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THE LEAST OF TWO EVILS.

CHAPTER II.

THE LEAST OF TWO EVILS.


It was a few days previous to the timely benefaction of the baker's son that Lee broke his leg. After he was disabled, his family subsisted on the avails of work which his wife obtained from a slop-shop. Her time was nearly consumed in attendance on her exacting husband. She had no friends in the city—not an acquaintance even, excepting her husband's employer, and he was not of a character to overcome her natural reluctance to make known the extreme degradation of her condition. Want—starvation—stared her in the face; still she would not incur a debt, even for a loaf of bread, that she saw no possibility of paying. "Lucy," she had said to her child, "we can beg if we must, but we will not take bread that we cannot pay for." The poorest, even, have some means of education when they can give such a practical lesson in integrity.

It had now become necessary to take some measures to obtain subsistence. Mrs. Lee was not the woman to sit with her hands folded, and repeat "that bitter and perplexed 'what shall I do!' " She applied at a Venetian blind-factory, and obtained for her two youngest girls, the one eleven, the other nine, the sewing of the worsted stays to the blinds, by which they earned $1 50 per week; and this