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it is a soup day-is brought from the kitchen to the room where the meal is served. This is placed by the table, where the bowls, spoons, and round individual trays are already waiting. To make everything go smoothly there has to be cooperation, so the tallest boys, who are immensely proud of the privilege, and who are dressed for the ceremony in white aprons and caps, are allowed to help serve. One stands ladling soup into the bowls, while another-who must wear white cotton gloves-stands by the great basket that is closely packed with slices of bread. In perfectly decorous file, the hungry children march past the serving-table and receive each a tray, a steaming bowl of soup, and two slices of bread, after which they pass quietly on to the long dining-tables (long boards placed on saw-horses, put up and taken down each day), where they stand while eating their luncheon. Those who have extra pennies to spend pause on the way long enough to buy a bit of cake or fruit from the reserve supplies. Anybody who knows anything about children can estimate for himself how long it takes for the luncheons to disappear. When a child has finished, he takes his dishes to the end of the room, and, in the unlikely event of there being a drop left over, pours this into a waiting can. Then he hands his empty bowl and tray to a boy who is standing ready to assemble them, and passes out.

At twenty-five minutes past twelve the ceremony is over and the room empty-except for the pupils who remain to care for the returned dishes and help with the dish-washing. Any child contributing service receives a meal in payment.

Now and then a spurt of mischief shows itself, but this is of an innocent sort and results in nothing approaching a scrimmage, nor, which is more surprising, in any accident to the luncheon. The youngest and frailest arms seem able to guard their bowl of soup without disaster, and the room is clean and crumbless when the meal is over. Indeed, the children seem incredibly lamblike, awaiting their turns with docile patience and then eating their luncheons, although with excessive despatch, still with an expression of remote and dreamy joy.

Up to the time of installing the lunch system in the three schools already men

tioned, the lunches have cost the city nothing except water and gas. The expense from this time on, now that the Board of Education has assumed responsibility for the enterprise, will still amount to but $150 for each school-which is Miss Kittredge's estimate for supplying stove, tables, and all cooking utensils and dishes. The administrative work has been, and will continue to be, contributed. And the exact cost of the lunches is paid by the children themselves. So far, however, there has been a deficit due to the cost of cooking, and this the committee itself has supplied. How to do away with this deficit, which has already been reduced from one to one-half cent per capita per day, is the problem at present to be faced. At the close of the school year 1909-1910 it was estimated that the receipts from the sale of luncheons in two schools for one year had been $1,461.92. The receipts from the sale of extra penny desserts had been $366.15. This made a total income of $1,828.17, while the total expense in the two schools outside of administrative work and equipment was $2,253.14.

A point that must have influenced the Board of Education was that Miss Kittredge and her committee were able to show proof of tangible results from their work. Actual physical gain has been noted in the case of the children who have been wholesomely fed. A medical examiner for the Board of Health first examined all the children in the two schools for malnutrition. Those suffering from malnutrition were then divided into two classes-those who received school lunches for a period longer than one month, and those who received no. school lunches at all. The group of children of whom there were complete records and who received lunches numbered 143, while the second group, who received no lunches, numbered 81. After this, both groups of children were weighed at intervals, with the result that the average gain in weight during three months' time of the children taking the lunches was a fraction more than ten pounds, while the average gain of the children not taking lunches was but a fraction more than three pounds.

Certain of the very substantial reasons why malnutrition prevails so widely among

school-children of this class were also interestingly revealed by this investigation, which extended to the collection of data from the pupils' homes. It was found, for instance, that of 222 families, 157 were supplying insufficient food. Another important point was that among 226 children 58 per cent drank tea and coffee once each day, and that 35 per cent drank tea and coffee more than once a day. Room congestion is regarded as also greatly influencing the physical condition of children. Among 217 families, it was found that

only 8 per cent were able to provide one room for each member of the family. Again, in investigating 146 families, the weekly income was discovered to be in 64 per cent of the cases less than $16 per week. In short, no honest and intelligent person can doubt that New York school-children are underfed. The success, therefore, of the first effort that has been made to remedy this need, an effort dissociated both from charity and from moneymaking, is a matter of genuine public interest.



HAT'S the matter?" she asked at length, moving impulsively and almost involuntarily a little nearer to him.

She had been watching him for some time-ever since he had taken his seat at the other end of her bench; but he had not appeared to know that she was there. He had come along absently in the spring sunshine, and had dropped into his present position with the casual, accidental air of a dislodged pebble falling into place. When she spoke to him, he looked up slowly and enveloped her in a vague regard which she waited patiently to focus with her concrete presence. At last he saw her, and then she smiled and waited again while he fully made up his mind what it was that he saw.

What she saw meantime was a tall, spare man of about forty-five. He was dressed rather carelessly, as if he had not thought very much about his clothes when he was putting them on, and he wore an informal old felt hat pulled down over his eyes.

But he was a gentleman; with all her impulsiveness, she would hardly have ventured to speak to him if she had not been sure of that. The cut of his features was thoughtful and fine, expressing a curious mixture of whimsicalness and melancholy; his hair was turning gray over the temples, and his shoulders stooped a little. Just at present the mel

ancholy of his expression swamped the humor entirely, so that it was a wonder she had guessed at the latter trait. But when he had quite completed his courteous, wondering scrutiny of her, he smiled and justified her penetration. He took his turn at moving inward along the bench.

"I've just finished my novel," he answered.

"I thought so." She nodded and sighed, leaning back once more against the bench. "I've just finished my picture."

She was a little younger than he; but her hair also was turning gray, and, although her shoulders did not stoop, they were very thin underneath her blue flannel waist. She was pretty, however. Her face had a bright, resolute look, and her eyes were shining above the depth of lurking melancholy which she seemed to share with her chance companion as a common birthright. She was a lady, too; in his turn, he might not otherwise have cared to return her greeting.

Then she

She was silent a moment. laughed-such a funny little chuckle of mirth, founded on a basis of dejection, that his humor struggled to respond from beneath his ascendent gloom. But he could not manage it quite yet; he was not ready for raillery. Seeing this, she fell grave again, and sympathy informed her voice.

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He lifted his eyebrows slightly. But there was no contention in his tone, only inquiry.

"Perhaps you don't do that; some people don't. I do always, though.

It's a matter of bitter resentment with me that I should have been so laid hold of, possessed, by a thing which amounts to no more in the end than one of my pictures. This morning I adored my last picture; I tolerate it now-with misgivings; to-morrow I shall hate it."

He was thoroughly aroused by this time, and he turned sideways on the bench and studied his companion with smiling eyes.

"You will miss it, however ?" he ventured.

"Oh !" She was half scornfully disappointed. "Don't ask me stupid ques

tions !"

am wiser than you, or I am not such a good worker."

"There's a great difference in our trades," he commented, after a moment's reflection. "I think I never knew a painter who didn't have several pictures on hand at once, in all sorts of stages of incompletion; whereas a writer is usually found devoting himself entirely to one book at a time. The advantage is only one of many which you hold over us." Again she smiled.

"Do you do that, too? What inconsistent creatures we are! We would neither of us dream of exchanging; yet you have confessed to an envy of me, and I am fully convinced that your craft is easier than mine. How simple and satisfying to give one's entire attention to pouring one's self into a single cup! It must have been a great year and a half which you are paying for now."

He looked at her whimsically. The cloud of his melancholy was breaking fast, and the light of his humor was shining through in fuller and fuller gleams.


You talk like a summer tourist," he said. "There are lots of them up in the valley where I have my summer home, and they come and stare at me. Oh. Mr. Scribbler, what a fortunate person you are! To think of living in

"How long have you had your novel this lovely place and having nothing to do on hand ?" but write all day!'"

Since, somewhat abashed, he kept silence, she resumed the conversation and gave it another turn.

"A year and a half.”

He sighed as he answered; but he was relieved at her renewed friendliness, and his tone acknowledged it.

Nothing else?”

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He was going to say more; he had, in fact, taken a new breath and let a portion of it out in a burst-" Nothing to do!"— but she interrupted him.

"That is not kind in you. You know that I never implied or supposed for a moment that the pouring process was a smooth one. But it's what you live for, after all; and so it is your chief good.”

"Oh, I don't know." He leaned forward and took his tired head between his hands, with his elbows on his knees. "Sometimes I think there isn't anything good about it. It's such blamed hard work, and it's so uncertain! Even when you are doing it, you don't know exactly what it is you are doing, still less whether it's good or not; and when you have finished it, it is never what you thought it was going to be. Hard work? Good Lord! I have sometimes been tempted to take those enthusiastic tourists into my

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"I've long since given up having theories."

• We needn't," he went on, ponderingly. "Nobody asks us to. On the contrary, all our friends join at the outset in begging us to refrain. Unless we are absolute fools, we know that we are committing ourselves to difficulty and suspense and struggle, to disappointment and failure, to doubt, to all sorts of evils to which we are, by a nice irony, peculiarly sensitive. Yet off we go."

She pondered a moment in her turn. "When young writers come to you now for advice, do you warn them away and counsel them to go into business?"

"No, I don't!" He admitted the force of the question by the frank change in his tone as he answered it. "I almost always say, 'Go ahead-and the gods be with you !'"

She made no comment, but she looked at him and smiled with one of her satisfied little nods.

"Another strange thing about that is," he went on thoughtfully, "that I have yet to receive my first word of reproach from any of the people I have encouraged to start on this perilous career. They haven't all of them made good, of course. They haven't all of them persevered; some of them are prospering mightily now as business men. But even the latter look back on what they call their 'fling with literature' (good term, too, only literature did all the flinging) with the unanimous verdict that those were good old days.' As for the scribblers who have stuck it out, they are quite touch

ingly loyal and grateful. One of them met me the other day, and stopped and shook hands with me, his nice young soul in his brave young eyes. I owe you everything,' he said, and I shall never forget it.' Owed me everything! What do you think that meant? Some hack work on an encyclopædia, and an occasional story in a second-class magazine. He wasn't happy about it, of course; it wasn't at all what he had hoped to accomplish by this time. But even in his disappointment he still owed me everything."

"Good!" Her eyes shone with serene understanding. “A man who feels that way keeps on until the first-class magazines come begging at his door."

"Oh, but meantime !"

He pursed his lips and knit his brow as one who remembers unpleasant things.

"Yes, meantime, I grant you-" This time it was she who made the sudden concession and came to his point of view. "That meantime is pretty bad. wonders that anybody has the courage to stick it out."

"Doesn't one--just ?"


He wheeled about, prepared to meet her eyes laughingly, but he paused. Her face was sober.

"Did it last so long with you?" he asked, gently. His eyes were compassionate.

"Ten or fifteen years," she answered, withdrawing her gaze from an old gray rock and smiling-tardily. "Success (if it is success now-I'm not sure) came gradually when it came at all, and I don't know how to date it. But it wasn't the length of time that I minded; it was the uncertainty."

"Yes, that's the devil- Excuse me," he said, sympathetically.

"Isn't it?" She not only excused him, but thanked him with her glance. "Even the most assured person can't know absolutely that he's going to succeed; and if he isn't, what a waste of life he is guilty of! On the other hand, if he is, in the end no amount of labor, patience, delay, should be counted too much. It's a cruel predicament."

I wrote for six years with no success," he told her; "and then I concluded that I had made as long an experiment as was decent, and I shut my desk and went

downtown to see if I could find a business position. While I was gone my sister opened my desk in search of a pencil, found my last manuscript, read it, and sent it to a publisher. Its acceptance and the offer of a clerkship in a grocery firm came in the same mail."

"My!" She held her breath girlishly. "That was a narrow escape."

"Indeed it was." He mocked himself by his tone. "You see, in my case, it is my sister to whom I'owe everything.'

make a beginning at all; but sometimes in the midst of things, and that is- Please say it again."



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Hell," he supplied, with a little varia


'You're right." He took up the thread at once. It's that way with me, too. The abstract notion of sitting down and handing myself over body and soul to another novel is positively repugnant to me now. But of course I've a fine new scheme in my brain; and some morning "Or Fate," she pondered. "I like to I shall get up and drift half unconsciously believe in Fate. It's too harrowing to to my desk and begin my first chapter. I think that some Hawthorne or Brontë sha'n't realize exactly what I am doing, may have given up and turned away be- and all that I do realize will be clear fore the very threshold of 'The Scarlet joy, for beginnings are seventh heavens. Letter' or 'Jane Eyre.'" Jove! such rapidity, such conviction! "Better a thousand failures than that," The words cover the paper of their own he assented. accord, the people leap into life, the story

"That would be the worst kind of fail- shapes itself, the significance hovers; at ure," she corrected him.

He medi

"Well, as for failure-" tated. "Do you know the real difference between failure and success?"

"Indeed I don't. She met him earnestly. "They're pretty well mixed up together, I guess. My last picture failed to express what I meant to put into it, yet it hung on the line in the Exhibition."

"Precisely. For my part, the only success I have ever achieved lies in the next novel I propose to write.”

She laughed.

"Your best salvation, then, would seem to lie in getting to work at that novel as fast as you can."

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"Too tired." He shook his head. "Don't want to either, can't bear the thought," he went on presently. wonder if you know that state of mind." "Yes." She considered. "Yes, I suppose I do; but explain it to me."

"Well, I am reluctant to set my hand to a work which I know is going to rule me for months and maybe years; I shrink from the strife and exertion, I—” "Resent it!" she broke in. "That's what I said in the first place. But my resentment comes afterward, when the work is over and I see how little it amounts to "

"You never have any misgivings before?"

last, at last, a real masterpiece is coming into life. I am convinced that no variety of human rapture is to be compared to that of beginning a novel. Then-"

He broke off and looked at her, and she looked back at him with a rueful little smile of full understanding. They both laughed, and sighed.


"I wonder what it is that happens," he mused, leaning forward to poke the grass with the end of his stick. All of a sudden, without any warning! It is as if a merry companion with whom you were climbing a hill hand in hand should sit down abruptly and say, 'Now this is as far as I mean to go on my own feet; you must carry me.' Of course, when she does that, you look her over and find her to be not half so attractive as you had thought her at first-heavy, unwieldy, sure to be a grievous burden. But you are loth to abandon the hope which has come to mean much to you by this time; so you tackle her and start, staggering, off up the mountain-side. That's where your trouble begins. She rides you willfully, waywardly, betraying you into snares and pitfalls, turning you out of your path altogether, mocking you, goading you. It is strange that you stick to her; yet, after all, perhaps it is she who does the sticking--you are her slave."

"Yet you don't hate her?" his comrade put in, her eyes very bright with

"No, not before, or I should hardly sympathetic excitement.

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