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Full Online Book HomeAuthor Jacob A. RiisPage 1
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Making A Way Out Of The Slum Making A Way Out Of The Slum

Making A Way Out Of The Slum
One stormy night in the winter of 1882, going across from my office to the Police Headquarters of New York City, I nearly stumbled over an odd couple that crouched on the steps. As the man shifted his seat to make way for me, the light from the green lamp fell on his face, and I knew it as one that had haunted the police office for days with a mute appeal for help. Sometimes a woman was with him. They were Russian Jews, poor immigrants. No one understood or heeded them. Elbowed out of the crowd, they had taken refuge... Short Stories - Post by : LeaLonda - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1398

Skippy Of Scrabble Alley Skippy Of Scrabble Alley

Skippy Of Scrabble Alley
Skippy was at home in Scrabble Alley. So far as he had ever known home of any kind it was there in the dark and mouldy basement of the rear house, farthest back in the gap that was all the builder of those big tenements had been able to afford of light and of air for the poor people whose hard-earned wages, brought home every Saturday, left them as poor as if they had never earned a dollar, to pile themselves up in his strong box. The good man had long since been gathered to his fathers: gone to his better... Short Stories - Post by : viggen - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1274

Jack's Sermon Jack's Sermon

Jack's Sermon
Jack sat on the front porch in a very bad humor indeed. That was in itself something unusual enough to portend trouble; for ordinarily Jack was a philosopher well persuaded that, upon the whole, this was a very good world and Deacon Pratt's porch the centre of it on week-days. On Sundays it was transferred to the village church, and on these days Jack received there with the family. If the truth were told, it would probably have been found that Jack conceived the services to be some sort of function specially designed to do him honor at proper intervals, for... Short Stories - Post by : kevghas - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1596

A Backwoods Hero A Backwoods Hero

A Backwoods Hero
I had started out to explore the Magnetawan River from our camp on Lake Wahwaskesh toward the Georgian Bay, thirty miles south, but speedily found my way blocked by the canal rapids. The river there rushes through a deep and narrow canon strewn with sharp rocks, a perilous pass at all times for the most expert canoeist. We did not attempt it, but, making a landing in Deep Bay, took the safer portage around. At the end of a two-mile tramp we reached a clearing at the foot of the canon where the loggers had camped at one time. Black bass... Short Stories - Post by : Ali_Ghulam - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 3066

How Jim Went To The War How Jim Went To The War

How Jim Went To The War
Jocko and Jim sat on the scuttle-stairs and mourned; times were out of joint with them. Since an ill wind had blown one of the recruiting sergeants for the Spanish War into the next block, the old joys of the tenement had palled on Jim. Nothing would do but he must go to the war. The infection was general in the neighborhood. Even base-ball had lost its savor. The Ivy nine had disbanded at the first drum-beat, and had taken the fever in a body. Jim, being fourteen, and growing "muscle" with daily pride, "had it bad." Naturally Jocko, being Jim's... Short Stories - Post by : hpandw - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 2239

Rover's Last Fight Rover's Last Fight

Rover's Last Fight
The little village of Valley Stream nestles peacefully among the woods and meadows of Long Island. The days and the years roll by uneventfully within its quiet precincts. Nothing more exciting than the arrival of a party of fishermen from the city, on a vain hunt for perch in the ponds that lie hidden among its groves and feed the Brooklyn waterworks, troubles the every-day routine of the village. Two great railroad wrecks are remembered thereabouts, but these are already ancient history. Only the oldest inhabitants know of the earlier one. There hasn't been as much as a sudden death in... Short Stories - Post by : Dale_M._Nighorn - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 2433

War On The Goats War On The Goats

War On The Goats
War has been declared in Hell's Kitchen. An indignant public opinion demands to have "something done ag'in' them goats," and there is alarm at the river end of the street. A public opinion in Hell's Kitchen that demands anything besides schooners of mixed ale is a sign. Surer than a college settlement and a sociological canvass, it foretells the end of the slum. Sebastopol, the rocky fastness of the gang that gave the place its bad name, was razed only the other day, and now the police have been set on the goats. Cause enough for alarm. A reconnaissance in force... Short Stories - Post by : jaiminko - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1235

Fire In The Barracks Fire In The Barracks

Fire In The Barracks
The rush and roar, the blaze and the wild panic of a great fire filled Twenty-third Street. Helmeted men stormed and swore; horses tramped and reared; crying women, hurrying hither and thither, stumbled over squirming hose on street and sidewalk. The throbbing of a dozen pumping-engines merged all other sounds in its frantic appeal for haste. In the midst of it all, seven red-shirted men knelt beside a heap of trunks, hastily thrown up as for a breastwork, and prayed fervently with bared heads. Firemen and policemen stumbled up against them with angry words, stopped, stared, and passed silently by. The... Short Stories - Post by : jjemarque - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 2961

Difficulties Of A Deacon Difficulties Of A Deacon

Difficulties Of A Deacon
It is my firm opinion that newspaper men should not be deacons. Not that there is any moral or spiritual reason why they should abstain--not that; but it doesn't work; the chances are all against it. I know it from experience. I was a deacon myself once. It was at a time when they were destroying gambling tools at Police Headquarters. I was there, and I carried away as a memento of the occasion a pocketful of red, white, yellow, and blue chips. They were pretty, and I thought they would be nice to have around. That was the beginning of... Short Stories - Post by : 48710 - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 3217

In The Mulberry Street Court In The Mulberry Street Court

In The Mulberry Street Court
"Conduct unbecoming an officer," read the charge, "in this, to wit, that the said defendants brought into the station-house, by means to deponent unknown, on the said Fourth of July, a keg of beer, and, when apprehended, were consuming the contents of the same." Twenty policemen, comprising the whole off platoon of the East One Hundred and Fourth Street squad, answered the charge as defendants. They had been caught grouped about a pot of chowder and the fatal keg in the top-floor dormitory, singing, "Beer, beer, glorious beer!" Sergeant McNally and Roundsman Stevenson interrupted the proceedings. The Commissioner's eyes bulged as,... Short Stories - Post by : drpepper - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1991

The Christening In Bottle Alley The Christening In Bottle Alley

The Christening In Bottle Alley
All Bottle Alley was bidden to the christening. It being Sunday, when Mulberry Street was wont to adjust its differences over the cards and the wine-cup, it came "heeled," ready for what might befall. From Tomaso, the ragpicker in the farthest rear cellar, to the Signor Undertaker, mainstay and umpire in the varying affairs of life, which had a habit in The Bend of lapsing suddenly upon his professional domain, they were all there, the men of Malpete's village. The baby was named for the village saint, so that it was a kind of communal feast as well. Carmen was there... Short Stories - Post by : daman7 - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1357

A Heathen Baby A Heathen Baby

A Heathen Baby
A stack of mail comes to Police Headquarters every morning from the precincts by special department carrier. It includes the reports for the last twenty-four hours of stolen and recovered goods, complaints, and the thousand and one things the official mail-bag contains from day to day. It is all routine, and everything has its own pigeonhole into which it drops and is forgotten until some raking up in the department turns up the old blotters and the old things once more. But at last the mail-bag contained something that was altogether out of the usual run, to wit, a Chinese baby.... Short Stories - Post by : NiallR - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 3321

John Gavin, Misfit John Gavin, Misfit

John Gavin, Misfit
John Gavin was to blame--there is no doubt of that. To be sure, he was out of a job, with never a cent in his pockets, his babies starving, and notice served by the landlord that day. He had travelled the streets till midnight looking for work, and had found none. And so he gave up. Gave up, with the Employment Bureau in the next street registering applicants; with the Wayfarers' Lodge over in Poverty Gap he might have earned fifty cents, anyway, chopping wood; with charities without end, organized and unorganized, that would have sat upon and registered his... Short Stories - Post by : Fairuz_Talib - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 943

Heroes Who Fight Fire Heroes Who Fight Fire

Heroes Who Fight Fire
Thirteen years have passed since,(1) but it is all to me as if it had happened yesterday--the clanging of the fire-bells, the hoarse shouts of the firemen, the wild rush and terror of the streets; then the great hush that fell upon the crowd; the sea of upturned faces, with the fire-glow upon it; and up there, against the background of black smoke that poured from roof and attic, the boy clinging to the narrow ledge, so far up that it seemed humanly impossible that help could ever come. (Footnote 1: Written in 1898.) But even then it was... Short Stories - Post by : Don_Paul_Boyll - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 2140

'twas 'liza's Doings 'twas 'liza's Doings

'twas 'liza's Doings
Joe drove his old gray mare along the stony road in deep thought. They had been across the ferry to Newtown with a load of Christmas truck. It had been a hard pull uphill for them both, for Joe had found it necessary not a few times to get down and give old 'Liza a lift to help her over the roughest spots; and now, going home, with the twilight coming on and no other job a-waiting, he let her have her own way. It was slow, but steady, and it suited Joe; for his head was full of busy thoughts,... Short Stories - Post by : UKGuy - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 838

A Dream Of The Woods A Dream Of The Woods

A Dream Of The Woods
Something came over Police Headquarters in the middle of the summer night. It was like the sighing of the north wind in the branches of the tall firs and in the reeds along lonely river-banks where the otter dips from the brink for its prey. The doorman, who yawned in the hall, and to whom reed-grown river banks have been strangers so long that he has forgotten they ever were, shivered and thought of pneumonia. The Sergeant behind the desk shouted for some one to close the door; it was getting as cold as January. The little messenger boy on the... Short Stories - Post by : johanr - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 3584

A Little Picture A Little Picture

A Little Picture
The fire-bells rang on the Bowery in the small hours of the morning. One of the old dwelling-houses that remain from the day when the "Bouwerie" was yet remembered as an avenue of beer-gardens and pleasure resorts was burning. Down in the street stormed the firemen, coupling hose and dragging it to the front. Upstairs in the peak of the roof, in the broken skylight, hung a man, old, feeble, and gasping for breath, struggling vainly to get out. He had piled chairs upon tables, and climbed up where he could grasp the edge, but his strength had given out when... Short Stories - Post by : Sandro_Forani - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1911

Abe's Game Of Jacks Abe's Game Of Jacks

Abe's Game Of Jacks
Time hung heavily on Abe Seelig's hands, alone, or as good as alone, in the flat on the "stoop" of the Allen Street tenement. His mother had gone to the butcher's. Chajim, the father,--"Chajim" is the Yiddish of "Herman,"--was long at the shop. To Abe was committed the care of his two young brothers, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham was nine, and past time for fooling. Play is "fooling" in the sweaters' tenements, and the muddling of ideas makes trouble, later on, to which the police returns have the index. "Don't let 'em on the stairs," the mother had said, on going,... Short Stories - Post by : actionhans - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 775

Merry Christmas In The Tenements Merry Christmas In The Tenements

Merry Christmas In The Tenements
It was just a sprig of holly, with scarlet berries showing against the green, stuck in, by one of the office boys probably, behind the sign that pointed the way up to the editorial rooms. There was no reason why it should have made me start when I came suddenly upon it at the turn of the stairs; but it did. Perhaps it was because that dingy hall, given over to dust and draughts all the days of the year, was the last place in which I expected to meet with any sign of Christmas; perhaps it was because I myself... Short Stories - Post by : minaklaric - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 1974

Sarah Joyce's Husbands Sarah Joyce's Husbands

Sarah Joyce's Husbands
Policeman Muller had run against a boisterous crowd surrounding a drunken woman at Prince Street and the Bowery. When he joined the crowd it scattered, but got together again before it had run half a block, and slunk after him and his prisoner to the Mulberry Street station. There Sergeant Woodruff learned by questioning the woman that she was Mary Donovan and had come down from Westchester to have a holiday. She had had it without a doubt. The Sergeant ordered her to be locked up for safe-keeping, when, unexpectedly, objection was made. A small lot of the crowd had picked... Short Stories - Post by : eXpert_Opinion - Date : October 2011 - Author : Jacob A. Riis - Read : 2477