayand again he
carried an old woman's valise and was given a quarter. This let
him into a lodginghouse on several nights when he might otherwise
have frozen to death; and it also gave him a chance now and then
to buy a newspaper in the morning and hunt up jobs while his rivals
were watching and waiting for a paper to be thrown away. Thishowever
was really not the advantage it seemedfor the newspaper advertisements
were a cause of much loss of precious time and of many weary journeys.
A full half of these were "fakes put in by the endless variety of
establishments which preyed upon the helpless ignorance of the
unemployed. If Jurgis lost only his time, it was because he had
nothing else to lose; whenever a smooth-tongued agent would tell
him of the wonderful positions he had on hand, he could only shake
his head sorrowfully and say that he had not the necessary dollar
to deposit; when it was explained to him what big money" he and all
his family could make by coloring photographshe could only promise
to come in again when he had two dollars to invest in the outfit.

In the end Jurgis got a chance through an accidental meeting with
an old-time acquaintance of his union days. He met this man on his
way to work in the giant factories of the Harvester Trust; and his
friend told him to come along and he would speak a good word for him
to his bosswhom he knew well. So Jurgis trudged four or five miles
and passed through a waiting throng of unemployed at the gate under
the escort of his friend. His knees nearly gave way beneath him when
the foremanafter looking him over and questioning himtold him
that he could find an opening for him.

How much this accident meant to Jurgis he realized only by stages;
for he found that the harvester works were the sort of place to
which philanthropists and reformers pointed with pride. It had
some thought for its employees; its workshops were big and roomy
it provided a restaurant where the workmen could buy good food
at costit had even a reading roomand decent places where its
girl-hands could rest; also the work was free from many of the
elements of filth and repulsiveness that prevailed at the stockyards.
Day after day Jurgis discovered these things--things never expected
nor dreamed of by him--until this new place came to seem a kind of
a heaven to him.

It was an enormous establishmentcovering a hundred and sixty acres
of groundemploying five thousand peopleand turning out over
three hundred thousand machines every year--a good part of all the
harvesting and mowing machines used in the country. Jurgis saw very
little of itof course--it was all specialized workthe same as at
the stockyards; each one of the hundreds of parts of a mowing machine
was made separatelyand sometimes handled by hundreds of men.
Where Jurgis worked there was a machine which cut and stamped a
certain piece of steel about two square inches in size; the pieces
came tumbling out upon a trayand all that human hands had to do
was to pile them in regular rowsand change the trays at intervals.
This was done by a single boywho stood with eyes and thought
centered upon itand fingers flying so fast that the sounds of the
bits of steel striking upon each other was like the music of an


express train as one hears it in a sleeping car at night. This was
piece-work,of course; and besides it was made certain that the boy
did not idleby setting the machine to match the highest possible
speed of human hands. Thirty thousand of these pieces he handled
every daynine or ten million every year--how many in a lifetime
it rested with the gods to say. Near by him men sat bending over
whirling grindstonesputting the finishing touches to the steel
knives of the reaper; picking them out of a basket with the right
handpressing first one side and then the other against the stone
and finally dropping them with the left hand into another basket.
One of these men told Jurgis that he had sharpened three thousand
pieces of steel a day for thirteen years. In the next room were
wonderful machines that ate up long steel rods by slow stages
cutting them offseizing the piecesstamping heads upon them
grinding them and polishing themthreading themand finally
dropping them into a basketall ready to bolt the harvesters
together. From yet another machine came tens of thousands of steel
burs to fit upon these bolts. In other places all these various
parts were dipped into troughs of paint and hung up to dryand then
slid along on trolleys to a room where men streaked them with red
and yellowso that they might look cheerful in the harvest fields.

Jurgis's friend worked upstairs in the casting roomsand his task
was to make the molds of a certain part. He shoveled black sand
into an iron receptacle and pounded it tight and set it aside to
harden; then it would be taken outand molten iron poured into it.
This mantoowas paid by the mold--or rather for perfect castings
nearly half his work going for naught. You might see himalong with
dozens of otherstoiling like one possessed by a whole community
of demons; his arms working like the driving rods of an engine
his longblack hair flying wildhis eyes starting outthe sweat
rolling in rivers down his face. When he had shoveled the mold full
of sandand reached for the pounder to pound it withit was after
the manner of a canoeist running rapids and seizing a pole at sight
of a submerged rock. All day long this man would toil thushis whole
being centered upon the purpose of making twenty-three instead of
twenty-two and a half cents an hour; and then his product would be
reckoned up by the census takerand jubilant captains of industry
would boast of it in their banquet hallstelling how our workers
are nearly twice as efficient as those of any other country. If we
are the greatest nation the sun ever shone uponit would seem to be
mainly because we have been able to goad our wage-earners to this
pitch of frenzy; though there are a few other things that are great
among us including our drink-billwhich is a billion and a quarter
of dollars a yearand doubling itself every decade.

There was a machine which stamped out the iron platesand then
another whichwith a mighty thudmashed them to the shape of the
sitting-down portion of the American farmer. Then they were piled
upon a truckand it was Jurgis's task to wheel them to the room
where the machines were "assembled." This was child's play for him
and he got a dollar and seventy-five cents a day for it; on Saturday
he paid Aniele the seventy-five cents a week he owed her for the use
of her garretand also redeemed his overcoatwhich Elzbieta had
put in pawn when he was in jail.

This last was a great blessing. A man cannot go about in midwinter
in Chicago with no overcoat and not pay for itand Jurgis had to
walk or ride five or six miles back and forth to his work. lt so
happened that half of this was in one direction and half in another
necessitating a change of cars; the law required that transfers be
given at all intersecting pointsbut the railway corporation had
gotten round this by arranging a pretense at separate ownership.


So whenever he wished to ridehe had to pay ten cents each way
or over ten per cent of his income to this powerwhich had gotten
its franchises long ago by buying up the city councilin the face
of popular clamor amounting almost to a rebellion. Tired as he felt
at nightand dark and bitter cold as it was in the morningJurgis
generally chose to walk; at the hours other workmen were traveling
the streetcar monopoly saw fit to put on so few cars that there
would be men hanging to every foot of the backs of them and often
crouching upon the snow-covered roof. Of course the doors could
never be closedand so the cars were as cold as outdoors; Jurgis
like many othersfound it better to spend his fare for a drink and
a free lunchto give him strength to walk.

Thesehoweverwere all slight matters to a man who had escaped from
Durham's fertilizer mill. Jurgis began to pick up heart again and
to make plans. He had lost his house but then the awful load of
the rent and interest was off his shouldersand when Marija was
well again they could start over and save. In the shop where he
worked was a mana Lithuanian like himselfwhom the others spoke
of in admiring whispersbecause of the mighty feats he was performing.
All day he sat at a machine turning bolts; and then in the evening
he went to the public school to study English and learn to read.
In additionbecause he had a family of eight children to support
and his earnings were not enoughon Saturdays and Sundays he served
as a watchman; he was required to press two buttons at opposite ends
of a building every five minutesand as the walk only took him two
minuteshe had three minutes to study between each trip. Jurgis felt
jealous of this fellow; for that was the sort of thing he himself
had dreamed oftwo or three years ago. He might do it even yet
if he had a fair chance--he might attract attention and become
a skilled man or a bossas some had done in this place. Suppose
that Marija could get a job in the big mill where they made binder
twine--then they would move into this neighborhoodand he would
really have a chance. With a hope like thatthere was some use
in living; to find a place where you were treated like a human being-by
God! he would show them how he could appreciate it. He laughed
to himself as he thought how he would hang on to this job!

And then one afternoonthe ninth of his work in the placewhen he
went to get his overcoat he saw a group of men crowded before a
placard on the doorand when he went over and asked what it was
they told him that beginning with the morrow his department of the
harvester works would be closed until further notice!

Chapter 21

That was the way they did it! There was not half an hour's
warning--the works were closed! It had happened that way before
said the menand it would happen that way forever. They had
made all the harvesting machines that the world neededand now
they had to wait till some wore out! It was nobody's fault-that
was the way of it; and thousands of men and women were turned out
in the dead of winterto live upon their savings if they had
anyand otherwise to die. So many tens of thousands already in
the cityhomeless and begging for workand now several thousand
more added to them!

Jurgis walked home-with his pittance of pay in his pocket
heartbrokenoverwhelmed. One more bandage had been torn from
his eyesone more pitfall was revealed to him! Of what help was


kindness and decency on the part of employers--when they could
not keep a job for himwhen there were more harvesting machines
made than the world was able to buy! What a hellish mockery it
wasanywaythat a man should slave to make harvesting machines
for the countryonly to be turned out to starve for doing his
duty too well!

It took him two days to get over this heartsickening
disappointment. He did not drink anythingbecause Elzbieta got
his money for safekeepingand knew him too well to be in the
least frightened by his angry demands. He stayed up in the
garret howeverand sulked--what was the use of a man's hunting a
job when it was taken from him before he had time to learn the
work? But then their money was going againand little Antanas
was hungryand crying with the bitter cold of the garret.
Also Madame Hauptthe midwifewas after him for some money.
So he went out once more.

For another ten days he roamed the streets and alleys of the huge
citysick and hungrybegging for any work. He tried in stores
and officesin restaurants and hotelsalong the docks and in
the railroad yardsin warehouses and mills and factories where
they made products that went to every corner of the world. There
were often one or two chances--but there were always a hundred
men for every chanceand his turn would not come. At night he
crept into sheds and cellars and doorways--until there came a
spell of belated winter weatherwith a raging galeand the
thermometer five degrees below zero at sundown and falling all
night. Then Jurgis fought like a wild beast to get into the big
Harrison Street police stationand slept down in a corridor
crowded with two other men upon a single step.

He had to fight often in these days to fight for a place near the
factory gatesand now and again with gangs on the street. He
foundfor instancethat the business of carrying satchels for
railroad passengers was a pre-empted one--whenever he essayed it
eight or ten men and boys would fall upon him and force him to
run for his life. They always had the policeman "squared and
so there was no use in expecting protection.

That Jurgis did not starve to death was due solely to the
pittance the children brought him. And even this was never
certain. For one thing the cold was almost more than the
children could bear; and then they, too, were in perpetual peril
from rivals who plundered and beat them. The law was against
them, too--little Vilimas, who was really eleven, but did not
look to be eight, was stopped on the streets by a severe old lady
in spectacles, who told him that he was too young to be working
and that if he did not stop selling papers she would send a
truant officer after him. Also one night a strange man caught
little Kotrina by the arm and tried to persuade her into a dark
cellarway, an experience which filled her with such terror that
she was hardly to be kept at work.

At last, on a Sunday, as there was no use looking for work,
Jurgis went home by stealing rides on the cars. He found that
they had been waiting for him for three days--there was a chance
of a job for him.

It was quite a story. Little Juozapas, who was near crazy with
hunger these days, had gone out on the street to beg for himself.
Juozapas had only one leg, having been run over by a wagon when a
little child, but he had got himself a broomstick, which he put
under his arm for a crutch. He had fallen in with some other


children and found the way to Mike Scully's dump, which lay three
or four blocks away. To this place there came every day many
hundreds of wagonloads of garbage and trash from the lake front,
where the rich people lived; and in the heaps the children raked
for food--there were hunks of bread and potato peelings and apple
cores and meat bones, all of it half frozen and quite unspoiled.
Little Juozapas gorged himself, and came home with a newspaper
full, which he was feeding to Antanas when his mother came in.
Elzbieta was horrified, for she did not believe that the food out
of the dumps was fit to eat. The next day, however, when no harm
came of it and Juozapas began to cry with hunger, she gave in and
said that he might go again. And that afternoon he came home
with a story of how while he had been digging away with a stick,
a lady upon the street had called him. A real fine lady,
the little boy explained, a beautiful lady; and she wanted to know
all about him, and whether he got the garbage for chickens,
and why he walked with a broomstick, and why Ona had died, and how
Jurgis had come to go to jail, and what was the matter with
Marija, and everything. In the end she had asked where he lived,
and said that she was coming to see him, and bring him a new
crutch to walk with. She had on a hat with a bird upon it,
Juozapas added, and a long fur snake around her neck.

She really came, the very next morning, and climbed the ladder to
the garret, and stood and stared about her, turning pale at the
sight of the blood stains on the floor where Ona had died. She
was a settlement worker she explained to Elzbieta--she lived
around on Ashland Avenue. Elzbieta knew the place, over a feed
store; somebody had wanted her to go there, but she had not cared
to, for she thought that it must have something to do with
religion, and the priest did not like her to have anything to do
with strange religions. They were rich people who came to live
there to find out about the poor people; but what good they
expected it would do them to know, one could not imagine. So
spoke Elzbieta, naively, and the young lady laughed and was
rather at a loss for an answer--she stood and gazed about her,
and thought of a cynical remark that had been made to her, that
she was standing upon the brink of the pit of hell and throwing
in snowballs to lower the temperature.

Elzbieta was glad to have somebody to listen, and she told all
their woes--what had happened to Ona, and the jail, and the loss
of their home, and Marija's accident, and how Ona had died, and
how Jurgis could get no work. As she listened the pretty young
lady's eyes filled with tears, and in the midst of it she burst
into weeping and hid her face on Elzbieta's shoulder, quite
regardless of the fact that the woman had on a dirty old wrapper
and that the garret was full of fleas. Poor Elzbieta was ashamed
of herself for having told so woeful a tale, and the other had to
beg and plead with her to get her to go on. The end of it was
that the young lady sent them a basket of things to eat, and left
a letter that Jurgis was to take to a gentleman who was
superintendent in one of the mills of the great steelworks in
South Chicago. He will get Jurgis something to do the young
lady had said, and added, smiling through her tears--If he
doesn'the will never marry me."

The steel-works were fifteen miles awayand as usual it was so
contrived that one had to pay two fares to get there. Far and
wide the sky was flaring with the red glare that leaped from rows
of towering chimneys--for it was pitch dark when Jurgis arrived.
The vast worksa city in themselveswere surrounded by a
stockade; and already a full hundred men were waiting at the gate
where new hands were taken on. Soon after daybreak whistles


began to blowand then suddenly thousands of men appeared
streaming from saloons and boardinghouses across the wayleaping
from trolley cars that passed--it seemed as if they rose out of
the groundin the dim gray light. A river of them poured in
through the gate--and then gradually ebbed away againuntil
there were only a few late ones runningand the watchman pacing
up and downand the hungry strangers stamping and shivering.

Jurgis presented his precious letter. The gatekeeper was surly
and put him through a catechismbut he insisted that he knew
nothingand as he had taken the precaution to seal his letter
there was nothing for the gatekeeper to do but send it to the
person to whom it was addressed. A messenger came back to say
that Jurgis should waitand so he came inside of the gate
perhaps not sorry enough that there were others less fortunate
watching him with greedy eyes. The great mills were getting
under way--one could hear a vast stirringa rolling and rumbling
and hammering. Little by little the scene grew plain: towering
black buildings here and therelong rows of shops and sheds
little railways branching everywherebare gray cinders underfoot
and oceans of billowing black smoke above. On one side of the
grounds ran a railroad with a dozen tracksand on the other side
lay the lakewhere steamers came to load.

Jurgis had time enough to stare and speculatefor it was two
hours before he was summoned. He went into the office building
where a company timekeeper interviewed him. The superintendent
was busyhe saidbut he (the timekeeper) would try to find
Jurgis a job. He had never worked in a steel mill before? But
he was ready for anything? Wellthenthey would go and see.

So they began a touramong sights that made Jurgis stare amazed.
He wondered if ever he could get used to working in a place like
thiswhere the air shook with deafening thunderand whistles
shrieked warnings on all sides of him at once; where miniature
steam engines came rushing upon himand sizzlingquivering
white-hot masses of metal sped past himand explosions of fire
and flaming sparks dazzled him and scorched his face. Then men
in these mills were all black with sootand hollow-eyed and
gaunt; they worked with fierce intensityrushing here and there
and never lifting their eyes from their tasks. Jurgis clung to
his guide like a scared child to its nurseand while the latter
hailed one foreman after another to ask if they could use another
unskilled manhe stared about him and marveled.

He was taken to the Bessemer furnacewhere they made billets of
steel--a domelike buildingthe size of a big theater. Jurgis
stood where the balcony of the theater would have been
and oppositeby the stagehe saw three giant caldronsbig enough
for all the devils of hell to brew their broth infull of
something white and blindingbubbling and splashingroaring as
if volcanoes were blowing through it--one had to shout to be
heard in the place. Liquid fire would leap from these caldrons
and scatter like bombs below--and men were working thereseeming
carelessso that Jurgis caught his breath with fright. Then a
whistle would tootand across the curtain of the theater would
come a little engine with a carload of something to be dumped
into one of the receptacles; and then another whistle would toot
down by the stageand another train would back up--and suddenly
without an instant's warningone of the giant kettles began to
tilt and toppleflinging out a jet of hissingroaring flame.
Jurgis shrank back appalledfor he thought it was an accident;
there fell a pillar of white flamedazzling as the sunswishing
like a huge tree falling in the forest. A torrent of sparks


swept all the way across the buildingoverwhelming everything
hiding it from sight; and then Jurgis looked through the fingers
of his handsand saw pouring out of the caldron a cascade of
livingleaping firewhite with a whiteness not of earth
scorching the eyeballs. Incandescent rainbows shone above it
blueredand golden lights played about it; but the stream
itself was whiteineffable. Out of regions of wonder it
streamedthe very river of life; and the soul leaped up at the
sight of itfled back upon itswift and resistlessback into
far-off landswhere beauty and terror dwell. Then the great
caldron tilted back againemptyand Jurgis saw to his relief
that no one was hurtand turned and followed his guide out into
the sunlight.

They went through the blast furnacesthrough rolling mills where
bars of steel were tossed about and chopped like bits of cheese.
All around and above giant machine arms were flyinggiant wheels
were turninggreat hammers crashing; traveling cranes creaked
and groaned overheadreaching down iron hands and seizing iron
prey--it was like standing in the center of the earthwhere the
machinery of time was revolving.

By and by they came to the place where steel rails were made; and
Jurgis heard a toot behind himand jumped out of the way of a
car with a white-hot ingot upon itthe size of a man's body.
There was a sudden crash and the car came to a haltand the
ingot toppled out upon a moving platformwhere steel fingers and
arms seized hold of itpunching it and prodding it into place
and hurrying it into the grip of huge rollers. Then it came out
upon the other sideand there were more crashings and
clatteringsand over it was floppedlike a pancake on a
gridironand seized again and rushed back at you through another
squeezer. So amid deafening uproar it clattered to and fro
growing thinner and flatter and longer. The ingot seemed almost
a living thing; it did not want to run this mad coursebut it
was in the grip of fateit was tumbled onscreeching and
clanking and shivering in protest. By and by it was long and
thina great red snake escaped from purgatory; and thenas it
slid through the rollersyou would have sworn that it was
alive--it writhed and squirmedand wriggles and shudders passed
out through its tailall but flinging it off by their violence.
There was no rest for it until it was cold and black--and then it
needed only to be cut and straightened to be ready for a
railroad.

It was at the end of this rail's progress that Jurgis got his
chance. They had to be moved by men with crowbarsand the boss
here could use another man. So he took off his coat and set to
work on the spot.

It took him two hours to get to this place every day and cost him
a dollar and twenty cents a week. As this was out of the
questionhe wrapped his bedding in a bundle and took it with
himand one of his fellow workingmen introduced him to a Polish
lodginghousewhere he might have the privilege of sleeping upon
the floor for ten cents a night. He got his meals at free-lunch
countersand every Saturday night he went home--bedding and
all--and took the greater part of his money to the family.
Elzbieta was sorry for this arrangementfor she feared that it
would get him into the habit of living without themand once a
week was not very often for him to see his baby; but there was no
other way of arranging it. There was no chance for a woman at
the steelworksand Marija was now ready for work againand


lured on from day to day by the hope of finding it at the yards.

In a week Jurgis got over his sense of helplessness and
bewilderment in the rail mill. He learned to find his way about
and to take all the miracles and terrors for grantedto work
without hearing the rumbling and crashing. From blind fear he
went to the other extreme; he became reckless and indifferent
like all the rest of the menwho took but little thought of
themselves in the ardor of their work. It was wonderfulwhen
one came to think of itthat these men should have taken an
interest in the work they did--they had no share in it--they were
paid by the hourand paid no more for being interested. Also
they knew that if they were hurt they would be flung aside and
forgotten--and still they would hurry to their task by dangerous
short cutswould use methods that were quicker and more
effective in spite of the fact that they were also risky. His
fourth day at his work Jurgis saw a man stumble while running in
front of a carand have his foot mashed offand before he had
been there three weeks he was witness of a yet more dreadful
accident. There was a row of brick furnacesshining white
through every crack with the molten steel inside. Some of these
were bulging dangerouslyyet men worked before themwearing
blue glasses when they opened and shut the doors. One morning as
Jurgis was passinga furnace blew outspraying two men with a
shower of liquid fire. As they lay screaming and rolling upon
the ground in agonyJurgis rushed to help themand as a result
he lost a good part of the skin from the inside of one of his
hands. The company doctor bandaged it upbut he got no other
thanks from any oneand was laid up for eight working days
without any pay.

Most fortunatelyat this junctureElzbieta got the long-awaited
chance to go at five o'clock in the morning and help scrub the
office floors of one of the packers. Jurgis came home and
covered himself with blankets to keep warmand divided his time
between sleeping and playing with little Antanas. Juozapas was
away raking in the dump a good part of the timeand Elzbieta and
Marija were hunting for more work.

Antanas was now over a year and a half oldand was a perfect
talking machine. He learned so fast that every week when Jurgis
came home it seemed to him as if he had a new child. He would
sit down and listen and stare at himand give vent to delighted
exclamations--"Palauk! Muma! Tu mano szirdele!" The little
fellow was now really the one delight that Jurgis had in the
world--his one hopehis one victory. Thank GodAntanas was a
boy! And he was as tough as a pine knotand with the appetite
of a wolf. Nothing had hurt himand nothing could hurt him; he
had come through all the suffering and deprivation
unscathed--only shriller-voiced and more determined in his grip
upon life. He was a terrible child to managewas Antanasbut
his father did not mind that--he would watch him and smile to
himself with satisfaction. The more of a fighter he was the
better--he would need to fight before he got through.

Jurgis had got the habit of buying the Sunday paper whenever he
had the money; a most wonderful paper could be had for only five
centsa whole armfulwith all the news of the world set forth
in big headlinesthat Jurgis could spell out slowlywith the
children to help him at the long words. There was battle and
murder and sudden death--it was marvelous how they ever heard
about so many entertaining and thrilling happenings; the stories
must be all truefor surely no man could have made such things


upand besidesthere were pictures of them allas real as
life. One of these papers was as good as a circusand nearly as
good as a spree--certainly a most wonderful treat for a workingman
who was tired out and stupefiedand had never had any
educationand whose work was one dullsordid grindday
after dayand year after yearwith never a sight of a green
field nor an hour's entertainmentnor anything but liquor to
stimulate his imagination. Among other thingsthese papers had
pages full of comical picturesand these were the main joy in
life to little Antanas. He treasured them upand would drag
them out and make his father tell him about them; there were all
sorts of animals among themand Antanas could tell the names of
all of themlying upon the floor for hours and pointing them out
with his chubby little fingers. Whenever the story was plain
enough for Jurgis to make outAntanas would have it repeated to
himand then he would remember itprattling funny little
sentences and mixing it up with other stories in an irresistible
fashion. Also his quaint pronunciation of words was such a
delight--and the phrases he would pick up and rememberthe most
outlandish and impossible things! The first time that the little
rascal burst out with "God damn his father nearly rolled off
the chair with glee; but in the end he was sorry for this, for
Antanas was soon God-damning" everything and everybody.

And thenwhen he was able to use his handsJurgis took his
bedding again and went back to his task of shifting rails. It
was now Apriland the snow had given place to cold rainsand
the unpaved street in front of Aniele's house was turned into a
canal. Jurgis would have to wade through it to get homeand if
it was late he might easily get stuck to his waist in the mire.
But he did not mind this much--it was a promise that summer was
coming. Marija had now gotten a place as beef-trimmer in one of
the smaller packing plants; and he told himself that he had
learned his lesson nowand would meet with no more accidents-so
that at last there was prospect of an end to their long agony.
They could save money againand when another winter came they
would have a comfortable place; and the children would be off the
streets and in school againand they might set to work to nurse
back into life their habits of decency and kindness. So once
more Jurgis began to make plans and dream dreams.

And then one Saturday night he jumped off the car and started
homewith the sun shining low under the edge of a bank of clouds
that had been pouring floods of water into the mud-soaked street.
There was a rainbow in the skyand another in his breast--for he
had thirty-six hours' rest before himand a chance to see his
family. Then suddenly he came in sight of the houseand noticed
that there was a crowd before the door. He ran up the steps and
pushed his way inand saw Aniele's kitchen crowded with excited
women. It reminded him so vividly of the time when he had come
home from jail and found Ona dyingthat his heart almost stood
still. "What's the matter?" he cried.

A dead silence had fallen in the roomand he saw that every one
was staring at him. "What's the matter?" he exclaimed again.

And thenup in the garrethe heard sounds of wailingin
Marija's voice. He started for the ladder--and Aniele seized him
by the arm. "Nono!" she exclaimed. "Don't go up there!"

What is it?he shouted.

And the old woman answered him weakly: "It's Antanas. He's dead.
He was drowned out in the street!"


Chapter 22

Jurgis took the news in a peculiar way. He turned deadly pale
but he caught himselfand for half a minute stood in the middle
of the roomclenching his hands tightly and setting his teeth.
Then he pushed Aniele aside and strode into the next room and
climbed the ladder.

In the corner was a blanketwith a form half showing beneath it;
and beside it lay Elzbietawhether crying or in a faintJurgis
could not tell. Marija was pacing the roomscreaming and
wringing her hands. He clenched his hands tighter yetand his
voice was hard as he spoke.

How did it happen?he asked.

Marija scarcely heard him in her agony. He repeated the
questionlouder and yet more harshly. "He fell off the
sidewalk!" she wailed. The sidewalk in front of the house was a
platform made of half-rotten boardsabout five feet above the
level of the sunken street.

How did he come to be there?he demanded.

He went--he went out to play,Marija sobbedher voice choking
her. "We couldn't make him stay in. He must have got caught in
the mud!"

Are you sure that he is dead?he demanded.

Ai! ai!she wailed. "Yes; we had the doctor."

Then Jurgis stood a few secondswavering. He did not shed a
tear. He took one glance more at the blanket with the little
form beneath itand then turned suddenly to the ladder and
climbed down again. A silence fell once more in the room as he
entered. He went straight to the doorpassed outand started
down the street.

When his wife had diedJurgis made for the nearest saloonbut
he did not do that nowthough he had his week's wages in his
pocket. He walked and walkedseeing nothingsplashing through
mud and water. Later on he sat down upon a step and hid his face
in his hands and for half an hour or so he did not move. Now and
then he would whisper to himself: "Dead! Dead!"

Finallyhe got up and walked on again. It was about sunsetand
he went on and on until it was darkwhen he was stopped by a
railroad crossing. The gates were downand a long train of
freight cars was thundering by. He stood and watched it; and all
at once a wild impulse seized hima thought that had been
lurking within himunspokenunrecognizedleaped into sudden
life. He started down the trackand when he was past the
gate-keeper's shanty he sprang forward and swung himself on to
one of the cars.

By and by the train stopped againand Jurgis sprang down and ran
under the carand hid himself upon the truck. Here he satand
when the train started againhe fought a battle with his soul.
He gripped his hands and set his teeth together--he had not wept
and he would not--not a tear! It was past and overand he was


done with it--he would fling it off his shouldersbe free of it
the whole businessthat night. It should go like a black
hateful nightmareand in the morning he would be a new man. And
every time that a thought of it assailed him--a tender memorya
trace of a tear--he rose upcursing with rageand pounded it
down.

He was fighting for his life; he gnashed his teeth together in
his desperation. He had been a foola fool! He had wasted his
lifehe had wrecked himselfwith his accursed weakness; and now
he was done with it--he would tear it out of himroot and
branch! There should be no more tears and no more tenderness;
he had had enough of them--they had sold him into slavery! Now he
was going to be freeto tear off his shacklesto rise up and
fight. He was glad that the end had come--it had to come some
timeand it was just as well now. This was no world for women
and childrenand the sooner they got out of it the better for
them. Whatever Antanas might suffer where he washe could
suffer no more than he would have had he stayed upon earth.
And meantime his father had thought the last thought about him that
he meant to; he was going to think of himselfhe was going to
fight for himselfagainst the world that had baffled him and
tortured him!

So he went ontearing up all the flowers from the garden of his
souland setting his heel upon them. The train thundered
deafeninglyand a storm of dust blew in his face; but though it
stopped now and then through the nighthe clung where he was-he
would cling there until he was driven offfor every mile that he
got from Packingtown meant another load from his mind.

Whenever the cars stopped a warm breeze blew upon hima breeze
laden with the perfume of fresh fieldsof honeysuckle and
clover. He snuffed itand it made his heart beat wildly--he was
out in the country again! He was going to live in the country!
When the dawn came he was peering out with hungry eyesgetting
glimpses of meadows and woods and rivers. At last he could stand
it no longerand when the train stopped again he crawled out.
Upon the top of the car was a brakemanwho shook his fist and
swore; Jurgis waved his hand derisivelyand started across the
country.

Only think that he had been a countryman all his life; and for
three long years he had never seen a country sight nor heard a
country sound! Excepting for that one walk when he left jail
when he was too much worried to notice anythingand for a few
times that he had rested in the city parks in the winter time
when he was out of workhe had literally never seen a tree!
And now he felt like a bird lifted up and borne away upon a gale;
he stopped and stared at each new sight of wonder--at a herd of
cowsand a meadow full of daisiesat hedgerows set thick with
June rosesat little birds singing in the trees.

Then he came to a farm-houseand after getting himself a stick
for protectionhe approached it. The farmer was greasing a
wagon in front of the barnand Jurgis went to him. "I would
like to get some breakfastplease he said.

Do you want to work?" said the farmer.

No,said Jurgis. "I don't."

Then you can't get anything here,snapped the other.


I meant to pay for it,said Jurgis.

Oh,said the farmer; and then added sarcasticallyWe don't
serve breakfast after 7 A.M.

I am very hungry,said Jurgis gravely; "I would like to buy
some food."

Ask the woman,said the farmernodding over his shoulder. The
womanwas more tractableand for a dime Jurgis secured two
thick sandwiches and a piece of pie and two apples. He walked
off eating the pieas the least convenient thing to carry. In a
few minutes he came to a streamand he climbed a fence and
walked down the bankalong a woodland path. By and by he found
a comfortable spotand there he devoured his mealslaking his
thirst at the stream. Then he lay for hoursjust gazing and
drinking in joy; until at last he felt sleepyand lay down in
the shade of a bush.

When he awoke the sun was shining hot in his face. He sat up and
stretched his armsand then gazed at the water sliding by.
There was a deep poolsheltered and silentbelow himand a
sudden wonderful idea rushed upon him. He might have a bath!
The water was freeand he might get into it--all the way into
it! It would be the first time that he had been all the way into
the water since he left Lithuania!

When Jurgis had first come to the stockyards he had been as clean
as any workingman could well be. But later onwhat with
sickness and cold and hunger and discouragementand the
filthiness of his workand the vermin in his homehe had given
up washing in winterand in summer only as much of him as would
go into a basin. He had had a shower bath in jailbut nothing
since--and now he would have a swim!

The water was warmand he splashed about like a very boy in his
glee. Afterward he sat down in the water near the bankand
proceeded to scrub himself--soberly and methodicallyscouring
every inch of him with sand. While he was doing it he would do
it thoroughlyand see how it felt to be clean. He even scrubbed
his head with sandand combed what the men called "crumbs" out
of his longblack hairholding his head under water as long as
he couldto see if he could not kill them all. Thenseeing
that the sun was still hothe took his clothes from the bank
and proceeded to wash thempiece by piece; as the dirt and grease
went floating off downstream he grunted with satisfaction and
soused the clothes againventuring even to dream that he might
get rid of the fertilizer.

He hung them all upand while they were drying he lay down in
the sun and had another long sleep. They were hot and stiff as
boards on topand a little damp on the undersidewhen he
awakened; but being hungryhe put them on and set out again.
He had no knifebut with some labor he broke himself a good stout
clubandarmed with thishe marched down the road again.

Before long he came to a big farmhouseand turned up the lane
that led to it. It was just suppertimeand the farmer was
washing his hands at the kitchen door. "Pleasesir said
Jurgis, can I have something to eat? I can pay." To which the
farmer responded promptlyWe don't feed tramps here. Get out!

Jurgis went without a word; but as he passed round the barn he
came to a freshly ploughed and harrowed fieldin which the


farmer had set out some young peach trees; and as he walked he
jerked up a row of them by the rootsmore than a hundred trees
in allbefore he reached the end of the field. That was his
answerand it showed his mood; from now on he was fighting
and the man who hit him would get all that he gaveevery time.

Beyond the orchard Jurgis struck through a patch of woodsand
then a field of winter grainand came at last to another road.
Before long he saw another farmhouseandas it was beginning
to cloud over a littlehe asked here for shelter as well as food.
Seeing the farmer eying him dubiouslyhe addedI'll be glad
to sleep in the barn.

Well, I dunno,said the other. "Do you smoke?"

Sometimes,said Jurgisbut I'll do it out of doors.When the
man had assentedhe inquiredHow much will it cost me? I
haven't very much money.

I reckon about twenty cents for supper,replied the farmer. "I
won't charge ye for the barn."

So Jurgis went inand sat down at the table with the farmer's
wife and half a dozen children. It was a bountiful meal--there
were baked beans and mashed potatoes and asparagus chopped and
stewedand a dish of strawberriesand greatthick slices of
breadand a pitcher of milk. Jurgis had not had such a feast
since his wedding dayand he made a mighty effort to put in his
twenty cents' worth.

They were all of them too hungry to talk; but afterward they sat
upon the steps and smokedand the farmer questioned his guest.
When Jurgis had explained that he was a workingman from Chicago
and that he did not know just whither he was boundthe other
saidWhy don't you stay here and work for me?

I'm not looking for work just now,Jurgis answered.

I'll pay ye good,said the othereying his big form--"a dollar
a day and board ye. Help's terrible scarce round here."

Is that winter as well as summer?Jurgis demanded quickly.

N--no,said the farmer; "I couldn't keep ye after November--I
ain't got a big enough place for that."

I see,said the otherthat's what I thought. When you get
through working your horses this fall, will you turn them out in
the snow?(Jurgis was beginning to think for himself nowadays.)

It ain't quite the same,the farmer answeredseeing the point.
There ought to be work a strong fellow like you can find to do,
in the cities, or some place, in the winter time.

Yes,said Jurgisthat's what they all think; and so they
crowd into the cities, and when they have to beg or steal to
live, then people ask 'em why they don't go into the country,
where help is scarce.The farmer meditated awhile.

How about when your money's gone?he inquiredfinally.
You'll have to, then, won't you?

Wait till she's gone,said Jurgis; "then I'll see."


He had a long sleep in the barn and then a big breakfast of
coffee and bread and oatmeal and stewed cherriesfor which the
man charged him only fifteen centsperhaps having been
influenced by his arguments. Then Jurgis bade farewelland went
on his way.

Such was the beginning of his life as a tramp. It was seldom he
got as fair treatment as from this last farmerand so as time
went on he learned to shun the houses and to prefer sleeping in
the fields. When it rained he would find a deserted building
if he couldand if nothe would wait until after dark and then
with his stick readybegin a stealthy approach upon a barn.
Generally he could get in before the dog got scent of himand
then he would hide in the hay and be safe until morning; if not
and the dog attacked himhe would rise up and make a retreat in
battle order. Jurgis was not the mighty man he had once been
but his arms were still goodand there were few farm dogs he
needed to hit more than once.

Before long there came raspberriesand then blackberriesto
help him save his money; and there were apples in the orchards
and potatoes in the ground--he learned to note the places and
fill his pockets after dark. Twice he even managed to capture a
chickenand had a feastonce in a deserted barn and the other
time in a lonely spot alongside of a stream. When all of these
things failed him he used his money carefullybut without worry
--for he saw that he could earn more whenever he chose. Half an
hour's chopping wood in his lively fashion was enough to bring
him a mealand when the farmer had seen him working he would
sometimes try to bribe him to stay.

But Jurgis was not staying. He was a free man nowa buccaneer.
The old wanderlust had got into his bloodthe joy of the unbound
lifethe joy of seekingof hoping without limit. There were
mishaps and discomforts--but at least there was always something
new; and only think what it meant to a man who for years had been
penned up in one placeseeing nothing but one dreary prospect of
shanties and factoriesto be suddenly set loose beneath the open
skyto behold new landscapesnew placesand new people every
hour! To a man whose whole life had consisted of doing one
certain thing all dayuntil he was so exhausted that he could
only lie down and sleep until the next day--and to be now his own
masterworking as he pleased and when he pleasedand facing a
new adventure every hour!

Thentoohis health came back to himall his lost youthful
vigorhis joy and power that he had mourned and forgotten!
It came with a sudden rushbewildering himstartling him; it was
as if his dead childhood had come back to himlaughing and
calling! What with plenty to eat and fresh air and exercise that
was taken as it pleased himhe would waken from his sleep and
start off not knowing what to do with his energystretching his
armslaughingsinging old songs of home that came back to him.
Now and thenof coursehe could not help but think of little
Antanaswhom he should never see againwhose little voice he
should never hear; and then he would have to battle with himself.
Sometimes at night he would waken dreaming of Onaand stretch
out his arms to herand wet the ground with his tears. But in
the morning he would get up and shake himselfand stride away
again to battle with the world.

He never asked where he was nor where he was going; the country
was big enoughhe knewand there was no danger of his coming to


the end of it. And of course he could always have company for
the asking--everywhere he went there were men living just as he
livedand whom he was welcome to join. He was a stranger at the
businessbut they were not clannishand they taught him all
their tricks--what towns and villages it was best to keep away
fromand how to read the secret signs upon the fencesand when
to beg and when to stealand just how to do both. They laughed
at his ideas of paying for anything with money or with work--for
they got all they wanted without either. Now and then Jurgis
camped out with a gang of them in some woodland hauntand
foraged with them in the neighborhood at night. And then among
them some one would "take a shine" to himand they would go off
together and travel for a weekexchanging reminiscences.

Of these professional tramps a great many hadof coursebeen
shiftless and vicious all their lives. But the vast majority of
them had been workingmenhad fought the long fight as Jurgis
hadand found that it was a losing fightand given up. Later
on he encountered yet another sort of menthose from whose ranks
the tramps were recruitedmen who were homeless and wandering
but still seeking work--seeking it in the harvest fields. Of
these there was an armythe huge surplus labor army of society;
called into being under the stern system of natureto do the
casual work of the worldthe tasks which were transient and
irregularand yet which had to be done. They did not know that
they were suchof course; they only knew that they sought the
joband that the job was fleeting. In the early summer they
would be in Texasand as the crops were ready they would follow
north with the seasonending with the fall in Manitoba. Then
they would seek out the big lumber campswhere there was winter
work; or failing in thiswould drift to the citiesand live
upon what they had managed to savewith the help of such
transient work as was there the loading and unloading of
steamships and draysthe digging of ditches and the shoveling
of snow. If there were more of them on hand than chanced to be
neededthe weaker ones died off of cold and hungeragain
according to the stern system of nature.

It was in the latter part of Julywhen Jurgis was in Missouri
that he came upon the harvest work. Here were crops that men had
worked for three or four months to prepareand of which they
would lose nearly all unless they could find others to help them
for a week or two. So all over the land there was a cry for
labor--agencies were set up and all the cities were drained of
meneven college boys were brought by the carloadand hordes of
frantic farmers would hold up trains and carry off wagonloads of
men by main force. Not that they did not pay them well--any man
could get two dollars a day and his boardand the best men could
get two dollars and a half or three.

The harvest-fever was in the very airand no man with any spirit
in him could be in that region and not catch it. Jurgis joined a
gang and worked from dawn till darkeighteen hours a dayfor
two weeks without a break. Then he had a sum of money that would
have been a fortune to him in the old days of misery--but what
could he do with it now? To be sure he might have put it in a
bankandif he were fortunateget it back again when he wanted
it. But Jurgis was now a homeless manwandering over a
continent; and what did he know about banking and drafts and
letters of credit? If he carried the money about with himhe
would surely be robbed in the end; and so what was there for him
to do but enjoy it while he could? On a Saturday night he
drifted into a town with his fellows; and because it was raining
and there was no other place provided for himhe went to a


saloon. And there were some who treated him and whom he had to
treatand there was laughter and singing and good cheer;
and then out of the rear part of the saloon a girl's face
red-cheeked and merrysmiled at Jurgisand his heart thumped
suddenly in his throat. He nodded to herand she came and sat
by himand they had more drinkand then he went upstairs into a
room with herand the wild beast rose up within him and
screamedas it has screamed in the Jungle from the dawn of time.
And then because of his memories and his shamehe was glad when
others joined themmen and women; and they had more drink and
spent the night in wild rioting and debauchery. In the van of
the surplus-labor armythere followed anotheran army of women
they also struggling for life under the stern system of nature.
Because there were rich men who sought pleasurethere had been
ease and plenty for them so long as they were young and
beautiful; and later onwhen they were crowded out by others
younger and more beautifulthey went out to follow upon the
trail of the workingmen. Sometimes they came of themselves
and the saloon-keepers shared with them; or sometimes they were
handled by agenciesthe same as the labor army. They were in
the towns in harvest timenear the lumber camps in the winter
in the cities when the men came there; if a regiment were
encampedor a railroad or canal being madeor a great
exposition getting readythe crowd of women were on handliving
in shanties or saloons or tenement roomssometimes eight or ten
of them together.

In the morning Jurgis had not a centand he went out upon the
road again. He was sick and disgustedbut after the new plan of
his lifehe crushed his feelings down. He had made a fool of
himselfbut he could not help it now--all he could do was to see
that it did not happen again. So he tramped on until exercise
and fresh air banished his headacheand his strength and joy
returned. This happened to him every timefor Jurgis was still
a creature of impulseand his pleasures had not yet become
business. It would be a long time before he could be like the
majority of these men of the roadwho roamed until the hunger
for drink and for women mastered themand then went to work with
a purpose in mindand stopped when they had the price of a
spree.

On the contrarytry as he wouldJurgis could not help being
made miserable by his conscience. It was the ghost that would
not down. It would come upon him in the most unexpected
places--sometimes it fairly drove him to drink.

One night he was caught by a thunderstormand he sought shelter
in a little house just outside of a town. It was a working-man's
homeand the owner was a Slav like himselfa new emigrant from
White Russia; he bade Jurgis welcome in his home languageand
told him to come to the kitchen-fire and dry himself. He had no
bed for himbut there was straw in the garretand he could make
out. The man's wife was cooking the supperand their children
were playing about on the floor. Jurgis sat and exchanged
thoughts with him about the old countryand the places where
they had been and the work they had done. Then they ateand
afterward sat and smoked and talked more about Americaand how
they found it. In the middle of a sentencehoweverJurgis
stoppedseeing that the woman had brought a big basin of water
and was proceeding to undress her youngest baby. The rest had
crawled into the closet where they sleptbut the baby was to
have a baththe workingman explained. The nights had begun to
be chillyand his motherignorant as to the climate in America
had sewed him up for the winter; then it had turned warm again


and some kind of a rash had broken out on the child. The doctor
had said she must bathe him every nightand shefoolish woman
believed him.

Jurgis scarcely heard the explanation; he was watching the baby.
He was about a year oldand a sturdy little fellowwith soft
fat legsand a round ball of a stomachand eyes as black as
coals. His pimples did not seem to bother him muchand he was
wild with glee over the bathkicking and squirming and chuckling
with delightpulling at his mother's face and then at his own
little toes. When she put him into the basin he sat in the midst
of it and grinnedsplashing the water over himself and squealing
like a little pig. He spoke in Russianof which Jurgis knew
some; he spoke it with the quaintest of baby accents--and every
word of it brought back to Jurgis some word of his own dead
little oneand stabbed him like a knife. He sat perfectly
motionlesssilentbut gripping his hands tightlywhile a storm
gathered in his bosom and a flood heaped itself up behind his
eyes. And in the end he could bear it no morebut buried his
face in his hands and burst into tearsto the alarm and
amazement of his hosts. Between the shame of this and his woe
Jurgis could not stand itand got up and rushed out into the
rain.

He went on and on down the roadfinally coming to a black woods
where he hid and wept as if his heart would break. Ahwhat
agony was thatwhat despairwhen the tomb of memory was rent
open and the ghosts of his old life came forth to scourge him!
What terror to see what he had been and now could never be--to
see Ona and his child and his own dead self stretching out their
arms to himcalling to him across a bottomless abyss--and to know
that they were gone from him foreverand he writhing and
suffocating in the mire of his own vileness!

Chapter 23

Early in the fall Jurgis set out for Chicago again. All the joy
went out of tramping as soon as a man could not keep warm in the
hay; andlike many thousands of othershe deluded himself with
the hope that by coming early he could avoid the rush. He
brought fifteen dollars with himhidden away in one of his
shoesa sum which had been saved from the saloon-keepersnot so
much by his conscienceas by the fear which filled him at the
thought of being out of work in the city in the winter time.

He traveled upon the railroad with several other menhiding in
freight cars at nightand liable to be thrown off at any time
regardless of the speed of the train. When he reached the city
he left the restfor he had money and they did notand he meant
to save himself in this fight. He would bring to it all the
skill that practice had brought himand he would standwhoever
fell. On fair nights he would sleep in the park or on a truck or
an empty barrel or boxand when it was rainy or cold he would
stow himself upon a shelf in a ten-cent lodginghouseor pay
three cents for the privileges of a "squatter" in a tenement
hallway. He would eat at free lunchesfive cents a mealand
never a cent more--so he might keep alive for two months and
moreand in that time he would surely find a job. He would have
to bid farewell to his summer cleanlinessof coursefor he
would come out of the first night's lodging with his clothes
alive with vermin. There was no place in the city where he could
wash even his faceunless he went down to the lake front-



and there it would soon be all ice.

First he went to the steel mill and the harvester worksand
found that his places there had been filled long ago. He was
careful to keep away from the stockyards--he was a single man
nowhe told himselfand he meant to stay oneto have his wages
for his own when he got a job. He began the longweary round of
factories and warehousestramping all dayfrom one end of the
city to the otherfinding everywhere from ten to a hundred men
ahead of him. He watched the newspaperstoo--but no longer was
he to be taken in by smooth-spoken agents. He had been told of
all those tricks while "on the road."

In the end it was through a newspaper that he got a jobafter
nearly a month of seeking. It was a call for a hundred laborers
and though he thought it was a "fake he went because the place
was near by. He found a line of men a block long, but as a wagon
chanced to come out of an alley and break the line, he saw his
chance and sprang to seize a place. Men threatened him and tried
to throw him out, but he cursed and made a disturbance to attract
a policeman, upon which they subsided, knowing that if the latter
interfered it would be to fire" them all.

An hour or two later he entered a room and confronted a big
Irishman behind a desk.

Ever worked in Chicago before?the man inquired; and whether it
was a good angel that put it into Jurgis's mindor an intuition
of his sharpened witshe was moved to answerNo, sir.

Where do you come from?

Kansas City, sir.

Any references?

No, sir. I'm just an unskilled man. I've got good arms.

I want men for hard work--it's all underground, digging tunnels
for telephones. Maybe it won't suit you.

I'm willing, sir--anything for me. What's the pay?

Fifteen cents an hour.

I'm willing, sir.

All right; go back there and give your name.

So within half an hour he was at workfar underneath the streets
of the city. The tunnel was a peculiar one for telephone wires;
it was about eight feet highand with a level floor nearly as
wide. It had innumerable branches--a perfect spider web beneath
the city; Jurgis walked over half a mile with his gang to the
place where they were to work. Stranger yetthe tunnel was
lighted by electricityand upon it was laid a double-tracked
narrow-gauge railroad!

But Jurgis was not there to ask questionsand he did not give
the matter a thought. It was nearly a year afterward that he
finally learned the meaning of this whole affair. The City
Council had passed a quiet and innocent little bill allowing a
company to construct telephone conduits under the city streets;
and upon the strength of thisa great corporation had proceeded


to tunnel all Chicago with a system of railway freight-subways.
In the city there was a combination of employersrepresenting
hundreds of millions of capitaland formed for the purpose of
crushing the labor unions. The chief union which troubled it was
the teamsters'; and when these freight tunnels were completed
connecting all the big factories and stores with the railroad
depotsthey would have the teamsters' union by the throat.
Now and then there were rumors and murmurs in the Board of Aldermen
and once there was a committee to investigate--but each time
another small fortune was paid overand the rumors died away;
until at last the city woke up with a start to find the work
completed. There was a tremendous scandalof course; it was
found that the city records had been falsified and other crimes
committedand some of Chicago's big capitalists got into
jail--figuratively speaking. The aldermen declared that they had
had no idea of it allin spite of the fact that the main
entrance to the work had been in the rear of the saloon of one of
them.

It was in a newly opened cut that Jurgis workedand so he knew
that he had an all-winter job. He was so rejoiced that he
treated himself to a spree that nightand with the balance of
his money he hired himself a place in a tenement roomwhere he
slept upon a big homemade straw mattress along with four other
workingmen. This was one dollar a weekand for four more he got
his food in a boardinghouse near his work. This would leave him
four dollars extra each weekan unthinkable sum for him. At the
outset he had to pay for his digging toolsand also to buy a
pair of heavy bootssince his shoes were falling to pieces
and a flannel shirtsince the one he had worn all summer was in
shreds. He spent a week meditating whether or not he should also
buy an overcoat. There was one belonging to a Hebrew collar
button peddlerwho had died in the room next to himand which
the landlady was holding for her rent; in the endhowever
Jurgis decided to do without itas he was to be underground by
day and in bed at night.

This was an unfortunate decisionhoweverfor it drove him more
quickly than ever into the saloons. From now on Jurgis worked
from seven o'clock until half-past fivewith half an hour for
dinner; which meant that he never saw the sunlight on weekdays.
In the evenings there was no place for him to go except a
barroom; no place where there was light and warmthwhere he
could hear a little music or sit with a companion and talk.
He had now no home to go to; he had no affection left in his
life--only the pitiful mockery of it in the camaraderie of vice.
On Sundays the churches were open--but where was there a church
in which an ill-smelling workingmanwith vermin crawling upon
his neckcould sit without seeing people edge away and look
annoyed? He hadof coursehis corner in a close though
unheated roomwith a window opening upon a blank wall two feet
away; and also he had the bare streetswith the winter gales
sweeping through them; besides this he had only the saloons--and
of coursehe had to drink to stay in them. If he drank now and
then he was free to make himself at hometo gamble with dice or
a pack of greasy cardsto play at a dingy pool table for money
or to look at a beer-stained pink "sporting paper with pictures
of murderers and half-naked women. It was for such pleasures as
these that he spent his money; and such was his life during the
six weeks and a half that he toiled for the merchants of Chicago,
to enable them to break the grip of their teamsters' union.

In a work thus carried out, not much thought was given to the
welfare of the laborers. On an average, the tunneling cost a


life a day and several manglings; it was seldom, however, that
more than a dozen or two men heard of any one accident. The work
was all done by the new boring machinery, with as little blasting
as possible; but there would be falling rocks and crushed
supports, and premature explosions--and in addition all the
dangers of railroading. So it was that one night, as Jurgis was
on his way out with his gang, an engine and a loaded car dashed
round one of the innumerable right-angle branches and struck him
upon the shoulder, hurling him against the concrete wall and
knocking him senseless.

When he opened his eyes again it was to the clanging of the bell
of an ambulance. He was lying in it, covered by a blanket, and
it was threading its way slowly through the holiday-shopping
crowds. They took him to the county hospital, where a young
surgeon set his arm; then he was washed and laid upon a bed in a
ward with a score or two more of maimed and mangled men.

Jurgis spent his Christmas in this hospital, and it was the
pleasantest Christmas he had had in America. Every year there
were scandals and investigations in this institution, the
newspapers charging that doctors were allowed to try fantastic
experiments upon the patients; but Jurgis knew nothing of
this--his only complaint was that they used to feed him upon
tinned meat, which no man who had ever worked in Packingtown
would feed to his dog. Jurgis had often wondered just who ate
the canned corned beef and roast beef" of the stockyards; now he
began to understand--that it was what you might call "graft
meat put up to be sold to public officials and contractors,
and eaten by soldiers and sailors, prisoners and inmates of
institutions, shantymen" and gangs of railroad laborers.

Jurgis was ready to leave the hospital at the end of two weeks.
This did not mean that his arm was strong and that he was able to
go back to workbut simply that he could get along without
further attentionand that his place was needed for some one
worse off than he. That he was utterly helplessand had no
means of keeping himself alive in the meantimewas something
which did not concern the hospital authoritiesnor any one else
in the city.

As it chancedhe had been hurt on a Mondayand had just paid
for his last week's board and his room rentand spent nearly all
the balance of his Saturday's pay. He had less than seventy-five
cents in his pocketsand a dollar and a half due him for the
day's work he had done before he was hurt. He might possibly
have sued the companyand got some damages for his injuries
but he did not know thisand it was not the company's business to
tell him. He went and got his pay and his toolswhich he left
in a pawnshop for fifty cents. Then he went to his landlady
who had rented his place and had no other for him; and then to his
boardinghouse keeperwho looked him over and questioned him.
As he must certainly be helpless for a couple of monthsand had
boarded there only six weeksshe decided very quickly that it
would not be worth the risk to keep him on trust.

So Jurgis went out into the streetsin a most dreadful plight.
It was bitterly coldand a heavy snow was fallingbeating into
his face. He had no overcoatand no place to goand two
dollars and sixty-five cents in his pocketwith the certainty
that he could not earn another cent for months. The snow meant
no chance to him now; he must walk along and see others
shovelingvigorous and active--and he with his left arm bound to
his side! He could not hope to tide himself over by odd jobs of


loading trucks; he could not even sell newspapers or carry
satchelsbecause he was now at the mercy of any rival. Words
could not paint the terror that came over him as he realized all
this. He was like a wounded animal in the forest; he was forced
to compete with his enemies upon unequal terms. There would be
no consideration for him because of his weakness--it was no one's
business to help him in such distressto make the fight the
least bit easier for him. Even if he took to begginghe would
be at a disadvantagefor reasons which he was to discover in
good time.

In the beginning he could not think of anything except getting
out of the awful cold. He went into one of the saloons he had
been wont to frequent and bought a drinkand then stood by the
fire shivering and waiting to be ordered out. According to an
unwritten lawthe buying a drink included the privilege of
loafing for just so long; then one had to buy another drink or
move on. That Jurgis was an old customer entitled him to a
somewhat longer stop; but then he had been away two weeks
and was evidently "on the bum." He might plead and tell his
hard luck story,but that would not help him much; a saloon-keeper
who was to be moved by such means would soon have his place
jammed to the doors with "hoboes" on a day like this.

So Jurgis went out into another placeand paid another nickel.
He was so hungry this time that he could not resist the hot beef
stewan indulgence which cut short his stay by a considerable
time. When he was again told to move onhe made his way to a
toughplace in the "Levee" districtwhere now and then he had
gone with a certain rat-eyed Bohemian workingman of his
acquaintanceseeking a woman. It was Jurgis's vain hope that
here the proprietor would let him remain as a "sitter." In
low-class placesin the dead of wintersaloon-keepers would
often allow one or two forlorn-looking bums who came in covered
with snow or soaked with rain to sit by the fire and look
miserable to attract custom. A workingman would come infeeling
cheerful after his day's work was overand it would trouble him
to have to take his glass with such a sight under his nose; and
so he would call out: "HelloBubwhat's the matter? You look
as if you'd been up against it!" And then the other would begin
to pour out some tale of miseryand the man would sayCome
have a glass, and maybe that'll brace you up.And so they would
drink togetherand if the tramp was sufficiently
wretched-lookingor good enough at the "gab they might have
two; and if they were to discover that they were from the same
country, or had lived in the same city or worked at the same
trade, they might sit down at a table and spend an hour or two in
talk--and before they got through the saloon-keeper would have
taken in a dollar. All of this might seem diabolical, but the
saloon-keeper was in no wise to blame for it. He was in the same
plight as the manufacturer who has to adulterate and misrepresent
his product. If he does not, some one else will; and the
saloon-keeper, unless he is also an alderman, is apt to be in debt to
the big brewers, and on the verge of being sold out.

The market for sitters" was glutted that afternoonhowever
and there was no place for Jurgis. In all he had to spend six
nickels in keeping a shelter over him that frightful dayand
then it was just darkand the station houses would not open
until midnight! At the last placehoweverthere was a
bartender who knew him and liked himand let him doze at one of
the tables until the boss came back; and alsoas he was going
outthe man gave him a tip--on the next block there was a
religious revival of some sortwith preaching and singing


and hundreds of hoboes would go there for the shelter and warmth.

Jurgis went straightwayand saw a sign hung outsaying that the
door would open at seven-thirty; then he walkedor half ran
a blockand hid awhile in a doorway and then ran againand so on
until the hour. At the end he was all but frozenand fought his
way in with the rest of the throng (at the risk of having his arm
broken again)and got close to the big stove.

By eight o'clock the place was so crowded that the speakers ought
to have been flattered; the aisles were filled halfway upand at
the door men were packed tight enough to walk upon. There were
three elderly gentlemen in black upon the platformand a young
lady who played the piano in front. First they sang a hymnand
then one of the threea tallsmooth-shaven manvery thinand
wearing black spectaclesbegan an address. Jurgis heard
smatterings of itfor the reason that terror kept him awake-he
knew that he snored abominablyand to have been put out just
then would have been like a sentence of death to him.

The evangelist was preaching "sin and redemption the infinite
grace of God and His pardon for human frailty. He was very much
in earnest, and he meant well, but Jurgis, as he listened, found
his soul filled with hatred. What did he know about sin and
suffering--with his smooth, black coat and his neatly starched
collar, his body warm, and his belly full, and money in his
pocket--and lecturing men who were struggling for their lives,
men at the death grapple with the demon powers of hunger and
cold!--This, of course, was unfair; but Jurgis felt that these
men were out of touch with the life they discussed, that they
were unfitted to solve its problems; nay, they themselves were
part of the problem--they were part of the order established that
was crushing men down and beating them! They were of the
triumphant and insolent possessors; they had a hall, and a fire,
and food and clothing and money, and so they might preach to
hungry men, and the hungry men must be humble and listen! They
were trying to save their souls--and who but a fool could fail to
see that all that was the matter with their souls was that they
had not been able to get a decent existence for their bodies?

At eleven the meeting closed, and the desolate audience filed out
into the snow, muttering curses upon the few traitors who had got
repentance and gone up on the platform. It was yet an hour
before the station house would open, and Jurgis had no
overcoat--and was weak from a long illness. During that hour he
nearly perished. He was obliged to run hard to keep his blood
moving at all--and then he came back to the station house and
found a crowd blocking the street before the door! This was in
the month of January, 1904, when the country was on the verge of
hard times and the newspapers were reporting the shutting down
of factories every day--it was estimated that a million and a
half men were thrown out of work before the spring. So all the
hiding places of the city were crowded, and before that station
house door men fought and tore each other like savage beasts.
When at last the place was jammed and they shut the doors, half
the crowd was still outside; and Jurgis, with his helpless arm,
was among them. There was no choice then but to go to a
lodginghouse and spend another dime. It really broke his heart
to do this, at half-past twelve o'clock, after he had wasted the
night at the meeting and on the street. He would be turned out
of the lodginghouse promptly at seven they had the shelves which
served as bunks so contrived that they could be dropped, and any
man who was slow about obeying orders could be tumbled to the
floor.


This was one day, and the cold spell lasted for fourteen of them.
At the end of six days every cent of Jurgis' money was gone;
and then he went out on the streets to beg for his life.

He would begin as soon as the business of the city was moving.
He would sally forth from a saloon, and, after making sure there
was no policeman in sight, would approach every likely-looking
person who passed him, telling his woeful story and pleading for
a nickel or a dime. Then when he got one, he would dart round
the corner and return to his base to get warm; and his victim,
seeing him do this, would go away, vowing that he would never
give a cent to a beggar again. The victim never paused to ask
where else Jurgis could have gone under the circumstances--where
he, the victim, would have gone. At the saloon Jurgis could not
only get more food and better food than he could buy in any
restaurant for the same money, but a drink in the bargain to warm
him up. Also he could find a comfortable seat by a fire, and
could chat with a companion until he was as warm as toast. At
the saloon, too, he felt at home. Part of the saloon-keeper's
business was to offer a home and refreshments to beggars in
exchange for the proceeds of their foragings; and was there any
one else in the whole city who would do this--would the victim
have done it himself?

Poor Jurgis might have been expected to make a successful beggar.
He was just out of the hospital, and desperately sick-looking,
and with a helpless arm; also he had no overcoat, and shivered
pitifully. But, alas, it was again the case of the honest
merchant, who finds that the genuine and unadulterated article is
driven to the wall by the artistic counterfeit. Jurgis, as a
beggar, was simply a blundering amateur in competition with
organized and scientific professionalism. He was just out of the
hospital--but the story was worn threadbare, and how could he
prove it? He had his arm in a sling--and it was a device a
regular beggar's little boy would have scorned. He was pale and
shivering--but they were made up with cosmetics, and had studied
the art of chattering their teeth. As to his being without an
overcoat, among them you would meet men you could swear had on
nothing but a ragged linen duster and a pair of cotton
trousers--so cleverly had they concealed the several suits of
all-wool underwear beneath. Many of these professional
mendicants had comfortable homes, and families, and thousands of
dollars in the bank; some of them had retired upon their
earnings, and gone into the business of fitting out and doctoring
others, or working children at the trade. There were some who
had both their arms bound tightly to their sides, and padded
stumps in their sleeves, and a sick child hired to carry a cup
for them. There were some who had no legs, and pushed themselves
upon a wheeled platform--some who had been favored with
blindness, and were led by pretty little dogs. Some less
fortunate had mutilated themselves or burned themselves, or had
brought horrible sores upon themselves with chemicals; you might
suddenly encounter upon the street a man holding out to you a
finger rotting and discolored with gangrene--or one with livid
scarlet wounds half escaped from their filthy bandages. These
desperate ones were the dregs of the city's cesspools, wretches
who hid at night in the rain-soaked cellars of old ramshackle
tenements, in stale-beer dives" and opium jointswith abandoned
women in the last stages of the harlot's progress--women who had
been kept by Chinamen and turned away at last to die. Every day
the police net would drag hundreds of them off the streetsand
in the detention hospital you might see themherded together in
a miniature infernowith hideousbeastly facesbloated and


leprous with diseaselaughingshoutingscreaming in all stages
of drunkennessbarking like dogsgibbering like apesraving
and tearing themselves in delirium.

Chapter 24

In the face of all his handicapsJurgis was obliged to make the
price of a lodgingand of a drink every hour or twounder
penalty of freezing to death. Day after day he roamed about in
the arctic coldhis soul filled full of bitterness and despair.
He saw the world of civilization then more plainly than ever he
had seen it before; a world in which nothing counted but brutal
mightan order devised by those who possessed it for the
subjugation of those who did not. He was one of the latter; and
all outdoorsall lifewas to him one colossal prisonwhich he
paced like a pent-up tigertrying one bar after anotherand
finding them all beyond his power. He had lost in the fierce
battle of greedand so was doomed to be exterminated; and all
society was busied to see that he did not escape the sentence.
Everywhere that he turned were prison barsand hostile eyes
following him; the well-fedsleek policemenfrom whose glances
he shrankand who seemed to grip their clubs more tightly when
they saw him; the saloon-keeperswho never ceased to watch him
while he was in their placeswho were jealous of every moment he
lingered after he had paid his money; the hurrying throngs upon
the streetswho were deaf to his entreatiesoblivious of his
very existence--and savage and contemptuous when he forced
himself upon them. They had their own affairsand there was no
place for him among them. There was no place for him anywhere
--every direction he turned his gazethis fact was forced upon
him: Everything was built to express it to him: the residences
with their heavy walls and bolted doorsand basement windows
barred with iron; the great warehouses filled with the products
of the whole worldand guarded by iron shutters and heavy gates;
the banks with their unthinkable billions of wealthall buried
in safes and vaults of steel.

And then one day there befell Jurgis the one adventure of his
life. It was late at nightand he had failed to get the price
of a lodging. Snow was fallingand he had been out so long that
he was covered with itand was chilled to the bone. He was
working among the theater crowdsflitting here and theretaking
large chances with the policein his desperation half hoping to
be arrested. When he saw a bluecoat start toward himhowever
his heart failed himand he dashed down a side street and fled a
couple of blocks. When he stopped again he saw a man coming
toward himand placed himself in his path.

Please, sir,he beganin the usual formulawill you give me
the price of a lodging? I've had a broken arm, and I can't work,
and I've not a cent in my pocket. I'm an honest working-man,
sir, and I never begged before! It's not my fault, sir--

Jurgis usually went on until he was interruptedbut this man did
not interruptand so at last he came to a breathless stop. The
other had haltedand Jurgis suddenly noticed that he stood a
little unsteadily. "Whuzzat you say?" he queried suddenlyin a
thick voice.

Jurgis began againspeaking more slowly and distinctly; before


he was half through the other put out his hand and rested it upon
his shoulder. "Poor ole chappie!" he said. "Been
up--hic--up--against ithey?"

Then he lurched toward Jurgisand the hand upon his shoulder
became an arm about his neck. "Up against it myselfole sport
he said. She's a hard ole world."

They were close to a lamppostand Jurgis got a glimpse of the
other. He was a young fellow--not much over eighteenwith a
handsome boyish face. He wore a silk hat and a rich soft
overcoat with a fur collar; and he smiled at Jurgis with
benignant sympathy. "I'm hard uptoomy goo' fren' he said.
I've got cruel parentsor I'd set you up. Whuzzamatter
whizyer?"

I've been in the hospital.

Hospital!exclaimed the young fellowstill smiling sweetly
thass too bad! Same's my Aunt Polly--hic--my Aunt Polly's in
the hospital, too--ole auntie's been havin' twins! Whuzzamatter
whiz you?

I've got a broken arm--Jurgis began.

So,said the othersympathetically. "That ain't so bad--you
get over that. I wish somebody'd break my armole chappie-damfidon't!
Then they'd treat me better--hic--hole me upole
sport! Whuzzit you wammme do?"

I'm hungry, sir,said Jurgis.

Hungry! Why don't you hassome supper?

I've got no money, sir.

No money! Ho, ho--less be chums, ole boy--jess like me! No
money, either--a'most busted! Why don't you go home, then,
same's me?

I haven't any home,said Jurgis.

No home! Stranger in the city, hey? Goo' God, thass bad!
Better come home wiz me--yes, by Harry, thass the trick, you'll
come home an' hassome supper--hic--wiz me! Awful
lonesome--nobody home! Guv'ner gone abroad--Bubby on's
honeymoon--Polly havin' twins--every damn soul gone away!
Nuff--hic--nuff to drive a feller to drink, I say! Only ole Ham
standin' by, passin' plates--damfican eat like that, no sir! The
club for me every time, my boy, I say. But then they won't lemme
sleep there--guv'ner's orders, by Harry--home every night, sir!
Ever hear anythin' like that? 'Every mornin' do?' I asked him.
'No, sir, every night, or no allowance at all, sir.' Thass my
guv'ner--'nice as nails, by Harry! Tole ole Ham to watch me,
too--servants spyin' on me--whuzyer think that, my fren'? A
nice, quiet--hic--goodhearted young feller like me, an' his daddy
can't go to Europe--hup!--an' leave him in peace! Ain't that a
shame, sir? An' I gotter go home every evenin' an' miss all the
fun, by Harry! Thass whuzzamatter now--thass why I'm here!
Hadda come away an' leave Kitty--hic--left her cryin',
too--whujja think of that, ole sport? 'Lemme go, Kittens,'
says I--'come early an' often--I go where duty--hic--calls me.
Farewell, farewell, my own true love--farewell, farewehell,
my--own true--love!'


This last was a songand the young gentleman's voice rose
mournful and wailingwhile he swung upon Jurgis's neck. The
latter was glancing about nervouslylest some one should
approach. They were still alonehowever.

But I came all right, all right,continued the youngster
aggressivelyI can--hic--I can have my own way when I want it,
by Harry--Freddie Jones is a hard man to handle when he gets
goin'! 'No, sir,' says I, 'by thunder, and I don't need anybody
goin' home with me, either--whujja take me for, hey? Think I'm
drunk, dontcha, hey?--I know you! But I'm no more drunk than you
are, Kittens,' says I to her. And then says she, 'Thass true,
Freddie dear' (she's a smart one, is Kitty), 'but I'm stayin' in
the flat, an' you're goin' out into the cold, cold night!' 'Put
it in a pome, lovely Kitty,' says I. 'No jokin', Freddie, my
boy,' says she. 'Lemme call a cab now, like a good dear'--but I
can call my own cabs, dontcha fool yourself--and I know what I'm
a-doin', you bet! Say, my fren', whatcha say--willye come home
an' see me, an' hassome supper? Come 'long like a good
feller--don't be haughty! You're up against it, same as me, an'
you can unerstan' a feller; your heart's in the right place, by
Harry--come 'long, ole chappie, an' we'll light up the house, an'
have some fizz, an' we'll raise hell, we will--whoop-la!
S'long's I'm inside the house I can do as I please--the guv'ner's
own very orders, b'God! Hip! hip!

They had started down the streetarm in armthe young man
pushing Jurgis alonghalf dazed. Jurgis was trying to think
what to do--he knew he could not pass any crowded place with his
new acquaintance without attracting attention and being stopped.
It was only because of the falling snow that people who passed
here did not notice anything wrong.

SuddenlythereforeJurgis stopped. "Is it very far?" he
inquired.

Not very,said the otherTired, are you, though? Well, we'll
ride--whatcha say? Good! Call a cab!

And thengripping Jurgis tight with one handthe young fellow
began searching his pockets with the other. "You callole
sportan' I'll pay he suggested. How's thathey?"

And he pulled out from somewhere a big roll of bills. It was
more money than Jurgis had ever seen in his life beforeand he
stared at it with startled eyes.

Looks like a lot, hey?said Master Freddiefumbling with it.
Fool you, though, ole chappie--they're all little ones! I'll be
busted in one week more, sure thing--word of honor. An' not a
cent more till the first--hic--guv'ner's orders--hic--not a cent,
by Harry! Nuff to set a feller crazy, it is. I sent him a
cable, this af'noon--thass one reason more why I'm goin' home.
'Hangin' on the verge of starvation,' I says--'for the honor of
the family--hic--sen' me some bread. Hunger will compel me to
join you--Freddie.' Thass what I wired him, by Harry, an' I mean
it--I'll run away from school, b'God, if he don't sen' me some.

After this fashion the young gentleman continued to prattle
on--and meantime Jurgis was trembling with excitement. He might
grab that wad of bills and be out of sight in the darkness before
the other could collect his wits. Should he do it? What better
had he to hope forif he waited longer? But Jurgis had never


committed a crime in his lifeand now he hesitated half a second
too long. "Freddie" got one bill looseand then stuffed the
rest back into his trousers' pocket.

Here, ole man,he saidyou take it.He held it out
fluttering. They were in front of a saloon; and by the light of
the window Jurgis saw that it was a hundred-dollar bill! "You
take it the other repeated. Pay the cabbie an' keep the
change--I've got--hic--no head for business! Guv'ner says so
hisselfan' the guv'ner knows--the guv'ner's got a head for
businessyou bet! 'All rightguv'ner' I told him'you run
the showand I'll take the tickets!' An' so he set Aunt Polly
to watch me--hic--an' now Polly's off in the hospital havin'
twinsan' me out raisin' Cain! Hellothere! Hey! Call him!"

A cab was driving by; and Jurgis sprang and calledand it swung
round to the curb. Master Freddie clambered in with some
difficultyand Jurgis had started to followwhen the driver
shouted: "Hithere! Get out--you!"

Jurgis hesitatedand was half obeying; but his companion broke
out: "Whuzzat? Whuzzamatter wiz youhey?"

And the cabbie subsidedand Jurgis climbed in. Then Freddie
gave a number on the Lake Shore Driveand the carriage started
away. The youngster leaned back and snuggled up to Jurgis
murmuring contentedly; in half a minute he was sound asleep
Jurgis sat shiveringspeculating as to whether he might not
still be able to get hold of the roll of bills. He was afraid to
try to go through his companion's pocketshowever; and besides
the cabbie might be on the watch. He had the hundred safeand
he would have to be content with that.

At the end of half an hour or so the cab stopped. They were out
on the waterfrontand from the east a freezing gale was blowing
off the ice-bound lake. "Here we are called the cabbie, and
Jurgis awakened his companion.

Master Freddie sat up with a start.

Hello!" he said. "Where are we? Whuzzis? Who are youhey?
Ohyessure nuff! Mos' forgot you--hic--ole chappie! Home
are we? Lessee! Br-r-r--it's cold! Yes--come 'long--we're
home--it ever so--hic--humble!"

Before them there loomed an enormous granite pileset far back
from the streetand occupying a whole block. By the light of
the driveway lamps Jurgis could see that it had towers and huge
gableslike a medieval castle. He thought that the young fellow
must have made a mistake--it was inconceivable to him that any
person could have a home like a hotel or the city hall. But he
followed in silenceand they went up the long flight of steps
arm in arm.

There's a button here, ole sport,said Master Freddie. "Hole
my arm while I find her! Steadynow--ohyeshere she is!
Saved!"

A bell rangand in a few seconds the door was opened. A man in
blue livery stood holding itand gazing before himsilent as a
statue.

They stood for a moment blinking in the light. Then Jurgis felt


his companion pullingand he stepped inand the blue automaton
closed the door. Jurgis's heart was beating wildly; it was a
bold thing for him to do--into what strange unearthly place he
was venturing he had no idea. Aladdin entering his cave could
not have been more excited.

The place where he stood was dimly lighted; but he could see a
vast hallwith pillars fading into the darkness aboveand a
great staircase opening at the far end of it. The floor was of
tesselated marblesmooth as glassand from the walls strange
shapes loomed outwoven into huge portieres in richharmonious
colorsor gleaming from paintingswonderful and
mysterious-looking in the half-lightpurple and red and golden
like sunset glimmers in a shadowy forest.

The man in livery had moved silently toward them; Master Freddie
took off his hat and handed it to himand thenletting go of
Jurgis' armtried to get out of his overcoat. After two or
three attempts he accomplished thiswith the lackey's help
and meantime a second man had approacheda tall and portly
personagesolemn as an executioner. He bore straight down upon
Jurgiswho shrank away nervously; he seized him by the arm
without a wordand started toward the door with him. Then
suddenly came Master Freddie's voiceHamilton! My fren' will
remain wiz me.

The man paused and half released Jurgis. "Come 'long ole
chappie said the other, and Jurgis started toward him.

Master Frederick!" exclaimed the man.

See that the cabbie--hic--is paid,was the other's response;
and he linked his arm in Jurgis'. Jurgis was about to say
I have the money for him,but he restrained himself. The stout
man in uniform signaled to the otherwho went out to the cab
while he followed Jurgis and his young master.

They went down the great halland then turned. Before them were
two huge doors.

Hamilton,said Master Freddie.

Well, sir?said the other.

Whuzzamatter wizze dinin'-room doors?

Nothing is the matter, sir.

Then why dontcha openum?

The man rolled them back; another vista lost itself in the
darkness. "Lights commanded Master Freddie; and the butler
pressed a button, and a flood of brilliant incandescence streamed
from above, half-blinding Jurgis. He stared; and little by
little he made out the great apartment, with a domed ceiling from
which the light poured, and walls that were one enormous
painting--nymphs and dryads dancing in a flower-strewn
glade--Diana with her hounds and horses, dashing headlong through
a mountain streamlet--a group of maidens bathing in a forest
pool--all life-size, and so real that Jurgis thought that it was
some work of enchantment, that he was in a dream palace. Then
his eye passed to the long table in the center of the hall,
a table black as ebony, and gleaming with wrought silver and gold.
In the center of it was a huge carven bowl, with the glistening


gleam of ferns and the red and purple of rare orchids, glowing
from a light hidden somewhere in their midst.

This's the dinin' room observed Master Freddie. How you like
itheyole sport?"

He always insisted on having an answer to his remarksleaning
over Jurgis and smiling into his face. Jurgis liked it.

Rummy ole place to feed in all 'lone, though,was Freddie's
comment--"rummy's hell! Whuzya thinkhey?" Then another idea
occurred to him and he went onwithout waiting: "Maybe you never
saw anythin--hic--like this 'fore? Heyole chappie?"

No,said Jurgis.

Come from country, maybe--hey?

Yes,said Jurgis.

Aha! I thosso! Lossa folks from country never saw such a
place. Guv'ner brings 'em--free show--hic--reg'lar circus!
Go home tell folks about it. Ole man lones's place--lones the
packer--beef-trust man. Made it all out of hogs, too, damn ole
scoundrel. Now we see where our pennies go--rebates, an' private
car lines--hic--by Harry! Bully place, though--worth seein' !
Ever hear of lones the packer, hey, ole chappie?

Jurgis had started involuntarily; the otherwhose sharp eyes
missed nothingdemanded: "Whuzzamatterhey? Heard of him?"

And Jurgis managed to stammer out: "I have worked for him in the
yards."

What!cried Master Freddiewith a yell. "You! In the yards?
Hoho! Whysaythass good! Shake hands on itole man--by
Harry! Guv'ner ought to be here--glad to see you. Great fren's
with the menguv'ner--labor an' capitalcommun'ty 'f int'rests
an' all that--hic! Funny things happen in this worlddon't
theyole man? Hamiltonlemme interduce you--fren' the
family--ole fren' the guv'ner's--works in the yards. Come to
spend the night wiz meHamilton--have a hot time. Me fren'
Mr.--whuzya nameole chappie? Tell us your name."

Rudkus--Jurgis Rudkus.

My fren', Mr. Rednose, Hamilton--shake han's.

The stately butler bowed his headbut made not a sound; and
suddenly Master Freddie pointed an eager finger at him. "I know
whuzzamatter wiz youHamilton--lay you a dollar I know! You
think--hic--you think I'm drunk! Heynow?"

And the butler again bowed his head. "Yessir he said, at
which Master Freddie hung tightly upon Jurgis's neck and went
into a fit of laughter. Hamiltonyou damn ole scoundrel he
roared, I'll 'scharge you for impudenceyou see 'f I don't!
Hohoho! I'm drunk! Hoho!"

The two waited until his fit had spent itselfto see what new
whim would seize him. "Whatcha wanta do?" he queried suddenly.
Wanta see the place, ole chappie? Wamme play the guv'ner--show
you roun'? State parlors--Looee Cans--Looee Sez--chairs cost
three thousand apiece. Tea room Maryanntnet--picture of


shepherds dancing--Ruysdael--twenty-three thousan'!
Ballroom--balc'ny pillars--hic--imported--special
ship--sixty-eight thousan'! Ceilin' painted in Rome--whuzzat
feller's name, Hamilton--Mattatoni? Macaroni? Then this
place--silver bowl--Benvenuto Cellini--rummy ole Dago! An' the
organ--thirty thousan' dollars, sir--starter up, Hamilton, let
Mr. Rednose hear it. No--never mind--clean forgot--says he's
hungry, Hamilton--less have some supper. Only--hic--don't less
have it here--come up to my place, ole sport--nice an' cosy.
This way--steady now, don't slip on the floor. Hamilton, we'll
have a cole spread, an' some fizz--don't leave out the fizz, by
Harry. We'll have some of the eighteen-thirty Madeira. Hear me,
sir?

Yes, sir,said the butlerbut, Master Frederick, your father
left orders--

And Master Frederick drew himself up to a stately height. "My
father's orders were left to me--hic--an' not to you he said.
Then, clasping Jurgis tightly by the neck, he staggered out of
the room; on the way another idea occurred to him, and he asked:
Any--hic--cable message for meHamilton?"

No, sir,said the butler.

Guv'ner must be travelin'. An' how's the twins, Hamilton?

They are doing well, sir.

Good!said Master Freddie; and added fervently: "God bless 'em
the little lambs!"

They went up the great staircaseone step at a time; at the top
of it there gleamed at them out of the shadows the figure of a
nymph crouching by a fountaina figure ravishingly beautiful
the flesh warm and glowing with the hues of life. Above was a
huge courtwith domed roofthe various apartments opening into
it. The butler had paused below but a few minutes to give
ordersand then followed them; now he pressed a buttonand the
hall blazed with light. He opened a door before themand then
pressed another buttonas they staggered into the apartment.

It was fitted up as a study. In the center was a mahogany table
covered with booksand smokers' implements; the walls were
decorated with college trophies and colors--flagsposters
photographs and knickknacks--tennis racketscanoe paddlesgolf
clubsand polo sticks. An enormous moose headwith horns six
feet acrossfaced a buffalo head on the opposite wallwhile
bear and tiger skins covered the polished floor. There were
lounging chairs and sofaswindow seats covered with soft
cushions of fantastic designs; there was one corner fitted in
Persian fashionwith a huge canopy and a jeweled lamp beneath.
Beyonda door opened upon a bedroomand beyond that was a
swimming pool of the purest marblethat had cost about forty
thousand dollars.

Master Freddie stood for a moment or twogazing about him; then
out of the next room a dog emergeda monstrous bulldogthe most
hideous object that Jurgis had ever laid eyes upon. He yawned
opening a mouth like a dragon's; and he came toward the young
manwagging his tail. "HelloDewey!" cried his master. "Been
havin' a snoozeole boy? Wellwell--hello there
whuzzamatter?" (The dog was snarling at Jurgis.) "Why
Dewey--this' my fren'Mr. Rednose--ole fren' the guv'ner's!


Mr. RednoseAdmiral Dewey; shake han's--hic. Ain't he a daisy
though--blue ribbon at the New York show--eighty-five hundred at
a clip! How's thathey?"

The speaker sank into one of the big armchairsand Admiral Dewey
crouched beneath it; he did not snarl againbut he never took
his eyes off Jurgis. He was perfectly soberwas the Admiral.

The butler had closed the doorand he stood by itwatching
Jurgis every second. Now there came footsteps outsideand
as he opened the door a man in livery enteredcarrying a folding
tableand behind him two men with covered trays. They stood
like statues while the first spread the table and set out the
contents of the trays upon it. There were cold patesand thin
slices of meattiny bread and butter sandwiches with the crust
cut offa bowl of sliced peaches and cream (in January)little
fancy cakespink and green and yellow and whiteand half a
dozen ice-cold bottles of wine.

Thass the stuff for you!cried Master Freddieexultantly
as he spied them. "Come 'longole chappiemove up."

And he seated himself at the table; the waiter pulled a cork
and he took the bottle and poured three glasses of its contents in
succession down his throat. Then he gave a long-drawn sighand
cried again to Jurgis to seat himself.

The butler held the chair at the opposite side of the table
and Jurgis thought it was to keep him out of it; but finally he
understand that it was the other's intention to put it under him
and so he sat downcautiously and mistrustingly. Master Freddie
perceived that the attendants embarrassed himand he remarked
with a nod to themYou may go.

They wentall save the butler.

You may go too, Hamilton,he said.

Master Frederick--the man began.

Go!cried the youngsterangrily. "Damn youdon't you hear me?"

The man went out and closed the door; Jurgiswho was as sharp as
heobserved that he took the key out of the lockin order that
he might peer through the keyhole.

Master Frederick turned to the table again. "Now he said, go
for it."

Jurgis gazed at him doubtingly. "Eat!" cried the other. "Pile
inole chappie!"

Don't you want anything?Jurgis asked.

Ain't hungry,was the reply--"only thirsty. Kitty and me had
some candy--you go on."

So Jurgis beganwithout further parley. He ate as with two
shovelshis fork in one hand and his knife in the other; when he
once got started his wolf-hunger got the better of himand he
did not stop for breath until he had cleared every plate.
Gee whiz!said the otherwho had been watching him in wonder.

Then he held Jurgis the bottle. "Lessee you drink now he said;


and Jurgis took the bottle and turned it up to his mouth, and a
wonderfully unearthly liquid ecstasy poured down his throat,
tickling every nerve of him, thrilling him with joy. He drank
the very last drop of it, and then he gave vent to a long-drawn
Ah!"


Good stuff, hey?said Freddiesympathetically; he had leaned
back in the big chairputting his arm behind his head and gazing
at Jurgis.


And Jurgis gazed back at him. He was clad in spotless evening
dresswas Freddieand looked very handsome--he was a beautiful
boywith light golden hair and the head of an Antinous. He
smiled at Jurgis confidinglyand then started talking again
with his blissful insouciance. This time he talked for ten
minutes at a stretchand in the course of the speech he told
Jurgis all of his family history. His big brother Charlie was in
love with the guileless maiden who played the part of "Little
Bright-Eyes" in "The Kaliph of Kamskatka." He had been on the
verge of marrying her onceonly "the guv'ner" had sworn to
disinherit himand had presented him with a sum that would
stagger the imaginationand that had staggered the virtue of
Little Bright-Eyes.Now Charlie had got leave from college
and had gone away in his automobile on the next best thing to a
honeymoon. "The guv'ner" had made threats to disinherit another
of his children alsosister Gwendolenwho had married an
Italian marquis with a string of titles and a dueling record.
They lived in his chateauor rather haduntil he had taken to
firing the breakfast dishes at her; then she had cabled for help
and the old gentleman had gone over to find out what were his
Grace's terms. So they had left Freddie all aloneand he with
less than two thousand dollars in his pocket. Freddie was up in
arms and meant serious businessas they would find in the
end--if there was no other way of bringing them to terms he would
have his "Kittens" wire that she was about to marry himand see
what happened then.


So the cheerful youngster rattled onuntil he was tired out.
He smiled his sweetest smile at Jurgisand then he closed his eyes
sleepily. Then he opened them againand smiled once moreand
finally closed them and forgot to open them.


For several minutes Jurgis sat perfectly motionlesswatching
himand reveling in the strange sensation of the champagne.
Once he stirredand the dog growled; after that he sat almost
holding his breath--until after a while the door of the room
opened softlyand the butler came in.


He walked toward Jurgis upon tiptoescowling at him; and Jurgis
rose upand retreatedscowling back. So until he was against
the walland then the butler came closeand pointed toward the
door. "Get out of here!" he whispered.


Jurgis hesitatedgiving a glance at Freddiewho was snoring
softly. "If you doyou son of a--" hissed the butlerI'll
mash in your face for you before you get out of here!


And Jurgis wavered but an instant more. He saw "Admiral Dewey"
coming up behind the man and growling softlyto back up his
threats. Then he surrendered and started toward the door.


They went out without a soundand down the great echoing
staircaseand through the dark hall. At the front door he
pausedand the butler strode close to him.



Hold up your hands,he snarled. Jurgis took a step back
clinching his one well fist.

What for?he cried; and then understanding that the fellow
proposed to search himhe answeredI'll see you in hell
first.

Do you want to go to jail?demanded the butlermenacingly.
I'll have the police--

Have 'em!roared Jurgiswith fierce passion. "But you won't
put your hands on me till you do! I haven't touched anything in
your damned houseand I'll not have you touch me!"

So the butlerwho was terrified lest his young master should
wakenstepped suddenly to the doorand opened it. "Get out of
here!" he said; and then as Jurgis passed through the openinghe
gave him a ferocious kick that sent him down the great stone
steps at a runand landed him sprawling in the snow at the
bottom.

Chapter 25

Jurgis got upwild with ragebut the door was shut and the
great castle was dark and impregnable. Then the icy teeth of the
blast bit into himand he turned and went away at a run.

When he stopped again it was because he was coming to frequented
streets and did not wish to attract attention. In spite of that
last humiliationhis heart was thumping fast with triumph.
He had come out ahead on that deal! He put his hand into his
trousers' pocket every now and thento make sure that the
precious hundred-dollar bill was still there.

Yet he was in a plight--a curious and even dreadful plightwhen
he came to realize it. He had not a single cent but that one
bill! And he had to find some shelter that night he had to
change it!

Jurgis spent half an hour walking and debating the problem.
There was no one he could go to for help--he had to manage it all
alone. To get it changed in a lodging-house would be to take his
life in his hands--he would almost certainly be robbedand
perhaps murderedbefore morning. He might go to some hotel or
railroad depot and ask to have it changed; but what would they
thinkseeing a "bum" like him with a hundred dollars? He would
probably be arrested if he tried it; and what story could he
tell? On the morrow Freddie Jones would discover his loss
and there would be a hunt for himand he would lose his money.
The only other plan he could think of was to try in a saloon.
He might pay them to change itif it could not be done otherwise.

He began peering into places as he walked; he passed several as
being too crowded--then finallychancing upon one where the
bartender was all alonehe gripped his hands in sudden
resolution and went in.

Can you change me a hundred-dollar bill?he demanded.

The bartender was a bighusky fellowwith the jaw of a prize
fighterand a three weeks' stubble of hair upon it. He stared


at Jurgis. "What's that youse say?" he demanded.

I said, could you change me a hundred-dollar bill?

Where'd youse get it?he inquired incredulously.

Never mind,said Jurgis; "I've got itand I want it changed.
I'll pay you if you'll do it."

The other stared at him hard. "Lemme see it he said.

Will you change it?" Jurgis demandedgripping it tightly in his
pocket.

How the hell can I know if it's good or not?retorted the
bartender. "Whatcher take me forhey?"

Then Jurgis slowly and warily approached him; he took out the
billand fumbled it for a momentwhile the man stared at him
with hostile eyes across the counter. Then finally he handed it
over.

The other took itand began to examine it; he smoothed it
between his fingersand held it up to the light; he turned it
overand upside downand edgeways. It was new and rather
stiffand that made him dubious. Jurgis was watching him like a
cat all the time.

Humph,he saidfinallyand gazed at the strangersizing him
up--a raggedill-smelling trampwith no overcoat and one arm in
a sling--and a hundred-dollar bill! "Want to buy anything?" he
demanded.

Yes,said JurgisI'll take a glass of beer.

All right,said the otherI'll change it.And he put the
bill in his pocketand poured Jurgis out a glass of beer
and set it on the counter. Then he turned to the cash register
and punched up five centsand began to pull money out of the drawer.
Finallyhe faced Jurgiscounting it out--two dimesa quarter
and fifty cents. "There he said.

For a second Jurgis waited, expecting to see him turn again. My
ninety-nine dollars he said.

What ninety-nine dollars?" demanded the bartender.

My change!he cried--"the rest of my hundred!"

Go on,said the bartenderyou're nutty!

And Jurgis stared at him with wild eyes. For an instant horror
reigned in him--blackparalyzingawful horrorclutching him at
the heart; and then came ragein surgingblinding floods-he
screamed aloudand seized the glass and hurled it at the other's
head. The man duckedand it missed him by half an inch; he rose
again and faced Jurgiswho was vaulting over the bar with his
one well armand dealt him a smashing blow in the facehurling
him backward upon the floor. Thenas Jurgis scrambled to his
feet again and started round the counter after himhe shouted at
the top of his voiceHelp! help!

Jurgis seized a bottle off the counter as he ran; and as the
bartender made a leap he hurled the missile at him with all his


force. It just grazed his headand shivered into a thousand
pieces against the post of the door. Then Jurgis started back
rushing at the man again in the middle of the room. This time
in his blind frenzyhe came without a bottleand that was all
the bartender wanted--he met him halfway and floored him with a
sledgehammer drive between the eyes. An instant later the screen
doors flew openand two men rushed in--just as Jurgis was
getting to his feet againfoaming at the mouth with rage
and trying to tear his broken arm out of its bandages.

Look out!shouted the bartender. "He's got a knife!" Then
seeing that the two were disposed to join the frayhe made
another rush at Jurgisand knocked aside his feeble defense and
sent him tumbling again; and the three flung themselves upon him
rolling and kicking about the place.

A second later a policeman dashed inand the bartender yelled
once more--"Look out for his knife!" Jurgis had fought himself
half to his kneeswhen the policeman made a leap at himand
cracked him across the face with his club. Though the blow
staggered himthe wild-beast frenzy still blazed in himand he
got to his feetlunging into the air. Then again the club
descendedfull upon his headand he dropped like a log to the
floor.

The policeman crouched over himclutching his stickwaiting for
him to try to rise again; and meantime the barkeeper got upand
put his hand to his head. "Christ!" he saidI thought I was
done for that time. Did he cut me?

Don't see anything, Jake,said the policeman. "What's the
matter with him?"

Just crazy drunk,said the other. "A lame ducktoo--but he
'most got me under the bar. Youse had better call the wagon
Billy."

No,said the officer. "He's got no more fight in himI
guess--and he's only got a block to go." He twisted his hand in
Jurgis's collar and jerked at him. "Git up hereyou!" he
commanded.

But Jurgis did not moveand the bartender went behind the bar
and after stowing the hundred-dollar bill away in a safe hiding
placecame and poured a glass of water over Jurgis. Thenas
the latter began to moan feeblythe policeman got him to his
feet and dragged him out of the place. The station house was
just around the cornerand so in a few minutes Jurgis was in a
cell.

He spent half the night lying unconsciousand the balance
moaning in tormentwith a blinding headache and a racking
thirst. Now and then he cried aloud for a drink of water
but there was no one to hear him. There were others in that same
station house with split heads and a fever; there were hundreds
of them in the great cityand tens of thousands of them in the
great landand there was no one to hear any of them.

In the morning Jurgis was given a cup of water and a piece of
breadand then hustled into a patrol wagon and driven to the
nearest police court. He sat in the pen with a score of others
until his turn came.

The bartender--who proved to be a well-known bruiser--was called


to the standHe took the oath and told his story. The prisoner
had come into his saloon after midnightfighting drunkand had
ordered a glass of beer and tendered a dollar bill in payment.
He had been given ninety-five cents' changeand had demanded
ninety-nine dollars moreand before the plaintiff could even
answer had hurled the glass at him and then attacked him with a
bottle of bittersand nearly wrecked the place.

Then the prisoner was sworn--a forlorn objecthaggard and
unshornwith an arm done up in a filthy bandagea cheek and
head cutand bloodyand one eye purplish black and entirely
closed. "What have you to say for yourself?" queried the
magistrate.

Your Honor,said JurgisI went into his place and asked the
man if he could change me a hundred-dollar bill. And he said he
would if I bought a drink. I gave him the bill and then he
wouldn't give me the change.

The magistrate was staring at him in perplexity. "You gave him a
hundred-dollar bill!" he exclaimed.

Yes, your Honor,said Jurgis.

Where did you get it?

A man gave it to me, your Honor.

A man? What man, and what for?

A young man I met upon the street, your Honor. I had been
begging.

There was a titter in the courtroom; the officer who was holding
Jurgis put up his hand to hide a smileand the magistrate smiled
without trying to hide it. "It's trueyour Honor!" cried
Jurgispassionately.

You had been drinking as well as begging last night, had you
not?inquired the magistrate. "Noyour Honor--" protested
Jurgis. "I--"

You had not had anything to drink?

Why, yes, your Honor, I had--

What did you have?

I had a bottle of something--I don't know what it was--something
that burned--

There was again a laugh round the courtroomstopping suddenly as
the magistrate looked up and frowned. "Have you ever been
arrested before?" he asked abruptly.

The question took Jurgis aback. "I--I--" he stammered.

Tell me the truth, now!commanded the othersternly.

Yes, your Honor,said Jurgis.

How often?

Only once, your Honor.


What for?

For knocking down my boss, your Honor. I was working in the
stockyards, and he--

I see,said his Honor; "I guess that will do. You ought to
stop drinking if you can't control yourself. Ten days and costs.
Next case."

Jurgis gave vent to a cry of dismaycut off suddenly by the
policemanwho seized him by the collar. He was jerked out of
the wayinto a room with the convicted prisonerswhere he sat
and wept like a child in his impotent rage. It seemed monstrous
to him that policemen and judges should esteem his word as
nothing in comparison with the bartender's--poor Jurgis could not
know that the owner of the saloon paid five dollars each week to
the policeman alone for Sunday privileges and general favors-nor
that the pugilist bartender was one of the most trusted henchmen
of the Democratic leader of the districtand had helped only a
few months before to hustle out a record-breaking vote as a
testimonial to the magistratewho had been made the target of
odious kid-gloved reformers.

Jurgis was driven out to the Bridewell for the second time. In
his tumbling around he had hurt his arm againand so could not
workbut had to be attended by the physician. Also his head and
his eye had to be tied up--and so he was a pretty-looking object
whenthe second day after his arrivalhe went out into the
exercise court and encountered--Jack Duane!

The young fellow was so glad to see Jurgis that he almost hugged
him. "By Godif it isn't 'the Stinker'!" he cried. "And what
is it--have you been through a sausage machine?"

No,said Jurgisbut I've been in a railroad wreck and a
fight.And thenwhile some of the other prisoners gathered
round he told his wild story; most of them were incredulous
but Duane knew that Jurgis could never have made up such a yarn
as that.

Hard luck, old man,he saidwhen they were alone; "but maybe
it's taught you a lesson."

I've learned some things since I saw you last,said Jurgis
mournfully. Then he explained how he had spent the last summer
hoboing it,as the phrase was. "And you?" he asked finally.
Have you been here ever since?

Lord, no!said the other. "I only came in the day before
yesterday. It's the second time they've sent me up on a
trumped-up charge--I've had hard luck and can't pay them what
they want. Why don't you quit Chicago with meJurgis?"

I've no place to go,said Jurgissadly.

Neither have I,replied the otherlaughing lightly. "But
we'll wait till we get out and see."

In the Bridewell Jurgis met few who had been there the last time
but he met scores of othersold and youngof exactly the same
sort. It was like breakers upon a beach; there was new water
but the wave looked just the same. He strolled about and talked
with themand the biggest of them told tales of their prowess


while those who were weakeror younger and inexperienced
gathered round and listened in admiring silence. The last time
he was thereJurgis had thought of little but his family;
but now he was free to listen to these menand to realize that he
was one of them--that their point of view was his point of view
and that the way they kept themselves alive in the world was the
way he meant to do it in the future.

And sowhen he was turned out of prison againwithout a penny
in his pockethe went straight to Jack Duane. He went full of
humility and gratitude; for Duane was a gentlemanand a man with
a profession--and it was remarkable that he should be willing to
throw in his lot with a humble workingmanone who had even been
a beggar and a tramp. Jurgis could not see what help he could be
to him; but he did not understand that a man like himself--who
could be trusted to stand by any one who was kind to him--was as
rare among criminals as among any other class of men.

The address Jurgis had was a garret room in the Ghetto district
the home of a pretty little French girlDuane's mistresswho
sewed all dayand eked out her living by prostitution. He had
gone elsewhereshe told Jurgis--he was afraid to stay there now
on account of the police. The new address was a cellar dive
whose proprietor said that he had never heard of Duane; but after
he had put Jurgis through a catechism he showed him a back stairs
which led to a "fence" in the rear of a pawnbroker's shopand
thence to a number of assignation roomsin one of which Duane
was hiding.

Duane was glad to see him; he was without a cent of money
he saidand had been waiting for Jurgis to help him get some.
He explained his plan--in fact he spent the day in laying bare to
his friend the criminal world of the cityand in showing him how
he might earn himself a living in it. That winter he would have
a hard timeon account of his armand because of an unwonted
fit of activity of the police; but so long as he was unknown to
them he would be safe if he were careful. Here at "Papa"
Hanson's (so they called the old man who kept the dive) he might
rest at easefor "Papa" Hanson was "square"--would stand by him
so long as he paidand gave him an hour's notice if there were
to be a police raid. Also Rosenstegthe pawnbrokerwould buy
anything he had for a third of its valueand guarantee to keep
it hidden for a year.

There was an oil stove in the little cupboard of a roomand they
had some supper; and then about eleven o'clock at night they
sallied forth togetherby a rear entrance to the placeDuane
armed with a slingshot. They came to a residence district
and he sprang up a lamppost and blew out the lightand then the two
dodged into the shelter of an area step and hid in silence.

Pretty soon a man came bya workingman--and they let him go.
Then after a long interval came the heavy tread of a policeman
and they held their breath till he was gone. Though half-frozen
they waited a full quarter of an hour after that--and then again
came footstepswalking briskly. Duane nudged Jurgisand the
instant the man had passed they rose up. Duane stole out as
silently as a shadowand a second later Jurgis heard a thud and
a stifled cry. He was only a couple of feet behindand he
leaped to stop the man's mouthwhile Duane held him fast by the
armsas they had agreed. But the man was limp and showed a
tendency to falland so Jurgis had only to hold him by the
collarwhile the otherwith swift fingerswent through his
pockets--ripping openfirst his overcoatand then his coat


and then his vestsearching inside and outsideand transferring the
contents into his own pockets. At lastafter feeling of the
man's fingers and in his necktieDuane whisperedThat's all!
and they dragged him to the area and dropped him in. Then Jurgis
went one way and his friend the otherwalking briskly.

The latter arrived firstand Jurgis found him examining the
swag.There was a gold watchfor one thingwith a chain and
locket; there was a silver penciland a matchboxand a handful
of small changeand finally a cardcase. This last Duane opened
feverishly--there were letters and checksand two
theater-ticketsand at lastin the back parta wad of bills.
He counted them--there was a twentyfive tensfour fivesand
three ones. Duane drew a long breath. "That lets us out!" he
said.

After further examinationthey burned the cardcase and its
contentsall but the billsand likewise the picture of a little
girl in the locket. Then Duane took the watch and trinkets
downstairsand came back with sixteen dollars. "The old
scoundrel said the case was filled he said. It's a liebut
he knows I want the money."

They divided up the spoilsand Jurgis got as his share
fifty-five dollars and some change. He protested that it was too
muchbut the other had agreed to divide even. That was a good
haulhe saidbetter than average.

When they got up in the morningJurgis was sent out to buy a
paper; one of the pleasures of committing a crime was the reading
about it afterward. "I had a pal that always did it Duane
remarked, laughing--until one day he read that he had left three
thousand dollars in a lower inside pocket of his party's vest!"

There was a half-column account of the robbery--it was evident
that a gang was operating in the neighborhoodsaid the paper
for it was the third within a weekand the police were
apparently powerless. The victim was an insurance agentand he
had lost a hundred and ten dollars that did not belong to him.
He had chanced to have his name marked on his shirtotherwise he
would not have been identified yet. His assailant had hit him
too hardand he was suffering from concussion of the brain;
and also he had been half-frozen when foundand would lose three
fingers on his right hand. The enterprising newspaper reporter
had taken all this information to his familyand told how they
had received it.

Since it was Jurgis's first experiencethese details naturally
caused him some worriment; but the other laughed coolly--it was
the way of the gameand there was no helping it. Before long
Jurgis would think no more of it than they did in the yards of
knocking out a bullock. "It's a case of us or the other fellow
and I say the other fellowevery time he observed.

Still said Jurgis, reflectively, he never did us any harm."

He was doing it to somebody as hard as he could, you can be sure
of that,said his friend.

Duane had already explained to Jurgis that if a man of their
trade were known he would have to work all the time to satisfy
the demands of the police. Therefore it would be better for
Jurgis to stay in hiding and never be seen in public with his


pal. But Jurgis soon got very tired of staying in hiding. In a
couple of weeks he was feeling strong and beginning to use his
armand then he could not stand it any longer. Duanewho had
done a job of some sort by himselfand made a truce with the
powersbrought over Mariehis little French girlto share with
him; but even that did not avail for longand in the end he had
to give up arguingand take Jurgis out and introduce him to the
saloons and "sporting houses" where the big crooks and "holdup
men" hung out.

And so Jurgis got a glimpse of the high-class criminal world of
Chicago. The citywhich was owned by an oligarchy of
businessmenbeing nominally ruled by the peoplea huge army of
graft was necessary for the purpose of effecting the transfer of
power. Twice a yearin the spring and fall electionsmillions
of dollars were furnished by the businessmen and expended by this
army; meetings were held and clever speakers were hiredbands
played and rockets sizzledtons of documents and reservoirs of
drinks were distributedand tens of thousands of votes were
bought for cash. And this army of graft hadof courseto be
maintained the year round. The leaders and organizers were
maintained by the businessmen directly--aldermen and legislators
by means of bribesparty officials out of the campaign funds
lobbyists and corporation lawyers in the form of salaries
contractors by means of jobslabor union leaders by subsidies
and newspaper proprietors and editors by advertisements. The
rank and filehoweverwere either foisted upon the cityor
else lived off the population directly. There was the police
departmentand the fire and water departmentsand the whole
balance of the civil listfrom the meanest office boy to the
head of a city department; and for the horde who could find no
room in thesethere was the world of vice and crimethere was
license to seduceto swindle and plunder and prey. The law
forbade Sunday drinking; and this had delivered the saloon-
keepers into the hands of the policeand made an alliance
between them necessary. The law forbade prostitution; and this
had brought the "madames" into the combination. It was the same
with the gambling-house keeper and the poolroom manand the same
with any other man or woman who had a means of getting "graft
and was willing to pay over a share of it: the green-goods man
and the highwayman, the pickpocket and the sneak thief, and the
receiver of stolen goods, the seller of adulterated milk, of
stale fruit and diseased meat, the proprietor of unsanitary
tenements, the fake doctor and the usurer, the beggar and the
pushcart man the prize fighter and the professional slugger,
the race-track tout the procurer, the white-slave agent, and
the expert seducer of young girls. All of these agencies of
corruption were banded together, and leagued in blood brotherhood
with the politician and the police; more often than not they were
one and the same person,--the police captain would own the
brothel he pretended to raid, the politician would open his
headquarters in his saloon. Hinkydink" or "Bathhouse John
or others of that ilk, were proprietors of the most notorious dives
in Chicago, and also the gray wolves" of the city council
who gave away the streets of the city to the businessmen; and those
who patronized their places were the gamblers and prize fighters
who set the law at defianceand the burglars and holdup men who
kept the whole city in terror. On election day all these powers
of vice and crime were one power; they could tell within one per
cent what the vote of their district would beand they could
change it at an hour's notice.

A month ago Jurgis had all but perished of starvation upon the
streets; and now suddenlyas by the gift of a magic keyhe had


entered into a world where money and all the good things of life
came freely. He was introduced by his friend to an Irishman
named "Buck" Halloranwho was a political "worker" and on the
inside of things. This man talked with Jurgis for a whileand
then told him that he had a little plan by which a man who looked
like a workingman might make some easy money; but it was a
private affairand had to be kept quiet. Jurgis expressed
himself as agreeableand the other took him that afternoon
(it was Saturday) to a place where city laborers were being paid off.
The paymaster sat in a little boothwith a pile of envelopes
before himand two policemen standing by. Jurgis went
according to directionsand gave the name of "Michael
O'Flaherty and received an envelope, which he took around the
corner and delivered to Halloran, who was waiting for him in a
saloon. Then he went again; and gave the name of Johann
Schmidt and a third time, and give the name of Serge
Reminitsky." Halloran had quite a list of imaginary workingmen
and Jurgis got an envelope for each one. For this work he
received five dollarsand was told that he might have it every
weekso long as he kept quiet. As Jurgis was excellent at
keeping quiethe soon won the trust of "Buck" Halloranand was
introduced to others as a man who could be depended upon.

This acquaintance was useful to him in another wayalso before
long Jurgis made his discovery of the meaning of "pull and just
why his boss, Connor, and also the pugilist bartender, had been
able to send him to jail. One night there was given a ball, the
benefit" of "One-eyed Larry a lame man who played the violin
in one of the big high-class" houses of prostitution on Clark
Streetand was a wag and a popular character on the "Levee."
This ball was held in a big dance halland was one of the
occasions when the city's powers of debauchery gave themselves up
to madness. Jurgis attended and got half insane with drink
and began quarreling over a girl; his arm was pretty strong by then
and he set to work to clean out the placeand ended in a cell in
the police station. The police station being crowded to the
doorsand stinking with "bums Jurgis did not relish staying
there to sleep off his liquor, and sent for Halloran, who called
up the district leader and had Jurgis bailed out by telephone at
four o'clock in the morning. When he was arraigned that same
morning, the district leader had already seen the clerk of the
court and explained that Jurgis Rudkus was a decent fellow, who
had been indiscreet; and so Jurgis was fined ten dollars and the
fine was suspended"--which meant that he did not have to pay for
itand never would have to pay itunless somebody chose to
bring it up against him in the future.

Among the people Jurgis lived with now money was valued according
to an entirely different standard from that of the people of
Packingtown; yetstrange as it may seemhe did a great deal
less drinking than he had as a workingman. He had not the same
provocations of exhaustion and hopelessness; he had now something
to work forto struggle for. He soon found that if he kept his
wits about himhe would come upon new opportunities; and being
naturally an active manhe not only kept sober himselfbut
helped to steady his friendwho was a good deal fonder of both
wine and women than he.

One thing led to another. In the saloon where Jurgis met "Buck"
Halloran he was sitting late one night with Duanewhen a
country customer(a buyer for an out-of-town merchant) came in
a little more than half "piped." There was no one else in the
place but the bartenderand as the man went out again Jurgis and
Duane followed him; he went round the cornerand in a dark place


made by a combination of the elevated railroad and an unrented
buildingJurgis leaped forward and shoved a revolver under his
nosewhile Duanewith his hat pulled over his eyeswent
through the man's pockets with lightning fingers. They got his
watch and his "wad and were round the corner again and into the
saloon before he could shout more than once. The bartender, to
whom they had tipped the wink, had the cellar door open for them,
and they vanished, making their way by a secret entrance to a
brothel next door. From the roof of this there was access to
three similar places beyond. By means of these passages the
customers of any one place could be gotten out of the way, in
case a falling out with the police chanced to lead to a raid;
and also it was necessary to have a way of getting a girl out of
reach in case of an emergency. Thousands of them came to Chicago
answering advertisements for servants" and "factory hands and
found themselves trapped by fake employment agencies, and locked
up in a bawdyhouse. It was generally enough to take all their
clothes away from them; but sometimes they would have to be
doped" and kept prisoners for weeks; and meantime their parents
might be telegraphing the policeand even coming on to see why
nothing was done. Occasionally there was no way of satisfying
them but to let them search the place to which the girl had been
traced.

For his help in this little jobthe bartender received twenty
out of the hundred and thirty odd dollars that the pair secured;
and naturally this put them on friendly terms with himand a few
days later he introduced them to a little "sheeny" named
Goldbergerone of the "runners" of the "sporting house" where
they had been hidden. After a few drinks Goldberger beganwith
some hesitationto narrate how he had had a quarrel over his
best girl with a professional "cardsharp who had hit him in the
jaw. The fellow was a stranger in Chicago, and if he was found
some night with his head cracked there would be no one to care
very much. Jurgis, who by this time would cheerfully have
cracked the heads of all the gamblers in Chicago, inquired what
would be coming to him; at which the Jew became still more
confidential, and said that he had some tips on the New Orleans
races, which he got direct from the police captain of the
district, whom he had got out of a bad scrape, and who stood in"
with a big syndicate of horse owners. Duane took all this in at
oncebut Jurgis had to have the whole race-track situation
explained to him before he realized the importance of such an
opportunity.

There was the gigantic Racing Trust. It owned the legislatures
in every state in which it did business; it even owned some of
the big newspapersand made public opinion--there was no power
in the land that could oppose it unlessperhapsit were the
Poolroom Trust. It built magnificent racing parks all over the
countryand by means of enormous purses it lured the people to
comeand then it organized a gigantic shell gamewhereby it
plundered them of hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Horse racing had once been a sportbut nowadays it was a
business; a horse could be "doped" and doctoredundertrained or
overtrained; it could be made to fall at any moment--or its gait
could be broken by lashing it with the whipwhich all the
spectators would take to be a desperate effort to keep it in the
lead. There were scores of such tricks; and sometimes it was the
owners who played them and made fortunessometimes it was the
jockeys and trainerssometimes it was outsiderswho bribed
them--but most of the time it was the chiefs of the trust. Now
for instancethey were having winter racing in New Orleans and a
syndicate was laying out each day's program in advanceand its


agents in all the Northern cities were "milking" the poolrooms.
The word came by long-distance telephone in a cipher codejust a
little while before each race; and any man who could get the
secret had as good as a fortune. If Jurgis did not believe it
he could try itsaid the little Jew--let them meet at a certain
house on the morrow and make a test. Jurgis was willingand so
was Duaneand so they went to one of the high-class poolrooms
where brokers and merchants gambled (with society women in a
private room)and they put up ten dollars each upon a horse
called "Black Beldame a six to one shot, and won. For a secret
like that they would have done a good many sluggings--but the
next day Goldberger informed them that the offending gambler had
got wind of what was coming to him, and had skipped the town.

There were ups and downs at the business; but there was always a
living, inside of a jail, if not out of it. Early in April the
city elections were due, and that meant prosperity for all the
powers of graft. Jurgis, hanging round in dives and gambling
houses and brothels, met with the heelers of both parties,
and from their conversation he came to understand all the ins and
outs of the game, and to hear of a number of ways in which he
could make himself useful about election time. Buck" Halloran
was a "Democrat and so Jurgis became a Democrat also; but he
was not a bitter one--the Republicans were good fellows, too,
and were to have a pile of money in this next campaign. At the last
election the Republicans had paid four dollars a vote to the
Democrats' three; and Buck" Halloran sat one night playing cards
with Jurgis and another manwho told how Halloran had been
charged with the job voting a "bunch" of thirty-seven newly
landed Italiansand how hethe narratorhad met the Republican
worker who was after the very same gangand how the three had
effected a bargainwhereby the Italians were to vote half and
halffor a glass of beer apiecewhile the balance of the fund
went to the conspirators!

Not long after thisJurgiswearying of the risks and
vicissitudes of miscellaneous crimewas moved to give up the
career for that of a politician. Just at this time there was a
tremendous uproar being raised concerning the alliance between
the criminals and the police. For the criminal graft was one in
which the businessmen had no direct part--it was what is called a
side line,carried by the police. "Wide open" gambling and
debauchery made the city pleasing to "trade but burglaries and
holdups did not. One night it chanced that while Jack Duane was
drilling a safe in a clothing store he was caught red-handed by
the night watchman, and turned over to a policeman, who chanced
to know him well, and who took the responsibility of letting him
make his escape. Such a howl from the newspapers followed this
that Duane was slated for sacrifice, and barely got out of town
in time. And just at that juncture it happened that Jurgis was
introduced to a man named Harper whom he recognized as the night
watchman at Brown's, who had been instrumental in making him an
American citizen, the first year of his arrival at the yards.
The other was interested in the coincidence, but did not remember
Jurgis--he had handled too many green ones" in his timehe
said. He sat in a dance hall with Jurgis and Halloran until one
or two in the morningexchanging experiences. He had a long
story to tell of his quarrel with the superintendent of his
departmentand how he was now a plain workingmanand a good
union man as well. It was not until some months afterward that
Jurgis understood that the quarrel with the superintendent had
been prearrangedand that Harper was in reality drawing a salary
of twenty dollars a week from the packers for an inside report of


his union's secret proceedings. The yards were seething with
agitation just thensaid the manspeaking as a unionist. The
people of Packingtown had borne about all that they would bear
and it looked as if a strike might begin any week.

After this talk the man made inquiries concerning Jurgisand a
couple of days later he came to him with an interesting
proposition. He was not absolutely certainhe saidbut he
thought that he could get him a regular salary if he would come
to Packingtown and do as he was toldand keep his mouth shut.
Harper--"Bush" Harperhe was called--was a right-hand man of
Mike Scullythe Democratic boss of the stockyards; and in the
coming election there was a peculiar situation. There had come
to Scully a proposition to nominate a certain rich brewer who
lived upon a swell boulevard that skirted the districtand who
coveted the big badge and the "honorable" of an alderman. The
brewer was a Jewand had no brainsbut he was harmlessand
would put up a rare campaign fund. Scully had accepted the
offerand then gone to the Republicans with a proposition. He
was not sure that he could manage the "sheeny and he did not
mean to take any chances with his district; let the Republicans
nominate a certain obscure but amiable friend of Scully's, who
was now setting tenpins in the cellar of an Ashland Avenue
saloon, and he, Scully, would elect him with the sheeny's"
moneyand the Republicans might have the glorywhich was more
than they would get otherwise. In return for this the
Republicans would agree to put up no candidate the following
yearwhen Scully himself came up for reelection as the other
alderman from the ward. To this the Republicans had assented
at once; but the hell of it was--so Harper explained--that the
Republicans were all of them fools--a man had to be a fool to be
a Republican in the stockyardswhere Scully was king. And they
didn't know how to workand of course it would not do for the
Democratic workersthe noble redskins of the War Whoop League
to support the Republican openly. The difficulty would not have
been so great except for another fact--there had been a curious
development in stockyards politics in the last year or twoa new
party having leaped into being. They were the Socialists; and it
was a devil of a messsaid "Bush" Harper. The one image which
the word "Socialist" brought to Jurgis was of poor little
Tamoszius Kuszleikawho had called himself oneand would go out
with a couple of other men and a soap-boxand shout himself
hoarse on a street corner Saturday nights. Tamoszius had tried
to explain to Jurgis what it was all aboutbut Jurgiswho was
not of an imaginative turnhad never quire got it straight; at
present he was content with his companion's explanation that the
Socialists were the enemies of American institutions--could not
be boughtand would not combine or make any sort of a "dicker."
Mike Scully was very much worried over the opportunity which his
last deal gave to them--the stockyards Democrats were furious at
the idea of a rich capitalist for their candidateand while they
were changing they might possibly conclude that a Socialist
firebrand was preferable to a Republican bum. And so right here
was a chance for Jurgis to make himself a place in the world
explained "Bush" Harper; he had been a union manand he was
known in the yards as a workingman; he must have hundreds of
acquaintancesand as he had never talked politics with them he
might come out as a Republican now without exciting the least
suspicion. There were barrels of money for the use of those who
could deliver the goods; and Jurgis might count upon Mike Scully
who had never yet gone back on a friend. Just what could he do?
Jurgis askedin some perplexityand the other explained in
detail. To begin withhe would have to go to the yards and
workand he mightn't relish that; but he would have what he


earnedas well as the rest that came to him. He would get
active in the union againand perhaps try to get an officeas
heHarperhad; he would tell all his friends the good points of
Doylethe Republican nomineeand the bad ones of the "sheeny";
and then Scully would furnish a meeting placeand he would start
the "Young Men's Republican Association or something of that
sort, and have the rich brewer's best beer by the hogshead, and
fireworks and speeches, just like the War Whoop League. Surely
Jurgis must know hundreds of men who would like that sort of fun;
and there would be the regular Republican leaders and workers to
help him out, and they would deliver a big enough majority on
election day.

When he had heard all this explanation to the end, Jurgis
demanded: But how can I get a job in Packingtown? I'm
blacklisted."

At which "Bush" Harper laughed. "I'll attend to that all right
he said.

And the other replied, It's a gothen; I'm your man." So Jurgis
went out to the stockyards againand was introduced to the
political lord of the districtthe boss of Chicago's mayor. It
was Scully who owned the brickyards and the dump and the ice
pond--though Jurgis did not know it. It was Scully who was to
blame for the unpaved street in which Jurgis's child had been
drowned; it was Scully who had put into office the magistrate who
had first sent Jurgis to jail; it was Scully who was principal
stockholder in the company which had sold him the ramshackle
tenementand then robbed him of it. But Jurgis knew none of
these things--any more than he knew that Scully was but a tool
and puppet of the packers. To him Scully was a mighty powerthe
biggestman he had ever met.

He was a littledried-up Irishmanwhose hands shook. He had a
brief talk with his visitorwatching him with his ratlike eyes
and making up his mind about him; and then he gave him a note to
Mr. Harmonone of the head managers of Durham's-


The bearer, Jurgis Rudkus, is a particular friend of mine, and I
would like you to find him a good place, for important reasons.
He was once indiscreet, but you will perhaps be so good as to
overlook that.

Mr. Harmon looked up inquiringly when he read this. "What does
he mean by 'indiscreet'?" he asked.

I was blacklisted, sir,said Jurgis.

At which the other frowned. "Blacklisted?" he said. "How do you
mean?" And Jurgis turned red with embarrassment.

He had forgotten that a blacklist did not exist. "I--that is--I
had difficulty in getting a place he stammered.

What was the matter?"

I got into a quarrel with a foreman--not my own boss, sir--and
struck him.

I see,said the otherand meditated for a few moments. "What
do you wish to do?" he asked.

Anything, sir,said Jurgis--"only I had a broken arm this


winterand so I have to be careful."

How would it suit you to be a night watchman?

That wouldn't do, sir. I have to be among the men at night.

I see--politics. Well, would it suit you to trim hogs?

Yes, sir,said Jurgis.

And Mr. Harmon called a timekeeper and saidTake this man to
Pat Murphy and tell him to find room for him somehow.

And so Jurgis marched into the hog-killing rooma place where
in the days gone byhe had come begging for a job. Now he
walked jauntilyand smiled to himselfseeing the frown that
came to the boss's face as the timekeeper saidMr. Harmon says
to put this man on.It would overcrowd his department and spoil
the record he was trying to make--but he said not a word except
All right.

And so Jurgis became a workingman once more; and straightway he
sought out his old friendsand joined the unionand began to
rootfor "Scotty" Doyle. Doyle had done him a good turn once
he explainedand was really a bully chap; Doyle was a workingman
himselfand would represent the workingmen--why did they want to
vote for a millionaire "sheeny and what the hell had Mike
Scully ever done for them that they should back his candidates
all the time? And meantime Scully had given Jurgis a note to the
Republican leader of the ward, and he had gone there and met the
crowd he was to work with. Already they had hired a big hall,
with some of the brewer's money, and every night Jurgis brought
in a dozen new members of the Doyle Republican Association."
Pretty soon they had a grand opening night; and there was a brass
bandwhich marched through the streetsand fireworks and bombs
and red lights in front of the hall; and there was an enormous
crowdwith two overflow meetings--so that the pale and trembling
candidate had to recite three times over the little speech which
one of Scully's henchmen had writtenand which he had been a
month learning by heart. Best of allthe famous and eloquent
Senator Spareshankspresidential candidaterode out in an
automobile to discuss the sacred privileges of American
citizenshipand protection and prosperity for the American
workingman. His inspiriting address was quoted to the extent of
half a column in all the morning newspaperswhich also said that
it could be stated upon excellent authority that the unexpected
popularity developed by Doylethe Republican candidate for
aldermanwas giving great anxiety to Mr. Scullythe chairman of
the Democratic City Committee.

The chairman was still more worried when the monster torchlight
procession came offwith the members of the Doyle Republican
Association all in red capes and hatsand free beer for every
voter in the ward--the best beer ever given away in a political
campaignas the whole electorate testified. During this parade
and at innumerable cart-tail meetings as wellJurgis labored
tirelessly. He did not make any speeches--there were lawyers and
other experts for that--but he helped to manage things;
distributing notices and posting placards and bringing out the
crowds; and when the show was on he attended to the fireworks and
the beer. Thus in the course of the campaign he handled many
hundreds of dollars of the Hebrew brewer's moneyadministering
it with naive and touching fidelity. Toward the endhowever
he learned that he was regarded with hatred by the rest of the


boys,because he compelled them either to make a poorer showing
than he or to do without their share of the pie. After that
Jurgis did his best to please themand to make up for the time
he had lost before he discovered the extra bungholes of the
campaign barrel.

He pleased Mike Scullyalso. On election morning he was out at
four o'clockgetting out the vote; he had a two-horse carriage
to ride inand he went from house to house for his friendsand
escorted them in triumph to the polls. He voted half a dozen
times himselfand voted some of his friends as often; he brought
bunch after bunch of the newest foreigners--LithuaniansPoles
BohemiansSlovaks--and when he had put them through the mill he
turned them over to another man to take to the next polling
place. When Jurgis first set outthe captain of the precinct
gave him a hundred dollarsand three times in the course of the
day he came for another hundredand not more than twenty-five
out of each lot got stuck in his own pocket. The balance all
went for actual votesand on a day of Democratic landslides they
elected "Scotty" Doylethe ex-tenpin setterby nearly a
thousand plurality--and beginning at five o'clock in the
afternoonand ending at three the next morningJurgis treated
himself to a most unholy and horrible "jag." Nearly every one
else in Packingtown did the samehoweverfor there was
universal exultation over this triumph of popular government
this crushing defeat of an arrogant plutocrat by the power of the
common people.

Chapter 26

After the elections Jurgis stayed on in Packingtown and kept his
job. The agitation to break up the police protection of
criminals was continuingand it seemed to him best to "lay low"
for the present. He had nearly three hundred dollars in the
bankand might have considered himself entitled to a vacation;
but he had an easy joband force of habit kept him at it.
BesidesMike Scullywhom he consultedadvised him that
something might "turn up" before long.

Jurgis got himself a place in a boardinghouse with some congenial
friends. He had already inquired of Anieleand learned that
Elzbieta and her family had gone downtownand so he gave no
further thought to them. He went with a new setnowyoung
unmarried fellows who were "sporty." Jurgis had long ago cast off
his fertilizer clothingand since going into politics he had
donned a linen collar and a greasy red necktie. He had some
reason for thinking of his dressfor he was making about eleven
dollars a weekand two-thirds of it he might spend upon his
pleasures without ever touching his savings.

Sometimes he would ride down-town with a party of friends to the
cheap theaters and the music halls and other haunts with which
they were familiar. Many of the saloons in Packingtown had pool
tablesand some of them bowling alleysby means of which he
could spend his evenings in petty gambling. Alsothere were
cards and dice. One time Jurgis got into a game on a Saturday
night and won prodigiouslyand because he was a man of spirit he
stayed in with the rest and the game continued until late Sunday
afternoonand by that time he was "out" over twenty dollars. On
Saturday nightsalsoa number of balls were generally given in
Packingtown; each man would bring his "girl" with himpaying


half a dollar for a ticketand several dollars additional for
drinks in the course of the festivitieswhich continued until
three or four o'clock in the morningunless broken up by
fighting. During all this time the same man and woman would
dance togetherhalf-stupefied with sensuality and drink.

Before long Jurgis discovered what Scully had meant by something
turning up.In May the agreement between the packers and the
unions expiredand a new agreement had to be signed.
Negotiations were going onand the yards were full of talk of a
strike. The old scale had dealt with the wages of the skilled
men only; and of the members of the Meat Workers' Union about
two-thirds were unskilled men. In Chicago these latter were
receivingfor the most parteighteen and a half cents an hour
and the unions wished to make this the general wage for the next
year. It was not nearly so large a wage as it seemed--in the
course of the negotiations the union officers examined time
checks to the amount of ten thousand dollarsand they found that
the highest wages paid had been fourteen dollars a weekand the
lowest two dollars and five centsand the average of the whole
six dollars and sixty-five cents. And six dollars and sixty-five
cents was hardly too much for a man to keep a family on
considering the fact that the price of dressed meat had increased
nearly fifty per cent in the last five yearswhile the price of
beef on the hoofhad decreased as muchit would have seemed
that the packers ought to be able to pay it; but the packers were
unwilling to pay it--they rejected the union demandand to show
what their purpose wasa week or two after the agreement expired
they put down the wages of about a thousand men to sixteen and a
half centsand it was said that old man Jones had vowed he would
put them to fifteen before he got through. There were a million
and a half of men in the country looking for worka hundred
thousand of them right in Chicago; and were the packers to let
the union stewards march into their places and bind them to a
contract that would lose them several thousand dollars a day for
a year? Not much!

All this was in June; and before long the question was submitted
to a referendum in the unionsand the decision was for a strike.
It was the same in all the packing house cities; and suddenly the
newspapers and public woke up to face the gruesome spectacle of a
meat famine. All sorts of pleas for a reconsideration were made
but the packers were obdurate; and all the while they were
reducing wagesand heading off shipments of cattleand rushing
in wagonloads of mattresses and cots. So the men boiled over
and one night telegrams went out from the union headquarters to
all the big packing centers--to St. PaulSouth OmahaSioux
CitySt. JosephKansas CityEast St. Louisand New
York--and the next day at noon between fifty and sixty thousand
men drew off their working clothes and marched out of the
factoriesand the great "Beef Strike" was on.

Jurgis went to his dinnerand afterward he walked over to see
Mike Scullywho lived in a fine houseupon a street which had
been decently paved and lighted for his especial benefit. Scully
had gone into semiretirementand looked nervous and worried.
What do you want?he demandedwhen he saw Jurgis.

I came to see if maybe you could get me a place during the
strike,the other replied.

And Scully knit his brows and eyed him narrowly. In that
morning's papers Jurgis had read a fierce denunciation of the
packers by Scullywho had declared that if they did not treat


their people better the city authorities would end the matter by
tearing down their plants. NowthereforeJurgis was not a
little taken aback when the other demanded suddenlySee here,
Rudkus, why don't you stick by your job?

Jurgis started. "Work as a scab?" he cried.

Why not?demanded Scully. "What's that to you?"

But--but--stammered Jurgis. He had somehow taken it for
granted that he should go out with his union. "The packers need
good menand need them bad continued the other, and they'll
treat a man right that stands by them. Why don't you take your
chance and fix yourself?"

But,said Jurgishow could I ever be of any use to you--in
politics?

You couldn't be it anyhow,said Scullyabruptly.

Why not?asked Jurgis.

Hell, man!cried the other. "Don't you know you're a
Republican? And do you think I'm always going to elect
Republicans? My brewer has found out already how we served him
and there is the deuce to pay."

Jurgis looked dumfounded. He had never thought of that aspect of
it before. "I could be a Democrat he said.

Yes responded the other, but not right away; a man can't
change his politics every day. And besidesI don't need
you--there'd be nothing for you to do. And it's a long time to
election dayanyhow; and what are you going to do meantime?"

I thought I could count on you,began Jurgis.

Yes,responded Scullyso you could--I never yet went back on
a friend. But is it fair to leave the job I got you and come to
me for another? I have had a hundred fellows after me today,
and what can I do? I've put seventeen men on the city payroll to
clean streets this one week, and do you think I can keep that up
forever? It wouldn't do for me to tell other men what I tell
you, but you've been on the inside, and you ought to have sense
enough to see for yourself. What have you to gain by a strike?

I hadn't thought,said Jurgis.

Exactly,said Scullybut you'd better. Take my word for it,
the strike will be over in a few days, and the men will be
beaten; and meantime what you can get out of it will belong to
you. Do you see?

And Jurgis saw. He went back to the yardsand into the
workroom. The men had left a long line of hogs in various stages
of preparationand the foreman was directing the feeble efforts
of a score or two of clerks and stenographers and office boys to
finish up the job and get them into the chilling rooms. Jurgis
went straight up to him and announcedI have come back to work,
Mr. Murphy.

The boss's face lighted up. "Good man!" he cried. "Come ahead!"

Just a moment,said Jurgischecking his enthusiasm. "I think


I ought to get a little more wages."

Yes,replied the otherof course. What do you want?

Jurgis had debated on the way. His nerve almost failed him now
but he clenched his hands. "I think I ought to have' three
dollars a day he said.

All right said the other, promptly; and before the day was out
our friend discovered that the clerks and stenographers and
office boys were getting five dollars a day, and then he could
have kicked himself!

So Jurgis became one of the new American heroes a man whose
virtues merited comparison with those of the martyrs of Lexington
and Valley Forge. The resemblance was not complete, of course,
for Jurgis was generously paid and comfortably clad, and was
provided with a spring cot and a mattress and three substantial
meals a day; also he was perfectly at ease, and safe from all
peril of life and limb, save only in the case that a desire for
beer should lead him to venture outside of the stockyards gates.
And even in the exercise of this privilege he was not left
unprotected; a good part of the inadequate police force of
Chicago was suddenly diverted from its work of hunting criminals,
and rushed out to serve him. The police, and the strikers also,
were determined that there should be no violence; but there was
another party interested which was minded to the contrary--and
that was the press. On the first day of his life as a
strikebreaker Jurgis quit work early, and in a spirit of bravado
he challenged three men of his acquaintance to go outside and get
a drink. They accepted, and went through the big Halsted Street
gate, where several policemen were watching, and also some union
pickets, scanning sharply those who passed in and out. Jurgis
and his companions went south on Halsted Street; past the hotel,
and then suddenly half a dozen men started across the street
toward them and proceeded to argue with them concerning the error
of their ways. As the arguments were not taken in the proper
spirit, they went on to threats; and suddenly one of them jerked
off the hat of one of the four and flung it over the fence. The
man started after it, and then, as a cry of Scab!" was raised
and a dozen people came running out of saloons and doorways
a second man's heart failed him and he followed. Jurgis and the
fourth stayed long enough to give themselves the satisfaction of
a quick exchange of blowsand then theytootook to their
heels and fled back of the hotel and into the yards again.
Meantimeof coursepolicemen were coming on a runand as a
crowd gathered other police got excited and sent in a riot call.
Jurgis knew nothing of thisbut went back to "Packers' Avenue
and in front of the Central Time Station" he saw one of his
companionsbreathless and wild with excitementnarrating to an
ever growing throng how the four had been attacked and surrounded
by a howling moband had been nearly torn to pieces. While he
stood listeningsmiling cynicallyseveral dapper young men
stood by with notebooks in their handsand it was not more than
two hours later that Jurgis saw newsboys running about with
armfuls of newspapersprinted in red and black letters six
inches high:

VIOLENCE IN THE YARDS! STRIKEBREAKERS SURROUNDED BY FRENZIED MOB!

If he had been able to buy all of the newspapers of the United
States the next morninghe might have discovered that his
beer-hunting exploit was being perused by some two score millions


of peopleand had served as a text for editorials in half the
staid and solemn businessmen's newspapers in the land.

Jurgis was to see more of this as time passed. For the present
his work being overhe was free to ride into the cityby a
railroad direct from the yardsor else to spend the night in a
room where cots had been laid in rows. He chose the latter
but to his regretfor all night long gangs of strikebreakers kept
arriving. As very few of the better class of workingmen could be
got for such workthese specimens of the new American hero
contained an assortment of the criminals and thugs of the city
besides Negroes and the lowest foreigners-GreeksRoumanians
Siciliansand Slovaks. They had been attracted more by the
prospect of disorder thanby the big wages; and they made the
night hideous with singing and carousingand only went to sleep
when the time came for them to get up to work.

In the morning before Jurgis had finished his breakfastPat
Murphy ordered him to one of the superintendentswho questioned
him as to his experience in the work of the killing room. His
heart began to thump with excitementfor he divined instantly
that his hour had come--that he was to be a boss!

Some of the foremen were union membersand many who were not had
gone out with the men. It was in the killing department that the
packers had been left most in the lurchand precisely here that
they could least afford it; the smoking and canning and salting
of meat might waitand all the by-products might be wasted--but
fresh meats must be hador the restaurants and hotels and
brownstone houses would feel the pinchand then "public opinion"
would take a startling turn.

An opportunity such as this would not come twice to a man; and
Jurgis seized it. Yeshe knew the workthe whole of itand he
could teach it to others. But if he took the job and gave
satisfaction he would expect to keep it--they would not turn him
off at the end of the strike? To which the superintendent
replied that he might safely trust Durham's for that--they
proposed to teach these unions a lessonand most of all those
foremen who had gone back on them. Jurgis would receive five
dollars a day during the strikeand twenty-five a week after it
was settled.

So our friend got a pair of "slaughter pen" boots and "jeans
and flung himself at his task. It was a weird sight, there on
the killing beds--a throng of stupid black Negroes, and
foreigners who could not understand a word that was said to them,
mixed with pale-faced, hollow-chested bookkeepers and clerks,
half-fainting for the tropical heat and the sickening stench of
fresh blood--and all struggling to dress a dozen or two cattle in
the same place where, twenty-four hours ago, the old killing gang
had been speeding, with their marvelous precision, turning out
four hundred carcasses every hour!

The Negroes and the toughs" from the Levee did not want to work
and every few minutes some of them would feel obliged to retire
and recuperate. In a couple of days Durham and Company had
electric fans up to cool off the rooms for themand even couches
for them to rest on; and meantime they could go out and find a
shady corner and take a "snooze and as there was no place for
any one in particular, and no system, it might be hours before
their boss discovered them. As for the poor office employees,
they did their best, moved to it by terror; thirty of them had
been fired" in a bunch that first morning for refusing to serve


besides a number of women clerks and typewriters who had declined
to act as waitresses.

It was such a force as this that Jurgis had to organize. He did
his bestflying here and thereplacing them in rows and showing
them the tricks; he had never given an order in his life before
but he had taken enough of them to knowand he soon fell into
the spirit of itand roared and stormed like any old stager.
He had not the most tractable pupilshowever. "See hyarboss
a big black buck" would beginef you doan' like de way Ah does
dis job, you kin get somebody else to do it.Then a crowd would
gather and listenmuttering threats. After the first meal
nearly all the steel knives had been missingand now every Negro
had oneground to a fine pointhidden in his boots.

There was no bringing order out of such a chaosJurgis soon
discovered; and he fell in with the spirit of the thing--there
was no reason why he should wear himself out with shouting. If
hides and guts were slashed and rendered useless there was no way
of tracing it to any one; and if a man lay off and forgot to come
back there was nothing to be gained by seeking himfor all the
rest would quit in the meantime. Everything wentduring the
strikeand the packers paid. Before long Jurgis found that the
custom of resting had suggested to some alert minds the
possibility of registering at more than one place and earning
more than one five dollars a day. When he caught a man at this
he "fired" himbut it chanced to be in a quiet cornerand the
man tendered him a ten-dollar bill and a winkand he took them.
Of coursebefore long this custom spreadand Jurgis was soon
making quite a good income from it.

In the face of handicaps such as these the packers counted
themselves lucky if they could kill off the cattle that had been
crippled in transit and the hogs that had developed disease.
Frequentlyin the course of a two or three days' tripin hot
weather and without watersome hog would develop choleraand
die; and the rest would attack him before he had ceased kicking
and when the car was opened there would be nothing of him left
but the bones. If all the hogs in this carload were not killed
at oncethey would soon be down with the dread diseaseand
there would be nothing to do but make them into lard. It was the
same with cattle that were gored and dyingor were limping with
broken bones stuck through their flesh--they must be killedeven
if brokers and buyers and superintendents had to take off their
coats and help drive and cut and skin them. And meantimeagents
of the packers were gathering gangs of Negroes in the country
districts of the far Southpromising them five dollars a day and
boardand being careful not to mention there was a strike;
already carloads of them were on the waywith special rates from
the railroadsand all traffic ordered out of the way. Many
towns and cities were taking advantage of the chance to clear out
their jails and workhouses--in Detroit the magistrates would
release every man who agreed to leave town within twenty-four
hoursand agents of the packers were in the courtrooms to ship
them right. And meantime trainloads of supplies were coming in
for their accommodationincluding beer and whiskyso that they
might not be tempted to go outside. They hired thirty young
girls in Cincinnati to "pack fruit and when they arrived put
them at work canning corned beef, and put cots for them to sleep
in a public hallway, through which the men passed. As the gangs
came in day and night, under the escort of squads of police,
they stowed away in unused workrooms and storerooms, and in the car
sheds, crowded so closely together that the cots touched. In
some places they would use the same room for eating and sleeping,


and at night the men would put their cots upon the tables, to
keep away from the swarms of rats.

But with all their best efforts, the packers were demoralized.
Ninety per cent of the men had walked out; and they faced the
task of completely remaking their labor force--and with the price
of meat up thirty per cent, and the public clamoring for a
settlement. They made an offer to submit the whole question at
issue to arbitration; and at the end of ten days the unions
accepted it, and the strike was called off. It was agreed that
all the men were to be re-employed within forty-five days, and
that there was to be no discrimination against union men."

This was an anxious time for Jurgis. If the men were taken back
without discrimination,he would lose his present place. He
sought out the superintendentwho smiled grimly and bade him
wait and see.Durham's strikebreakers were few of them leaving.

Whether or not the "settlement" was simply a trick of the packers
to gain timeor whether they really expected to break the strike
and cripple the unions by the plancannot be said; but that
night there went out from the office of Durham and Company a
telegram to all the big packing centersEmploy no union
leaders.And in the morningwhen the twenty thousand men
thronged into the yardswith their dinner pails and working
clothesJurgis stood near the door of the hog-trimming room
where he had worked before the strikeand saw a throng of eager
menwith a score or two of policemen watching them; and he saw a
superintendent come out and walk down the lineand pick out man
after man that pleased him; and one after another cameand there
were some men up near the head of the line who were never
picked--they being the union stewards and delegatesand the men
Jurgis had heard making speeches at the meetings. Each timeof
coursethere were louder murmurings and angrier looks. Over

where the cattle butchers were waitingJurgis heard shouts and
saw a crowdand he hurried there. One big butcherwho was
president of the Packing Trades Councilhad been passed over
five timesand the men were wild with rage; they had appointed a
committee of three to go in and see the superintendentand the
committee had made three attemptsand each time the police had
clubbed them back from the door. Then there were yells and
hootscontinuing until at last the superintendent came to the
door. "We all go back or none of us do!" cried a hundred voices.
And the other shook his fist at themand shoutedYou went out
of here like cattle, and like cattle you'll come back!

Then suddenly the big butcher president leaped upon a pile of
stones and yelled: "It's offboys. We'll all of us quit again!"
And so the cattle butchers declared a new strike on the spot;
and gathering their members from the other plantswhere the same
trick had been playedthey marched down Packers' Avenuewhich
was thronged with a dense mass of workerscheering wildly. Men
who had already got to work on the killing beds dropped their
tools and joined them; some galloped here and there on horseback
shouting the tidingsand within half an hour the whole of
Packingtown was on strike againand beside itself with fury.

There was quite a different tone in Packingtown after this--the
place was a seething caldron of passionand the "scab" who
ventured into it fared badly. There were one or two of these
incidents each daythe newspapers detailing themand always
blaming them upon the unions. Yet ten years beforewhen there
were no unions in Packingtownthere was a strikeand national


troops had to be calledand there were pitched battles fought at
nightby the light of blazing freight trains. Packingtown was
always a center of violence; in "Whisky Point where there were
a hundred saloons and one glue factory, there was always
fighting, and always more of it in hot weather. Any one who had
taken the trouble to consult the station house blotter would have
found that there was less violence that summer than ever
before--and this while twenty thousand men were out of work,
and with nothing to do all day but brood upon bitter wrongs.
There was no one to picture the battle the union leaders were
fighting--to hold this huge army in rank, to keep it from
straggling and pillaging, to cheer and encourage and guide a
hundred thousand people, of a dozen different tongues, through
six long weeks of hunger and disappointment and despair.

Meantime the packers had set themselves definitely to the task of
making a new labor force. A thousand or two of strikebreakers
were brought in every night, and distributed among the various
plants. Some of them were experienced workers,--butchers,
salesmen, and managers from the packers' branch stores, and a few
union men who had deserted from other cities; but the vast
majority were green" Negroes from the cotton districts of the
far Southand they were herded into the packing plants like
sheep. There was a law forbidding the use of buildings as
lodginghouses unless they were licensed for the purpose
and provided with proper windowsstairwaysand fire escapes;
but herein a "paint room reached only by an enclosed chute
a room without a single window and only one door, a hundred men
were crowded upon mattresses on the floor. Up on the third story
of the hog house" of Jones's was a storeroomwithout a window
into which they crowded seven hundred mensleeping upon the bare
springs of cotsand with a second shift to use them by day. And
when the clamor of the public led to an investigation into these
conditionsand the mayor of the city was forced to order the
enforcement of the lawthe packers got a judge to issue an
injunction forbidding him to do it!

Just at this time the mayor was boasting that he had put an end
to gambling and prize fighting in the city; but here a swarm of
professional gamblers had leagued themselves with the police to
fleece the strikebreakers; and any nightin the big open space
in front of Brown'sone might see brawny Negroes stripped to the
waist and pounding each other for moneywhile a howling throng
of three or four thousand surged aboutmen and womenyoung
white girls from the country rubbing elbows with big buck Negroes
with daggers in their bootswhile rows of woolly heads peered
down from every window of the surrounding factories. The
ancestors of these black people had been savages in Africa; and
since then they had been chattel slavesor had been held down by
a community ruled by the traditions of slavery. Now for the
first time they were free--free to gratify every passionfree to
wreck themselves. They were wanted to break a strikeand when
it was broken they would be shipped awayand their present
masters would never see them again; and so whisky and women were
brought in by the carload and sold to themand hell was let
loose in the yards. Every night there were stabbings and
shootings; it was said that the packers had blank permitswhich
enabled them to ship dead bodies from the city without troubling
the authorities. They lodged men and women on the same floor;
and with the night there began a saturnalia of debauchery--scenes
such as never before had been witnessed in America. And as the
women were the dregs from the brothels of Chicagoand the men
were for the most part ignorant country Negroesthe nameless
diseases of vice were soon rife; and this where food was being


handled which was sent out to every corner of the civilized
world.

The "Union Stockyards" were never a pleasant place; but now they
were not only a collection of slaughterhousesbut also the
camping place of an army of fifteen or twenty thousand human
beasts. All day long the blazing midsummer sun beat down upon
that square mile of abominations: upon tens of thousands of
cattle crowded into pens whose wooden floors stank and steamed
contagion; upon bareblisteringcinder-strewn railroad tracks
and huge blocks of dingy meat factorieswhose labyrinthine
passages defied a breath of fresh air to penetrate them; and
there were not merely rivers of hot bloodand car-loads of moist
fleshand rendering vats and soap caldronsglue factories and
fertilizer tanksthat smelt like the craters of hell--there were
also tons of garbage festering in the sunand the greasy laundry
of the workers hung out to dryand dining rooms littered with
food and black with fliesand toilet rooms that were open sewers.

And then at nightwhen this throng poured out into the streets
to play--fightinggamblingdrinking and carousingcursing and
screaminglaughing and singingplaying banjoes and dancing!
They were worked in the yards all the seven days of the weekand
they had their prize fights and crap games on Sunday nights as
well; but then around the corner one might see a bonfire blazing
and an oldgray-headed Negresslean and witchlikeher hair
flying wild and her eyes blazingyelling and chanting of the
fires of perdition and the blood of the "Lamb while men and
women lay down upon the ground and moaned and screamed in
convulsions of terror and remorse.

Such were the stockyards during the strike; while the unions
watched in sullen despair, and the country clamored like a greedy
child for its food, and the packers went grimly on their way.
Each day they added new workers, and could be more stern with the
old ones--could put them on piecework, and dismiss them if they
did not keep up the pace. Jurgis was now one of their agents in
this process; and he could feel the change day by day, like the
slow starting up of a huge machine. He had gotten used to being
a master of men; and because of the stifling heat and the stench,
and the fact that he was a scab" and knew it and despised
himself. He was drinkingand developing a villainous temper
and he stormed and cursed and raged at his menand drove them
until they were ready to drop with exhaustion.

Then one day late in Augusta superintendent ran into the place
and shouted to Jurgis and his gang to drop their work and come.
They followed him outsideto wherein the midst of a dense
throngthey saw several two-horse trucks waitingand three
patrol-wagon loads of police. Jurgis and his men sprang upon one
of the trucksand the driver yelled to the crowdand they went
thundering away at a gallop. Some steers had just escaped from
the yardsand the strikers had got hold of themand there would
be the chance of a scrap!

They went out at the Ashland Avenue gateand over in the
direction of the "dump." There was a yell as soon as they were
sightedmen and women rushing out of houses and saloons as they
galloped by. There were eight or ten policemen on the truck
howeverand there was no disturbance until they came to a place
where the street was blocked with a dense throng. Those on the
flying truck yelled a warning and the crowd scattered pell-mell
disclosing one of the steers lying in its blood. There were a


good many cattle butchers about just thenwith nothing much to
doand hungry children at home; and so some one had knocked out
the steer--and as a first-class man can kill and dress one in a
couple of minutesthere were a good many steaks and roasts
already missing. This called for punishmentof course; and the
police proceeded to administer it by leaping from the truck and
cracking at every head they saw. There were yells of rage and
painand the terrified people fled into houses and stores
or scattered helter-skelter down the street. Jurgis and his gang
joined in the sportevery man singling out his victimand
striving to bring him to bay and punch him. If he fled into a
house his pursuer would smash in the flimsy door and follow him
up the stairshitting every one who came within reachand
finally dragging his squealing quarry from under a bed or a pile
of old clothes in a closet.

Jurgis and two policemen chased some men into a bar-room. One of
them took shelter behind the barwhere a policeman cornered him
and proceeded to whack him over the back and shouldersuntil he
lay down and gave a chance at his head. The others leaped a
fence in the rearbalking the second policemanwho was fat;
and as he came backfurious and cursinga big Polish woman
the owner of the saloonrushed in screamingand received a poke in
the stomach that doubled her up on the floor. Meantime Jurgis
who was of a practical temperwas helping himself at the bar;
and the first policemanwho had laid out his manjoined him
handing out several more bottlesand filling his pockets
besidesand thenas he started to leavecleaning off all the
balance with a sweep of his club. The din of the glass crashing
to the floor brought the fat Polish woman to her feet again
but another policeman came up behind her and put his knee into
her back and his hands over her eyes--and then called to his
companionwho went back and broke open the cash drawer and
filled his pockets with the contents. Then the three went
outsideand the man who was holding the woman gave her a shove
and dashed out himself. The gang having already got the carcass
on to the truckthe party set out at a trotfollowed by screams
and cursesand a shower of bricks and stones from unseen
enemies. These bricks and stones would figure in the accounts of
the "riot" which would be sent out to a few thousand newspapers
within an hour or two; but the episode of the cash drawer would
never be mentioned againsave only in the heartbreaking legends
of Packingtown.

It was late in the afternoon when they got backand they dressed
out the remainder of the steerand a couple of others that had
been killedand then knocked off for the day. Jurgis went
downtown to supperwith three friends who had been on the other
trucksand they exchanged reminiscences on the way. Afterward
they drifted into a roulette parlorand Jurgiswho was never
lucky at gamblingdropped about fifteen dollars. To console
himself he had to drink a good dealand he went back to
Packingtown about two o'clock in the morningvery much the worse
for his excursionandit must be confessedentirely deserving
the calamity that was in store for him.

As he was going to the place where he slepthe met a painted-
cheeked woman in a greasy "kimono and she put her arm about his
waist to steady him; they turned into a dark room they were
passing--but scarcely had they taken two steps before suddenly a
door swung open, and a man entered, carrying a lantern. Who's
there?" he called sharply. And Jurgis started to mutter some
reply; but at the same instant the man raised his lightwhich


flashed in his faceso that it was possible to recognize him.
Jurgis stood stricken dumband his heart gave a leap like a mad
thing. The man was Connor!

Connorthe boss of the loading gang! The man who had seduced
his wife--who had sent him to prisonand wrecked his home
ruined his life! He stood therestaringwith the light shining
full upon him.

Jurgis had often thought of Connor since coming back to
Packingtownbut it had been as of something far offthat no
longer concerned him. Nowhoweverwhen he saw himalive and
in the fleshthe same thing happened to him that had happened
before--a flood of rage boiled up in hima blind frenzy seized
him. And he flung himself at the manand smote him between the
eyes--and thenas he fellseized him by the throat and began to
pound his head upon the stones.

The woman began screamingand people came rushing in. The
lantern had been upset and extinguishedand it was so dark they
could not see a thing; but they could hear Jurgis pantingand
hear the thumping of his victim's skulland they rushed there
and tried to pull him off. Precisely as beforeJurgis came away
with a piece of his enemy's flesh between his teeth; and
as beforehe went on fighting with those who had interfered with
himuntil a policeman had come and beaten him into
insensibility.

And so Jurgis spent the balance of the night in the stockyards
station house. This timehoweverhe had money in his pocket
and when he came to his senses he could get something to drink
and also a messenger to take word of his plight to "Bush" Harper.
Harper did not appearhoweveruntil after the prisonerfeeling
very weak and illhad been hailed into court and remanded at
five hundred dollars' bail to await the result of his victim's
injuries. Jurgis was wild about thisbecause a different
magistrate had chanced to be on the benchand he had stated that
he had never been arrested beforeand also that he had been
attacked first--and if only someone had been there to speak a
good word for himhe could have been let off at once.

But Harper explained that he had been downtownand had not got
the message. "What's happened to you?" he asked.

I've been doing a fellow up,said Jurgisand I've got to get
five hundred dollars' bail.

I can arrange that all right,said the other--"though it may
cost you a few dollarsof course. But what was the trouble?"

It was a man that did me a mean trick once,answered Jurgis.

Who is he?

He's a foreman in Brown's or used to be. His name's Connor.

And the other gave a start. "Connor!" he cried. "Not Phil
Connor!"

Yes,said Jurgisthat's the fellow. Why?

Good God!exclaimed the other''then you're in for itold
man! I can't help you!"


Not help me! Why not?

Why, he's one of Scully's biggest men--he's a member of the
War-Whoop League, and they talked of sending him to the
legislature! Phil Connor! Great heavens!

Jurgis sat dumb with dismay.

Why, he can send you to Joliet, if he wants to!declared the
other.

Can't I have Scully get me off before he finds out about it?
asked Jurgisat length.

But Scully's out of town,the other answered. "I don't even
know where he is--he's run away to dodge the strike."

That was a pretty messindeed. Poor Jurgis sat half-dazed. His
pull had run up against a bigger pulland he was down and out!
But what am I going to do?'' he asked, weakly.

How should I know?" said the other. "I shouldn't even dare to
get bail for you--whyI might ruin myself for life!"

Again there was silence. "Can't you do it for me Jurgis asked,
and pretend that you didn't know who I'd hit?"

But what good would that do you when you came to stand trial?
asked Harper. Then he sat buried in thought for a minute or two.
There's nothing--unless it's this,he said. "I could have your
bail reduced; and then if you had the money you could pay it and
skip."

How much will it be?Jurgis askedafter he had had this
explained more in detail.

I don't know,said the other. "How much do you own?"

I've got about three hundred dollars,was the answer.

Well,was Harper's replyI'm not sure, but I'll try and get
you off for that. I'll take the risk for friendship's sake--for
I'd hate to see you sent to state's prison for a year or two.

And so finally Jurgis ripped out his bankbook--which was sewed up
in his trousers--and signed an orderwhich "Bush" Harper wrote
for all the money to be paid out. Then the latter went and got
itand hurried to the courtand explained to the magistrate
that Jurgis was a decent fellow and a friend of Scully'swho had
been attacked by a strike-breaker. So the bail was reduced to
three hundred dollarsand Harper went on it himself; he did not
tell this to Jurgishowever--nor did he tell him that when the
time for trial came it would be an easy matter for him to avoid
the forfeiting of the bailand pocket the three hundred dollars
as his reward for the risk of offending Mike Scully! All that he
told Jurgis was that he was now freeand that the best thing he
could do was to clear out as quickly as possible; and so Jurgis
overwhelmed with gratitude and relieftook the dollar and
fourteen cents that was left him out of all his bank account
and put it with the two dollars and quarter that was left from his
last night's celebrationand boarded a streetcar and got off at
the other end of Chicago.


Chapter 27

Poor Jurgis was now an outcast and a tramp once more. He was
crippled--he was as literally crippled as any wild animal which
has lost its clawsor been torn out of its shell. He had been
shornat one cutof all those mysterious weapons whereby he had
been able to make a living easily and to escape the consequences
of his actions. He could no longer command a job when he wanted
it; he could no longer steal with impunity--he must take his
chances with the common herd. Nay worsehe dared not mingle
with the herd--he must hide himselffor he was one marked out
for destruction. His old companions would betray himfor the
sake of the influence they would gain thereby; and he would be
made to suffernot merely for the offense he had committed
but for others which would be laid at his doorjust as had been
done for some poor devil on the occasion of that assault upon the
country customerby him and Duane.

And also he labored under another handicap now. He had acquired
new standards of livingwhich were not easily to be altered.
When he had been out of work beforehe had been content if he
could sleep in a doorway or under a truck out of the rainand if
he could get fifteen cents a day for saloon lunches. But now he
desired all sorts of other thingsand suffered because he had to
do without them. He must have a drink now and thena drink for
its own sakeand apart from the food that came with it. The
craving for it was strong enough to master every other
consideration--he would have itthough it were his last nickel
and he had to starve the balance of the day in consequence.

Jurgis became once more a besieger of factory gates. But never
since he had been in Chicago had he stood less chance of getting
a job than just then. For one thingthere was the economic
crisisthe million or two of men who had been out of work in the
spring and summerand were not yet all backby any means. And
then there was the strikewith seventy thousand men and women
all over the country idle for a couple of months--twenty thousand
in Chicagoand many of them now seeking work throughout the
city. It did not remedy matters that a few days later the strike
was given up and about half the strikers went back to work;
for every one taken onthere was a "scab" who gave up and fled.
The ten or fifteen thousand "green" Negroesforeignersand
criminals were now being turned loose to shift for themselves.
Everywhere Jurgis went he kept meeting themand he was in an
agony of fear lest some one of them should know that he was
wanted.He would have left Chicagoonly by the time he had
realized his danger he was almost penniless; and it would be
better to go to jail than to be caught out in the country in the
winter time.

At the end of about ten days Jurgis had only a few pennies left;
and he had not yet found a job--not even a day's work at
anythingnot a chance to carry a satchel. Once againas when
he had come out of the hospitalhe was bound hand and footand
facing the grisly phantom of starvation. Rawnaked terror
possessed hima maddening passion that would never leave him
and that wore him down more quickly than the actual want of food.
He was going to die of hunger! The fiend reached out its scaly
arms for him--it touched himits breath came into his face; and
he would cry out for the awfulness of ithe would wake up in the
nightshudderingand bathed in perspirationand start up and
flee. He would walkbegging for workuntil he was exhausted;


he could not remain still--he would wander ongaunt and haggard
gazing about him with restless eyes. Everywhere he wentfrom
one end of the vast city to the otherthere were hundreds of
others like him; everywhere was the sight of plenty and the
merciless hand of authority waving them away. There is one kind
of prison where the man is behind barsand everything that he
desires is outside; and there is another kind where the things
are behind the barsand the man is outside.

When he was down to his last quarterJurgis learned that before
the bakeshops closed at night they sold out what was left at half
priceand after that he would go and get two loaves of stale
bread for a nickeland break them up and stuff his pockets with
themmunching a bit from time to time. He would not spend a
penny save for this; andafter two or three days morehe even
became sparing of the breadand would stop and peer into the ash
barrels as he walked along the streetsand now and then rake out
a bit of somethingshake it free from dustand count himself
just so many minutes further from the end.

So for several days he had been going aboutravenous all the
timeand growing weaker and weakerand then one morning he had
a hideous experiencethat almost broke his heart. He was
passing down a street lined with warehousesand a boss offered
him a joband thenafter he had started to workturned him off
because he was not strong enough. And he stood by and saw
another man put into his placeand then picked up his coatand
walked offdoing all that he could to keep from breaking down
and crying like a baby. He was lost! He was doomed! There was
no hope for him! But thenwith a sudden rushhis fear gave
place to rage. He fell to cursing. He would come back there
after darkand he would show that scoundrel whether he was good
for anything or not!

He was still muttering this when suddenlyat the cornerhe came
upon a green-grocerywith a tray full of cabbages in front of
it. Jurgisafter one swift glance about himstooped and seized
the biggest of themand darted round the corner with it. There
was a hue and cryand a score of men and boys started in chase
of him; but he came to an alleyand then to another branching
off from it and leading him into another streetwhere he fell
into a walkand slipped his cabbage under his coat and went off
unsuspected in the crowd. When he had gotten a safe distance
away he sat down and devoured half the cabbage rawstowing the
balance away in his pockets till the next day.

Just about this time one of the Chicago newspaperswhich made
much of the "common people opened a free-soup kitchen" for the
benefit of the unemployed. Some people said that they did this
for the sake of the advertising it gave themand some others
said that their motive was a fear lest all their readers should
be starved off; but whatever the reasonthe soup was thick and
hotand there was a bowl for every manall night long. When
Jurgis heard of thisfrom a fellow "hobo he vowed that he
would have half a dozen bowls before morning; but, as it proved,
he was lucky to get one, for there was a line of men two blocks
long before the stand, and there was just as long a line when the
place was finally closed up.

This depot was within the danger line for Jurgis--in the Levee"
districtwhere he was known; but he went thereall the same
for he was desperateand beginning to think of even the
Bridewell as a place of refuge. So far the weather had been
fairand he had slept out every night in a vacant lot; but now


there fell suddenly a shadow of the advancing wintera chill
wind from the north and a driving storm of rain. That day Jurgis
bought two drinks for the sake of the shelterand at night he
spent his last two pennies in a "stale-beer dive." This was a
place kept by a Negrowho went out and drew off the old dregs of
beer that lay in barrels set outside of the saloons; and after he
had doctored it with chemicals to make it "fizz he sold it for
two cents a can, the purchase of a can including the privilege of
sleeping the night through upon the floor, with a mass of
degraded outcasts, men and women.

All these horrors afflicted Jurgis all the more cruelly, because
he was always contrasting them with the opportunities he had
lost. For instance, just now it was election time again--within
five or six weeks the voters of the country would select a
President; and he heard the wretches with whom he associated
discussing it, and saw the streets of the city decorated with
placards and banners--and what words could describe the pangs of
grief and despair that shot through him?

For instance, there was a night during this cold spell. He had
begged all day, for his very life, and found not a soul to heed
him, until toward evening he saw an old lady getting off a
streetcar and helped her down with her umbrellas and bundles and
then told her his hard-luck story and after answering all her
suspicious questions satisfactorily, was taken to a restaurant
and saw a quarter paid down for a meal. And so he had soup and
bread, and boiled beef and potatoes and beans, and pie and
coffee, and came out with his skin stuffed tight as a football.
And then, through the rain and the darkness, far down the street
he saw red lights flaring and heard the thumping of a bass drum;
and his heart gave a leap, and he made for the place on the
run--knowing without the asking that it meant a political
meeting.

The campaign had so far been characterized by what the newspapers
termed apathy." For some reason the people refused to get
excited over the struggleand it was almost impossible to get
them to come to meetingsor to make any noise when they did
come. Those which had been held in Chicago so far had proven
most dismal failuresand tonightthe speaker being no less a
personage than a candidate for the vice-presidency of the nation
the political managers had been trembling with anxiety. But a
merciful providence had sent this storm of cold rain--and now all
it was necessary to do was to set off a few fireworksand thump
awhile on a drumand all the homeless wretches from a mile
around would pour in and fill the hall! And then on the morrow
the newspapers would have a chance to report the tremendous
ovationand to add that it had been no "silk-stocking" audience
eitherproving clearly that the high tariff sentiments of the
distinguished candidate were pleasing to the wage-earners of the
nation.

So Jurgis found himself in a large hallelaborately decorated
with flags and bunting; and after the chairman had made his
little speechand the orator of the evening rose upamid an
uproar from the band--only fancy the emotions of Jurgis upon
making the discovery that the personage was none other than the
famous and eloquent Senator Spareshankswho had addressed the
Doyle Republican Associationat the stockyardsand helped to
elect Mike Scully's tenpin setter to the Chicago Board of
Aldermen!

In truththe sight of the senator almost brought the tears into


Jurgis's eyes. What agony it was to him to look back upon those
golden hourswhen hetoohad a place beneath the shadow of the
plum tree! When hetoohad been of the electthrough whom the
country is governed--when he had had a bung in the campaign
barrel for his own! And this was another election in which the
Republicans had all the money; and but for that one hideous
accident he might have had a share of itinstead of being where
he was!

The eloquent senator was explaining the system of protection; an
ingenious device whereby the workingman permitted the
manufacturer to charge him higher pricesin order that he might
receive higher wages; thus taking his money out of his pocket
with one handand putting a part of it back with the other.
To the senator this unique arrangement had somehow become identified
with the higher verities of the universe. It was because of it
that Columbia was the gem of the ocean; and all her future
triumphsher power and good repute among the nationsdepended
upon the zeal and fidelity with which each citizen held up the
hands of those who were toiling to maintain it. The name of this
heroic company was "the Grand Old Party"-


And here the band began to playand Jurgis sat up with a violent
start. Singular as it may seemJurgis was making a desperate
effort to understand what the senator was saying--to comprehend
the extent of American prosperitythe enormous expansion of
American commerceand the Republic's future in the Pacific and
in South Americaand wherever else the oppressed were groaning.
The reason for it was that he wanted to keep awake. He knew that
if he allowed himself to fall asleep he would begin to snore
loudly; and so he must listen--he must be interested! But he had
eaten such a big dinnerand he was so exhaustedand the hall
was so warmand his seat was so comfortable! The senator's
gaunt form began to grow dim and hazyto tower before him and
dance aboutwith figures of exports and imports. Once his
neighbor gave him a savage poke in the ribsand he sat up with a
start and tried to look innocent; but then he was at it again
and men began to stare at him with annoyanceand to call out in
vexation. Finally one of them called a policemanwho came and
grabbed Jurgis by the collarand jerked him to his feet
bewildered and terrified. Some of the audience turned to see the
commotionand Senator Spareshanks faltered in his speech; but a
voice shouted cheerily: "We're just firing a bum! Go aheadold
sport!" And so the crowd roaredand the senator smiled genially
and went on; and in a few seconds poor Jurgis found himself
landed out in the rainwith a kick and a string of curses.

He got into the shelter of a doorway and took stock of himself.
He was not hurtand he was not arrested--more than he had any
right to expect. He swore at himself and his luck for a while
and then turned his thoughts to practical matters. He had no
moneyand no place to sleep; he must begin begging again.

He went outhunching his shoulders together and shivering at the
touch of the icy rain. Coming down the street toward him was a
ladywell dressedand protected by an umbrella; and he turned
and walked beside her. "Pleasema'am he began, could you
lend me the price of a night's lodging? I'm a poor workingman--"


Thensuddenlyhe stopped short. By the light of a street lamp
he had caught sight of the lady's face. He knew her.


It was Alena Jasaitytewho had been the belle of his wedding
feast! Alena Jasaitytewho had looked so beautifuland danced
with such a queenly airwith Juozas Racziusthe teamster!
Jurgis had only seen her once or twice afterwardfor Juozas had
thrown her over for another girland Alena had gone away from
Packingtownno one knew where. And now he met her here!

She was as much surprised as he was. "Jurgis Rudkus!" she
gasped. "And what in the world is the matter with you?"

I--I've had hard luck,he stammered. "I'm out of workand
I've no home and no money. And youAlena--are you married?"

No,she answeredI'm not married, but I've got a good place.

They stood staring at each other for a few moments longer.
Finally Alena spoke again. "Jurgis she said, I'd help you if
I couldupon my word I wouldbut it happens that I've come out
without my purseand I honestly haven't a penny with me: I can
do something better for youthough--I can tell you how to get
help. I can tell you where Marija is."

Jurgis gave a start. "Marija!" he exclaimed.

Yes,said Alena; "and she'll help you. She's got a place
and she's doing well; she'll be glad to see you."

It was not much more than a year since Jurgis had left
Packingtownfeeling like one escaped from jail; and it had been
from Marija and Elzbieta that he was escaping. But nowat the
mere mention of themhis whole being cried out with joy. He
wanted to see them; he wanted to go home! They would help
him--they would be kind to him. In a flash he had thought over
the situation. He had a good excuse for running away--his grief
at the death of his son; and also he had a good excuse for not
returning--the fact that they had left Packingtown. "All right
he said, I'll go."

So she gave him a number on Clark StreetaddingThere's no
need to give you my address, because Marija knows it.And Jurgis
set outwithout further ado. He found a large brownstone house
of aristocratic appearanceand rang the basement bell. A young
colored girl came to the dooropening it about an inch
and gazing at him suspiciously.

What do you want?she demanded.

Does Marija Berczynskas live here?he inquired.

I dunno,said the girl. "What you want wid her?"

I want to see her,said he; "she's a relative of mine."

The girl hesitated a moment. Then she opened the door and said
Come in.Jurgis came and stood in the halland she continued:
I'll go see. What's yo' name?

Tell her it's Jurgis,he answeredand the girl went upstairs.
She came back at the end of a minute or twoand repliedDey
ain't no sich person here.

Jurgis's heart went down into his boots. "I was told this was
where she lived!" he cried. But the girl only shook her head.
De lady says dey ain't no sich person here,she said.


And he stood for a momenthesitatinghelpless with dismay.
Then he turned to go to the door. At the same instanthowever
there came a knock upon itand the girl went to open it. Jurgis
heard the shuffling of feetand then heard her give a cry;
and the next moment she sprang backand past himher eyes shining
white with terrorand bounded up the stairwayscreaming at the
top of her lungs: "Police! Police! We're pinched!"


Jurgis stood for a secondbewildered. Thenseeing blue-coated
forms rushing upon himhe sprang after the Negress. Her cries
had been the signal for a wild uproar above; the house was full
of peopleand as he entered the hallway he saw them rushing
hither and thithercrying and screaming with alarm. There were
men and womenthe latter clad for the most part in wrappers
the former in all stages of dishabille. At one side Jurgis caught a
glimpse of a big apartment with plush-covered chairsand tables
covered with trays and glasses. There were playing cards
scattered all over the floor--one of the tables had been upset
and bottles of wine were rolling abouttheir contents running
out upon the carpet. There was a young girl who had fainted
and two men who were supporting her; and there were a dozen others
crowding toward the front door.


Suddenlyhoweverthere came a series of resounding blows upon
itcausing the crowd to give back. At the same instant a stout
womanwith painted cheeks and diamonds in her earscame running
down the stairspanting breathlessly: "To the rear! Quick!"


She led the way to a back staircaseJurgis following; in the
kitchen she pressed a springand a cupboard gave way and opened
disclosing a dark passageway. "Go in!" she cried to the crowd
which now amounted to twenty or thirtyand they began to pass
through. Scarcely had the last one disappearedhoweverbefore
there were cries from in frontand then the panic-stricken
throng poured out againexclaiming: "They're there too! We're
trapped!"


Upstairs!cried the womanand there was another rush of the
mobwomen and men cursing and screaming and fighting to be
first. One flighttwothree--and then there was a ladder to
the roofwith a crowd packed at the foot of itand one man at
the topstraining and struggling to lift the trap door. It was
not to be stirredhoweverand when the woman shouted up to
unhook ithe answered: "It's already unhooked. There's somebody
sitting on it!"


And a moment later came a voice from downstairs: "You might as
well quityou people. We mean businessthis time."


So the crowd subsided; and a few moments later several policemen
came upstaring here and thereand leering at their victims.
Of the latter the men were for the most part frightened and
sheepish-looking. The women took it as a jokeas if they were
used to it--though if they had been paleone could not have
toldfor the paint on their cheeks. One black-eyed young girl
perched herself upon the top of the balustradeand began to kick
with her slippered foot at the helmets of the policemenuntil
one of them caught her by the ankle and pulled her down. On the
floor below four or five other girls sat upon trunks in the hall
making fun of the procession which filed by them. They were
noisy and hilariousand had evidently been drinking; one of
themwho wore a bright red kimonoshouted and screamed in a
voice that drowned out all the other sounds in the hall--and



Jurgis took a glance at herand then gave a startand a cry
Marija!

She heard himand glanced around; then she shrank back and half
sprang to her feet in amazement. "Jurgis!" she gasped.

For a second or two they stood staring at each other. "How did
you come here?" Marija exclaimed.

I came to see you,he answered.

When?

Just now.

But how did you know--who told you I was here?

Alena Jasaityte. I met her on the street.

Again there was a silencewhile they gazed at each other. The
rest of the crowd was watching themand so Marija got up and
came closer to him. "And you?" Jurgis asked. "You live here?"

Yes,said MarijaI live here.Then suddenly came a hail from
below: "Get your clothes on nowgirlsand come along. You'd
best beginor you'll be sorry--it's raining outside."

Br-r-r!shivered some oneand the women got up and entered the
various doors which lined the hallway.

Come,said Marijaand took Jurgis into her roomwhich was a
tiny place about eight by sixwith a cot and a chair and a
dressing stand and some dresses hanging behind the door. There
were clothes scattered about on the floorand hopeless confusion
everywhere--boxes of rouge and bottles of perfume mixed with hats
and soiled dishes on the dresserand a pair of slippers and a
clock and a whisky bottle on a chair.

Marija had nothing on but a kimono and a pair of stockings;
yet she proceeded to dress before Jurgisand without even taking the
trouble to close the door. He had by this time divined what sort
of a place he was in; and he had seen a great deal of the world
since he had left homeand was not easy to shock--and yet it
gave him a painful start that Marija should do this. They had
always been decent people at homeand it seemed to him that the
memory of old times ought to have ruled her. But then he laughed
at himself for a fool. What was heto be pretending to decency!

How long have you been living here?he asked.

Nearly a year,she answered.

Why did you come?

I had to live,she said; "and I couldn't see the children
starve."

He paused for a momentwatching her. "You were out of work?" he
askedfinally.

I got sick,she replied. "and after that I had no money. And
then Stanislovas died--"

Stanislovas dead!


Yes,said MarijaI forgot. You didn't know about it.

How did he die?

Rats killed him,she answered.

Jurgis gave a gasp. "Rats killed him!"

Yes,said the other; she was bending overlacing her shoes as
she spoke. "He was working in an oil factory--at least he was
hired by the men to get their beer. He used to carry cans on a
long pole; and he'd drink a little out of each canand one day
he drank too muchand fell asleep in a cornerand got locked up
in the place all night. When they found him the rats had killed
him and eaten him nearly all up."


Jurgis satfrozen with horror. Marija went on lacing up her
shoes. There was a long silence.


Suddenly a big policeman came to the door. "Hurry upthere he
said.


As quick as I can said Marija, and she stood up and began
putting on her corsets with feverish haste.


Are the rest of the people alive?" asked Jurgisfinally.


Yes,she said.


Where are they?


They live not far from here. They're all right now.


They are working?he inquired.


Elzbieta is,said Marijawhen she can. I take care of them
most of the time--I'm making plenty of money now.


Jurgis was silent for a moment. "Do they know you live here--how
you live?" he asked.


Elzbieta knows,answered Marija. "I couldn't lie to her. And
maybe the children have found out by this time. It's nothing to
be ashamed of--we can't help it."


And Tamoszius?he asked. "Does he know?"


Marija shrugged her shoulders. "How do I know?" she said.
I haven't seen him for over a year. He got blood poisoning and
lost one finger, and couldn't play the violin any more; and then
he went away.


Marija was standing in front of the glass fastening her dress.
Jurgis sat staring at her. He could hardly believe that she was
the same woman he had known in the old days; she was so quiet--so
hard! It struck fear to his heart to watch her.


Then suddenly she gave a glance at him. "You look as if you had
been having a rough time of it yourself she said.


I have he answered. I haven't a cent in my pocketsand
nothing to do."



Where have you been?

All over. I've been hoboing it. Then I went back to the
yards--just before the strike.He paused for a moment
hesitating. "I asked for you he added. I found you had gone
awayno one knew where. Perhaps you think I did you a dirty
trick. running away as I didMarija--"

No,she answeredI don't blame you. We never have--any of
us. You did your best--the job was too much for us.She paused
a momentthen added: "We were too ignorant--that was the
trouble. We didn't stand any chance. If I'd known what I know
now we'd have won out."

You'd have come here?said Jurgis.

Yes,she answered; "but that's not what I meant. I meant
you--how differently you would have behaved--about Ona."

Jurgis was silent; he had never thought of that aspect of it.

When people are starving,the other continuedand they have
anything with a price, they ought to sell it, I say. I guess you
realize it now when it's too late. Ona could have taken care of
us all, in the beginning.Marija spoke without emotionas one
who had come to regard things from the business point of view.

I--yes, I guess so,Jurgis answered hesitatingly. He did not
add that he had paid three hundred dollarsand a foreman's job
for the satisfaction of knocking down "Phil" Connor a second
time.

The policeman came to the door again just then. "Come onnow
he said. Lively!"

All right,said Marijareaching for her hatwhich was big
enough to be a drum major'sand full of ostrich feathers.
She went out into the hall and Jurgis followedthe policeman
remaining to look under the bed and behind the door

What's going to come of this?Jurgis askedas they started
down the steps.

The raid, you mean? Oh, nothing--it happens to us every now and
then. The madame's having some sort of time with the police;
I don't know what it is, but maybe they'll come to terms before
morning. Anyhow, they won't do anything to you. They always let
the men off.

Maybe so,he respondedbut not me--I'm afraid I'm in for it.

How do you mean?

I'm wanted by the police,he saidlowering his voicethough
of course their conversation was in Lithuanian. "They'll send me
up for a year or twoI'm afraid."

Hell!said Marija. "That's too bad. I'll see if I can't get
you off."

Downstairswhere the greater part of the prisoners were now
massedshe sought out the stout personage with the diamond
earringsand had a few whispered words with her. The latter
then approached the police sergeant who was in charge of the


raid. "Billy she said, pointing to Jurgis, there's a fellow
who came in to see his sister. He'd just got in the door when
you knocked. You aren't taking hoboesare you?"

The sergeant laughed as he looked at Jurgis. "Sorry he said,
but the orders are every one but the servants."

So Jurgis slunk in among the rest of the menwho kept dodging
behind each other like sheep that have smelled a wolf. There
were old men and young mencollege boys and gray-beards old
enough to be their grandfathers; some of them wore evening
dress--there was no one among them save Jurgis who showed any
signs of poverty.

When the roundup was completedthe doors were opened and the
party marched out. Three patrol wagons were drawn up at the
curband the whole neighborhood had turned out to see the sport;
there was much chaffingand a universal craning of necks. The
women stared about them with defiant eyesor laughed and joked
while the men kept their heads bowedand their hats pulled over
their faces. They were crowded into the patrol wagons as if into
streetcarsand then off they went amid a din of cheers. At the
station house Jurgis gave a Polish name and was put into a cell
with half a dozen others; and while these sat and talked in
whispershe lay down in a corner and gave himself up to his
thoughts.

Jurgis had looked into the deepest reaches of the social pit
and grown used to the sights in them. Yet when he had thought of all
humanity as vile and hideoushe had somehow always excepted his
own family. that he had loved; and now this sudden horrible
discovery--Marija a whoreand Elzbieta and the children living
off her shame! Jurgis might argue with himself all he chose
that he had done worseand was a fool for caring--but still he
could not get over the shock of that sudden unveilinghe could
not help being sunk in grief because of it. The depths of him
were troubled and shakenmemories were stirred in him that had
been sleeping so long he had counted them dead. Memories of the
old life--his old hopes and his old yearningshis old dreams of
decency and independence! He saw Ona againhe heard her gentle
voice pleading with him. He saw little Antanaswhom he had
meant to make a man. He saw his trembling old fatherwho had
blessed them all with his wonderful love. He lived again through
that day of horror when he had discovered Ona's shame--Godhow
he had sufferedwhat a madman he had been! How dreadful it had
all seemed to him; and nowtodayhe had sat and listenedand
half agreed when Marija told him he had been a fool! Yes--told
him that he ought to have sold his wife's honor and lived by
it!--And then there was Stanislovas and his awful fate--that
brief story which Marija had narrated so calmlywith such dull
indifference! The poor little fellowwith his frostbitten
fingers and his terror of the snow--his wailing voice rang in
Jurgis's earsas he lay there in the darknessuntil the sweat
started on his forehead. Now and then he would quiver with a
sudden spasm of horrorat the picture of little Stanislovas shut
up in the deserted building and fighting for his life with the
rats!

All these emotions had become strangers to the soul of Jurgis;
it was so long since they had troubled him that he had ceased to
think they might ever trouble him again. Helplesstrapped
as he waswhat good did they do him--why should he ever have
allowed them to torment him? It had been the task of his recent
life to fight them downto crush them out of himnever in his


life would he have suffered from them againsave that they had
caught him unawaresand overwhelmed him before he could protect
himself. He heard the old voices of his soulhe saw its old
ghosts beckoning to himstretching out their arms to him! But
they were far-off and shadowyand the gulf between them was
black and bottomless; they would fade away into the mists of the
past once more. Their voices would dieand never again would he
hear them--and so the last faint spark of manhood in his soul
would flicker out.

Chapter 28

After breakfast Jurgis was driven to the courtwhich was crowded
with the prisoners and those who had come out of curiosity or in
the hope of recognizing one of the men and getting a case for
blackmail. The men were called up firstand reprimanded in a
bunchand then dismissed; butJurgis to his terrorwas called
separatelyas being a suspicious-looking case. It was in this
very same court that he had been triedthat time when his
sentence had been "suspended"; it was the same judgeand the
same clerk. The latter now stared at Jurgisas if he half
thought that he knew him; but the judge had no suspicions--just
then his thoughts were upon a telephone message he was expecting
from a friend of the police captain of the districttelling what
disposition he should make of the case of "Polly" Simpsonas the
madameof the house was known. Meantimehe listened to the
story of how Jurgis had been looking for his sisterand advised
him dryly to keep his sister in a better place; then he let him
goand proceeded to fine each of the girls five dollarswhich
fines were paid in a bunch from a wad of bills which Madame Polly
extracted from her stocking.

Jurgis waited outside and walked home with Marija. The police
had left the houseand already there were a few visitors;
by evening the place would be running againexactly as if nothing
had happened. MeantimeMarija took Jurgis upstairs to her room
and they sat and talked. By daylightJurgis was able to observe
that the color on her cheeks was not the old natural one of
abounding health; her complexion was in reality a parchment
yellowand there were black rings under her eyes.

Have you been sick?he asked.

Sick?she said. "Hell!" (Marija had learned to scatter her
conversation with as many oaths as a longshoreman or a mule
driver.) "How can I ever be anything but sickat this life?"

She fell silent for a momentstaring ahead of her gloomily.
It's morphine,she saidat last. "I seem to take more of it
every day."

What's that for?he asked.

It's the way of it; I don't know why. If it isn't that, it's
drink. If the girls didn't booze they couldn't stand it any time
at all. And the madame always gives them dope when they first
come, and they learn to like it; or else they take it for
headaches and such things, and get the habit that way. I've got
it, I know; I've tried to quit, but I never will while I'm here.

How long are you going to stay?he asked.


I don't know,she said. "AlwaysI guess. What else could I
do?"

Don't you save any money?

Save!said Marija. "Good Lordno! I get enoughI suppose
but it all goes. I get a half sharetwo dollars and a half for
each customerand sometimes I make twenty-five or thirty dollars
a nightand you'd think I ought to save something out of that!
But then I am charged for my room and my meals--and such prices
as you never heard of; and then for extrasand drinks--for
everything I getand some I don't. My laundry bill is nearly
twenty dollars each week alone--think of that! Yet what can I
do? I either have to stand it or quitand it would be the same
anywhere else. It's all I can do to save the fifteen dollars I
give Elzbieta each weekso the children can go to school."

Marija sat brooding in silence for a while; thenseeing that
Jurgis was interestedshe went on: "That's the way they keep the
girls--they let them run up debtsso they can't get away. A
young girl comes from abroadand she doesn't know a word of
Englishand she gets into a place like thisand when she wants
to go the madame shows her that she is a couple of hundred
dollars in debtand takes all her clothes awayand threatens to
have her arrested if she doesn't stay and do as she's told. So
she staysand the longer she staysthe more in debt she gets.
Oftentoothey are girls that didn't know what they were coming
tothat had hired out for housework. Did you notice that little
French girl with the yellow hairthat stood next to me in the
court?"

Jurgis answered in the affirmative.

Well, she came to America about a year ago. She was a store
clerk, and she hired herself to a man to be sent here to work in
a factory. There were six of them, all together, and they were
brought to a house just down the street from here, and this girl
was put into a room alone, and they gave her some dope in her
food, and when she came to she found that she had been ruined.
She cried, and screamed, and tore her hair, but she had nothing
but a wrapper, and couldn't get away, and they kept her half
insensible with drugs all the time, until she gave up. She never
got outside of that place for ten months, and then they sent her
away, because she didn't suit. I guess they'll put her out of
here, too--she's getting to have crazy fits, from drinking
absinthe. Only one of the girls that came out with her got away,
and she jumped out of a second-story window one night. There was
a great fuss about that--maybe you heard of it.

I did,said JurgisI heard of it afterward.(It had happened
in the place where he and Duane had taken refuge from their
country customer.The girl had become insanefortunately for
the police.)

There's lots of money in it,said Marija--"they get as much as
forty dollars a head for girlsand they bring them from all
over. There are seventeen in this placeand nine different
countries among them. In some places you might find even more.
We have half a dozen French girls--I suppose it's because the
madame speaks the language. French girls are badtoothe worst
of allexcept for the Japanese. There's a place next door
that's full of Japanese womenbut I wouldn't live in the same
house with one of them."


Marija paused for a moment or twoand then she added: "Most of
the women here are pretty decent--you'd be surprised. I used to
think they did it because they liked to; but fancy a woman
selling herself to every kind of man that comesold or young
black or white--and doing it because she likes to!"

Some of them say they do,said Jurgis.

I know,said she; "they say anything. They're inand they
know they can't get out. But they didn't like it when they
began--you'd find out--it's always misery! There's a little
Jewish girl here who used to run errands for a millinerand got
sick and lost her place; and she was four days on the streets
without a mouthful of foodand then she went to a place just
around the corner and offered herselfand they made her give up
her clothes before they would give her a bite to eat!"

Marija sat for a minute or twobrooding somberly. "Tell me
about yourselfJurgis she said, suddenly. Where have you
been?"

So he told her the long story of his adventures since his flight
from home; his life as a trampand his work in the freight
tunnelsand the accident; and then of Jack Duaneand of his
political career in the stockyardsand his downfall and
subsequent failures. Marija listened with sympathy; it was easy
to believe the tale of his late starvationfor his face showed
it all. "You found me just in the nick of time she said.
I'll stand by you--I'll help you till you can get some work."

I don't like to let you--he began.

Why not? Because I'm here?

No, not that,he said. "But I went off and left you--"

Nonsense!said Marija. "Don't think about it. I don't blame
you."

You must be hungry,she saidafter a minute or two. "You stay
here to lunch--I'll have something up in the room."

She pressed a buttonand a colored woman came to the door and
took her order. "It's nice to have somebody to wait on you
she observed, with a laugh, as she lay back on the bed.

As the prison breakfast had not been liberal, Jurgis had a good
appetite, and they had a little feast together, talking meanwhile
of Elzbieta and the children and old times. Shortly before they
were through, there came another colored girl, with the message
that the madame" wanted Marija--"Lithuanian Mary as they
called her here.

That means you have to go she said to Jurgis.

So he got up, and she gave him the new address of the family, a
tenement over in the Ghetto district. You go there she said.
They'll be glad to see you."

But Jurgis stood hesitating.

I--I don't like to,he said. "HonestMarijawhy don't you
just give me a little money and let me look for work first?"


How do you need money?was her reply. "All you want is
something to eat and a place to sleepisn't it?"

Yes,he said; "but then I don't like to go there after I left
them--and while I have nothing to doand while you--you--"

Go on!said Marijagiving him a push. "What are you
talking?--I won't give you money she added, as she followed him
to the door, because you'll drink it upand do yourself harm.
Here's a quarter for you nowand go alongand they'll be so
glad to have you backyou won't have time to feel ashamed.
Good-by!"

So Jurgis went outand walked down the street to think it over.
He decided that he would first try to get workand so he put in
the rest of the day wandering here and there among factories and
warehouses without success. Thenwhen it was nearly dark
he concluded to go homeand set out; but he came to a restaurant
and went in and spent his quarter for a meal; and when he came
out he changed his mind--the night was pleasantand he would
sleep somewhere outsideand put in the morrow huntingand so
have one more chance of a job. So he started away againwhen
suddenly he chanced to look about himand found that he was
walking down the same street and past the same hall where he had
listened to the political speech the night 'before. There was no
red fire and no band nowbut there was a sign outannouncing a
meetingand a stream of people pouring in through the entrance.
In a flash Jurgis had decided that he would chance it once more
and sit down and rest while making up his mind what to do. There
was no one taking ticketsso it must be a free show again.

He entered. There were no decorations in the hall this time;
but there was quite a crowd upon the platformand almost every seat
in the place was filled. He took one of the lastfar in the
rearand straightway forgot all about his surroundings. Would
Elzbieta think that he had come to sponge off heror would she
understand that he meant to get to work again and do his share?
Would she be decent to himor would she scold him? If only he
could get some sort of a job before he went--if that last boss
had only been willing to try him!

--Then suddenly Jurgis looked up. A tremendous roar had burst
from the throats of the crowdwhich by this time had packed the
hall to the very doors. Men and women were standing upwaving
handkerchiefsshoutingyelling. Evidently the speaker had
arrivedthought Jurgis; what fools they were making of
themselves! What were they expecting to get out of it
anyhow--what had they to do with electionswith governing the
country? Jurgis had been behind the scenes in politics.

He went back to his thoughtsbut with one further fact to reckon
with--that he was caught here. The hall was now filled to the
doors; and after the meeting it would be too late for him to go
homeso he would have to make the best of it outside. Perhaps
it would be better to go home in the morninganywayfor the
children would be at schooland he and Elzbieta could have a
quiet explanation. She always had been a reasonable person;
and he really did mean to do right. He would manage to persuade her
of it--and besidesMarija was willingand Marija was furnishing
the money. If Elzbieta were uglyhe would tell her that in so
many words.

So Jurgis went on meditating; until finallywhen he had been an


hour or two in the hallthere began to prepare itself a
repetition of the dismal catastrophe of the night before.
Speaking had been going on all the timeand the audience was
clapping its hands and shoutingthrilling with excitement;
and little by little the sounds were beginning to blur in Jurgis's
earsand his thoughts were beginning to run togetherand his
head to wobble and nod. He caught himself many timesas usual
and made desperate resolutions; but the hall was hot and close
and his long walk and is dinner were too much for him--in the end
his head sank forward and he went off again.

And then again someone nudged himand he sat up with his old
terrified start! He had been snoring againof course! And now
what? He fixed his eyes ahead of himwith painful intensity
staring at the platform as if nothing else ever had interested
himor ever could interest himall his life. He imagined the
angry exclamationsthe hostile glances; he imagined the
policeman striding toward him--reaching for his neck. Or was he
to have one more chance? Were they going to let him alone this
time? He sat trembling; waiting-


And then suddenly came a voice in his eara woman's voicegentle
and sweetIf you would try to listen, comrade, perhaps you
would be interested.

Jurgis was more startled by that than he would have been by the
touch of a policeman. He still kept his eyes fixed aheadand
did not stir; but his heart gave a great leap. Comrade! Who was
it that called him "comrade"?

He waited longlong; and at lastwhen he was sure that he was
no longer watchedhe stole a glance out of the corner of his
eyes at the woman who sat beside him. She was young and
beautiful; she wore fine clothesand was what is called a
lady.And she called him "comrade"!

He turned a littlecarefullyso that he could see her better;
then he began to watch herfascinated. She had apparently
forgotten all about himand was looking toward the platform.
A man was speaking there--Jurgis heard his voice vaguely; but all
his thoughts were for this woman's face. A feeling of alarm
stole over him as he stared at her. It made his flesh creep.
What was the matter with herwhat could be going onto affect
any one like that? She sat as one turned to stoneher hands
clenched tightly in her lapso tightly that he could see the
cords standing out in her wrists. There was a look of excitement
upon her faceof tense effortas of one struggling mightily
or witnessing a struggle. There was a faint quivering of her
nostrils; and now and then she would moisten her lips with
feverish haste. Her bosom rose and fell as she breathedand her
excitement seemed to mount higher and higherand then to sink
away againlike a boat tossing upon ocean surges. What was it?
What was the matter? It must be something that the man was
sayingup there on the platform. What sort of a man was he?
And what sort of thing was thisanyhow?"--So all at once it
occurred to Jurgis to look at the speaker.

It was like coming suddenly upon some wild sight of nature--a
mountain forest lashed by a tempesta ship tossed about upon a
stormy sea. Jurgis had an unpleasant sensationa sense of
confusionof disorderof wild and meaningless uproar. The man
was tall and gauntas haggard as his auditor himself; a thin
black beard covered half of his faceand one could see only two
black hollows where the eyes were. He was speaking rapidlyin


great excitement; he used many gestures--he spoke he moved here
and there upon the stagereaching with his long arms as if to
seize each person in his audience. His voice was deeplike an
organ; it was some timehoweverbefore Jurgis thought of the
voice--he was too much occupied with his eyes to think of what
the man was saying. But suddenly it seemed as if the speaker had
begun pointing straight at himas if he had singled him out
particularly for his remarks; and so Jurgis became suddenly aware
of his voicetremblingvibrant with emotionwith pain and
longingwith a burden of things unutterablenot to be compassed
by words. To hear it was to be suddenly arrestedto be gripped
transfixed.

You listen to these things,the man was sayingand you say,
'Yes, they are true, but they have been that way always.' Or you
say, 'Maybe it will come, but not in my time--it will not help
me.' And so you return to your daily round of toil, you go back
to be ground up for profits in the world-wide mill of economic
might! To toil long hours for another's advantage; to live in
mean and squalid homes, to work in dangerous and unhealthful
places; to wrestle with the specters of hunger and privation,
to take your chances of accident, disease, and death. And each day
the struggle becomes fiercer, the pace more cruel; each day you
have to toil a little harder, and feel the iron hand of
circumstance close upon you a little tighter. Months pass, years
maybe--and then you come again; and again I am here to plead with
you, to know if want and misery have yet done their work with
you, if injustice and oppression have yet opened your eyes! I
shall still be waiting--there is nothing else that I can do.
There is no wilderness where I can hide from these things, there
is no haven where I can escape them; though I travel to the ends
of the earth, I find the same accursed system--I find that all
the fair and noble impulses of humanity, the dreams of poets and
the agonies of martyrs, are shackled and bound in the service of
organized and predatory Greed! And therefore I cannot rest, I
cannot be silent; therefore I cast aside comfort and happiness,
health and good repute--and go out into the world and cry out the
pain of my spirit! Therefore I am not to be silenced by poverty
and sickness, not by hatred and obloquy, by threats and
ridicule--not by prison and persecution, if they should come--not
by any power that is upon the earth or above the earth, that was,
or is, or ever can be created. If I fail tonight, I can only try
tomorrow; knowing that the fault must be mine--that if once the
vision of my soul were spoken upon earth, if once the anguish of
its defeat were uttered in human speech, it would break the
stoutest barriers of prejudice, it would shake the most sluggish
soul to action! It would abash the most cynical, it would
terrify the most selfish; and the voice of mockery would be
silenced, and fraud and falsehood would slink back into their
dens, and the truth would stand forth alone! For I speak with
the voice of the millions who are voiceless! Of them that are
oppressed and have no comforter! Of the disinherited of life,
for whom there is no respite and no deliverance, to whom the
world is a prison, a dungeon of torture, a tomb! With the voice
of the little child who toils tonight in a Southern cotton mill,
staggering with exhaustion, numb with agony, and knowing no hope
but the grave! Of the mother who sews by candlelight in her
tenement garret, weary and weeping, smitten with the mortal
hunger of her babes! Of the man who lies upon a bed of rags,
wrestling in his last sickness and leaving his loved ones to
perish! Of the young girl who, somewhere at this moment, is
walking the streets of this horrible city, beaten and starving,
and making her choice between the brothel and the lake! With the
voice of those, whoever and wherever they may be, who are caught


beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of Greed! With the voice of
humanity, calling for deliverance! Of the everlasting soul of
Man, arising from the dust; breaking its way out of its
prison--rending the bands of oppression and ignorance--groping
its way to the light!

The speaker paused. There was an instant of silencewhile men
caught their breathsand then like a single sound there came a
cry from a thousand people. Through it all Jurgis sat still
motionless and rigidhis eyes fixed upon the speaker; he was
tremblingsmitten with wonder.

Suddenly the man raised his handsand silence felland he began
again.

I plead with you,he saidwhoever you may be, provided that
you care about the truth; but most of all I plead with workingman,
with those to whom the evils I portray are not mere matters
of sentiment, to be dallied and toyed with, and then perhaps put
aside and forgotten--to whom they are the grim and relentless
realities of the daily grind, the chains upon their limbs, the
lash upon their backs, the iron in their souls. To you, workingmen!
To you, the toilers, who have made this land, and have no
voice in its councils! To you, whose lot it is to sow that
others may reap, to labor and obey, and ask no more than the
wages of a beast of burden, the food and shelter to keep you
alive from day to day. It is to you that I come with my message
of salvation, it is to you that I appeal. I know how much it is
to ask of you--I know, for I have been in your place, I have
lived your life, and there is no man before me here tonight who
knows it better. I have known what it is to be a street-waif,
a bootblack, living upon a crust of bread and sleeping in cellar
stairways and under empty wagons. I have known what it is to
dare and to aspire, to dream mighty dreams and to see them
perish--to see all the fair flowers of my spirit trampled into
the mire by the wild-beast powers of my life. I know what is the
price that a working-man pays for knowledge--I have paid for it
with food and sleep, with agony of body and mind, with health,
almost with life itself; and so, when I come to you with a story
of hope and freedom, with the vision of a new earth to be
created, of a new labor to be dared, I am not surprised that I
find you sordid and material, sluggish and incredulous. That I
do not despair is because I know also the forces that are driving
behind you--because I know the raging lash of poverty, the sting
of contempt and mastership, 'the insolence of office and the
spurns.' Because I feel sure that in the crowd that has come to
me tonight, no matter how many may be dull and heedless, no
matter how many may have come out of idle curiosity, or in order
to ridicule--there will be some one man whom pain and suffering
have made desperate, whom some chance vision of wrong and horror
has startled and shocked into attention. And to him my words
will come like a sudden flash of lightning to one who travels in
darkness--revealing the way before him, the perils and the
obstacles--solving all problems, making all difficulties clear!
The scales will fall from his eyes, the shackles will be torn
from his limbs--he will leap up with a cry of thankfulness, he
will stride forth a free man at last! A man delivered from his
self-created slavery! A man who will never more be trapped--whom
no blandishments will cajole, whom no threats will frighten; who
from tonight on will move forward, and not backward, who will
study and understand, who will gird on his sword and take his
place in the army of his comrades and brothers. Who will carry
the good tidings to others, as I have carried them to
him--priceless gift of liberty and light that is neither mine nor


his, but is the heritage of the soul of man! Working-men,
working-men--comrades! open your eyes and look about you! You
have lived so long in the toil and heat that your senses are
dulled, your souls are numbed; but realize once in your lives
this world in which you dwell--tear off the rags of its customs
and conventions--behold it as it is, in all its hideous
nakedness! Realize it, realize it! Realize that out upon the
plains of Manchuria tonight two hostile armies are facing each
other--that now, while we are seated here, a million human beings
may be hurled at each other's throats, striving with the fury of
maniacs to tear each other to pieces! And this in the twentieth
century, nineteen hundred years since the Prince of Peace was
born on earth! Nineteen hundred years that his words have been
preached as divine, and here two armies of men are rending and
tearing each other like the wild beasts of the forest!
Philosophers have reasoned, prophets have denounced, poets have
wept and pleaded--and still this hideous Monster roams at large!
We have schools and colleges, newspapers and books; we have
searched the heavens and the earth, we have weighed and probed
and reasoned--and all to equip men to destroy each other! We
call it War, and pass it by--but do not put me off with
platitudes and conventions--come with me, come with me--realize
it! See the bodies of men pierced by bullets, blown into pieces
by bursting shells! Hear the crunching of the bayonet, plunged
into human flesh; hear the groans and shrieks of agony, see the
faces of men crazed by pain, turned into fiends by fury and hate!
Put your hand upon that piece of flesh--it is hot and
quivering--just now it was a part of a man! This blood is still
steaming--it was driven by a human heart! Almighty God! and
this goes on--it is systematic, organized, premeditated! And we
know it, and read of it, and take it for granted; our papers tell
of it, and the presses are not stopped--our churches know of it,
and do not close their doors--the people behold it, and do not
rise up in horror and revolution!

Or perhaps Manchuria is too far away for you--come home with me
thencome here to Chicago. Here in this city to-night ten
thousand women are shut up in foul pensand driven by hunger to
sell their bodies to live. And we know itwe make it a jest!
And these women are made in the image of your mothersthey may
be your sistersyour daughters; the child whom you left at home
tonightwhose laughing eyes will greet you in the morning--that
fate may be waiting for her! To-night in Chicago there are ten
thousand menhomeless and wretchedwilling to work and begging
for a chanceyet starvingand fronting in terror the awful
winter cold! Tonight in Chicago there are a hundred thousand
children wearing out their strength and blasting their lives in
the effort to earn their bread! There are a hundred thousand
mothers who are living in misery and squalorstruggling to earn
enough to feed their little ones! There are a hundred thousand
old peoplecast off and helplesswaiting for death to take them
from their torments! There are a million peoplemen and women
and childrenwho share the curse of the wage-slave; who toil
every hour they can stand and seefor just enough to keep them
alive; who are condemned till the end of their days to monotony
and wearinessto hunger and miseryto heat and coldto dirt
and diseaseto ignorance and drunkenness and vice! And then
turn over the page with meand gaze upon the other side of the
picture. There are a thousand--ten thousandmaybe--who are the
masters of these slaveswho own their toil. They do nothing to
earn what they receivethey do not even have to ask for it--it
comes to them of itselftheir only care is to dispose of it.
They live in palacesthey riot in luxury and extravagance--such
as no words can describeas makes the imagination reel and


staggermakes the soul grow sick and faint. They spend hundreds
of dollars for a pair of shoesa handkerchiefa garter; they
spend millions for horses and automobiles and yachtsfor palaces
and banquetsfor little shiny stones with which to deck their
bodies. Their life is a contest among themselves for supremacy
in ostentation and recklessnessin the destroying of useful and
necessary thingsin the wasting of the labor and the lives of
their fellow creaturesthe toil and anguish of the nations
the sweat and tears and blood of the human race! It is all
theirs--it comes to them; just as all the springs pour into
streamletsand the streamlets into riversand the rivers into
the oceans--soautomatically and inevitablyall the wealth of
society comes to them. The farmer tills the soilthe miner digs
in the earththe weaver tends the loomthe mason carves the
stone; the clever man inventsthe shrewd man directsthe wise
man studiesthe inspired man sings--and all the resultthe
products of the labor of brain and muscleare gathered into one
stupendous stream and poured into their laps! The whole of
society is in their gripthe whole labor of the world lies at
their mercy--and like fierce wolves they rend and destroylike
ravening vultures they devour and tear! The whole power of
mankind belongs to themforever and beyond recall--do what it
canstrive as it willhumanity lives for them and dies for
them! They own not merely the labor of societythey have bought
the governments; and everywhere they use their raped and stolen
power to intrench themselves in their privilegesto dig wider
and deeper the channels through which the river of profits flows
to them!--And youworkingmenworkingmen! You have been brought
up to ityou plod on like beasts of burdenthinking only of the
day and its pain--yet is there a man among you who can believe
that such a system will continue forever--is there a man here in
this audience tonight so hardened and debased that he dare rise
up before me and say that he believes it can continue forever;
that the product of the labor of societythe means of existence
of the human racewill always belong to idlers and parasitesto
be spent for the gratification of vanity and lust--to be spent
for any purpose whateverto be at the disposal of any individual
will whatever--that somehowsomewherethe labor of humanity
will not belong to humanityto be used for the purposes of
humanityto be controlled by the will of humanity? And if this
is ever to behow is it to be--what power is there that will
bring it about? Will it be the task of your mastersdo you
think--will they write the charter of your liberties? Will they
forge you the sword of your deliverancewill they marshal you
the army and lead it to the fray? Will their wealth be spent for
the purpose--will they build colleges and churches to teach you
will they print papers to herald your progressand organize
political parties to guide and carry on the struggle? Can you
not see that the task is your task--yours to dreamyours to
resolveyours to execute? That if ever it is carried outit
will be in the face of every obstacle that wealth and mastership
can oppose--in the face of ridicule and slanderof hatred and
persecutionof the bludgeon and the jail? That it will be by
the power of your naked bosomsopposed to the rage of
oppression! By the grim and bitter teaching of blind and
merciless affliction! By the painful gropings of the untutored
mindby the feeble stammerings of the uncultured voice! By the
sad and lonely hunger of the spirit; by seeking and striving and
yearningby heartache and despairingby agony and sweat of
blood! It will be by money paid for with hungerby knowledge
stolen from sleepby thoughts communicated under the shadow of
the gallows! It will be a movement beginning in the far-off
pasta thing obscure and unhonoreda thing easy to ridicule
easy to despise; a thing unlovelywearing the aspect of


vengeance and hate--but to youthe working-manthe wage-slave
calling with a voice insistentimperious--with a voice that you
cannot escapewherever upon the earth you may be! With the
voice of all your wrongswith the voice of all your desires;
with the voice of your duty and your hope--of everything in the
world that is worth while to you! The voice of the poor
demanding that poverty shall cease! The voice of the oppressed
pronouncing the doom of oppression! The voice of powerwrought
out of suffering--of resolutioncrushed out of weakness--of joy
and courageborn in the bottomless pit of anguish and despair!
The voice of Labordespised and outraged; a mighty giantlying
prostrate--mountainouscolossalbut blindedboundand
ignorant of his strength. And now a dream of resistance haunts
himhope battling with fear; until suddenly he stirsand a
fetter snaps--and a thrill shoots through himto the farthest
ends of his huge bodyand in a flash the dream becomes an act!
He startshe lifts himself; and the bands are shatteredthe
burdens roll off him--he rises--toweringgigantic; he springs to
his feethe shouts in his newborn exultation--"

And the speaker's voice broke suddenlywith the stress of his
feelings; he stood with his arms stretched out above himand the
power of his vision seemed to lift him from the floor. The
audience came to its feet with a yell; men waved their arms
laughing aloud in their excitement. And Jurgis was with themhe
was shouting to tear his throat; shouting because he could not
help itbecause the stress of his feeling was more than he could
bear. It was not merely the man's wordsthe torrent of his
eloquence. It was his presenceit was his voice: a voice with
strange intonations that rang through the chambers of the soul
like the clanging of a bell--that gripped the listener like a
mighty hand about his bodythat shook him and startled him with
sudden frightwith a sense of things not of earthof mysteries
never spoken beforeof presences of awe and terror! There was
an unfolding of vistas before hima breaking of the ground
beneath himan upheavinga stirringa trembling; he felt
himself suddenly a mere man no longer--there were powers within
him undreamed ofthere were demon forces contendingagelong
wonders struggling to be born; and he sat oppressed with pain and
joywhile a tingling stole down into his finger tipsand his
breath came hard and fast. The sentences of this man were to
Jurgis like the crashing of thunder in his soul; a flood of
emotions surged up in him--all his old hopes and longingshis
old griefs and rages and despairs. All that he had ever felt in
his whole life seemed to come back to him at onceand with one
new emotionhardly to be described. That he should have
suffered such oppressions and such horrors was bad enough;
but that he should have been crushed and beaten by themthat he
should have submittedand forgottenand lived in peace--ah
truly that was a thing not to be put into wordsa thing not to
be borne by a human creaturea thing of terror and madness!
What,asks the prophetis the murder of them that kill the
body, to the murder of them that kill the soul?And Jurgis was a
man whose soul had been murderedwho had ceased to hope and to
struggle--who had made terms with degradation and despair; and
nowsuddenlyin one awful convulsionthe black and hideous
fact was made plain to him! There was a falling in of all the
pillars of his soulthe sky seemed to split above him--he stood
therewith his clenched hands upraisedhis eyes bloodshotand
the veins standing out purple in his faceroaring in the voice
of a wild beastfranticincoherentmaniacal. And when he
could shout no more he still stood theregaspingand whispering
hoarsely to himself: "By God! By God! By God!"


Chapter 29

The man had gone back to a seat upon the platformand Jurgis
realized that his speech was over. The applause continued for
several minutes; and then some one started a songand the crowd
took it upand the place shook with it. Jurgis had never heard
itand he could not make out the wordsbut the wild and
wonderful spirit of it seized upon him--it was the
Marseillaise!As stanza after stanza of it thundered forthhe
sat with his hands claspedtrembling in every nerve. He had
never been so stirred in his life--it was a miracle that had been
wrought in him. He could not think at allhe was stunned; yet
he knew that in the mighty upheaval that had taken place in his
soula new man had been born. He had been torn out of the jaws
of destructionhe had been delivered from the thraldom of
despair; the whole world had been changed for him--he was free
he was free! Even if he were to suffer as he had beforeeven if
he were to beg and starvenothing would be the same to him; he
would understand itand bear it. He would no longer be the
sport of circumstanceshe would be a manwith a will and a
purpose; he would have something to fight forsomething to die
forif need be! Here were men who would show him and help him;
and he would have friends and allieshe would dwell in the sight
of justiceand walk arm in arm with power.

The audience subsided againand Jurgis sat back. The chairman
of the meeting came forward and began to speak. His voice
sounded thin and futile after the other'sand to Jurgis it
seemed a profanation. Why should any one else speakafter that
miraculous man--why should they not all sit in silence? The
chairman was explaining that a collection would now be taken up
to defray the expenses of the meetingand for the benefit of the
campaign fund of the party. Jurgis heard; but he had not a penny
to giveand so his thoughts went elsewhere again.

He kept his eyes fixed on the oratorwho sat in an armchairhis
head leaning on his hand and his attitude indicating exhaustion.
But suddenly he stood up againand Jurgis heard the chairman of
the meeting saying that the speaker would now answer any
questions which the audience might care to put to him. The man
came forwardand some one--a woman--arose and asked about some
opinion the speaker had expressed concerning Tolstoy. Jurgis had
never heard of Tolstoyand did not care anything about him. Why
should any one want to ask such questionsafter an address like
that? The thing was not to talkbut to do; the thing was to get
bold of others and rouse themto organize them and prepare for
the fight! But still the discussion went onin ordinary
conversational tonesand it brought Jurgis back to the everyday
world. A few minutes ago he had felt like seizing the hand of
the beautiful lady by his sideand kissing it; he had felt like
flinging his arms about the neck of the man on the other side of
him. And now he began to realize again that he was a "hobo
that he was ragged and dirty, and smelled bad, and had no place
to sleep that night!

And so, at last, when the meeting broke up, and the audience
started to leave, poor Jurgis was in an agony of uncertainty.
He had not thought of leaving--he had thought that the vision must
last forever, that he had found comrades and brothers. But now
he would go out, and the thing would fade away, and he would
never be able to find it again! He sat in his seat, frightened
and wondering; but others in the same row wanted to get out, and


so he had to stand up and move along. As he was swept down the
aisle he looked from one person to another, wistfully; they were
all excitedly discussing the address--but there was nobody who
offered to discuss it with him. He was near enough to the door
to feel the night air, when desperation seized him. He knew
nothing at all about that speech he had heard, not even the name
of the orator; and he was to go away--no, no, it was
preposterous, he must speak to some one; he must find that man
himself and tell him. He would not despise him, tramp as he was!

So he stepped into an empty row of seats and watched, and when
the crowd had thinned out, he started toward the platform. The
speaker was gone; but there was a stage door that stood open,
with people passing in and out, and no one on guard. Jurgis
summoned up his courage and went in, and down a hallway, and to
the door of a room where many people were crowded. No one paid
any attention to him, and he pushed in, and in a corner he saw
the man he sought. The orator sat in a chair, with his shoulders
sunk together and his eyes half closed; his face was ghastly
pale, almost greenish in hue, and one arm lay limp at his side.
A big man with spectacles on stood near him, and kept pushing
back the crowd, saying, Stand away a littleplease; can't you
see the comrade is worn out?"

So Jurgis stood watchingwhile five or ten minutes passed. Now
and then the man would look upand address a word or two to
those who were near him; andat laston one of these occasions
his glance rested on Jurgis. There seemed to be a slight hint of
inquiry about itand a sudden impulse seized the other. He
stepped forward.

I wanted to thank you, sir!he beganin breathless haste. "I
could not go away without telling you how much--how glad I am I
heard you. I--I didn't know anything about it all--"

The big man with the spectacleswho had moved awaycame back at
this moment. "The comrade is too tired to talk to any one--" he
began; but the other held up his hand.

Wait,he said. "He has something to say to me." And then he
looked into Jurgis's face. "You want to know more about
Socialism?" he asked.

Jurgis started. "I--I--" he stammered. "Is it Socialism? I
didn't know. I want to know about what you spoke of--I want to
help. I have been through all that."

Where do you live?asked the other.

I have no home,said JurgisI am out of work.

You are a foreigner, are you not?

Lithuanian, sir.

The man thought for a momentand then turned to his friend.
Who is there, Walters?he asked. "There is Ostrinski--but he
is a Pole--"

Ostrinski speaks Lithuanian,said the other. "All rightthen;
would you mind seeing if he has gone yet?"

The other started awayand the speaker looked at Jurgis again.
He had deepblack eyesand a face full of gentleness and pain.


You must excuse me, comrade,he said. "I am just tired out--I
have spoken every day for the last month. I will introduce you
to some one who will be able to help you as well as I could--"

The messenger had had to go no further than the doorhe came
backfollowed by a man whom he introduced to Jurgis as "Comrade
Ostrinski." Comrade Ostrinski was a little manscarcely up to
Jurgis's shoulderwizened and wrinkledvery uglyand slightly
lame. He had on a long-tailed black coatworn green at the
seams and the buttonholes; his eyes must have been weakfor he
wore green spectacles that gave him a grotesque appearance.
But his handclasp was heartyand he spoke in Lithuanianwhich
warmed Jurgis to him.

You want to know about Socialism?he said. "Surely. Let us go
out and take a strollwhere we can be quiet and talk some."

And so Jurgis bade farewell to the master wizardand went out.
Ostrinski asked where he livedoffering to walk in that
direction; and so he had to explain once more that he was without
a home. At the other's request he told his story; how he had
come to Americaand what had happened to him in the stockyards
and how his family had been broken upand how he had become a
wanderer. So much the little man heardand then he pressed
Jurgis's arm tightly. "You have been through the millcomrade!"
he said. "We will make a fighter out of you!"

Then Ostrinski in turn explained his circumstances. He would
have asked Jurgis to his home--but he had only two roomsand had
no bed to offer. He would have given up his own bedbut his
wife was ill. Later onwhen he understood that otherwise Jurgis
would have to sleep in a hallwayhe offered him his kitchen
floora chance which the other was only too glad to accept.
Perhaps tomorrow we can do better,said Ostrinski. "We try not
to let a comrade starve."

Ostrinski's home was in the Ghetto districtwhere he had two
rooms in the basement of a tenement. There was a baby crying as
they enteredand he closed the door leading into the bedroom.
He had three young childrenhe explainedand a baby had just
come. He drew up two chairs near the kitchen stoveadding that
Jurgis must excuse the disorder of the placesince at such a
time one's domestic arrangements were upset. Half of the kitchen
was given up to a workbenchwhich was piled with clothingand
Ostrinski explained that he was a "pants finisher." He brought
great bundles of clothing here to his homewhere he and his wife
worked on them. He made a living at itbut it was getting
harder all the timebecause his eyes were failing. What would
come when they gave out he could not tell; there had been no
saving anything--a man could barely keep alive by twelve or
fourteen hours' work a day. The finishing of pants did not take
much skilland anybody could learn itand so the pay was
forever getting less. That was the competitive wage system; and
if Jurgis wanted to understand what Socialism wasit was there
he had best begin. The workers were dependent upon a job to
exist from day to dayand so they bid against each otherand no
man could get more than the lowest man would consent to work for.
And thus the mass of the people were always in a life-and-death
struggle with poverty. That was "competition so far as it
concerned the wage-earner, the man who had only his labor to
sell; to those on top, the exploiters, it appeared very
differently, of course--there were few of them, and they could
combine and dominate, and their power would be unbreakable. And
so all over the world two classes were forming, with an unbridged


chasm between them--the capitalist class, with its enormous
fortunes, and the proletariat, bound into slavery by unseen
chains. The latter were a thousand to one in numbers, but they
were ignorant and helpless, and they would remain at the mercy of
their exploiters until they were organized--until they had become
class-conscious." It was a slow and weary processbut it would
go on--it was like the movement of a glacieronce it was started
it could never be stopped. Every Socialist did his shareand
lived upon the vision of the "good time coming--when the
working class should go to the polls and seize the powers of
government, and put an end to private property in the means of
production. No matter how poor a man was, or how much he
suffered, he could never be really unhappy while he knew of that
future; even if he did not live to see it himself, his children
would, and, to a Socialist, the victory of his class was his
victory. Also he had always the progress to encourage him;
here in Chicago, for instance, the movement was growing by leaps and
bounds. Chicago was the industrial center of the country, and
nowhere else were the unions so strong; but their organizations
did the workers little good, for the employers were organized,
also; and so the strikes generally failed, and as fast as the
unions were broken up the men were coming over to the Socialists.

Ostrinski explained the organization of the party, the machinery
by which the proletariat was educating itself. There were
locals" in every big city and townand they were being
organized rapidly in the smaller places; a local had anywhere
from six to a thousand membersand there were fourteen hundred
of them in allwith a total of about twenty-five thousand
memberswho paid dues to support the organization. "Local Cook
County as the city organization was called, had eighty branch
locals, and it alone was spending several thousand dollars in the
campaign. It published a weekly in English, and one each in
Bohemian and German; also there was a monthly published in
Chicago, and a cooperative publishing house, that issued a
million and a half of Socialist books and pamphlets every year.
All this was the growth of the last few years--there had been
almost nothing of it when Ostrinski first came to Chicago.

Ostrinski was a Pole, about fifty years of age. He had lived in
Silesia, a member of a despised and persecuted race, and had
taken part in the proletarian movement in the early seventies,
when Bismarck, having conquered France, had turned his policy of
blood and iron upon the International." Ostrinski himself had
twice been in jailbut he had been young thenand had not
cared. He had had more of his share of the fightthoughfor
just when Socialism had broken all its barriers and become the
great political force of the empirehe had come to Americaand
begun all over again. In America every one had laughed at the
mere idea of Socialism then--in America all men were free. As if
political liberty made wage slavery any the more tolerable! said
Ostrinski.

The little tailor sat tilted back in his stiff kitchen chair
with his feet stretched out upon the empty stoveand speaking in
low whispersso as not to waken those in the next room. To
Jurgis he seemed a scarcely less wonderful person than the
speaker at the meeting; he was poorthe lowest of the low
hunger-driven and miserable--and yet how much he knewhow much
he had dared and achievedwhat a hero he had been! There were
others like himtoo--thousands like himand all of them
workingmen! That all this wonderful machinery of progress had
been created by his fellows--Jurgis could not believe itit
seemed too good to be true.


That was always the waysaid Ostrinski; when a man was first
converted to Socialism he was like a crazy person--he could not'
understand how others could fail to see itand he expected to
convert all the world the first week. After a while he would
realize how hard a task it was; and then it would be fortunate
that other new hands kept comingto save him from settling down
into a rut. Just now Jurgis would have plenty of chance to vent
his excitementfor a presidential campaign was onand everybody
was talking politics. Ostrinski would take him to the next
meeting of the branch localand introduce himand he might join
the party. The dues were five cents a weekbut any one who
could not afford this might be excused from paying. The
Socialist party was a really democratic political
organization--it was controlled absolutely by its own membership
and had no bosses. All of these things Ostrinski explainedas
also the principles of the party. You might say that there was
really but one Socialist principle--that of "no compromise
which was the essence of the proletarian movement all over the
world. When a Socialist was elected to office he voted with old
party legislators for any measure that was likely to be of help
to the working class, but he never forgot that these concessions,
whatever they might be, were trifles compared with the great
purpose--the organizing of the working class for the revolution.
So far, the rule in America had been that one Socialist made
another Socialist once every two years; and if they should
maintain the same rate they would carry the country in
1912--though not all of them expected to succeed as quickly as
that.

The Socialists were organized in every civilized nation; it was
an international political party, said Ostrinski, the greatest
the world had ever known. It numbered thirty million of
adherents, and it cast eight million votes. It had started its
first newspaper in Japan, and elected its first deputy in
Argentina; in France it named members of cabinets, and in Italy
and Australia it held the balance of power and turned out
ministries. In Germany, where its vote was more than a third of
the total vote of the empire, all other parties and powers had
united to fight it. It would not do, Ostrinski explained,
for the proletariat of one nation to achieve the victory, for that
nation would be crushed by the military power of the others;
and so the Socialist movement was a world movement, an organization
of all mankind to establish liberty and fraternity. It was the
new religion of humanity--or you might say it was the fulfillment
of the old religion, since it implied but the literal application
of all the teachings of Christ.

Until long after midnight Jurgis sat lost in the conversation of
his new acquaintance. It was a most wonderful experience to
him--an almost supernatural experience. It was like encountering
an inhabitant of the fourth dimension of space, a being who was
free from all one's own limitations. For four years, now, Jurgis
had been wondering and blundering in the depths of a wilderness;
and here, suddenly, a hand reached down and seized him, and
lifted him out of it, and set him upon a mountain-top, from which
he could survey it all--could see the paths from which he had
wandered, the morasses into which he had stumbled, the hiding
places of the beasts of prey that had fallen upon him. There
were his Packingtown experiences, for instance--what was there
about Packingtown that Ostrinski could not explain! To Jurgis
the packers had been equivalent to fate; Ostrinski showed him
that they were the Beef Trust. They were a gigantic combination


of capital, which had crushed all opposition, and overthrown the
laws of the land, and was preying upon the people. Jurgis
recollected how, when he had first come to Packingtown, he had
stood and watched the hog-killing, and thought how cruel and
savage it was, and come away congratulating himself that he was
not a hog; now his new acquaintance showed him that a hog was
just what he had been--one of the packers' hogs. What they
wanted from a hog was all the profits that could be got out of
him; and that was what they wanted from the workingman, and also
that was what they wanted from the public. What the hog thought
of it, and what he suffered, were not considered; and no more was
it with labor, and no more with the purchaser of meat. That was
true everywhere in the world, but it was especially true in
Packingtown; there seemed to be something about the work of
slaughtering that tended to ruthlessness and ferocity--it was
literally the fact that in the methods of the packers a hundred
human lives did not balance a penny of profit. When Jurgis had
made himself familiar with the Socialist literature, as he would
very quickly, he would get glimpses of the Beef Trust from all
sorts of aspects, and he would find it everywhere the same;
it was the incarnation of blind and insensate Greed. It was a
monster devouring with a thousand mouths, trampling with a
thousand hoofs; it was the Great Butcher--it was the spirit of
Capitalism made flesh. Upon the ocean of commerce it sailed as a
pirate ship; it had hoisted the black flag and declared war upon
civilization. Bribery and corruption were its everyday methods.
In Chicago the city government was simply one of its branch
offices; it stole billions of gallons of city water openly, it
dictated to the courts the sentences of disorderly strikers, it
forbade the mayor to enforce the building laws against it. In
the national capital it had power to prevent inspection of its
product, and to falsify government reports; it violated the
rebate laws, and when an investigation was threatened it burned
its books and sent its criminal agents out of the country.
In the commercial world it was a Juggernaut car; it wiped out
thousands of businesses every year, it drove men to madness and
suicide. It had forced the price of cattle so low as to destroy
the stock-raising industry, an occupation upon which whole states
existed; it had ruined thousands of butchers who had refused to
handle its products. It divided the country into districts, and
fixed the price of meat in all of them; and it owned all the
refrigerator cars, and levied an enormous tribute upon all
poultry and eggs and fruit and vegetables. With the millions of
dollars a week that poured in upon it, it was reaching out for
the control of other interests, railroads and trolley lines, gas
and electric light franchises--it already owned the leather and
the grain business of the country. The people were tremendously
stirred up over its encroachments, but nobody had any remedy to
suggest; it was the task of Socialists to teach and organize
them, and prepare them for the time when they were to seize the
huge machine called the Beef Trust, and use it to produce food
for human beings and not to heap up fortunes for a band of
pirates. It was long after midnight when Jurgis lay down upon
the floor of Ostrinski's kitchen; and yet it was an hour before
he could get to sleep, for the glory of that joyful vision of the
people of Packingtown marching in and taking possession of the
Union Stockyards!

Chapter 30

Jurgis had breakfast with Ostrinski and his family, and then he
went home to Elzbieta. He was no longer shy about it--when he


went in, instead of saying all the things he had been planning to
say, he started to tell Elzbieta about the revolution! At first
she thought he was out of his mind, and it was hours before she
could really feel certain that he was himself. When, however,
she had satisfied herself that he was sane upon all subjects
except politics, she troubled herself no further about it.
Jurgis was destined to find that Elzbieta's armor was absolutely
impervious to Socialism. Her soul had been baked hard in the
fire of adversity, and there was no altering it now; life to her
was the hunt for daily bread, and ideas existed for her only as
they bore upon that. All that interested her in regard to this
new frenzy which had seized hold of her son-in-law was whether or
not it had a tendency to make him sober and industrious; and when
she found he intended to look for work and to contribute his
share to the family fund, she gave him full rein to convince her
of anything. A wonderfully wise little woman was Elzbieta;
she could think as quickly as a hunted rabbit, and in half an hour
she had chosen her life-attitude to the Socialist movement. She
agreed in everything with Jurgis, except the need of his paying
his dues; and she would even go to a meeting with him now and
then, and sit and plan her next day's dinner amid the storm.

For a week after he became a convert Jurgis continued to wander
about all day, looking for work; until at last he met with a
strange fortune. He was passing one of Chicago's innumerable
small hotels, and after some hesitation he concluded to go in.
A man he took for the proprietor was standing in the lobby, and he
went up to him and tackled him for a job.

What can you do?" the man asked.

Anything, sir,said Jurgisand added quickly: "I've been out
of work for a long timesir. I'm an honest manand I'm strong
and willing--"

The other was eying him narrowly. "Do you drink?" he asked.

No, sir,said Jurgis.

Well, I've been employing a man as a porter, and he drinks.
I've discharged him seven times now, and I've about made up my
mind that's enough. Would you be a porter?

Yes, sir.

It's hard work. You'll have to clean floors and wash spittoons
and fill lamps and handle trunks--

I'm willing, sir.

All right. I'll pay you thirty a month and board, and you can
begin now, if you feel like it. You can put on the other
fellow's rig.

And so Jurgis fell to workand toiled like a Trojan till night.
Then he went and told Elzbietaand alsolate as it washe paid
a visit to Ostrinski to let him know of his good fortune. Here
he received a great surprisefor when he was describing the
location of the hotel Ostrinski interrupted suddenlyNot
Hinds's!

Yes,said Jurgisthat's the name.

To which the other repliedThen you've got the best boss in


Chicago--he's a state organizer of our party, and one of our
best-known speakers!

So the next morning Jurgis went to his employer and told him;
and the man seized him by the hand and shook it. "By Jove!" he
criedthat lets me out. I didn't sleep all last night because
I had discharged a good Socialist!

Soafter thatJurgis was known to his "boss" as "Comrade
Jurgis and in return he was expected to call him Comrade
Hinds." "Tommy" Hindsas he was known to his intimateswas a
squat little manwith broad shoulders and a florid face
decorated with gray side whiskers. He was the kindest-hearted
man that ever livedand the liveliest--inexhaustible in his
enthusiasmand talking Socialism all day and all night. He was
a great fellow to jolly along a crowdand would keep a meeting
in an uproar; when once he got really waked upthe torrent of
his eloquence could be compared with nothing save Niagara.

Tommy Hinds had begun life as a blacksmith's helperand had run
away to join the Union armywhere he had made his first
acquaintance with "graft in the shape of rotten muskets and
shoddy blankets. To a musket that broke in a crisis he always
attributed the death of his only brother, and upon worthless
blankets he blamed all the agonies of his own old age. Whenever
it rained, the rheumatism would get into his joints, and then he
would screw up his face and mutter: Capitalismmy boy
capitalism! 'Ecrasez l'infame!'" He had one unfailing remedy
for all the evils of this worldand he preached it to every one;
no matter whether the person's trouble was failure in business
or dyspepsiaor a quarrelsome mother-in-lawa twinkle would
come into his eyes and he would sayYou know what to do about
it--vote the Socialist ticket!

Tommy Hinds had set out upon the trail of the Octopus as soon as
the war was over. He had gone into businessand found himself
in competition with the fortunes of those who had been stealing
while he had been fighting. The city government was in their
hands and the railroads were in league with themand honest
business was driven to the wall; and so Hinds had put all his
savings into Chicago real estateand set out singlehanded to dam
the river of graft. He had been a reform member of the city
councilhe had been a Greenbackera Labor Unionista Populist
a Bryanite--and after thirty years of fightingthe year 1896 had
served to convince him that the power of concentrated wealth
could never be controlledbut could only be destroyed. He had
published a pamphlet about itand set out to organize a party of
his ownwhen a stray Socialist leaflet had revealed to him that
others had been ahead of him. Now for eight years he had been
fighting for the partyanywhereeverywhere--whether it was a

G.A.R. reunionor a hotel-keepers' conventionor an
Afro-American businessmen's banquetor a Bible society picnic
Tommy Hinds would manage to get himself invited to explain the
relations of Socialism to the subject in hand. After that he
would start off upon a tour of his ownending at some place
between New York and Oregon; and when he came back from therehe
would go out to organize new locals for the state committee; and
finally he would come home to rest--and talk Socialism in
Chicago. Hinds's hotel was a very hot-bed of the propaganda; all
the employees were party menand if they were not when they
camethey were quite certain to be before they went away. The
proprietor would get into a discussion with some one in the
lobbyand as the conversation grew animatedothers would gather
about to listenuntil finally every one in the place would be

crowded into a groupand a regular debate would be under way.
This went on every night--when Tommy Hinds was not there to do
ithis clerk did it; and when his clerk was away campaigning
the assistant attended to itwhile Mrs. Hinds sat behind the
desk and did the work. The clerk was an old crony of the
proprietor'san awkwardrawboned giant of a manwith a lean
sallow facea broad mouthand whiskers under his chinthe very
type and body of a prairie farmer. He had been that all his
life--he had fought the railroads in Kansas for fifty years
a Grangera Farmers' Alliance mana "middle-of-the-road"
Populist. FinallyTommy Hinds had revealed to him the wonderful
idea of using the trusts instead of destroying themand he had
sold his farm and come to Chicago.

That was Amos Struver; and then there was Harry Adamsthe
assistant clerka palescholarly-looking manwho came from
Massachusettsof Pilgrim stock. Adams had been a cotton
operative in Fall Riverand the continued depression in the
industry had worn him and his family outand he had emigrated to
South Carolina. In Massachusetts the percentage of white
illiteracy is eight-tenths of one per centwhile in South
Carolina it is thirteen and six-tenths per cent; also in South
Carolina there is a property qualification for voters--and for
these and other reasons child labor is the ruleand so the
cotton mills were driving those of Massachusetts out of the
business. Adams did not know thishe only knew that the
Southern mills were running; but when he got there he found that
if he was to liveall his family would have to workand from
six o'clock at night to six o'clock in the morning. So he had
set to work to organize the mill handsafter the fashion in
Massachusettsand had been discharged; but he had gotten other
workand stuck at itand at last there had been a strike for
shorter hoursand Harry Adams had attempted to address a street
meetingwhich was the end of him. In the states of the far
South the labor of convicts is leased to contractorsand when
there are not convicts enough they have to be supplied. Harry
Adams was sent up by a judge who was a cousin of the mill owner
with whose business he had interfered; and though the life had
nearly killed himhe had been wise enough not to murmurand at
the end of his term he and his family had left the state of South
Carolina--hell's back yardas he called it. He had no money for
carfarebut it was harvesttimeand they walked one day and
worked the next; and so Adams got at last to Chicagoand joined
the Socialist party. He was a studious manreservedand
nothing of an orator; but he always had a pile of books under his
desk in the hoteland articles from his pen were beginning to
attract attention in the party press.

Contrary to what one would have expectedall this radicalism did
not hurt the hotel business; the radicals flocked to itand the
commercial travelers all found it diverting. Of latealsothe
hotel had become a favorite stopping place for Western cattlemen.
Now that the Beef Trust had adopted the trick of raising prices
to induce enormous shipments of cattleand then dropping them
again and scooping in all they neededa stock raiser was very
apt to find himself in Chicago without money enough to pay his
freight bill; and so he had to go to a cheap hoteland it was no
drawback to him if there was an agitator talking in the lobby.
These Western fellows were just "meat" for Tommy Hinds--he would
get a dozen of them around him and paint little pictures of "the
System." Of courseit was not a week before he had heard
Jurgis's storyand after that he would not have let his new
porter go for the world. "See here he would say, in the middle
of an argument, I've got a fellow right here in my place who's


worked there and seen every bit of it!" And then Jurgis would
drop his workwhatever it wasand comeand the other would
sayComrade Jurgis, just tell these gentlemen what you saw on
the killing-beds.At first this request caused poor Jurgis the
most acute agonyand it was like pulling teeth to get him to
talk; but gradually he found out what was wantedand in the end
he learned to stand up and speak his piece with enthusiasm. His
employer would sit by and encourage him with exclamations and
shakes of the head; when Jurgis would give the formula for
potted ham,or tell about the condemned hogs that were dropped
into the "destructors" at the top and immediately taken out again
at the bottomto be shipped into another state and made into
lardTommy Hinds would bang his knee and cryDo you think a
man could make up a thing like that out of his head?

And then the hotel-keeper would go on to show how the Socialists
had the only real remedy for such evilshow they alone "meant
business" with the Beef Trust. And whenin answer to thisthe
victim would say that the whole country was getting stirred up
that the newspapers were full of denunciations of itand the
government taking action against itTommy Hinds had a knock-out
blow all ready. "Yes he would say, all that is true--but what
do you suppose is the reason for it? Are you foolish enough to
believe that it's done for the public? There are other trusts in
the country just as illegal and extortionate as the Beef Trust:
there is the Coal Trustthat freezes the poor in winter--there
is the Steel Trustthat doubles the price of every nail in your
shoes--there is the Oil Trustthat keeps you from reading at
night--and why do you suppose it is that all the fury of the
press and the government is directed against the Beef Trust?" And
when to this the victim would reply that there was clamor enough
over the Oil Trustthe other would continue: "Ten years ago
Henry D. Lloyd told all the truth about the Standard Oil Company
in his Wealth versus Commonwealth; and the book was allowed to
dieand you hardly ever hear of it. And nowat lasttwo
magazines have the courage to tackle 'Standard Oil' againand
what happens? The newspapers ridicule the authorsthe churches
defend the criminalsand the government--does nothing. And now
why is it all so different with the Beef Trust?"

Here the other would generally admit that he was "stuck"; and
Tommy Hinds would explain to himand it was fun to see his eyes
open. "If you were a Socialist the hotelkeeper would say, you
would understand that the power which really governs the United
States today is the Railroad Trust. It is the Railroad Trust
that runs your state governmentwherever you liveand that runs
the United States Senate. And all of the trusts that I have
named are railroad trusts--save only the Beef Trust! The Beef
Trust has defied the railroads--it is plundering them day by day
through the Private Car; and so the public is roused to furyand
the papers clamor for actionand the government goes on the warpath!
And you poor common people watch and applaud the joband
think it's all done for youand never dream that it is really
the grand climax of the century-long battle of commercial
competition--the final death grapple between the chiefs of the
Beef Trust and 'Standard Oil' for the prize of the mastery and
ownership of the United States of America!"

Such was the new home in which Jurgis lived and workedand in
which his education was completed. Perhaps you would imagine
that he did not do much work therebut that would be a great
mistake. He would have cut off one hand for Tommy Hinds; and to
keep Hinds's hotel a thing of beauty was his joy in life. That


he had a score of Socialist arguments chasing through his brain
in the meantime did not interfere with this; on the contrary
Jurgis scrubbed the spittoons and polished the banisters all the
more vehemently because at the same time he was wrestling
inwardly with an imaginary recalcitrant. It would be pleasant to
record that he swore off drinking immediatelyand all the rest
of his bad habits with it; but that would hardly be exact. These
revolutionists were not angels; they were menand men who had
come up from the social pitand with the mire of it smeared over
them. Some of them drankand some of them sworeand some of
them ate pie with their knives; there was only one difference
between them and all the rest of the populace--that they were men
with a hopewith a cause to fight for and suffer for. There
came times to Jurgis when the vision seemed far-off and paleand
a glass of beer loomed large in comparison; but if the glass led
to another glassand to too many glasseshe had something to
spur him to remorse and resolution on the morrow. It was so
evidently a wicked thing to spend one's pennies for drinkwhen
the working class was wandering in darknessand waiting to be
delivered; the price of a glass of beer would buy fifty copies of
a leafletand one could hand these out to the unregenerate
and then get drunk upon the thought of the good that was being
accomplished. That was the way the movement had been madeand
it was the only way it would progress; it availed nothing to know
of itwithout fighting for it--it was a thing for allnot for a
few! A corollary of this proposition of course wasthat any one
who refused to receive the new gospel was personally responsible
for keeping Jurgis from his heart's desire; and thisalasmade
him uncomfortable as an acquaintance. He met some neighbors with
whom Elzbieta had made friends in her neighborhoodand he set
out to make Socialists of them by wholesaleand several times he
all but got into a fight.

It was all so painfully obvious to Jurgis! It was so
incomprehensible how a man could fail to see it! Here were all
the opportunities of the countrythe landand the buildings
upon the landthe railroadsthe minesthe factoriesand the
storesall in the hands of a few private individualscalled
capitalistsfor whom the people were obliged to work for wages.
The whole balance of what the people produced went to heap up the
fortunes of these capitaliststo heapand heap againand yet
again--and that in spite of the fact that theyand every one
about themlived in unthinkable luxury! And was it not plain
that if the people cut off the share of those who merely "owned
the share of those who worked would be much greater? That was as
plain as two and two makes four; and it was the whole of it,
absolutely the whole of it; and yet there were people who could
not see it, who would argue about everything else in the world.
They would tell you that governments could not manage things as
economically as private individuals; they would repeat and repeat
that, and think they were saying something! They could not see
that economical" management by masters meant simply that they
the peoplewere worked harder and ground closer and paid less!
They were wage-earners and servantsat the mercy of exploiters
whose one thought was to get as much out of them as possible;
and they were taking an interest in the processwere anxious lest
it should not be done thoroughly enough! Was it not honestly a
trial to listen to an argument such as that?

And yet there were things even worse. You would begin talking to
some poor devil who had worked in one shop for the last thirty
yearsand had never been able to save a penny; who left home
every morning at six o'clockto go and tend a machineand come
back at night too tired to take his clothes off; who had never


had a week's vacation in his lifehad never travelednever had
an adventurenever learned anythingnever hoped anything--and
when you started to tell him about Socialism he would sniff and
sayI'm not interested in that--I'm an individualist!And then
he would go on to tell you that Socialism was "paternalism and
that if it ever had its way the world would stop progressing. It
was enough to make a mule laugh, to hear arguments like that; and
yet it was no laughing matter, as you found out--for how many
millions of such poor deluded wretches there were, whose lives
had been so stunted by capitalism that they no longer knew what
freedom was! And they really thought that it was individualism"
for tens of thousands of them to herd together and obey the
orders of a steel magnateand produce hundreds of millions of
dollars of wealth for himand then let him give them libraries;
while for them to take the industryand run it to suit
themselvesand build their own libraries--that would have been
Paternalism!

Sometimes the agony of such things as this was almost more than
Jurgis could bear; yet there was no way of escape from itthere
was nothing to do but to dig away at the base of this mountain of
ignorance and prejudice. You must keep at the poor fellow; you
must hold your temperand argue with himand watch for your
chance to stick an idea or two into his head. And the rest of
the time you must sharpen up your weapons--you must think out new
replies to his objectionsand provide yourself with new facts to
prove to him the folly of his ways.

So Jurgis acquired the reading habit. He would carry in his
pocket a tract or a pamphlet which some one had loaned himand
whenever he had an idle moment during the day he would plod
through a paragraphand then think about it while he worked.
Also he read the newspapersand asked questions about them. One
of the other porters at Hinds's was a sharp little Irishmanwho
knew everything that Jurgis wanted to know; and while they were
busy he would explain to him the geography of Americaand its
historyits constitution and its laws; also he gave him an idea
of the business system of the countrythe great railroads and
corporationsand who owned themand the labor unionsand the
big strikesand the men who had led them. Then at nightwhen
he could get offJurgis would attend the Socialist meetings.
During the campaign one was not dependent upon the street corner
affairswhere the weather and the quality of the orator were
equally uncertain; there were hall meetings every nightand one
could hear speakers of national prominence. These discussed the
political situation from every point of viewand all that
troubled Jurgis was the impossibility of carrying off but a small
part of the treasures they offered him.

There was a man who was known in the party as the "Little Giant."
The Lord had used up so much material in the making of his head
that there had not been enough to complete his legs; but he got
about on the platformand when he shook his raven whiskers the
pillars of capitalism rocked. He had written a veritable
encyclopedia upon the subjecta book that was nearly as big as
himself--And then there was a young authorwho came from
Californiaand had been a salmon fisheran oyster-piratea
longshoremana sailor; who had tramped the country and been sent
to jailhad lived in the Whitechapel slumsand been to the
Klondike in search of gold. All these things he pictured in his
booksand because he was a man of genius he forced the world to
hear him. Now he was famousbut wherever he went he still
preached the gospel of the poor. And then there was one who was
known at the "millionaire Socialist." He had made a fortune in


businessand spent nearly all of it in building up a magazine
which the post office department had tried to suppressand had
driven to Canada. He was a quiet-mannered manwhom you would
have taken for anything in the world but a Socialist agitator.
His speech was simple and informal--he could not understand why
any one should get excited about these things. It was a process
of economic evolutionhe saidand he exhibited its laws and
methods. Life was a struggle for existenceand the strong
overcame the weakand in turn were overcome by the strongest.
Those who lost in the struggle were generally exterminated; but
now and then they had been known to save themselves by
combination--which was a new and higher kind of strength. It was
so that the gregarious animals had overcome the predaceous; it
was soin human historythat the people had mastered the kings.
The workers were simply the citizens of industryand the
Socialist movement was the expression of their will to survive.
The inevitability of the revolution depended upon this factthat
they had no choice but to unite or be exterminated; this fact
grim and inexorabledepended upon no human willit was the law
of the economic processof which the editor showed the details
with the most marvelous precision.

And later on came the evening of the great meeting of the
campaignwhen Jurgis heard the two standard-bearers of his
party. Ten years before there had been in Chicago a strike of a
hundred and fifty thousand railroad employeesand thugs had been
hired by the railroads to commit violenceand the President of
the United States had sent in troops to break the strikeby
flinging the officers of the union into jail without trial. The
president of the union came out of his cell a ruined man; but
also he came out a Socialist; and now for just ten years he had
been traveling up and down the countrystanding face to face
with the peopleand pleading with them for justice. He was a
man of electric presencetall and gauntwith a face worn thin
by struggle and suffering. The fury of outraged manhood gleamed
in it--and the tears of suffering little children pleaded in his
voice. When he spoke he paced the stagelithe and eagerlike a
panther. He leaned overreaching out for his audience; he
pointed into their souls with an insistent finger. His voice was
husky from much speakingbut the great auditorium was as still
as deathand every one heard him.

And thenas Jurgis came out from this meetingsome one handed
him a paper which he carried home with him and read; and so he
became acquainted with the "Appeal to Reason." About twelve years
previously a Colorado real-estate speculator had made up his mind
that it was wrong to gamble in the necessities of life of human
beings: and so he had retired and begun the publication of a
Socialist weekly. There had come a time when he had to set his
own typebut he had held on and won outand now his publication
was an institution. It used a carload of paper every weekand
the mail trains would be hours loading up at the depot of the
little Kansas town. It was a four-page weeklywhich sold for
less than half a cent a copy; its regular subscription list was a
quarter of a millionand it went to every crossroads post office
in America.

The "Appeal" was a "propaganda" paper. It had a manner all its
own--it was full of ginger and spiceof Western slang and
hustle: It collected news of the doings of the "plutes and
served it up for the benefit of the American working-mule."
It would have columns of the deadly parallel--the million dollars'
worth of diamondsor the fancy pet-poodle establishment of a
society damebeside the fate of Mrs. Murphy of San Francisco


who had starved to death on the streetsor of John Robinson
just out of the hospitalwho had hanged himself in New York
because he could not find work. It collected the stories of
graft and misery from the daily pressand made a little pungent
paragraphs out of them. "Three banks of BungtownSouth Dakota
failedand more savings of the workers swallowed up!" "The mayor
of Sandy CreekOklahomahas skipped with a hundred thousand
dollars. That's the kind of rulers the old partyites give you!"
The president of the Florida Flying Machine Company is in jail
for bigamy. He was a prominent opponent of Socialism, which he
said would break up the home!The "Appeal" had what it called
its "Army about thirty thousand of the faithful, who did things
for it; and it was always exhorting the Army" to keep its dander
upand occasionally encouraging it with a prize competition
for anything from a gold watch to a private yacht or an eighty-acre
farm. Its office helpers were all known to the "Army" by quaint
titles--"Inky Ike the Bald-headed Man the Redheaded Girl
the Bulldog the Office Goat and the One Hoss."

But sometimesagainthe "Appeal" would be desperately serious.
It sent a correspondent to Coloradoand printed pages describing
the overthrow of American institutions in that state. In a
certain city of the country it had over forty of its "Army" in
the headquarters of the Telegraph Trustand no message of
importance to Socialists ever went through that a copy of it did
not go to the "Appeal." It would print great broadsides during
the campaign; one copy that came to Jurgis was a manifesto
addressed to striking workingmenof which nearly a million
copies had been distributed in the industrial centerswherever
the employers' associations had been carrying out their "open
shop" program. "You have lost the strike!" it was headed. "And
now what are you going to do about it?" It was what is called an
incendiaryappeal--it was written by a man into whose soul the
iron had entered. When this edition appearedtwenty thousand
copies were sent to the stockyards district; and they were taken
out and stowed away in the rear of a little cigar storeand
every eveningand on Sundaysthe members of the Packingtown
locals would get armfuls and distribute them on the streets and
in the houses. The people of Packingtown had lost their strike
if ever a people hadand so they read these papers gladlyand
twenty thousand were hardly enough to go round. Jurgis had
resolved not to go near his old home againbut when he heard of
this it was too much for himand every night for a week he would
get on the car and ride out to the stockyardsand help to undo
his work of the previous yearwhen he had sent Mike Scully's
ten-pin setter to the city Board of Aldermen.

It was quite marvelous to see what a difference twelve months had
made in Packingtown--the eyes of the people were getting opened!
The Socialists were literally sweeping everything before them
that electionand Scully and the Cook County machine were at
their wits' end for an "issue." At the very close of the campaign
they bethought themselves of the fact that the strike had been
broken by Negroesand so they sent for a South Carolina
fire-eaterthe "pitchfork senator as he was called, a man who
took off his coat when he talked to workingmen, and damned and
swore like a Hessian. This meeting they advertised extensively,
and the Socialists advertised it too--with the result that about
a thousand of them were on hand that evening. The pitchfork
senator" stood their fusillade of questions for about an hour
and then went home in disgustand the balance of the meeting was
a strictly party affair. Jurgiswho had insisted upon coming
had the time of his life that night; he danced about and waved
his arms in his excitement--and at the very climax he broke loose


from his friendsand got out into the aisleand proceeded to
make a speech himself! The senator had been denying that the
Democratic party was corrupt; it was always the Republicans who
bought the voteshe said--and here was Jurgis shouting
furiouslyIt's a lie! It's a lie!After which he went on to
tell them how he knew it--that he knew it because he had bought
them himself! And he would have told the "pitchfork senator" all
his experienceshad not Harry Adams and a friend grabbed him
about the neck and shoved him into a seat.

Chapter 31

One of the first things that Jurgis had done after he got a job
was to go and see Marija. She came down into the basement of the
house to meet himand he stood by the door with his hat in his
handsayingI've got work now, and so you can leave here.

But Marija only shook her head. There was nothing else for her
to doshe saidand nobody to employ her. She could not keep
her past a secret--girls had tried itand they were always found
out. There were thousands of men who came to this placeand
sooner or later she would meet one of them. "And besides
Marija added, I can't do anything. I'm no good--I take dope.
What could you do with me?"

Can't you stop?Jurgis cried.

No,she answeredI'll never stop. What's the use of talking
about it--I'll stay here till I die, I guess. It's all I'm fit
for.And that was all that he could get her to say--there was no
use trying. When he told her he would not let Elzbieta take her
moneyshe answered indifferently: "Then it'll be wasted
here--that's all." Her eyelids looked heavy and her face was red
and swollen; he saw that he was annoying herthat she only
wanted him to go away. So he wentdisappointed and sad.

Poor Jurgis was not very happy in his home-life. Elzbieta was
sick a good deal nowand the boys were wild and unrulyand very
much the worse for their life upon the streets. But he stuck by
the family neverthelessfor they reminded him of his old
happiness; and when things went wrong he could solace himself
with a plunge into the Socialist movement. Since his life had
been caught up into the current of this great streamthings
which had before been the whole of life to him came to seem of
relatively slight importance; his interests were elsewhere
in the world of ideas. His outward life was commonplace and
uninteresting; he was just a hotel-porterand expected to remain
one while he lived; but meantimein the realm of thought
his life was a perpetual adventure. There was so much to know--so
many wonders to be discovered! Never in all his life did Jurgis
forget the day before electionwhen there came a telephone
message from a friend of Harry Adamsasking him to bring Jurgis
to see him that night; and Jurgis wentand met one of the minds
of the movement.

The invitation was from a man named Fishera Chicago millionaire
who had given up his life to settlement workand had a little
home in the heart of the city's slums. He did not belong to the
partybut he was in sympathy with it; and he said that he was to
have as his guest that night the editor of a big Eastern
magazinewho wrote against Socialismbut really did not know
what it was. The millionaire suggested that Adams bring Jurgis


alongand then start up the subject of "pure food in which the
editor was interested.

Young Fisher's home was a little two-story brick house, dingy and
weather-beaten outside, but attractive within. The room that
Jurgis saw was half lined with books, and upon the walls were
many pictures, dimly visible in the soft, yellow light; it was a
cold, rainy night, so a log fire was crackling in the open
hearth. Seven or eight people were gathered about it when Adams
and his friend arrived, and Jurgis saw to his dismay that three
of them were ladies. He had never talked to people of this sort
before, and he fell into an agony of embarrassment. He stood in
the doorway clutching his hat tightly in his hands, and made a
deep bow to each of the persons as he was introduced; then, when
he was asked to have a seat, he took a chair in a dark corner,
and sat down upon the edge of it, and wiped the perspiration off
his forehead with his sleeve. He was terrified lest they should
expect him to talk.

There was the host himself, a tall, athletic young man, clad in
evening dress, as also was the editor, a dyspeptic-looking
gentleman named Maynard. There was the former's frail young
wife, and also an elderly lady, who taught kindergarten in the
settlement, and a young college student, a beautiful girl with an
intense and earnest face. She only spoke once or twice while
Jurgis was there--the rest of the time she sat by the table in
the center of the room, resting her chin in her hands and
drinking in the conversation. There were two other men, whom
young Fisher had introduced to Jurgis as Mr. Lucas and Mr.
Schliemann; he heard them address Adams as Comrade and so he
knew that they were Socialists.

The one called Lucas was a mild and meek-looking little gentleman
of clerical aspect; he had been an itinerant evangelist, it
transpired, and had seen the light and become a prophet of the
new dispensation. He traveled all over the country, living like
the apostles of old, upon hospitality, and preaching upon street-
corners when there was no hall. The other man had been in the
midst of a discussion with the editor when Adams and Jurgis came
in; and at the suggestion of the host they resumed it after the
interruption. Jurgis was soon sitting spellbound, thinking that
here was surely the strangest man that had ever lived in the
world.

Nicholas Schliemann was a Swede, a tall, gaunt person, with hairy
hands and bristling yellow beard; he was a university man, and
had been a professor of philosophy--until, as he said, he had
found that he was selling his character as well as his time.
Instead he had come to America, where he lived in a garret room
in this slum district, and made volcanic energy take the place of
fire. He studied the composition of food-stuffs, and knew
exactly how many proteids and carbohydrates his body needed;
and by scientific chewing he said that he tripled the value
of all he ate, so that it cost him eleven cents a day. About the first of
July he would leave Chicago for his vacation, on foot; and when
he struck the harvest fields he would set to work for two dollars
and a half a day, and come home when he had another year's
supply--a hundred and twenty-five dollars. That was the nearest
approach to independence a man could make under capitalism he
explained; he would never marry, for no sane man would allow
himself to fall in love until after the revolution.

He sat in a big arm-chair, with his legs crossed, and his head so
far in the shadow that one saw only two glowing lights, reflected


from the fire on the hearth. He spoke simply, and utterly
without emotion; with the manner of a teacher setting forth to a
group of scholars an axiom in geometry, he would enunciate such
propositions as made the hair of an ordinary person rise on end.
And when the auditor had asserted his non-comprehension, he would
proceed to elucidate by some new proposition, yet more appalling.
To Jurgis the Herr Dr. Schliemann assumed the proportions of a
thunderstorm or an earthquake. And yet, strange as it might
seem, there was a subtle bond between them, and he could follow
the argument nearly all the time. He was carried over the
difficult places in spite of himself; and he went plunging away
in mad career--a very Mazeppa-ride upon the wild horse
Speculation.

Nicholas Schliemann was familiar with all the universe, and with
man as a small part of it. He understood human institutions, and
blew them about like soap bubbles. It was surprising that so
much destructiveness could be contained in one human mind. Was
it government? The purpose of government was the guarding of
property-rights, the perpetuation of ancient force and modern
fraud. Or was it marriage? Marriage and prostitution were two
sides of one shield, the predatory man's exploitation of the sex-
pleasure. The difference between them was a difference of class.
If a woman had money she might dictate her own terms: equality,
a life contract, and the legitimacy--that is, the property-rights-of
her children. If she had no money, she was a proletarian, and
sold herself for an existence. And then the subject became
Religion, which was the Archfiend's deadliest weapon. Government
oppressed the body of the wage-slave, but Religion oppressed his
mind, and poisoned the stream of progress at its source. The
working-man was to fix his hopes upon a future life, while his
pockets were picked in this one; he was brought up to frugality,
humility, obedience--in short to all the pseudo-virtues of
capitalism. The destiny of civilization would be decided in one
final death struggle between the Red International and the Black,
between Socialism and the Roman Catholic Church; while here at
home, the stygian midnight of American evangelicalism--"

And here the ex-preacher entered the fieldand there was a
lively tussle. "Comrade" Lucas was not what is called an
educated man; he knew only the Biblebut it was the Bible
interpreted by real experience. And what was the usehe asked
of confusing Religion with men's perversions of it? That the
church was in the hands of the merchants at the moment was
obvious enough; but already there were signs of rebellionand if
Comrade Schliemann could come back a few years from now-


Ah, yes,said the otherof course, I have no doubt that in a
hundred years the Vatican will be denying that it ever opposed
Socialism, just as at present it denies that it ever tortured
Galileo.

I am not defending the Vatican,exclaimed Lucasvehemently.
I am defending the word of God--which is one long cry of the
human spirit for deliverance from the sway of oppression. Take
the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Job, which I am
accustomed to quote in my addresses as 'the Bible upon the Beef
Trust'; or take the words of Isaiah--or of the Master himself!
Not the elegant prince of our debauched and vicious art, not the
jeweled idol of our society churches--but the Jesus of the awful
reality, the man of sorrow and pain, the outcast, despised of the
world, who had nowhere to lay his head--

I will grant you Jesus,interrupted the other.


Well, then,cried Lucasand why should Jesus have nothing to
do with his church--why should his words and his life be of no
authority among those who profess to adore him? Here is a man
who was the world's first revolutionist, the true founder of the
Socialist movement; a man whose whole being was one flame of
hatred for wealth, and all that wealth stands for,--for the pride
of wealth, and the luxury of wealth, and the tyranny of wealth;
who was himself a beggar and a tramp, a man of the people, an
associate of saloon-keepers and women of the town; who again and
again, in the most explicit language, denounced wealth and the
holding of wealth: 'Lay not up for yourselves treasures on
earth!'--'Sell that ye have and give alms!'--'Blessed are ye
poor, for yours is the kingdom of Heaven!'--'Woe unto you that
are rich, for ye have received your consolation!'--'Verily, I say
unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of
Heaven!' Who denounced in unmeasured terms the exploiters of his
own time: 'Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!'-'
Woe unto you also, you lawyers!'--'Ye serpents, ye generation of
vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?' Who drove out
the businessmen and brokers from the temple with a whip! Who was
crucified--think of it--for an incendiary and a disturber of the
social order! And this man they have made into the high priest
of property and smug respectability, a divine sanction of all the
horrors and abominations of modern commercial civilization!
Jeweled images are made of him, sensual priests burn incense to
him, and modern pirates of industry bring their dollars, wrung
from the toil of helpless women and children, and build temples
to him, and sit in cushioned seats and listen to his teachings
expounded by doctors of dusty divinity--

Bravo!cried Schliemannlaughing. But the other was in full
career--he had talked this subject every day for five yearsand
had never yet let himself be stopped. "This Jesus of Nazareth!"
he cried. "This class-conscious working-man! This union
carpenter! This agitatorlaw-breakerfirebrandanarchist!
Hethe sovereign lord and master of a world which grinds the
bodies and souls of human beings into dollars--if he could come
into the world this day and see the things that men have made in
his namewould it not blast his soul with horror? Would he not
go mad at the sight of ithe the Prince of Mercy and Love! That
dreadful night when he lay in the Garden of Gethsemane and
writhed in agony until he sweat blood--do you think that he saw
anything worse than he might see tonight upon the plains of
Manchuriawhere men march out with a jeweled image of him before
themto do wholesale murder for the benefit of foul monsters of
sensuality and cruelty? Do you not know that if he were in St.
Petersburg nowhe would take the whip with which he drove out
the bankers from his temple--"

Here the speaker paused an instant for breath. "Nocomrade
said the other, dryly, for he was a practical man. He would
take pretty little imitation lemonssuch as are now being
shipped into Russiahandy for carrying in the pocketsand
strong enough to blow a whole temple out of sight."

Lucas waited until the company had stopped laughing over this;
then he began again: "But look at it from the point of view of
practical politicscomrade. Here is an historical figure whom
all men reverence and lovewhom some regard as divine; and who
was one of us--who lived our lifeand taught our doctrine. And
now shall we leave him in the hands of his enemies--shall we
allow them to stifle and stultify his example? We have his
wordswhich no one can deny; and shall we not quote them to the


peopleand prove to them what he wasand what he taughtand
what he did? Nonoa thousand times no!--we shall use his
authority to turn out the knaves and sluggards from his ministry
and we shall yet rouse the people to action!--"

Lucas halted again; and the other stretched out his hand to a
paper on the table. "Herecomrade he said, with a laugh,
here is a place for you to begin. A bishop whose wife has just
been robbed of fifty thousand dollars' worth of diamonds! And a
most unctuous and oily of bishops! An eminent and scholarly
bishop! A philanthropist and friend of labor bishop--a Civic
Federation decoy duck for the chloroforming of the wage-workingman!"


To this little passage of arms the rest of the company sat as
spectators. But now Mr. Maynardthe editortook occasion to
remarksomewhat naivelythat he had always understood that
Socialists had a cut-and-dried program for the future of
civilization; whereas here were two active members of the party
whofrom what he could make outwere agreed about nothing at
all. Would the twofor his enlightenmenttry to ascertain just
what they had in commonand why they belonged to the same party?
This resultedafter much debatingin the formulating of two
carefully worded propositions: Firstthat a Socialist believes
in the common ownership and democratic management of the means of
producing the necessities of life; andsecondthat a Socialist
believes that the means by which this is to be brought about is
the class conscious political organization of the wage-earners.
Thus far they were at one; but no farther. To Lucasthe
religious zealotthe co-operative commonwealth was the New
Jerusalemthe kingdom of Heavenwhich is "within you." To the
otherSocialism was simply a necessary step toward a far-distant
goala step to be tolerated with impatience. Schliemann called
himself a "philosophic anarchist"; and he explained that an
anarchist was one who believed that the end of human existence
was the free development of every personalityunrestricted by
laws save those of its own being. Since the same kind of match
would light every one's fire and the same-shaped loaf of bread
would fill every one's stomachit would be perfectly feasible to
submit industry to the control of a majority vote. There was
only one earthand the quantity of material things was limited.
Of intellectual and moral thingson the other handthere was no
limitand one could have more without another's having less;
hence "Communism in material productionanarchism in
intellectual was the formula of modern proletarian thought.
As soon as the birth agony was over, and the wounds of society had
been healed, there would be established a simple system whereby
each man was credited with his labor and debited with his
purchases; and after that the processes of production, exchange,
and consumption would go on automatically, and without our being
conscious of them, any more than a man is conscious of the
beating of his heart. And then, explained Schliemann, society
would break up into independent, self-governing communities of
mutually congenial persons; examples of which at present were
clubs, churches, and political parties. After the revolution,
all the intellectual, artistic, and spiritual activities of men
would be cared for by such free associations"; romantic
novelists would be supported by those who liked to read romantic
novelsand impressionist painters would be supported by those
who liked to look at impressionist pictures--and the same with
preachers and scientistseditors and actors and musicians. If
any one wanted to work or paint or prayand could find no one to
maintain himhe could support himself by working part of the
time. That was the case at presentthe only difference being


that the competitive wage system compelled a man to work all the
time to livewhileafter the abolition of privilege and
exploitationany one would be able to support himself by an
hour's work a day. Also the artist's audience of the present was
a small minority of peopleall debased and vulgarized by the
effort it had cost them to win in the commercial battleof the
intellectual and artistic activities which would result when the
whole of mankind was set free from the nightmare of competition
we could at present form no conception whatever.

And then the editor wanted to know upon what ground Dr.
Schliemann asserted that it might be possible for a society to
exist upon an hour's toil by each of its members. "Just what
answered the other, would be the productive capacity of society
if the present resources of science were utilizedwe have no
means of ascertaining; but we may be sure it would exceed
anything that would sound reasonable to minds inured to the
ferocious barbarities of capitalism. After the triumph of the
international proletariatwar would of course be inconceivable;
and who can figure the cost of war to humanity--not merely the
value of the lives and the material that it destroysnot merely
the cost of keeping millions of men in idlenessof arming and
equipping them for battle and paradebut the drain upon the
vital energies of society by the war attitude and the war terror
the brutality and ignorancethe drunkennessprostitutionand
crime it entailsthe industrial impotence and the moral
deadness? Do you think that it would be too much to say that two
hours of the working time of every efficient member of a
community goes to feed the red fiend of war?"

And then Schliemann went on to outline some of the wastes of
competition: the losses of industrial warfare; the ceaseless
worry and friction; the vices--such as drinkfor instancethe
use of which had nearly doubled in twenty yearsas a consequence
of the intensification of the economic struggle; the idle and
unproductive members of the communitythe frivolous rich and the
pauperized poor; the law and the whole machinery of repression;
the wastes of social ostentationthe milliners and tailorsthe
hairdressersdancing masterschefs and lackeys. "You
understand he said, that in a society dominated by the fact of
commercial competitionmoney is necessarily the test of prowess
and wastefulness the sole criterion of power. So we haveat the
present momenta society withsaythirty per cent of the
population occupied in producing useless articlesand one per
cent occupied in destroying them. And this is not all; for the
servants and panders of the parasites are also parasitesthe
milliners and the jewelers and the lackeys have also to be
supported by the useful members of the community. And bear in
mind also that this monstrous disease affects not merely the
idlers and their menialsits poison penetrates the whole social
body. Beneath the hundred thousand women of the elite are a
million middle-class womenmiserable because they are not of the
eliteand trying to appear of it in public; and beneath them
in turnare five million farmers' wives reading 'fashion papers'
and trimming bonnetsand shop-girls and serving-maids selling
themselves into brothels for cheap jewelry and imitation sealskin
robes. And then consider thatadded to this competition in
displayyou havelike oil on the flamesa whole system of
competition in selling! You have manufacturers contriving tens
of thousands of catchpenny devicesstorekeepers displaying them
and newspapers and magazines filled up with advertisements of
them!"

And don't forget the wastes of fraud,put in young Fisher.


When one comes to the ultra-modern profession of advertising,
responded Schliemann--"the science of persuading people to buy
what they do not want--he is in the very center of the ghastly
charnel house of capitalist destructivenessand he scarcely
knows which of a dozen horrors to point out first. But consider
the waste in time and energy incidental to making ten thousand
varieties of a thing for purposes of ostentation and
snobbishnesswhere one variety would do for use! Consider all
the waste incidental to the manufacture of cheap qualities of
goodsof goods made to sell and deceive the ignorant; consider
the wastes of adulteration--the shoddy clothingthe cotton
blanketsthe unstable tenementsthe ground-cork life-
preserversthe adulterated milkthe aniline soda waterthe
potato-flour sausages--"

And consider the moral aspects of the thing,put in the
ex-preacher.

Precisely,said Schliemann; "the low knavery and the ferocious
cruelty incidental to themthe plotting and the lying and the
bribingthe blustering and braggingthe screaming egotismthe
hurrying and worrying. Of courseimitation and adulteration are
the essence of competition--they are but another form of the
phrase 'to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest.'
A government official has stated that the nation suffers a loss of
a billion and a quarter dollars a year through adulterated foods;
which meansof coursenot only materials wasted that might have
been useful outside of the human stomachbut doctors and nurses
for people who would otherwise have been welland undertakers
for the whole human race ten or twenty years before the proper
time. Then againconsider the waste of time and energy required
to sell these things in a dozen storeswhere one would do.
There are a million or two of business firms in the country
and five or ten times as many clerks; and consider the handling and
rehandlingthe accounting and reaccountingthe planning and
worryingthe balancing of petty profit and loss. Consider the
whole machinery of the civil law made necessary by these
processes; the libraries of ponderous tomesthe courts and
juries to interpret themthe lawyers studying to circumvent
themthe pettifogging and chicanerythe hatreds and lies!
Consider the wastes incidental to the blind and haphazard
production of commodities--the factories closedthe workers
idlethe goods spoiling in storage; consider the activities of
the stock manipulatorthe paralyzing of whole industriesthe
overstimulation of othersfor speculative purposes; the
assignments and bank failuresthe crises and panicsthe
deserted towns and the starving populations! Consider the
energies wasted in the seeking of marketsthe sterile trades
such as drummersolicitorbill-posteradvertising agent.
Consider the wastes incidental to the crowding into citiesmade
necessary by competition and by monopoly railroad rates; consider
the slumsthe bad airthe disease and the waste of vital
energies; consider the office buildingsthe waste of time and
material in the piling of story upon storyand the burrowing
underground! Then take the whole business of insurancethe
enormous mass of administrative and clerical labor it involves
and all utter waste--"

I do not follow that,said the editor. "The Cooperative
Commonwealth is a universal automatic insurance company and
savings bank for all its members. Capital being the property of
allinjury to it is shared by all and made up by all. The bank
is the universal government credit-accountthe ledger in which


every individual's earnings and spendings ate balanced. There is
also a universal government bulletinin which are listed and
precisely described everything which the commonwealth has for
sale. As no one makes any profit by the salethere is no longer
any stimulus to extravaganceand no misrepresentation; no
cheatingno adulteration or imitationno bribery or
'grafting.'"

How is the price of an article determined?

The price is the labor it has cost to make and deliver it, and
it is determined by the first principles of arithmetic. The
million workers in the nation's wheat fields have worked a
hundred days each, and the total product of the labor is a
billion bushels, so the value of a bushel of wheat is the tenth
part of a farm labor-day. If we employ an arbitrary symbol, and
pay, say, five dollars a day for farm work, then the cost of a
bushel of wheat is fifty cents.

You say 'for farm work,'said Mr. Maynard. "Then labor is not
to be paid alike?"

Manifestly not, since some work is easy and some hard, and we
should have millions of rural mail carriers, and no coal miners.
Of course the wages may be left the same, and the hours varied;
one or the other will have to be varied continually, according as
a greater or less number of workers is needed in any particular
industry. That is precisely what is done at present, except that
the transfer of the workers is accomplished blindly and
imperfectly, by rumors and advertisements, instead of instantly
and completely, by a universal government bulletin.

How about those occupations in which time is difficult to
calculate? What is the labor cost of a book?

Obviously it is the labor cost of the paper, printing, and
binding of it--about a fifth of its present cost.

And the author?

I have already said that the state could not control
intellectual production. The state might say that it had taken a
year to write the book, and the author might say it had taken
thirty. Goethe said that every bon mot of his had cost a purse
of gold. What I outline here is a national, or rather
international, system for the providing of the material needs of
men. Since a man has intellectual needs also, he will work
longer, earn more, and provide for them to his own taste and in
his own way. I live on the same earth as the majority, I wear
the same kind of shoes and sleep in the same kind of bed; but I
do not think the same kind of thoughts, and I do not wish to pay
for such thinkers as the majority selects. I wish such things to
be left to free effort, as at present. If people want to listen
to a certain preacher, they get together and contribute what they
please, and pay for a church and support the preacher, and then
listen to him; I, who do not want to listen to him, stay away,
and it costs me nothing. In the same way there are magazines
about Egyptian coins, and Catholic saints, and flying machines,
and athletic records, and I know nothing about any of them. On
the other hand, if wage slavery were abolished, and I could earn
some spare money without paying tribute to an exploiting
capitalist, then there would be a magazine for the purpose of
interpreting and popularizing the gospel of Friedrich Nietzsche,
the prophet of Evolution, and also of Horace Fletcher, the


inventor of the noble science of clean eating; and incidentally,
perhaps, for the discouraging of long skirts, and the scientific
breeding of men and women, and the establishing of divorce by
mutual consent.

Dr. Schliemann paused for a moment. "That was a lecture he
said with a laugh, and yet I am only begun!"

What else is there?asked Maynard.

I have pointed out some of the negative wastes of competition,
answered the other. "I have hardly mentioned the positive
economies of co-operation. Allowing five to a familythere are
fifteen million families in this country; and at least ten
million of these live separatelythe domestic drudge being
either the wife or a wage slave. Now set aside the modern system
of pneumatic house-cleaningand the economies of co-operative
cooking; and consider one single itemthe washing of dishes.
Surely it is moderate to say that the dishwashing for a family of
five takes half an hour a day; with ten hours as a day's workit
takesthereforehalf a million able-bodied persons--mostly
women to do the dishwashing of the country. And note that this
is most filthy and deadening and brutalizing work; that it is a
cause of anemianervousnessuglinessand ill-temper; of
prostitutionsuicideand insanity; of drunken husbands and
degenerate children--for all of which things the community has
naturally to pay. And now consider that in each of my little
free communities there would be a machine which would wash and
dry the dishesand do itnot merely to the eye and the touch
but scientifically--sterilizing them--and do it at a saving of
all the drudgery and nine-tenths of the time! All of these
things you may find in the books of Mrs. Gilman; and then take
Kropotkin's FieldsFactoriesand Workshopsand read about the
new science of agriculturewhich has been built up in the last
ten years; by whichwith made soils and intensive culturea
gardener can raise ten or twelve crops in a seasonand two
hundred tons of vegetables upon a single acre; by which the
population of the whole globe could be supported on the soil now
cultivated in the United States alone! It is impossible to apply
such methods nowowing to the ignorance and poverty of our
scattered farming population; but imagine the problem of
providing the food supply of our nation once taken in hand
systematically and rationallyby scientists! All the poor and
rocky land set apart for a national timber reservein which our
children playand our young men huntand our poets dwell! The
most favorable climate and soil for each product selected;
the exact requirements of the community knownand the acreage
figured accordingly; the most improved machinery employedunder
the direction of expert agricultural chemists! I was brought up
on a farmand I know the awful deadliness of farm work; and I
like to picture it all as it will be after the revolution. To
picture the great potato-planting machinedrawn by four horses
or an electric motorploughing the furrowcutting and dropping
and covering the potatoesand planting a score of acres a day!
To picture the great potato-digging machinerun by electricity
perhapsand moving across a thousand-acre fieldscooping up
earth and potatoesand dropping the latter into sacks! To every
other kind of vegetable and fruit handled in the same way--apples
and oranges picked by machinerycows milked by
electricity--things which are already doneas you may know. To
picture the harvest fields of the futureto which millions of
happy men and women come for a summer holidaybrought by special
trainsthe exactly needful number to each place! And to
contrast all this with our present agonizing system of


independent small farming--a stuntedhaggardignorant man
mated with a yellowleanand sad-eyed drudgeand toiling from
four o'clock in the morning until nine at nightworking the
children as soon as they are able to walkscratching the soil
with its primitive toolsand shut out from all knowledge and
hopefrom all their benefits of science and inventionand all
the joys of the spirit--held to a bare existence by competition
in laborand boasting of his freedom because he is too blind to
see his chains!"

Dr. Schliemann paused a moment. "And then he continued,
place beside this fact of an unlimited food supplythe newest
discovery of physiologiststhat most of the ills of the human
system are due to overfeeding! And then againit has been
proven that meat is unnecessary as a food; and meat is obviously
more difficult to produce than vegetable foodless pleasant to
prepare and handleand more likely to be unclean. But what of
thatso long as it tickles the palate more strongly?"

How would Socialism change that?asked the girl-student
quickly. It was the first time she had spoken.

So long as we have wage slavery,answered Schliemannit
matters not in the least how debasing and repulsive a task may
be, it is easy to find people to perform it. But just as soon as
labor is set free, then the price of such work will begin to
rise. So one by one the old, dingy, and unsanitary factories
will come down--it will be cheaper to build new; and so the
steamships will be provided with stoking machinery, and so the
dangerous trades will be made safe, or substitutes will be found
for their products. In exactly the same way, as the citizens of
our Industrial Republic become refined, year by year the cost of
slaughterhouse products will increase; until eventually those who
want to eat meat will have to do their own killing--and how long
do you think the custom would survive then?--To go on to another
item--one of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a
democracy is political corruption; and one of the consequences of
civic administration by ignorant and vicious politicians, is that
preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if
science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the
majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but
simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are
penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery,
and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all
the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course,
they remain as centers of contagion, poisoning the lives of all of us,
and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For
this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and
surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be
of less importance than the application of the knowledge we
already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have
established their right to a human existence.

And here the Herr Doctor relapsed into silence again. Jurgis had
noticed that the beautiful young girl who sat by the center-table
was listening with something of the same look that he himself had
wornthe time when he had first discovered Socialism. Jurgis
would have liked to talk to herhe felt sure that she would have
understood him. Later on in the eveningwhen the group broke
uphe heard Mrs. Fisher say to herin a low voiceI wonder if
Mr. Maynard will still write the same things about Socialism; to
which she answeredI don't know--but if he does we shall know
that he is a knave!


And only a few hours after this came election day--when the long
campaign was overand the whole country seemed to stand still
and hold its breathawaiting the issue. Jurgis and the rest of
the staff of Hinds's Hotel could hardly stop to finish their
dinnerbefore they hurried off to the big hall which the party
had hired for that evening.

But already there were people waitingand already the telegraph
instrument on the stage had begun clicking off the returns. When
the final accounts were made upthe Socialist vote proved to be
over four hundred thousand--an increase of something like three
hundred and fifty per cent in four years. And that was doing
well; but the party was dependent for its early returns upon
messages from the localsand naturally those locals which had
been most successful were the ones which felt most like
reporting; and so that night every one in the hall believed that
the vote was going to be sixor sevenor even eight hundred
thousand. Just such an incredible increase had actually been
made in Chicagoand in the state; the vote of the city had been
6700 in 1900and now it was 47000; that of Illinois had been
9600and now it was 69000! Soas the evening waxedand the
crowd piled inthe meeting was a sight to be seen. Bulletins
would be readand the people would shout themselves hoarse -and
then some one would make a speechand there would be more
shouting; and then a brief silenceand more bulletins. There
would come messages from the secretaries of neighboring states
reporting their achievements; the vote of Indiana had gone from
2300 to 12000of Wisconsin from 7000 to 28000; of Ohio from
4800 to 36000! There were telegrams to the national office
from enthusiastic individuals in little towns which had made
amazing and unprecedented increases in a single year: Benedict
Kansasfrom 26 to 260; HendersonKentuckyfrom 19 to 111;
HollandMichiganfrom 14 to 208; CleoOklahomafrom 0 to 104;
Martin's FerryOhiofrom 0 to 296--and many more of the same
kind. There were literally hundreds of such towns; there would
be reports from half a dozen of them in a single batch of
telegrams. And the men who read the despatches off to the
audience were old campaignerswho had been to the places and
helped to make the voteand could make appropriate comments:
QuincyIllinoisfrom 189 to 831--that was where the mayor had
arrested a Socialist speaker! Crawford CountyKansasfrom 285
to 1975; that was the home of the "Appeal to Reason"! Battle
CreekMichiganfrom 4261 to 10184; that was the answer of
labor to the Citizens' Alliance Movement!

And then there were official returns from the various precincts
and wards of the city itself! Whether it was a factory district
or one of the "silk-stocking" wards seemed to make no particular
difference in the increase; but one of the things which surprised
the party leaders most was the tremendous vote that came rolling
in from the stockyards. Packingtown comprised three wards of the
cityand the vote in the spring of 1903 had been 500and in the
fall of the same year1600. Nowonly one year laterit was
over 6300--and the Democratic vote only 8800! There were other
wards in which the Democratic vote had been actually surpassed
and in two districtsmembers of the state legislature had been
elected. Thus Chicago now led the country; it had set a new
standard for the partyit had shown the workingmen the way!

--So spoke an orator upon the platform; and two thousand pairs of
eyes were fixed upon himand two thousand voices were cheering
his every sentence. The orator had been the head of the city's
relief bureau in the stockyardsuntil the sight of misery and


corruption had made him sick. He was younghungry-lookingfull
of fire; and as he swung his long arms and beat up the crowdto
Jurgis he seemed the very spirit of the revolution. "Organize!
Organize! Organize!"--that was his cry. He was afraid of this
tremendous votewhich his party had not expectedand which it
had not earned. "These men are not Socialists!" he cried. "This
election will passand the excitement will dieand people will
forget about it; and if you forget about ittooif you sink
back and rest upon your oarswe shall lose this vote that we
have polled to-dayand our enemies will laugh us to scorn! It
rests with you to take your resolution--nowin the flush of
victoryto find these men who have voted for usand bring them
to our meetingsand organize them and bind them to us! We shall
not find all our campaigns as easy as this one. Everywhere in
the country tonight the old party politicians are studying this
voteand setting their sails by it; and nowhere will they be
quicker or more cunning than here in our own city. Fifty
thousand Socialist votes in Chicago means a municipal-ownership
Democracy in the spring! And then they will fool the voters once
moreand all the powers of plunder and corruption will be swept
into office again! But whatever they may do when they get in
there is one thing they will not doand that will be the thing
for which they were elected! They will not give the people of
our city municipal ownership--they will not mean to do itthey
will not try to do it; all that they will do is give our party in
Chicago the greatest opportunity that has ever come to Socialism
in America! We shall have the sham reformers self-stultified and
self-convicted; we shall have the radical Democracy left without
a lie with which to cover its nakedness! And then will begin the
rush that will never be checkedthe tide that will never turn
till it has reached its flood--that will be irresistible
overwhelming--the rallying of the outraged workingmen of Chicago
to our standard! And we shall organize themwe shall drill
themwe shall marshal them for the victory! We shall bear down
the oppositionwe shall sweep if before us--and Chicago will be
ours! Chicago will be ours! CHICAGO WILL BE OURS!"