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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
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town, village to village, farm to farm we went. We knocked at factory doors and were sent away... "Nothing doing...Nothing doing." We were literally without a penny between the two of us, with hunger gnawing at out insides. We were lucky when we found an abandoned stable where we could pass the night in an effort to sleep. One morning we were fortunate. In South Glastonbury a countryman from Piedmont treated us to breakfast. Need I tell how grateful we were to him? But then we had to keep going in the disheartening search. About three in the afternoon we arrived in Middletown, Connecticut, tired, bruised, hungry, and dripping from three hours' walk in a rain.

Of the first person that we met we inquired for some North-Italian (my illustrious companion was excessively partial to his own section of Italy) and were directed to a nearby house. We knocked and were received by two Sicilian women, mother and daughter. We asked to be permitted to dry our clothes at the stove, and this they did most readily, despite the fact that they were Southerners. And while we sat there getting dried we asked about the chances for obtaining work in that vicinity. They told us there was not a stitch to be had, and advised trying in Springfield, where there are three brick furnaces.

Observing the pallor of our faces and the visible trembling of our bodies, the good women inquired whether we were hungry. We confessed that we had not eaten since six in the morning. Whereupon the younger of them handed us a short loaf of bread and a long knife.

"I can give you nothing else," she said, and her eyes filled with honest tears. "I have five children and my old mother to feed. My husband works on the railroad and earns no more than $1.35 a day, and to make things worse, I have been sick for a long time."

While I cut the bread, she rummaged round the house in a desperate search and finally discovered several apples, which she insisted upon our eating. Refreshed, we set out in the direction of the furnaces.

"What can that be over there where the chimney is?" asked my companion.

p. 15


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