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Chapter 25: the complaint of the poor

It is impossible for a prosperous and comfortable person to understand the point of view of the dissatisfied-whether in the case of the ordinary socialist or of Mr. Howells-without keeping in mind such facts as the following, which the writer happens to know pretty directly: A poor cobbler was troubled, as many men are, with an insatiable love of mechanical invention; and this was finally concentrated on a mechanism for “tying and binding” in connection with a “reaper.” It was for a need then very imperfectly filled, and promised great rewards if successful. He worked at it for years, impoverishing his family for it, until his wife implored him to give it up altogether. Getting it at last, however, into final shape, he carried it to one of the chief establishments which manufactured reapers, and offered it for inspection and sale.

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William Dean Howells (1)
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