b) The second kind of lodgings is in the dwelling-rooms of the family. The most undesirable among them, namely, those in a family occupying but a single room, and such as are forbidden by the city ordinance to which I have alluded, if not wholly done away with, are yet very seldom found. He who sleeps with several others in an alcove (in the city even the kitchen is sometimes used for this purpose) pays about a mark, he who has an empty alcove, furnished, that is, only with one bed, pays at least two marks weekly. Finally we come to the two best, but most infrequent lodgings of all, small, plainly furnished rooms with two or three beds, rented by young apprentices, usually friends, from well-to-do families, for which each pays two marks, and similar rooms with a single bed, which are naturally in less demand, owing to their high cost (three marks weekly) and which form the transition to the ordinary plain bachelor quarters of the student class.
The prices which I have quoted are, of course, taken in the mean, but are fairly accurate. They always include coffee in the morning, and often in the evening. They are not high; indeed for the young bachelor who usually earns as much as a married man, and has no one to provide for, they are among the smallest of his necessary expenditures. Notwithstanding, it often happens that the lodger absconds with the rent. The Chemnitz Local Advertiser contained, almost daily, a notice to this effect, and it must be remembered that only a small proportion of such cases is brought to public attention. When it happens there is usually a box locked, but empty, or filled with stones, left behind as security. Especially is this the expedient of the unemployed. They make a pretence of working in order to mislead their new landlord, they leave the house at the regular hour in the morning, spend the day partly in the public-houses, partly in aimless wandering, partly in looking for employment; at the hour of quitting work they come back to their lodgings. At last the convenient moment arrives and the bird flies – not to return. The family always suffers a heavy loss.
Source of English translation: Paul Göhre, Three Months in a Workshop. A Practical Study. New York: Arno Press, 1972, pp. 21-27.
Original German text printed in Paul Göhre, Drei Monate Fabrikarbeiter und Handwerksbursche. Eine praktische Studie. Leipzig: Grunow, 1891, pp. 20-26.