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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Portion Of Labor - Chapter 35
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The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 35 Post by :jay_zek Category :Long Stories Author :Mary E Wilkins Freeman Date :May 2012 Read :3036

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The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 35

Chapter XXXV

When Ellen had gone to the factory to apply for work neither of the Lloyds were in the office, only a girl at the desk, whom she knew slightly. Ellen had hesitated a little as she approached the girl, who looked around with a friendly smile.

"I want to see--" Ellen began, then she stopped, for she did not exactly know for whom she should ask. The girl, who was blond and trim, clad coquettishly in a blue shirt-waist and a duck skirt, with a large, cheap rhinestone pin confining the loop of her yellow braids, looked at her in some bewilderment. She had heard of Ellen's good-fortune, and knew she was to be sent to Vassar by Cynthia Lennox. She did not dream that she had come to ask for employment.

"You want to see Mr. Lloyd?" she asked.

"Oh no!" replied Ellen.

"Mr. Robert Lloyd?" The girl, whose name was Nellie Stone, laughed a little meaningly as she said that.

Ellen blushed. "No," she said. "I think I want to see the foreman."

"Which foreman?"

"I don't know," replied Ellen. "I want to get work if I can. I don't know which foreman I ought to see."

"To get work?" repeated the girl, with a subtle change in her manner.

"Yes," said Ellen. She could hear her heart beat, but she looked at the other girl's pretty, common face with the most perfect calmness.

"Mr. Flynn is the one you want to see, then," said the girl. "You know Ed Flynn, don't you?"

"A little," replied Ellen. He had been a big boy when she entered the high-school, and had left the next spring.

"Well, he's the one you want," said Nellie Stone. Then she raised her voice to a shrill peal as a boy passed the office door.

"Here, you, Jack," said she, "ask Mr. Flynn to come here a minute, will you?"

"He don't want to see you," replied the boy, who was small and spare, laden heavily with a great roll of wrapping paper borne bayonet fashion over his shoulder. His round, impish face grinned back at the girl at the desk.

"Quit your impudence," she returned, half laughing herself. "I don't want to see him; it is this young lady here; hurry up."

The boy gave a comprehensive glance at Ellen. "Guess he'll come," he called back.

Flynn appeared soon. He was handsome, well shaven and shorn, and he held himself smartly. He also dressed well in a business suit which would not have disgraced the Lloyds. His face lit up with astonishment and pleasure when he saw Ellen. He bowed and greeted her in a rich voice. He was of Irish descent but American born. Both his motions and his speech were adorned with flourishes of grace which betrayed his race. He placed a chair for Ellen with a sweep which would have been a credit to the stage. All his actions had a slight exaggeration as of fresco painting, which seemed to fit them for a stage rather than a room, and for an audience rather than chance spectators.

"No, thank you," replied Ellen. Then she went straight to the matter in hand. "I have called to see if I could get a job here?" she said. She had been formulating her speech all the way thither. Her first impulse was to ask for employment, but she was sure as to the manner in which a girl would ordinarily couch such a request. So she asked for a job.

Flynn stared at her. "A job?" he repeated.

"Yes, I want very much to get one," replied Ellen. "I thought there might be a vacancy."

"Why, I thought--" said the young man. He was very much astonished, but his natural polish could rise above astonishment. Instead of blurting out what was in his mind as to her change of prospects, he reasoned with incredible swiftness that the change must be a hard thing to this girl, and that she was to be handled the more tenderly and delicately because she was such a pretty girl. He became twice as polite as before. He moved the chair nearer to her.

"Please sit down," he said. He handed to her the wooden arm-chair as if it had been a throne. Nellie Stone bent frowning over her day-book.

"Now let me see," said the young man, seriously, with perfect deference of manner, only belied by the rollicking admiration in his eyes. "You have never held a position in a factory before, I think?"

"No," replied Ellen.

"There is at present only one vacancy that I can think of," said Flynn, "and that does not pay very much, but there is always a chance to rise for a smart hand. I am sure you will be that," he added, smiling at her.

Ellen did not return the smile. "I shall be contented to begin for a little, if there is a chance to rise," she said.

"There's a chance to rise to eighteen dollars a week," said Flynn. He smiled again, but it was like smiling at seriousness itself. Ellen's downright, searching eyes upon his face seemed almost to forbid the fact of her own girlish identity.

"What is the job you have for me?" said she.

"Tying strings in shoes," answered Flynn. "Easy enough, only child's play, but you won't earn more than three dollars a week to begin with."

"I shall be quite satisfied with that," said Ellen. "When shall I come?"

"Why, to-morrow morning; no, to-morrow is Friday. Better come next Monday and begin the week. That will give you one day more off, and the hot wave a chance to get past." Flynn spoke facetiously. It was a very hot day, and the air in the office like a furnace. He wiped his forehead, to which the dark rings of hair clung. The girl at the desk glanced around adoringly at him.

"I would rather not stop for that if you want me to begin at once," said Ellen.

Flynn looked abashed. "Oh, we'd rather have you begin on the even week--it makes less bother over the account," he said. "Monday morning at seven sharp, then."

"Yes," said Ellen.

Flynn walked off with an abrupt duck of his head. He somehow felt that he had been rebuffed, and Ellen rose.

"I told you you'd get one," said the girl at the desk. "Catch Ed Flynn not giving a pretty girl a job." She said it with an accent of pain as well as malice. Ellen looked at her with large, indignant eyes. She had not the least idea what she meant, at least she realized only the surface meaning, and that angered her.

"I suppose he gave me the job because there was a vacancy," she returned, with dignity.

The other girl laughed. "Mebbe," said she.

Ellen continued to look at her, and there was something in her look not only indignant, but appealing. Nellie Stone's expression changed again. She laughed uneasily. "Land, I didn't mean anything," said she. "I'm glad for you that you got the job. Of course you wouldn't have got it if there hadn't been a chance. One of the girls got married last week, Maud Millet. I guess it's her place you've got. I'm real glad you've got it."

"Thank you," said Ellen.

"Good-bye," said the girl.

"Good-bye," replied Ellen.

On Monday morning the heat had broken, and an east wind with the breath of the sea in it was blowing. Ellen started for her work at half-past six. She held her father's little, worn leather-bag, in which he had carried his dinner for so many years. The walk was so long that it would scarcely give her time to come home at noon, and as for taking a car, that was not to be thought of for a moment on account of the fare.

Ellen walked along briskly, the east wind blew in her face, she smelled the salt sea, and somehow it at once soothed and stimulated her. Without seeing the mighty waste of waters, she seemed to realize its presence; she gazed at the sky hanging low with a scud of gray clouds, which did not look unlike the ocean, and the sense of irresponsibility in the midst of infinity comforted her.

"I am not Ellen Brewster after all," she thought. "I am not anything separate enough to be worried about what comes to me. I am only a part of greatness which cannot fail of reaching its end." She thought this all vaguely. She had no language for it, for she was very young; it was formless as music, but as true to her.

When she reached the cross-street where the Atkinses lived Abby and Maria came running out.

"My land, Ellen Brewster," said Abby, half angrily, "if you don't look real happy! I believe you are glad to go to work in a shoe-shop!"

Ellen laughed. Maria said nothing, but she pressed close to her as she walked along. She was coughing a little in the east wind. There had been a drop of twenty degrees in the night, and these drops of temperature in New England mean steps to the tomb.

"You make me mad," said Abby. Her voice broke a little. She dashed her hand across her eyes angrily. "Here's Granville Joy," said she; "you'll be in the same room with him, Ellen." She said it maliciously. Distress over her friend made her fairly malicious.

Ellen colored. "You are hard to talk to," said she, in a low voice, for Granville was coming nearer, gaining on them from behind.

"She don't mean it," whispered Maria.

When Granville caught up with them, Ellen pressed so close to Maria that he was forced to walk with Abby or pass on. She returned his "Good-morning," then did not look at him again. Presently Willy Jones appeared, coming so imperceptibly that he seemed almost impossible.

"Where did he come from?" whispered Ellen to Maria.

"Hush," replied Maria; "it's this way 'most every morning. All at once he comes, and he generally walks with me, because he's afraid Abby won't want him, but it's Abby."

This morning, Willy Jones, aroused, perhaps, to self-assertion by the presence of another man, walked three abreast with Abby and Granville, but on the other side of Granville. Now and then he peered around the other man at the girl, with soft, wistful blue eyes, but Abby never seemed to see him. She talked fast, in a harsh, rather loud voice. She uttered bitter witticisms which made her companions laugh.

"Abby is so bright," whispered Maria to Ellen, "but I wish she wouldn't talk so. Abby doesn't feel the way I wish she did. She rebels. She would be happier if she gave up rebelling and believed." Maria coughed as she spoke.

"You had better keep your mouth shut in this east wind, Maria," her sister called out sharply to her.

"I'm not talking much, Abby," replied Maria.

Presently Maria looked at Ellen lovingly. "Do you feel very badly about going to work?" she asked, in a low voice.

"No, not now. I have made up my mind," replied Ellen. The east wind was bringing a splendid color to her cheeks. She held up her head as she marched along, like one leading a charge of battle. Her eyes gleamed as with blue fire, her yellow hair sprung and curled around her temples.

They were now in the midst of a great, hurrying procession bound for the factories. Some of the men walked silently, with a dogged stoop of shoulders and shambling hitch of hips; some of the women moved droopingly, with an indescribable effect of hanging back from the leading of some imperious hand of fate. Many of them, both men and women, walked alertly and chattered like a flock of sparrows. Ellen moved with this rank and file of the army of labor, and all at once a sense of comradeship seized her. She began to feel humanity as she had never felt it before. The sense of her own littleness aroused her to a power of comprehension of the grandeur of the mass of which she was a part. She began to lose herself and sense humanity.

When the people reached the factories, two on one side of the road, one, Lloyd's, on the other, they began streaming up the outside stairs and disappearing like swarms of bees in hives. Two flights of stairs, one on each side, led to a platform in front of the entrance of Lloyd's.

When Ellen set her foot on one of these stairs the seven-o'clock steam-whistle blew, and a mighty thrill shot through the vast building. Ellen caught her breath. Abby came close to her.

"Don't get scared," said she, with ungracious tenderness; "there's nothing to be scared at."

Ellen laughed. "I'm not scared," said she. Then they entered the factory, humming with machinery, and a sensation which she had not anticipated was over her. Scared she was not; she was fairly exultant. All at once she entered a vast room in which eager men were already at the machines with frantic zeal, as if they were driving labor herself. When she felt the vibration of the floor under her feet, when she saw people spring to their stations of toil, as if springing to guns in a battle, she realized the might and grandeur of it all. Suddenly it seemed to her that the greatest thing in the whole world was work and that this was one of the greatest forms of work--to cover the feet of progress of the travellers of the earth from the cradle to the grave. She saw that these great factories, and the strength of this army of the sons and daughters of toil, made possible the advance of civilization itself, which cannot go barefoot. She realized all at once and forever the dignity of labor, this girl of the people, with a brain which enabled her to overlook the heads of the rank and file of which she herself formed a part. She never again, whatever her regret might have been for another life for which she was better fitted, which her taste preferred, had any sense of ignominy in this. She never again felt that she was too good for her labor, for labor had revealed itself to her like a goddess behind a sordid veil. Abby and Maria looked at her wonderingly. No other girl had ever entered Lloyd's with such a look on her face.

"Are you sick?" whispered Abby, catching her arm.

"No," said Ellen. "No, don't worry me, Abby. I think I shall like it."

"I declare you make me mad," said Abby, but she looked at her adoringly. "Here's Ed Flynn," she added. "He'll look out for you. Good-bye, I'll see you at noon." Abby went away to her machine. She was stitching vamps by the piece, and earning a considerable amount. The Atkinses were not so distressed as they had been, and Abby was paying off a mortgage.

When the foreman came towards Ellen she experienced a shock. His gay, admiring eyes on her face seemed to dispel all her exaltation. She felt as if her feet touched earth, and yet the young man was entirely respectful, and even thoughtful. He bade her "Good-morning," and conducted her to the scene of her labor. One other girl was already there at work. She gave a sidewise glance at Ellen, and went on, making her fingers fly. Mr. Flynn showed Ellen what to do. She had to tie the shoes together with bits of twine, laced through eyelet holes. Ellen took a piece of twine and tied it in as Flynn watched her. He laughed pleasantly.

"You'll do," he said, approvingly. "I've been in here five years, and you are the first girl I ever saw who tied a square knot at the first trial. Here's Mamie Brady here, she worked a solid month before she got the hang of the square knot."

"You go along," admonished the girl spoken of as "Mamie Brady." Her words were flippant, even impudent, but her tone was both dejected and childish. She continued to work without a glance at either of them. Her fingers flew, tying the knots with swift jerks.

"Well, you help Miss Brewster, if she needs any help," said Flynn, as he went away.

"We don't have any misses in this shop," said the girl to Ellen, with sarcastic emphasis.

"I don't care anything about being called miss," replied Ellen, picking up another piece of string.

"What's your first name?"


"Oh, land! I know who you be. You read that essay at the high-school graduation. I was there. Well, I shouldn't think you would want to be called miss if you feel the way you said you did in that."

"I don't want to," said Ellen.

The girl gave a swift, comprehensive glance at her as her fingers manipulated the knots.

"You won't earn twenty cents a week at the rate you're workin'," she said; "look at me."

"I don't believe you worked any faster than I do when you hadn't been here any longer," retorted Ellen.

"I did, too; you can't depend on a thing Ed Flynn says. You're awful slow. He praises you because you are good-lookin'."

Ellen turned and faced her. "Look here," said she.

The other girl looked at her with unspeakable impudence, and yet under it was that shadow of dejection and that irresponsible childishness.

"Well, I am lookin'," said she, "what is it?"

"You need not speak to me again in that way," said Ellen, "and I want you to understand it. I will not have it."

"My, ain't you awful smart," said the other girl, sneeringly, but she went on with her work without another word. Presently she said to Ellen, kindly enough: "If you lay the shoes the way I do, so, you can get them faster. You'll find it pays. Every little saving of time counts when you are workin' by the piece."

"Thank you," said Ellen, and did as she was instructed. She began to work with exceeding swiftness for a beginner. Her fingers were supple, her nervous energy great. Flynn came and stood beside her, watching her.

"If you work at that rate, you'll make it pretty profitable," he said.

"Thank you," said Ellen.

"And a square knot every time," he added, with almost a caressing inflection. Mamie Brady tied in the twine with compressed lips. Granville Joy passed them, pushing a rack full of shoes to another department, and he glanced at them jealously. Still he was not seriously alarmed as to Flynn, who, although he was good-looking, was a Catholic. Mrs. Zelotes seemed an effectual barrier to that.

"Ed Flynn talks that way to everybody," Mamie Brady said to Ellen, after the foreman had passed on. She said it this time quite inoffensively. Ellen laughed.

"If I _do tie the knots square, that is the main thing," she said.

"Then you don't like him?"

"I never spoke two words to him before the day I applied for work," Ellen replied, haughtily. She was beginning to feel that perhaps the worst feature of her going to work in a factory would be this girl.

"I've known girls who would be willing to go down on their knees and tie his shoes when they hadn't seen more of him than that," said the girl. "Ed Flynn is an awful masher."

Ellen went on with her work. The girl, after a side glance at her, went on with hers.

Gradually Ellen's work began to seem mechanical. At first she had felt as if she were tying all her problems of life in square knots. She had to use all her brain upon it; after a while her brain had so informed her fingers that they had learned their lesson well enough to leave her free to think, if only the girl at her side would let her alone. The girl had a certain harsh beauty, coarsely curling red hair, a great mass of it, gathered in an untidy knot, and a brilliant complexion. Her hands were large and red. Ellen's contrasted with them looked like a baby's.

"You 'ain't got hands for workin' in a shoe-shop," said Mamie Brady, presently, and it was impossible to tell from her tone whether she envied or admired Ellen's hands, or was proud of the superior strength of her own.

"Well, they've got to work in a shoe-shop," said Ellen, with a short laugh.

"You won't find it so easy to work with such little mites of hands when it comes to some things," said the girl.

It began to be clear that she exulted in her large, coarse hands as being fitted for her work.

"Maybe mine will grow larger," said Ellen.

"No, they won't. They'll grow all bony and knotty, but they won't grow any bigger."

"Well, I shall have to get along with them the best way I can," replied Ellen, rather impatiently. This girl was irritating to a degree, and yet there was all the time that vague dejection about her, and withal a certain childishness, which seemed to insist upon patience. The girl was really older than Ellen, but she was curiously unformed. Some of the other girls said openly that she was "lacking."

"You act stuck up. Are you stuck up?" asked Mamie Brady, suddenly, after another pause.

Ellen laughed in spite of herself. "No," said she, "I am not. I know of no reason that I have for being stuck up."

"Well, I don't know of any either," said the other girl, "but I didn't know. You sort of acted as if you felt stuck up."

"Well, I don't."

"You talk stuck up. Why don't you talk the way the rest of us do? Why do you say 'am not,' and 'ar'n't'; why don't you say 'ain't'?"

The girl mimicked Ellen's voice impishly.

Ellen colored. "I am going to talk the way I think best, the way I have been taught is right, and if that makes you think I am stuck up, I can't help it."

"My, don't get mad. I didn't mean anything," said the other girl.

All the time while Ellen was working, and even while the exultation and enthusiasm of her first charge in the battle of labor was upon her, she had had, since her feminine instincts were, after all, strong with her, a sense that Robert Lloyd was under the same great factory roof, in the same human hive, that he might at any moment pass through the room. That, however, she did not think very likely. She fancied the Lloyds seldom went through the departments, which were in charge of foremen. Mr. Norman Lloyd was at the mountains with his wife, she knew. They left Robert in charge, and he would have enough to do in the office. She looked at the grimy men working around her, and she thought of the elegant young fellow, and the utter incongruity of her being among them seemed so great as to preclude the possibility of it. She had said to herself when she thought of obtaining work in Lloyd's that she need not hesitate about it on account of Robert. She had heard her father say that the elder Lloyd almost never came in contact with the men, that everything was done through the foremen. She reasoned that it would be the same with the younger Lloyd. But all at once the girl at her side gave her a violent nudge, which did not interrupt for a second her own flying fingers.

"Say," she said, "ain't he handsome?"

Ellen glanced over her shoulder and saw Robert Lloyd coming down between the lines of workmen. Then she turned to her work, and her fingers slipped and bungled, her ears rang. He passed without speaking.

Mamie Brady openly stared after him. "He's awful handsome, and an awful swell, but he's awful stuck up, just like the old boss," said she. "He never notices any of us, and acts as if he was afraid we'd poison him. My, what's the matter with you?"

"Nothing," said Ellen.

"You look white as a sheet; ain't you well?"

Ellen turned upon her with sudden fury. She had something of the blood of the violent Louds and of her hot-tempered grandmother. She had stood everything from this petty, insistent tormentor.

"Yes, I am well," she replied, "and I will thank you to let me alone, and let me do my work, and do your own."

The other girl stared at her a minute with curiously expressive, uplifted eyebrows.

"Whew!" she said, in a half whistle then, and went on with her work, and did not speak again.

Ellen was thankful that Robert Lloyd had not spoken to her in the factory, and yet she was cut to the quick by it. It fulfilled her anticipations to the letter. "I was right," she said to herself; "he can never think of me again. He is showing it." Somehow, after he had passed, her enthusiasm, born of a strong imagination, and her breadth of nature failed her somewhat. The individual began to press too closely upon the aggregate. Suddenly Ellen Brewster and her own heartache and longing came to the front. She had put herself out of his life as completely as if she had gone to another planet. Still, feeling this, she realized no degradation of herself as a cause of it. She realized that from his point of view she had gone into a valley, but from hers she was rather on an opposite height. She on the height of labor, of skilled handiwork, which is the manifestation in action of brain-work, he on the height of pure brain-work unpressed by physical action.

At noon, when she was eating her dinner with Abby and Maria, Abby turned to her and inquired if young Mr. Lloyd had spoken to her when he came through the room.

"No, he didn't," replied Ellen.

Abby said nothing, but she compressed her lips and gave her head a hard jerk. A girl who ran a machine next to Abby's came up, munching a large piece of pie, taking clean semicircular bites with her large, white teeth.

"Say," she said, "did you see the young boss's new suit? Got up fine, wasn't he?"

"I'd like to see him working where I be for an hour," said a young fellow, strolling up, dipping into his dinner-bag. He was black and greasy as to face and hands and clothing. "Guess his light pants and vest would look rather different," said he, and everybody laughed except the Atkins girls and Ellen.

"I guess he washed his hands, anyway, before he ate his dinner," said Abby, sharply, looking at the young man's hands with meaning.

The young fellow colored, though he laughed. "There ain't a knife in this shop so sharp as some women's tongues," said he. "I pity the man that gets you."

"There won't be any man get me," retorted Abby. "I've seen all I want to see of men, working with 'em every day."

"Mebbe they have of you," called back the young fellow, going away.

"The saucy thing!" said the girl who stitched next to Abby.

"There isn't any excuse for a man's eating his dinner with hands like that," said Abby. "It's worse to poison yourself with your own dirt than with other folks'. It hurts your own self more."

"He ain't worth minding," said the girl.

"Do you suppose I do mind him?" returned Abby. Maria looked at her meaningly. The young man, whose name was Edison Bartlett, had once tried to court Abby, but neither she nor Maria had ever told of it.

"His clothes were a pearl gray," said the girl at the stitching-machine, reverting to the original subject.

"Good gracious, who cares what color they were?" cried Abby, impatiently.

"He looked awful handsome in 'em," said the girl. "He's awful handsome."

"You'd better look at handsome fellows in your own set, Sadie Peel," said Abby, roughly.

The girl, who was extremely pretty, carried herself well, and dressed with cheap fastidiousness, colored.

"I don't see what we have to think about sets for," said she. "I guess way back the Peels were as good as the Lloyds. We're in a free country, where one is as good as another, ain't we?"

"No one is as good as another, except in the sight of the Lord, in any country on the face of this earth," said Abby.

"If you are as good in your own sight, I don't see that it makes much difference about the sight of other human beings," said Ellen. "I guess that's what makes a republic, anyway."

Sadie Peel gave a long, bewildered look at her, then she turned to Abby.

"Do you know where I can get somebody to do accordion-plaiting for me?" she asked.

"No," said Abby. "I never expect to get to the height of accordion-plaiting."

"I know where you can," said another girl, coming up. She had light hair, falling in a harsh, uncurled bristle over her forehead; her black gown was smeared with paste, and even her face and hands were sticky with it.

"There's a great splash of paste on your nose, Hattie Wright," said Abby.

The girl took out a crumpled handkerchief and began rubbing her nose absently while she went on talking about the accordion-plaiting.

"There's a woman on Joy Street does it," said she. "She lives just opposite the school-house, and she does it awful cheap, only three cents a yard." She thrust the handkerchief into her pocket.

"You haven't got it half off," said Abby.

"Let it stay there, then," said the girl, indifferently. "If you work pasting linings in a shoe-shop you've got to get pasted yourself."

Ellen looked at the girl with a curious reflection that she spoke the truth, that she really was pasted herself, that the soil and the grind of her labor were wearing on her soul. She had seen this girl out of the shop--in fact, only the day before--and no one would have known her for the same person. When her light hair was curled, and she was prettily dressed, she was quite a beauty. In the shop she was a slattern, and seemed to go down under the wheels of her toil.

"On Joy Street, you said?" said Sadie Peel.

"Yes. Right opposite the school-house. Her name is Brackett."

Then the one-o'clock whistle blew, and everybody, Ellen with the rest, went back to their stations. Robert Lloyd did not come into the room again that afternoon. Ellen worked on steadily, and gained swiftness. Every now and then the foreman came and spoke encouragingly to her.

"Look out, Mamie," he said to the girl at her side, "or she'll get ahead of you."

"I don't want to get ahead of her," said Ellen, unexpectedly.

Flynn laughed. "If you don't, you ain't much like the other girls in this shop," said he, passing on with his urbane, slightly important swing of shoulders.

"Did you mean that?" asked Mamie Brady.

"Yes, I did. It seems to me you work fast enough for any girl. A girl isn't a machine."

"You're a queer thing," said Mamie Brady. "If I were you, I would just as soon get ahead as not, especially if Ed Flynn was goin' to come and praise me for it."

Ellen shrugged her shoulders and tied another knot.

"You're a queer thing," said Mamie Brady, while her fingers flew like live wires.

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The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 36 The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 36

The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 36
Chapter XXXVIThat night, when Ellen went down the street towards home with the stream of factory operatives, she computed that she must have earned about fifty cents, perhaps not quite that. She was horribly tired. Although the work in itself was not laborious, she had been all day under a severe nervous tension."You look tired to death, Ellen Brewster," Abby said, in a half-resentful, half-compassionate tone. "You can never stand this in the world.""I am no more tired than any one would be the first day," Ellen returned, stoutly, "and I'm going to stand it.""You act to me as if you

The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 34 The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 34

The Portion Of Labor - Chapter 34
Chapter XXXIVEllen's deepest emotion was pity for her father, so intense that it was actual physical pain."Poor father! Poor father! He had to borrow the money to buy me my watch and chain," she kept repeating to herself. "Poor father!"To her New England mind, borrowing seemed almost like robbing. She actually felt as if her father had committed a crime for love of her, but all she looked at was the love, not the guilt. Suddenly a conviction which fairly benumbed her came over her--the money in the savings-bank; that little hoard, which had been to the imagination of herself and