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The Daughter of a Republican   By: (1868-1962)

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THE DAUGHTER OF A REPUBLICAN

BY

BERNIE BABCOCK

CHICAGO:

THE NEW VOICE PRESS

1900

Copyright by Dickie and Woolley 1899

The world at large gives small attention to human effort until it has reached the full stature of a robust maturity.

By way of encouragement, it is well for many obscure toilers that there are those who think they see a bud of promise in the yet undeveloped effort.

Because of the loving interest she has always taken in my every "first attempt," I dedicate this little volume to

MY MOTHER.

[Illustration: "'I'm cold,' whined the boy."]

The Daughter of a Republican.

CHAPTER I.

THE CROWLEY FAMILY.

Let me introduce the reader to the Crowley family, and when you have become acquainted with them bear well in mind that in this broad land of ours there are thousands upon thousands of families in a condition as deplorable, and some whose mercury line of debauchery has dropped to a point of miserable existence as yet unsounded by this family.

The Crowleys are all in tonight, except the father, and he is momentarily expected.

It is a bitter night in February. The ground is covered with ice and sleet causing many a fall to the unwary pedestrian.

The wind comes in cutting blasts directly from the north, rattling and twisting everything in its way not securely fastened, then dying away in a long weary moan, abandoning its effort only to seize upon the elements with a firmer grasp and come battling back with fresh vindictiveness and force.

There were those who did not mind this storm, people around whose homes all was secure and whom no rattling annoyed, people who enjoyed bright lights and warm fires, but these were not the Crowleys. The Crowley's home consisted of two rooms in a rickety old tenement house around which everything rattled and flapped as the wind raged. Their light came from a dingy little lamp on a goods box. Every now and then a more violent gust of wind struck the house with such force that the structure trembled and the feeble light flickered dangerously.

Here and there broken windows were stopped up with rags and papers and through the insecure crevices the wind found its way with a rasping, tiresome groan.

What little fire there was, burned in a small rusty stove. Its door stood open, perhaps to keep the low fire burning longer, perhaps to let the warmth out sooner, and against the pale red glow four small hands were visible, spread to catch the feeble heat.

On a bed in one corner, gaunt, and with wasted form, a woman lay.

This was the mother.

A girl of perhaps fifteen sat close to the stove and held a tiny baby wrapped in a gingham apron.

A spell seemed to have fallen on the usually noisy group. Even Cora, the family merrymaker, was quiet, until aroused from her reverie by an act of her brother who replenished the fire.

She spoke rather severely.

"Johnnie, how many pieces of coal are there left in the box?"

"Five and little ones."

"Then get to work quick! Take out one of the pieces that you have just put in. We are not rich enough to burn three pieces at once."

"I'm cold," whined the boy.

"So am I, awful cold, but you know that coal must do till pa comes."

"I'd like to know when that will be. Any other pa would be home such a freezing night as this. I hate my pa."

"Johnnie, Johnnie, you must not talk that way. He is your father, child."

The voice came from the bed and was marked by that peculiar tone noticeable when persons extremely cold try to speak without chattering.

"I can't help it, mother. I'm cold, so cold, and I'm hungry, too. I only had half a potato, and Maggie says they're all gone."

"Poor child!" said the mother with a sigh. "Here, Maggie, give him this," and she drew from under the pillow a small potato which she held toward the girl.

But the girl did not stir until the hungry boy made a move in the direction of the bed... Continue reading book >>




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