Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 329
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 329
 
toss of her head toward police headquarters, which said plainly: “Ha! you thought you could! But you didn’t, did you?” were the admiration of the alley. It allowed that she had met and downed Roosevelt in a fair fight. But after the last funeral the Fat One never again carried the growler. Her spirit was broken. All things were coming to an end, the alley itself with them.
  One funeral I recall with a pleasure which the years have in no way dimmed. It was at a time before the King’s Daughters’ Tenement House Committee was organized, when out-of-town friends used to send flowers to my office for the poor. The first notice I had of a death in the alley was when a delegation of children from the rear knocked and asked for daisies. There was something unnaturally solemn about them that prompted me to make inquiries, and then it came out that old Mrs. Walsh was dead and going on her long ride up to Hart’s Island; for she was quite friendless, and the purse-strings of the alley were not long enough to save her from the Potter’s Field. The city hearse was even then at the door, and they were carrying in the rough pine coffin. With the children the crippled old woman had been a favorite; she had always a kind word for them, and they paid her back in the way they knew she would have loved best. Not even the coffin of the police sergeant

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