THE VALLEY OF THE MOON by Jack London
"You hear me, Saxon? Come on along. What if it is the
Bricklayers? I'll have gentlemen friends there, and so'll you.
The Al Vista band'll be along, an' you know it plays heavenly.
An' you just love dancin'---"
Twenty feet away, a stout, elderly woman interrupted the girl's
persuasions. The elderly woman's back was turned, and the
back-loose, bulging, and misshapen--began a convulsive heaving.
"Gawd!" she cried out. "O Gawd!"
She flung wild glances, like those of an entrapped animal, up and
down the big whitewashed room that panted with heat and that was
thickly humid with the steam that sizzled from the damp cloth
under the irons of the many ironers. From the girls and women
near her, all swinging irons steadily but at high pace, came
quick glances, and labor efficiency suffered to the extent of a
score of suspended or inadequate movements. The elderly woman's
cry had caused a tremor of money-loss to pass among the
piece-work ironers of fancy starch.