Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/39

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
29
THE READING-CLUB.

"Oh, well, let us finish this matter, I beg :
You're very particular, though, I must say,"
The storekeeper muttered, and handed an egg—
The identical one he had taken in pay.

On the rim of the tumbler the man broke the shell—
"It's cert'inly handsome, the way yer treat folk:"
He opened it deftly, and plumply it fell
With a splash, and no wonder — it held double yolk!

The customer saw, and a long breath he drew:
"Look, mister, that egg has two yolks, I declare!
Instead of one needle, I've paid yer for two,
So hand me another, an' then we'll be square!"

William L. Keese, in Our Continent.

THE LABOR QUESTION.

Let me tell you why I am interested in the labor question. Not simply because of the long hours of labor; not simply because of a specific oppression of a class. I sympathize with the sufferers there: I am ready to fight on their side. But I look out upon Christendom, with its three hundred millions of people; and I see, that, out of this number of people, one hundred millions never had enough to eat. Physiologists tell us that this body of ours, unless it is properly fed, properly developed, fed with rich blood and carefully nourished, does no justice to the brain. You cannot make a bright or a good man in a starved body; and so this one-third of the inhabitants of Christendom, who have never had food enough, can never be what they should be. Now, I say that the social civilization which condemns every third man in it to be below the average in the nourishment God prepared for him, did not come from above: it came from below; and, the sooner it goes down, the better. Come on this side of the ocean. You will find forty millions of people, and I suppose they are in the highest state of civilization; and yet it is not too much to say, that, out of that forty millions, ten millions at least, who get up in the morning and go to bed at night, spend all the day in the mere effort to get bread enough to live. They have not elasticity enough, mind or body, left, to do any thing in the way of intellectual or moral progress.