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The Big Poor People

What for would I be giving you good bread for that gold of yours, when I can pick up as much and as good as that any minute here before my own door and keep my bread as well?' If you could find gold in the street, it would be worth no more than the stones that you find there."

"I don't know how that is, Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter, "but I can't see why goold wouldn't be goold, wherever you could find it."

"It's not sensible," said John, "to be talkin' of findin' gold in the streets, but there's a deal in what Peter says, for all that, and it's often I've thought, too, that I'ld go to the States and be away from all these throubles, if only we could save up the money to take us all there. It's not any gold or any riches I'm thinkin' about, but what I want to know, mother, is this: Could a man in the States, if he was strong and if he worked hard—and if he didn't drink a great deal—could he make enough to keep himself and his wife both, so that she needn't work too hard—not so that she would sit idle, I don't mean, but so that she needn't be doin' hard work and doin' it all the time—could he do that?"

"That's the sensible and the honest talk," said his mother; "he could do that. Those that do nothing get nothing, in the States the same as anywhere else. But I've talked with them that know, and they tell me that in the States those that will work are paid for their work, and those that are strong and industrious and honest can keep their families from want, and that's more than some can do here, God help them!"

"It would be a great thing," said John, speaking slowly, as if he were trying to make himself believe this dream of a land where a man's work could make his wife and his children sure of a home and food—"a great thing. And do you think, mother—but no, no—I suppose not—do you think, if we was once there—do you think that I could work enough to make it so that it would be easier for you and for Kitty both? Could one do enough for three?"

"It would be easier than here, maybe," was all that the old woman said in answer to this.

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