Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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        Low Salaries for Women.
    A lady sends me the following advertisement
cut from a leading newspaper in one of our
largest cities, and asks me to comment upon it:
    WANTED--Young lady as bookkeeper, cashier and
    occasional help in downtown grocery; hours 9-7, and
    10 o'clock Saturdays; salary $5 week; bonds.  Box 2073.
    The lady says:
    Just think of this man wanting a bookkeeper, cashier,
clerk--all in one--for $20 a month, and furnish bonds also,
not even enough to board and room in a respectable manner!
Is it any wonder that our girls get discouraged, many going
astray, others committing suicide, when merchants will offer
a young lady less than he pays for his cigars?
    Yes, I do think of it.  Every day of my life I
think of just such crimes, and make an appeal to
blind justice, silent or spoken, to right these wrongs
for the laboring classes.
    The more that people with hearts and brains
think of such outrages, the better for the world.
Meantime we must recollect that this man who
advertises for a "slavey" is himself the victim of
an unfortunate system, which compels him to com-
pete with trusts and combinations, and drives him
into this inhuman demand.
    Unless he grinds down his employee to the small-
est possible salaries for the largest possible labors,
he cannot derive enough profit out of his business
to make it pay.
    Then, too, even if his profit is enough to furnish
him with a competence, he has always before him
as an object lesson the great millionaires whom
every American longs to emulate, and he knows that
the greater number of them gained their fortunes
through these same methods.  How many human
lives were trampled under foot by the scramble of
these millionaires for great wealth, he does not stop
to consider.  He only knows that he desires to be a
great financier.
    My correspondent suggests that a union be
started for young women clerks and stenogra-
phers.  I do not know what her exact idea is, but
presume she wishes to form a society which shall
regulate prices and enable young women to obtain
enough to keep body and soul together, with life
and virtue intact.
    Being absolutely devoid of all ability to organize
or conduct enterprises, I cannot aid her.  What I
can do is to speak of an injustice when I see it, and
to call the attention of all thinking people to the
need of a reform.
    And it will come.
                                  The future brings
               A better balance for all things.
              The laborer long deemed a serf
              Knows now he is joint heir to earth.

              The devil's contract made with Time
              Is running out; injustice, crime
              And idleness must go, for Right
              Is gaining on the heels of Might.

              Slow is the gain--aye, slow, but sure.
              The verities alone endure.
              The prosperous lie, the purse-proud creed,
              The progress that is based on greed,

              Are but the desperate throes of  Wrong,
              Who knows his reign must end ere long.
              Mere boasts a dying century flings
              Square in the face of Better Things.

              United thought, that mighty flood,
              Sweeps on to Universal good.
              These awful contrasts which we see--
              They shall not be, they shall not be.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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