Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 218
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 218
 
robbed them of their only other source of income, a lodger who hired cot room in the attic for a few cents a night. The daughter was not able to work. But she said, cheerfully, that they were “getting along.” When it came out that she had not tasted solid food for many days, was starving in fact,—indeed, she died within a year, of the slow starvation of the tenements that parades in the mortality returns under a variety of scientific names which all mean the same thing,—she met her pastor’s gentle chiding with the excuse: “Oh, your church has many that are poorer than I. I don’t want to take your money.”
  These were Germans, ordinarily held to be close-fisted; but I found that in their dire distress they had taken in a poor old man who was past working, and kept him all winter, sharing with him what they had. He was none of theirs; they hardly even knew him, as it appeared. It was enough that he was “poorer than they,” and lonely and hungry and cold.
 
 
The Children’s Christmas Tree.
 
  It was over here that the children of Mr. Elsing’s Sunday-school gave out of the depth of their poverty fifty-four dollars in pennies to be hung on the Christmas tree as their offering to the persecuted Armenians. One of their teachers told me of a Bohemian family that let the holiday dinner she brought them stand and wait, while they sent out to bid to the feast four little ragamuffins of the

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