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Newspaper Page Text
STORY ABOUT LODGING
When you are in Paris, go down the, Chasse d' Autin toward the
Seine and turn down the dirtiest side street to the' left. Then take
a narrow dirty street to the Tight and, coming out on the central
markets, cirde them half-way, pass into most any narrow street
radiating therefrom, and ask your guide for the "Quincampoix."
Better ask him by pointing to that name in your guide book. Guides
sometimes kill Americans for orally trying their French on that
The "Quincampoix" is Paris' famous lodging house for the
very poor, largely what we call "tramps.' It is probably the most
awful roost of human misery in all Christendom. Here comes thc
cripple who has made two "sous" because he has no legs. He has
spent one sou for roasted chestnuts, and by saving the other till
night can sleep on the floor of the "Quincampoix." Here the clay-
faced absinthe fiend dreams his dreams. Here all ages, breeds, de
grees of want and degradation crowd each other, crawl over each!
other, writhe around each other, like snails in a basket. Here you
find the "down-and-outs" of every stratum of society, rubbing their;
sores together, teaching each other new vices, cursing the sun, the
skies, the laws, the conditions, life itself the pus that oozes out
from all the festers of society and which society isn't wise enough
to handle. For a copper, you may sleep on the floor. For two
coppers, you may sit all night in a chair with your neck breaking
across its back. For 10 cents you get a mattress. At nightfall, you
sneak in with quick, furtive glances, if you are a thief; you crawl in
on your belly, like a turtle, if you are a cripple; you sidle in with'
whines and trembling, if you are a beggar; you stride in with proud
. airs and surly looks, if you are simply "broke." Whatever you are,
in you go into the class of "tramps." Snores, so"bs, sighs, crazyj
soliloquies of the nightmare an army of "tramps" asleep!
Not long ago, the proprietor of the Quincampoix, in looking
over that scramble of human miserables, got an idea. He had no- '
ticed that some of the lodgers were strong men, with no particular
markings of vice, men who apparently disliked the Quincampoix's
accommodations, but were driven to them by hard luck. Maybe
better surroundings would lift these men from the down-grade!
whereon they were sliding to the depths. He got some philan
thropists interested in his project to uplift men by giving them a)
decenterplace in which to sleep. He raised amUlion francs ($200,
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