Jimmie Higgins: A Story (1919)

Jimmie Higgins: A Story (1919)

by Upton Sinclair

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Jimmie Higgins: A Story (1919) by Upton Sinclair

excerpt from book:

And Lizzie fell silent; for she too had learned much in three years and a half of married life. She had learned that work-ingmen's wives seldom get all they would like in this world; also that to have a propagandist for a husband is not the worst fate that may befall. After all, he might have been giving his time and money to drink, or to other women; he might have been dying of a cough, like the man next door. If one could not have a bit of pleasure on a Sunday afternoon—well, one might sigh, but not too loud.

Jimmie began telling all the things that had to be done that Sunday morning and afternoon. They seemed to Lizzie exactly like the things that were done on other occasions before meetings. To be sure, this was bigger—it was in the Opera-house, and all the stores had cards in the windows, with a picture of the Candidate who was to be the orator of the occasion. But it was hard for Lizzie to understand the difference between this Candidate and other candidates—none of whom ever got elected! Lizzie would truly rather have stayed at home, for she did not understand English very well when it was shouted from a platform, and with a lot of long words; but she knew that Jimmie was trying to educate her, and being a woman, she was educated to this extent—she knew the way to hold onto her man.

Jimmie had just discovered a new solution of the problem of getting the babies to meetings; and Lizzie knew that he was tremendously proud of this discovery. So long as there had been only one baby, Jimmie had carried it. When there had come a second, Lizzie had helped. But now there were three, the total weight of them something over sixty pounds; and the street-car line was some distance away, and also it hurt Jimmie in his class-consciousness to pay twenty cents to a predatory corporation. They had tried the plan of paying something to a neighbour to stay with the babies; but the first they tried was a young girl who got tired and went away, leaving the little ones to howl their heads off; and the second was a Polish lady whom they found in a drunken stupor on their return.

But Jimmie was determined to go to meetings, and determined that Lizzie should go along. It was one of the curses of the system, he said, that it deprived working-class women of all chance for self-improvement. So he had paid a visit to the "Industrial Store," a junk-shop maintained by the Salvation Army, and for fifteen cents he had obtained a marvellous broad baby-carriage for twins, all finished in shiny black enamel. One side of it was busted, but Jimmie had fixed that with some wire, and by careful packing had shown that it was possible to stow the youngsters in it—Jimmie Junior and Pete side by side, and the new baby at the foot.

The one trouble was that Jimmie Junior couldn't keep his feet still. He could never keep any part of him still, the little jack-in-the-box. Here he was now, tearing about the kitchen, pursuing the ever-receding tail of the newest addition to the family, a half-starved cnr who had followed Jimmie in from the street, and had been fed into a semblance of reality. From this treasure a bare, round tail hung out behind in tantalising fashion; Jimmie Junior, always imagining he could catch it, was toddling round and round and round the kitchen-table, clutching out in front of him, laughing so that after a while he sat down from sheer exhaustion.

And Jimmie Senior watched enraptured. Say, but he was a buster! Did you ever see a twenty-seven months old kid that could get over the ground like that? Or make a louder noise? This last because Jimmie Junior had tried to take a short cut through the kitchen range and failed. Lizzie swooped down, clasping him to her broad bosom, and pouring out words of comfort in Bohemian. As Jimmie Senior did not understand any of these words, he took advantage of the confusion to get his coat and cap and hustle off to the Opera-house, full of fresh determination. For, you see, whenever a Socialist looks at his son, or even thinks of his son. he is hotter for his job of propagandist. Let the world be changed soon, so that the little fellows may be spared those sufferings and humiliations which have fallen to the lot of their parents!

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013884762
Publisher: tbooks
Publication date: 12/21/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 300
File size: 882 KB

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