In the last of his days before he went to jail he cut a little ice, he shoveled coal for an electric house, he did a little ditch digging until the snow came; then he cleaned the snow from the streets; then he dug a ditch for a water main; then he dug some clams, and then he got arrested.
So far I have told this man's external life. It is much like other lives, you see, "the short and simple annals of the poor." But man consists of two parts, body and soul; and the soul of the poor is less simple than it used to be.
Nowadays there are printing presses, and even men who work thirteen and fifteen hours a day in bakeshops and restaurant kitchens find a few minutes' leisure in which to think and to read the great works of all ages.
I wish I could give you the full list of what Vanzetti read. It would amaze you. If you are the average American Tired Business Man it might shock you a little, because the names would be foreign sounding and strange: De Amicis and St. Augustine and Dante and Kropotkin and Gorki and Labriols and Renan and Hugo.
Now he has written the story of his life, and having studied it carefully, I am ready to give my testimony as an expert in social idealism, that there is a thousand times more likelihood that I committed that payroll murder than that Vanzetti did.
But alas, this kind of expert testimony is not accepted in American courts! So all that I can do is to recommend you "The Story of a Proletarian Life."
(Copyright, 1923, by "Boston Sunday Advertiser")