Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 76
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 76
IV. The Blight of the Double-Decker
  IN a Stanton Street tenement, the other day, I stumbled upon a Polish capmaker’s home. There were other capmakers in the house, Russian and Polish, but they simply “lived” there. This one had a home. The fact proclaimed itself the moment the door was opened, in spite of the darkness. The rooms were in the rear, gloomy with the twilight of the tenement although the day was sunny without, but neat, even cosey. It was early, but the day’s chores were evidently done. The tea-kettle sang on the stove, at which a bright-looking girl of twelve, with a pale but cheery face, and sleeves brushed back to the elbows, was busy poking up the fire. A little boy stood by the window, flattening his nose against the pane, and gazed wistfully up among the chimney pots where a piece of blue sky about as big as the kitchen could be made out. I remarked to the mother that they were nice rooms.
“With his whole hungry little soul in his eyes.”
  “Ah yes,” she said, with a weary little smile that struggled bravely with hope long deferred, “but it



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