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What happened to a man after any of these things, all depended upon
the circumstances. If he were of the highly skilled workers, he would
probably have enough saved up to tide him over. The best paid men,
the "splitters," made fifty cents an hour, which would be five or
six dollars a day in the rush seasons, and one or two in the dullest.
A man could live and save on that; but then there were only half
a dozen splitters in each place, and one of them that Jurgis knew
had a family of twenty-two children, all hoping to grow up to be
splitters like their father. For an unskilled man, who made ten
dollars a week in the rush seasons and five in the dull, it all
depended upon his age and the number he had dependent upon him.
An unmarried man could save, if he did not drink, and if he was
absolutely selfish--that is, if he paid no heed to the demands of
his old parents, or of his little brothers and sisters, or of any
other relatives he might have, as well as of the members of his union,
and his chums, and the people who might be starving to death next door.