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About Will Maupin's weekly. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1911-1912 | View Entire Issue (June 23, 1911)
It Opened the Way to an
By CLARISSA NACKIE
Copyright, 1910, by American Press
Tied snugly in a round bag, the
Christmas pudding bubbled merrily in
the big pot on the gas range. Young
Mrs. Bell tripped lightly to and fro
about the tiny kitchen, her heart full
of Yuletide cheer and gentle gracious
ness. It was her first Christmas as a
housewife, and the little flat was spick
and span with cleanliness.
Laura Bell lifted the pot lid and
peered at the fragrant pudding.
"My, but that does smell Christ
masy!" sighed Laura as she replaced
the lid and proceeded to wash the
mountainous array of dishes in the
sink. "I never believed I could antici
pate an enjoyable Christmas away
from Lake ville and the home folks, but
I begin to thing we two are going to
have a lovely time, even if we are all
alone in this big, strange city."
That night at dinner Timothy Bell
leaned back in his chair and surveyed
the remains of his excellent meal with
"So the pudding was a success,
dear?" he inquired.
"Light as a feather, and so spicy!"
said his wife proudly. "I'd show it to
you, Tim, only I've lied it up again
and put it out on the fire escape to
keep cold. I shall boil it for an hour
tomorrow, just before dinner, so it will
be piping hot."
"Now this Is Christmas eve. Do you
want to go out tonight?"
"I'd like to go out and mingle with
the crowds, although my own shop
ping was finished a week ago. It
seemed strange to prepare my gifts so
early and send them through the mail
Instead of running around with them
the way I've always done In Lake
ville. I rather ' miss the excitement
and fun of it all. Now, Timothy, dear,
don't look so solemn. Really I'd rath
er be here in New York with you to
day than away out in Minnesota with
everybody else If you were not there.
"I've a mind to try it on every man,
woman and child I meet in the corri
.dbrs tomorrow," said Laura daringly
as she cleared away the meal. "What
do you suppose they would say?"
"Probably complain to the janitor,"
dinned Timothv. gathering a pile.of
dishes" and whisking" them Info" the
kitchen. "Hurry up, sweetheart. Let
the dishes wait till we come home.
Get on your things and let's join the
crowd. If we can't have a Lakeville
Christmas we'll have the New York
'"Of course we will," agreed his
The Bells enjoyed their excursion
into the shopping districts. The broad
avenues were ablaze with light and
color, and the moving multitudes of
Christmas purchasers formed con
stantly changing pictures that delight
, ed the country bred eyes of Timothy
'and his wife. More than once Timo
thy's hand went down into his pocket
to add a mite to some Salvation Army
kettle on a corner or to dispense holi
day comfort to some one whose need
of . food or warmth was apparent to
his observing glance. Once .he and
Laura convoyed a party of four rag
ged urchins into a little toyshop and
made four children . radiantly happy
with simnle gifts. 1 .
When fliey reached home again the
clocks were striking 11 and Laura's
eyes were sparkling with happiness,
while Timothy felt a quiet satisfaction
In the pleasure the evening had brought
them. As they waited for the elevator
a young man and a girl entered the
building and stood near them.
Timothy's keen glance noted that the
man was well dressed, but rather thin
ly clad for the season. His face was
thin and pale, as if he had recently
been ill, while his dark eyes wore a
brooding, discouraged expression that
was out of keeping with the spirit of
the approaching festival. The girl, who
wore a wedding ring on one slender
ungloved hand, watched him with a
pretty air of motherly anxiety. She
was a brown little thing, with hair
and eyes of a warm russet hue and a
charming face that attracted Laura
As they glided up, in the elevator
Laura found herself watching the girl
with Interest. There was a sad look
when the young man's glance was
turned away from her uplifted face,
nd Laura noted little tense lines about
the mobile lips. The elevator stopped
tit the Bells' floor, and as they left the
car Mrs. Bell turned with a sudden
impulse and nodded in the friendliest
manner at the little brown girl.
"Merry Christmas!" she called.
The door slammed as the car mount
ed up, but the brown girl leaned for
ward and called back in a low, sweet
voice, "Merry Christmas to you!"
"I did it, Timothy," sang Laura as
they entered their own cozy flat. "I
knew some of these flat dwellers were
human even if you doubted it"
"Wrong again and glad of It this
time," admitted Timothy as he turned
up the gas in the parlor. "Now, Laura,
how about those dishes?"
"They must be done tonight," de
clared Mrs. Bell, tying a large apron
about her slender form. "There won't
be a thing to do tomorrow except to
roast the chicken, heat up the pudding
and cook some vegetables."
1 Laura went to the window that
opened on a fire escape and raised it.
Then she uttered a faint shriek of
dismay and turned to her husband.
"It's gone!" she cried dramatically.
"What the pudding?" Timothy ap
proached the window and made a care
ful examination of the impromptu re
frigerator, "Nothing here; not a blamed
pudding of any kind," he . reported.
"Sure you didn't bring it inside and
forget about It?"
Laura opened the pantry door and
revealed its cupboard-like Interior.
There were the plump chicken and the
delicately tinted celery and the crim
son cranberry sauce and bowl of fruit,
but there was no sign of that snugly
bagged plum pudding that was to be the
chef d'oeuvre of the Christmas feast.
The hour that followed was an ex
citing one for the Bells. They searched
high and low, in the most impossible
places, for the delectable pudding that
Laura had made, but in vain. At last
Timothy went down to the basement
and consulted the genial janitor, who
listened with interest to his tale of
woe, but offered no solace.
It was after 7 o'clock on Christmas
morning when Laura was awakened
by a ringing of the hall bell. Throw
ing on a warm wrapper and thrusting
her feet into furry slippers, she has
tened into the narrow hall, careful not
to disturb her sleeping. husband.
Laura opened the door the merest
crack and peered inquisitively through.
What she saw caused her to throw the
door open with cordial hospitality.
"Merry Christmas! Come in, do!"
she said to the little brown girl who
stood there, looking rather pale and
"For just a moment There is some
thing I must explain." She slipped in
side and sank into the chair, that Lau
ra offered". TI know ydu will think it
strange that I have come, a perfect
stranger, but the janitor said you had
lost a pudding."
"I have. Did you find it?" cried
Laura eagerly. "It's the greatest mys
tery what has become of it."
The girl smiled sadly, and a flush
reddened her cheek for a brief in
stant and was gone. "I shall have to
tell you about ourselves," she said,
with dignity, "so that you will under
stand why we have eaten half of
your pudding. We're all alone, both
of us, and we've had bad luck ever
since we were married. In September
Paul was taken down with typhoid
fever and lost his position as book
keeper. He's just able to get around
now and look for work, and he hasn't
been at all successful. Things have
been going from bad to worse, and
we're going to move out the first of
the year. We've been running low for
a long time, and for the last two days
we haven't had much to eat, so there
just milk or something like that. Tonight-
before we went out the dumb
waiter whistle sounded, and when I
opened the slide there was our bottle
of milk, with a plum pudding in a bag.
"I thought honestly I did that some
body had sent it up to us, though
we're not acquainted with a soul here,
and so I heated it up, and we ate half
of it. It was lovely. A little while
ago the janitor came and inquired if
we'd seen a plum pudding, so I came
right down to tell you, as Paul is
asleep. I don't know what to say to
"Don't you dare say another word
about that pudding," commanded Lau
ra. "If you only knew how lonesome
we are today you and your husband
would come down and spend the day
with us. We were wishing we knew
somebody in the house here to ask.
I'm so thankful about that pudding.
Why, if I hadn't put it In the dumb
waiter Instead of the fire escape (I'm
very absentminded when I'm busy)
you would never have received it, and
we might never have been acquainted.
Isn't it a blessed old pudding?"
These two lonely young women hug
ged each other delightedly, and after
ward Laura went to arouse Timothy
that he might accompany her to the
floor above, where the Robinsons lived,
and add his persuasions to bear
against the pride of Mr. Paul Robin
son. "You might find a position for him
In the office, Timothy," suggested his
"I think that will be easy," prom
ised Mr. Bell.
It was a merry little gathering that
did Justice to Laura's Christmas din
ner. The tragedy that was beneath
the eating of half the pudding was
quite forgotten in the joy of the pres
ent and the hopeful outlook for the
future. When the day was over and
the Robinsons had returned to their
rooms, cheered In mind and purse by
Timothy's delicately proffered gener
osity, Laura slipped her hand in her
husband's arm and leaned her head
against him, saying:
"It's been different from any Christ
mas I ever spent, Timothy, and I've
been wondering what might have hap
pened to them if that blessed pudding
hadn't opened the way."
THE STRIKE JUSTIFIED.
Workers' Only Recourse When Condi -tions
Samuel Gompers. addressing a meet
ing of the white goods workers of New
York, at which over 1,000 girls were
present, said in part:
"I always try to avoid strikes, but
when conditions become intolerable I
say strike and strike hard.
"If there must come some sort of a
crash before the .men and women.
chlely women, employed In tbe'lowesf
paid trade will respond to their duty
to their fellow workers and them
selves, then it must come speedily.
Such a struggle may require great sac
rifices, but no great struggle was ever
successful without sacrifices.
"A few short weeks ago we heard of
such shocking conditions In New .York
that would cause the blood to boll In
any man's veins. That catastrope,
that murder, of a few weeks ago when
147 girls were killed by stupidity,
greed, avarice of the men who wanted
dollars and had women to burn must
serve to arouse all workers.
"Think of the condition of these poor
girls, lined up in great rows behind
machines, behind locked doors, with no
chance to escape kept as if they fwere
criminals. No criminal in Sing Sing or
any other prison is kept in such bond
age as these girls, who were forced to
jump from windows to escape from
"Is there a man in the entire country
who has a daughter or . sister whose
blood does not boll at the thought that
the daughter or sister must submit to
the humiliation of being searched ev
ery night when she leaves a workroom
for fear that she may have concealed
a needle, a bit of thread or some scrap
of cloth about her?
"I am told that in the white goods
trade girls earn $3, $4 and sometimes
as high as $8 a week for ten hours'
work a day. Think of this in the
year 1911, with the present high cost
of living! It Is the height of Inhu
manity to make girls work for such
wages and expect them to be moral.-
"For many years the bosses have
now attempted to crush out organized
labor. You know that the United
Hatters has been sued for $280,000.
that the Federation of Labor has been
sued for $7r0.000 and that n eonspira
cj' was formed to send three men
Haywood. Moyer and Pettiboiie to
the gallows. You know that the su
preme court has just defeated an ef
fort to send John Mitchell, John Mor
rison and myself to prison and ' that
the bosses who brought about thisr 'at
tempt are still trying to accomplish
their end. J
"You know that labor men have
just been kidnaped from Indiana "and
taken in chains to California without
warrant of law and with no oppor
tunity to defend themselves in the
states where they lived.
"These things would not be done, If
there was not a conspiracy on the
part of possessors of wealth to crush
the wage earner. You must all join
unions to defend yourselves. i 1
"And now there comes the new
question of a strike in the white goods
trade. 1 always try to prevent strikes
wherever possible, but 1 say to you
that under present arrangements. if
there be no means to bring about bet
ter conditions, then 1 say strike!,; and
strike hard. Form a union and union
labor will be behind you."
. Recall For Judges.
Governor Osborn of Michigan fur
nishes further argument in support of
the recall for judges. The Michigan
legislature recently passed a bill repeal
ing a requirement that the supreme
court judges of that state reside at the
capital, and Governor Osborn vetoed
the bill because the judges . hd ! pre
viously agreed in consideration" of an
increase In their salaries "that they
would reside there. In his veto mes
sage he said: "This bill has been lob
bied for actively by members of the
supreme court, actuated by 'selfish pur
poses. While this may be! their privi
lege. It indicates the nnlle'character
of our courts and proves to' ni'y mind
that any recall law that might : be en
acted - should apply to the1 judiciary
with equal force as to other officers of
the government.'- Fopllc -: ''
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