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Newspaper Page Text
and to the last are making a heroic
attempt to keep together. Soon they
will be completely worn out and dis
carded and the wearer will likely fol
Big foaming "schooners," together
with steaming bowls of soup, are
placed before the men who are in a
position to pay, by active and swift
footed waiters. At the long bar neat
appearing bartenders dispense drinks
to the thirsty customers.
The conversation Is general and
the topics under discussion are va
ried, but generally center upon the
last job or the prospects of getting
another, or shipments of men to con
struction work by employment
agents. Sometimes experiences with
the police are related. The listeners
then pay strict attention to the story.
Men are-coming in and going out
and their slouchy gait and the chafing
of their feet tell a tale of crushed
ambition and departing hope. Some,
who are evidently hungry, cast, animal-like,
longing eyes toward the bar
and the corner where the free lunch
is stored. They wish for those things
but the wish cannot be gratified with
out the necessary nickel, and the
precious nickel which would put them
in possession of the "good things" is
not to be found in the empty pock
ets. These are the "dead ones," the
free lunch spotters." They are also
the "detectives" of the free lunch
counter, and for the price of one
drink will give the man who seeks
information on the subject the name
and location of the saloon where the
biggest "schooner" and lunch can be
gotten. They are also experts in the
fe art of getting at the lunch counter
w' without buying a beer. They have
reduced it to a science. As a rule they
are professional bums.
"One Up, special, a plate of lunch
for a live wire, one stew for a bum,"
come a chorus of discordant notes
from the waiters. This does not in
the least disturb the habitues of the
, A combination composed of smells ,
from the kitchen, stale beer and the
various brands of tobacco smoked
form a stench that grips you at the
throat. This particular smell cannot
be properly described, but is enough
to give a person who is not accus
tomed to such places something akin
to an attack of vertigo.
The faces of the men do not as a
rule have the contented, joyful ex
pression of those who, being blessed
with better conditions, can afford to
patronize a higher grade of thirst
emporium. With the exception of the
gibberings and idiotic laugh of those
in an advanced stage of intoxication,
the rest of the men appear to be
plunged itno an ocean of gloom. That
look of despair and God-forsaken ex
pression is plainly noticeable. It is
the badge of the Army of Despair.
Behind it the great tragedy of the life
of the wretched creatures is hidden.
It would take the pen and imagina
tion of a Victor Hugo to describe it.
(Next"Penny Soup Kitchens.")
"What's the trouble, Mr. Giraffe?"
"Why tee, hee I'm locked in and
can't get out. Would you assist me
by opening the door with the key?"
"Certainly! Where is the key?"
"In my trousers pocket."