The Glass of Milk

by Manuel Rojas

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In "The Glass of Milk," a youth who has been expelled from a ship as a stowaway finds himself walking around the port looking for work to earn money to buy some food. He has not eaten in three days, yet he refuses a handout from a sailor and then watches hungrily as a "gaudy tramp" accepts the food and eats it. He finds some work unloading a vessel. After the first day he asks for his pay, but the foreman tells him that he will be paid at the close of the whole job. The foreman then offers him some money as a loan but the lad again refuses.

Soon his hunger gets the better of him and he decides to go to a cafe and eat, with the intention of not paying for the food. He does not care what they might do to him. He finds a milk bar and, after waiting for another customer to leave, he enters and sits alone. He orders some milk and wafers. But as he finishes the cookies, he begins to weep. The woman offers him a second helping of milk and cookies. After he eats, he leaves without paying. He resolves to pay her but as he walks back to the wharf he forgets his pledge. He sits on some burlap and watches the night activities at the docks. He falls asleep facing the sea.

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