The Nine-Tenths eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about The Nine-Tenths.
the woman rises to the crisis and works miracles.  She keeps her head; she takes charge; she toils late into the night; she goes without food, without sleep.  Somehow she manages.  There was a seamstress in Greenwich Village who pulled her family of three and herself along on two hundred and fifty dollars a year—­less than five dollars a week!  If luck is with the woman the children grow up, go to work, and for a time ease the burden.  But then, what is left?  The woman is prematurely old—­her hair is gray, her face drawn and wrinkled, or flabby and soiled, her back bent, her hands raw and red and big.  Beauty has gone, and with the years of drudgery, much of the over-glory, much of the finer elements of love and joy, have vanished.  Her mind is absorbed by little things—­details of the day.  She has ceased to attend church, she has not stepped beyond the street corner for years, she has not read or played or rested.  Much is dead in her.  Love only is left.  Love of a man, love of children.  She is a fierce mother and wife, as of old.  And she knows the depth of sorrow and the truth of pain.

He repeated his programme.  Perhaps—­he afterward thought so himself—­this editorial was a bit too pessimistic.  But he had to write it—­had to ease his soul.  He set it off, however, by a lovely little paragraph which he printed boxed.  Here it is: 

  Possibly much of the laughter heard on this planet comes from
  the mothers and fathers who are thinking or talking of the children.

In this way, then, Joe entered into the life of the people.



Joe became a familiar figure in Greenwich Village.  As time went on, and issue after issue of The Nine-Tenths appeared, he became known to the whole district.  Whenever he went out people nodded right and left, passed the time of day with him, or stopped him for a hand-shake and a question.  He would, when matters were not pressing, pause at a stoop to speak with mothers, and people in trouble soon began to acquire a habit of dropping in at his office to talk things over with the “Old Man.”

If it was a matter of employment, he turned the case over to some member of the Stove Circle; if it was a question of honest want, he drew on the “sinking-fund” and took a note payable in sixty days—­a most elastic note, always secretly renewable; if it was an idle beggar, a vagrant, he made short work of his visitor.  Such a visitor was Lady Hickory.  Billy was at his little table next the door; over in the corner the still-despondent Slate was still collapsing; at the east window sat Editor Sally Heffer, digging into a mass of notes; and near the west, at the roll-top desk, a visitor’s chair set out invitingly beside him, Joe was writing—­weird exercise of muttering softly, so as not to disturb the rest, and then scratching down a sentence.

Billy leaped up to receive her ladyship, who fatly rolled in, her tarnished hat askew, her torn thrice-dingy silks clutched up in one fat hand.

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The Nine-Tenths from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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