ePub 版

open face,

strongly with his childlike, unspoiled, One gusty day in spring, the Scotch

To the day of his death, as sexton, busy with the blades of blue-grass is apt to be true of those who have lived springing from the animated mold, saw pure lives but never married, he had a his familiar figure standing motionless boyish strain in him—a softness of nature, beside the Colonel's resting-place. He showing itself even now in the gentle ex- had taken off his hat—one of the Colonel's pression of his mouth. His brown eyes last bequests—and laid it on the Colonel's had in them the same boyish look when, head-stone. On his body he wore a just as he was falling asleep, he scarcely strange coat of faded blue, patched and opened them to say:

weather-stained, and so moth-eaten that “Pray, Peter."

parts of the curious tails had dropped Peter, on his knees, and looking across entirely away. In one hand he held an the Colonel's face towards the open door open Bible, and on a much-soiled page he through which the rays of the rising sun was pointing with his finger to the followstreamed in upon his hoary head, prayed, ing words: while the Colonel fell asleep, adding a few “I would not have you ignorant, words for himself now left alone.

brethren, concerning them which are Several hours later, memory led the asleep.” Colonel back again through the dim gate- It would seem that, impelled by love way of the past, and out of that gateway and faith, and guided by his wandering his spirit finally took flight into the future. reason, he had come forth to preach his Peter lingered a year. The place went

The place went last sermon on the immortality of the soul to the Colonel's sister, but he was allowed over the dust of his dead master. to remain in his quarters. With much The sexton led him home, and soon thinking of the past, his mind fell into a afterwards a friend, who had loved them lightness and a weakness. Sometimes he both, laid him beside the Colonel. would be heard crooning the burden of It was perhaps fitting that his windingold hymns, or sometimes seen sitting sheet should be the vestment in which, beside the old brass-nailed trunk, fum- years agone, he had preached to his bling with the spelling-book and “The fellow-slaves in bondage; for if it so be Pilgrim's Progress.” Often, too, he walked that the dead of this planet shall come out to the cemetery on the edge of the forth from their graves clad in the traptown, and each time could hardly find the pings of mortality, then Peter should arise Colonel's grave amid the multitude of the on the Resurrection Day wearing his old dead.

jeans coat.

The Spring Will Bring Another Flower

By Martha Day Fenner
The Spring will bring another flower,

Yea, one of richer hue.
Dame Nature knows no meager dower,

When Spring would wed with you.
The garden of your last-year love

Is killed by drought and waste;
Remorse has set a blight above

The gate, then fed in haste.
The flower of richer hue will bloom,

Yea, flaunt its color rare,
A crimson blotch upon the gloom

That ever lingers there.
Your last-year love will look and grieve

To see the flower apart,
Then turn with silent tread and leave

The garden of your heart.


By Lillian W. Betts NOR years there has been some agita- child wholly beyond the reach of the law.

tion of the child labor problem That is, the State accepts the affidavit of

in New York. Advance has been a parent, or one standing in that relation, made, but the laws governing child labor as to the age of the child, as final. What in this State do not protect the children, the present laws governing child labor in nor dɔ they protect the State. They have New York have secured for the children proved a sedative to the public conscience. and the State can best be illustrated by The importance of New York as a manu- describing a manufacturing plant, the largfacturing center, where law, order, philan- est of its kind in the country, if not in the thropy, altruism, and charity are factors world, located within the limits of the city in securing the highest degree of civiliza- of New York. , tion, is admitted.

Approaching the building from any Briefly: the law of the State says that point, it is impressive because of its simple no child under fourteen shall be employed massiveness. On one side is an open space in any factory in the State. No child shall with a canal, creek, or river. On three be employed between the ages of fourteen sides the streets separate it from lower and sixteen without a certificate executed and more or less undesirable tenementby a health officer. The certificate must house property. The windows, large and be filed by the employer, who must keep numerous, give an impression of light and a record also of the child and the date air. The observer feels that if he had to when employed. To secure this certifi- work in a factory he would, on the whole, cate the parent, or one standing in that think that his lines had fallen in pleasant relation, must file with the officer issuing places if he worked here. The offices, on the certificate an affidavit showing the which no useless expenditures have been date and place of birth of the child. made, are many, all on the first floor. A That affidavit stands above any record as small window with a man on guard, assisted to age. An option is provided: if, in the by telephone, speaking tubes, bell, and all judgment of the department or officer the labor-saving devices of an up-to-date issuing the certificate, the child is physi- office, is close to the street entrance. This cally unfit for the work required, the cer- window also controls the larger door tificate may be withheld. Examination of through which the thousand employees hundreds of certificates granted to chil- enter and leave the building. The visitdren of fourteen would indicate that this ors were most courteously received by the option had not been freely exercised. superintendent, a man who impressed one Work certificates for manufacturing have at once by his physical and mental health, been granted giving the weight of the and also convinced at once, by his directapplicants, at fourteen and fourteen and a ness, of his supremacy in his own field. He half years, as fifty-two pounds.

bowed to no man there. In reply to the In addition to the affidavit as to age, questions as to the children employed, he a principal or teacher must furnish on responded by saying, “ Every child emdemand to a child who has attended ployed in this building is employed in school or been instructed by such teacher, strict conformity to the law. If there is or to the factory inspector or his assistant, anything wrong, it is up to the Labor Dea certificate stating the school attendance partment and the Board of Health. There of the child as not less than one year is not a child in this building whose work preceding the date of application and as certificate we do not have on file, or the having been in a building where reading, affidavit of the parents or guardians before writing, arithmetic, and geo raphy are a notary public. Back of that we do not taught.

This is a business, not a philanAn affidavit by the parent or guardian thropy." made before a notary public, or executed We left the office, escorted by an emby one, that the child is sixteen, puts the ployee, bearing an alphabetically arranged



record of every child employed ; that is, we tried to keep him in school. You the name, number of work certificate or could not tire that child's mind; it was affidavit, when employed, and number on as fresh at three o'clock as at nine. Yes, pay-roll. The building was very clean; there is his school record. He will be sanitary arrangements far better than in ten years old next October (1903). I many private houses ; separate dressing refused to sign the school certificate for a rooms for the employees on each floor, week. He never was ill; never missed a large, light, and airy; sometimes there were day from school; we hoped much for his more than one on the floor.

future. His mother declared he was A door was opened into a large room fourteen last October. Of course, under filled with whirring, deafening machinery. the law her word, not our school record, A great number of little boys were mov- stood. The principal told me I had no ing rapidly over the smooth floor, push- right to withhold my signature as to school ing brooms before them that gathered attendance. No argument would move the waste from the machinery. They the mother. I signed; I do not believe were called by a signal to the foreman's they could read the signature, I could not desk. At least half of them could not Cannot something be done for speak a word of English ; not even enough him?" to understand the question, “What is The visitor went back to the factory your name?” Sometimes the whole group fifteen minutes before the whistle blew would fail to understand English. A for the return to work. What a sight! search was made until some one was found Troops of children, boys and girls; young who could speak at least one of the many men and women; those just on the edge languages represented, and put the answers of manhood and womanhood; middleinto English. Poles, Russians, Italians, aged; and old, bowed by the weight of Germans, Finns, were the principal na- years and work. Boys in short trousers, tionalities represented by these children. smoking, swearirg, using vile language; Less than two per cent. were American- coarse interchange of talk between the born. Few were able to write their names sexes. Girls not fully clothed, who, having in the language they spoke.

eaten their lunches in the rooms, had gone Among the swarthy foreign children out for a breath of air and sunshine, hatwhose baby faces and diminutive, ill-nour- less and coatless. So far as interchange ished bodies were a positive contradiction of jokes, conversation, a rough-and-tumble to the sworn statements of the parents on play, the sexes were equal. The expletives file, stood out the refined head and face used in conversation were the same. The of an American boy, eleven or twelve small boys were profane beyond descripapparently. There was a certain pathetic tion. Two men pushed through a group appeal in the boy's eyes that drew the of young people in the door. As one visitor to him. He answered in a refined passed through he used the most frightful voice and with clear enunciation as to his oath the writer ever heard. Not a head name and age, responding to the questions, turned as he disappeared violently gestic"How old are you,” “ Fourteen.” When ulating. were you born ?" “ October 23, 1893." The superintendent listened sympaThe visitors were able to control any ex- thetically to the report as to the boy. “I pression of surprise, but asked where he know,” continued the narrator, " that I attended school and when he left. At ought to ask you to discharge that boy. the noon hour one of the visitors went to I am going to ask you to keep him. But the school to verify the boy's statement. can you afford to have him sweeping The moment the boy's name was men- floors ?" tioned, the head of the department, to “ He will not be another day," was the whom the visitor had been sent, asked response in quietly sympathetic tones. breathlessly,“ What is he doing?” “Sweep- “ We need that boy in this office. Believe ing floors.” The teacher's eyes filled me, that boy will be watched, given every with tears. “What a crime! A boy with opportunity for business education, and such a mind! He has always attended he will not be overworked." this school. Every teacher he ever had This boy's work certificate, issued under loved him. You do not know how hard the authority of the law and in strict accordance with it, protects him from bare; a dark cloth skirt, with belt folded molestation until he has worked under its over many times, was held about her protection two years, when, that being his waist by a safety-pin. The waist was authoritative age record, he would be made of a pair of football trousers. It sixteen years of age, and free to work was cut a little low at the neck, which without it. If discharged, it must be was encircled by a string of coral beads. returned to him, to use in securing work The shoulders were formed by the folding elsewhere. His mother had been labored over of the material, which made a sleeve with by women who loved the boy, and over the upper arm. The waist was they failed to move her. The age record sewed fast up the back with coarse black in school was not correct, she had sworn. thread. It could only be removed by The best protection for that boy was a being ripped with scissors. This child man who could appreciate his mental had filed at the desk the notary public ability; who needed the boy on the com- affidavit of her father that she was sixteen. mercial side of the business he controlled. No one believed, or pretended to believe, That man was secured; the child labor that she was sixteen, but the law says the law does not cover office labor.

parent's word or oath is the standard of The investigation was resumed, and re- age. vealed hundreds of little girls and boys, so In this factory young men and women, childish in appearance, in the expression seventeen, eighteen, twenty, who had lived of their faces, that it was possible only by in this country since they were four and the strongest self-control to conceal the five,' were found who could neither underevidence of the emotions their presence stand nor speak English. Scores are under such conditions aroused. The working who came here when over sixteen, little girls were carrying spools, empty and who, of course, do not speak English. filled, to the spindles. In one room dozens These are the people who make the race of them were in their bare feet running “political boss,” the greatest menace to through water on the floor to the depth our political body, municipal, State, or of about half an inch. The material at National. this point of manufacture had to be kept At five o'clock we left that manufacturmoist. Such tiny-looking things, with ing establishment, which was " up-to-date " bodies that looked as if they might be in construction and management, having crushed between one's hands! Nothing seen the evils, injustice, and dangers of could be done. The every letter of the child labor fully protected by the present law was obeyed in employing them. factory laws of the State of New York, in There was not the slightest pretense on the most progressive, philanthropic, and the part of any one in authority that he greatest city in the United States of believed the certificate or affidavits under America. which these children were working repre- Last February there was promoted from sented the truth. The keynote was, “ The a primary to a grammar school on the law is obeyed to the very letter. We are East Side a Russian Jew boy who, accordno better than the law.” As with the ing to the school record, was just thirteen boys, only a very small percentage of the at the time of promotion. It was congirls could answer in English; only a very ceded that the boy had the brightest mind small percentage could write their names in the school; he stood first in everyeven in the language they spoke. They thing; he could, between three in the afterwere nunbered on the pay-rolls; this noon and nine the next morning, commit they understood, and responded to their a long poem to memory, enjoy doing it, numbers. The service of an interpreter and recite it without an error. “ I hated served to identify certificates, affidavits, to promote him, he was such an incentive and holders of them.

to the others,” was the principal's comA walk through one room revealed a ment when telling the boy's story. In little girl, evidently an Italian, who had April the father of the boy appeared with not appeared with the other children at the blank from the Department of Health the foreman's desk. She was perhaps for her signature as to school attendance. three feet six in height, very slight, with The principal refused to sign it. The a pathetic baby face. Her feet were boy had passed from her jurisdiction two months before. “Well, he never went to of the plants. The children do work that that school; I wanted him to work.” requires the least amount of mental or

“ You will never put him to work with muscular power. It was impossible not my assistance. The boy, according to the to resent the thought of children spending school record, is but thirteen years and one or two years at such employment; it two months old.

You are not poor ; you was just a degree above idleness. In one are well off.

The boy has a brilliant of these plants a system of stealing metals mind, and should be given every possible had been evolved that revealed itself only opportunity to study; he loves it." through loss. Even detectives could not

The man left after violently abusing the discover the system by which the metals principal, a woman, for refusing to sign were taken from this building. One day a the certificate as to school attendance. small boy, evidently believing that he could

In September the father and boy re- escape undiscovered at the noon hour, turned. The father wished to enter the was arrested for stealing, and confessed. boy as a pupil. Let the principal tell her He was paroled in the care of his father, story. “I looked at them. The boy who who swore he was twelve years old. The had left me a rosy, rollicking, happy, brill- boy had been working eleven months. iant school-boy, stood before me a cowed, His father claimed that the boy had a work broken boy, looking like a sneak. The certificate, though the claim meant that father, who had been one of the hand- he could have been prosecuted for perjury somest of men, about thirty-five, I thought, and would have been if the certificate, or was a gray-haired, broken man. What record of it, could have been found. The has happened?' I gasped. The father, in manager claimed that the boy had a work a tone vindictive and cruel, responded : certificate when he was employed, but he · He is a thief.' The boy shrank within returned it. There is a boy of twelve his clothes. I put my arm

across his branded as a thief, with a police record, shoulders; he shook it off. “Yes,' re- because of the present factory laws in the peated the father, a thief.' The boy State of New York. Nor is this all. Four secured work with a jeweler in April blocks from that factory is a dealer in old without a work certificate. In August he metals. He has been arrested four times was arrested for stealing--evidently begin- for receiving stolen goods, and discharged ning to steal almost as soon as he was each time because the law says that the peremployed. The payment by the father of son buying the stolen property must know the full amount of the loss claimed by the it has been stolen at the time he buys it. employer saved the boy from prosecution, In one plant of this “combine” ten but not from imprisonment. He had boys were found working without certifispent two nights in jail. The father used cates, as were also four girls. The sanitary all his ready money and mortgaged a conditions were deplorably crude and tenement to save the boy, he claimed. indecent in their arrangement, especially Whether the shock of arrest and imprison- those for the girls. There were no dressingment, or the father's evident brutality, or rooms, nor the slightest provision for the both, are responsible, it was necessary last comfort of the people employed, numberDecember, when the boy returned to ing four hundred and seventy. “ The school, to put him three grades below the combine "refused all responsibility for the grade from which he was promoted; he employment of children without work certicannot keep up with the work of that ficates. The foremen hired the people grade." Sorrowfully the principal adds, working under them; if they disobeyed the “I think his mind is destroyed.”

law, they must accept the consequences. There has been formed within a com- This rule was found in operation in each paratively recent period an industrial of the plants of this corporation. One boy trust, or, to use the euphemism of one of who held a work certificate was so small the managers of one of the plants, “a and emaciated that he was questioned. combine," which individually employed An examination of the record of the school large numbers of children, and has been he last attended gave the boy's age as in its corporate capacity a much larger thirteen next March. The father swore employer of children. The effect of “the he was fourteen last September. His combine” has been to increase the size affidavit secured the work certificate. A

« 上一頁繼續 »