An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant

By M. E. Ravage; Steven G. Kellman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
The Romance of Readjustment

As the summer drew near I began to look around for something to do. I would spend nearly one hundred and twenty-five dollars, I saw, between September and June, and half of it borrowed money. Harry, from whom I had got almost no help the first year, had just married and gone into business for himself, and he was giving me to understand in very broad hints that I need not rely on him the next year. Brother Paul had been out of work for the better part of the winter, and was trying desperately to keep alive while paying off some of the debts he had made in his period of unemployment. My friend, who had more than lived up to his promises, had, to be sure, agreed to lend me fifty dollars every year, but I was endeavoring to bring him out to Missouri, and if I succeeded he would need all he had to pay his own way. Therefore, if I meant to return to school next year I must find a way to earn enough to give me at least a good start in the fall. I discussed the question with Harvey and he made several suggestions. He himself was going to Joplin, where there was a lot of building and where he, being a carpenter, always found plenty to do. I might come along with him, and try my luck in the zinc-mines. Or, there were the Kansas wheatfields, where they paid two-fifty a day and keep. A number of students were going there summer after summer, and returning with their hides well tanned and their pockets well lined. Still, on second thought, he would not advise me to tackle harvesting. I might not be able to stand it, with my soft hands and my town breeding.

But I gave very little thought to his advice. I was longing for a sight of New York. It would cost fifty dollars to go there and back, but I tried to persuade myself that I would earn enough more in the city to make it worth while. If the worst came to the worst, I could always get a job at the machine. I was known there. I had friends and old pupils. Tutoring was a possibility, particularly with my added prestige as a college man. There was no limit to the things that one could do in a large town. And deep down in my foolish heart I knew quite well that all these calcula-

-168-

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An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Chronology ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • A Note on the Text xxxiii
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • Part One - The Alien at Home 11
  • Chapter I - The Prophet from America 13
  • Chapter II - The Gospel of New York 20
  • Chapter III - The Exodus 27
  • Chapter IV - To America on Foot 31
  • Chapter V - Farewell Forever 38
  • Part Two - The Alien Abroad 45
  • Chapter VI - First Impressions 47
  • Chapter VII - The Immigrant’s America 53
  • Chapter VIII - "How Do You like America?" 58
  • Chapter IX - Ventures and Adventures 66
  • Chapter X - Purifications 78
  • Chapter XI - The Ethics of the Bar 86
  • Part Three - The Education of an American 93
  • Chapter XII - Shirts and Philosophy 95
  • Chapter XIII - The Soul of the Ghetto 104
  • Chapter XIV - The Tragedy of Readjustment 110
  • Chapter XV - The Trials of Scholarship 118
  • Chapter XVI - Off to College 126
  • Part Four - America of the Americans 133
  • Chapter XVII - In the Mold 135
  • Chapter XVIII - The American as He Is 143
  • Chapter XIX - The Fruits of Solitude 151
  • Chapter XX - Harvey 159
  • Chapter XXI - The Romance of Readjustment 168
  • Part Five - Postscript- Twenty Years Later 175
  • Chapter XXII - Jeanne’s Sentimental Pilgrimage 177
  • Chapter XXIII - And My Own 189
  • About the Editor 213
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