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The Cynosure

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"It is the brick factory, no doubt. Let us go and ask for a job."

Oh, it is much to late now," he demurred.

"Well, then, let us go to the home of the owner," was my suggestion.

"No, no, lets go on elsewhere. Work of that kind would kill you. You're not built that way," he countered.

It became evident enough that in the long period of fruitless searching for work, the fellow had lost his taste for labor. It is a state of mind that is not at all unusual. In the repeated impact of disappointment and insult, hunger and deprivation, the unemployed victim develops a certain indifference to his own fate. A terrible state of mind it is and one that makes vagabonds forever of the weaker individuals among the unfortunates.

As I stood there trying to swing him back to a healthy view of our predicament, I thought of the house we had left a little while ago. I thought with a pang of their slim evening meal, made slimmer because of the bread we had devoured. The thought of my own troubles blotted them out for a while. The memory of the last night, the cold sleepless night, made me tremble. I took a look at myself; I was almost in rags.

Another night coming on....



Almost by force I took my fellow-wanderer into town, where both of us secured work at the furnaces, one of the most exacting jobs I know. He did not stand the test. In two weeks he gave up the work. I remained there ten months. The work was indeed above my strength, but there were many joys after the day's labor. We had quite a colony of natives from Piedmont, Tuscany, and Venice, and the little colony became almost a family. In the evenings, the sordidness of the day was forgotten. Someone would strike up a tune on the violin, the accordion of some other instrument. Some of us would dance - I, unfortunately, was never inclined towards this art and sat aside watching. I have always watched and enjoyed in other folks' happiness.

There was considerable sickness in the little colony, I


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