Children of the Tenements

Cover Children of the Tenements
Children of the Tenements
Riis Jacob August
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Six tallow candles and a night-light illuminate asingular collection of rarities, set out with much ceremonial show. Adoll tightly wrapped in swaddling-clothes represents "the Child. " Overit stands a ferocious-looking beast, easily recognized as a survivalof the last political campaign, --the Tammany tiger, --threatening toswallow it at a gulp if one as much as takes one's eyes off it. Aminiature Santa Claus, a pasteboard monkey, and several other articlesof bric-a-brac of the kind the tenemen...t affords, complete the outfit. The background is a picture of St. Donato, their village saint, withthe Madonna "whom they worship most. " But the incongruity harbors nosuggestion of disrespect. The children view the strange show withgenuine reverence, bowing and crossing themselves before it. There arefive, the oldest a girl of seventeen, who works for a sweater, makingthree dollars a week. It is all the money that comes in, for thefather has been sick and unable to work eight months and the motherhas her hands full: the youngest is a baby in arms.

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