Our Slavic Fellow Citizens - 1910

Slovak Emigration
Chapter VI

The Returned Immigrant

Under the circumstances it is not strange that the misfit a returned emigrant chafes. It is hard to exert oneself for twenty or even forty cents a day, after the comparatively large wages earned in Pittsburgh steel works or Scranton coal mines.

It is hard to be sufficiently submissive to the pettiest Magyar or Jewish official after an experience of American independence. Naturally, a man who feels thus is looked on with disfavor; his sense of the superiority of American ways does not make him more popular, and the visit to America which was intended to be temporary leads finally to settlement here.

Mr. Koukol says, "I spoke of the powerful call their native bit of earth makes upon so many of the immigrants. But frequently, when men go back intending to stay, in response to this call, the old country is not strong enough to hold them".

Such was the case with this same John Mlinik. It was his ambition to be a well-to-do farmer in Hungary in a few years, and recently he and his wife made a preliminary visit to his old home and bought a farm. They remained a few weeks but those few weeks were quite enough. He came back quite cured. Every little clerk in the village looked down on me because I did not speak the official language, Magyar, Mlinik said to me. He was an official while I was just a peasant. He didn't earn a quarter of what I do, yet I had to bow to him. That made me sore. In America I'm a free man. Besides, I've got a better chance to do well than in the old country. Yes, America is good enough for me.

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