INAUGURAL ADDRESS 51
week for the loan of two dollars, equivalent to an annual rate of 500 per cent.
Thus we have in the evil of subletting the most cruel form of usury: that which only the poor know how to practise upon the poor.
To this we must add the evils of crowded living, pro-miscuousness, immorality, crime. Every little while the newspapers uncover for us one of these interieurs: a large family, growing boys and girls, sleep in one room; while one corner of the room is occupied by an outsider, a woman who receives the nightly visits of men. This is seen by the girls and the boys; evil passions are kindled that lead to the crime and bloodshed which unveil for a brief instant before our eyes, in some lurid paragraph, this little detail of the mass of misery.
Whoever enters, for the first time, one of these apartments is astonished and horrified. For this spectacle of genuine misery is not at all like the garish scene he has imagined. We enter here a world of shadows, and that which strikes us first is the darkness which, even though it be midday, makes it impossible to distinguish any of the details of the room.
When the eye has grown accustomed to the gloom, we perceive, within, the outlines of a bed upon which lies huddled a figure — someone ill and suffering. If we have come to bring money from some society for mutual aid, a candle must be lighted before the sum can be counted and the receipt signed. Oh, when we talk of social problems, how often we speak vaguely, drawing upon our fancy for details instead of preparing ourselves to judge intelligently through a personal investigation of facts and conditions.
We discuss earnestly the question of home study for