AN APPEAL TO THE YOUNG.
when one is speaking to those who have suffered from
the effects of bourgeois surroundings, how many sophisms
must be combated, how many prejudices overcome, how
many interested objections put aside!
It is easy to be brief to-day in addressing you, the
youth of the people. The very pressure of events impels
you to become Socialists, however little you may have the
courage to reason and to act.
To rise from the ranks of the working people, and not
devote oneself to bringing about the triumph of Socialism, is to misconceive the real interests at stake, to give
up the cause and the true historic mission.
Do you remember the time, when still a mere lad, you
went down one winter's day to play in your dark court?
The cold nipped your shoulders through your thin clothes,
and the mud worked into your worn-out shoes. Even
then when you saw chubby children richly clad pass in
the distance, looking at you with an air of contempt, you
knew right well that these imps, dressed up to the nines,
were not the equals of yourself and your comrades, either
in intelligence, common-sense or energy. But later
when you were forced to shut yourself up in a filthy factory from five or six o'clock in the morning, to remain
twelve hours on end close to a whirling machine, and, a
machine yourself, were forced to follow day after day for
whole years in succession its movements, with relentless
throbbing—during all this time they, the others, were
going quietly to be taught at fine schools, at academies,
at the universities. And now these same children, less
intelligent, but better taught than you, have become your
masters, are enjoying all the pleasure of life and all the
advantages of civilization. And you? What sort of lot
You return to little, dark, damp lodgings where five or
six human beings pig together within a few square feet:
where your mother, sick of life, aged by care rather than
years, offers you dry bread and potatoes as your only