The New York Times/The House of a Hundred Sorrows

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The walls are grimy and discolored. The uneven floors creak and yield under foot. Staircases and landings are rickety and black. The door of every room is open. Walk along these corridors. Walk into this room. Here is a sickly boy of 5, deserted by his mother, underfed, solitary in the awful solitude of starved, neglected childhood. Seldom talks. Strange, isn't it? Some, many children never prattle, like your darlings. They are already old. They are full, perhaps, of long, hopeless thoughts. There are plenty of other kids in this tenement. Here is one only 3. He never saw his father. His mother spurned and abused him. He is weak and backward. How wicked of him when he has been so encouraged and coddled! Doesn't know any games. How should he? Do children play? Not his kind. They live to suffer.

In room 24 is Rose, a house-mother of 10. Father is in the hospital. Mother is crippled with rheumatism. Rose does all the work. You would love Rose if she came out of Dickens. Well, there she is, mothering her mother in room 24. In room 20 age has been toiling for youth. Grandmother has been taking care of three granddaughters who lost their mother. A brave old woman; but what with rheumatism and heart weakness, three score and ten can't go out to work any more. What's going to happen to her and her charges? Thinking of that, she is ill on top of her physical illness. A very interesting house, isn't it, Sir? Decidedly "a rum sort of place," Madam? Come into room 23. Simon, the dollmaker—but handmade dolls are "out"—lives, if you call it living, here. Eighty years old, his wife of about the same age. Their eyesight is mostly gone. Otherwise they would still be sewing at buttons and earning a scanty livelihood for themselves and two little girls, their grandchildren. The girls object going to an orphan's home. Some children are like that.

You must see those twin sisters of 65 in room 47. True, they are doing better than usual on account of the coming holidays; making as much as $10 a month, whereas their average is but $6. Still rents are a bit high; and the twins have been so long together that they would like to stay so. In room—but you need no guide. Once in the House of a Hundred Sorrows you will visit every sad chamber of it. If your heart be made of penetrable stuff you will do the most you can to bring hope and comfort to its inmates, to bring them Christmas and the Christ.

For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in.

Naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed.

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The author died in 1946, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


Works published in 1925 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1952 or 1953, i.e. at least 27 years after it was first published / registered but not later than in the 28th year. As it was not renewed, it entered the public domain on .