A very bare room in a tentament house | Guide to Daily Readings 12/16/22

George Santayana born on this date in 1863.

Daily Readings:

The Shadowed Star

Copyright, 1913, by Stewart & Kidd Company. All rights reserved.

A WOMAN, the mother.
AN OLD WOMAN, the grandmother.
TWO GIRLS, the daughters.

[A very bare room in a tenement house, uncarpeted, the boards being
much worn, and from the walls the bluish whitewash has scaled away;
in the front on one side is a cooking-stove, and farther back on the
same side a window; on the opposite side is a door opening into a
hallway; in the middle of the room there is a round, worn dining-room
table, on which stands a stunted, scraggly bit of an evergreen-tree; at
the back of the room, near the window, stands an old-fashioned safe
with perforated tin front; next it a door opening into an inner room,
and next it in the corner a bed, on which lies a pallid woman; another
woman, very old, sits in a rocking-chair in front of the stove and
rocks. There is silence for a long space, the old woman rocking and
the woman on the bed giving an occasional low sigh or groan. At last
the old woman speaks.

THE OLD WOMAN. David an’ Michael might be kapin’ the
Christmas wid us to-morrow night if we hadn’t left the ould counthry.
They’d never be crossin’ the sea–all the many weary miles o’ wetness
an’ fog an’ cold to be kapin’ it wid us here in this great house o’ brick
walls in a place full o’ strange souls. They would never be for crossin’
all that weary, cold, green wather, groanin’ an’ tossin’ like it was the
grave o’ sivin thousan’ divils. Ah, but it would be a black night at sea!
[She remains silent for a few minutes, staring at the stove and rocking
slowly.] If they hadn’t to cross that wet, cold sea they’d maybe come.
But wouldn’t they be afeard o’ this great city, an’ would they iver find
us here? Six floors up, an’ they niver off the ground in their lives.