schöner wohnen wool
chapter 1 it was four o'clock when the ceremony wasover and the carriages began to arrive. there had been a crowd following all theway, owing to the exuberance of marija berczynskas. the occasion rested heavily upon marija'sbroad shoulders--it was her task to see that all things went in due form, and afterthe best home traditions; and, flying wildly hither and thither, bowling every one out of the way, and scolding andexhorting all day with her tremendous voice, marija was too eager to see thatothers conformed to the proprieties to
consider them herself. she had left the church last of all, and,desiring to arrive first at the hall, had issued orders to the coachman to drivefaster. when that personage had developed a will ofhis own in the matter, marija had flung up the window of the carriage, and, leaningout, proceeded to tell him her opinion of him, first in lithuanian, which he did not understand, and then in polish, which hedid. having the advantage of her in altitude,the driver had stood his ground and even ventured to attempt to speak; and theresult had been a furious altercation,
which, continuing all the way down ashland avenue, had added a new swarm of urchins tothe cortege at each side street for half a mile.this was unfortunate, for already there was a throng before the door. the music had started up, and half a blockaway you could hear the dull "broom, broom" of a cello, with the squeaking of twofiddles which vied with each other in intricate and altitudinous gymnastics. seeing the throng, marija abandonedprecipitately the debate concerning the ancestors of her coachman, and, springingfrom the moving carriage, plunged in and
proceeded to clear a way to the hall. once within, she turned and began to pushthe other way, roaring, meantime, "eik! eik! uzdaryk-duris!" in tones which madethe orchestral uproar sound like fairy music. "z. graiczunas, pasilinksminimams darzas.vynas. sznapsas.wines and liquors. union headquarters"--that was the way thesigns ran. the reader, who perhaps has never held muchconverse in the language of far-off lithuania, will be glad of the explanationthat the place was the rear room of a
saloon in that part of chicago known as"back of the yards." this information is definite and suited tothe matter of fact; but how pitifully inadequate it would have seemed to one whounderstood that it was also the supreme hour of ecstasy in the life of one of god's gentlest creatures, the scene of thewedding feast and the joy-transfiguration of little ona lukoszaite! she stood in the doorway, shepherded bycousin marija, breathless from pushing through the crowd, and in her happinesspainful to look upon. there was a light of wonder in her eyes andher lids trembled, and her otherwise wan
little face was flushed. she wore a muslin dress, conspicuouslywhite, and a stiff little veil coming to her shoulders. there were five pink paper roses twisted inthe veil, and eleven bright green rose leaves. there were new white cotton gloves upon herhands, and as she stood staring about her she twisted them together feverishly. it was almost too much for her--you couldsee the pain of too great emotion in her face, and all the tremor of her form.
she was so young--not quite sixteen--andsmall for her age, a mere child; and she had just been married--and married tojurgis,* (*pronounced yoorghis) of all men, to jurgis rudkus, he with the white flower in the buttonhole of his new black suit, hewith the mighty shoulders and the giant hands. ona was blue-eyed and fair, while jurgishad great black eyes with beetling brows, and thick black hair that curled in wavesabout his ears--in short, they were one of those incongruous and impossible married couples with which mother nature so oftenwills to confound all prophets, before and
after. jurgis could take up a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound quarter of beef and carry it into a car without a stagger, or even athought; and now he stood in a far corner, frightened as a hunted animal, and obliged to moisten his lips with his tongue eachtime before he could answer the congratulations of his friends. gradually there was effected a separationbetween the spectators and the guests--a separation at least sufficiently completefor working purposes. there was no time during the festivitieswhich ensued when there were not groups of
onlookers in the doorways and the corners;and if any one of these onlookers came sufficiently close, or looked sufficiently hungry, a chair was offered him, and he wasinvited to the feast. it was one of the laws of the veselija thatno one goes hungry; and, while a rule made in the forests of lithuania is hard toapply in the stockyards district of chicago, with its quarter of a million inhabitants, still they did their best, andthe children who ran in from the street, and even the dogs, went out again happier.a charming informality was one of the characteristics of this celebration.
the men wore their hats, or, if theywished, they took them off, and their coats with them; they ate when and where theypleased, and moved as often as they pleased. there were to be speeches and singing, butno one had to listen who did not care to; if he wished, meantime, to speak or singhimself, he was perfectly free. the resulting medley of sound distracted noone, save possibly alone the babies, of which there were present a number equal tothe total possessed by all the guests invited. there was no other place for the babies tobe, and so part of the preparations for the
evening consisted of a collection of cribsand carriages in one corner. in these the babies slept, three or fourtogether, or wakened together, as the case might be. those who were still older, and could reachthe tables, marched about munching contentedly at meat bones and bolognasausages. the room is about thirty feet square, withwhitewashed walls, bare save for a calendar, a picture of a race horse, and afamily tree in a gilded frame. to the right there is a door from thesaloon, with a few loafers in the doorway, and in the corner beyond it a bar, with apresiding genius clad in soiled white, with
waxed black mustaches and a carefully oiled curl plastered against one side of hisforehead. in the opposite corner are two tables,filling a third of the room and laden with dishes and cold viands, which a few of thehungrier guests are already munching. at the head, where sits the bride, is asnow-white cake, with an eiffel tower of constructed decoration, with sugar rosesand two angels upon it, and a generous sprinkling of pink and green and yellowcandies. beyond opens a door into the kitchen, wherethere is a glimpse to be had of a range with much steam ascending from it, and manywomen, old and young, rushing hither and
thither. in the corner to the left are the threemusicians, upon a little platform, toiling heroically to make some impression upon thehubbub; also the babies, similarly occupied, and an open window whence the populace imbibes the sights and sounds andodors. suddenly some of the steam begins toadvance, and, peering through it, you discern aunt elizabeth, ona's stepmother--teta elzbieta, as they call her--bearing aloft a great platter of stewed duck. behind her is kotrina, making her waycautiously, staggering beneath a similar
burden; and half a minute later thereappears old grandmother majauszkiene, with a big yellow bowl of smoking potatoes,nearly as big as herself. so, bit by bit, the feast takes form--thereis a ham and a dish of sauerkraut, boiled rice, macaroni, bologna sausages, greatpiles of penny buns, bowls of milk, and foaming pitchers of beer. there is also, not six feet from your back,the bar, where you may order all you please and do not have to pay for it."eiksz! graicziau!" screams marija berczynskas, andfalls to work herself--for there is more upon the stove inside that will be spoiledif it be not eaten.
so, with laughter and shouts and endlessbadinage and merriment, the guests take their places. the young men, who for the most part havebeen huddled near the door, summon their resolution and advance; and the shrinkingjurgis is poked and scolded by the old folks until he consents to seat himself atthe right hand of the bride. the two bridesmaids, whose insignia ofoffice are paper wreaths, come next, and after them the rest of the guests, old andyoung, boys and girls. the spirit of the occasion takes hold ofthe stately bartender, who condescends to a plate of stewed duck; even the fatpoliceman--whose duty it will be, later in
the evening, to break up the fights--drawsup a chair to the foot of the table. and the children shout and the babies yell,and every one laughs and sings and chatters--while above all the deafeningclamor cousin marija shouts orders to the musicians. the musicians--how shall one begin todescribe them? all this time they have been there, playingin a mad frenzy--all of this scene must be read, or said, or sung, to music. it is the music which makes it what it is;it is the music which changes the place from the rear room of a saloon in back ofthe yards to a fairy place, a wonderland, a
little corner of the high mansions of thesky. the little person who leads this trio is aninspired man. his fiddle is out of tune, and there is norosin on his bow, but still he is an inspired man--the hands of the muses havebeen laid upon him. he plays like one possessed by a demon, bya whole horde of demons. you can feel them in the air round abouthim, capering frenetically; with their invisible feet they set the pace, and thehair of the leader of the orchestra rises on end, and his eyeballs start from theirsockets, as he toils to keep up with them. tamoszius kuszleika is his name, and he hastaught himself to play the violin by
practicing all night, after working all dayon the "killing beds." he is in his shirt sleeves, with a vestfigured with faded gold horseshoes, and a pink-striped shirt, suggestive ofpeppermint candy. a pair of military trousers, light bluewith a yellow stripe, serve to give that suggestion of authority proper to theleader of a band. he is only about five feet high, but evenso these trousers are about eight inches short of the ground. you wonder where he can have gotten them orrather you would wonder, if the excitement of being in his presence left you time tothink of such things.
for he is an inspired man. every inch of him is inspired--you mightalmost say inspired separately. he stamps with his feet, he tosses hishead, he sways and swings to and fro; he has a wizened-up little face, irresistiblycomical; and, when he executes a turn or a flourish, his brows knit and his lips work and his eyelids wink--the very ends of hisnecktie bristle out. and every now and then he turns upon hiscompanions, nodding, signaling, beckoning frantically--with every inch of himappealing, imploring, in behalf of the muses and their call.
for they are hardly worthy of tamoszius,the other two members of the orchestra. the second violin is a slovak, a tall,gaunt man with black-rimmed spectacles and the mute and patient look of an overdrivenmule; he responds to the whip but feebly, and then always falls back into his oldrut. the third man is very fat, with a round,red, sentimental nose, and he plays with his eyes turned up to the sky and a look ofinfinite yearning. he is playing a bass part upon his cello,and so the excitement is nothing to him; no matter what happens in the treble, it ishis task to saw out one long-drawn and lugubrious note after another, from four
o'clock in the afternoon until nearly thesame hour next morning, for his third of the total income of one dollar per hour. before the feast has been five minutesunder way, tamoszius kuszleika has risen in his excitement; a minute or two more andyou see that he is beginning to edge over toward the tables. his nostrils are dilated and his breathcomes fast--his demons are driving him. he nods and shakes his head at hiscompanions, jerking at them with his violin, until at last the long form of thesecond violinist also rises up. in the end all three of them beginadvancing, step by step, upon the
banqueters, valentinavyczia, the cellist,bumping along with his instrument between notes. finally all three are gathered at the footof the tables, and there tamoszius mounts upon a stool.now he is in his glory, dominating the scene. some of the people are eating, some arelaughing and talking--but you will make a great mistake if you think there is one ofthem who does not hear him. his notes are never true, and his fiddlebuzzes on the low ones and squeaks and scratches on the high; but these thingsthey heed no more than they heed the dirt
and noise and squalor about them--it is out of this material that they have to buildtheir lives, with it that they have to utter their souls. and this is their utterance; merry andboisterous, or mournful and wailing, or passionate and rebellious, this music istheir music, music of home. it stretches out its arms to them, theyhave only to give themselves up. chicago and its saloons and its slums fadeaway--there are green meadows and sunlit rivers, mighty forests and snow-clad hills. they behold home landscapes and childhoodscenes returning; old loves and friendships
begin to waken, old joys and griefs tolaugh and weep. some fall back and close their eyes, somebeat upon the table. now and then one leaps up with a cry andcalls for this song or that; and then the fire leaps brighter in tamoszius' eyes, andhe flings up his fiddle and shouts to his companions, and away they go in mad career. the company takes up the choruses, and menand women cry out like all possessed; some leap to their feet and stamp upon thefloor, lifting their glasses and pledging each other. before long it occurs to some one to demandan old wedding song, which celebrates the
beauty of the bride and the joys of love. in the excitement of this masterpiecetamoszius kuszleika begins to edge in between the tables, making his way towardthe head, where sits the bride. there is not a foot of space between thechairs of the guests, and tamoszius is so short that he pokes them with his bowwhenever he reaches over for the low notes; but still he presses in, and insists relentlessly that his companions mustfollow. during their progress, needless to say, thesounds of the cello are pretty well extinguished; but at last the three are atthe head, and tamoszius takes his station
at the right hand of the bride and beginsto pour out his soul in melting strains. little ona is too excited to eat. once in a while she tastes a littlesomething, when cousin marija pinches her elbow and reminds her; but, for the mostpart, she sits gazing with the same fearful eyes of wonder. teta elzbieta is all in a flutter, like ahummingbird; her sisters, too, keep running up behind her, whispering, breathless. but ona seems scarcely to hear them--themusic keeps calling, and the far-off look comes back, and she sits with her handspressed together over her heart.
then the tears begin to come into her eyes;and as she is ashamed to wipe them away, and ashamed to let them run down hercheeks, she turns and shakes her head a little, and then flushes red when she seesthat jurgis is watching her. when in the end tamoszius kuszleika hasreached her side, and is waving his magic wand above her, ona's cheeks are scarlet,and she looks as if she would have to get up and run away. in this crisis, however, she is saved bymarija berczynskas, whom the muses suddenly visit. marija is fond of a song, a song of lovers'parting; she wishes to hear it, and, as the
musicians do not know it, she has risen,and is proceeding to teach them. marija is short, but powerful in build. she works in a canning factory, and all daylong she handles cans of beef that weigh fourteen pounds.she has a broad slavic face, with prominent red cheeks. when she opens her mouth, it is tragical,but you cannot help thinking of a horse. she wears a blue flannel shirt-waist, whichis now rolled up at the sleeves, disclosing her brawny arms; she has a carving fork inher hand, with which she pounds on the table to mark the time.
as she roars her song, in a voice of whichit is enough to say that it leaves no portion of the room vacant, the threemusicians follow her, laboriously and note by note, but averaging one note behind; thus they toil through stanza after stanzaof a lovesick swain's lamentation:-- "sudiev' kvietkeli, tu brangiausis;sudiev' ir laime, man biednam, matau--paskyre teip aukszcziausis,jog vargt ant svieto reik vienam!" when the song is over, it is time for thespeech, and old dede antanas rises to his feet. grandfather anthony, jurgis' father, is notmore than sixty years of age, but you would
think that he was eighty.he has been only six months in america, and the change has not done him good. in his manhood he worked in a cotton mill,but then a coughing fell upon him, and he had to leave; out in the country thetrouble disappeared, but he has been working in the pickle rooms at durham's, and the breathing of the cold, damp air allday has brought it back. now as he rises he is seized with acoughing fit, and holds himself by his chair and turns away his wan and batteredface until it passes. generally it is the custom for the speechat a veselija to be taken out of one of the
books and learned by heart; but in hisyouthful days dede antanas used to be a scholar, and really make up all the loveletters of his friends. now it is understood that he has composedan original speech of congratulation and benediction, and this is one of the eventsof the day. even the boys, who are romping about theroom, draw near and listen, and some of the women sob and wipe their aprons in theireyes. it is very solemn, for antanas rudkus hasbecome possessed of the idea that he has not much longer to stay with his children. his speech leaves them all so tearful thatone of the guests, jokubas szedvilas, who
keeps a delicatessen store on halstedstreet, and is fat and hearty, is moved to rise and say that things may not be as bad as that, and then to go on and make alittle speech of his own, in which he showers congratulations and prophecies ofhappiness upon the bride and groom, proceeding to particulars which greatly delight the young men, but which cause onato blush more furiously than ever. jokubas possesses what his wifecomplacently describes as "poetiszka vaidintuve"--a poetical imagination. now a good many of the guests havefinished, and, since there is no pretense
of ceremony, the banquet begins to breakup. some of the men gather about the bar; somewander about, laughing and singing; here and there will be a little group, chantingmerrily, and in sublime indifference to the others and to the orchestra as well. everybody is more or less restless--onewould guess that something is on their minds.and so it proves. the last tardy diners are scarcely giventime to finish, before the tables and the debris are shoved into the corner, and thechairs and the babies piled out of the way, and the real celebration of the eveningbegins.
then tamoszius kuszleika, afterreplenishing himself with a pot of beer, returns to his platform, and, standing up,reviews the scene; he taps authoritatively upon the side of his violin, then tucks it carefully under his chin, then waves hisbow in an elaborate flourish, and finally smites the sounding strings and closes hiseyes, and floats away in spirit upon the wings of a dreamy waltz. his companion follows, but with his eyesopen, watching where he treads, so to speak; and finally valentinavyczia, afterwaiting for a little and beating with his foot to get the time, casts up his eyes to
the ceiling and begins to saw--"broom!broom! broom!" the company pairs off quickly, and thewhole room is soon in motion. apparently nobody knows how to waltz, butthat is nothing of any consequence--there is music, and they dance, each as hepleases, just as before they sang. most of them prefer the "two-step,"especially the young, with whom it is the fashion. the older people have dances from home,strange and complicated steps which they execute with grave solemnity. some do not dance anything at all, butsimply hold each other's hands and allow
the undisciplined joy of motion to expressitself with their feet. among these are jokubas szedvilas and hiswife, lucija, who together keep the delicatessen store, and consume nearly asmuch as they sell; they are too fat to dance, but they stand in the middle of the floor, holding each other fast in theirarms, rocking slowly from side to side and grinning seraphically, a picture oftoothless and perspiring ecstasy. of these older people many wear clothingreminiscent in some detail of home--an embroidered waistcoat or stomacher, or agaily colored handkerchief, or a coat with large cuffs and fancy buttons.
all these things are carefully avoided bythe young, most of whom have learned to speak english and to affect the lateststyle of clothing. the girls wear ready-made dresses or shirtwaists, and some of them look quite pretty. some of the young men you would take to beamericans, of the type of clerks, but for the fact that they wear their hats in theroom. each of these younger couples affects astyle of its own in dancing. some hold each other tightly, some at acautious distance. some hold their hands out stiffly, somedrop them loosely at their sides. some dance springily, some glide softly,some move with grave dignity.
there are boisterous couples, who tearwildly about the room, knocking every one out of their way.there are nervous couples, whom these frighten, and who cry, "nusfok! kas yra?" at them as they pass.each couple is paired for the evening--you will never see them change about. there is alena jasaityte, for instance, whohas danced unending hours with juozas raczius, to whom she is engaged. alena is the beauty of the evening, and shewould be really beautiful if she were not so proud.
she wears a white shirtwaist, whichrepresents, perhaps, half a week's labor painting cans. she holds her skirt with her hand as shedances, with stately precision, after the manner of the grandes dames.juozas is driving one of durham's wagons, and is making big wages. he affects a "tough" aspect, wearing hishat on one side and keeping a cigarette in his mouth all the evening.then there is jadvyga marcinkus, who is also beautiful, but humble. jadvyga likewise paints cans, but then shehas an invalid mother and three little
sisters to support by it, and so she doesnot spend her wages for shirtwaists. jadvyga is small and delicate, with jet-black eyes and hair, the latter twisted into a little knot and tied on the top ofher head. she wears an old white dress which she hasmade herself and worn to parties for the past five years; it is high-waisted--almostunder her arms, and not very becoming,--but that does not trouble jadvyga, who isdancing with her mikolas. she is small, while he is big and powerful;she nestles in his arms as if she would hide herself from view, and leans her headupon his shoulder. he in turn has clasped his arms tightlyaround her, as if he would carry her away;
and so she dances, and will dance theentire evening, and would dance forever, in ecstasy of bliss. you would smile, perhaps, to see them--butyou would not smile if you knew all the story. this is the fifth year, now, that jadvygahas been engaged to mikolas, and her heart is sick. they would have been married in thebeginning, only mikolas has a father who is drunk all day, and he is the only other manin a large family. even so they might have managed it (formikolas is a skilled man) but for cruel
accidents which have almost taken the heartout of them. he is a beef-boner, and that is a dangeroustrade, especially when you are on piecework and trying to earn a bride. your hands are slippery, and your knife isslippery, and you are toiling like mad, when somebody happens to speak to you, oryou strike a bone. then your hand slips up on the blade, andthere is a fearful gash. and that would not be so bad, only for thedeadly contagion. the cut may heal, but you never can tell. twice now; within the last three years,mikolas has been lying at home with blood
poisoning--once for three months and oncefor nearly seven. the last time, too, he lost his job, andthat meant six weeks more of standing at the doors of the packing houses, at sixo'clock on bitter winter mornings, with a foot of snow on the ground and more in theair. there are learned people who can tell youout of the statistics that beef-boners make forty cents an hour, but, perhaps, thesepeople have never looked into a beef- boner's hands. when tamoszius and his companions stop fora rest, as perforce they must, now and then, the dancers halt where they are andwait patiently.
they never seem to tire; and there is noplace for them to sit down if they did. it is only for a minute, anyway, for theleader starts up again, in spite of all the protests of the other two. this time it is another sort of a dance, alithuanian dance. those who prefer to, go on with the two-step, but the majority go through an intricate series of motions, resemblingmore fancy skating than a dance. the climax of it is a furious prestissimo,at which the couples seize hands and begin a mad whirling. this is quite irresistible, and every onein the room joins in, until the place
becomes a maze of flying skirts and bodiesquite dazzling to look upon. but the sight of sights at this moment istamoszius kuszleika. the old fiddle squeaks and shrieks inprotest, but tamoszius has no mercy. the sweat starts out on his forehead, andhe bends over like a cyclist on the last lap of a race. his body shakes and throbs like a runawaysteam engine, and the ear cannot follow the flying showers of notes--there is a paleblue mist where you look to see his bowing arm. with a most wonderful rush he comes to theend of the tune, and flings up his hands
and staggers back exhausted; and with afinal shout of delight the dancers fly apart, reeling here and there, bringing upagainst the walls of the room. after this there is beer for every one, themusicians included, and the revelers take a long breath and prepare for the great eventof the evening, which is the acziavimas. the acziavimas is a ceremony which, oncebegun, will continue for three or four hours, and it involves one uninterrupteddance. the guests form a great ring, lockinghands, and, when the music starts up, begin to move around in a circle. in the center stands the bride, and, one byone, the men step into the enclosure and
dance with her. each dances for several minutes--as long ashe pleases; it is a very merry proceeding, with laughter and singing, and when theguest has finished, he finds himself face to face with teta elzbieta, who holds thehat. into it he drops a sum of money--a dollar,or perhaps five dollars, according to his power, and his estimate of the value of theprivilege. the guests are expected to pay for thisentertainment; if they be proper guests, they will see that there is a neat sum leftover for the bride and bridegroom to start life upon.
most fearful they are to contemplate, theexpenses of this entertainment. they will certainly be over two hundreddollars and maybe three hundred; and three hundred dollars is more than the year'sincome of many a person in this room. there are able-bodied men here who workfrom early morning until late at night, in ice-cold cellars with a quarter of an inchof water on the floor--men who for six or seven months in the year never see the sunlight from sunday afternoon till thenext sunday morning--and who cannot earn three hundred dollars in a year. there are little children here, scarce intheir teens, who can hardly see the top of
the work benches--whose parents have liedto get them their places--and who do not make the half of three hundred dollars ayear, and perhaps not even the third of it. and then to spend such a sum, all in asingle day of your life, at a wedding feast! (for obviously it is the same thing,whether you spend it at once for your own wedding, or in a long time, at the weddingsof all your friends.) it is very imprudent, it is tragic--but,ah, it is so beautiful! bit by bit these poor people have given upeverything else; but to this they cling with all the power of their souls--theycannot give up the veselija!
to do that would mean, not merely to bedefeated, but to acknowledge defeat--and the difference between these two things iswhat keeps the world going. the veselija has come down to them from afar-off time; and the meaning of it was that one might dwell within the cave andgaze upon shadows, provided only that once in his lifetime he could break his chains, and feel his wings, and behold the sun;provided that once in his lifetime he might testify to the fact that life, with all itscares and its terrors, is no such great thing after all, but merely a bubble upon the surface of a river, a thing that onemay toss about and play with as a juggler
tosses his golden balls, a thing that onemay quaff, like a goblet of rare red wine. thus having known himself for the master ofthings, a man could go back to his toil and live upon the memory all his days. endlessly the dancers swung round andround--when they were dizzy they swung the other way. hour after hour this had continued--thedarkness had fallen and the room was dim from the light of two smoky oil lamps. the musicians had spent all their finefrenzy by now, and played only one tune, wearily, ploddingly.there were twenty bars or so of it, and
when they came to the end they began again. once every ten minutes or so they wouldfail to begin again, but instead would sink back exhausted; a circumstance whichinvariably brought on a painful and terrifying scene, that made the fat policeman stir uneasily in his sleepingplace behind the door. it was all marija berczynskas. marija was one of those hungry souls whocling with desperation to the skirts of the retreating muse. all day long she had been in a state ofwonderful exaltation; and now it was
leaving--and she would not let it go.her soul cried out in the words of faust, "stay, thou art fair!" whether it was by beer, or by shouting, orby music, or by motion, she meant that it should not go. and she would go back to the chase of it--and no sooner be fairly started than her chariot would be thrown off the track, soto speak, by the stupidity of those thrice accursed musicians. each time, marija would emit a howl and flyat them, shaking her fists in their faces, stamping upon the floor, purple andincoherent with rage.
in vain the frightened tamoszius wouldattempt to speak, to plead the limitations of the flesh; in vain would the puffing andbreathless ponas jokubas insist, in vain would teta elzbieta implore. "szalin!"marija would scream. "palauk! isz kelio!what are you paid for, children of hell?" and so, in sheer terror, the orchestrawould strike up again, and marija would return to her place and take up her task.she bore all the burden of the festivities now. ona was kept up by her excitement, but allof the women and most of the men were
tired--the soul of marija was aloneunconquered. she drove on the dancers--what had oncebeen the ring had now the shape of a pear, with marija at the stem, pulling one wayand pushing the other, shouting, stamping, singing, a very volcano of energy. now and then some one coming in or outwould leave the door open, and the night air was chill; marija as she passed wouldstretch out her foot and kick the doorknob, and slam would go the door! once this procedure was the cause of acalamity of which sebastijonas szedvilas was the hapless victim.
little sebastijonas, aged three, had beenwandering about oblivious to all things, holding turned up over his mouth a bottleof liquid known as "pop," pink-colored, ice-cold, and delicious. passing through the doorway the door smotehim full, and the shriek which followed brought the dancing to a halt. marija, who threatened horrid murder ahundred times a day, and would weep over the injury of a fly, seized littlesebastijonas in her arms and bid fair to smother him with kisses. there was a long rest for the orchestra,and plenty of refreshments, while marija
was making her peace with her victim,seating him upon the bar, and standing beside him and holding to his lips afoaming schooner of beer. in the meantime there was going on inanother corner of the room an anxious conference between teta elzbieta and dedeantanas, and a few of the more intimate friends of the family. a trouble was come upon them.the veselija is a compact, a compact not expressed, but therefore only the morebinding upon all. every one's share was different--and yetevery one knew perfectly well what his share was, and strove to give a littlemore.
now, however, since they had come to thenew country, all this was changing; it seemed as if there must be some subtlepoison in the air that one breathed here-- it was affecting all the young men at once. they would come in crowds and fillthemselves with a fine dinner, and then sneak off. one would throw another's hat out of thewindow, and both would go out to get it, and neither could be seen again. or now and then half a dozen of them wouldget together and march out openly, staring at you, and making fun of you to your face.
still others, worse yet, would crowd aboutthe bar, and at the expense of the host drink themselves sodden, paying not theleast attention to any one, and leaving it to be thought that either they had danced with the bride already, or meant to lateron. all these things were going on now, and thefamily was helpless with dismay. so long they had toiled, and such an outlaythey had made! ona stood by, her eyes wide with terror. those frightful bills--how they had hauntedher, each item gnawing at her soul all day and spoiling her rest at night.
how often she had named them over one byone and figured on them as she went to work--fifteen dollars for the hall, twenty-two dollars and a quarter for the ducks, twelve dollars for the musicians, five dollars at the church, and a blessing ofthe virgin besides--and so on without an end! worst of all was the frightful bill thatwas still to come from graiczunas for the beer and liquor that might be consumed. one could never get in advance more than aguess as to this from a saloon-keeper--and then, when the time came he always came toyou scratching his head and saying that he
had guessed too low, but that he had done his best--your guests had gotten so verydrunk. by him you were sure to be cheatedunmercifully, and that even though you thought yourself the dearest of thehundreds of friends he had. he would begin to serve your guests out ofa keg that was half full, and finish with one that was half empty, and then you wouldbe charged for two kegs of beer. he would agree to serve a certain qualityat a certain price, and when the time came you and your friends would be drinking somehorrible poison that could not be described.
you might complain, but you would getnothing for your pains but a ruined evening; while, as for going to law aboutit, you might as well go to heaven at once. the saloon-keeper stood in with all the bigpolitics men in the district; and when you had once found out what it meant to getinto trouble with such people, you would know enough to pay what you were told topay and shut up. what made all this the more painful wasthat it was so hard on the few that had really done their best. there was poor old ponas jokubas, forinstance--he had already given five dollars, and did not every one know thatjokubas szedvilas had just mortgaged his
delicatessen store for two hundred dollarsto meet several months' overdue rent? and then there was withered old ponianiele--who was a widow, and had three children, and the rheumatism besides, anddid washing for the tradespeople on halsted street at prices it would break your heartto hear named. aniele had given the entire profit of herchickens for several months. eight of them she owned, and she kept themin a little place fenced around on her backstairs. all day long the children of aniele wereraking in the dump for food for these chickens; and sometimes, when thecompetition there was too fierce, you might
see them on halsted street walking close to the gutters, and with their motherfollowing to see that no one robbed them of their finds. money could not tell the value of thesechickens to old mrs. jukniene--she valued them differently, for she had a feelingthat she was getting something for nothing by means of them--that with them she was getting the better of a world that wasgetting the better of her in so many other ways. so she watched them every hour of the day,and had learned to see like an owl at night
to watch them then. one of them had been stolen long ago, andnot a month passed that some one did not try to steal another. as the frustrating of this one attemptinvolved a score of false alarms, it will be understood what a tribute old mrs.jukniene brought, just because teta elzbieta had once loaned her some money for a few days and saved her from being turnedout of her house. more and more friends gathered round whilethe lamentation about these things was going on.
some drew nearer, hoping to overhear theconversation, who were themselves among the guilty--and surely that was a thing to trythe patience of a saint. finally there came jurgis, urged by someone, and the story was retold to him. jurgis listened in silence, with his greatblack eyebrows knitted. now and then there would come a gleamunderneath them and he would glance about the room. perhaps he would have liked to go at someof those fellows with his big clenched fists; but then, doubtless, he realized howlittle good it would do him. no bill would be any less for turning outany one at this time; and then there would
be the scandal--and jurgis wanted nothingexcept to get away with ona and to let the world go its own way. so his hands relaxed and he merely saidquietly: "it is done, and there is no use in weeping, teta elzbieta." then his look turned toward ona, who stoodclose to his side, and he saw the wide look of terror in her eyes."little one," he said, in a low voice, "do not worry--it will not matter to us. we will pay them all somehow.i will work harder." that was always what jurgis said.ona had grown used to it as the solution of
all difficulties--"i will work harder!" he had said that in lithuania when oneofficial had taken his passport from him, and another had arrested him for beingwithout it, and the two had divided a third of his belongings. he had said it again in new york, when thesmooth-spoken agent had taken them in hand and made them pay such high prices, andalmost prevented their leaving his place, in spite of their paying. now he said it a third time, and ona drew adeep breath; it was so wonderful to have a husband, just like a grown woman--and ahusband who could solve all problems, and
who was so big and strong! the last sob of little sebastijonas hasbeen stifled, and the orchestra has once more been reminded of its duty. the ceremony begins again--but there arefew now left to dance with, and so very soon the collection is over and promiscuousdances once more begin. it is now after midnight, however, andthings are not as they were before. the dancers are dull and heavy--most ofthem have been drinking hard, and have long ago passed the stage of exhilaration. they dance in monotonous measure, roundafter round, hour after hour, with eyes
fixed upon vacancy, as if they were onlyhalf conscious, in a constantly growing stupor. the men grasp the women very tightly, butthere will be half an hour together when neither will see the other's face. some couples do not care to dance, and haveretired to the corners, where they sit with their arms enlaced. others, who have been drinking still more,wander about the room, bumping into everything; some are in groups of two orthree, singing, each group its own song. as time goes on there is a variety ofdrunkenness, among the younger men
especially. some stagger about in each other's arms,whispering maudlin words--others start quarrels upon the slightest pretext, andcome to blows and have to be pulled apart. now the fat policeman wakens definitely,and feels of his club to see that it is ready for business. he has to be prompt--for these two-o'clock-in-the-morning fights, if they once get out of hand, are like a forest fire, and maymean the whole reserves at the station. the thing to do is to crack every fightinghead that you see, before there are so many fighting heads that you cannot crack any ofthem.
there is but scant account kept of crackedheads in back of the yards, for men who have to crack the heads of animals all dayseem to get into the habit, and to practice on their friends, and even on theirfamilies, between times. this makes it a cause for congratulationthat by modern methods a very few men can do the painfully necessary work of head-cracking for the whole of the cultured world. there is no fight that night--perhapsbecause jurgis, too, is watchful--even more so than the policeman. jurgis has drunk a great deal, as any onenaturally would on an occasion when it all
has to be paid for, whether it is drunk ornot; but he is a very steady man, and does not easily lose his temper. only once there is a tight shave--and thatis the fault of marija berczynskas. marija has apparently concluded about twohours ago that if the altar in the corner, with the deity in soiled white, be not thetrue home of the muses, it is, at any rate, the nearest substitute on earth attainable. and marija is just fighting drunk whenthere come to her ears the facts about the villains who have not paid that night. marija goes on the warpath straight off,without even the preliminary of a good
cursing, and when she is pulled off it iswith the coat collars of two villains in her hands. fortunately, the policeman is disposed tobe reasonable, and so it is not marija who is flung out of the place.all this interrupts the music for not more than a minute or two. then again the merciless tune begins--thetune that has been played for the last half-hour without one single change. it is an american tune this time, one whichthey have picked up on the streets; all seem to know the words of it--or, at anyrate, the first line of it, which they hum
to themselves, over and over again without rest: "in the good old summertime--in thegood old summertime! in the good old summertime--in the good oldsummertime!" there seems to be something hypnotic aboutthis, with its endlessly recurring dominant. it has put a stupor upon every one whohears it, as well as upon the men who are playing it. no one can get away from it, or even thinkof getting away from it; it is three o'clock in the morning, and they havedanced out all their joy, and danced out
all their strength, and all the strength that unlimited drink can lend them--andstill there is no one among them who has the power to think of stopping. promptly at seven o'clock this same mondaymorning they will every one of them have to be in their places at durham's or brown'sor jones's, each in his working clothes. if one of them be a minute late, he will bedocked an hour's pay, and if he be many minutes late, he will be apt to find hisbrass check turned to the wall, which will send him out to join the hungry mob that waits every morning at the gates of thepacking houses, from six o'clock until
nearly half-past eight. there is no exception to this rule, noteven little ona--who has asked for a holiday the day after her wedding day, aholiday without pay, and been refused. while there are so many who are anxious towork as you wish, there is no occasion for incommoding yourself with those who mustwork otherwise. little ona is nearly ready to faint--andhalf in a stupor herself, because of the heavy scent in the room. she has not taken a drop, but every oneelse there is literally burning alcohol, as the lamps are burning oil; some of the menwho are sound asleep in their chairs or on
the floor are reeking of it so that youcannot go near them. now and then jurgis gazes at her hungrily--he has long since forgotten his shyness; but then the crowd is there, and he stillwaits and watches the door, where a carriage is supposed to come. it does not, and finally he will wait nolonger, but comes up to ona, who turns white and trembles.he puts her shawl about her and then his own coat. they live only two blocks away, and jurgisdoes not care about the carriage. there is almost no farewell--the dancers donot notice them, and all of the children
and many of the old folks have fallenasleep of sheer exhaustion. dede antanas is asleep, and so are theszedvilases, husband and wife, the former snoring in octaves. there is teta elzbieta, and marija, sobbingloudly; and then there is only the silent night, with the stars beginning to pale alittle in the east. jurgis, without a word, lifts ona in hisarms, and strides out with her, and she sinks her head upon his shoulder with amoan. when he reaches home he is not sure whethershe has fainted or is asleep, but when he has to hold her with one hand while heunlocks the door, he sees that she has
opened her eyes. "you shall not go to brown's today, littleone," he whispers, as he climbs the stairs; and she catches his arm in terror, gasping:"no! no! i dare not! it will ruin us!" but he answers her again: "leave it to me;leave it to me. i will earn more money--i will workharder." > chapter 2 jurgis talked lightly about work, becausehe was young.
they told him stories about the breakingdown of men, there in the stockyards of chicago, and of what had happened to themafterward--stories to make your flesh creep, but jurgis would only laugh. he had only been there four months, and hewas young, and a giant besides. there was too much health in him.he could not even imagine how it would feel to be beaten. "that is well enough for men like you," hewould say, "silpnas, puny fellows--but my back is broad."jurgis was like a boy, a boy from the country.
he was the sort of man the bosses like toget hold of, the sort they make it a grievance they cannot get hold of.when he was told to go to a certain place, he would go there on the run. when he had nothing to do for the moment,he would stand round fidgeting, dancing, with the overflow of energy that was inhim. if he were working in a line of men, theline always moved too slowly for him, and you could pick him out by his impatienceand restlessness. that was why he had been picked out on oneimportant occasion; for jurgis had stood outside of brown and company's "centraltime station" not more than half an hour,
the second day of his arrival in chicago, before he had been beckoned by one of thebosses. of this he was very proud, and it made himmore disposed than ever to laugh at the pessimists. in vain would they all tell him that therewere men in that crowd from which he had been chosen who had stood there a month--yes, many months--and not been chosen yet. "yes," he would say, "but what sort of men? broken-down tramps and good-for-nothings,fellows who have spent all their money drinking, and want to get more for it.
do you want me to believe that with thesearms"--and he would clench his fists and hold them up in the air, so that you mightsee the rolling muscles--"that with these arms people will ever let me starve?" "it is plain," they would answer to this,"that you have come from the country, and from very far in the country." and this was the fact, for jurgis had neverseen a city, and scarcely even a fair-sized town, until he had set out to make hisfortune in the world and earn his right to ona. his father, and his father's father beforehim, and as many ancestors back as legend
could go, had lived in that part oflithuania known as brelovicz, the imperial forest. this is a great tract of a hundred thousandacres, which from time immemorial has been a hunting preserve of the nobility. there are a very few peasants settled init, holding title from ancient times; and one of these was antanas rudkus, who hadbeen reared himself, and had reared his children in turn, upon half a dozen acres of cleared land in the midst of awilderness. there had been one son besides jurgis, andone sister.
the former had been drafted into the army;that had been over ten years ago, but since that day nothing had ever been heard ofhim. the sister was married, and her husband hadbought the place when old antanas had decided to go with his son. it was nearly a year and a half ago thatjurgis had met ona, at a horse fair a hundred miles from home. jurgis had never expected to get married--he had laughed at it as a foolish trap for a man to walk into; but here, without everhaving spoken a word to her, with no more than the exchange of half a dozen smiles,
he found himself, purple in the face withembarrassment and terror, asking her parents to sell her to him for his wife--and offering his father's two horses he had been sent to the fair to sell. but ona's father proved as a rock--the girlwas yet a child, and he was a rich man, and his daughter was not to be had in that way. so jurgis went home with a heavy heart, andthat spring and summer toiled and tried hard to forget. in the fall, after the harvest was over, hesaw that it would not do, and tramped the full fortnight's journey that lay betweenhim and ona.
he found an unexpected state of affairs--for the girl's father had died, and his estate was tied up with creditors; jurgis'heart leaped as he realized that now the prize was within his reach. there was elzbieta lukoszaite, teta, oraunt, as they called her, ona's stepmother, and there were her six children, of allages. there was also her brother jonas, a dried-up little man who had worked upon the farm. they were people of great consequence, asit seemed to jurgis, fresh out of the woods; ona knew how to read, and knew manyother things that he did not know, and now the farm had been sold, and the whole
family was adrift--all they owned in theworld being about seven hundred rubles which is half as many dollars. they would have had three times that, butit had gone to court, and the judge had decided against them, and it had cost thebalance to get him to change his decision. ona might have married and left them, butshe would not, for she loved teta elzbieta. it was jonas who suggested that they all goto america, where a friend of his had gotten rich. he would work, for his part, and the womenwould work, and some of the children, doubtless--they would live somehow.jurgis, too, had heard of america.
that was a country where, they said, a manmight earn three rubles a day; and jurgis figured what three rubles a day would mean,with prices as they were where he lived, and decided forthwith that he would go to america and marry, and be a rich man in thebargain. in that country, rich or poor, a man wasfree, it was said; he did not have to go into the army, he did not have to pay outhis money to rascally officials--he might do as he pleased, and count himself as goodas any other man. so america was a place of which lovers andyoung people dreamed. if one could only manage to get the priceof a passage, he could count his troubles
at an end. it was arranged that they should leave thefollowing spring, and meantime jurgis sold himself to a contractor for a certain time,and tramped nearly four hundred miles from home with a gang of men to work upon arailroad in smolensk. this was a fearful experience, with filthand bad food and cruelty and overwork; but jurgis stood it and came out in fine trim,and with eighty rubles sewed up in his coat. he did not drink or fight, because he wasthinking all the time of ona; and for the rest, he was a quiet, steady man, who didwhat he was told to, did not lose his
temper often, and when he did lose it made the offender anxious that he should notlose it again. when they paid him off he dodged thecompany gamblers and dramshops, and so they tried to kill him; but he escaped, andtramped it home, working at odd jobs, and sleeping always with one eye open. so in the summer time they had all set outfor america. at the last moment there joined them marijaberczynskas, who was a cousin of ona's. marija was an orphan, and had worked sincechildhood for a rich farmer of vilna, who beat her regularly.
it was only at the age of twenty that ithad occurred to marija to try her strength, when she had risen up and nearly murderedthe man, and then come away. there were twelve in all in the party, fiveadults and six children--and ona, who was a little of both. they had a hard time on the passage; therewas an agent who helped them, but he proved a scoundrel, and got them into a trap withsome officials, and cost them a good deal of their precious money, which they clungto with such horrible fear. this happened to them again in new york--for, of course, they knew nothing about the country, and had no one to tell them, andit was easy for a man in a blue uniform to
lead them away, and to take them to a hotel and keep them there, and make them payenormous charges to get away. the law says that the rate card shall be onthe door of a hotel, but it does not say that it shall be in lithuanian. it was in the stockyards that jonas' friendhad gotten rich, and so to chicago the party was bound. they knew that one word, chicago and thatwas all they needed to know, at least, until they reached the city. then, tumbled out of the cars withoutceremony, they were no better off than
before; they stood staring down the vistaof dearborn street, with its big black buildings towering in the distance, unable to realize that they had arrived, and why,when they said "chicago," people no longer pointed in some direction, but insteadlooked perplexed, or laughed, or went on without paying any attention. they were pitiable in their helplessness;above all things they stood in deadly terror of any sort of person in officialuniform, and so whenever they saw a policeman they would cross the street andhurry by. for the whole of the first day theywandered about in the midst of deafening
confusion, utterly lost; and it was only atnight that, cowering in the doorway of a house, they were finally discovered andtaken by a policeman to the station. in the morning an interpreter was found,and they were taken and put upon a car, and taught a new word--"stockyards." their delight at discovering that they wereto get out of this adventure without losing another share of their possessions it wouldnot be possible to describe. they sat and stared out of the window. they were on a street which seemed to runon forever, mile after mile--thirty-four of them, if they had known it--and each sideof it one uninterrupted row of wretched
little two-story frame buildings. down every side street they could see, itwas the same--never a hill and never a hollow, but always the same endless vistaof ugly and dirty little wooden buildings. here and there would be a bridge crossing afilthy creek, with hard-baked mud shores and dingy sheds and docks along it; hereand there would be a railroad crossing, with a tangle of switches, and locomotives puffing, and rattling freight cars filingby; here and there would be a great factory, a dingy building with innumerablewindows in it, and immense volumes of smoke pouring from the chimneys, darkening the
air above and making filthy the earthbeneath. but after each of these interruptions, thedesolate procession would begin again--the procession of dreary little buildings. a full hour before the party reached thecity they had begun to note the perplexing changes in the atmosphere.it grew darker all the time, and upon the earth the grass seemed to grow less green. every minute, as the train sped on, thecolors of things became dingier; the fields were grown parched and yellow, thelandscape hideous and bare. and along with the thickening smoke theybegan to notice another circumstance, a
strange, pungent odor. they were not sure that it was unpleasant,this odor; some might have called it sickening, but their taste in odors was notdeveloped, and they were only sure that it was curious. now, sitting in the trolley car, theyrealized that they were on their way to the home of it--that they had traveled all theway from lithuania to it. it was now no longer something far off andfaint, that you caught in whiffs; you could literally taste it, as well as smell it--you could take hold of it, almost, and examine it at your leisure.
they were divided in their opinions aboutit. it was an elemental odor, raw and crude; itwas rich, almost rancid, sensual, and strong. there were some who drank it in as if itwere an intoxicant; there were others who put their handkerchiefs to their faces. the new emigrants were still tasting it,lost in wonder, when suddenly the car came to a halt, and the door was flung open, anda voice shouted--"stockyards!" they were left standing upon the corner,staring; down a side street there were two rows of brick houses, and between them avista: half a dozen chimneys, tall as the
tallest of buildings, touching the very sky--and leaping from them half a dozencolumns of smoke, thick, oily, and black as night. it might have come from the center of theworld, this smoke, where the fires of the ages still smolder.it came as if self-impelled, driving all before it, a perpetual explosion. it was inexhaustible; one stared, waitingto see it stop, but still the great streams rolled out. they spread in vast clouds overhead,writhing, curling; then, uniting in one
giant river, they streamed away down thesky, stretching a black pall as far as the eye could reach. then the party became aware of anotherstrange thing. this, too, like the color, was a thingelemental; it was a sound, a sound made up of ten thousand little sounds. you scarcely noticed it at first--it sunkinto your consciousness, a vague disturbance, a trouble. it was like the murmuring of the bees inthe spring, the whisperings of the forest; it suggested endless activity, therumblings of a world in motion.
it was only by an effort that one couldrealize that it was made by animals, that it was the distant lowing of ten thousandcattle, the distant grunting of ten thousand swine. they would have liked to follow it up, but,alas, they had no time for adventures just then. the policeman on the corner was beginningto watch them; and so, as usual, they started up the street. scarcely had they gone a block, however,before jonas was heard to give a cry, and began pointing excitedly across the street.
before they could gather the meaning of hisbreathless ejaculations he had bounded away, and they saw him enter a shop, overwhich was a sign: "j. szedvilas, delicatessen." when he came out again it was in companywith a very stout gentleman in shirt sleeves and an apron, clasping jonas byboth hands and laughing hilariously. then teta elzbieta recollected suddenlythat szedvilas had been the name of the mythical friend who had made his fortune inamerica. to find that he had been making it in thedelicatessen business was an extraordinary piece of good fortune at this juncture;though it was well on in the morning, they
had not breakfasted, and the children werebeginning to whimper. thus was the happy ending to a woefulvoyage. the two families literally fell upon eachother's necks--for it had been years since jokubas szedvilas had met a man from hispart of lithuania. before half the day they were lifelongfriends. jokubas understood all the pitfalls of thisnew world, and could explain all of its mysteries; he could tell them the thingsthey ought to have done in the different emergencies--and what was still more to thepoint, he could tell them what to do now. he would take them to poni aniele, who kepta boardinghouse the other side of the
yards; old mrs. jukniene, he explained, hadnot what one would call choice accommodations, but they might do for themoment. to this teta elzbieta hastened to respondthat nothing could be too cheap to suit them just then; for they were quiteterrified over the sums they had had to expend. a very few days of practical experience inthis land of high wages had been sufficient to make clear to them the cruel fact thatit was also a land of high prices, and that in it the poor man was almost as poor as in any other corner of the earth; and so therevanished in a night all the wonderful
dreams of wealth that had been hauntingjurgis. what had made the discovery all the morepainful was that they were spending, at american prices, money which they hadearned at home rates of wages--and so were really being cheated by the world! the last two days they had all but starvedthemselves--it made them quite sick to pay the prices that the railroad people askedthem for food. yet, when they saw the home of the widowjukniene they could not but recoil, even so, in all their journey they had seennothing so bad as this. poni aniele had a four-room flat in one ofthat wilderness of two-story frame
tenements that lie "back of the yards." there were four such flats in eachbuilding, and each of the four was a "boardinghouse" for the occupancy offoreigners--lithuanians, poles, slovaks, or bohemians. some of these places were kept by privatepersons, some were cooperative. there would be an average of half a dozenboarders to each room--sometimes there were thirteen or fourteen to one room, fifty orsixty to a flat. each one of the occupants furnished his ownaccommodations--that is, a mattress and some bedding.
the mattresses would be spread upon thefloor in rows--and there would be nothing else in the place except a stove. it was by no means unusual for two men toown the same mattress in common, one working by day and using it by night, andthe other working at night and using it in the daytime. very frequently a lodging house keeperwould rent the same beds to double shifts of men.mrs. jukniene was a wizened-up little woman, with a wrinkled face. her home was unthinkably filthy; you couldnot enter by the front door at all, owing
to the mattresses, and when you tried to goup the backstairs you found that she had walled up most of the porch with old boardsto make a place to keep her chickens. it was a standing jest of the boarders thataniele cleaned house by letting the chickens loose in the rooms. undoubtedly this did keep down the vermin,but it seemed probable, in view of all the circumstances, that the old lady regardedit rather as feeding the chickens than as cleaning the rooms. the truth was that she had definitely givenup the idea of cleaning anything, under pressure of an attack of rheumatism, whichhad kept her doubled up in one corner of
her room for over a week; during which time eleven of her boarders, heavily in herdebt, had concluded to try their chances of employment in kansas city.this was july, and the fields were green. one never saw the fields, nor any greenthing whatever, in packingtown; but one could go out on the road and "hobo it," asthe men phrased it, and see the country, and have a long rest, and an easy timeriding on the freight cars. such was the home to which the new arrivalswere welcomed. there was nothing better to be had--theymight not do so well by looking further, for mrs. jukniene had at least kept oneroom for herself and her three little
children, and now offered to share thiswith the women and the girls of the party. they could get bedding at a secondhandstore, she explained; and they would not need any, while the weather was so hot--doubtless they would all sleep on the sidewalk such nights as this, as did nearlyall of her guests. "tomorrow," jurgis said, when they wereleft alone, "tomorrow i will get a job, and perhaps jonas will get one also; and thenwe can get a place of our own." later that afternoon he and ona went out totake a walk and look about them, to see more of this district which was to be theirhome. in back of the yards the dreary two-storyframe houses were scattered farther apart,
and there were great spaces bare--thatseemingly had been overlooked by the great sore of a city as it spread itself over thesurface of the prairie. these bare places were grown up with dingy,yellow weeds, hiding innumerable tomato cans; innumerable children played uponthem, chasing one another here and there, screaming and fighting. the most uncanny thing about thisneighborhood was the number of the children; you thought there must be aschool just out, and it was only after long acquaintance that you were able to realize that there was no school, but that thesewere the children of the neighborhood--that
there were so many children to the block inpackingtown that nowhere on its streets could a horse and buggy move faster than awalk! it could not move faster anyhow, on accountof the state of the streets. those through which jurgis and ona werewalking resembled streets less than they did a miniature topographical map. the roadway was commonly several feet lowerthan the level of the houses, which were sometimes joined by high board walks; therewere no pavements--there were mountains and valleys and rivers, gullies and ditches, and great hollows full of stinking greenwater.
in these pools the children played, androlled about in the mud of the streets; here and there one noticed them digging init, after trophies which they had stumbled on. one wondered about this, as also about theswarms of flies which hung about the scene, literally blackening the air, and thestrange, fetid odor which assailed one's nostrils, a ghastly odor, of all the deadthings of the universe. it impelled the visitor to questions andthen the residents would explain, quietly, that all this was "made" land, and that ithad been "made" by using it as a dumping ground for the city garbage.
after a few years the unpleasant effect ofthis would pass away, it was said; but meantime, in hot weather--and especiallywhen it rained--the flies were apt to be annoying. was it not unhealthful? the stranger wouldask, and the residents would answer, "perhaps; but there is no telling." a little way farther on, and jurgis andona, staring open-eyed and wondering, came to the place where this "made" ground wasin process of making. here was a great hole, perhaps two cityblocks square, and with long files of garbage wagons creeping into it.
the place had an odor for which there areno polite words; and it was sprinkled over with children, who raked in it from dawntill dark. sometimes visitors from the packing houseswould wander out to see this "dump," and they would stand by and debate as towhether the children were eating the food they got, or merely collecting it for thechickens at home. apparently none of them ever went down tofind out. beyond this dump there stood a greatbrickyard, with smoking chimneys. first they took out the soil to makebricks, and then they filled it up again with garbage, which seemed to jurgis andona a felicitous arrangement,
characteristic of an enterprising countrylike america. a little way beyond was another great hole,which they had emptied and not yet filled up. this held water, and all summer it stoodthere, with the near-by soil draining into it, festering and stewing in the sun; andthen, when winter came, somebody cut the ice on it, and sold it to the people of thecity. this, too, seemed to the newcomers aneconomical arrangement; for they did not read the newspapers, and their heads werenot full of troublesome thoughts about "germs."
they stood there while the sun went downupon this scene, and the sky in the west turned blood-red, and the tops of thehouses shone like fire. jurgis and ona were not thinking of thesunset, however--their backs were turned to it, and all their thoughts were ofpackingtown, which they could see so plainly in the distance. the line of the buildings stood clear-cutand black against the sky; here and there out of the mass rose the great chimneys,with the river of smoke streaming away to the end of the world. it was a study in colors now, this smoke;in the sunset light it was black and brown
and gray and purple. all the sordid suggestions of the placewere gone--in the twilight it was a vision of power. to the two who stood watching while thedarkness swallowed it up, it seemed a dream of wonder, with its talc of human energy,of things being done, of employment for thousands upon thousands of men, of opportunity and freedom, of life and loveand joy. when they came away, arm in arm, jurgis wassaying, "tomorrow i shall go there and get a job!"
chapter 3 in his capacity as delicatessen vender,jokubas szedvilas had many acquaintances. among these was one of the specialpolicemen employed by durham, whose duty it frequently was to pick out men foremployment. jokubas had never tried it, but heexpressed a certainty that he could get some of his friends a job through this man. it was agreed, after consultation, that heshould make the effort with old antanas and with jonas.jurgis was confident of his ability to get work for himself, unassisted by any one.
as we have said before, he was not mistakenin this. he had gone to brown's and stood there notmore than half an hour before one of the bosses noticed his form towering above therest, and signaled to him. the colloquy which followed was brief andto the point: "speak english?""no; lit-uanian." (jurgis had studied this word carefully.) "job?""je." (a nod.)"worked here before?" "no 'stand."
(signals and gesticulations on the part ofthe boss. vigorous shakes of the head by jurgis.)"shovel guts?" (more shakes of the head.)"zarnos. pagaiksztis.szluofa!" (imitative motions.) "je.""see door. durys?"(pointing.) "je." "to-morrow, seven o'clock.understand?
rytoj!prieszpietys! septyni!" "dekui, tamistai!"(thank you, sir.) and that was all. jurgis turned away, and then in a suddenrush the full realization of his triumph swept over him, and he gave a yell and ajump, and started off on a run. he had a job! and he went all the way home as if uponwings, and burst into the house like a cyclone, to the rage of the numerouslodgers who had just turned in for their
daily sleep. meantime jokubas had been to see his friendthe policeman, and received encouragement, so it was a happy party. there being no more to be done that day,the shop was left under the care of lucija, and her husband sallied forth to show hisfriends the sights of packingtown. jokubas did this with the air of a countrygentleman escorting a party of visitors over his estate; he was an old-timeresident, and all these wonders had grown up under his eyes, and he had a personalpride in them. the packers might own the land, but heclaimed the landscape, and there was no one
to say nay to this. they passed down the busy street that ledto the yards. it was still early morning, and everythingwas at its high tide of activity. a steady stream of employees was pouringthrough the gate--employees of the higher sort, at this hour, clerks andstenographers and such. for the women there were waiting big two-horse wagons, which set off at a gallop as fast as they were filled. in the distance there was heard again thelowing of the cattle, a sound as of a far- off ocean calling.
they followed it, this time, as eager aschildren in sight of a circus menagerie-- which, indeed, the scene a good dealresembled. they crossed the railroad tracks, and thenon each side of the street were the pens full of cattle; they would have stopped tolook, but jokubas hurried them on, to where there was a stairway and a raised gallery,from which everything could be seen. here they stood, staring, breathless withwonder. there is over a square mile of space in theyards, and more than half of it is occupied by cattle pens; north and south as far asthe eye can reach there stretches a sea of pens.
and they were all filled--so many cattle noone had ever dreamed existed in the world. red cattle, black, white, and yellowcattle; old cattle and young cattle; great bellowing bulls and little calves not anhour born; meek-eyed milch cows and fierce, long-horned texas steers. the sound of them here was as of all thebarnyards of the universe; and as for counting them--it would have taken all daysimply to count the pens. here and there ran long alleys, blocked atintervals by gates; and jokubas told them that the number of these gates was twenty-five thousand. jokubas had recently been reading anewspaper article which was full of
statistics such as that, and he was veryproud as he repeated them and made his guests cry out with wonder. jurgis too had a little of this sense ofpride. had he not just gotten a job, and become asharer in all this activity, a cog in this marvelous machine? here and there about the alleys gallopedmen upon horseback, booted, and carrying long whips; they were very busy, calling toeach other, and to those who were driving the cattle. they were drovers and stock raisers, whohad come from far states, and brokers and
commission merchants, and buyers for allthe big packing houses. here and there they would stop to inspect abunch of cattle, and there would be a parley, brief and businesslike. the buyer would nod or drop his whip, andthat would mean a bargain; and he would note it in his little book, along withhundreds of others he had made that morning. then jokubas pointed out the place wherethe cattle were driven to be weighed, upon a great scale that would weigh a hundredthousand pounds at once and record it automatically.
it was near to the east entrance that theystood, and all along this east side of the yards ran the railroad tracks, into whichthe cars were run, loaded with cattle. all night long this had been going on, andnow the pens were full; by tonight they would all be empty, and the same thingwould be done again. "and what will become of all thesecreatures?" cried teta elzbieta. "by tonight," jokubas answered, "they willall be killed and cut up; and over there on the other side of the packing houses aremore railroad tracks, where the cars come to take them away." there were two hundred and fifty miles oftrack within the yards, their guide went on
to tell them. they brought about ten thousand head ofcattle every day, and as many hogs, and half as many sheep--which meant some eightor ten million live creatures turned into food every year. one stood and watched, and little by littlecaught the drift of the tide, as it set in the direction of the packing houses. there were groups of cattle being driven tothe chutes, which were roadways about fifteen feet wide, raised high above thepens. in these chutes the stream of animals wascontinuous; it was quite uncanny to watch
them, pressing on to their fate, allunsuspicious a very river of death. our friends were not poetical, and thesight suggested to them no metaphors of human destiny; they thought only of thewonderful efficiency of it all. the chutes into which the hogs went climbedhigh up--to the very top of the distant buildings; and jokubas explained that thehogs went up by the power of their own legs, and then their weight carried them back through all the processes necessary tomake them into pork. "they don't waste anything here," said theguide, and then he laughed and added a witticism, which he was pleased that hisunsophisticated friends should take to be
his own: "they use everything about the hogexcept the squeal." in front of brown's general office buildingthere grows a tiny plot of grass, and this, you may learn, is the only bit of greenthing in packingtown; likewise this jest about the hog and his squeal, the stock in trade of all the guides, is the one gleamof humor that you will find there. after they had seen enough of the pens, theparty went up the street, to the mass of buildings which occupy the center of theyards. these buildings, made of brick and stainedwith innumerable layers of packingtown smoke, were painted all over withadvertising signs, from which the visitor
realized suddenly that he had come to thehome of many of the torments of his life. it was here that they made those productswith the wonders of which they pestered him so--by placards that defaced the landscapewhen he traveled, and by staring advertisements in the newspapers and magazines--by silly little jingles that hecould not get out of his mind, and gaudy pictures that lurked for him around everystreet corner. here was where they made brown's imperialhams and bacon, brown's dressed beef, brown's excelsior sausages! here was the headquarters of durham's pureleaf lard, of durham's breakfast bacon,
durham's canned beef, potted ham, deviledchicken, peerless fertilizer! entering one of the durham buildings, theyfound a number of other visitors waiting; and before long there came a guide, toescort them through the place. they make a great feature of showingstrangers through the packing plants, for it is a good advertisement. but ponas jokubas whispered maliciouslythat the visitors did not see any more than the packers wanted them to. they climbed a long series of stairwaysoutside of the building, to the top of its five or six stories.
here was the chute, with its river of hogs,all patiently toiling upward; there was a place for them to rest to cool off, andthen through another passageway they went into a room from which there is noreturning for hogs. it was a long, narrow room, with a galleryalong it for visitors. at the head there was a great iron wheel,about twenty feet in circumference, with rings here and there along its edge. upon both sides of this wheel there was anarrow space, into which came the hogs at the end of their journey; in the midst ofthem stood a great burly negro, bare-armed and bare-chested.
he was resting for the moment, for thewheel had stopped while men were cleaning in a minute or two, however, it beganslowly to revolve, and then the men upon each side of it sprang to work. they had chains which they fastened aboutthe leg of the nearest hog, and the other end of the chain they hooked into one ofthe rings upon the wheel. so, as the wheel turned, a hog was suddenlyjerked off his feet and borne aloft. at the same instant the car was assailed bya most terrifying shriek; the visitors started in alarm, the women turned pale andshrank back. the shriek was followed by another, louderand yet more agonizing--for once started
upon that journey, the hog never came back;at the top of the wheel he was shunted off upon a trolley, and went sailing down theroom. and meantime another was swung up, and thenanother, and another, until there was a double line of them, each dangling by afoot and kicking in frenzy--and squealing. the uproar was appalling, perilous to theeardrums; one feared there was too much sound for the room to hold--that the wallsmust give way or the ceiling crack. there were high squeals and low squeals,grunts, and wails of agony; there would come a momentary lull, and then a freshoutburst, louder than ever, surging up to a deafening climax.
it was too much for some of the visitors--the men would look at each other, laughing nervously, and the women would stand withhands clenched, and the blood rushing to their faces, and the tears starting intheir eyes. meantime, heedless of all these things, themen upon the floor were going about their work. neither squeals of hogs nor tears ofvisitors made any difference to them; one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one byone with a swift stroke they slit their throats. there was a long line of hogs, with squealsand lifeblood ebbing away together; until
at last each started again, and vanishedwith a splash into a huge vat of boiling water. it was all so very businesslike that onewatched it fascinated. it was porkmaking by machinery, porkmakingby applied mathematics. and yet somehow the most matter-of-factperson could not help thinking of the hogs; they were so innocent, they came so verytrustingly; and they were so very human in their protests--and so perfectly withintheir rights! they had done nothing to deserve it; and itwas adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in thiscold-blooded, impersonal way, without a
pretense of apology, without the homage ofa tear. now and then a visitor wept, to be sure;but this slaughtering machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. it was like some horrible crime committedin a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory. one could not stand and watch very longwithout becoming philosophical, without beginning to deal in symbols and similes,and to hear the hog squeal of the universe. was it permitted to believe that there wasnowhere upon the earth, or above the earth, a heaven for hogs, where they were requitedfor all this suffering?
each one of these hogs was a separatecreature. some were white hogs, some were black; somewere brown, some were spotted; some were old, some young; some were long and lean,some were monstrous. and each of them had an individuality ofhis own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart's desire; each was full of self-confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. and trusting and strong in faith he hadgone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid fatewaited in his pathway. now suddenly it had swooped upon him, andhad seized him by the leg.
relentless, remorseless, it was; all hisprotests, his screams, were nothing to it-- it did its cruel will with him, as if hiswishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat andwatched him gasp out his life. and now was one to believe that there wasnowhere a god of hogs, to whom this hog personality was precious, to whom these hogsqueals and agonies had a meaning? who would take this hog into his arms andcomfort him, reward him for his work well done, and show him the meaning of hissacrifice? perhaps some glimpse of all this was in thethoughts of our humble-minded jurgis, as he turned to go on with the rest of the party,and muttered: "dieve--but i'm glad i'm not
a hog!" the carcass hog was scooped out of the vatby machinery, and then it fell to the second floor, passing on the way through awonderful machine with numerous scrapers, which adjusted themselves to the size and shape of the animal, and sent it out at theother end with nearly all of its bristles removed. it was then again strung up by machinery,and sent upon another trolley ride; this time passing between two lines of men, whosat upon a raised platform, each doing a certain single thing to the carcass as itcame to him.
one scraped the outside of a leg; anotherscraped the inside of the same leg. one with a swift stroke cut the throat;another with two swift strokes severed the head, which fell to the floor and vanishedthrough a hole. another made a slit down the body; a secondopened the body wider; a third with a saw cut the breastbone; a fourth loosened theentrails; a fifth pulled them out--and they also slid through a hole in the floor. there were men to scrape each side and mento scrape the back; there were men to clean the carcass inside, to trim it and wash it. looking down this room, one saw, creepingslowly, a line of dangling hogs a hundred
yards in length; and for every yard therewas a man, working as if a demon were after him. at the end of this hog's progress everyinch of the carcass had been gone over several times; and then it was rolled intothe chilling room, where it stayed for twenty-four hours, and where a stranger might lose himself in a forest of freezinghogs. before the carcass was admitted here,however, it had to pass a government inspector, who sat in the doorway and feltof the glands in the neck for tuberculosis. this government inspector did not have themanner of a man who was worked to death; he
was apparently not haunted by a fear thatthe hog might get by him before he had finished his testing. if you were a sociable person, he was quitewilling to enter into conversation with you, and to explain to you the deadlynature of the ptomaines which are found in tubercular pork; and while he was talking with you you could hardly be so ungratefulas to notice that a dozen carcasses were passing him untouched. this inspector wore a blue uniform, withbrass buttons, and he gave an atmosphere of authority to the scene, and, as it were,put the stamp of official approval upon the
things which were done in durham's. jurgis went down the line with the rest ofthe visitors, staring open-mouthed, lost in wonder. he had dressed hogs himself in the forestof lithuania; but he had never expected to live to see one hog dressed by severalhundred men. it was like a wonderful poem to him, and hetook it all in guilelessly--even to the conspicuous signs demanding immaculatecleanliness of the employees. jurgis was vexed when the cynical jokubastranslated these signs with sarcastic comments, offering to take them to thesecret rooms where the spoiled meats went
to be doctored. the party descended to the next floor,where the various waste materials were treated. here came the entrails, to be scraped andwashed clean for sausage casings; men and women worked here in the midst of asickening stench, which caused the visitors to hasten by, gasping. to another room came all the scraps to be"tanked," which meant boiling and pumping off the grease to make soap and lard; belowthey took out the refuse, and this, too, was a region in which the visitors did notlinger.
in still other places men were engaged incutting up the carcasses that had been through the chilling rooms. first there were the "splitters," the mostexpert workmen in the plant, who earned as high as fifty cents an hour, and did not athing all day except chop hogs down the middle. then there were "cleaver men," great giantswith muscles of iron; each had two men to attend him--to slide the half carcass infront of him on the table, and hold it while he chopped it, and then turn eachpiece so that he might chop it once more. his cleaver had a blade about two feetlong, and he never made but one cut; he
made it so neatly, too, that his implementdid not smite through and dull itself-- there was just enough force for a perfectcut, and no more. so through various yawning holes thereslipped to the floor below--to one room hams, to another forequarters, to anothersides of pork. one might go down to this floor and see thepickling rooms, where the hams were put into vats, and the great smoke rooms, withtheir airtight iron doors. in other rooms they prepared salt pork--there were whole cellars full of it, built up in great towers to the ceiling. in yet other rooms they were putting upmeats in boxes and barrels, and wrapping
hams and bacon in oiled paper, sealing andlabeling and sewing them. from the doors of these rooms went men withloaded trucks, to the platform where freight cars were waiting to be filled; andone went out there and realized with a start that he had come at last to theground floor of this enormous building. then the party went across the street towhere they did the killing of beef--where every hour they turned four or five hundredcattle into meat. unlike the place they had left, all thiswork was done on one floor; and instead of there being one line of carcasses whichmoved to the workmen, there were fifteen or twenty lines, and the men moved from one toanother of these.
this made a scene of intense activity, apicture of human power wonderful to watch. it was all in one great room, like a circusamphitheater, with a gallery for visitors running over the center. along one side of the room ran a narrowgallery, a few feet from the floor; into which gallery the cattle were driven by menwith goads which gave them electric shocks. once crowded in here, the creatures wereprisoned, each in a separate pen, by gates that shut, leaving them no room to turnaround; and while they stood bellowing and plunging, over the top of the pen there leaned one of the "knockers," armed with asledge hammer, and watching for a chance to
deal a blow. the room echoed with the thuds in quicksuccession, and the stamping and kicking of the steers. the instant the animal had fallen, the"knocker" passed on to another; while a second man raised a lever, and the side ofthe pen was raised, and the animal, still kicking and struggling, slid out to the"killing bed." here a man put shackles about one leg, andpressed another lever, and the body was jerked up into the air. there were fifteen or twenty such pens, andit was a matter of only a couple of minutes
to knock fifteen or twenty cattle and rollthem out. then once more the gates were opened, andanother lot rushed in; and so out of each pen there rolled a steady stream ofcarcasses, which the men upon the killing beds had to get out of the way. the manner in which they did this wassomething to be seen and never forgotten. they worked with furious intensity,literally upon the run--at a pace with which there is nothing to be comparedexcept a football game. it was all highly specialized labor, eachman having his task to do; generally this would consist of only two or three specificcuts, and he would pass down the line of
fifteen or twenty carcasses, making thesecuts upon each. first there came the "butcher," to bleedthem; this meant one swift stroke, so swift that you could not see it--only the flashof the knife; and before you could realize it, the man had darted on to the next line, and a stream of bright red was pouring outupon the floor. this floor was half an inch deep withblood, in spite of the best efforts of men who kept shoveling it through holes; itmust have made the floor slippery, but no one could have guessed this by watching themen at work. the carcass hung for a few minutes tobleed; there was no time lost, however, for
there were several hanging in each line,and one was always ready. it was let down to the ground, and therecame the "headsman," whose task it was to sever the head, with two or three swiftstrokes. then came the "floorsman," to make thefirst cut in the skin; and then another to finish ripping the skin down the center;and then half a dozen more in swift succession, to finish the skinning. after they were through, the carcass wasagain swung up; and while a man with a stick examined the skin, to make sure thatit had not been cut, and another rolled it up and tumbled it through one of the
inevitable holes in the floor, the beefproceeded on its journey. there were men to cut it, and men to splitit, and men to gut it and scrape it clean inside. there were some with hose which threw jetsof boiling water upon it, and others who removed the feet and added the finaltouches. in the end, as with the hogs, the finishedbeef was run into the chilling room, to hang its appointed time. the visitors were taken there and shownthem, all neatly hung in rows, labeled conspicuously with the tags of thegovernment inspectors--and some, which had
been killed by a special process, marked with the sign of the kosher rabbi,certifying that it was fit for sale to the orthodox. and then the visitors were taken to theother parts of the building, to see what became of each particle of the wastematerial that had vanished through the floor; and to the pickling rooms, and the salting rooms, the canning rooms, and thepacking rooms, where choice meat was prepared for shipping in refrigerator cars,destined to be eaten in all the four corners of civilization.
afterward they went outside, wanderingabout among the mazes of buildings in which was done the work auxiliary to this greatindustry. there was scarcely a thing needed in thebusiness that durham and company did not make for themselves.there was a great steam power plant and an electricity plant. there was a barrel factory, and a boiler-repair shop. there was a building to which the greasewas piped, and made into soap and lard; and then there was a factory for making lardcans, and another for making soap boxes. there was a building in which the bristleswere cleaned and dried, for the making of
hair cushions and such things; there was abuilding where the skins were dried and tanned, there was another where heads and feet were made into glue, and another wherebones were made into fertilizer. no tiniest particle of organic matter waswasted in durham's. out of the horns of the cattle they madecombs, buttons, hairpins, and imitation ivory; out of the shinbones and other bigbones they cut knife and toothbrush handles, and mouthpieces for pipes; out of the hoofs they cut hairpins and buttons,before they made the rest into glue. from such things as feet, knuckles, hideclippings, and sinews came such strange and
unlikely products as gelatin, isinglass,and phosphorus, bone black, shoe blacking, and bone oil. they had curled-hair works for the cattletails, and a "wool pullery" for the sheepskins; they made pepsin from thestomachs of the pigs, and albumen from the blood, and violin strings from the ill-smelling entrails. when there was nothing else to be done witha thing, they first put it into a tank and got out of it all the tallow and grease,and then they made it into fertilizer. all these industries were gathered intobuildings near by, connected by galleries and railroads with the main establishment;and it was estimated that they had handled
nearly a quarter of a billion of animals since the founding of the plant by theelder durham a generation and more ago. if you counted with it the other bigplants--and they were now really all one-- it was, so jokubas informed them, thegreatest aggregation of labor and capital ever gathered in one place. it employed thirty thousand men; itsupported directly two hundred and fifty thousand people in its neighborhood, andindirectly it supported half a million. it sent its products to every country inthe civilized world, and it furnished the food for no less than thirty millionpeople!
to all of these things our friends wouldlisten open-mouthed--it seemed to them impossible of belief that anything sostupendous could have been devised by mortal man. that was why to jurgis it seemed almostprofanity to speak about the place as did jokubas, skeptically; it was a thing astremendous as the universe--the laws and ways of its working no more than theuniverse to be questioned or understood. all that a mere man could do, it seemed tojurgis, was to take a thing like this as he found it, and do as he was told; to begiven a place in it and a share in its wonderful activities was a blessing to be
grateful for, as one was grateful for thesunshine and the rain. jurgis was even glad that he had not seenthe place before meeting with his triumph, for he felt that the size of it would haveoverwhelmed him. but now he had been admitted--he was a partof it all! he had the feeling that this whole hugeestablishment had taken him under its protection, and had become responsible forhis welfare. so guileless was he, and ignorant of thenature of business, that he did not even realize that he had become an employee ofbrown's, and that brown and durham were supposed by all the world to be deadly
rivals--were even required to be deadlyrivals by the law of the land, and ordered to try to ruin each other under penalty offine and imprisonment!