Jacob A. Riis (18491914). The Battle with the Slum. 1902.
the door-jamb. I raised the curtain that serves for a door, and looked in. Mrs. Ben Wah was asleep upon the bed. Perched upon her shoulder was the parrot, no longer constrained by the bars of a cage, with his head tucked snugly in her neck, asleep too. So I left them, and so I like to remember them always, comrades true.
It happened that when I was in Chicago last spring I told their story to a friend, a woman. Oh, write it! she said. You must! And when I asked why, she replied, with feminine logic: Because it is so unnecessary. The barrel of flour doesnt stick out all over it.
Now I have done as she bade me. Perhaps she was right. Women know these things best. Like my own city, they have hearts, and will understand the unnecessary story of Mrs. Ben Wah and her parrot.