The Wandering Jew — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,953 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Complete.

“It is unfortunately but too true, M. Agricola.  At Lille, when I reached the factory, wet through with a cold rain, I used sometimes to shiver all day long at my work.”

“Therefore, Mdlle.  Angela, the speculator might say:  ’To lodge my workmen close to the door of my factory would obviate this inconvenience.  Let us make the calculation.  In Paris the married workman pays about two hundred and fifty francs a-year,[30] for one or two wretched rooms and a closet, dark, small, unhealthy, in a narrow, miserable street; there he lives pell-mell with his family.  What ruined constitutions are the consequence! and what sort of work can you expect from a feverish and diseased creature?  As for the single men, they pay for a smaller, and quite as unwholesome lodging, about one hundred and fifty francs a-year.  Now, let us make the addition.  I employ one hundred and forty-six married workmen, who pay together, for their wretched holes, thirty-six thousand five hundred francs; I employ also one hundred and fifteen bachelors, who pay at the rate of seventeen thousand two hundred and eighty francs; the total will amount to about fifty thousand francs per annum, the interest on a million."’

“Dear me, M. Agricola! what a sum to be produced by uniting all these little rents together!”

“You see, mademoiselle, that fifty thousand francs a-year is a millionaire’s rent.  Now, what says our speculator:  To induce our workmen to leave Paris, I will offer them, enormous advantages.  I will reduce their rent one-half, and, instead of small, unwholesome rooms, they shall have large, airy apartments, well-warmed and lighted, at a trifling charge.  Thus, one hundred and forty-six families, paying me only one hundred and twenty-five francs a-year, and one hundred and fifteen bachelors, seventy-five francs, I shall have a total of twenty-six to twenty-seven thousand francs.  Now, a building large enough to hold all these people would cost me at most five hundred thousand francs.[31] I shall then have invested my money at five per cent at the least, and with perfect security, since the wages is a guarantee for the payment of the rent.’”

“Ah, M. Agricola!  I begin to understand how it may sometimes be advantageous to do good, even in a pecuniary sense.”

“And I am almost certain, mademoiselle, that, in the long run, affairs conducted with uprightness and honesty turn out well.  But to return to our speculator.  ‘Here,’ will he say, ’are my workmen, living close to my factory, well lodged, well warmed, and arriving always fresh at their work.  That is not all; the English workman who eats good beef, and drinks good beer, does twice as much, in the same time, as the French workman,[32] reduced to a detestable kind of food, rather weakening than the reverse, thanks to the poisonous adulteration of the articles he consumes.  My workmen will then labor much better, if they eat much better.  How shall I manage it without loss?  Now I think

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The Wandering Jew — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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