widow who finishes the cheapest goods, although she 
sews from six in the morning until eleven at night, can 
only get enough to keep her children clothed and fed ; 
while for her rent and fuel she must always depend 
upon charity or the hospitality of her countrymen. If 
the American sewing-woman, supporting herself alone, 
lives on bread and butter and tea, she finds a Bohemian 
woman next door whose diet of black bread and coffee 
enables her to undercut. She competes with a wife 
who is eager to have home finishing that she may add 
something to the family comfort ; or with a daughter 
who takes it that she may buy a wedding outfit. 
The Hebrew tailor, the man with a family to support, 
who, but for this competition of unskilled women and 
girls, might earn a wage upon which a family could sub- 
sist, is obliged, in order to support them at all, to put 
his little children at work as soon as they can sew on 
It does not help his industrial situation that the 
woman and girl who have brought it about have ac- 
cepted the lower wages in order to buy comforts for an 
invalid child, or to add to the earnings of an aged father. 
The mother who sews on a gross of buttons for seven 
cents, in order to buy a blue ribbon with which to tie up 
her little daughter's hair, or the mother who finishes a 
dozen vests for five cents, with which to buy her chil- 
dren a loaf of bread, commits unwittingly a crime 
against her fellow-workers, although our hearts may 
thrill with admiration for her heroism, and ache with 
pity over her misery. 
The maternal instinct and family affection is woman's 
most holy attribute; but if she enters industrial life, that