greedily attracts men to its bosom, in order to break them mercilessly in the end. When they came they still felt themselves in communion with their own people at home; if they remained that tie was broken.
I was thrown about so much in the life of the metropolis that I experienced the workings of this fate in my own person and felt the effects of it in my own soul. One thing stood out clearly before my eyes: It was the sudden changes from work to idleness and vice versa; so that the constant fluctuations thus caused by earnings and expenditure finally destroyed the 'sense of thrift for many people and also the habit of regulating expenditure in an intelligent way. The body appeared to grow accustomed to the vicissitudes of food and hunger, eating heartily in good times and going hungry in bad. Indeed hunger shatters all plans for rationing expenditure on a regular scale in better times when employment is again found. The reason for this is that the deprivations which the unemployed worker has to endure must be compensated for psychologically by a persistent mental mirage in which he imagines himself eating heartily once again. And this dream develops into such a longing that it turns into a morbid impulse to cast off all self-restraint when work and wages turn up again. Therefore the moment work is found anew he forgets to regulate the expenditure of his earnings but spends them to the full without thinking of to-morrow. This leads to confusion in the little weekly housekeeping budget, because the expenditure is not rationally planned. When the phenomenon which I have mentioned first happens, the earnings will last perhaps for five days instead of seven; on subsequent occasions they will last only for three days; as the habit recurs, the earnings will last scarcely for a day; and finally they will disappear in one night of feasting.
Often there are wife and children at home. And in many cases it happens that these become infected by such a way of living, especially if the husband is good to them and wants to do the best he can for them and loves them in his own way and according to his own lights. Then the week's earnings are spent in common at home within two or three days. The family eat and drink together as long as the money lasts and at the end of the week they hunger together. Then the wife wanders about furtively in the neighbourhood, borrows a little, and runs up small debts with the shopkeepers in an effort to pull through the lean days towards the end of the week. They sit down together to the midday meal with only meagre fare on the table, and often even nothing to eat. They wait for the coming payday, talking of it and making plans; and while they are thus hungry they dream of the plenty that is to come. And so the little children become acquainted with misery in their early years.
But the evil culminates when the husband goes his own way from the beginning of the week and the wife protests, simply out of love for the children. Then there are quarrels and bad feeling and the husband takes to drink according as he becomes estranged from his wife. He now becomes drunk every Saturday. Fighting for her own existence and that of the children, the wife has to hound him along the road from the factory to the tavern in order to get a few shillings from him on payday. Then when he finally comes home, maybe on the Sunday or the Monday, having parted with his last shillings and pence, pitiable scenes follow, scenes that cry out for God's mercy.
I have had actual experience of all this in hundreds of cases. At first I was disgusted and indignant; but later on I came to recognize the whole tragedy of their misfortune and to understand the profound causes of it. They were the unhappy victims of evil circumstances.
Housing conditions were very bad at that time. The Vienna manual labourers lived in surroundings of appalling misery. I shudder even to-day when I think of the woeful dens in which people dwelt, the night shelters and the slums, and all the tenebrous spectacles of ordure, loathsome filth and wickedness.
What will happen one day when hordes of emancipated slaves come forth from these dens of misery to swoop down on their unsuspecting fellow men? For this other world does not think about such a possibility. They have allowed these