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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/670

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

when hundreds of thousands of people were glad to get work at almost any pay, the salary list of nine charitable institutions was increased forty thousand dollars a year. Indefensible variations in the per capita cost of practically the same service discloses another mode of waste. Mr. Roberts gives elaborate tables in exposure of this evil. While the per capita cost of the inmates of the Western House of Refuge for Women at Albion is $254.27, that of the inmates of the House of Refuge for Women at Hudson is $217.63. Again, while the per capita cost of the inmates of the State Industrial School at Rochester is $219.49, that of the inmates of the Reformatory on Randall's Island is $210.59. Still again, while the per capita cost of the inmates of the State School for the Blind at Batavia is $313.74, that of the inmates of the Northern New York Institute for Deaf-Mutes at Malone is $258.36. If it be remembered that the institutions on Randall's Island and at Malone are under private management, the lower rate prevailing there, compared with the higher rate at the Batavia and Rochester institutions, suggest a fact of no slight significance. "Private institutions," says Mr. Roberts, calling attention to it, "are only paid in some instances $110 per annum for the care and support of inmates, . . . while the cost in State institutions is more than $200 per annum." Yet, despite the possible indefinite multiplication of such facts, the "new" reformer pins his faith to the State as a fit agent for the regeneration of his fellows.

Before leaving these institutions I must call attention to another characteristic form of waste. I refer to the delicacies furnished to the officials and inmates. "It has not seemed exactly right," says Mr. Roberts, setting forth the scandal in very moderate terms, "that the taxpayers of the State should be required to pay for Blue Points, lobster, terrapin, frogs' legs, partridge, quail, venison, and most of the delicacies of the season to supply the tables of officials already well paid and well housed by the State." But solicitude about table economies was never known to be a trait of bureaucratic parasites. They never trouble themselves to prolong their vision to the meager tables of the poor and suffering robbed of the necessaries of life to load theirs with luxuries. The same limited vision is exhibited on holidays in their generosity at other people's expense. "Is it fair," says Mr. Roberts, protesting against this touching display of human goodness, "that the average workingman should wear poor clothes and live on plain fare in order that he may bring up his family decently and honestly, while the inmates of State institutions are indulged with turkey at eighteen cents a pound, footballs at $4.83 each, oranges, candy, nuts, ice cream., and expensive luxuries? . . . It