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fault if you
"Why! Why-Old Reli-why-Minnie Again Minnie Kenny opened her mouth to Kenny!”
talk, and again she shut it tightly. Every year Josh Merritt's eyes stared their surprise at since Josh Merritt had come to take her out, this altogether new Minnie Kenny, and because there had been this same story of changing she thought she saw accusation in their blue jobs. Every year there bad been the same howl depths, Minnie Kenny sank down on the lowest about pull and influence. And, every year, step and cried again, making futile little dabs at Minnie Kenny, mindful of the advice offered her cheeks with a flimsy, ridiculous, lace by the girls in the shop, had listened to Josh handkerchief.
Merritt's story and either kept altogether quiet “It's—r-r-rouge,” she stuttered. "And I or agreed with him that it was a pretty tough dud-didn't think you were coming.”
world for a poor man, and that it did take Josh Merritt put both his hands on her influence to put a man ahead. shoulders and raised her up.
But during the last year Minnie Kenny had "Now whatever,” he demanded, “put such a done a lot of thinking, a lot of reading, and a lot thing into your head? You know it's a sort of of observing. And the more she thought, and standing appointment. I wouldn't break it the more she read, and the more she observed, for anything. Are you ready?”
the more certain she became that the old ex"I–I will be in a minute. If, if you'll just let cuses about pull, and influence, and the other me run up stairs and-and wash off this--this” things were just plain tommyrot. Men without
But Josh Merritt put out his hand and influential relatives and friends without money, stopped her flight.
sometimes men who were painfully handi“No you don't, Minnie. Leave it be. It capped, did get on and were successful. She isn't your
real color of was thinking of these things when Josh Merritt your own. How could you have it, sticking in took up his grievance again. that stuffy office? Here! Have you a powder puff? Well, just dust it across your face and EMEMBER that time I worked so hard eyes. Now come along. Where do we eat?”
to become sales director for Brandon's?
It was almost mine when bis kid nephew with a CROSS the spotlessly clean table with its lot of high faluting ideas popped in from college
shaded pink lights, Josh Merritt leaned and grabbed the job right under my nose. And toward Minnie Kenny.
what could I do? And then there was that “Do you know, Minnie,” he said, “this may manager's job at Arnold Williams. It was as be the last time I'll see you in a long, long time.” good as promised to me; and yet, at the last
Minnie gulped down the bit of cake in her instant they took a new man from Boston and mouth.
gave it to him.
That's the way my life is "Are you-going away?"
spent-chasing opportunities.” "You hit it the first shot. That's just what. For another moment Minnie Kenny held her I'm leaving Carroll and Mayers. No chance tongue within leash, and then-because for five with them.”
years she had enshrined Josh Merritt in her Minnie opened her mouth to speak and sud- heart, and because she had woven her little denly shut it-tight.
dreams about him and had secretly hoped “You see,” he continued. “I'm sick and tired things which she dared not confess aloud-she of this jumping around. Getting older. Thirty threw to the wind the advice the girls had my last birthday. Can't stand the trains any dinned into her ears. Josh Merritt might bemore--and the makeshift food. I want a home come angry at her; he might never see her and the comforts that—"
again; and she might lose even the little taste “Then why,” began Minnie Kenny, when he of romance that he brought into her life. But abruptly cut her short.
he was wrong-altogether wrong. And some“I'm going to get into another game. This one ought to tell it to him. And so, when he salesmanship business can't land me anywhere. made that last remark about chasing opporBeen at it ten years now and what have I got to tunities, she suddenly sat up straight and stiff show for it? Nothing-except a few dollars in in her chair. the bank. Every time I've made up my mind "No," she said quietly, but forcibly. "Your
ush to work for the managership of a branch office, life is not spent chasing opportunities, but or some other post where I can stay settled, up running away from them!”
ry, bumps some long lost relative of the boss, or “What's that?" asked Josh Merritt. He
atly somebody with pull, and does me out of the spoke with unusual sharpness. job. Makes me sick and disgusted.”
(Continued on page 117)
Who Became a Judge
Robert F. Wagner, New York Supreme
He lives in a comfortable home, with his ten-year-old-son, at 222 East Eighty-sixth Street, New York City. His recreation is grand opera. Once a week he goes to the Metropolitan Opera
House, or he puts a Caruso or E might have been governor of the State Barrientos record on his victrola and the of New York; but he declined.
music is an aid to him as he reads or studies. “Strange,” said the hoary advisers of His life is rounded to the turn he desires. the determined young man who wouldn't be Behold a contented man! But behind this governor. “What do you want?"
state of deep content, stretches a road some“I want to be a justice of the Supreme times arid, often paved with burning stones Court,” he answered.
of effort. "You!—who have been a member of the assembly and the senate, who have been ma- OBERT F. WAGNER was a poor immijority leader—you want to wear a silk gown grant's son. He arrived in this country and sit among books? You will be miserable.” when he was eight years of age and he could
“With all respect for your opinion I know I not speak one word of English. His father will be happy," he answered. "That happens secured a job as janitor in an East Side apartto be my ambition.”
ment house. So it came about that, at forty years of He was an East Side janitor's son. He lived age, Robert F. Wagner, one time lieutenant- as members of a janitor's family do—in the governor of New York State, turned his back on basement of the tenement. the fray which is political leadership, and be- He went barefoot-not because he wished to, came a judge. He sits on the bench so long as but to save his father the price of shoes. it is necessary every day, or holds counsel with He knew hunger. He was one of the chilother judges, or ponders his cases in chambers dren who often went to school without food, after court.
who studied all day won an empty stomach.”
He sold newspapers on Third Avenue and They owned the houses in which they lived. peppermint lozenges and lemon sticks in City Their children were being educated after a Hall Park and at the Brooklyn Bridge entrance. fashion both thorough and ornamental. The
He left his bed on winter mornings at a time neighborhood was one of “nice boys.” Because when children love to cuddle their pillows- the janitor's son had similar attainments he at four o'clock—and carried newspapers over
was invited to join them in their games. a route.
True, his clothes were always worn and He worked as a hall boy at the New York cheap, but his manners were good. FreAthletic Club, and frequently helped into his quently he could not join in the games because overcoat Judge Bartow S. Weeks, now sitting he had to help his father and mother “clean in Special Sessions, New York City. Judge up" the apartment house for which they were Weeks has sat with the former hall boy the caretakers. But during the few hours he hearing cases.
could play, he was welcome. He was missed It was a way of toil and weariness for the from the Saturday-afternoon games because, immigrant boy. One Commencement, he was while a holiday for his rich neighbors, it was a invited to Grammar School No. 83, which he day of extra work for him. On that day, he had attended, to tell the inspiring story of his went down to City Hall Park and sold newslife. He told all that I am setting down in papers and lozenges. While it was a day of this article; but, most important, he said: self-denial as to play it was one of profit. His
"I'm not here to talk to you because I have profit on each box of lozenges was forty cents. any more in me than
Usually, in a day, he you have. I haven't.
sold three boxes to I came to tell you that
the crowd en route to beyou must never Calvin Coolidge, Vice-Presi
Coney Island. Saturcome discouraged; or,
dent of the United States, says: day was a “rush” day, that if you do you
too, for newspapers. must pick yourself up
And when he had finand go on.” not far distant, when it
ished work this Miss Schwartz, the will be as much of a dis
day, every bone in principal, the same grace for those who are his young body ached teacher who had guided affluent to remain in idle- from fatigue; but he Bobby Wagner through
had done his share to ness as it is, to-day, for the Fifth Reader and
refill the family coffers. fractions, smiled those men who go about
On Sunday, he stood at effulgent smile. She is the streets in our cities
one of the East Side proud of Bobby. She and towns in idleness and entrances to Central goes to his quiet, com
Park and sold lozenges fortable home
and newspapers. sionally to tell him so.
On other days, he And she tells his story
newspaper to all the other boys and girls who were not route that required him to rise at four o'clock present when he talked to the pupils at Com- in the morning; and there were newspapers to mencement.
be transferred from his well-filled stock to pur
chasers leaving or taking the Third Avenue HE evolution of Bobby Wagner, newsboy
and janitor's son, to Judge Robert F. By another means, too, he helped to fill the Wagner of the Supreme Court of the State of thin
and the reduced larder of his parents. New York, is one to set enthusiasm aflame! He was a good pupil at school. Learning came The story is possible only in this country. The easy to Bobby Wagner-much easier than it old lands beyond the sea afford no such story of did to some of his rich neighbors, and they pera legitimate rise from low to high levels, from suaded him to coach them and paid him from poverty to power, from want to competence. their allowance. In this way he sometimes
Bobby Wagner's struggle upward began in earned as much as five dollars a week. East 106 Street, at a time when that thoroughfare was far uptown-a highway contiguous to NE mighty factor curtailed his earnings. the fields and the “real” country. The region lying between Madison and Park Avenues, hours made a big hole in the earning day. So marked the homes of prosperous Americans. the problem of how to earn sufficient for food
and clothing and incidentals remained a diffi- "Don't do it, Robert," he said. “It is a cult one for the family to solve.
clamping vocation. If you get into it you may His elder brother, a cook in the New York never get out.” Athletic Club, pointed a way for an increase in “But I must make my way through the law Bobby's earning power. He might be a hall boy school,” said young Wagner. at the club. So each summer, for four years, The school examiner gave him a letter to a small Bobby Wagner handed tall men their relative. "He is interested in helping boys to coats and hats and sticks for varying bits of an education," he wrote. “Perhaps you can compensation.
make an arrangement with him.” In a speech, twenty years later, he gave his The arrangement was that the school ex“confessions” of his “hall-boy” days. “We aminer's relative should pay the boy's tuition divided the members of the club into 'live'
in the law school. He ones and dead' ones, according to the way
kept his pact. The they tipped us,” he said. "Judge Bartow S.
lad kept his selfWeeks was one of the 'live' ones.”
assumed part of the Came his milestone day when he was gradu
agreement, for he reated from Grammar School No. 83. Family
turned the money, councils followed as to whether or not the
which the donor reyouth might dare to aspire to college.
luctantly accepted. “The College of the City of New York is
At twenty-two free," he reminded the family.
years of age, Robert “But it takes so much time to study that you can earn little or nothing," the family reminded him.
He tried it. He kept on trying. It was not easy. It was, indeed, a long, bitter pull. The family grew discouraged. The student himself grew discouraged. The lad earned as much as he could by tutoring fellow students. His brother, the cook, married, and would walk from his home in Harlem to the New York Athletic Club at 59 Street and Sixth Avenue-about six milesto save
a nickel for the younger boy's educational fund. But Robert Wagner kept
He struggled through college. He won two prizes, and was the valedictorian of his class.
came the problem of the law course which he craved. He considered fitting himself for teaching that he might earn the money which would enable him to take the law course.
A former teacher of his, who had become a school examiner, dissuaded him from taking up that calling.
ROBERT F. WAGNER, JUSTICE OF THE NEW YORK
uld not speak English. His immigrant father found work as janitor of an apartment house. But the son had character, push, a studious disposition and good manners. His elder brother, a poor cook, walked six miles a day to contribute a nickel to
the younger boy's education. A wonderful life-story this!
F. Wagner had completed college, finished his Two years ago, the desire of his heart was law course, and was admitted to the bar. At fulfilled. Recognition of his rank as a lawyer this juncture, he evinced further proof of his came when he was made Justice of the Supreme sturdiness of character. He might have found Court of New York. a berth in a firm of prosperous lawyers. He For this he sacrificed the governorship of the preferred to found a firm of his own. With chief State in the Union. For this he gave Jeremiah Mahoney, aged twenty five years, he up a law practice that would have been worth opened a law office.
$50,000 a year. It was an election year.
Contemporane- “Success should not be measured by money,” ously with the opening of this office, Wagner he says. “The pendulum of enlightened public called at the political headquarters in his opinion is swinging slowly away from that district. “I am interested in politics,” he said, standard. Success is making some contribu“and I would like to make a speech.”
tion to the public for the benefit of posThe district leader gave the shabby youth a terity.” sweeping survey, and replied: “Want to make One of his ideals is free speech. “Don't a speech, do you? All right. Come around arrest a picket for an interview with a nonThursday night and make one."
striker," he says in judicial language. "Let Robert F. Wagner departed, his heart them talk about the principles involved. It is beating high with hope and pride. Fortu- only by talking that they will reach an undernately for both, he did not know that there standing. Nothing is ever gained by represwas a dearth of volunteer speakers—that any- sion. That is what is the matter with Russia. one who imagined he could was welcome to It was repressed too long. It will right “make his speech."
itself." On that particular night, young Wagner When tenants were battling with the czarism made his speech-and made a friend. Dan of landlords, they hailed Judge Wagner as a Sheehan heard him and walked home with him. deliverer. In a case involving those issues, he He counseled him with fatherly earnestness. delivered an opinion that is regarded by the He sent him law “c cases."
tenants as their Magna Charta. A long period of unfailing friendship followed, and Dan Sheehan has been rewarded. He is an AID one of Judge Wagner's closest attendant in the Supreme Court and rises with friends: “He has everything that a man the rest when the rustle of a heavy black-silk should have.” robe announces His Honor Judge Wagner's “What should a man have?” I asked. approach.
The answer: “He has brains and integrity. Slowly, steadily Robert Wagner built a sub- He is a good fellow and he can be stern when it stantial law practice. Rapidly his star rose, is necessary.” and luminously it shone in the political sky. A good summary of a man! He was elected to the State assembly, then to To this might be added that he remembers the senate. When but midway in his twenties, his friends. The school examiner, who secured he was made majority leader of the senate; and him freedom from the school room, told him was scarcely in his thirties when he was elected that the office of school examiner should be lieutenant-governor of the Empire State. made permanent. And it was Robert Wagner His party offered him the nomination for
made it so. governor. Because his heart was elsewhere, he Judge Wagner has the fine habit of gathering declined.
his friends about him. Jeremiah Mahoney, his
partner of more than twenty years, practices IS political service has been a dis- beneath the same roof which shelters Judge
tinguished one. He is the author of the Wagner's chambers. I have told you that Workman's Compensation Law. He banished Dan Sheehan, who doled him advice and sent child labor from the canneries of his State. He him his first law cases, is one of his court wiped the blot of women's night-labor in the attendants. And so is the brother who did all industries from the escutcheon of New York. he could to aid him in acquiring an educa
But his heart was in the law. His aim was a tion. liberal and enlightened interpretation of it. This is the success recipe of the janitor's son President Wilson offered to make him post- who became a Supreme Court Judge: “Demaster of New York City. Mr. Wagner was termination. Industry. Desire to contribute grateful for the honor-but he had made up his something for the public good and the benefit of mind to stick to law.