After the elections Jurgis stayed on in Packingtown and kept his job. The agitation to break up the police protection of criminals was continuing, and it seemed to him best to "lay low" for the present. He had nearly three hundred dollars in the bank, and might have considered himself entitled to a vacation; but he had an easy job, and force of habit kept him at it. Besides, Mike Scully, whom he consulted, advised him that something might "turn up" before long.
Jurgis got himself a place in a boardinghouse with some congenial friends. He had already inquired of Aniele, and learned that Elzbieta and her family had gone downtown, and so he gave no further thought to them. He went with a new set, now, young unmarried fellows who were "sporty." Jurgis had long ago cast off his fertilizer clothing, and since going into politics he had donned a linen collar and a greasy red necktie. He had some reason for thinking of his dress, for he was making about eleven dollars a week, and two-thirds of it he might spend upon his pleasures without ever touching his savings.
Sometimes he would ride down-town with a party of friends to the cheap theaters and the music halls and other haunts with which they were familiar. Many of the saloons in Packingtown had pool tables, and some of them bowling alleys, by means of which he could spend his evenings in petty gambling. Also, there were cards and dice. One time Jurgis got into a game on a Saturday night and won prodigiously, and because he was a man of spirit he stayed in with the rest and the game continued until late Sunday afternoon, and by that time he was "out" over twenty dollars. On Saturday nights, also, a number of balls were generally given in Packingtown; each man would bring his "girl" with him, paying half a dollar for a ticket, and several dollars additional for drinks in the course of the festivities, which continued until three or four o'clock in the morning, unless broken up by fighting. During all this time the same man and woman would dance together, half-stupefied with sensuality and drink.
Before long Jurgis discovered what Scully had meant by something "turning up." In May the agreement between the packers and the unions expired, and a new agreement had to be signed. Negotiations were going on, and the yards were full of talk of a strike. The old scale had dealt with the wages of the skilled men only; and of the members of the Meat Workers' Union about two-thirds were unskilled men. In Chicago these latter were receiving, for the most part, eighteen and a half cents an hour, and the unions wished to make this the general wage for the next year. It was not nearly so large a wage as it seemed-in the course of the negotiations the union officers examined time checks to the amount of ten thousand dollars, and they found that the highest wages paid had been fourteen dollars a week, and the lowest two dollars and five cents, and the average of the whole, six dollars and sixty-five cents. And six dollars and sixty-five cents was hardly too much for a man to keep a family on, considering the fact that the price of dressed meat had increased nearly fifty per cent in the last five years, while the price of "beef on the hoof" had decreased as much, it would have seemed that the packers ought to be able to pay it; but the packers were unwilling to pay it-they rejected the union demand, and to show what their purpose was, a week or two after the agreement expired they put down the wages of about a thousand men to sixteen and a half cents, and it was said that old man Jones had vowed he would put them to fifteen before he got through. There were a million and a half of men in the country looking for work, a hundred thousand of them right in Chicago; and were the packers to let the union stewards march into their places and bind them to a contract that would lose them several thousand dollars a day for a year? Not much!
All this was in June; and before long the question was submitted to a referendum in the unions, and the decision was for a strike. It was the same in all the packing house cities; and suddenly the newspapers and public woke up to face the gruesome spectacle of a meat famine. All sorts of pleas for a reconsideration were made, but the packers were obdurate; and all the while they were reducing wages, and heading off shipments of cattle, and rushing in wagonloads of mattresses and cots. So the men boiled over, and one night telegrams went out from the union headquarters to all the big packing centers-to St. Paul, South Omaha, Sioux City, St. Joseph, Kansas City, East St. Louis, and New York-and the next day at noon between fifty and sixty thousand men drew off their working clothes and marched out of the factories, and the great "Beef Strike" was on.
Jurgis went to his dinner, and afterward he walked over to see Mike Scully, who lived in a fine house, upon a street which had been decently paved and lighted for his especial benefit. Scully had gone into semiretirement, and looked nervous and worried. "What do you want?" he demanded, when he saw Jurgis.
"I came to see if maybe you could get me a place during the strike," the other replied.
And Scully knit his brows and eyed him narrowly. In that morning's papers Jurgis had read a fierce denunciation of the packers by Scully, who had declared that if they did not treat their people better the city authorities would end the matter by tearing down their plants. Now, therefore, Jurgis was not a little taken aback when the other demanded suddenly, "See here, Rudkus, why don't you stick by your job?"
Jurgis started. "Work as a scab?" he cried.
"Why not?" demanded Scully. "What's that to you?"
"But-but-" stammered Jurgis. He had somehow taken it for granted that he should go out with his union. "The packers need good men, and need them bad," continued the other, "and they'll treat a man right that stands by them. Why don't you take your chance and fix yourself?"
"But," said Jurgis, "how could I ever be of any use to you-in politics?"
"You couldn't be it anyhow," said Scully, abruptly.
"Why not?" asked Jurgis.
"Hell, man!" cried the other. "Don't you know you're a Republican? And do you think I'm always going to elect Republicans? My brewer has found out already how we served him, and there is the deuce to pay."
Jurgis looked dumfounded. He had never thought of that aspect of it before. "I could be a Democrat," he said.
"Yes," responded the other, "but not right away; a man can't change his politics every day. And besides, I don't need you-there'd be nothing for you to do. And it's a long time to election day, anyhow; and what are you going to do meantime?"
"I thought I could count on you," began Jurgis.
"Yes," responded Scully, "so you could-I never yet went back on a friend. But is it fair to leave the job I got you and come to me for another? I have had a hundred fellows after me today, and what can I do? I've put seventeen men on the city payroll to clean streets this one week, and do you think I can keep that up forever? It wouldn't do for me to tell other men what I tell you, but you've been on the inside, and you ought to have sense enough to see for yourself. What have you to gain by a strike?"
"I hadn't thought," said Jurgis.
"Exactly," said Scully, "but you'd better. Take my word for it, the strike will be over in a few days, and the men will be beaten; and meantime what you can get out of it will belong to you. Do you see?"
And Jurgis saw. He went back to the yards, and into the workroom. The men had left a long line of hogs in various stages of preparation, and the foreman was directing the feeble efforts of a score or two of clerks and stenographers and office boys to finish up the job and get them into the chilling rooms. Jurgis went straight up to him and announced, "I have come back to work, Mr. Murphy."
The boss's face lighted up. "Good man!" he cried. "Come ahead!"
"Just a moment," said Jurgis, checking his enthusiasm. "I think I ought to get a little more wages."
"Yes," replied the other, "of course. What do you want?"
Jurgis had debated on the way. His nerve almost failed him now, but he clenched his hands. "I think I ought to have' three dollars a day," he said.
"All right," said the other, promptly; and before the day was out our friend discovered that the clerks and stenographers and office boys were getting five dollars a day, and then he could have kicked himself!
So Jurgis became one of the new "American heroes," a man whose virtues merited comparison with those of the martyrs of Lexington and Valley Forge. The resemblance was not complete, of course, for Jurgis was generously paid and comfortably clad, and was provided with a spring cot and a mattress and three substantial meals a day; also he was perfectly at ease, and safe from all peril of life and limb, save only in the case that a desire for beer should lead him to venture outside of the stockyards gates. And even in the exercise of this privilege he was not left unprotected; a good part of the inadequate police force of Chicago was suddenly diverted from its work of hunting criminals, and rushed out to serve him. The police, and the strikers also, were determined that there should be no violence; but there was another party interested which was minded to the contrary-and that was the press. On the first day of his life as a strikebreaker Jurgis quit work early, and in a spirit of bravado he challenged three men of his acquaintance to go outside and get a drink. They accepted, and went through the big Halsted Street gate, where several policemen were watching, and also some union pickets, scanning sharply those who passed in and out. Jurgis and his companions went south on Halsted Street; past the hotel, and then suddenly half a dozen men started across the street toward them and proceeded to argue with them concerning the error of their ways. As the arguments were not taken in the proper spirit, they went on to threats; and suddenly one of them jerked off the hat of one of the four and flung it over the fence. The man started after it, and then, as a cry of "Scab!" was raised and a dozen people came running out of saloons and doorways, a second man's heart failed him and he followed. Jurgis and the fourth stayed long enough to give themselves the satisfaction of a quick exchange of blows, and then they, too, took to their heels and fled back of the hotel and into the yards again. Meantime, of course, policemen were coming on a run, and as a crowd gathered other police got excited and sent in a riot call. Jurgis knew nothing of this, but went back to "Packers' Avenue," and in front of the "Central Time Station" he saw one of his companions, breathless and wild with excitement, narrating to an ever growing throng how the four had been attacked and surrounded by a howling mob, and had been nearly torn to pieces. While he stood listening, smiling cynically, several dapper young men stood by with notebooks in their hands, and it was not more than two hours later that Jurgis saw newsboys running about with armfuls of newspapers, printed in red and black letters six inches high: VIOLENCE IN THE YARDS! STRIKEBREAKERS SURROUNDED BY FRENZIED MOB!
If he had been able to buy all of the newspapers of the United States the next morning, he might have discovered that his beer-hunting exploit was being perused by some two score millions of people, and had served as a text for editorials in half the staid and solemn businessmen's newspapers in the land.
Jurgis was to see more of this as time passed. For the present, his work being over, he was free to ride into the city, by a railroad direct from the yards, or else to spend the night in a room where cots had been laid in rows. He chose the latter, but to his regret, for all night long gangs of strikebreakers kept arriving. As very few of the better class of workingmen could be got for such work, these specimens of the new American hero contained an assortment of the criminals and thugs of the city, besides Negroes and the lowest foreigners-Greeks, Roumanians, Sicilians, and Slovaks. They had been attracted more by the prospect of disorder than, by the big wages; and they made the night hideous with singing and carousing, and only went to sleep when the time came for them to get up to work.
In the morning before Jurgis had finished his breakfast, "Pat" Murphy ordered him to one of the superintendents, who questioned him as to his experience in the work of the killing room. His heart began to thump with excitement, for he divined instantly that his hour had come-that he was to be a boss!
Some of the foremen were union members, and many who were not had gone out with the men. It was in the killing department that the packers had been left most in the lurch, and precisely here that they could least afford it; the smoking and canning and salting of meat might wait, and all the by-products might be wasted-but fresh meats must be had, or the restaurants and hotels and brownstone houses would feel the pinch, and then "public opinion" would take a startling turn.
An opportunity such as this would not come twice to a man; and Jurgis seized it. Yes, he knew the work, the whole of it, and he could teach it to others. But if he took the job and gave satisfaction he would expect to keep it-they would not turn him off at the end of the strike? To which the superintendent replied that he might safely trust Durham's for that-they proposed to teach these unions a lesson, and most of all those foremen who had gone back on them. Jurgis would receive five dollars a day during the strike, and twenty-five a week after it was settled.
So our friend got a pair of "slaughter pen" boots and "jeans," and flung himself at his task. It was a weird sight, there on the killing beds-a throng of stupid black Negroes, and foreigners who could not understand a word that was said to them, mixed with pale-faced, hollow-chested bookkeepers and clerks, half-fainting for the tropical heat and the sickening stench of fresh blood-and all struggling to dress a dozen or two cattle in the same place where, twenty-four hours ago, the old killing gang had been speeding, with their marvelous precision, turning out four hundred carcasses every hour!
The Negroes and the "toughs" from the Levee did not want to work, and every few minutes some of them would feel obliged to retire and recuperate. In a couple of days Durham and Company had electric fans up to cool off the rooms for them, and even couches for them to rest on; and meantime they could go out and find a shady corner and take a "snooze," and as there was no place for any one in particular, and no system, it might be hours before their boss discovered them. As for the poor office employees, they did their best, moved to it by terror; thirty of them had been "fired" in a bunch that first morning for refusing to serve, besides a number of women clerks and typewriters who had declined to act as waitresses.
It was such a force as this that Jurgis had to organize. He did his best, flying here and there, placing them in rows and showing them the tricks; he had never given an order in his life before, but he had taken enough of them to know, and he soon fell into the spirit of it, and roared and stormed like any old stager. He had not the most tractable pupils, however. "See hyar, boss," a big black "buck" would begin, "ef you doan' like de way Ah does dis job, you kin get somebody else to do it." Then a crowd would gather and listen, muttering threats. After the first meal nearly all the steel knives had been missing, and now every Negro had one, ground to a fine point, hidden in his boots.
There was no bringing order out of such a chaos, Jurgis soon discovered; and he fell in with the spirit of the thing-there was no reason why he should wear himself out with shouting. If hides and guts were slashed and rendered useless there was no way of tracing it to any one; and if a man lay off and forgot to come back there was nothing to be gained by seeking him, for all the rest would quit in the meantime. Everything went, during the strike, and the packers paid. Before long Jurgis found that the custom of resting had suggested to some alert minds the possibility of registering at more than one place and earning more than one five dollars a day. When he caught a man at this he "fired" him, but it chanced to be in a quiet corner, and the man tendered him a ten-dollar bill and a wink, and he took them. Of course, before long this custom spread, and Jurgis was soon making quite a good income from it.
In the face of handicaps such as these the packers counted themselves lucky if they could kill off the cattle that had been crippled in transit and the hogs that had developed disease. Frequently, in the course of a two or three days' trip, in hot weather and without water, some hog would develop cholera, and die; and the rest would attack him before he had ceased kicking, and when the car was opened there would be nothing of him left but the bones. If all the hogs in this carload were not killed at once, they would soon be down with the dread disease, and there would be nothing to do but make them into lard. It was the same with cattle that were gored and dying, or were limping with broken bones stuck through their flesh-they must be killed, even if brokers and buyers and superintendents had to take off their coats and help drive and cut and skin them. And meantime, agents of the packers were gathering gangs of Negroes in the country districts of the far South, promising them five dollars a day and board, and being careful not to mention there was a strike; already carloads of them were on the way, with special rates from the railroads, and all traffic ordered out of the way. Many towns and cities were taking advantage of the chance to clear out their jails and workhouses-in Detroit the magistrates would release every man who agreed to leave town within twenty-four hours, and agents of the packers were in the courtrooms to ship them right. And meantime trainloads of supplies were coming in for their accommodation, including beer and whisky, so that they might not be tempted to go outside. They hired thirty young girls in Cincinnati to "pack fruit," and when they arrived put them at work canning corned beef, and put cots for them to sleep in a public hallway, through which the men passed. As the gangs came in day and night, under the escort of squads of police, they stowed away in unused workrooms and storerooms, and in the car sheds, crowded so closely together that the cots touched. In some places they would use the same room for eating and sleeping, and at night the men would put their cots upon the tables, to keep away from the swarms of rats.
But with all their best efforts, the packers were demoralized. Ninety per cent of the men had walked out; and they faced the task of completely remaking their labor force-and with the price of meat up thirty per cent, and the public clamoring for a settlement. They made an offer to submit the whole question at issue to arbitration; and at the end of ten days the unions accepted it, and the strike was called off. It was agreed that all the men were to be re-employed within forty-five days, and that there was to be "no discrimination against union men."
This was an anxious time for Jurgis. If the men were taken back "without discrimination," he would lose his present place. He sought out the superintendent, who smiled grimly and bade him "wait and see." Durham's strikebreakers were few of them leaving.
Whether or not the "settlement" was simply a trick of the packers to gain time, or whether they really expected to break the strike and cripple the unions by the plan, cannot be said; but that night there went out from the office of Durham and Company a telegram to all the big packing centers, "Employ no union leaders." And in the morning, when the twenty thousand men thronged into the yards, with their dinner pails and working clothes, Jurgis stood near the door of the hog-trimming room, where he had worked before the strike, and saw a throng of eager men, with a score or two of policemen watching them; and he saw a superintendent come out and walk down the line, and pick out man after man that pleased him; and one after another came, and there were some men up near the head of the line who were never picked-they being the union stewards and delegates, and the men Jurgis had heard making speeches at the meetings. Each time, of course, there were louder murmurings and angrier looks. Over where the cattle butchers were waiting, Jurgis heard shouts and saw a crowd, and he hurried there. One big butcher, who was president of the Packing Trades Council, had been passed over five times, and the men were wild with rage; they had appointed a committee of three to go in and see the superintendent, and the committee had made three attempts, and each time the police had clubbed them back from the door. Then there were yells and hoots, continuing until at last the superintendent came to the door. "We all go back or none of us do!" cried a hundred voices. And the other shook his fist at them, and shouted, "You went out of here like cattle, and like cattle you'll come back!"
Then suddenly the big butcher president leaped upon a pile of stones and yelled: "It's off, boys. We'll all of us quit again!" And so the cattle butchers declared a new strike on the spot; and gathering their members from the other plants, where the same trick had been played, they marched down Packers' Avenue, which was thronged with a dense mass of workers, cheering wildly. Men who had already got to work on the killing beds dropped their tools and joined them; some galloped here and there on horseback, shouting the tidings, and within half an hour the whole of Packingtown was on strike again, and beside itself with fury.
There was quite a different tone in Packingtown after this-the place was a seething caldron of passion, and the "scab" who ventured into it fared badly. There were one or two of these incidents each day, the newspapers detailing them, and always blaming them upon the unions. Yet ten years before, when there were no unions in Packingtown, there was a strike, and national troops had to be called, and there were pitched battles fought at night, by the light of blazing freight trains. Packingtown was always a center of violence; in "Whisky Point," where there were a hundred saloons and one glue factory, there was always fighting, and always more of it in hot weather. Any one who had taken the trouble to consult the station house blotter would have found that there was less violence that summer than ever before-and this while twenty thousand men were out of work, and with nothing to do all day but brood upon bitter wrongs. There was no one to picture the battle the union leaders were fighting-to hold this huge army in rank, to keep it from straggling and pillaging, to cheer and encourage and guide a hundred thousand people, of a dozen different tongues, through six long weeks of hunger and disappointment and despair.
Meantime the packers had set themselves definitely to the task of making a new labor force. A thousand or two of strikebreakers were brought in every night, and distributed among the various plants. Some of them were experienced workers,-butchers, salesmen, and managers from the packers' branch stores, and a few union men who had deserted from other cities; but the vast majority were "green" Negroes from the cotton districts of the far South, and they were herded into the packing plants like sheep. There was a law forbidding the use of buildings as lodginghouses unless they were licensed for the purpose, and provided with proper windows, stairways, and fire escapes; but here, in a "paint room," reached only by an enclosed "chute," a room without a single window and only one door, a hundred men were crowded upon mattresses on the floor. Up on the third story of the "hog house" of Jones's was a storeroom, without a window, into which they crowded seven hundred men, sleeping upon the bare springs of cots, and with a second shift to use them by day. And when the clamor of the public led to an investigation into these conditions, and the mayor of the city was forced to order the enforcement of the law, the packers got a judge to issue an injunction forbidding him to do it!
Just at this time the mayor was boasting that he had put an end to gambling and prize fighting in the city; but here a swarm of professional gamblers had leagued themselves with the police to fleece the strikebreakers; and any night, in the big open space in front of Brown's, one might see brawny Negroes stripped to the waist and pounding each other for money, while a howling throng of three or four thousand surged about, men and women, young white girls from the country rubbing elbows with big buck Negroes with daggers in their boots, while rows of woolly heads peered down from every window of the surrounding factories. The ancestors of these black people had been savages in Africa; and since then they had been chattel slaves, or had been held down by a community ruled by the traditions of slavery. Now for the first time they were free-free to gratify every passion, free to wreck themselves. They were wanted to break a strike, and when it was broken they would be shipped away, and their present masters would never see them again; and so whisky and women were brought in by the carload and sold to them, and hell was let loose in the yards. Every night there were stabbings and shootings; it was said that the packers had blank permits, which enabled them to ship dead bodies from the city without troubling the authorities. They lodged men and women on the same floor; and with the night there began a saturnalia of debauchery-scenes such as never before had been witnessed in America. And as the women were the dregs from the brothels of Chicago, and the men were for the most part ignorant country Negroes, the nameless diseases of vice were soon rife; and this where food was being handled which was sent out to every corner of the civilized world.
The "Union Stockyards" were never a pleasant place; but now they were not only a collection of slaughterhouses, but also the camping place of an army of fifteen or twenty thousand human beasts. All day long the blazing midsummer sun beat down upon that square mile of abominations: upon tens of thousands of cattle crowded into pens whose wooden floors stank and steamed contagion; upon bare, blistering, cinder-strewn railroad tracks, and huge blocks of dingy meat factories, whose labyrinthine passages defied a breath of fresh air to penetrate them; and there were not merely rivers of hot blood, and car-loads of moist flesh, and rendering vats and soap caldrons, glue factories and fertilizer tanks, that smelt like the craters of hell-there were also tons of garbage festering in the sun, and the greasy laundry of the workers hung out to dry, and dining rooms littered with food and black with flies, and toilet rooms that were open sewers.
And then at night, when this throng poured out into the streets to play-fighting, gambling, drinking and carousing, cursing and screaming, laughing and singing, playing banjoes and dancing! They were worked in the yards all the seven days of the week, and they had their prize fights and crap games on Sunday nights as well; but then around the corner one might see a bonfire blazing, and an old, gray-headed Negress, lean and witchlike, her hair flying wild and her eyes blazing, yelling and chanting of the fires of perdition and the blood of the "Lamb," while men and women lay down upon the ground and moaned and screamed in convulsions of terror and remorse.
Such were the stockyards during the strike; while the unions watched in sullen despair, and the country clamored like a greedy child for its food, and the packers went grimly on their way. Each day they added new workers, and could be more stern with the old ones-could put them on piecework, and dismiss them if they did not keep up the pace. Jurgis was now one of their agents in this process; and he could feel the change day by day, like the slow starting up of a huge machine. He had gotten used to being a master of men; and because of the stifling heat and the stench, and the fact that he was a "scab" and knew it and despised himself. He was drinking, and developing a villainous temper, and he stormed and cursed and raged at his men, and drove them until they were ready to drop with exhaustion.
Then one day late in August, a superintendent ran into the place and shouted to Jurgis and his gang to drop their work and come. They followed him outside, to where, in the midst of a dense throng, they saw several two-horse trucks waiting, and three patrol-wagon loads of police. Jurgis and his men sprang upon one of the trucks, and the driver yelled to the crowd, and they went thundering away at a gallop. Some steers had just escaped from the yards, and the strikers had got hold of them, and there would be the chance of a scrap!
They went out at the Ashland Avenue gate, and over in the direction of the "dump." There was a yell as soon as they were sighted, men and women rushing out of houses and saloons as they galloped by. There were eight or ten policemen on the truck, however, and there was no disturbance until they came to a place where the street was blocked with a dense throng. Those on the flying truck yelled a warning and the crowd scattered pell-mell, disclosing one of the steers lying in its blood. There were a good many cattle butchers about just then, with nothing much to do, and hungry children at home; and so some one had knocked out the steer-and as a first-class man can kill and dress one in a couple of minutes, there were a good many steaks and roasts already missing. This called for punishment, of course; and the police proceeded to administer it by leaping from the truck and cracking at every head they saw. There were yells of rage and pain, and the terrified people fled into houses and stores, or scattered helter-skelter down the street. Jurgis and his gang joined in the sport, every man singling out his victim, and striving to bring him to bay and punch him. If he fled into a house his pursuer would smash in the flimsy door and follow him up the stairs, hitting every one who came within reach, and finally dragging his squealing quarry from under a bed or a pile of old clothes in a closet.
Jurgis and two policemen chased some men into a bar-room. One of them took shelter behind the bar, where a policeman cornered him and proceeded to whack him over the back and shoulders, until he lay down and gave a chance at his head. The others leaped a fence in the rear, balking the second policeman, who was fat; and as he came back, furious and cursing, a big Polish woman, the owner of the saloon, rushed in screaming, and received a poke in the stomach that doubled her up on the floor. Meantime Jurgis, who was of a practical temper, was helping himself at the bar; and the first policeman, who had laid out his man, joined him, handing out several more bottles, and filling his pockets besides, and then, as he started to leave, cleaning off all the balance with a sweep of his club. The din of the glass crashing to the floor brought the fat Polish woman to her feet again, but another policeman came up behind her and put his knee into her back and his hands over her eyes-and then called to his companion, who went back and broke open the cash drawer and filled his pockets with the contents. Then the three went outside, and the man who was holding the woman gave her a shove and dashed out himself. The gang having already got the carcass on to the truck, the party set out at a trot, followed by screams and curses, and a shower of bricks and stones from unseen enemies. These bricks and stones would figure in the accounts of the "riot" which would be sent out to a few thousand newspapers within an hour or two; but the episode of the cash drawer would never be mentioned again, save only in the heartbreaking legends of Packingtown.
It was late in the afternoon when they got back, and they dressed out the remainder of the steer, and a couple of others that had been killed, and then knocked off for the day. Jurgis went downtown to supper, with three friends who had been on the other trucks, and they exchanged reminiscences on the way. Afterward they drifted into a roulette parlor, and Jurgis, who was never lucky at gambling, dropped about fifteen dollars. To console himself he had to drink a good deal, and he went back to Packingtown about two o'clock in the morning, very much the worse for his excursion, and, it must be confessed, entirely deserving the calamity that was in store for him.
As he was going to the place where he slept, he met a painted-cheeked woman in a greasy "kimono," and she put her arm about his waist to steady him; they turned into a dark room they were passing-but scarcely had they taken two steps before suddenly a door swung open, and a man entered, carrying a lantern. "Who's there?" he called sharply. And Jurgis started to mutter some reply; but at the same instant the man raised his light, which flashed in his face, so that it was possible to recognize him. Jurgis stood stricken dumb, and his heart gave a leap like a mad thing. The man was Connor!
Connor, the boss of the loading gang! The man who had seduced his wife-who had sent him to prison, and wrecked his home, ruined his life! He stood there, staring, with the light shining full upon him.
Jurgis had often thought of Connor since coming back to Packingtown, but it had been as of something far off, that no longer concerned him. Now, however, when he saw him, alive and in the flesh, the same thing happened to him that had happened before-a flood of rage boiled up in him, a blind frenzy seized him. And he flung himself at the man, and smote him between the eyes-and then, as he fell, seized him by the throat and began to pound his head upon the stones.
The woman began screaming, and people came rushing in. The lantern had been upset and extinguished, and it was so dark they could not see a thing; but they could hear Jurgis panting, and hear the thumping of his victim's skull, and they rushed there and tried to pull him off. Precisely as before, Jurgis came away with a piece of his enemy's flesh between his teeth; and, as before, he went on fighting with those who had interfered with him, until a policeman had come and beaten him into insensibility.
And so Jurgis spent the balance of the night in the stockyards station house. This time, however, he had money in his pocket, and when he came to his senses he could get something to drink, and also a messenger to take word of his plight to "Bush" Harper. Harper did not appear, however, until after the prisoner, feeling very weak and ill, had been hailed into court and remanded at five hundred dollars' bail to await the result of his victim's injuries. Jurgis was wild about this, because a different magistrate had chanced to be on the bench, and he had stated that he had never been arrested before, and also that he had been attacked first-and if only someone had been there to speak a good word for him, he could have been let off at once.
But Harper explained that he had been downtown, and had not got the message. "What's happened to you?" he asked.
"I've been doing a fellow up," said Jurgis, "and I've got to get five hundred dollars' bail."
"I can arrange that all right," said the other-"though it may cost you a few dollars, of course. But what was the trouble?"
"It was a man that did me a mean trick once," answered Jurgis.
"Who is he?"
"He's a foreman in Brown's or used to be. His name's Connor."
And the other gave a start. "Connor!" he cried. "Not Phil Connor!"
"Yes," said Jurgis, "that's the fellow. Why?"
"Good God!" exclaimed the other, "then you're in for it, old man! I can't help you!"
"Not help me! Why not?"
"Why, he's one of Scully's biggest men-he's a member of the War-Whoop League, and they talked of sending him to the legislature! Phil Connor! Great heavens!"
Jurgis sat dumb with dismay.
"Why, he can send you to Joliet, if he wants to!" declared the other.
"Can't I have Scully get me off before he finds out about it?" asked Jurgis, at length.
"But Scully's out of town," the other answered. "I don't even know where he is-he's run away to dodge the strike."
That was a pretty mess, indeed. Poor Jurgis sat half-dazed. His pull had run up against a bigger pull, and he was down and out! "But what am I going to do?" he asked, weakly.
"How should I know?" said the other. "I shouldn't even dare to get bail for you-why, I might ruin myself for life!"
Again there was silence. "Can't you do it for me," Jurgis asked, "and pretend that you didn't know who I'd hit?"
"But what good would that do you when you came to stand trial?" asked Harper. Then he sat buried in thought for a minute or two. "There's nothing-unless it's this," he said. "I could have your bail reduced; and then if you had the money you could pay it and skip."
"How much will it be?" Jurgis asked, after he had had this explained more in detail.
"I don't know," said the other. "How much do you own?"
"I've got about three hundred dollars," was the answer.
"Well," was Harper's reply, "I'm not sure, but I'll try and get you off for that. I'll take the risk for friendship's sake-for I'd hate to see you sent to state's prison for a year or two."
And so finally Jurgis ripped out his bankbook-which was sewed up in his trousers-and signed an order, which "Bush" Harper wrote, for all the money to be paid out. Then the latter went and got it, and hurried to the court, and explained to the magistrate that Jurgis was a decent fellow and a friend of Scully's, who had been attacked by a strike-breaker. So the bail was reduced to three hundred dollars, and Harper went on it himself; he did not tell this to Jurgis, however-nor did he tell him that when the time for trial came it would be an easy matter for him to avoid the forfeiting of the bail, and pocket the three hundred dollars as his reward for the risk of offending Mike Scully! All that he told Jurgis was that he was now free, and that the best thing he could do was to clear out as quickly as possible; and so Jurgis overwhelmed with gratitude and relief, took the dollar and fourteen cents that was left him out of all his bank account, and put it with the two dollars and quarter that was left from his last night's celebration, and boarded a streetcar and got off at the other end of Chicago.
Poor Jurgis was now an outcast and a tramp once more. He was crippled-he was as literally crippled as any wild animal which has lost its claws, or been torn out of its shell. He had been shorn, at one cut, of all those mysterious weapons whereby he had been able to make a living easily and to escape the consequences of his actions. He could no longer command a job when he wanted it; he could no longer steal with impunity-he must take his chances with the common herd. Nay worse, he dared not mingle with the herd-he must hide himself, for he was one marked out for destruction. His old companions would betray him, for the sake of the influence they would gain thereby; and he would be made to suffer, not merely for the offense he had committed, but for others which would be laid at his door, just as had been done for some poor devil on the occasion of that assault upon the "country customer" by him and Duane.
And also he labored under another handicap now. He had acquired new standards of living, which were not easily to be altered. When he had been out of work before, he had been content if he could sleep in a doorway or under a truck out of the rain, and if he could get fifteen cents a day for saloon lunches. But now he desired all sorts of other things, and suffered because he had to do without them. He must have a drink now and then, a drink for its own sake, and apart from the food that came with it. The craving for it was strong enough to master every other consideration-he would have it, though it were his last nickel and he had to starve the balance of the day in consequence.
Jurgis became once more a besieger of factory gates. But never since he had been in Chicago had he stood less chance of getting a job than just then. For one thing, there was the economic crisis, the million or two of men who had been out of work in the spring and summer, and were not yet all back, by any means. And then there was the strike, with seventy thousand men and women all over the country idle for a couple of months-twenty thousand in Chicago, and many of them now seeking work throughout the city. It did not remedy matters that a few days later the strike was given up and about half the strikers went back to work; for every one taken on, there was a "scab" who gave up and fled. The ten or fifteen thousand "green" Negroes, foreigners, and criminals were now being turned loose to shift for themselves. Everywhere Jurgis went he kept meeting them, and he was in an agony of fear lest some one of them should know that he was "wanted." He would have left Chicago, only by the time he had realized his danger he was almost penniless; and it would be better to go to jail than to be caught out in the country in the winter time.
At the end of about ten days Jurgis had only a few pennies left; and he had not yet found a job-not even a day's work at anything, not a chance to carry a satchel. Once again, as when he had come out of the hospital, he was bound hand and foot, and facing the grisly phantom of starvation. Raw, naked terror possessed him, a maddening passion that would never leave him, and that wore him down more quickly than the actual want of food. He was going to die of hunger! The fiend reached out its scaly arms for him-it touched him, its breath came into his face; and he would cry out for the awfulness of it, he would wake up in the night, shuddering, and bathed in perspiration, and start up and flee. He would walk, begging for work, until he was exhausted; he could not remain still-he would wander on, gaunt and haggard, gazing about him with restless eyes. Everywhere he went, from one end of the vast city to the other, there were hundreds of others like him; everywhere was the sight of plenty and the merciless hand of authority waving them away. There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where the things are behind the bars, and the man is outside.
When he was down to his last quarter, Jurgis learned that before the bakeshops closed at night they sold out what was left at half price, and after that he would go and get two loaves of stale bread for a nickel, and break them up and stuff his pockets with them, munching a bit from time to time. He would not spend a penny save for this; and, after two or three days more, he even became sparing of the bread, and would stop and peer into the ash barrels as he walked along the streets, and now and then rake out a bit of something, shake it free from dust, and count himself just so many minutes further from the end.
So for several days he had been going about, ravenous all the time, and growing weaker and weaker, and then one morning he had a hideous experience, that almost broke his heart. He was passing down a street lined with warehouses, and a boss offered him a job, and then, after he had started to work, turned him off because he was not strong enough. And he stood by and saw another man put into his place, and then picked up his coat, and walked off, doing all that he could to keep from breaking down and crying like a baby. He was lost! He was doomed! There was no hope for him! But then, with a sudden rush, his fear gave place to rage. He fell to cursing. He would come back there after dark, and he would show that scoundrel whether he was good for anything or not!
He was still muttering this when suddenly, at the corner, he came upon a green-grocery, with a tray full of cabbages in front of it. Jurgis, after one swift glance about him, stooped and seized the biggest of them, and darted round the corner with it. There was a hue and cry, and a score of men and boys started in chase of him; but he came to an alley, and then to another branching off from it and leading him into another street, where he fell into a walk, and slipped his cabbage under his coat and went off unsuspected in the crowd. When he had gotten a safe distance away he sat down and devoured half the cabbage raw, stowing the balance away in his pockets till the next day.
Just about this time one of the Chicago newspapers, which made much of the "common people," opened a "free-soup kitchen" for the benefit of the unemployed. Some people said that they did this for the sake of the advertising it gave them, and some others said that their motive was a fear lest all their readers should be starved off; but whatever the reason, the soup was thick and hot, and there was a bowl for every man, all night long. When Jurgis heard of this, from a fellow "hobo," he vowed that he would have half a dozen bowls before morning; but, as it proved, he was lucky to get one, for there was a line of men two blocks long before the stand, and there was just as long a line when the place was finally closed up.
This depot was within the danger line for Jurgis-in the "Levee" district, where he was known; but he went there, all the same, for he was desperate, and beginning to think of even the Bridewell as a place of refuge. So far the weather had been fair, and he had slept out every night in a vacant lot; but now there fell suddenly a shadow of the advancing winter, a chill wind from the north and a driving storm of rain. That day Jurgis bought two drinks for the sake of the shelter, and at night he spent his last two pennies in a "stale-beer dive." This was a place kept by a Negro, who went out and drew off the old dregs of beer that lay in barrels set outside of the saloons; and after he had doctored it with chemicals to make it "fizz," he sold it for two cents a can, the purchase of a can including the privilege of sleeping the night through upon the floor, with a mass of degraded outcasts, men and women.
All these horrors afflicted Jurgis all the more cruelly, because he was always contrasting them with the opportunities he had lost. For instance, just now it was election time again-within five or six weeks the voters of the country would select a President; and he heard the wretches with whom he associated discussing it, and saw the streets of the city decorated with placards and banners-and what words could describe the pangs of grief and despair that shot through him?
For instance, there was a night during this cold spell. He had begged all day, for his very life, and found not a soul to heed him, until toward evening he saw an old lady getting off a streetcar and helped her down with her umbrellas and bundles and then told her his "hard-luck story," and after answering all her suspicious questions satisfactorily, was taken to a restaurant and saw a quarter paid down for a meal. And so he had soup and bread, and boiled beef and potatoes and beans, and pie and coffee, and came out with his skin stuffed tight as a football. And then, through the rain and the darkness, far down the street he saw red lights flaring and heard the thumping of a bass drum; and his heart gave a leap, and he made for the place on the run-knowing without the asking that it meant a political meeting.
The campaign had so far been characterized by what the newspapers termed "apathy." For some reason the people refused to get excited over the struggle, and it was almost impossible to get them to come to meetings, or to make any noise when they did come. Those which had been held in Chicago so far had proven most dismal failures, and tonight, the speaker being no less a personage than a candidate for the vice-presidency of the nation, the political managers had been trembling with anxiety. But a merciful providence had sent this storm of cold rain-and now all it was necessary to do was to set off a few fireworks, and thump awhile on a drum, and all the homeless wretches from a mile around would pour in and fill the hall! And then on the morrow the newspapers would have a chance to report the tremendous ovation, and to add that it had been no "silk-stocking" audience, either, proving clearly that the high tariff sentiments of the distinguished candidate were pleasing to the wage-earners of the nation.
So Jurgis found himself in a large hall, elaborately decorated with flags and bunting; and after the chairman had made his little speech, and the orator of the evening rose up, amid an uproar from the band-only fancy the emotions of Jurgis upon making the discovery that the personage was none other than the famous and eloquent Senator Spareshanks, who had addressed the "Doyle Republican Association" at the stockyards, and helped to elect Mike Scully's tenpin setter to the Chicago Board of Aldermen!
In truth, the sight of the senator almost brought the tears into Jurgis's eyes. What agony it was to him to look back upon those golden hours, when he, too, had a place beneath the shadow of the plum tree! When he, too, had been of the elect, through whom the country is governed-when he had had a bung in the campaign barrel for his own! And this was another election in which the Republicans had all the money; and but for that one hideous accident he might have had a share of it, instead of being where he was!
The eloquent senator was explaining the system of protection; an ingenious device whereby the workingman permitted the manufacturer to charge him higher prices, in order that he might receive higher wages; thus taking his money out of his pocket with one hand, and putting a part of it back with the other. To the senator this unique arrangement had somehow become identified with the higher verities of the universe. It was because of it that Columbia was the gem of the ocean; and all her future triumphs, her power and good repute among the nations, depended upon the zeal and fidelity with which each citizen held up the hands of those who were toiling to maintain it. The name of this heroic company was "the Grand Old Party"-
And here the band began to play, and Jurgis sat up with a violent start. Singular as it may seem, Jurgis was making a desperate effort to understand what the senator was saying-to comprehend the extent of American prosperity, the enormous expansion of American commerce, and the Republic's future in the Pacific and in South America, and wherever else the oppressed were groaning. The reason for it was that he wanted to keep awake. He knew that if he allowed himself to fall asleep he would begin to snore loudly; and so he must listen-he must be interested! But he had eaten such a big dinner, and he was so exhausted, and the hall was so warm, and his seat was so comfortable! The senator's gaunt form began to grow dim and hazy, to tower before him and dance about, with figures of exports and imports. Once his neighbor gave him a savage poke in the ribs, and he sat up with a start and tried to look innocent; but then he was at it again, and men began to stare at him with annoyance, and to call out in vexation. Finally one of them called a policeman, who came and grabbed Jurgis by the collar, and jerked him to his feet, bewildered and terrified. Some of the audience turned to see the commotion, and Senator Spareshanks faltered in his speech; but a voice shouted cheerily: "We're just firing a bum! Go ahead, old sport!" And so the crowd roared, and the senator smiled genially, and went on; and in a few seconds poor Jurgis found himself landed out in the rain, with a kick and a string of curses.
He got into the shelter of a doorway and took stock of himself. He was not hurt, and he was not arrested-more than he had any right to expect. He swore at himself and his luck for a while, and then turned his thoughts to practical matters. He had no money, and no place to sleep; he must begin begging again.
He went out, hunching his shoulders together and shivering at the touch of the icy rain. Coming down the street toward him was a lady, well dressed, and protected by an umbrella; and he turned and walked beside her. "Please, ma'am," he began, "could you lend me the price of a night's lodging? I'm a poor working-man-"
Then, suddenly, he stopped short. By the light of a street lamp he had caught sight of the lady's face. He knew her.
It was Alena Jasaityte, who had been the belle of his wedding feast! Alena Jasaityte, who had looked so beautiful, and danced with such a queenly air, with Juozas Raczius, the teamster! Jurgis had only seen her once or twice afterward, for Juozas had thrown her over for another girl, and Alena had gone away from Packingtown, no one knew where. And now he met her here!
She was as much surprised as he was. "Jurgis Rudkus!" she gasped. "And what in the world is the matter with you?"
"I-I've had hard luck," he stammered. "I'm out of work, and I've no home and no money. And you, Alena-are you married?"
"No," she answered, "I'm not married, but I've got a good place."
They stood staring at each other for a few moments longer. Finally Alena spoke again. "Jurgis," she said, "I'd help you if I could, upon my word I would, but it happens that I've come out without my purse, and I honestly haven't a penny with me: I can do something better for you, though-I can tell you how to get help. I can tell you where Marija is."
Jurgis gave a start. "Marija!" he exclaimed.
"Yes," said Alena; "and she'll help you. She's got a place, and she's doing well; she'll be glad to see you."
It was not much more than a year since Jurgis had left Packingtown, feeling like one escaped from jail; and it had been from Marija and Elzbieta that he was escaping. But now, at the mere mention of them, his whole being cried out with joy. He wanted to see them; he wanted to go home! They would help him-they would be kind to him. In a flash he had thought over the situation. He had a good excuse for running away-his grief at the death of his son; and also he had a good excuse for not returning-the fact that they had left Packingtown. "All right," he said, "I'll go."
So she gave him a number on Clark Street, adding, "There's no need to give you my address, because Marija knows it." And Jurgis set out, without further ado. He found a large brownstone house of aristocratic appearance, and rang the basement bell. A young colored girl came to the door, opening it about an inch, and gazing at him suspiciously.
"What do you want?" she demanded.
"Does Marija Berczynskas live here?" he inquired.
"I dunno," said the girl. "What you want wid her?"
"I want to see her," said he; "she's a relative of mine."
The girl hesitated a moment. Then she opened the door and said, "Come in." Jurgis came and stood in the hall, and she continued: "I'll go see. What's yo' name?"
"Tell her it's Jurgis," he answered, and the girl went upstairs. She came back at the end of a minute or two, and replied, "Dey ain't no sich person here."
Jurgis's heart went down into his boots. "I was told this was where she lived!" he cried. But the girl only shook her head. "De lady says dey ain't no sich person here," she said.
And he stood for a moment, hesitating, helpless with dismay. Then he turned to go to the door. At the same instant, however, there came a knock upon it, and the girl went to open it. Jurgis heard the shuffling of feet, and then heard her give a cry; and the next moment she sprang back, and past him, her eyes shining white with terror, and bounded up the stairway, screaming at the top of her lungs: "Police! Police! We're pinched!"
Jurgis stood for a second, bewildered. Then, seeing blue-coated forms rushing upon him, he sprang after the Negress. Her cries had been the signal for a wild uproar above; the house was full of people, and as he entered the hallway he saw them rushing hither and thither, crying and screaming with alarm. There were men and women, the latter clad for the most part in wrappers, the former in all stages of dishabille. At one side Jurgis caught a glimpse of a big apartment with plush-covered chairs, and tables covered with trays and glasses. There were playing cards scattered all over the floor-one of the tables had been upset, and bottles of wine were rolling about, their contents running out upon the carpet. There was a young girl who had fainted, and two men who were supporting her; and there were a dozen others crowding toward the front door.
Suddenly, however, there came a series of resounding blows upon it, causing the crowd to give back. At the same instant a stout woman, with painted cheeks and diamonds in her ears, came running down the stairs, panting breathlessly: "To the rear! Quick!"
She led the way to a back staircase, Jurgis following; in the kitchen she pressed a spring, and a cupboard gave way and opened, disclosing a dark passageway. "Go in!" she cried to the crowd, which now amounted to twenty or thirty, and they began to pass through. Scarcely had the last one disappeared, however, before there were cries from in front, and then the panic-stricken throng poured out again, exclaiming: "They're there too! We're trapped!"
"Upstairs!" cried the woman, and there was another rush of the mob, women and men cursing and screaming and fighting to be first. One flight, two, three-and then there was a ladder to the roof, with a crowd packed at the foot of it, and one man at the top, straining and struggling to lift the trap door. It was not to be stirred, however, and when the woman shouted up to unhook it, he answered: "It's already unhooked. There's somebody sitting on it!"
And a moment later came a voice from downstairs: "You might as well quit, you people. We mean business, this time."
So the crowd subsided; and a few moments later several policemen came up, staring here and there, and leering at their victims. Of the latter the men were for the most part frightened and sheepish-looking. The women took it as a joke, as if they were used to it-though if they had been pale, one could not have told, for the paint on their cheeks. One black-eyed young girl perched herself upon the top of the balustrade, and began to kick with her slippered foot at the helmets of the policemen, until one of them caught her by the ankle and pulled her down. On the floor below four or five other girls sat upon trunks in the hall, making fun of the procession which filed by them. They were noisy and hilarious, and had evidently been drinking; one of them, who wore a bright red kimono, shouted and screamed in a voice that drowned out all the other sounds in the hall-and Jurgis took a glance at her, and then gave a start, and a cry, "Marija!"
She heard him, and glanced around; then she shrank back and half sprang to her feet in amazement. "Jurgis!" she gasped.
For a second or two they stood staring at each other. "How did you come here?" Marija exclaimed.
"I came to see you," he answered.
"But how did you know-who told you I was here?"
"Alena Jasaityte. I met her on the street."
Again there was a silence, while they gazed at each other. The rest of the crowd was watching them, and so Marija got up and came closer to him. "And you?" Jurgis asked. "You live here?"
"Yes," said Marija, "I live here." Then suddenly came a hail from below: "Get your clothes on now, girls, and come along. You'd best begin, or you'll be sorry-it's raining outside."
"Br-r-r!" shivered some one, and the women got up and entered the various doors which lined the hallway.
"Come," said Marija, and took Jurgis into her room, which was a tiny place about eight by six, with a cot and a chair and a dressing stand and some dresses hanging behind the door. There were clothes scattered about on the floor, and hopeless confusion everywhere-boxes of rouge and bottles of perfume mixed with hats and soiled dishes on the dresser, and a pair of slippers and a clock and a whisky bottle on a chair.
Marija had nothing on but a kimono and a pair of stockings; yet she proceeded to dress before Jurgis, and without even taking the trouble to close the door. He had by this time divined what sort of a place he was in; and he had seen a great deal of the world since he had left home, and was not easy to shock-and yet it gave him a painful start that Marija should do this. They had always been decent people at home, and it seemed to him that the memory of old times ought to have ruled her. But then he laughed at himself for a fool. What was he, to be pretending to decency!
"How long have you been living here?" he asked.
"Nearly a year," she answered.
"Why did you come?"
"I had to live," she said; "and I couldn't see the children starve."
He paused for a moment, watching her. "You were out of work?" he asked, finally.
"I got sick," she replied, "and after that I had no money. And then Stanislovas died-"
"Yes," said Marija, "I forgot. You didn't know about it."
"How did he die?"
"Rats killed him," she answered.
Jurgis gave a gasp. "Rats killed him!"
"Yes," said the other; she was bending over, lacing her shoes as she spoke. "He was working in an oil factory-at least he was hired by the men to get their beer. He used to carry cans on a long pole; and he'd drink a little out of each can, and one day he drank too much, and fell asleep in a corner, and got locked up in the place all night. When they found him the rats had killed him and eaten him nearly all up."
Jurgis sat, frozen with horror. Marija went on lacing up her shoes. There was a long silence.
Suddenly a big policeman came to the door. "Hurry up, there," he said.
"As quick as I can," said Marija, and she stood up and began putting on her corsets with feverish haste.
"Are the rest of the people alive?" asked Jurgis, finally.
"Yes," she said.
"Where are they?"
"They live not far from here. They're all right now."
"They are working?" he inquired.
"Elzbieta is," said Marija, "when she can. I take care of them most of the time-I'm making plenty of money now."
Jurgis was silent for a moment. "Do they know you live here-how you live?" he asked.
"Elzbieta knows," answered Marija. "I couldn't lie to her. And maybe the children have found out by this time. It's nothing to be ashamed of-we can't help it."
"And Tamoszius?" he asked. "Does he know?"
Marija shrugged her shoulders. "How do I know?" she said. "I haven't seen him for over a year. He got blood poisoning and lost one finger, and couldn't play the violin any more; and then he went away."
Marija was standing in front of the glass fastening her dress. Jurgis sat staring at her. He could hardly believe that she was the same woman he had known in the old days; she was so quiet-so hard! It struck fear to his heart to watch her.
Then suddenly she gave a glance at him. "You look as if you had been having a rough time of it yourself," she said.
"I have," he answered. "I haven't a cent in my pockets, and nothing to do."
"Where have you been?"
"All over. I've been hoboing it. Then I went back to the yards-just before the strike." He paused for a moment, hesitating. "I asked for you," he added. "I found you had gone away, no one knew where. Perhaps you think I did you a dirty trick running away as I did, Marija-"
"No," she answered, "I don't blame you. We never have-any of us. You did your best-the job was too much for us." She paused a moment, then added: "We were too ignorant-that was the trouble. We didn't stand any chance. If I'd known what I know now we'd have won out."
"You'd have come here?" said Jurgis.
"Yes," she answered; "but that's not what I meant. I meant you-how differently you would have behaved-about Ona."
Jurgis was silent; he had never thought of that aspect of it.
"When people are starving," the other continued, "and they have anything with a price, they ought to sell it, I say. I guess you realize it now when it's too late. Ona could have taken care of us all, in the beginning." Marija spoke without emotion, as one who had come to regard things from the business point of view.
"I-yes, I guess so," Jurgis answered hesitatingly. He did not add that he had paid three hundred dollars, and a foreman's job, for the satisfaction of knocking down "Phil" Connor a second time.
The policeman came to the door again just then. "Come on, now," he said. "Lively!"
"All right," said Marija, reaching for her hat, which was big enough to be a drum major's, and full of ostrich feathers. She went out into the hall and Jurgis followed, the policeman remaining to look under the bed and behind the door.
"What's going to come of this?" Jurgis asked, as they started down the steps.
"The raid, you mean? Oh, nothing-it happens to us every now and then. The madame's having some sort of time with the police; I don't know what it is, but maybe they'll come to terms before morning. Anyhow, they won't do anything to you. They always let the men off."
"Maybe so," he responded, "but not me-I'm afraid I'm in for it."
"How do you mean?"
"I'm wanted by the police," he said, lowering his voice, though of course their conversation was in Lithuanian. "They'll send me up for a year or two, I'm afraid."
"Hell!" said Marija. "That's too bad. I'll see if I can't get you off."
Downstairs, where the greater part of the prisoners were now massed, she sought out the stout personage with the diamond earrings, and had a few whispered words with her. The latter then approached the police sergeant who was in charge of the raid. "Billy," she said, pointing to Jurgis, "there's a fellow who came in to see his sister. He'd just got in the door when you knocked. You aren't taking hoboes, are you?"
The sergeant laughed as he looked at Jurgis. "Sorry," he said, "but the orders are every one but the servants."
So Jurgis slunk in among the rest of the men, who kept dodging behind each other like sheep that have smelled a wolf. There were old men and young men, college boys and gray-beards old enough to be their grandfathers; some of them wore evening dress-there was no one among them save Jurgis who showed any signs of poverty.
When the roundup was completed, the doors were opened and the party marched out. Three patrol wagons were drawn up at the curb, and the whole neighborhood had turned out to see the sport; there was much chaffing, and a universal craning of necks. The women stared about them with defiant eyes, or laughed and joked, while the men kept their heads bowed, and their hats pulled over their faces. They were crowded into the patrol wagons as if into streetcars, and then off they went amid a din of cheers. At the station house Jurgis gave a Polish name and was put into a cell with half a dozen others; and while these sat and talked in whispers, he lay down in a corner and gave himself up to his thoughts.
Jurgis had looked into the deepest reaches of the social pit, and grown used to the sights in them. Yet when he had thought of all humanity as vile and hideous, he had somehow always excepted his own family that he had loved; and now this sudden horrible discovery-Marija a whore, and Elzbieta and the children living off her shame! Jurgis might argue with himself all he chose, that he had done worse, and was a fool for caring-but still he could not get over the shock of that sudden unveiling, he could not help being sunk in grief because of it. The depths of him were troubled and shaken, memories were stirred in him that had been sleeping so long he had counted them dead. Memories of the old life-his old hopes and his old yearnings, his old dreams of decency and independence! He saw Ona again, he heard her gentle voice pleading with him. He saw little Antanas, whom he had meant to make a man. He saw his trembling old father, who had blessed them all with his wonderful love. He lived again through that day of horror when he had discovered Ona's shame-God, how he had suffered, what a madman he had been! How dreadful it had all seemed to him; and now, today, he had sat and listened, and half agreed when Marija told him he had been a fool! Yes-told him that he ought to have sold his wife's honor and lived by it!-And then there was Stanislovas and his awful fate-that brief story which Marija had narrated so calmly, with such dull indifference! The poor little fellow, with his frostbitten fingers and his terror of the snow-his wailing voice rang in Jurgis's ears, as he lay there in the darkness, until the sweat started on his forehead. Now and then he would quiver with a sudden spasm of horror, at the picture of little Stanislovas shut up in the deserted building and fighting for his life with the rats!
All these emotions had become strangers to the soul of Jurgis; it was so long since they had troubled him that he had ceased to think they might ever trouble him again. Helpless, trapped, as he was, what good did they do him-why should he ever have allowed them to torment him? It had been the task of his recent life to fight them down, to crush them out of him, never in his life would he have suffered from them again, save that they had caught him unawares, and overwhelmed him before he could protect himself. He heard the old voices of his soul, he saw its old ghosts beckoning to him, stretching out their arms to him! But they were far-off and shadowy, and the gulf between them was black and bottomless; they would fade away into the mists of the past once more. Their voices would die, and never again would he hear them-and so the last faint spark of manhood in his soul would flicker out.
After breakfast Jurgis was driven to the court, which was crowded with the prisoners and those who had come out of curiosity or in the hope of recognizing one of the men and getting a case for blackmail. The men were called up first, and reprimanded in a bunch, and then dismissed; but, Jurgis to his terror, was called separately, as being a suspicious-looking case. It was in this very same court that he had been tried, that time when his sentence had been "suspended"; it was the same judge, and the same clerk. The latter now stared at Jurgis, as if he half thought that he knew him; but the judge had no suspicions-just then his thoughts were upon a telephone message he was expecting from a friend of the police captain of the district, telling what disposition he should make of the case of "Polly" Simpson, as the "madame" of the house was known. Meantime, he listened to the story of how Jurgis had been looking for his sister, and advised him dryly to keep his sister in a better place; then he let him go, and proceeded to fine each of the girls five dollars, which fines were paid in a bunch from a wad of bills which Madame Polly extracted from her stocking.
Jurgis waited outside and walked home with Marija. The police had left the house, and already there were a few visitors; by evening the place would be running again, exactly as if nothing had happened. Meantime, Marija took Jurgis upstairs to her room, and they sat and talked. By daylight, Jurgis was able to observe that the color on her cheeks was not the old natural one of abounding health; her complexion was in reality a parchment yellow, and there were black rings under her eyes.
"Have you been sick?" he asked.
"Sick?" she said. "Hell!" (Marija had learned to scatter her conversation with as many oaths as a longshoreman or a mule driver.) "How can I ever be anything but sick, at this life?"
She fell silent for a moment, staring ahead of her gloomily. "It's morphine," she said, at last. "I seem to take more of it every day."
"What's that for?" he asked.
"It's the way of it; I don't know why. If it isn't that, it's drink. If the girls didn't booze they couldn't stand it any time at all. And the madame always gives them dope when they first come, and they learn to like it; or else they take it for headaches and such things, and get the habit that way. I've got it, I know; I've tried to quit, but I never will while I'm here."
"How long are you going to stay?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said. "Always, I guess. What else could I do?"
"Don't you save any money?"
"Save!" said Marija. "Good Lord, no! I get enough, I suppose, but it all goes. I get a half share, two dollars and a half for each customer, and sometimes I make twenty-five or thirty dollars a night, and you'd think I ought to save something out of that! But then I am charged for my room and my meals-and such prices as you never heard of; and then for extras, and drinks-for everything I get, and some I don't. My laundry bill is nearly twenty dollars each week alone-think of that! Yet what can I do? I either have to stand it or quit, and it would be the same anywhere else. It's all I can do to save the fifteen dollars I give Elzbieta each week, so the children can go to school."
Marija sat brooding in silence for a while; then, seeing that Jurgis was interested, she went on: "That's the way they keep the girls-they let them run up debts, so they can't get away. A young girl comes from abroad, and she doesn't know a word of English, and she gets into a place like this, and when she wants to go the madame shows her that she is a couple of hundred dollars in debt, and takes all her clothes away, and threatens to have her arrested if she doesn't stay and do as she's told. So she stays, and the longer she stays, the more in debt she gets. Often, too, they are girls that didn't know what they were coming to, that had hired out for housework. Did you notice that little French girl with the yellow hair, that stood next to me in the court?"
Jurgis answered in the affirmative.
"Well, she came to America about a year ago. She was a store clerk, and she hired herself to a man to be sent here to work in a factory. There were six of them, all together, and they were brought to a house just down the street from here, and this girl was put into a room alone, and they gave her some dope in her food, and when she came to she found that she had been ruined. She cried, and screamed, and tore her hair, but she had nothing but a wrapper, and couldn't get away, and they kept her half insensible with drugs all the time, until she gave up. She never got outside of that place for ten months, and then they sent her away, because she didn't suit. I guess they'll put her out of here, too-she's getting to have crazy fits, from drinking absinthe. Only one of the girls that came out with her got away, and she jumped out of a second-story window one night. There was a great fuss about that-maybe you heard of it."
"I did," said Jurgis, "I heard of it afterward." (It had happened in the place where he and Duane had taken refuge from their "country customer." The girl had become insane, fortunately for the police.)
"There's lots of money in it," said Marija-"they get as much as forty dollars a head for girls, and they bring them from all over. There are seventeen in this place, and nine different countries among them. In some places you might find even more. We have half a dozen French girls-I suppose it's because the madame speaks the language. French girls are bad, too, the worst of all, except for the Japanese. There's a place next door that's full of Japanese women, but I wouldn't live in the same house with one of them."
Marija paused for a moment or two, and then she added: "Most of the women here are pretty decent-you'd be surprised. I used to think they did it because they liked to; but fancy a woman selling herself to every kind of man that comes, old or young, black or white-and doing it because she likes to!"
"Some of them say they do," said Jurgis.
"I know," said she; "they say anything. They're in, and they know they can't get out. But they didn't like it when they began-you'd find out-it's always misery! There's a little Jewish girl here who used to run errands for a milliner, and got sick and lost her place; and she was four days on the streets without a mouthful of food, and then she went to a place just around the corner and offered herself, and they made her give up her clothes before they would give her a bite to eat!"
Marija sat for a minute or two, brooding somberly. "Tell me about yourself, Jurgis," she said, suddenly. "Where have you been?"
So he told her the long story of his adventures since his flight from home; his life as a tramp, and his work in the freight tunnels, and the accident; and then of Jack Duane, and of his political career in the stockyards, and his downfall and subsequent failures. Marija listened with sympathy; it was easy to believe the tale of his late starvation, for his face showed it all. "You found me just in the nick of time," she said. "I'll stand by you-I'll help you till you can get some work."
"I don't like to let you-" he began.
"Why not? Because I'm here?"
"No, not that," he said. "But I went off and left you-"
"Nonsense!" said Marija. "Don't think about it. I don't blame you."
"You must be hungry," she said, after a minute or two. "You stay here to lunch-I'll have something up in the room."
She pressed a button, and a colored woman came to the door and took her order. "It's nice to have somebody to wait on you," she observed, with a laugh, as she lay back on the bed.
As the prison breakfast had not been liberal, Jurgis had a good appetite, and they had a little feast together, talking meanwhile of Elzbieta and the children and old times. Shortly before they were through, there came another colored girl, with the message that the "madame" wanted Marija-"Lithuanian Mary," as they called her here.
"That means you have to go," she said to Jurgis.
So he got up, and she gave him the new address of the family, a tenement over in the Ghetto district. "You go there," she said. "They'll be glad to see you."
But Jurgis stood hesitating.
"I-I don't like to," he said. "Honest, Marija, why don't you just give me a little money and let me look for work first?"
"How do you need money?" was her reply. "All you want is something to eat and a place to sleep, isn't it?"
"Yes," he said; "but then I don't like to go there after I left them-and while I have nothing to do, and while you-you-"
"Go on!" said Marija, giving him a push. "What are you talking?-I won't give you money," she added, as she followed him to the door, "because you'll drink it up, and do yourself harm. Here's a quarter for you now, and go along, and they'll be so glad to have you back, you won't have time to feel ashamed. Good-by!"
So Jurgis went out, and walked down the street to think it over. He decided that he would first try to get work, and so he put in the rest of the day wandering here and there among factories and warehouses without success. Then, when it was nearly dark, he concluded to go home, and set out; but he came to a restaurant, and went in and spent his quarter for a meal; and when he came out he changed his mind-the night was pleasant, and he would sleep somewhere outside, and put in the morrow hunting, and so have one more chance of a job. So he started away again, when suddenly he chanced to look about him, and found that he was walking down the same street and past the same hall where he had listened to the political speech the night 'before. There was no red fire and no band now, but there was a sign out, announcing a meeting, and a stream of people pouring in through the entrance. In a flash Jurgis had decided that he would chance it once more, and sit down and rest while making up his mind what to do. There was no one taking tickets, so it must be a free show again.
He entered. There were no decorations in the hall this time; but there was quite a crowd upon the platform, and almost every seat in the place was filled. He took one of the last, far in the rear, and straightway forgot all about his surroundings. Would Elzbieta think that he had come to sponge off her, or would she understand that he meant to get to work again and do his share? Would she be decent to him, or would she scold him? If only he could get some sort of a job before he went-if that last boss had only been willing to try him!
-Then suddenly Jurgis looked up. A tremendous roar had burst from the throats of the crowd, which by this time had packed the hall to the very doors. Men and women were standing up, waving handkerchiefs, shouting, yelling. Evidently the speaker had arrived, thought Jurgis; what fools they were making of themselves! What were they expecting to get out of it anyhow-what had they to do with elections, with governing the country? Jurgis had been behind the scenes in politics.
He went back to his thoughts, but with one further fact to reckon with-that he was caught here. The hall was now filled to the doors; and after the meeting it would be too late for him to go home, so he would have to make the best of it outside. Perhaps it would be better to go home in the morning, anyway, for the children would be at school, and he and Elzbieta could have a quiet explanation. She always had been a reasonable person; and he really did mean to do right. He would manage to persuade her of it-and besides, Marija was willing, and Marija was furnishing the money. If Elzbieta were ugly, he would tell her that in so many words.
So Jurgis went on meditating; until finally, when he had been an hour or two in the hall, there began to prepare itself a repetition of the dismal catastrophe of the night before. Speaking had been going on all the time, and the audience was clapping its hands and shouting, thrilling with excitement; and little by little the sounds were beginning to blur in Jurgis's ears, and his thoughts were beginning to run together, and his head to wobble and nod. He caught himself many times, as usual, and made desperate resolutions; but the hall was hot and close, and his long walk and is dinner were too much for him-in the end his head sank forward and he went off again.
And then again someone nudged him, and he sat up with his old terrified start! He had been snoring again, of course! And now what? He fixed his eyes ahead of him, with painful intensity, staring at the platform as if nothing else ever had interested him, or ever could interest him, all his life. He imagined the angry exclamations, the hostile glances; he imagined the policeman striding toward him-reaching for his neck. Or was he to have one more chance? Were they going to let him alone this time? He sat trembling; waiting-
And then suddenly came a voice in his ear, a woman's voice, gentle and sweet, "If you would try to listen, comrade, perhaps you would be interested."
Jurgis was more startled by that than he would have been by the touch of a policeman. He still kept his eyes fixed ahead, and did not stir; but his heart gave a great leap. Comrade! Who was it that called him "comrade"?
He waited long, long; and at last, when he was sure that he was no longer watched, he stole a glance out of the corner of his eyes at the woman who sat beside him. She was young and beautiful; she wore fine clothes, and was what is called a "lady." And she called him "comrade"!
He turned a little, carefully, so that he could see her better; then he began to watch her, fascinated. She had apparently forgotten all about him, and was looking toward the platform. A man was speaking there-Jurgis heard his voice vaguely; but all his thoughts were for this woman's face. A feeling of alarm stole over him as he stared at her. It made his flesh creep. What was the matter with her, what could be going on, to affect any one like that? She sat as one turned to stone, her hands clenched tightly in her lap, so tightly that he could see the cords standing out in her wrists. There was a look of excitement upon her face, of tense effort, as of one struggling mightily, or witnessing a struggle. There was a faint quivering of her nostrils; and now and then she would moisten her lips with feverish haste. Her bosom rose and fell as she breathed, and her excitement seemed to mount higher and higher, and then to sink away again, like a boat tossing upon ocean surges. What was it? What was the matter? It must be something that the man was saying, up there on the platform. What sort of a man was he? And what sort of thing was this, anyhow?-So all at once it occurred to Jurgis to look at the speaker.
It was like coming suddenly upon some wild sight of nature-a mountain forest lashed by a tempest, a ship tossed about upon a stormy sea. Jurgis had an unpleasant sensation, a sense of confusion, of disorder, of wild and meaningless uproar. The man was tall and gaunt, as haggard as his auditor himself; a thin black beard covered half of his face, and one could see only two black hollows where the eyes were. He was speaking rapidly, in great excitement; he used many gestures-he spoke he moved here and there upon the stage, reaching with his long arms as if to seize each person in his audience. His voice was deep, like an organ; it was some time, however, before Jurgis thought of the voice-he was too much occupied with his eyes to think of what the man was saying. But suddenly it seemed as if the speaker had begun pointing straight at him, as if he had singled him out particularly for his remarks; and so Jurgis became suddenly aware of his voice, trembling, vibrant with emotion, with pain and longing, with a burden of things unutterable, not to be compassed by words. To hear it was to be suddenly arrested, to be gripped, transfixed.
"You listen to these things," the man was saying, "and you say, 'Yes, they are true, but they have been that way always.' Or you say, 'Maybe it will come, but not in my time-it will not help me.' And so you return to your daily round of toil, you go back to be ground up for profits in the world-wide mill of economic might! To toil long hours for another's advantage; to live in mean and squalid homes, to work in dangerous and unhealthful places; to wrestle with the specters of hunger and privation, to take your chances of accident, disease, and death. And each day the struggle becomes fiercer, the pace more cruel; each day you have to toil a little harder, and feel the iron hand of circumstance close upon you a little tighter. Months pass, years maybe-and then you come again; and again I am here to plead with you, to know if want and misery have yet done their work with you, if injustice and oppression have yet opened your eyes! I shall still be waiting-there is nothing else that I can do. There is no wilderness where I can hide from these things, there is no haven where I can escape them; though I travel to the ends of the earth, I find the same accursed system-I find that all the fair and noble impulses of humanity, the dreams of poets and the agonies of martyrs, are shackled and bound in the service of organized and predatory Greed! And therefore I cannot rest, I cannot be silent; therefore I cast aside comfort and happiness, health and good repute-and go out into the world and cry out the pain of my spirit! Therefore I am not to be silenced by poverty and sickness, not by hatred and obloquy, by threats and ridicule-not by prison and persecution, if they should come-not by any power that is upon the earth or above the earth, that was, or is, or ever can be created. If I fail tonight, I can only try tomorrow; knowing that the fault must be mine-that if once the vision of my soul were spoken upon earth, if once the anguish of its defeat were uttered in human speech, it would break the stoutest barriers of prejudice, it would shake the most sluggish soul to action! It would abash the most cynical, it would terrify the most selfish; and the voice of mockery would be silenced, and fraud and falsehood would slink back into their dens, and the truth would stand forth alone! For I speak with the voice of the millions who are voiceless! Of them that are oppressed and have no comforter! Of the disinherited of life, for whom there is no respite and no deliverance, to whom the world is a prison, a dungeon of torture, a tomb! With the voice of the little child who toils tonight in a Southern cotton mill, staggering with exhaustion, numb with agony, and knowing no hope but the grave! Of the mother who sews by candlelight in her tenement garret, weary and weeping, smitten with the mortal hunger of her babes! Of the man who lies upon a bed of rags, wrestling in his last sickness and leaving his loved ones to perish! Of the young girl who, somewhere at this moment, is walking the streets of this horrible city, beaten and starving, and making her choice between the brothel and the lake! With the voice of those, whoever and wherever they may be, who are caught beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of Greed! With the voice of humanity, calling for deliverance! Of the everlasting soul of Man, arising from the dust; breaking its way out of its prison-rending the bands of oppression and ignorance-groping its way to the light!"
The speaker paused. There was an instant of silence, while men caught their breaths, and then like a single sound there came a cry from a thousand people. Through it all Jurgis sat still, motionless and rigid, his eyes fixed upon the speaker; he was trembling, smitten with wonder.
Suddenly the man raised his hands, and silence fell, and he began again.
"I plead with you," he said, "whoever you may be, provided that you care about the truth; but most of all I plead with working-man, with those to whom the evils I portray are not mere matters of sentiment, to be dallied and toyed with, and then perhaps put aside and forgotten-to whom they are the grim and relentless realities of the daily grind, the chains upon their limbs, the lash upon their backs, the iron in their souls. To you, working-men! To you, the toilers, who have made this land, and have no voice in its councils! To you, whose lot it is to sow that others may reap, to labor and obey, and ask no more than the wages of a beast of burden, the food and shelter to keep you alive from day to day. It is to you that I come with my message of salvation, it is to you that I appeal. I know how much it is to ask of you-I know, for I have been in your place, I have lived your life, and there is no man before me here tonight who knows it better. I have known what it is to be a street-waif, a bootblack, living upon a crust of bread and sleeping in cellar stairways and under empty wagons. I have known what it is to dare and to aspire, to dream mighty dreams and to see them perish-to see all the fair flowers of my spirit trampled into the mire by the wild-beast powers of my life. I know what is the price that a working-man pays for knowledge-I have paid for it with food and sleep, with agony of body and mind, with health, almost with life itself; and so, when I come to you with a story of hope and freedom, with the vision of a new earth to be created, of a new labor to be dared, I am not surprised that I find you sordid and material, sluggish and incredulous. That I do not despair is because I know also the forces that are driving behind you-because I know the raging lash of poverty, the sting of contempt and mastership, 'the insolence of office and the spurns.' Because I feel sure that in the crowd that has come to me tonight, no matter how many may be dull and heedless, no matter how many may have come out of idle curiosity, or in order to ridicule-there will be some one man whom pain and suffering have made desperate, whom some chance vision of wrong and horror has startled and shocked into attention. And to him my words will come like a sudden flash of lightning to one who travels in darkness-revealing the way before him, the perils and the obstacles-solving all problems, making all difficulties clear! The scales will fall from his eyes, the shackles will be torn from his limbs-he will leap up with a cry of thankfulness, he will stride forth a free man at last! A man delivered from his self-created slavery! A man who will never more be trapped-whom no blandishments will cajole, whom no threats will frighten; who from tonight on will move forward, and not backward, who will study and understand, who will gird on his sword and take his place in the army of his comrades and brothers. Who will carry the good tidings to others, as I have carried them to him-priceless gift of liberty and light that is neither mine nor his, but is the heritage of the soul of man! Working-men, working-men-comrades! open your eyes and look about you! You have lived so long in the toil and heat that your senses are dulled, your souls are numbed; but realize once in your lives this world in which you dwell-tear off the rags of its customs and conventions-behold it as it is, in all its hideous nakedness! Realize it, realize it! Realize that out upon the plains of Manchuria tonight two hostile armies are facing each other-that now, while we are seated here, a million human beings may be hurled at each other's throats, striving with the fury of maniacs to tear each other to pieces! And this in the twentieth century, nineteen hundred years since the Prince of Peace was born on earth! Nineteen hundred years that his words have been preached as divine, and here two armies of men are rending and tearing each other like the wild beasts of the forest! Philosophers have reasoned, prophets have denounced, poets have wept and pleaded-and still this hideous Monster roams at large! We have schools and colleges, newspapers and books; we have searched the heavens and the earth, we have weighed and probed and reasoned-and all to equip men to destroy each other! We call it War, and pass it by-but do not put me off with platitudes and conventions-come with me, come with me-realize it! See the bodies of men pierced by bullets, blown into pieces by bursting shells! Hear the crunching of the bayonet, plunged into human flesh; hear the groans and shrieks of agony, see the faces of men crazed by pain, turned into fiends by fury and hate! Put your hand upon that piece of flesh-it is hot and quivering-just now it was a part of a man! This blood is still steaming-it was driven by a human heart! Almighty God! and this goes on-it is systematic, organized, premeditated! And we know it, and read of it, and take it for granted; our papers tell of it, and the presses are not stopped-our churches know of it, and do not close their doors-the people behold it, and do not rise up in horror and revolution!
"Or perhaps Manchuria is too far away for you-come home with me then, come here to Chicago. Here in this city to-night ten thousand women are shut up in foul pens, and driven by hunger to sell their bodies to live. And we know it, we make it a jest! And these women are made in the image of your mothers, they may be your sisters, your daughters; the child whom you left at home tonight, whose laughing eyes will greet you in the morning-that fate may be waiting for her! To-night in Chicago there are ten thousand men, homeless and wretched, willing to work and begging for a chance, yet starving, and fronting in terror the awful winter cold! Tonight in Chicago there are a hundred thousand children wearing out their strength and blasting their lives in the effort to earn their bread! There are a hundred thousand mothers who are living in misery and squalor, struggling to earn enough to feed their little ones! There are a hundred thousand old people, cast off and helpless, waiting for death to take them from their torments! There are a million people, men and women and children, who share the curse of the wage-slave; who toil every hour they can stand and see, for just enough to keep them alive; who are condemned till the end of their days to monotony and weariness, to hunger and misery, to heat and cold, to dirt and disease, to ignorance and drunkenness and vice! And then turn over the page with me, and gaze upon the other side of the picture. There are a thousand-ten thousand, maybe-who are the masters of these slaves, who own their toil. They do nothing to earn what they receive, they do not even have to ask for it-it comes to them of itself, their only care is to dispose of it. They live in palaces, they riot in luxury and extravagance-such as no words can describe, as makes the imagination reel and stagger, makes the soul grow sick and faint. They spend hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes, a handkerchief, a garter; they spend millions for horses and automobiles and yachts, for palaces and banquets, for little shiny stones with which to deck their bodies. Their life is a contest among themselves for supremacy in ostentation and recklessness, in the destroying of useful and necessary things, in the wasting of the labor and the lives of their fellow creatures, the toil and anguish of the nations, the sweat and tears and blood of the human race! It is all theirs-it comes to them; just as all the springs pour into streamlets, and the streamlets into rivers, and the rivers into the oceans-so, automatically and inevitably, all the wealth of society comes to them. The farmer tills the soil, the miner digs in the earth, the weaver tends the loom, the mason carves the stone; the clever man invents, the shrewd man directs, the wise man studies, the inspired man sings-and all the result, the products of the labor of brain and muscle, are gathered into one stupendous stream and poured into their laps! The whole of society is in their grip, the whole labor of the world lies at their mercy-and like fierce wolves they rend and destroy, like ravening vultures they devour and tear! The whole power of mankind belongs to them, forever and beyond recall-do what it can, strive as it will, humanity lives for them and dies for them! They own not merely the labor of society, they have bought the governments; and everywhere they use their raped and stolen power to intrench themselves in their privileges, to dig wider and deeper the channels through which the river of profits flows to them!-And you, workingmen, workingmen! You have been brought up to it, you plod on like beasts of burden, thinking only of the day and its pain-yet is there a man among you who can believe that such a system will continue forever-is there a man here in this audience tonight so hardened and debased that he dare rise up before me and say that he believes it can continue forever; that the product of the labor of society, the means of existence of the human race, will always belong to idlers and parasites, to be spent for the gratification of vanity and lust-to be spent for any purpose whatever, to be at the disposal of any individual will whatever-that somehow, somewhere, the labor of humanity will not belong to humanity, to be used for the purposes of humanity, to be controlled by the will of humanity? And if this is ever to be, how is it to be-what power is there that will bring it about? Will it be the task of your masters, do you think-will they write the charter of your liberties? Will they forge you the sword of your deliverance, will they marshal you the army and lead it to the fray? Will their wealth be spent for the purpose-will they build colleges and churches to teach you, will they print papers to herald your progress, and organize political parties to guide and carry on the struggle? Can you not see that the task is your task-yours to dream, yours to resolve, yours to execute? That if ever it is carried out, it will be in the face of every obstacle that wealth and mastership can oppose-in the face of ridicule and slander, of hatred and persecution, of the bludgeon and the jail? That it will be by the power of your naked bosoms, opposed to the rage of oppression! By the grim and bitter teaching of blind and merciless affliction! By the painful gropings of the untutored mind, by the feeble stammerings of the uncultured voice! By the sad and lonely hunger of the spirit; by seeking and striving and yearning, by heartache and despairing, by agony and sweat of blood! It will be by money paid for with hunger, by knowledge stolen from sleep, by thoughts communicated under the shadow of the gallows! It will be a movement beginning in the far-off past, a thing obscure and unhonored, a thing easy to ridicule, easy to despise; a thing unlovely, wearing the aspect of vengeance and hate-but to you, the working-man, the wage-slave, calling with a voice insistent, imperious-with a voice that you cannot escape, wherever upon the earth you may be! With the voice of all your wrongs, with the voice of all your desires; with the voice of your duty and your hope-of everything in the world that is worth while to you! The voice of the poor, demanding that poverty shall cease! The voice of the oppressed, pronouncing the doom of oppression! The voice of power, wrought out of suffering-of resolution, crushed out of weakness-of joy and courage, born in the bottomless pit of anguish and despair! The voice of Labor, despised and outraged; a mighty giant, lying prostrate-mountainous, colossal, but blinded, bound, and ignorant of his strength. And now a dream of resistance haunts him, hope battling with fear; until suddenly he stirs, and a fetter snaps-and a thrill shoots through him, to the farthest ends of his huge body, and in a flash the dream becomes an act! He starts, he lifts himself; and the bands are shattered, the burdens roll off him-he rises-towering, gigantic; he springs to his feet, he shouts in his newborn exultation-"
And the speaker's voice broke suddenly, with the stress of his feelings; he stood with his arms stretched out above him, and the power of his vision seemed to lift him from the floor. The audience came to its feet with a yell; men waved their arms, laughing aloud in their excitement. And Jurgis was with them, he was shouting to tear his throat; shouting because he could not help it, because the stress of his feeling was more than he could bear. It was not merely the man's words, the torrent of his eloquence. It was his presence, it was his voice: a voice with strange intonations that rang through the chambers of the soul like the clanging of a bell-that gripped the listener like a mighty hand about his body, that shook him and startled him with sudden fright, with a sense of things not of earth, of mysteries never spoken before, of presences of awe and terror! There was an unfolding of vistas before him, a breaking of the ground beneath him, an upheaving, a stirring, a trembling; he felt himself suddenly a mere man no longer-there were powers within him undreamed of, there were demon forces contending, agelong wonders struggling to be born; and he sat oppressed with pain and joy, while a tingling stole down into his finger tips, and his breath came hard and fast. The sentences of this man were to Jurgis like the crashing of thunder in his soul; a flood of emotions surged up in him-all his old hopes and longings, his old griefs and rages and despairs. All that he had ever felt in his whole life seemed to come back to him at once, and with one new emotion, hardly to be described. That he should have suffered such oppressions and such horrors was bad enough; but that he should have been crushed and beaten by them, that he should have submitted, and forgotten, and lived in peace-ah, truly that was a thing not to be put into words, a thing not to be borne by a human creature, a thing of terror and madness! "What," asks the prophet, "is the murder of them that kill the body, to the murder of them that kill the soul?" And Jurgis was a man whose soul had been murdered, who had ceased to hope and to struggle-who had made terms with degradation and despair; and now, suddenly, in one awful convulsion, the black and hideous fact was made plain to him! There was a falling in of all the pillars of his soul, the sky seemed to split above him-he stood there, with his clenched hands upraised, his eyes bloodshot, and the veins standing out purple in his face, roaring in the voice of a wild beast, frantic, incoherent, maniacal. And when he could shout no more he still stood there, gasping, and whispering hoarsely to himself: "By God! By God! By God!"
The man had gone back to a seat upon the platform, and Jurgis realized that his speech was over. The applause continued for several minutes; and then some one started a song, and the crowd took it up, and the place shook with it. Jurgis had never heard it, and he could not make out the words, but the wild and wonderful spirit of it seized upon him-it was the "Marseillaise!" As stanza after stanza of it thundered forth, he sat with his hands clasped, trembling in every nerve. He had never been so stirred in his life-it was a miracle that had been wrought in him. He could not think at all, he was stunned; yet he knew that in the mighty upheaval that had taken place in his soul, a new man had been born. He had been torn out of the jaws of destruction, he had been delivered from the thraldom of despair; the whole world had been changed for him-he was free, he was free! Even if he were to suffer as he had before, even if he were to beg and starve, nothing would be the same to him; he would understand it, and bear it. He would no longer be the sport of circumstances, he would be a man, with a will and a purpose; he would have something to fight for, something to die for, if need be! Here were men who would show him and help him; and he would have friends and allies, he would dwell in the sight of justice, and walk arm in arm with power.
The audience subsided again, and Jurgis sat back. The chairman of the meeting came forward and began to speak. His voice sounded thin and futile after the other's, and to Jurgis it seemed a profanation. Why should any one else speak, after that miraculous man-why should they not all sit in silence? The chairman was explaining that a collection would now be taken up to defray the expenses of the meeting, and for the benefit of the campaign fund of the party. Jurgis heard; but he had not a penny to give, and so his thoughts went elsewhere again.
He kept his eyes fixed on the orator, who sat in an armchair, his head leaning on his hand and his attitude indicating exhaustion. But suddenly he stood up again, and Jurgis heard the chairman of the meeting saying that the speaker would now answer any questions which the audience might care to put to him. The man came forward, and some one-a woman-arose and asked about some opinion the speaker had expressed concerning Tolstoy. Jurgis had never heard of Tolstoy, and did not care anything about him. Why should any one want to ask such questions, after an address like that? The thing was not to talk, but to do; the thing was to get bold of others and rouse them, to organize them and prepare for the fight! But still the discussion went on, in ordinary conversational tones, and it brought Jurgis back to the everyday world. A few minutes ago he had felt like seizing the hand of the beautiful lady by his side, and kissing it; he had felt like flinging his arms about the neck of the man on the other side of him. And now he began to realize again that he was a "hobo," that he was ragged and dirty, and smelled bad, and had no place to sleep that night!
And so, at last, when the meeting broke up, and the audience started to leave, poor Jurgis was in an agony of uncertainty. He had not thought of leaving-he had thought that the vision must last forever, that he had found comrades and brothers. But now he would go out, and the thing would fade away, and he would never be able to find it again! He sat in his seat, frightened and wondering; but others in the same row wanted to get out, and so he had to stand up and move along. As he was swept down the aisle he looked from one person to another, wistfully; they were all excitedly discussing the address-but there was nobody who offered to discuss it with him. He was near enough to the door to feel the night air, when desperation seized him. He knew nothing at all about that speech he had heard, not even the name of the orator; and he was to go away-no, no, it was preposterous, he must speak to some one; he must find that man himself and tell him. He would not despise him, tramp as he was!
So he stepped into an empty row of seats and watched, and when the crowd had thinned out, he started toward the platform. The speaker was gone; but there was a stage door that stood open, with people passing in and out, and no one on guard. Jurgis summoned up his courage and went in, and down a hallway, and to the door of a room where many people were crowded. No one paid any attention to him, and he pushed in, and in a corner he saw the man he sought. The orator sat in a chair, with his shoulders sunk together and his eyes half closed; his face was ghastly pale, almost greenish in hue, and one arm lay limp at his side. A big man with spectacles on stood near him, and kept pushing back the crowd, saying, "Stand away a little, please; can't you see the comrade is worn out?"
So Jurgis stood watching, while five or ten minutes passed. Now and then the man would look up, and address a word or two to those who were near him; and, at last, on one of these occasions, his glance rested on Jurgis. There seemed to be a slight hint of inquiry about it, and a sudden impulse seized the other. He stepped forward.
"I wanted to thank you, sir!" he began, in breathless haste. "I could not go away without telling you how much-how glad I am I heard you. I-I didn't know anything about it all-"
The big man with the spectacles, who had moved away, came back at this moment. "The comrade is too tired to talk to any one-" he began; but the other held up his hand.
"Wait," he said. "He has something to say to me." And then he looked into Jurgis's face. "You want to know more about Socialism?" he asked.
Jurgis started. "I-I-" he stammered. "Is it Socialism? I didn't know. I want to know about what you spoke of-I want to help. I have been through all that."
"Where do you live?" asked the other.
"I have no home," said Jurgis, "I am out of work."
"You are a foreigner, are you not?"
The man thought for a moment, and then turned to his friend. "Who is there, Walters?" he asked. "There is Ostrinski-but he is a Pole-"
"Ostrinski speaks Lithuanian," said the other. "All right, then; would you mind seeing if he has gone yet?"
The other started away, and the speaker looked at Jurgis again. He had deep, black eyes, and a face full of gentleness and pain. "You must excuse me, comrade," he said. "I am just tired out-I have spoken every day for the last month. I will introduce you to some one who will be able to help you as well as I could-"
The messenger had had to go no further than the door, he came back, followed by a man whom he introduced to Jurgis as "Comrade Ostrinski." Comrade Ostrinski was a little man, scarcely up to Jurgis's shoulder, wizened and wrinkled, very ugly, and slightly lame. He had on a long-tailed black coat, worn green at the seams and the buttonholes; his eyes must have been weak, for he wore green spectacles that gave him a grotesque appearance. But his handclasp was hearty, and he spoke in Lithuanian, which warmed Jurgis to him.
"You want to know about Socialism?" he said. "Surely. Let us go out and take a stroll, where we can be quiet and talk some."
And so Jurgis bade farewell to the master wizard, and went out. Ostrinski asked where he lived, offering to walk in that direction; and so he had to explain once more that he was without a home. At the other's request he told his story; how he had come to America, and what had happened to him in the stockyards, and how his family had been broken up, and how he had become a wanderer. So much the little man heard, and then he pressed Jurgis's arm tightly. "You have been through the mill, comrade!" he said. "We will make a fighter out of you!"
Then Ostrinski in turn explained his circumstances. He would have asked Jurgis to his home-but he had only two rooms, and had no bed to offer. He would have given up his own bed, but his wife was ill. Later on, when he understood that otherwise Jurgis would have to sleep in a hallway, he offered him his kitchen floor, a chance which the other was only too glad to accept. "Perhaps tomorrow we can do better," said Ostrinski. "We try not to let a comrade starve."
Ostrinski's home was in the Ghetto district, where he had two rooms in the basement of a tenement. There was a baby crying as they entered, and he closed the door leading into the bedroom. He had three young children, he explained, and a baby had just come. He drew up two chairs near the kitchen stove, adding that Jurgis must excuse the disorder of the place, since at such a time one's domestic arrangements were upset. Half of the kitchen was given up to a workbench, which was piled with clothing, and Ostrinski explained that he was a "pants finisher." He brought great bundles of clothing here to his home, where he and his wife worked on them. He made a living at it, but it was getting harder all the time, because his eyes were failing. What would come when they gave out he could not tell; there had been no saving anything-a man could barely keep alive by twelve or fourteen hours' work a day. The finishing of pants did not take much skill, and anybody could learn it, and so the pay was forever getting less. That was the competitive wage system; and if Jurgis wanted to understand what Socialism was, it was there he had best begin. The workers were dependent upon a job to exist from day to day, and so they bid against each other, and no man could get more than the lowest man would consent to work for. And thus the mass of the people were always in a life-and-death struggle with poverty. That was "competition," so far as it concerned the wage-earner, the man who had only his labor to sell; to those on top, the exploiters, it appeared very differently, of course-there were few of them, and they could combine and dominate, and their power would be unbreakable. And so all over the world two classes were forming, with an unbridged chasm between them-the capitalist class, with its enormous fortunes, and the proletariat, bound into slavery by unseen chains. The latter were a thousand to one in numbers, but they were ignorant and helpless, and they would remain at the mercy of their exploiters until they were organized-until they had become "class-conscious." It was a slow and weary process, but it would go on-it was like the movement of a glacier, once it was started it could never be stopped. Every Socialist did his share, and lived upon the vision of the "good time coming,"-when the working class should go to the polls and seize the powers of government, and put an end to private property in the means of production. No matter how poor a man was, or how much he suffered, he could never be really unhappy while he knew of that future; even if he did not live to see it himself, his children would, and, to a Socialist, the victory of his class was his victory. Also he had always the progress to encourage him; here in Chicago, for instance, the movement was growing by leaps and bounds. Chicago was the industrial center of the country, and nowhere else were the unions so strong; but their organizations did the workers little good, for the employers were organized, also; and so the strikes generally failed, and as fast as the unions were broken up the men were coming over to the Socialists.
Ostrinski explained the organization of the party, the machinery by which the proletariat was educating itself. There were "locals" in every big city and town, and they were being organized rapidly in the smaller places; a local had anywhere from six to a thousand members, and there were fourteen hundred of them in all, with a total of about twenty-five thousand members, who paid dues to support the organization. "Local Cook County," as the city organization was called, had eighty branch locals, and it alone was spending several thousand dollars in the campaign. It published a weekly in English, and one each in Bohemian and German; also there was a monthly published in Chicago, and a cooperative publishing house, that issued a million and a half of Socialist books and pamphlets every year. All this was the growth of the last few years-there had been almost nothing of it when Ostrinski first came to Chicago.
Ostrinski was a Pole, about fifty years of age. He had lived in Silesia, a member of a despised and persecuted race, and had taken part in the proletarian movement in the early seventies, when Bismarck, having conquered France, had turned his policy of blood and iron upon the "International." Ostrinski himself had twice been in jail, but he had been young then, and had not cared. He had had more of his share of the fight, though, for just when Socialism had broken all its barriers and become the great political force of the empire, he had come to America, and begun all over again. In America every one had laughed at the mere idea of Socialism then-in America all men were free. As if political liberty made wage slavery any the more tolerable! said Ostrinski.
The little tailor sat tilted back in his stiff kitchen chair, with his feet stretched out upon the empty stove, and speaking in low whispers, so as not to waken those in the next room. To Jurgis he seemed a scarcely less wonderful person than the speaker at the meeting; he was poor, the lowest of the low, hunger-driven and miserable-and yet how much he knew, how much he had dared and achieved, what a hero he had been! There were others like him, too-thousands like him, and all of them workingmen! That all this wonderful machinery of progress had been created by his fellows-Jurgis could not believe it, it seemed too good to be true.
That was always the way, said Ostrinski; when a man was first converted to Socialism he was like a crazy person-he could not' understand how others could fail to see it, and he expected to convert all the world the first week. After a while he would realize how hard a task it was; and then it would be fortunate that other new hands kept coming, to save him from settling down into a rut. Just now Jurgis would have plenty of chance to vent his excitement, for a presidential campaign was on, and everybody was talking politics. Ostrinski would take him to the next meeting of the branch local, and introduce him, and he might join the party. The dues were five cents a week, but any one who could not afford this might be excused from paying. The Socialist party was a really democratic political organization-it was controlled absolutely by its own membership, and had no bosses. All of these things Ostrinski explained, as also the principles of the party. You might say that there was really but one Socialist principle-that of "no compromise," which was the essence of the proletarian movement all over the world. When a Socialist was elected to office he voted with old party legislators for any measure that was likely to be of help to the working class, but he never forgot that these concessions, whatever they might be, were trifles compared with the great purpose-the organizing of the working class for the revolution. So far, the rule in America had been that one Socialist made another Socialist once every two years; and if they should maintain the same rate they would carry the country in 1912-though not all of them expected to succeed as quickly as that.
The Socialists were organized in every civilized nation; it was an international political party, said Ostrinski, the greatest the world had ever known. It numbered thirty million of adherents, and it cast eight million votes. It had started its first newspaper in Japan, and elected its first deputy in Argentina; in France it named members of cabinets, and in Italy and Australia it held the balance of power and turned out ministries. In Germany, where its vote was more than a third of the total vote of the empire, all other parties and powers had united to fight it. It would not do, Ostrinski explained, for the proletariat of one nation to achieve the victory, for that nation would be crushed by the military power of the others; and so the Socialist movement was a world movement, an organization of all mankind to establish liberty and fraternity. It was the new religion of humanity-or you might say it was the fulfillment of the old religion, since it implied but the literal application of all the teachings of Christ.
Until long after midnight Jurgis sat lost in the conversation of his new acquaintance. It was a most wonderful experience to him-an almost supernatural experience. It was like encountering an inhabitant of the fourth dimension of space, a being who was free from all one's own limitations. For four years, now, Jurgis had been wondering and blundering in the depths of a wilderness; and here, suddenly, a hand reached down and seized him, and lifted him out of it, and set him upon a mountain-top, from which he could survey it all-could see the paths from which he had wandered, the morasses into which he had stumbled, the hiding places of the beasts of prey that had fallen upon him. There were his Packingtown experiences, for instance-what was there about Packingtown that Ostrinski could not explain! To Jurgis the packers had been equivalent to fate; Ostrinski showed him that they were the Beef Trust. They were a gigantic combination of capital, which had crushed all opposition, and overthrown the laws of the land, and was preying upon the people. Jurgis recollected how, when he had first come to Packingtown, he had stood and watched the hog-killing, and thought how cruel and savage it was, and come away congratulating himself that he was not a hog; now his new acquaintance showed him that a hog was just what he had been-one of the packers' hogs. What they wanted from a hog was all the profits that could be got out of him; and that was what they wanted from the workingman, and also that was what they wanted from the public. What the hog thought of it, and what he suffered, were not considered; and no more was it with labor, and no more with the purchaser of meat. That was true everywhere in the world, but it was especially true in Packingtown; there seemed to be something about the work of slaughtering that tended to ruthlessness and ferocity-it was literally the fact that in the methods of the packers a hundred human lives did not balance a penny of profit. When Jurgis had made himself familiar with the Socialist literature, as he would very quickly, he would get glimpses of the Beef Trust from all sorts of aspects, and he would find it everywhere the same; it was the incarnation of blind and insensate Greed. It was a monster devouring with a thousand mouths, trampling with a thousand hoofs; it was the Great Butcher-it was the spirit of Capitalism made flesh. Upon the ocean of commerce it sailed as a pirate ship; it had hoisted the black flag and declared war upon civilization. Bribery and corruption were its everyday methods. In Chicago the city government was simply one of its branch offices; it stole billions of gallons of city water openly, it dictated to the courts the sentences of disorderly strikers, it forbade the mayor to enforce the building laws against it. In the national capital it had power to prevent inspection of its product, and to falsify government reports; it violated the rebate laws, and when an investigation was threatened it burned its books and sent its criminal agents out of the country. In the commercial world it was a Juggernaut car; it wiped out thousands of businesses every year, it drove men to madness and suicide. It had forced the price of cattle so low as to destroy the stock-raising industry, an occupation upon which whole states existed; it had ruined thousands of butchers who had refused to handle its products. It divided the country into districts, and fixed the price of meat in all of them; and it owned all the refrigerator cars, and levied an enormous tribute upon all poultry and eggs and fruit and vegetables. With the millions of dollars a week that poured in upon it, it was reaching out for the control of other interests, railroads and trolley lines, gas and electric light franchises-it already owned the leather and the grain business of the country. The people were tremendously stirred up over its encroachments, but nobody had any remedy to suggest; it was the task of Socialists to teach and organize them, and prepare them for the time when they were to seize the huge machine called the Beef Trust, and use it to produce food for human beings and not to heap up fortunes for a band of pirates. It was long after midnight when Jurgis lay down upon the floor of Ostrinski's kitchen; and yet it was an hour before he could get to sleep, for the glory of that joyful vision of the people of Packingtown marching in and taking possession of the Union Stockyards!
Jurgis had breakfast with Ostrinski and his family, and then he went home to Elzbieta. He was no longer shy about it-when he went in, instead of saying all the things he had been planning to say, he started to tell Elzbieta about the revolution! At first she thought he was out of his mind, and it was hours before she could really feel certain that he was himself. When, however, she had satisfied herself that he was sane upon all subjects except politics, she troubled herself no further about it. Jurgis was destined to find that Elzbieta's armor was absolutely impervious to Socialism. Her soul had been baked hard in the fire of adversity, and there was no altering it now; life to her was the hunt for daily bread, and ideas existed for her only as they bore upon that. All that interested her in regard to this new frenzy which had seized hold of her son-in-law was whether or not it had a tendency to make him sober and industrious; and when she found he intended to look for work and to contribute his share to the family fund, she gave him full rein to convince her of anything. A wonderfully wise little woman was Elzbieta; she could think as quickly as a hunted rabbit, and in half an hour she had chosen her life-attitude to the Socialist movement. She agreed in everything with Jurgis, except the need of his paying his dues; and she would even go to a meeting with him now and then, and sit and plan her next day's dinner amid the storm.
For a week after he became a convert Jurgis continued to wander about all day, looking for work; until at last he met with a strange fortune. He was passing one of Chicago's innumerable small hotels, and after some hesitation he concluded to go in. A man he took for the proprietor was standing in the lobby, and he went up to him and tackled him for a job.
"What can you do?" the man asked.
"Anything, sir," said Jurgis, and added quickly: "I've been out of work for a long time, sir. I'm an honest man, and I'm strong and willing-"
The other was eying him narrowly. "Do you drink?" he asked.
"No, sir," said Jurgis.
"Well, I've been employing a man as a porter, and he drinks. I've discharged him seven times now, and I've about made up my mind that's enough. Would you be a porter?"
"It's hard work. You'll have to clean floors and wash spittoons and fill lamps and handle trunks-"
"I'm willing, sir."
"All right. I'll pay you thirty a month and board, and you can begin now, if you feel like it. You can put on the other fellow's rig."
And so Jurgis fell to work, and toiled like a Trojan till night. Then he went and told Elzbieta, and also, late as it was, he paid a visit to Ostrinski to let him know of his good fortune. Here he received a great surprise, for when he was describing the location of the hotel Ostrinski interrupted suddenly, "Not Hinds's!"
"Yes," said Jurgis, "that's the name."
To which the other replied, "Then you've got the best boss in Chicago-he's a state organizer of our party, and one of our best-known speakers!"
So the next morning Jurgis went to his employer and told him; and the man seized him by the hand and shook it. "By Jove!" he cried, "that lets me out. I didn't sleep all last night because I had discharged a good Socialist!"
So, after that, Jurgis was known to his "boss" as "Comrade Jurgis," and in return he was expected to call him "Comrade Hinds." "Tommy" Hinds, as he was known to his intimates, was a squat little man, with broad shoulders and a florid face, decorated with gray side whiskers. He was the kindest-hearted man that ever lived, and the liveliest-inexhaustible in his enthusiasm, and talking Socialism all day and all night. He was a great fellow to jolly along a crowd, and would keep a meeting in an uproar; when once he got really waked up, the torrent of his eloquence could be compared with nothing save Niagara.
Tommy Hinds had begun life as a blacksmith's helper, and had run away to join the Union army, where he had made his first acquaintance with "graft," in the shape of rotten muskets and shoddy blankets. To a musket that broke in a crisis he always attributed the death of his only brother, and upon worthless blankets he blamed all the agonies of his own old age. Whenever it rained, the rheumatism would get into his joints, and then he would screw up his face and mutter: "Capitalism, my boy, capitalism! 'Ecrasez l'infame!'" He had one unfailing remedy for all the evils of this world, and he preached it to every one; no matter whether the person's trouble was failure in business, or dyspepsia, or a quarrelsome mother-in-law, a twinkle would come into his eyes and he would say, "You know what to do about it-vote the Socialist ticket!"
Tommy Hinds had set out upon the trail of the Octopus as soon as the war was over. He had gone into business, and found himself in competition with the fortunes of those who had been stealing while he had been fighting. The city government was in their hands and the railroads were in league with them, and honest business was driven to the wall; and so Hinds had put all his savings into Chicago real estate, and set out singlehanded to dam the river of graft. He had been a reform member of the city council, he had been a Greenbacker, a Labor Unionist, a Populist, a Bryanite-and after thirty years of fighting, the year 1896 had served to convince him that the power of concentrated wealth could never be controlled, but could only be destroyed. He had published a pamphlet about it, and set out to organize a party of his own, when a stray Socialist leaflet had revealed to him that others had been ahead of him. Now for eight years he had been fighting for the party, anywhere, everywhere-whether it was a G.A.R. reunion, or a hotel-keepers' convention, or an Afro-American businessmen's banquet, or a Bible society picnic, Tommy Hinds would manage to get himself invited to explain the relations of Socialism to the subject in hand. After that he would start off upon a tour of his own, ending at some place between New York and Oregon; and when he came back from there, he would go out to organize new locals for the state committee; and finally he would come home to rest-and talk Socialism in Chicago. Hinds's hotel was a very hot-bed of the propaganda; all the employees were party men, and if they were not when they came, they were quite certain to be before they went away. The proprietor would get into a discussion with some one in the lobby, and as the conversation grew animated, others would gather about to listen, until finally every one in the place would be crowded into a group, and a regular debate would be under way. This went on every night-when Tommy Hinds was not there to do it, his clerk did it; and when his clerk was away campaigning, the assistant attended to it, while Mrs. Hinds sat behind the desk and did the work. The clerk was an old crony of the proprietor's, an awkward, rawboned giant of a man, with a lean, sallow face, a broad mouth, and whiskers under his chin, the very type and body of a prairie farmer. He had been that all his life-he had fought the railroads in Kansas for fifty years, a Granger, a Farmers' Alliance man, a "middle-of-the-road" Populist. Finally, Tommy Hinds had revealed to him the wonderful idea of using the trusts instead of destroying them, and he had sold his farm and come to Chicago.
That was Amos Struver; and then there was Harry Adams, the assistant clerk, a pale, scholarly-looking man, who came from Massachusetts, of Pilgrim stock. Adams had been a cotton operative in Fall River, and the continued depression in the industry had worn him and his family out, and he had emigrated to South Carolina. In Massachusetts the percentage of white illiteracy is eight-tenths of one per cent, while in South Carolina it is thirteen and six-tenths per cent; also in South Carolina there is a property qualification for voters-and for these and other reasons child labor is the rule, and so the cotton mills were driving those of Massachusetts out of the business. Adams did not know this, he only knew that the Southern mills were running; but when he got there he found that if he was to live, all his family would have to work, and from six o'clock at night to six o'clock in the morning. So he had set to work to organize the mill hands, after the fashion in Massachusetts, and had been discharged; but he had gotten other work, and stuck at it, and at last there had been a strike for shorter hours, and Harry Adams had attempted to address a street meeting, which was the end of him. In the states of the far South the labor of convicts is leased to contractors, and when there are not convicts enough they have to be supplied. Harry Adams was sent up by a judge who was a cousin of the mill owner with whose business he had interfered; and though the life had nearly killed him, he had been wise enough not to murmur, and at the end of his term he and his family had left the state of South Carolina-hell's back yard, as he called it. He had no money for carfare, but it was harvesttime, and they walked one day and worked the next; and so Adams got at last to Chicago, and joined the Socialist party. He was a studious man, reserved, and nothing of an orator; but he always had a pile of books under his desk in the hotel, and articles from his pen were beginning to attract attention in the party press.
Contrary to what one would have expected, all this radicalism did not hurt the hotel business; the radicals flocked to it, and the commercial travelers all found it diverting. Of late, also, the hotel had become a favorite stopping place for Western cattlemen. Now that the Beef Trust had adopted the trick of raising prices to induce enormous shipments of cattle, and then dropping them again and scooping in all they needed, a stock raiser was very apt to find himself in Chicago without money enough to pay his freight bill; and so he had to go to a cheap hotel, and it was no drawback to him if there was an agitator talking in the lobby. These Western fellows were just "meat" for Tommy Hinds-he would get a dozen of them around him and paint little pictures of "the System." Of course, it was not a week before he had heard Jurgis's story, and after that he would not have let his new porter go for the world. "See here," he would say, in the middle of an argument, "I've got a fellow right here in my place who's worked there and seen every bit of it!" And then Jurgis would drop his work, whatever it was, and come, and the other would say, "Comrade Jurgis, just tell these gentlemen what you saw on the killing-beds." At first this request caused poor Jurgis the most acute agony, and it was like pulling teeth to get him to talk; but gradually he found out what was wanted, and in the end he learned to stand up and speak his piece with enthusiasm. His employer would sit by and encourage him with exclamations and shakes of the head; when Jurgis would give the formula for "potted ham," or tell about the condemned hogs that were dropped into the "destructors" at the top and immediately taken out again at the bottom, to be shipped into another state and made into lard, Tommy Hinds would bang his knee and cry, "Do you think a man could make up a thing like that out of his head?"
And then the hotel-keeper would go on to show how the Socialists had the only real remedy for such evils, how they alone "meant business" with the Beef Trust. And when, in answer to this, the victim would say that the whole country was getting stirred up, that the newspapers were full of denunciations of it, and the government taking action against it, Tommy Hinds had a knock-out blow all ready. "Yes," he would say, "all that is true-but what do you suppose is the reason for it? Are you foolish enough to believe that it's done for the public? There are other trusts in the country just as illegal and extortionate as the Beef Trust: there is the Coal Trust, that freezes the poor in winter-there is the Steel Trust, that doubles the price of every nail in your shoes-there is the Oil Trust, that keeps you from reading at night-and why do you suppose it is that all the fury of the press and the government is directed against the Beef Trust?" And when to this the victim would reply that there was clamor enough over the Oil Trust, the other would continue: "Ten years ago Henry D. Lloyd told all the truth about the Standard Oil Company in his Wealth versus Commonwealth; and the book was allowed to die, and you hardly ever hear of it. And now, at last, two magazines have the courage to tackle 'Standard Oil' again, and what happens? The newspapers ridicule the authors, the churches defend the criminals, and the government-does nothing. And now, why is it all so different with the Beef Trust?"
Here the other would generally admit that he was "stuck"; and Tommy Hinds would explain to him, and it was fun to see his eyes open. "If you were a Socialist," the hotelkeeper would say, "you would understand that the power which really governs the United States today is the Railroad Trust. It is the Railroad Trust that runs your state government, wherever you live, and that runs the United States Senate. And all of the trusts that I have named are railroad trusts-save only the Beef Trust! The Beef Trust has defied the railroads-it is plundering them day by day through the Private Car; and so the public is roused to fury, and the papers clamor for action, and the government goes on the war-path! And you poor common people watch and applaud the job, and think it's all done for you, and never dream that it is really the grand climax of the century-long battle of commercial competition-the final death grapple between the chiefs of the Beef Trust and 'Standard Oil,' for the prize of the mastery and ownership of the United States of America!"
Such was the new home in which Jurgis lived and worked, and in which his education was completed. Perhaps you would imagine that he did not do much work there, but that would be a great mistake. He would have cut off one hand for Tommy Hinds; and to keep Hinds's hotel a thing of beauty was his joy in life. That he had a score of Socialist arguments chasing through his brain in the meantime did not interfere with this; on the contrary, Jurgis scrubbed the spittoons and polished the banisters all the more vehemently because at the same time he was wrestling inwardly with an imaginary recalcitrant. It would be pleasant to record that he swore off drinking immediately, and all the rest of his bad habits with it; but that would hardly be exact. These revolutionists were not angels; they were men, and men who had come up from the social pit, and with the mire of it smeared over them. Some of them drank, and some of them swore, and some of them ate pie with their knives; there was only one difference between them and all the rest of the populace-that they were men with a hope, with a cause to fight for and suffer for. There came times to Jurgis when the vision seemed far-off and pale, and a glass of beer loomed large in comparison; but if the glass led to another glass, and to too many glasses, he had something to spur him to remorse and resolution on the morrow. It was so evidently a wicked thing to spend one's pennies for drink, when the working class was wandering in darkness, and waiting to be delivered; the price of a glass of beer would buy fifty copies of a leaflet, and one could hand these out to the unregenerate, and then get drunk upon the thought of the good that was being accomplished. That was the way the movement had been made, and it was the only way it would progress; it availed nothing to know of it, without fighting for it-it was a thing for all, not for a few! A corollary of this proposition of course was, that any one who refused to receive the new gospel was personally responsible for keeping Jurgis from his heart's desire; and this, alas, made him uncomfortable as an acquaintance. He met some neighbors with whom Elzbieta had made friends in her neighborhood, and he set out to make Socialists of them by wholesale, and several times he all but got into a fight.
It was all so painfully obvious to Jurgis! It was so incomprehensible how a man could fail to see it! Here were all the opportunities of the country, the land, and the buildings upon the land, the railroads, the mines, the factories, and the stores, all in the hands of a few private individuals, called capitalists, for whom the people were obliged to work for wages. The whole balance of what the people produced went to heap up the fortunes of these capitalists, to heap, and heap again, and yet again-and that in spite of the fact that they, and every one about them, lived in unthinkable luxury! And was it not plain that if the people cut off the share of those who merely "owned," the share of those who worked would be much greater? That was as plain as two and two makes four; and it was the whole of it, absolutely the whole of it; and yet there were people who could not see it, who would argue about everything else in the world. They would tell you that governments could not manage things as economically as private individuals; they would repeat and repeat that, and think they were saying something! They could not see that "economical" management by masters meant simply that they, the people, were worked harder and ground closer and paid less! They were wage-earners and servants, at the mercy of exploiters whose one thought was to get as much out of them as possible; and they were taking an interest in the process, were anxious lest it should not be done thoroughly enough! Was it not honestly a trial to listen to an argument such as that?
And yet there were things even worse. You would begin talking to some poor devil who had worked in one shop for the last thirty years, and had never been able to save a penny; who left home every morning at six o'clock, to go and tend a machine, and come back at night too tired to take his clothes off; who had never had a week's vacation in his life, had never traveled, never had an adventure, never learned anything, never hoped anything-and when you started to tell him about Socialism he would sniff and say, "I'm not interested in that-I'm an individualist!" And then he would go on to tell you that Socialism was "paternalism," and that if it ever had its way the world would stop progressing. It was enough to make a mule laugh, to hear arguments like that; and yet it was no laughing matter, as you found out-for how many millions of such poor deluded wretches there were, whose lives had been so stunted by capitalism that they no longer knew what freedom was! And they really thought that it was "individualism" for tens of thousands of them to herd together and obey the orders of a steel magnate, and produce hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth for him, and then let him give them libraries; while for them to take the industry, and run it to suit themselves, and build their own libraries-that would have been "Paternalism"!
Sometimes the agony of such things as this was almost more than Jurgis could bear; yet there was no way of escape from it, there was nothing to do but to dig away at the base of this mountain of ignorance and prejudice. You must keep at the poor fellow; you must hold your temper, and argue with him, and watch for your chance to stick an idea or two into his head. And the rest of the time you must sharpen up your weapons-you must think out new replies to his objections, and provide yourself with new facts to prove to him the folly of his ways.
So Jurgis acquired the reading habit. He would carry in his pocket a tract or a pamphlet which some one had loaned him, and whenever he had an idle moment during the day he would plod through a paragraph, and then think about it while he worked. Also he read the newspapers, and asked questions about them. One of the other porters at Hinds's was a sharp little Irishman, who knew everything that Jurgis wanted to know; and while they were busy he would explain to him the geography of America, and its history, its constitution and its laws; also he gave him an idea of the business system of the country, the great railroads and corporations, and who owned them, and the labor unions, and the big strikes, and the men who had led them. Then at night, when he could get off, Jurgis would attend the Socialist meetings. During the campaign one was not dependent upon the street corner affairs, where the weather and the quality of the orator were equally uncertain; there were hall meetings every night, and one could hear speakers of national prominence. These discussed the political situation from every point of view, and all that troubled Jurgis was the impossibility of carrying off but a small part of the treasures they offered him.
There was a man who was known in the party as the "Little Giant." The Lord had used up so much material in the making of his head that there had not been enough to complete his legs; but he got about on the platform, and when he shook his raven whiskers the pillars of capitalism rocked. He had written a veritable encyclopedia upon the subject, a book that was nearly as big as himself-And then there was a young author, who came from California, and had been a salmon fisher, an oyster-pirate, a longshoreman, a sailor; who had tramped the country and been sent to jail, had lived in the Whitechapel slums, and been to the Klondike in search of gold. All these things he pictured in his books, and because he was a man of genius he forced the world to hear him. Now he was famous, but wherever he went he still preached the gospel of the poor. And then there was one who was known at the "millionaire Socialist." He had made a fortune in business, and spent nearly all of it in building up a magazine, which the post office department had tried to suppress, and had driven to Canada. He was a quiet-mannered man, whom you would have taken for anything in the world but a Socialist agitator. His speech was simple and informal-he could not understand why any one should get excited about these things. It was a process of economic evolution, he said, and he exhibited its laws and methods. Life was a struggle for existence, and the strong overcame the weak, and in turn were overcome by the strongest. Those who lost in the struggle were generally exterminated; but now and then they had been known to save themselves by combination-which was a new and higher kind of strength. It was so that the gregarious animals had overcome the predaceous; it was so, in human history, that the people had mastered the kings. The workers were simply the citizens of industry, and the Socialist movement was the expression of their will to survive. The inevitability of the revolution depended upon this fact, that they had no choice but to unite or be exterminated; this fact, grim and inexorable, depended upon no human will, it was the law of the economic process, of which the editor showed the details with the most marvelous precision.
And later on came the evening of the great meeting of the campaign, when Jurgis heard the two standard-bearers of his party. Ten years before there had been in Chicago a strike of a hundred and fifty thousand railroad employees, and thugs had been hired by the railroads to commit violence, and the President of the United States had sent in troops to break the strike, by flinging the officers of the union into jail without trial. The president of the union came out of his cell a ruined man; but also he came out a Socialist; and now for just ten years he had been traveling up and down the country, standing face to face with the people, and pleading with them for justice. He was a man of electric presence, tall and gaunt, with a face worn thin by struggle and suffering. The fury of outraged manhood gleamed in it-and the tears of suffering little children pleaded in his voice. When he spoke he paced the stage, lithe and eager, like a panther. He leaned over, reaching out for his audience; he pointed into their souls with an insistent finger. His voice was husky from much speaking, but the great auditorium was as still as death, and every one heard him.
And then, as Jurgis came out from this meeting, some one handed him a paper which he carried home with him and read; and so he became acquainted with the "Appeal to Reason." About twelve years previously a Colorado real-estate speculator had made up his mind that it was wrong to gamble in the necessities of life of human beings: and so he had retired and begun the publication of a Socialist weekly. There had come a time when he had to set his own type, but he had held on and won out, and now his publication was an institution. It used a carload of paper every week, and the mail trains would be hours loading up at the depot of the little Kansas town. It was a four-page weekly, which sold for less than half a cent a copy; its regular subscription list was a quarter of a million, and it went to every crossroads post office in America.
The "Appeal" was a "propaganda" paper. It had a manner all its own-it was full of ginger and spice, of Western slang and hustle: It collected news of the doings of the "plutes," and served it up for the benefit of the "American working-mule." It would have columns of the deadly parallel-the million dollars' worth of diamonds, or the fancy pet-poodle establishment of a society dame, beside the fate of Mrs. Murphy of San Francisco, who had starved to death on the streets, or of John Robinson, just out of the hospital, who had hanged himself in New York because he could not find work. It collected the stories of graft and misery from the daily press, and made a little pungent paragraphs out of them. "Three banks of Bungtown, South Dakota, failed, and more savings of the workers swallowed up!" "The mayor of Sandy Creek, Oklahoma, has skipped with a hundred thousand dollars. That's the kind of rulers the old partyites give you!" "The president of the Florida Flying Machine Company is in jail for bigamy. He was a prominent opponent of Socialism, which he said would break up the home!" The "Appeal" had what it called its "Army," about thirty thousand of the faithful, who did things for it; and it was always exhorting the "Army" to keep its dander up, and occasionally encouraging it with a prize competition, for anything from a gold watch to a private yacht or an eighty-acre farm. Its office helpers were all known to the "Army" by quaint titles-"Inky Ike," "the Bald-headed Man," "the Redheaded Girl," "the Bulldog," "the Office Goat," and "the One Hoss."
But sometimes, again, the "Appeal" would be desperately serious. It sent a correspondent to Colorado, and printed pages describing the overthrow of American institutions in that state. In a certain city of the country it had over forty of its "Army" in the headquarters of the Telegraph Trust, and no message of importance to Socialists ever went through that a copy of it did not go to the "Appeal." It would print great broadsides during the campaign; one copy that came to Jurgis was a manifesto addressed to striking workingmen, of which nearly a million copies had been distributed in the industrial centers, wherever the employers' associations had been carrying out their "open shop" program. "You have lost the strike!" it was headed. "And now what are you going to do about it?" It was what is called an "incendiary" appeal-it was written by a man into whose soul the iron had entered. When this edition appeared, twenty thousand copies were sent to the stockyards district; and they were taken out and stowed away in the rear of a little cigar store, and every evening, and on Sundays, the members of the Packingtown locals would get armfuls and distribute them on the streets and in the houses. The people of Packingtown had lost their strike, if ever a people had, and so they read these papers gladly, and twenty thousand were hardly enough to go round. Jurgis had resolved not to go near his old home again, but when he heard of this it was too much for him, and every night for a week he would get on the car and ride out to the stockyards, and help to undo his work of the previous year, when he had sent Mike Scully's ten-pin setter to the city Board of Aldermen.
It was quite marvelous to see what a difference twelve months had made in Packingtown-the eyes of the people were getting opened! The Socialists were literally sweeping everything before them that election, and Scully and the Cook County machine were at their wits' end for an "issue." At the very close of the campaign they bethought themselves of the fact that the strike had been broken by Negroes, and so they sent for a South Carolina fire-eater, the "pitchfork senator," as he was called, a man who took off his coat when he talked to workingmen, and damned and swore like a Hessian. This meeting they advertised extensively, and the Socialists advertised it too-with the result that about a thousand of them were on hand that evening. The "pitchfork senator" stood their fusillade of questions for about an hour, and then went home in disgust, and the balance of the meeting was a strictly party affair. Jurgis, who had insisted upon coming, had the time of his life that night; he danced about and waved his arms in his excitement-and at the very climax he broke loose from his friends, and got out into the aisle, and proceeded to make a speech himself! The senator had been denying that the Democratic party was corrupt; it was always the Republicans who bought the votes, he said-and here was Jurgis shouting furiously, "It's a lie! It's a lie!" After which he went on to tell them how he knew it-that he knew it because he had bought them himself! And he would have told the "pitchfork senator" all his experiences, had not Harry Adams and a friend grabbed him about the neck and shoved him into a seat.
One of the first things that Jurgis had done after he got a job was to go and see Marija. She came down into the basement of the house to meet him, and he stood by the door with his hat in his hand, saying, "I've got work now, and so you can leave here."
But Marija only shook her head. There was nothing else for her to do, she said, and nobody to employ her. She could not keep her past a secret-girls had tried it, and they were always found out. There were thousands of men who came to this place, and sooner or later she would meet one of them. "And besides," Marija added, "I can't do anything. I'm no good-I take dope. What could you do with me?"
"Can't you stop?" Jurgis cried.
"No," she answered, "I'll never stop. What's the use of talking about it-I'll stay here till I die, I guess. It's all I'm fit for." And that was all that he could get her to say-there was no use trying. When he told her he would not let Elzbieta take her money, she answered indifferently: "Then it'll be wasted here-that's all." Her eyelids looked heavy and her face was red and swollen; he saw that he was annoying her, that she only wanted him to go away. So he went, disappointed and sad.
Poor Jurgis was not very happy in his home-life. Elzbieta was sick a good deal now, and the boys were wild and unruly, and very much the worse for their life upon the streets. But he stuck by the family nevertheless, for they reminded him of his old happiness; and when things went wrong he could solace himself with a plunge into the Socialist movement. Since his life had been caught up into the current of this great stream, things which had before been the whole of life to him came to seem of relatively slight importance; his interests were elsewhere, in the world of ideas. His outward life was commonplace and uninteresting; he was just a hotel-porter, and expected to remain one while he lived; but meantime, in the realm of thought, his life was a perpetual adventure. There was so much to know-so many wonders to be discovered! Never in all his life did Jurgis forget the day before election, when there came a telephone message from a friend of Harry Adams, asking him to bring Jurgis to see him that night; and Jurgis went, and met one of the minds of the movement.
The invitation was from a man named Fisher, a Chicago millionaire who had given up his life to settlement work, and had a little home in the heart of the city's slums. He did not belong to the party, but he was in sympathy with it; and he said that he was to have as his guest that night the editor of a big Eastern magazine, who wrote against Socialism, but really did not know what it was. The millionaire suggested that Adams bring Jurgis along, and then start up the subject of "pure food," in which the editor was interested.
Young Fisher's home was a little two-story brick house, dingy and weather-beaten outside, but attractive within. The room that Jurgis saw was half lined with books, and upon the walls were many pictures, dimly visible in the soft, yellow light; it was a cold, rainy night, so a log fire was crackling in the open hearth. Seven or eight people were gathered about it when Adams and his friend arrived, and Jurgis saw to his dismay that three of them were ladies. He had never talked to people of this sort before, and he fell into an agony of embarrassment. He stood in the doorway clutching his hat tightly in his hands, and made a deep bow to each of the persons as he was introduced; then, when he was asked to have a seat, he took a chair in a dark corner, and sat down upon the edge of it, and wiped the perspiration off his forehead with his sleeve. He was terrified lest they should expect him to talk.
There was the host himself, a tall, athletic young man, clad in evening dress, as also was the editor, a dyspeptic-looking gentleman named Maynard. There was the former's frail young wife, and also an elderly lady, who taught kindergarten in the settlement, and a young college student, a beautiful girl with an intense and earnest face. She only spoke once or twice while Jurgis was there-the rest of the time she sat by the table in the center of the room, resting her chin in her hands and drinking in the conversation. There were two other men, whom young Fisher had introduced to Jurgis as Mr. Lucas and Mr. Schliemann; he heard them address Adams as "Comrade," and so he knew that they were Socialists.
The one called Lucas was a mild and meek-looking little gentleman of clerical aspect; he had been an itinerant evangelist, it transpired, and had seen the light and become a prophet of the new dispensation. He traveled all over the country, living like the apostles of old, upon hospitality, and preaching upon street-corners when there was no hall. The other man had been in the midst of a discussion with the editor when Adams and Jurgis came in; and at the suggestion of the host they resumed it after the interruption. Jurgis was soon sitting spellbound, thinking that here was surely the strangest man that had ever lived in the world.
Nicholas Schliemann was a Swede, a tall, gaunt person, with hairy hands and bristling yellow beard; he was a university man, and had been a professor of philosophy-until, as he said, he had found that he was selling his character as well as his time. Instead he had come to America, where he lived in a garret room in this slum district, and made volcanic energy take the place of fire. He studied the composition of food-stuffs, and knew exactly how many proteids and carbohydrates his body needed; and by scientific chewing he said that he tripled the value of all he ate, so that it cost him eleven cents a day. About the first of July he would leave Chicago for his vacation, on foot; and when he struck the harvest fields he would set to work for two dollars and a half a day, and come home when he had another year's supply-a hundred and twenty-five dollars. That was the nearest approach to independence a man could make "under capitalism," he explained; he would never marry, for no sane man would allow himself to fall in love until after the revolution.
He sat in a big arm-chair, with his legs crossed, and his head so far in the shadow that one saw only two glowing lights, reflected from the fire on the hearth. He spoke simply, and utterly without emotion; with the manner of a teacher setting forth to a group of scholars an axiom in geometry, he would enunciate such propositions as made the hair of an ordinary person rise on end. And when the auditor had asserted his non-comprehension, he would proceed to elucidate by some new proposition, yet more appalling. To Jurgis the Herr Dr. Schliemann assumed the proportions of a thunderstorm or an earthquake. And yet, strange as it might seem, there was a subtle bond between them, and he could follow the argument nearly all the time. He was carried over the difficult places in spite of himself; and he went plunging away in mad career-a very Mazeppa-ride upon the wild horse Speculation.
Nicholas Schliemann was familiar with all the universe, and with man as a small part of it. He understood human institutions, and blew them about like soap bubbles. It was surprising that so much destructiveness could be contained in one human mind. Was it government? The purpose of government was the guarding of property-rights, the perpetuation of ancient force and modern fraud. Or was it marriage? Marriage and prostitution were two sides of one shield, the predatory man's exploitation of the sex-pleasure. The difference between them was a difference of class. If a woman had money she might dictate her own terms: equality, a life contract, and the legitimacy-that is, the property-rights-of her children. If she had no money, she was a proletarian, and sold herself for an existence. And then the subject became Religion, which was the Archfiend's deadliest weapon. Government oppressed the body of the wage-slave, but Religion oppressed his mind, and poisoned the stream of progress at its source. The working-man was to fix his hopes upon a future life, while his pockets were picked in this one; he was brought up to frugality, humility, obedience-in short to all the pseudo-virtues of capitalism. The destiny of civilization would be decided in one final death struggle between the Red International and the Black, between Socialism and the Roman Catholic Church; while here at home, "the stygian midnight of American evangelicalism-"
And here the ex-preacher entered the field, and there was a lively tussle. "Comrade" Lucas was not what is called an educated man; he knew only the Bible, but it was the Bible interpreted by real experience. And what was the use, he asked, of confusing Religion with men's perversions of it? That the church was in the hands of the merchants at the moment was obvious enough; but already there were signs of rebellion, and if Comrade Schliemann could come back a few years from now-
"Ah, yes," said the other, "of course, I have no doubt that in a hundred years the Vatican will be denying that it ever opposed Socialism, just as at present it denies that it ever tortured Galileo."
"I am not defending the Vatican," exclaimed Lucas, vehemently. "I am defending the word of God-which is one long cry of the human spirit for deliverance from the sway of oppression. Take the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Job, which I am accustomed to quote in my addresses as 'the Bible upon the Beef Trust'; or take the words of Isaiah-or of the Master himself! Not the elegant prince of our debauched and vicious art, not the jeweled idol of our society churches-but the Jesus of the awful reality, the man of sorrow and pain, the outcast, despised of the world, who had nowhere to lay his head-"
"I will grant you Jesus," interrupted the other.
"Well, then," cried Lucas, "and why should Jesus have nothing to do with his church-why should his words and his life be of no authority among those who profess to adore him? Here is a man who was the world's first revolutionist, the true founder of the Socialist movement; a man whose whole being was one flame of hatred for wealth, and all that wealth stands for,-for the pride of wealth, and the luxury of wealth, and the tyranny of wealth; who was himself a beggar and a tramp, a man of the people, an associate of saloon-keepers and women of the town; who again and again, in the most explicit language, denounced wealth and the holding of wealth: 'Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth!'-'Sell that ye have and give alms!'-'Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of Heaven!'-'Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation!'-'Verily, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of Heaven!' Who denounced in unmeasured terms the exploiters of his own time: 'Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!'-'Woe unto you also, you lawyers!'-'Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?' Who drove out the businessmen and brokers from the temple with a whip! Who was crucified-think of it-for an incendiary and a disturber of the social order! And this man they have made into the high priest of property and smug respectability, a divine sanction of all the horrors and abominations of modern commercial civilization! Jeweled images are made of him, sensual priests burn incense to him, and modern pirates of industry bring their dollars, wrung from the toil of helpless women and children, and build temples to him, and sit in cushioned seats and listen to his teachings expounded by doctors of dusty divinity-"
"Bravo!" cried Schliemann, laughing. But the other was in full career-he had talked this subject every day for five years, and had never yet let himself be stopped. "This Jesus of Nazareth!" he cried. "This class-conscious working-man! This union carpenter! This agitator, law-breaker, firebrand, anarchist! He, the sovereign lord and master of a world which grinds the bodies and souls of human beings into dollars-if he could come into the world this day and see the things that men have made in his name, would it not blast his soul with horror? Would he not go mad at the sight of it, he the Prince of Mercy and Love! That dreadful night when he lay in the Garden of Gethsemane and writhed in agony until he sweat blood-do you think that he saw anything worse than he might see tonight upon the plains of Manchuria, where men march out with a jeweled image of him before them, to do wholesale murder for the benefit of foul monsters of sensuality and cruelty? Do you not know that if he were in St. Petersburg now, he would take the whip with which he drove out the bankers from his temple-"
Here the speaker paused an instant for breath. "No, comrade," said the other, dryly, "for he was a practical man. He would take pretty little imitation lemons, such as are now being shipped into Russia, handy for carrying in the pockets, and strong enough to blow a whole temple out of sight."
Lucas waited until the company had stopped laughing over this; then he began again: "But look at it from the point of view of practical politics, comrade. Here is an historical figure whom all men reverence and love, whom some regard as divine; and who was one of us-who lived our life, and taught our doctrine. And now shall we leave him in the hands of his enemies-shall we allow them to stifle and stultify his example? We have his words, which no one can deny; and shall we not quote them to the people, and prove to them what he was, and what he taught, and what he did? No, no, a thousand times no!-we shall use his authority to turn out the knaves and sluggards from his ministry, and we shall yet rouse the people to action!-"
Lucas halted again; and the other stretched out his hand to a paper on the table. "Here, comrade," he said, with a laugh, "here is a place for you to begin. A bishop whose wife has just been robbed of fifty thousand dollars' worth of diamonds! And a most unctuous and oily of bishops! An eminent and scholarly bishop! A philanthropist and friend of labor bishop-a Civic Federation decoy duck for the chloroforming of the wage-working-man!"
To this little passage of arms the rest of the company sat as spectators. But now Mr. Maynard, the editor, took occasion to remark, somewhat naively, that he had always understood that Socialists had a cut-and-dried program for the future of civilization; whereas here were two active members of the party, who, from what he could make out, were agreed about nothing at all. Would the two, for his enlightenment, try to ascertain just what they had in common, and why they belonged to the same party? This resulted, after much debating, in the formulating of two carefully worded propositions: First, that a Socialist believes in the common ownership and democratic management of the means of producing the necessities of life; and, second, that a Socialist believes that the means by which this is to be brought about is the class conscious political organization of the wage-earners. Thus far they were at one; but no farther. To Lucas, the religious zealot, the co-operative commonwealth was the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of Heaven, which is "within you." To the other, Socialism was simply a necessary step toward a far-distant goal, a step to be tolerated with impatience. Schliemann called himself a "philosophic anarchist"; and he explained that an anarchist was one who believed that the end of human existence was the free development of every personality, unrestricted by laws save those of its own being. Since the same kind of match would light every one's fire and the same-shaped loaf of bread would fill every one's stomach, it would be perfectly feasible to submit industry to the control of a majority vote. There was only one earth, and the quantity of material things was limited. Of intellectual and moral things, on the other hand, there was no limit, and one could have more without another's having less; hence "Communism in material production, anarchism in intellectual," was the formula of modern proletarian thought. As soon as the birth agony was over, and the wounds of society had been healed, there would be established a simple system whereby each man was credited with his labor and debited with his purchases; and after that the processes of production, exchange, and consumption would go on automatically, and without our being conscious of them, any more than a man is conscious of the beating of his heart. And then, explained Schliemann, society would break up into independent, self-governing communities of mutually congenial persons; examples of which at present were clubs, churches, and political parties. After the revolution, all the intellectual, artistic, and spiritual activities of men would be cared for by such "free associations"; romantic novelists would be supported by those who liked to read romantic novels, and impressionist painters would be supported by those who liked to look at impressionist pictures-and the same with preachers and scientists, editors and actors and musicians. If any one wanted to work or paint or pray, and could find no one to maintain him, he could support himself by working part of the time. That was the case at present, the only difference being that the competitive wage system compelled a man to work all the time to live, while, after the abolition of privilege and exploitation, any one would be able to support himself by an hour's work a day. Also the artist's audience of the present was a small minority of people, all debased and vulgarized by the effort it had cost them to win in the commercial battle, of the intellectual and artistic activities which would result when the whole of mankind was set free from the nightmare of competition, we could at present form no conception whatever.
And then the editor wanted to know upon what ground Dr. Schliemann asserted that it might be possible for a society to exist upon an hour's toil by each of its members. "Just what," answered the other, "would be the productive capacity of society if the present resources of science were utilized, we have no means of ascertaining; but we may be sure it would exceed anything that would sound reasonable to minds inured to the ferocious barbarities of capitalism. After the triumph of the international proletariat, war would of course be inconceivable; and who can figure the cost of war to humanity-not merely the value of the lives and the material that it destroys, not merely the cost of keeping millions of men in idleness, of arming and equipping them for battle and parade, but the drain upon the vital energies of society by the war attitude and the war terror, the brutality and ignorance, the drunkenness, prostitution, and crime it entails, the industrial impotence and the moral deadness? Do you think that it would be too much to say that two hours of the working time of every efficient member of a community goes to feed the red fiend of war?"
And then Schliemann went on to outline some of the wastes of competition: the losses of industrial warfare; the ceaseless worry and friction; the vices-such as drink, for instance, the use of which had nearly doubled in twenty years, as a consequence of the intensification of the economic struggle; the idle and unproductive members of the community, the frivolous rich and the pauperized poor; the law and the whole machinery of repression; the wastes of social ostentation, the milliners and tailors, the hairdressers, dancing masters, chefs and lackeys. "You understand," he said, "that in a society dominated by the fact of commercial competition, money is necessarily the test of prowess, and wastefulness the sole criterion of power. So we have, at the present moment, a society with, say, thirty per cent of the population occupied in producing useless articles, and one per cent occupied in destroying them. And this is not all; for the servants and panders of the parasites are also parasites, the milliners and the jewelers and the lackeys have also to be supported by the useful members of the community. And bear in mind also that this monstrous disease affects not merely the idlers and their menials, its poison penetrates the whole social body. Beneath the hundred thousand women of the elite are a million middle-class women, miserable because they are not of the elite, and trying to appear of it in public; and beneath them, in turn, are five million farmers' wives reading 'fashion papers' and trimming bonnets, and shop-girls and serving-maids selling themselves into brothels for cheap jewelry and imitation seal-skin robes. And then consider that, added to this competition in display, you have, like oil on the flames, a whole system of competition in selling! You have manufacturers contriving tens of thousands of catchpenny devices, storekeepers displaying them, and newspapers and magazines filled up with advertisements of them!"
"And don't forget the wastes of fraud," put in young Fisher.
"When one comes to the ultra-modern profession of advertising," responded Schliemann-"the science of persuading people to buy what they do not want-he is in the very center of the ghastly charnel house of capitalist destructiveness, and he scarcely knows which of a dozen horrors to point out first. But consider the waste in time and energy incidental to making ten thousand varieties of a thing for purposes of ostentation and snobbishness, where one variety would do for use! Consider all the waste incidental to the manufacture of cheap qualities of goods, of goods made to sell and deceive the ignorant; consider the wastes of adulteration,-the shoddy clothing, the cotton blankets, the unstable tenements, the ground-cork life-preservers, the adulterated milk, the aniline soda water, the potato-flour sausages-"
"And consider the moral aspects of the thing," put in the ex-preacher.
"Precisely," said Schliemann; "the low knavery and the ferocious cruelty incidental to them, the plotting and the lying and the bribing, the blustering and bragging, the screaming egotism, the hurrying and worrying. Of course, imitation and adulteration are the essence of competition-they are but another form of the phrase 'to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest.' A government official has stated that the nation suffers a loss of a billion and a quarter dollars a year through adulterated foods; which means, of course, not only materials wasted that might have been useful outside of the human stomach, but doctors and nurses for people who would otherwise have been well, and undertakers for the whole human race ten or twenty years before the proper time. Then again, consider the waste of time and energy required to sell these things in a dozen stores, where one would do. There are a million or two of business firms in the country, and five or ten times as many clerks; and consider the handling and rehandling, the accounting and reaccounting, the planning and worrying, the balancing of petty profit and loss. Consider the whole machinery of the civil law made necessary by these processes; the libraries of ponderous tomes, the courts and juries to interpret them, the lawyers studying to circumvent them, the pettifogging and chicanery, the hatreds and lies! Consider the wastes incidental to the blind and haphazard production of commodities-the factories closed, the workers idle, the goods spoiling in storage; consider the activities of the stock manipulator, the paralyzing of whole industries, the overstimulation of others, for speculative purposes; the assignments and bank failures, the crises and panics, the deserted towns and the starving populations! Consider the energies wasted in the seeking of markets, the sterile trades, such as drummer, solicitor, bill-poster, advertising agent. Consider the wastes incidental to the crowding into cities, made necessary by competition and by monopoly railroad rates; consider the slums, the bad air, the disease and the waste of vital energies; consider the office buildings, the waste of time and material in the piling of story upon story, and the burrowing underground! Then take the whole business of insurance, the enormous mass of administrative and clerical labor it involves, and all utter waste-"
"I do not follow that," said the editor. "The Cooperative Commonwealth is a universal automatic insurance company and savings bank for all its members. Capital being the property of all, injury to it is shared by all and made up by all. The bank is the universal government credit-account, the ledger in which every individual's earnings and spendings ate balanced. There is also a universal government bulletin, in which are listed and precisely described everything which the commonwealth has for sale. As no one makes any profit by the sale, there is no longer any stimulus to extravagance, and no misrepresentation; no cheating, no adulteration or imitation, no bribery or 'grafting.'"
"How is the price of an article determined?"
"The price is the labor it has cost to make and deliver it, and it is determined by the first principles of arithmetic. The million workers in the nation's wheat fields have worked a hundred days each, and the total product of the labor is a billion bushels, so the value of a bushel of wheat is the tenth part of a farm labor-day. If we employ an arbitrary symbol, and pay, say, five dollars a day for farm work, then the cost of a bushel of wheat is fifty cents."
"You say 'for farm work,'" said Mr. Maynard. "Then labor is not to be paid alike?"
"Manifestly not, since some work is easy and some hard, and we should have millions of rural mail carriers, and no coal miners. Of course the wages may be left the same, and the hours varied; one or the other will have to be varied continually, according as a greater or less number of workers is needed in any particular industry. That is precisely what is done at present, except that the transfer of the workers is accomplished blindly and imperfectly, by rumors and advertisements, instead of instantly and completely, by a universal government bulletin."
"How about those occupations in which time is difficult to calculate? What is the labor cost of a book?"
"Obviously it is the labor cost of the paper, printing, and binding of it-about a fifth of its present cost."
"And the author?"
"I have already said that the state could not control intellectual production. The state might say that it had taken a year to write the book, and the author might say it had taken thirty. Goethe said that every bon mot of his had cost a purse of gold. What I outline here is a national, or rather international, system for the providing of the material needs of men. Since a man has intellectual needs also, he will work longer, earn more, and provide for them to his own taste and in his own way. I live on the same earth as the majority, I wear the same kind of shoes and sleep in the same kind of bed; but I do not think the same kind of thoughts, and I do not wish to pay for such thinkers as the majority selects. I wish such things to be left to free effort, as at present. If people want to listen to a certain preacher, they get together and contribute what they please, and pay for a church and support the preacher, and then listen to him; I, who do not want to listen to him, stay away, and it costs me nothing. In the same way there are magazines about Egyptian coins, and Catholic saints, and flying machines, and athletic records, and I know nothing about any of them. On the other hand, if wage slavery were abolished, and I could earn some spare money without paying tribute to an exploiting capitalist, then there would be a magazine for the purpose of interpreting and popularizing the gospel of Friedrich Nietzsche, the prophet of Evolution, and also of Horace Fletcher, the inventor of the noble science of clean eating; and incidentally, perhaps, for the discouraging of long skirts, and the scientific breeding of men and women, and the establishing of divorce by mutual consent."
Dr. Schliemann paused for a moment. "That was a lecture," he said with a laugh, "and yet I am only begun!"
"What else is there?" asked Maynard.
"I have pointed out some of the negative wastes of competition," answered the other. "I have hardly mentioned the positive economies of co-operation. Allowing five to a family, there are fifteen million families in this country; and at least ten million of these live separately, the domestic drudge being either the wife or a wage slave. Now set aside the modern system of pneumatic house-cleaning, and the economies of co-operative cooking; and consider one single item, the washing of dishes. Surely it is moderate to say that the dishwashing for a family of five takes half an hour a day; with ten hours as a day's work, it takes, therefore, half a million able-bodied persons-mostly women to do the dishwashing of the country. And note that this is most filthy and deadening and brutalizing work; that it is a cause of anemia, nervousness, ugliness, and ill-temper; of prostitution, suicide, and insanity; of drunken husbands and degenerate children-for all of which things the community has naturally to pay. And now consider that in each of my little free communities there would be a machine which would wash and dry the dishes, and do it, not merely to the eye and the touch, but scientifically-sterilizing them-and do it at a saving of all the drudgery and nine-tenths of the time! All of these things you may find in the books of Mrs. Gilman; and then take Kropotkin's Fields, Factories, and Workshops, and read about the new science of agriculture, which has been built up in the last ten years; by which, with made soils and intensive culture, a gardener can raise ten or twelve crops in a season, and two hundred tons of vegetables upon a single acre; by which the population of the whole globe could be supported on the soil now cultivated in the United States alone! It is impossible to apply such methods now, owing to the ignorance and poverty of our scattered farming population; but imagine the problem of providing the food supply of our nation once taken in hand systematically and rationally, by scientists! All the poor and rocky land set apart for a national timber reserve, in which our children play, and our young men hunt, and our poets dwell! The most favorable climate and soil for each product selected; the exact requirements of the community known, and the acreage figured accordingly; the most improved machinery employed, under the direction of expert agricultural chemists! I was brought up on a farm, and I know the awful deadliness of farm work; and I like to picture it all as it will be after the revolution. To picture the great potato-planting machine, drawn by four horses, or an electric motor, ploughing the furrow, cutting and dropping and covering the potatoes, and planting a score of acres a day! To picture the great potato-digging machine, run by electricity, perhaps, and moving across a thousand-acre field, scooping up earth and potatoes, and dropping the latter into sacks! To every other kind of vegetable and fruit handled in the same way-apples and oranges picked by machinery, cows milked by electricity-things which are already done, as you may know. To picture the harvest fields of the future, to which millions of happy men and women come for a summer holiday, brought by special trains, the exactly needful number to each place! And to contrast all this with our present agonizing system of independent small farming,-a stunted, haggard, ignorant man, mated with a yellow, lean, and sad-eyed drudge, and toiling from four o'clock in the morning until nine at night, working the children as soon as they are able to walk, scratching the soil with its primitive tools, and shut out from all knowledge and hope, from all their benefits of science and invention, and all the joys of the spirit-held to a bare existence by competition in labor, and boasting of his freedom because he is too blind to see his chains!"
Dr. Schliemann paused a moment. "And then," he continued, "place beside this fact of an unlimited food supply, the newest discovery of physiologists, that most of the ills of the human system are due to overfeeding! And then again, it has been proven that meat is unnecessary as a food; and meat is obviously more difficult to produce than vegetable food, less pleasant to prepare and handle, and more likely to be unclean. But what of that, so long as it tickles the palate more strongly?"
"How would Socialism change that?" asked the girl-student, quickly. It was the first time she had spoken.
"So long as we have wage slavery," answered Schliemann, "it matters not in the least how debasing and repulsive a task may be, it is easy to find people to perform it. But just as soon as labor is set free, then the price of such work will begin to rise. So one by one the old, dingy, and unsanitary factories will come down-it will be cheaper to build new; and so the steamships will be provided with stoking machinery, and so the dangerous trades will be made safe, or substitutes will be found for their products. In exactly the same way, as the citizens of our Industrial Republic become refined, year by year the cost of slaughterhouse products will increase; until eventually those who want to eat meat will have to do their own killing-and how long do you think the custom would survive then?-To go on to another item-one of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption; and one of the consequences of civic administration by ignorant and vicious politicians, is that preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery, and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course, they remain as centers of contagion, poisoning the lives of all of us, and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be of less importance than the application of the knowledge we already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have established their right to a human existence."
And here the Herr Doctor relapsed into silence again. Jurgis had noticed that the beautiful young girl who sat by the center-table was listening with something of the same look that he himself had worn, the time when he had first discovered Socialism. Jurgis would have liked to talk to her, he felt sure that she would have understood him. Later on in the evening, when the group broke up, he heard Mrs. Fisher say to her, in a low voice, "I wonder if Mr. Maynard will still write the same things about Socialism"; to which she answered, "I don't know-but if he does we shall know that he is a knave!"
And only a few hours after this came election day-when the long campaign was over, and the whole country seemed to stand still and hold its breath, awaiting the issue. Jurgis and the rest of the staff of Hinds's Hotel could hardly stop to finish their dinner, before they hurried off to the big hall which the party had hired for that evening.
But already there were people waiting, and already the telegraph instrument on the stage had begun clicking off the returns. When the final accounts were made up, the Socialist vote proved to be over four hundred thousand-an increase of something like three hundred and fifty per cent in four years. And that was doing well; but the party was dependent for its early returns upon messages from the locals, and naturally those locals which had been most successful were the ones which felt most like reporting; and so that night every one in the hall believed that the vote was going to be six, or seven, or even eight hundred thousand. Just such an incredible increase had actually been made in Chicago, and in the state; the vote of the city had been 6,700 in 1900, and now it was 47,000; that of Illinois had been 9,600, and now it was 69,000! So, as the evening waxed, and the crowd piled in, the meeting was a sight to be seen. Bulletins would be read, and the people would shout themselves hoarse-and then some one would make a speech, and there would be more shouting; and then a brief silence, and more bulletins. There would come messages from the secretaries of neighboring states, reporting their achievements; the vote of Indiana had gone from 2,300 to 12,000, of Wisconsin from 7,000 to 28,000; of Ohio from 4,800 to 36,000! There were telegrams to the national office from enthusiastic individuals in little towns which had made amazing and unprecedented increases in a single year: Benedict, Kansas, from 26 to 260; Henderson, Kentucky, from 19 to 111; Holland, Michigan, from 14 to 208; Cleo, Oklahoma, from 0 to 104; Martin's Ferry, Ohio, from 0 to 296-and many more of the same kind. There were literally hundreds of such towns; there would be reports from half a dozen of them in a single batch of telegrams. And the men who read the despatches off to the audience were old campaigners, who had been to the places and helped to make the vote, and could make appropriate comments: Quincy, Illinois, from 189 to 831-that was where the mayor had arrested a Socialist speaker! Crawford County, Kansas, from 285 to 1,975; that was the home of the "Appeal to Reason"! Battle Creek, Michigan, from 4,261 to 10,184; that was the answer of labor to the Citizens' Alliance Movement!
And then there were official returns from the various precincts and wards of the city itself! Whether it was a factory district or one of the "silk-stocking" wards seemed to make no particular difference in the increase; but one of the things which surprised the party leaders most was the tremendous vote that came rolling in from the stockyards. Packingtown comprised three wards of the city, and the vote in the spring of 1903 had been 500, and in the fall of the same year, 1,600. Now, only one year later, it was over 6,300-and the Democratic vote only 8,800! There were other wards in which the Democratic vote had been actually surpassed, and in two districts, members of the state legislature had been elected. Thus Chicago now led the country; it had set a new standard for the party, it had shown the workingmen the way!
-So spoke an orator upon the platform; and two thousand pairs of eyes were fixed upon him, and two thousand voices were cheering his every sentence. The orator had been the head of the city's relief bureau in the stockyards, until the sight of misery and corruption had made him sick. He was young, hungry-looking, full of fire; and as he swung his long arms and beat up the crowd, to Jurgis he seemed the very spirit of the revolution. "Organize! Organize! Organize!"-that was his cry. He was afraid of this tremendous vote, which his party had not expected, and which it had not earned. "These men are not Socialists!" he cried. "This election will pass, and the excitement will die, and people will forget about it; and if you forget about it, too, if you sink back and rest upon your oars, we shall lose this vote that we have polled to-day, and our enemies will laugh us to scorn! It rests with you to take your resolution-now, in the flush of victory, to find these men who have voted for us, and bring them to our meetings, and organize them and bind them to us! We shall not find all our campaigns as easy as this one. Everywhere in the country tonight the old party politicians are studying this vote, and setting their sails by it; and nowhere will they be quicker or more cunning than here in our own city. Fifty thousand Socialist votes in Chicago means a municipal-ownership Democracy in the spring! And then they will fool the voters once more, and all the powers of plunder and corruption will be swept into office again! But whatever they may do when they get in, there is one thing they will not do, and that will be the thing for which they were elected! They will not give the people of our city municipal ownership-they will not mean to do it, they will not try to do it; all that they will do is give our party in Chicago the greatest opportunity that has ever come to Socialism in America! We shall have the sham reformers self-stultified and self-convicted; we shall have the radical Democracy left without a lie with which to cover its nakedness! And then will begin the rush that will never be checked, the tide that will never turn till it has reached its flood-that will be irresistible, overwhelming-the rallying of the outraged workingmen of Chicago to our standard! And we shall organize them, we shall drill them, we shall marshal them for the victory! We shall bear down the opposition, we shall sweep if before us-and Chicago will be ours! Chicago will be ours! CHICAGO WILL BE OURS!"