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Lonely Young Men
B. Carradine
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Loneliness, Sad Effect On Young Men.

TITLE: Lonely Young Men

In my travels and observation of people, two things often appeal to me in a strangely pathetic way. One is the sight of a line of men at the general delivery of the post office, turning away disappointed, heartsick and gloomy browed under the cold, metallic, mechanical utterance of the clerk:

"Nothing for you." Many of them are young men, and not a few middle aged, with every appearance in a large proportion of the number that life has been a sad journey as well as experience to them.

We could not tell who they were expecting a letter from, or who should have written to them, but we could not keep from observing their sorrowful, dejected manner in turning away, and going out on the hard, crowded and yet lonely pavement again, nor could we keep back the gush of pity and the sudden prayer to God in their behalf.

Another scene is constantly beheld in a new kind of restaurant or luncheon hall that is springing up in the large cities. We saw the first in Baltimore a few years ago. We found one in the city of Indianapolis, and it carries the name of the first metropolis.

The room is large enough to contain an hundred chairs. These have a wooden arm sufficiently wide to answer for a table. The floor and walls are handsomely tiled and are spotlessly clean. A dozen small palm trees are distributed about among the seats, so as to give a garden like air to the place. Two or three short marble pillars at equal distances sustain a bowl made of the same material that holds fully a half bushel of lump sugar.

The large lunch counter is loaded down with an appetizing array of ham, tongue and cheese sandwiches, while towering silver urns hold gallons of fragrant Java.

The customer comes to the counter, gets his roll and cup of coffee; sweetens the drink to suit himself at the marble pillar; and then going to a chair with his plate and cup makes his ten-cent (Ed. Note: Now it would be a few dollars, of course) breakfast under the shadow, so to speak, of one of the little palm trees.

We have marked hundreds of young men in these luncheon halls, and rarely saw one go beyond ten cents in expenditure for the morning meal.

Their clothing and manner showed they had known a superior home life, and so the cleanness, tidiness and homelikeness of the place had operated as a great pull on their tastes and feelings. But the cheapness, also, was not to be disregarded, and here, silently and far away from those who knew and loved them, they contented themselves with a breakfast, costing a dime.

As we watched many of them, we saw from their faces and bodies young, strong and healthy, that they could have dispatched easily a half dozen rolls and several cups of coffee, and yet they could not for financial reasons best known to themselves, and would walk away silently, with none of the gayety and outbursts of laughter peculiar to youth.

Loneliness, friendlessness in a big city, and penniless days in the future staring them in the face, had conspired to make boys and young men look and act like old men.

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine

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