Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 395
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 395
 
They held up their hands in desperate endeavor to get her ear, only to have them struck down impatiently, or to be summarily put out if they tried again. They did not want to exercise. They wanted to play. I tried to voice their grievance to the “doctor” who presided.
  “Not at all,” he said decisively; “there must be system, system!”
  “Tommyrot!” said my Chicago friend at my elbow, and I felt like saying “thank you!” I don’t know but I did. They have good sense in Chicago. Jane Addams is there.
  The doctor resumed his efforts to teach the boys something, having explained to me that downstairs, where they are when it rains, there were seven distinct echoes to bother the band. Two girls “spieled” in the corner, a kind of dancing that is not favored in the playground. There had been none of that at the other places. The policeman eyed the show with a frown.
  So there was a fly in our ointment, after all. But for all that, the janitor is downed, his day dead. This of all things at last has been “settled right,” and the path cleared for the children’s feet, not in New York only, but everywhere and for all time. I, too, am glad to be alive in the time that saw it done.

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