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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 445 pages of information about The Jungle.
them as much trouble as was now involved in the boss’s taking the document from the little boy, and glancing at it, and then sending it to the office to be filed away.  Then he set some one else at a different job, and 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 Stanislovas, and his destiny till the end of his days.  Hour after hour, day after day, year after year, it was fated that he should stand upon a certain square foot of floor from seven in the morning until noon, and again from half-past twelve till half-past five, making never a motion and thinking never a thought, save for the setting of lard cans.  In summer the stench of the warm lard would be nauseating, and 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 work, and dark as night again when he came out, and so he would never know what the sun looked like on weekdays.  And for this, at the end of the week, he would carry home three dollars to his family, being 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 meantime, because they were young, and hope is not to be stifled before its time, Jurgis 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 work, and 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 toiled, and 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 hall, and invited all their new acquaintances, who came and left them over a hundred dollars in debt.

It was a bitter and cruel experience, and it plunged them into an agony of despair.  Such a time, of all times, for them to have it, when their hearts were made tender!  Such a pitiful beginning it was for their married life; they loved each other so, and 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 hearts, and leaped into flame at the slightest breath.  They were shaken to the depths of them, with 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 springtime, and 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!

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