Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 139
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 139
always shall be a tenement house city, and that we have got to reckon with and plan for that only.”
  I think not. I believe he is mistaken. And yet I can give no other ground for my belief than my unyielding faith that things will come right yet, if it does take time. They are not right as they are. Man is not made to be born and to live all his life in a box, packed away with his fellows like so many herring in a barrel. He is here in this world for something that is not attained in that way; but is, if not attained, at least perceived when the daisies and the robins come in. If to help men perceive it is all we can do in our generation, that is a good deal. But I believe that before our children have come to the divide, perhaps before we are gone, we shall see the tide of the last century’s drift to the cities turn, under the impulse of the new forces that are being harnessed for man’s work, and Homewood come to its rights. I say I believe it. I wish I could say I knew; but then you would ask for my proofs, and I haven’t any. For all that, I still believe it.
  Meanwhile Dr. Gould’s advice is good sense. If he is right, it is of the last importance; if I am right, it is still the way to proving me so by holding on to what is left of the home in the tenement and making the most of it. That we have taken the advice is good ground for hope, in the face of the fact that New York has still the worst housing in



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