The Spirit of Labor

Cover of book The Spirit of Labor
Categories: Nonfiction

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e Road. Now began a period of wandering, often interrupted by brief returns to his family in Clinton. He became one of the large class of nomadic workingmen, so to speak, who are as much hobo as laborer; indeed, many of them more so, as they work only in order to earn enough money for a "front," a suit of clothes, and then restlessly pass on. On this first trip he was in Chicago only a short time. He boldly pretended to be a mechanic, but was discharged for incompetency a few days after finding his first job. He then washed dishes in a restaurant for a night or two, but dropped this for a magnificent position on a railroad at $1.40 a day -- high wages for him, who lived at the time on 25 cents a day. The old feeling of monotony interrupted this lucrative work, and, after three days, he quit -- and did not get his money. Beating his way to Burlington, he worked eight days as a woodworker, but was discharged: he was not yet a mechanic. But each time this happened, he was a little wiser: knew a little more of his trade. Conditions were slightly different in each shop, there was greater variety than in the monotonous work at Clinton, and, as time went on, he learned. At Burlington he lost his watch, as well as his job, and was "broke." Then he begged, for the first time, and took another step towards membership in Hoboland. Previously to begging he had lived for two days on watermelons that had burst and been thrown away. At this time, he was very much discouraged. He was willing to work, and saw the utter lack of sympathy in the people he met. He felt particularly the jealousy of the mechanics, who refused to teach him anything. He perceived that he was thrown entirely on his own resources, and as he is naturally generous and kind himself, he felt t...

The Spirit of Labor
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