Jacob A. Riis (18491914). The Battle with the Slum. 1902.
I USED to think that it would have been better for Jim if he had never been born. What the good bishop said of some childrenthat they were not so much born into the world as they were damned into itseemed true of Jim, if ever it was true of any one. He had had a father, once, who was kind to him, but it was long since. The one he called by that name last had been sent to Sing Sing, to the lads great relief, for a midnight burglary, shortly after he married Jims mother. His back hurt yet when he thought of the evil days when he was around. If any one had thought it worth while to teach Jim to pray, he would have prayed with all his might that his father might never come out. But no one did, so that he was spared that sin. I suppose that was what it would have been called. I am free to confess that I would have joined Jim in sinning with a right good will, even to the extent of speeding the benevolent intentions of Providence in that directionanyhow, until Jim should be able to take care of himself. I mean with his fists. He