Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 263
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 263
 
ward where his mother lay. Away off at the farther end of the room, he knew her, the last in the row, and ran straight to her before we could stop him, and fell on her neck.
  “Mother!” we heard him say, while he hugged her, with his head on her pillow. “Mother, why don’t you speak to me? I am all right—I am.”
  He raised his head and looked at her. Happy tears ran down the thin face turned to his. He took her in his arms again.
  “I am all right, mother; honest, I am. Don’t you cry. I couldn’t keep the rooms, mother! They took everything, only the deed to father’s grave. I kept that.”
  He dug in the pocket of his old jacket, and brought out a piece of paper, carefully wrapped in many layers of rags and newspaper that hung in dirty tatters.
  “Here it is. Everything else is gone. But it is all right. I’ve got you, and I am here. Oh, mother! You were gone so long!”
  Longer—poor Jim—the parting that was even then adding another to the mysteries that had vexed my soul concerning you. Happiness at last had broken the weary heart. But if it added one, it dispelled another: I knew then that I erred, Jim, when I thought it were better if you had never been born!

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