Graphic Witness: Hugo Gellert
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Hugo Gellert: Comrade Gulliver

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PEDIGREE

AS we had agreed the night before, bright and early the next morning the American girl and I went back to the child. The father, the neighbor woman, the doctor -- they all were there -- but it was too late. "No use wasting tears on the child now" the doctor told the father, "it's your wife you have to worry about. She needs care -- good food. . .

"Care, good food -- all out of relief, huh?" the man said bitterly. "When I complained about starving they called me a Red. Told me to keep my trap shut or I wouldn't get nothing! Sure, I know what the wife needs. I know why we lost the kid. I don't need a doctor to tell me that you got to have milk and orange juice and cod-liver oil and good nourishing food! Milk, 17 cents a quart, eggs 40 cents a dozen and butter, I don't even know what it sells for! But you go try to get it all! And maybe fresh air and sunshine wouldn't do any harm either. We get plenty here, don't we?" He waved his hand about the room.

"They let a mite starve to death!" the neighbor woman said through her tears. "They ain't got a heart. A human being left to die. They treat dogs better than that! I once worked for a woman, she had special cooked food for the dog. When he didn't eat so good the doctor came in a rush. When the critter died they bought a bronze coffin for him. They bought a plot for him in the dog cemetery and put a carved tombstone on its grave. And maybe Potter's field for the baby. . ." She began to sob.

Potter's field, it seems, is a place in which the poor are buried in unmarked graves. There are many such places in the United States, the American girl told me -- at least one to every town and city.

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