Part 3 out of 6
``Why not drop in here when you're down town?'' suggested Victor.
She wondered why she did not hang up the receiver and forget him.
But she did not. She murmured, ``In due time I'll punish you for
this, sir,'' and said to him: ``There are reasons why it's
impossible for me to go there just now. And you know I can't
meet you in a saloon or on a street corner.''
``I'm not so sure of that,'' laughed he. ``Let me see. I'm very
busy. But I could come for half an hour this afternoon.''
She had planned an evening session, being well aware of the
favorable qualities of air and light after the matter-of-fact sun
has withdrawn his last rays. But she promptly decided to accept
what offered. ``At three?''
``At four,'' replied he.
``You haven't forgotten those books?''
``Books? Oh, yes--yes, I remember. I'll bring them.''
``Thank you so much,'' said she sweetly. ``Good-by.''
And at four she was waiting for him on the front veranda in a
house dress that was--well, it was not quite the proper costume
for such an occasion, but no one else was to see, and he didn't
know about that sort of thing--and the gown gave her charms their
best possible exposure except evening dress, which was out of the
question. She had not long to wait. One of the clocks within
hearing had struck and another was just beginning to strike when
she saw him coming toward the house. She furtively watched him,
admiring his walk without quite knowing why. You may perhaps
know the walk that was Victor's--a steady forward advance of the
whole body held firmly, almost rigidly --the walk of a man
leading another to the scaffold, or of a man being led there in
conscious innocence, or of a man ready to go wherever his
purposes may order--ready to go without any heroics or fuss of
any kind, but simply in the course of the day's business. When a
man walks like that, he is worth observing-- and it is well to
think twice before obstructing his way.
That steady, inevitable advance gave Jane Hastings an absurd
feeling of nervousness. She had an impulse to fly, as from some
oncoming danger. Yet what was coming, in fact? A clever young
man of the working class, dressed in garments of the kind his
class dressed in on Sunday, and plebeianly carrying a bundle
under his arm.
``Our clock says you are three seconds late,'' cried she,
laughing and extending her hand in a friendly, equal way that
would have immensely flattered almost any man of her own class.
``But another protests that you are one second early.''
``I'm one of those fools who waste their time and their nerves by
being punctual,'' said he.
He laid the books on the wicker sofa. But instead of sitting
Jane said: ``We might be interrupted here. Come to the west
There she had him in a leafy solitude--he facing her as she posed
in fascinating grace in a big chair. He looked at her--not the
look of a man at a woman, but the look of a busy person at one
who is about to show cause for having asked for a portion of his
valuable time. She laughed--and laughter was her best gesture.
``I can never talk to you if you pose like that,'' said she.
``Honestly now, is your time so pricelessly precious?''
He echoed her laugh and settled himself more at his ease. ``What
did you want of me?'' he asked.
``I intend to try to get better hours and better wages for the
street car men,'' said she. ``To do it, I must know just what is
right--what I can hope to get. General talk is foolish. If I go
at father I must have definite proposals to make, with reasons
for them. I don't want him to evade. I would have gotten my
information elsewhere, but I could think of no one but you who
might not mislead me.''
She had confidently expected that this carefully thought out
scheme would do the trick. He would admire her, would be
interested, would be drawn into a position where she could enlist
him as a constant adviser. He moved toward the edge of his chair
as if about to rise. He said, pleasantly enough but without a
spark of enthusiasm:
``That's very nice of you, Miss Hastings. But I can't advise
you--beyond saying that if I were you, I shouldn't meddle.''
She--that is, her vanity--was cut to the quick. ``Oh!'' said she
with irony, ``I fancied you wished the laboring men to have a
better sort of life.''
``Yes,'' said he. ``But I'm not in favor of running hysterically
about with a foolish little atomizer in the great stable. You
are talking charity. I am working for justice. It will not
really benefit the working man for the company, at the urging of
a sweet and lovely young Lady Bountiful, to deign graciously to
grant a little less slavery to them. In fact, a well fed, well
cared for slave is worse off than one who's badly treated --worse
off because farther from his freedom. The only things that do
our class any good, Miss Hastings, are the things they
COMPEL--compel by their increased intelligence and increased
unity and power. They get what they deserve. They won't deserve
more until they compel more. Gifts won't help--not even gifts
from--'' His intensely blue eyes danced--``from such charming
white hands so beautifully manicured.''
She rose with an angry toss of the head. ``I didn't ask you here
to annoy me with impertinences about my finger nails.''
He rose, at his ease, good-humored, ready to go. ``Then you
should have worn gloves,'' said he carelessly, ``for I've been
able to think only of your finger nails--and to wonder WHAT can
be done with hands like that. Thank you for a pleasant talk.''
He bowed and smiled. ``Good-by. Oh--Miss Gordon sent you her
``What IS the matter, Mr. Dorn?'' cried the girl desperately.
``I want your friendship--your respect. CAN'T I get it? Am I
utterly hopeless in your eyes?''
A curious kind of color rose in his cheeks. His eyes regarded
her with a mysterious steadiness. ``You want neither my respect
nor my friendship,'' said he. ``You want to amuse yourself.''
He pointed at her hands. ``Those nails betray you.'' He
shrugged his shoulders, laughed, said as if to a child: ``You
are a nice girl, Jane Hastings. It's a pity you weren't brought
up to be of some use. But you weren't--and it's too late.''
Her eyes flashed, her bosom heaved. ``WHY do I take these things
from you? WHY do I invite them?''
``Because you inherit your father's magnificent persistence--and
you've set your heart on the whim of making a fool of me--and you
hate to give up.''
``You wrong me--indeed you do,'' cried she. ``I want to learn--I
want to be of use in the world. I want to have some kind of a
``Really?'' mocked he good-humoredly.
``Really,'' said she with all her power of sweet earnestness.
``Then--cut your nails and go to work. And when you have become
a genuine laborer, you'll begin to try to improve not the
condition of others, but your own. The way to help workers is to
abolish the idlers who hang like a millstone about their necks.
You can help only by abolishing the one idler under your
She stood nearer him, very near him. She threw out her lovely
arms in a gesture of humility. ``I will do whatever you say,''
They looked each into the other's eyes. The color fled from her
face, the blood poured into his--wave upon wave, until he was
like a man who has been set on fire by the furious heat of long
years of equatorial sun. He muttered, wheeled about and strode
away-- in resolute and relentless flight. She dropped down where
he had been sitting and hid her face in her perfumed hands.
``I care for him,'' she moaned, ``and he saw and he despises me!
How COULD I--how COULD I!''
Nevertheless, within a quarter of an hour she was in her dressing
room, standing at the table, eyes carefully avoiding her mirrored
eyes--as she cut her finger nails.
Jane was mistaken in her guess at the cause of Victor Dorn's
agitation and abrupt flight. If he had any sense whatever of the
secret she had betrayed to him and to herself at the same instant
it was wholly unconscious. He had become panic-stricken and had
fled because he, faced with her exuberance and tempting wealth of
physical charm, had become suddenly conscious of her and of
himself in a way as new to him as if he had been fresh from a
monkery where no woman had ever been seen. Thus far the world
had been peopled for him with human beings without any reference
to sex. The phenomena of sex had not interested him because his
mind had been entirely taken up with the other aspects of life;
and he had not yet reached the stage of development where a
thinker grasps the truth that all questions are at bottom
questions of the sex relation, and that, therefore, no question
can be settled right until the sex relations are settled right.
Jane Hastings was the first girl he had met in his whole life who
was in a position to awaken that side of his nature. And when
his brain suddenly filled with a torrent of mad longings and of
sensuous appreciations of her laces and silk, of her perfume and
smoothness and roundness, of the ecstasy that would come from
contact with those warm, rosy lips--when Victor Dorn found
himself all in a flash eager impetuosity to seize this woman whom
he did not approve of, whom he did not even like, he felt bowed
with shame. He would not have believed himself capable of such a
thing. He fled.
He fled, but she pursued. And when he sat down in the garden
behind his mother's cottage, to work at a table where bees and
butterflies had been his only disturbers, there was this SHE
before him--her soft, shining gaze fascinating his gaze, her
useless but lovely white hands extended tantalizingly toward him.
As he continued to look at her, his disapproval and dislike
melted. ``I was brutally harsh to her,'' he thought repentantly.
``She was honestly trying to do the decent thing. How was she to
know? And wasn't I as much wrong as right in advising her not to
help the men?''
Beyond question, it was theoretically best for the two opposing
forces, capital and labor, to fight their battle to its
inevitable end without interference, without truce, with quarter
neither given nor taken on either side. But practically--wasn't
there something to be said for such humane proposals of that of
Jane Hastings? They would put off the day of right conditions
rightly and therefore permanently founded--conditions in which
master and slave or serf or wage-taker would be no more; but, on
the other hand, slaves with shorter hours of toil and better
surroundings could be enlightened more easily. Perhaps. He was
by no means sure; he could not but fear that anything that tended
to make the slave comfortable in his degradation must of
necessity weaken his aversion to degradation. Just as the worst
kings were the best kings because they hastened the fall of
monarchy, so the worst capitalists, the most rapacious, the most
rigid enforcers of the economic laws of a capitalistic society
were the best capitalists, were helping to hasten the day when
men would work for what they earned and would earn what they
worked for--when every man's pay envelope would contain his
wages, his full wages, and nothing but his wages.
Still, where judgment was uncertain, he certainly had been unjust
to that well meaning girl. And was she really so worthless as he
had on first sight adjudged her? There might be exceptions to
the rule that a parasite born and bred can have no other
instructor or idea but those of parasitism. She was honest and
earnest, was eager to learn the truth. She might be put to some
use. At any rate he had been unworthy of his own ideals when he,
assuming without question that she was the usual capitalistic
snob with the itch for gratifying vanity by patronizing the
``poor dear lower classes,'' had been almost insultingly curt and
``What was the matter with me?'' he asked himself. ``I never
acted in that way before.'' And then he saw that his brusqueness
had been the cover for fear of of her--fear of the allure of her
luxury and her beauty. In love with her? He knew that he was
not. No, his feeling toward her was merely the crudest form of
the tribute of man to woman--though apparently woman as a rule
preferred this form to any other.
``I owe her an apology,'' he said to himself. And so it came to
pass that at three the following afternoon he was once more
facing her in that creeper-walled seclusion whose soft lights
were almost equal to light of gloaming or moon or stars in
Said he--always direct and simple, whether dealing with man or
woman, with devious person or straight:
``I've come to beg your pardon for what I said yesterday.''
``You certainly were wild and strange,'' laughed she.
``I was supercilious,'' said he. ``And worse than that there is
not. However, as I have apologized, and you have accepted my
apology, we need waste no more time about that. You wished to
persuade your father to----''
``Just a moment!'' interrupted she. ``I've a question to ask.
WHY did you treat me--why have you been treating me so--so
``Because I was afraid of you,'' replied he. ``I did not realize
it, but that was the reason.''
``Afraid of ME,'' said she. ``That's very flattering.''
``No,'' said he, coloring. ``In some mysterious way I had been
betrayed into thinking of you as no man ought to think of a woman
unless he is in love with her and she with him. I am ashamed of
myself. But I shall conquer that feeling--or keep away from you.
. . . Do you understand what the street car situation is?''
But she was not to be deflected from the main question, now that
it had been brought to the front so unexpectedly and in exactly
the way most favorable to her purposes. ``You've made me
uneasy,'' said she. ``I don't in the least understand what you
mean. I have wanted, and I still want, to be friends with
you--good friends--just as you and Selma Gordon are--though of
course I couldn't hope to be as close a friend as she is. I'm
too ignorant--too useless.''
He shook his head--with him, a gesture that conveyed the full
strength of negation. ``We are on opposite sides of a line
across which friendship is impossible. I could not be your
friend without being false to myself. You couldn't be mine
unless you were by some accident flung into the working class and
forced to adopt it as your own. Even then you'd probably remain
what you are. Only a small part of the working class as yet is
at heart of the working class. Most of us secretly--almost
openly--despise the life of work, and dream and hope a time of
fortune that will put us up among the masters and the idlers.''
His expressive eyes became eloquent. ``The false and shallow
ideas that have been educated into us for ages can't be uprooted
in a few brief years.''
She felt the admiration she did not try to conceal. She saw the
proud and splendid conception of the dignity of labor--of labor
as a blessing, not a curse, as a badge of aristocracy and not of
slavery and shame. ``You really believe that, don't you?'' she
said. ``I know it's true. I say I believe it--who doesn't SAY
so? But I don't FEEL it.''
``That's honest,'' said he heartily. ``That's some thing to
``And I'm going to build!'' cried she. ``You'll help me--won't
you? I know, it's a great deal to ask. Why should you take the
time and the trouble to bother with one single unimportant
``That's the way I spend my life--in adding one man or one woman
to our party--one at a time. It's slow building, but it's the
only kind that endures. There are twelve hundred of us
now--twelve hundred voters, I mean. Ten years ago there were
only three hundred. We'd expand much more rapidly if it weren't
for the constant shifts of population. Our men are forced to go
elsewhere as the pressure of capitalism gets too strong. And in
place of them come raw emigrants, ignorant, full of dreams of
becoming capitalists and exploiters of their fellow men and
idlers. Ambition they call it. Ambition!'' He laughed. ``What
a vulgar, what a cruel notion of rising in the world! To cease
to be useful, to become a burden to others! . . . Did you ever
think how many poor creatures have to toil longer hours, how many
children have to go to the factory instead of to school, in order
that there may be two hundred and seven automobiles privately
kept in this town and seventy-four chauffeurs doing nothing but
wait upon their masters? Money doesn't grow on bushes, you know.
Every cent of it has to be earned by somebody--and earned by
``I must think about that,'' she said--for the first time as much
interested in what he was saying as in the man himself. No small
triumph for Victor over the mind of a woman dominated, as was
Jane Hastings, by the sex instinct that determines the thoughts
and actions of practically the entire female sex.
``Yes--think about it,'' he urged. ``You will never see it--or
anything--until you see it for yourself.''
``That's the way your party is built--isn't it?'' inquired she.
``Of those who see it for themselves.''
``Only those,'' replied he. ``We want no others.''
``Not even their votes?'' said she shrewdly.
``Not even their votes,'' he answered. ``We've no desire to get
the offices until we get them to keep. And when we shall have
conquered the city, we'll move on to the conquest of the
county--then of the district--then of the state. Our kind of
movement is building in every city now, and in most of the towns
and many of the villages. The old parties are falling to pieces
because they stand for the old politics of the two factions of
the upper class quarreling over which of them should superintend
the exploiting of the people. Very few of us realize what is
going on before our very eyes-- that we're seeing the death
agonies of one form of civilization and the birth-throes of a
``And what will it be?'' asked the girl.
She had been waiting for some sign of the ``crank,'' the
impractical dreamer. She was confident that this question would
reveal the man she had been warned against--that in answering it
he would betray his true self. But he disappointed and surprised
``How can I tell what it will be?'' said he. ``I'm not a
prophet. All I can say is I am sure it will be human, full of
imperfections, full of opportunities for improvements--and that I
hope it will be better than what we have now. Probably not much
better, but a little--and that little, however small it may be,
will be a gain. Doesn't history show a slow but steady advance
of the idea that the world is for the people who live in it, a
slow retreat of the idea that the world and the people and all
its and their resources are for a favored few of some kind of an
upper class? Yes--I think it is reasonable to hope that out of
the throes will come a freer and a happier and a more intelligent
Suddenly she burst out, apparently irrelevantly: ``But I
can't--I really can't agree with you that everyone ought to do
physical labor. That would drag the world down--yes, I'm sure it
``I guess you haven't thought about that,'' said he. ``Painters
do physical labor--and sculptors--and writers-- and all the
scientific men--and the inventors-- and--'' He laughed at
her--``Who doesn't do physical labor that does anything really
useful? Why, you yourself--at tennis and riding and such
things--do heavy physical labor. I've only to look at your body
to see that. But it's of a foolish kind--foolish and narrowly
``I see I'd better not try to argue with you,'' said she.
``No--don't argue--with me or with anybody,'' rejoined he. ``Sit
down quietly and think about life-- about your life. Think how
it is best to live so that you may get the most out of life--the
most substantial happiness. Don't go on doing the silly
customary things simply because a silly customary world says they
are amusing and worth while. Think--and do--for yourself, Jane
She nodded slowly and thoughtfully. ``I'll try to,'' she said.
She looked at him with the expression of the mind aroused. It
was an expression that often rewarded him after a long straight
talk with a fellow being. She went on: ``I probably shan't do
what you'd approve. You see, I've got to be myself--got to live
to a certain extent the kind of a life fate has made for me.''
``You couldn't successfully live any other,'' said he.
``But, while it won't be at all what you'd regard as a model
life--or even perhaps useful--it'll be very different--very much
better--than it would have been, if I hadn't met you--Victor
``Oh, I've done nothing,'' said he. ``All I try to do is to
encourage my fellow beings to be themselves. So --live your own
life--the life you can live best--just as you wear the clothes
that fit and become you. . . . And now--about the street car
question. What do you want of me?''
``Tell me what to say to father.''
He shook his head. ``Can't do it,'' said he. ``There's a good
place for you to make a beginning. Put on an old dress and go
down town and get acquainted with the family life of the
street-car men. Talk to their wives and their children. Look
into the whole business yourself.''
``But I'm not--not competent to judge,'' objected she.
``Well, make yourself competent,'' advised he.
``I might get Miss Gordon to go with me,'' suggested she.
``You'll learn more thoroughly if you go alone,'' declared he.
She hesitated--ventured with a winning smile: ``You won't go
with me--just to get me started right?''
``No,'' said he. ``You've got to learn for yourself-- or not at
all. If I go with you, you'll get my point of view, and it will
take you so much the longer to get your own.''
``Perhaps you'd prefer I didn't go.''
``It's not a matter of much importance, one way or the
other--except perhaps to yourself,'' replied he.
``Any one individual can do the human race little good by
learning the truth about life. The only benefit is to himself.
Don't forget that in your sweet enthusiasm for doing something
noble and generous and helpful. Don't become a Davy Hull. You
know, Davy is on earth for the benefit of the human race. Ever
since he was born he has been taken care of--supplied with food,
clothing, shelter, everything. Yet he imagines that he is
somehow a God-appointed guardian of the people who have gathered
and cooked his food, made his clothing, served him in every way.
It's very funny, that attitude of your class toward mine.''
``They look up to us,'' said Jane. ``You can't blame us for
allowing it--for becoming pleased with ourselves.''
``That's the worst of it--we do look up to you,'' admitted he.
``But--we're learning better.''
``YOU'VE already learned better--you personally, I mean. I think
that when you compare me, for instance, with a girl like Selma
Gordon, you look down on me.''
``Don't you, yourself, feel that any woman who is self-supporting
and free is your superior?''
``In some moods, I do,'' replied Jane. ``In other moods, I feel
as I was brought up to feel.''
They talked on and on, she detaining him without seeming to do
so. She felt proud of her adroitness. But the truth was that
his stopping on for nearly two hours was almost altogether a
tribute to her physical charm--though Victor was unconscious of
it. When the afternoon was drawing on toward the time for her
father to come, she reluctantly let him go. She said:
``But you'll come again?''
``I can't do that,'' replied he regretfully. ``I could not come
to your father's house and continue free. I must be able to say
what I honestly think, without any restraint.''
``I understand,'' said she. ``And I want you to say and to write
what you believe to be true and right. But--we'll see each other
again. I'm sure we are going to be friends.''
His expression as he bade her good-by told her that she had won
his respect and his liking. She had a suspicion that she did not
deserve either; but she was full of good resolutions, and assured
herself she soon would be what she had pretended--that her
pretenses were not exactly false, only somewhat premature.
At dinner that evening she said to her father:
``I think I ought to do something beside enjoy myself. I've
decided to go down among the poor people and see whether I can't
help them in some way.''
``You'd better keep away from that part of town,'' advised her
father. ``They live awful dirty, and you might catch some
disease. If you want to do anything for the poor, send a check
to our minister or to the charity society. There's two kinds of
poor--those that are working hard and saving their money and
getting up out of the dirt, and those that haven't got no spunk
or get-up. The first kind don't need help, and the second don't
``But there are the children, popsy,'' urged Jane. ``The
children of the no-account poor ought to have a chance.''
``I don't reckon there ever was a more shiftless, do-easy pair
than my father and mother,'' rejoined Martin Hastings. ``They
were what set me to jumping.''
She saw that his view was hopelessly narrow--that, while he
regarded himself justly as an extraordinary man, he also, for
purposes of prejudice and selfishness, regarded his own
achievements in overcoming what would have been hopeless
handicaps to any but a giant in character and in physical
endurance as an instance of what any one could do if he would but
work. She never argued with him when she wished to carry her
point. She now said:
``It seems to me that, in our own interest, we ought to do what
we can to make the poor live better. As you say, it's positively
dangerous to go about in the tenement part of town--and those
people are always coming among us. For instance, our servants
have relatives living in Cooper Street, where there's a pest of
Old Hastings nodded. ``That's part of Davy Hull's reform
programme,'' said he. ``And I'm in favor of it. The city
government ought to make them people clean up.''
``Victor Dorn wants that done, too--doesn't he?'' said Jane.
``No,'' replied the old man sourly. ``He says it's no use to
clean up the slums unless you raise wages--and that then the slum
people'd clean themselves up. The idea of giving those worthless
trash more money to spend for beer and whisky and finery for
their fool daughters. Why, they don't earn what we give 'em
Jane couldn't resist the temptation to say, ``I guess the laziest
of them earn more than Davy Hull or I.''
``Because some gets more than they earn ain't a reason why others
should.'' He grinned. ``Maybe you and Davy ought to have less,
but Victor Dorn and his riff-raff oughtn't to be pampered. . . .
Do you want me to cut your allowance down?''
She was ready for him. ``If you can get as satisfactory a
housekeeper for less, you're a fool to overpay the one you
The old man was delighted. ``I've been cheating you,'' said he.
``I'll double your pay.''
``You're doing it just in time to stop a strike,'' laughed the
After a not unknown fashion she was most obedient to her father
when his commands happened to coincide with her own inclinations.
Her ardor for an excursion into the slums and the tenements died
almost with Victor Dorn's departure. Her father's reasons for
forbidding her to go did not impress her as convincing, but she
felt that she owed it to him to respect his wishes. Anyhow, what
could she find out that she did not know already? Yes, Dorn and
her father were right in the conclusion each reached by a
different road. She would do well not to meddle where she could
not possibly accomplish any good. She could question the
servants and could get from them all the facts she needed for
urging her father at least to cut down the hours of labor.
The more she thought about Victor Dorn the more uneasy she
became. She had made more progress with him than she had hoped
to make in so short a time. But she had made it at an unexpected
cost. If she had softened him, he had established a disquieting
influence over her. She was not sure, but she was afraid, that
he was stronger than she--that, if she persisted in her whim, she
would soon be liking him entirely too well for her own comfort.
Except as a pastime, Victor Dorn did not fit into her scheme of
life. If she continued to see him, to yield to the delight of
his magnetic voice, of his fresh and original mind, of his
energetic and dominating personality, might he not become
aroused--begin to assert power over her, compel her to--to--she
could not imagine what; only, it was foolish to deny that he was
a dangerous man. ``If I've got good sense,'' decided she, ``I'll
let him alone. I've nothing to gain and everything to lose.''
Her motor--the one her father had ordered as a birthday
present--came the next day; and on the following day two girl
friends from Cincinnati arrived for a long visit. So, Jane
Hastings had the help she felt she perhaps needed in resisting
the temptings of her whim.
To aid her in giving her friends a good time she impressed Davy
Hull, in spite of his protests that his political work made
social fooling about impossible. The truth was that the reform
movement, of which he was one of the figureheads, was being
organized by far more skillful and expert hands than his--and for
purposes of which he had no notion. So, he really had all the
time in the world to look after Ellen Clearwater and Josie
Arthur, and to pose as a serious man bent upon doing his duty as
an upper class person of leisure. All that the reform machine
wished of him was to talk and to pose--and to ride on the show
seat of the pretty, new political wagon.
The new movement had not yet been ``sprung'' upon the public. It
was still an open secret among the young men of the ``better
element'' in the Lincoln, the Jefferson and the University clubs.
Money was being subscribed liberally by persons of good family
who hoped for political preferment and could not get it from the
old parties, and by corporations tired of being ``blackmailed''
by Kelly and House, and desirous of getting into office men who
would give them what they wanted because it was for the public
good that they should not be hampered in any way. With plenty of
money an excellent machine could be built and set to running.
Also, there was talk of a fusion with the Democratic machine,
House to order the wholesale indorsement of the reform ticket in
exchange for a few minor places.
When the excitement among the young gentlemen over the
approaching moral regeneration of Remsen City politics was at the
boiling point Victor Dorn sent for David Hull--asked him to come
to the Baker Avenue cafe', which was the social headquarters of
Dorn's Workingmen's League. As Hull was rather counting on
Dorn's support, or at least neutrality, in the approaching
contest, he accepted promptly. As he entered the cafe' he saw
Dorn seated at a table in a far corner listening calmly to a man
who was obviously angrily in earnest. At second glance he
recognized Tony Rivers, one of Dick Kelly's shrewdest lieutenants
and a labor leader of great influence in the unions of factory
workers. Among those in ``the know'' it was understood that
Rivers could come nearer to delivering the labor vote than any
man in Remsen City. He knew whom to corrupt with bribes and whom
to entrap by subtle appeals to ignorant prejudice. As a large
part of his herd was intensely Catholic, Rivers was a devout
Catholic. To quote his own phrase, used in a company on whose
discretion he could count, ``Many's the pair of pants I've worn
out doing the stations of the Cross.'' In fact, Rivers had been
brought up a Presbyterian, and under the name of Blake--his
correct name--had ``done a stretch'' in Joliet for picking
Dorn caught sight of Davy Hull, hanging uncertainly in the
offing. He rose at once, said a few words in a quiet, emphatic
way to Rivers--words of conclusion and dismissal--and advanced to
``I don't want to interrupt. I can wait,'' said Hull, who saw
Rivers' angry scowl at him. He did not wish to offend the great
``That fellow pushed himself on me,'' said Dorn. ``I've nothing
to say to him.''
``Tony Rivers--wasn't it?'' said Davy as they seated themselves
at another table.
``I'm going to expose him in next week's New Day,'' replied
Victor. ``When I sent him a copy of the article for his
corrections, if he could make any, he came threatening.''
``I've heard he's a dangerous man,'' said Davy.
``He'll not be so dangerous after Saturday,'' replied Victor.
``One by one I'm putting the labor agents of your friends out of
business. The best ones--the chaps like Rivers--are hard to
catch. And if I should attack one of them before I had him dead
to rights, I'd only strengthen him.''
``You think you can destroy Rivers' influence?'' said Davy
``If I were not sure of it I'd not publish a line,'' said Victor.
``But to get to the subject I wish to talk to you about. You are
to be the reform candidate for Mayor in the fall?''
Davy looked important and self-conscious. ``There has been some
talk of----'' he began.
``I've sent for you to ask you to withdraw from the movement,
Hull,'' interrupted Victor.
Hull smiled. ``And I've come to ask you to support it,'' said
Hull. ``We'll win, anyhow. But I'd like to see all the forces
against corruption united in this campaign. I am even urging my
people to put one or two of your men on the ticket.''
``None of us would accept,'' said Victor. ``That isn't our kind
of politics. We'll take nothing until we get everything. . . .
What do you know about this movement you're lending your name
``I organized it,'' said Hull proudly.
``Pardon me--Dick Kelly organized it,'' replied Victor.
``They're simply using you, Davy, to play their rotten game.
Kelly knew he was certain to be beaten this fall. He doesn't
care especially for that, because House and his gang are just as
much Kelly as Kelly himself. But he's alarmed about the
Davy Hull reddened, though he tried hard to look indifferent.
``He's given up hope of pulling through the scoundrel who's on
the bench now. He knows that our man would be elected, though
his tool had the support of the Republicans, the Democrats and
the new reform crowd.''
Dorn had been watching Hull's embarrassed face keenly. He now
said: ``You understand, I see, why Judge Freilig changed his
mind and decided that he must stop devoting himself to the public
and think of the welfare of his family and resume the practice of
``Judge Freilig is an honorable gentleman,'' said Davy with much
dignity. ``I'm sorry, Dorn, that you listen to the lies of
``If Freilig had persisted in running,'' said Victor, ``I should
have published the list of stocks and bonds of corporations
benefiting by his decisions that his brother and his father have
come into possession of during his two terms on the bench. Many
of our judges are simply mentally crooked. But Freilig is a
bribe taker. He probably believes his decisions are just. All
you fellows believe that upper-class rule is really best for the
``And so it is,'' said Davy. ``And you, an educated man, know
``I'll not argue that now,'' said Victor. ``As I was saying,
while Freilig decides for what he honestly thinks is right, he
also feels he is entitled to a share of the substantial benefits.
Most of the judges, after serving the upper class faithfully for
years, retire to an old age of comparative poverty. Freilig
thinks that is foolish.''
``I suppose you agree with him,'' said Hull sarcastically.
``I sympathize with him,'' said Victor. ``He retires with
reputation unstained and with plenty of money. If I should
publish the truth about him, would he lose a single one of his
friends? You know he wouldn't. That isn't the way the world is
run at present.''
``No doubt it would be run much better if your crowd were in
charge,'' sneered Hull.
``On the contrary, much worse,'' replied Victor unruffled. ``But
we're educating ourselves so that, when our time comes, we'll not
do so badly.''
``You'll have plenty of time for education,'' said Davy.
``Plenty,'' said Victor. ``But why are you angry? Because you
realize now that your reform candidate for judge is of Dick
``Kelly didn't propose Hugo Galland,'' cried Davy hotly. ``I
proposed him myself.''
``Was his the first name you proposed?''
Something in Dorn's tone made Davy feel that it would be unwise
to yield to the impulse to tell a lie-- for the highly moral
purpose of silencing this agitator and demagogue.
``You will remember,'' pursued Victor, ``that Galland was the
sixth or seventh name you proposed--and that Joe House rejected
the others. He did it, after consulting with Kelly. You
recall--don't you?--that every time you brought him a name he
took time to consider?''
``How do you know so much about all this?'' cried Davy, his tone
suggesting that Victor was wholly mistaken, but his manner
betraying that he knew Victor was right.
``Oh, politicians are human,'' replied Dorn. ``And the human
race is loose-mouthed. I saw years ago that if I was to build my
party I must have full and accurate information as to all that
was going on. I made my plans accordingly.''
``Galland is an honest man--rich--above suspicion --above
corruption--an ideal candidate,'' said Davy.
``He is a corporation owner, a corporation lawyer-- and a fool,''
said Victor. ``As I've told you, all Dick Kelly's interest in
this fall's local election is that judgeship.''
``Galland is my man. I want to see him elected. If Kelly's for
Galland, so much the better. Then we're sure of electing him--of
getting the right sort of a man on the bench.''
``I'm not here to argue with you about politics, Davy,'' said
Victor. ``I brought you here because I like you--believe in your
honesty--and don't want to see you humiliated. I'm giving you a
chance to save yourself .''
``From what?'' inquired Hull, not so valiant as he pretended to
``From the ridicule and disgrace that will cover this reform
movement, if you persist in it.''
Hull burst out laughing. ``Of all the damned impudence!'' he
exclaimed. ``Dorn, I think you've gone crazy .''
``You can't irritate me, Hull. I've been giving you the benefit
of the doubt. I think you are falling into the commonest kind of
error--doing evil and winking at evil in order that a good end
may be gained. Now, listen. What are the things you reformers
are counting on to get you votes this fall''
Davy maintained a haughty silence.
``The traction scandals, the gas scandals and the paving
scandals--isn't that it?''
``Of course,'' said Davy.
``Then--why have the gas crowd, the traction crowd and the paving
crowd each contributed twenty-five thousand dollars to your
Hull stared at Victor Dorn in amazement. ``Who told you that
lie?'' he blustered.
Dorn looked at him sadly. ``Then you knew? I hoped you didn't,
Hull. But--now that you're facing the situation squarely, don't
you see that you're being made a fool of? Would those people put
up for your election if they weren't SURE you and your crowd were
``They'll find out!'' cried Hull.
``You'll find out, you mean,'' replied Victor. ``I see your
whole programme, Davy. They'll put you in, and they'll say, `Let
us alone and we'll make you governor of the State. Annoy us, and
you'll have no political future.' And you'll say to yourself,
`The wise thing for me to do is to wait until I'm governor before
I begin to serve the people. THEN I can really do something.'
And so, you'll be THEIR mayor--and afterward THEIR
governor--because they'll hold out another inducement. Anyhow,
by that time you'll be so completely theirs that you'll have no
hope of a career except through them.''
After reading how some famous oration wrought upon its audience
we turn to it and wonder that such tempests of emotion could have
been produced by such simple, perhaps almost commonplace words.
The key to the mystery is usually a magic quality in the tone of
the orator, evoking before its hypnotized hearers a series of
vivid pictures, just as the notes of a violin, with no aid from
words or even from musical form seem to materialize into visions.
This uncommon yet by no means rare power was in Victor Dorn's
voice, and explained his extraordinary influence over people of
all kinds and classes; it wove a spell that enmeshed even those
who disliked him for his detestable views. Davy Hull, listening
to Victor's simple recital of his prospective career, was so
wrought upon that he sat staring before him in a kind of terror.
``Davy,'' said Victor gently, ``you're at the parting of the
ways. The time for honest halfway reformers-- for political
amateurs has passed. `Under which king, Bezonian? Speak or
die!'--that's the situation today.''
And Hull knew that it was so. ``What do you propose, Dorn?'' he
said. ``I want to do what's right-- what's best for the
``Don't worry about the people, Hull,'' said Victor.
``Upper classes come and pass, but the people remain-- bigger and
stronger and more aggressive with every century. And they
dictate language and art, and politics and religion--what we
shall all eat and wear and think and do. Only what they approve,
only that yoke even which they themselves accept, has any chance
of enduring. Don't worry about the people, Davy. Worry about
``I admit,'' said Hull, ``that I don't like a lot of things about
the--the forces I find I've got to use in order to carry through
my plans. I admit that even the sincere young fellows I've
grouped together to head this movement are
narrow--supercilious--self-satisfied --that they irritate me and
are not trustworthy. But I feel that, if I once get the office,
I'll be strong enough to put my plans through.'' Nervously,
``I'm giving you my full confidence--as I've given it to no one
``You've told me nothing I didn't know already,'' said Victor.
``I've got to choose between this reform party and your party,''
continued Hull. ``That is, I've got no choice. For, candidly,
I've no confidence in the working class. It's too ignorant to do
the ruling. It's too credulous to build on--for its credulity
makes it fickle. And I believe in the better class, too. It may
be sordid and greedy and tyrannical, but by appealing to its good
instincts--and to its fear of the money kings and the
monopolists, something good can be got through it.''
``If you want to get office,'' said Dorn, ``you're right. But if
you want to BE somebody, if you want to develop yourself, to have
the joy of being utterly unafraid in speech and in action--why,
come with us.''
After a pause Hull said, ``I'd like to do it. I'd like to help
Victor laid his hand on Davy's arm. ``Get it straight, Davy,''
he said. ``You can't help us. We don't need you. It's you that
needs us. We'll make an honest man of you--instead of a trimming
politician, trying to say or to do something more or less honest
once in a while and winking at or abetting crookedness most of
``I've done nothing, and I'll do nothing, to be ashamed of,''
``You are not ashamed of the way your movement is financed?''
Davy moved uncomfortably. ``The money's ours now,'' said he.
``They gave it unconditionally.''
But he could not meet Victor's eyes. Victor said: ``They paid a
hundred thousand dollars for a judgeship and for a blanket
mortgage on your party. And if you should win, you'd find you
could do little showy things that were of no value, but nothing
that would seriously disturb a single leech sucking the blood of
``I don't agree with you,'' said Davy. He roused himself into
anger--his only remaining refuge. ``Your prejudices blind you to
all the means--the PRACTICAL means--of doing good, Dorn. I've
listened patiently to you because I respect your sincerity. But
I'm not going to waste my life in mere criticism. I'm going to
An expression of profound sadness came into Victor's face.
``Don't decide now,'' he said. ``Think it over. Remember what
I've told you about what we'll be compelled to do if you launch
Hull was tempted to burst out violently. Was not this
swollen-headed upstart trying to intimidate him by threats? But
his strong instinct for prudence persuaded him to conceal his
resentment. ``Why the devil should you attack US?'' he demanded.
``Surely we're nearer your kind of thing than the old
parties--and we, too, are against them--their rotten machines.''
``We purpose to keep the issue clear in this town,'' replied
Victor. ``So, we can't allow a party to grow up that PRETENDS to
be just as good as ours but is really a cover behind which the
old parties we've been battering to pieces can reorganize.''
``That is, you'll tolerate in this market no brand of honest
politics but your own?''
``If you wish to put it that way,'' replied Victor coolly.
``I suppose you'd rather see Kelly or House win?''
``We'll see that House does win,'' replied Victor. ``When we
have shot your movement full of holes and sunk it, House will put
up a straight Democratic ticket, and it will win.''
``And House means Kelly--and Kelly means corruption rampant.''
``And corruption rampant means further and much needed education
in the school of hard experience for the voters,'' said Dorn.
``And the more education, the larger our party and the quicker
Hull laughed angrily. ``Talk about low self-seeking! Talk about
rotten practical politics!''
But Dorn held his good humor of the man who has the power and
knows it. ``Think it over, Davy,'' counseled he. ``You'll see
you've got to come with us or join Kelly. For your own sake I'd
like to see you with us. For the party's sake you'd better be
with Kelly, for you're not really a workingman, and our fellows
would be uneasy about you for a long time. You see, we've had
experience of rich young men whose hearts beat for the wrongs of
the working class--and that experience has not been fortunate.''
``Before you definitely decide to break with the decent element
of the better class, Victor, I want YOU to think it over,'' said
Davy. ``We--I, myself--have befriended you more than once. But
for a few of us who still have hope that demagoguery will die of
itself, your paper would have been suppressed long ago.''
Victor laughed. ``I wish they would suppress it,'' said he.
``The result would give the `better element' in this town a very
bad quarter of an hour, at least.'' He rose. ``We've both said
all we've got to say to each other. I see I've done no good. I
feared it would be so.'' He was looking into Hull's eyes--into
his very soul. ``When we meet again, you will probably be my
open and bitter enemy. It's a pity. It makes me sad. Good-by,
and--do think it over, Davy.''
Dorn moved rapidly away. Hull looked after him in surprise. At
first blush he was astonished that Dorn should care so much about
him as this curious interview and his emotion at its end
indicated. But on reflecting his astonishment disappeared, and
he took the view that Dorn was simply impressed by his
personality and by his ability--was perhaps craftily trying to
disarm him and to destroy his political movement which was
threatening to destroy the Workingmen's League. ``A very shrewd
chap is Dorn,'' thought Davy--why do we always generously concede
at least acumen to those we suspect of having a good opinion of
us?--``A VERY shrewd chap. It's unfortunate he's cursed with
that miserable envy of those better born and better off than he
Davy spent the early evening at the University Club, where he was
an important figure. Later on he went to a dance at Mrs.
Venable's--and there he was indeed a lion, as an unmarried man
with money cannot but be in a company of ladies--for money to a
lady is what soil and sun and rain are to a flower--is that
without which she must cease to exist. But still later, when he
was alone in bed--perhaps with the supper he ate at Mrs.
Venable's not sitting as lightly as comfort required--the things
Victor Dorn had said came trailing drearily through his mind.
What kind of an article would Dorn print? Those facts about the
campaign fund certainly would look badly in cold type--especially
if Dorn had the proofs. And Hugo Galland-- Beyond question the
mere list of the corporations in which Hugo was director or large
stockholder would make him absurd as a judge, sitting in that
district. And Hugo the son-in-law of the most offensive
capitalist in that section of the State! And the deal with
House, endorsed by Kelly--how nasty that would look, IF Victor
had the proofs. IF Victor had the proofs. But had he?
``I MUST have a talk with Kelly,'' said Davy, aloud.
The words startled him--not his voice suddenly sounding in the
profound stillness of his bedroom, but the words themselves. It
was his first admission to himself of the vicious truth he had
known from the outset and had been pretending to himself that he
did not know--the truth that his reform movement was a fraud
contrived by Dick Kelly to further the interests of the company
of financiers and the gang of politico- criminal thugs who owned
the party machinery. It is a nice question whether a man is ever
allowed to go in HONEST self-deception decisively far along a
wrong road. However this may be, certain it is that David Hull,
reformer, was not so allowed. And he was glad of the darkness
that hid him at least physically from himself as he strove to
convince himself that, if he was doing wrong, it was from the
highest motives and for the noblest purposes and would result in
the public good-- and not merely in fame and office for David
The struggle ended as struggles usually end in the famous arena
of moral sham battles called conscience; and toward the middle of
the following morning Davy, at peace with himself and prepared to
make any sacrifice of personal squeamishness or moral idealism
for the sake of the public good, sought out Dick Kelly.
Kelly's original headquarters had, of course, been the doggery in
and through which he had established himself as a political
power. As his power grew and his relations with more respectable
elements of society extended he shifted to a saloon and beer
garden kept by a reputable German and frequented by all kinds of
people--a place where his friends of the avowedly criminal class
and his newer friends of the class that does nothing legally
criminal, except in emergencies, would feel equally at ease. He
retained ownership of the doggery, but took his name down and put
up that of his barkeeper. When he won his first big political
fight and took charge of the public affairs of Remsen City and
made an arrangement with Joe House where-- under Remsen City,
whenever it wearied or sickened of Kelly, could take instead
Kelly disguised as Joe House --when he thus became a full blown
boss he established a secondary headquarters in addition to that
at Herrmann's Garden. Every morning at ten o'clock he took his
stand in the main corridor of the City Hall, really a
thoroughfare and short cut for the busiest part of town. With a
cigar in his mouth he stood there for an hour or so, holding
court, making appointments, attending to all sorts of political
Presently his importance and his ideas of etiquette expanded to
such an extent that he had to establish the Blaine Club. Joe
House's Tilden Club was established two years later, in imitation
of Kelly. If you had very private and important business with
Kelly-- business of the kind of which the public must get no
inkling, you made--preferably by telephone--an appointment to
meet him in his real estate offices in the Hastings Building--a
suite with entrances and exits into three separated corridors.
If you wished to see him about ordinary matters and were a person
who could ``confer'' with Kelly without its causing talk you met
him at the Blaine Club. If you wished to cultivate him, to pay
court to him, you saw him at Herrmann's--or in the general rooms
of the club. If you were a busy man and had time only to
exchange greetings with him--to ``keep in touch''--you passed
through the City Hall now and then at his hour. Some bosses soon
grow too proud for the vulgar democracy of such a public stand;
but Kelly, partly through shrewdness, partly through inclination,
clung to the City Hall stand and encouraged the humblest citizens
to seek him there and tell him the news or ask his aid or his
It was at the City Hall that Davy Hull sought him, and found him.
Twice he walked briskly to the boss; the third time he went by
slowly. Kelly, who saw everything, had known from the first
glance at Hull's grave, anxious face, that the young leader of
the ``holy boys'' was there to see him. But he ignored Davy
until Davy addressed him directly.
``Howdy, Mr. Hull!'' said he, observing the young man with eyes
that twinkled cynically. ``What's the good word?''
``I want to have a little talk with you,'' Davy blurted out.
``Where could I see you?''
``Here I am,'' said Kelly. ``Talk away.''
``Couldn't I see you at some--some place where we'd not be
interrupted? I saw Victor Dorn yesterday, and he said some
things that I think you ought to know about.''
``I do know about 'em,'' replied Kelly.
``Are you sure? I mean his threats to--to----''
As Davy paused in an embarrassed search for a word that would not
hurt his own but recently soothed conscience, Kelly laughed.
``To expose you holy boys?'' inquired he. ``To upset the nice
moral campaign you and Joe House have laid out? Yes, I know all
about Mr. Victor Dorn. But--Joe House is the man you want to
see. You boys are trying to do me up--trying to break up the
party. You can't expect ME to help you. I've got great respect
for you personally, Mr. Hull. Your father--he was a fine old
Republican wheel-horse. He stood by the party through thick and
thin--and the party stood by him. So, I respect his
son--personally. But politically-- that's another matter.
Politically I respect straight organization men of either party,
but I've got no use for amateurs and reformers. So--go to Joe
House.'' All this in perfect good humor, and in a tone of banter
that might have ruffled a man with a keener sense of humor than
Davy was red to his eyes, not because Kelly was laughing at him,
but because he stood convicted of such a stupid political blunder
as coming direct to Kelly when obviously he should have gone to
Kelly's secret partner. ``Dorn means to attack us
all--Republicans, Democrats and Citizens' Alliance,'' stammered
Davy, trying to justify himself.
Kelly shifted his cigar and shrugged his shoulders.
``Don't worry about his attacks on me--on US,'' said he. ``We're
used to being attacked. We haven't got no reputation for
superior virtue to lose.''
``But he says he can prove that our whole campaign is simply a
deal between you and House and me to fool the people and elect a
``So I've heard,'' said Kelly. ``But what of it? You know it
``No, I don't, Mr. Kelly,'' replied Hull, desperately. ``On the
contrary, I think it is so. And I may add I think we are
justified in making such a deal, when that's the only way to save
the community from Victor Dorn and his crowd of--of anarchists.''
Kelly looked at him silently with amused eyes.
``House can't do anything,'' pursued Davy. ``Maybe YOU can. So
I came straight to you.''
``I'm glad you're getting a little political sense, my boy,''
said Kelly. ``Perhaps you're beginning to see that a politician
has got to be practical--that it's the organizations that keeps
this city from being the prey to Victor Dorns.''
``I see that,'' said Davy. ``I'm willing to admit that I've
misjudged you, Mr. Kelly--that the better classes owe you a heavy
debt--and that you are one of the men we've got to rely on
chiefly to stem the tide of anarchy that's rising--the attack on
the propertied classes--the intelligent classes.''
``I see your eyes are being opened, my boy,'' said Kelly in a
kindly tone that showed how deeply he appreciated this unexpected
recognition of his own notion of his mission. ``You young silk
stocking fellows up at the University Club, and the Lincoln and
the Jefferson, have been indulging in a lot of loose talk against
the fellows that do the hard work in politics--the fellows that
helped your fathers to make fortunes and that are helping you
boys to keep 'em. If I didn't have a pretty level head on me,
I'd take my hands off and give Dorn and his gang a chance at you.
I tell you, when you fool with that reform nonsense, you play
with fire in a powder mill.''
``But I--I had an idea that you wanted me to go ahead,'' said
``Not the way you started last spring,'' replied Kelly. ``Not the
way you'd 'a gone if I hadn't taken hold. I've been saving you
in spite of yourselves. Thanks to me, your party's on a sound,
conservative basis and won't do any harm and may do some good in
teaching a lesson to those of our boys that've been going a
little too far. It ain't good for an organization to win
``Victor Dorn seemed to be sure--absolutely sure,'' said Hull.
``And he's pretty shrewd at politics-- isn't he?''
``Don't worry about him, I tell you,'' replied Kelly.
The sudden hardening of his voice and of his never notably soft
face was tribute stronger than any words to Dorn's ability as a
politician, to his power as an antagonist. Davy felt a sinister
intent--and he knew that Dick Kelly had risen because he would
stop at nothing. He was as eager to get away from the boss as
the boss was to be rid of him. The intrusion of a henchman, to
whom Kelly had no doubt signaled, gave him the excuse. As soon
as he had turned from the City Hall into Morton Street he
slackened to as slow a walk as his length of leg would permit.
Moving along, absorbed in uncomfortable thoughts, he startled
violently when he heard Selma Gordon's voice:
``How d'you do, Mr. Hull? I was hoping I'd see you to-day.''
She was standing before him--the same fascinating embodiment of
life and health and untamed energy; the direct, honest glance.
``I want to talk to you,'' she went on, ``and I can't, walking
beside you. You're far too tall. Come into the park and we'll
sit on that bench under the big maple.''
He had mechanically lifted his hat, but he had not spoken. He
did not find words until they were seated side by side, and then
all he could say was:
``I'm very glad to see you again--very glad, indeed.''
In fact, he was the reverse of glad, for he was afraid of her,
afraid of himself when under the spell of her presence. He who
prided himself on his self-control, he could not account for the
effect this girl had upon him. As he sat there beside her the
impulse Jane Hastings had so adroitly checked came surging back.
He had believed, had hoped it was gone for good and all. He
found that in its mysterious hiding place it had been gaining
strength. Quite clearly he saw how absurd was the idea of making
this girl his wife--he tall and she not much above the bend of
his elbow; he conventional, and she the incarnation of passionate
revolt against the restraints of class and form and custom which
he not only conformed to but religiously believed in. And she
set stirring in him all kinds of vague, wild longings to run
amuck socially and politically--longings that, if indulged, would
ruin him for any career worthy of the name.
He stood up. ``I must go--I really must,'' he said, confusedly.
She laid her small, strong hand on his arm--a natural, friendly
gesture with her, and giving no suggestion of familiarity. Even
as she was saying, ``Please--only a moment,'' he dropped back to
``Well--what is it?'' he said abruptly, his gaze resolutely away
from her face.
``Victor was telling me this morning about his talk with you,''
she said in her rapid, energetic way. ``He was depressed because
he had failed. But I felt sure-- I feel sure--that he hasn't.
In our talk the other day, Mr. Hull, I got a clear idea of your
character. A woman understands better. And I know that, after
Victor told you the plain truth about the situation, you couldn't
David looked round rather wildly, swallowed hard several times,
said hoarsely: ``I won't, if you'll marry me.''
But for a slight change of expression or of color Davy would have
thought she had not heard--or perhaps that he had imagined he was
uttering the words that forced themselves to his lips in spite of
his efforts to suppress them. For she went on in the same
impetuous, friendly way:
``It seemed to me that you have an instinct for the right that's
unusual in men of your class. At least, I think it's unusual. I
confess I've not known any man of your class except you--and I
know you very slightly. It was I that persuaded Victor to go to
you. He believes that a man's class feeling controls him-- makes
his moral sense--compels his actions. But I thought you were an
exception--and he yielded after I urged him a while.''
``I don't know WHAT I am,'' said Hull gloomily. ``I think I want
to do right. But--what is right? Not theoretical right, but the
practical, workable thing?''
``That's true,'' conceded Selma. ``We can't always be certain
what's right. But can't we always know what's wrong? And, Mr.
Hull, it is wrong--altogether wrong--and YOU know it's wrong--to
lend your name and your influence and your reputation to that
crowd. They'd let you do a little good--why? To make their
professions of reform seem plausible. To fool the people into
trusting them again. And under cover of the little good you were
showily doing, how much mischief they'd do! If you'll go back
over the history of this town--of any town--of any
country--you'll find that most of the wicked things--the things
that pile the burdens on the shoulders of the poor--the masses--
most of the wicked things have been done under cover of just such
men as you, used as figureheads.''
``But I want to build up a new party--a party of honest men,
honestly led,'' said Davy.
``Led by your sort of young men? I mean young men of your class.
Led by young lawyers and merchants and young fellows living on
inherited incomes? Don't you see that's impossible,'' cried
Selma. ``They are all living off the labor of others. Their
whole idea of life is exploiting the masses--is reaping where
they have not sown or reaping not only what they've sown but also
what others have sown--for they couldn't buy luxury and all the
so-called refinements of life for themselves and their idle
families merely with what they themselves could earn. How can
you build up a really HONEST party with such men? They may mean
well. They no doubt are honest, up to a certain point. But they
will side with their class, in every crisis. And their class is
the exploiting class.''
``I don't agree with you,'' said Davy. ``You are not fair to
``How!'' demanded Selma.
``I couldn't argue with you,'' replied Hull. ``All I'll say is
that you've seen only the one side--only the side of the working
``That toils without ceasing--its men, its women, its
children--'' said the girl with heaving bosom and flashing
eyes--``only to have most of what it earns filched away from it
by your class to waste in foolish luxury!''
``And whose fault is that?'' pleaded Hull.
``The fault of my class,'' replied she. ``Their ignorance, their
stupidity--yes, and their foolish cunning that overreaches
itself. For they tolerate the abuses of the present system
because each man--at least, each man of the ones who think
themselves `smart'--imagines that the day is coming when he can
escape from the working class and gain the ranks of the
``And you ask ME to come into the party of those people!''
``Yes, Mr. Hull,'' said she--and until then he had not
appreciated how lovely her voice was. ``Yes--that is the party
for you--for all honest, sincere men who want to have their own
respect through and through. To teach those people--to lead them
right--to be truthful and just with them--that is the life worth
``But they won't learn. They won't be led right. They are as
ungrateful as they are foolish. If they weren't, men like me
trying to make a decent career wouldn't have to compromise with
the Kellys and the Houses and their masters. What are Kelly and
House but leaders of your class? And they lead ten to Victor
Dorn's one. Why, any day Dorn's followers may turn on him--and
you know it.''
``And what of that?'' cried Selma. ``He's not working to be
their leader, but to do what he thinks is right, regardless of
consequences. Why is he a happy man, as happiness goes? Why has
he gone on his way steadily all these years, never minding
setbacks and failures and defeats and dangers? I needn't tell
``No,'' said Hull, powerfully moved by her earnestness. ``I
``The finest sentence that ever fell from human lips,'' Selma
went on, ``was `Father, forgive them; they know not what they
do.' Forgive them--forgive us all-- for when we go astray it is
because we are in the dark. And I want you to come with us, Mr.
Hull, and help to make it a little less dark. At least, you will
then be looking toward the light--and every one turned in that
After a long pause, Hull said:
``Miss Gordon, may I ask you a very personal question?''
``Yes,'' said she.
``Are you in love with Victor Dorn?''
Selma laughed merrily. ``Jane Hastings had that same
curiosity,'' said she. ``I'll answer you as I answered
her--though she didn't ask me quite so directly. No, I am not in
love with him. We are too busy to bother about those things. We
have too much to do to think about ourselves.''
``Then--there is no reason why I should not ask you to be my
wife--why I should not hope--and try?''
She looked at him with a peculiar smile. ``Yes, there is a very
good reason. I do not love you, and I shall not love you. I
shall not have time for that sort of thing.''
``Don't you believe in love?''
``I don't believe in much else,'' said she. ``But--not the kind
of love you offer me.''
``How do you know?'' cried he. ``I have not told you yet how I
feel toward you. I have not----''
``Oh, yes, you have,'' interrupted she. ``This is the
second--no, the third time you have seen me. So, the love you
offer me can only be of a kind it is not in the least flattering
to a woman to inspire. You needn't apologize,'' she went on,
laughingly. ``I've no doubt you mean well. You simply don't
understand me--my sort of woman.''
``It's you that don't understand, Selma,'' cried he. ``You don't
realize how wonderful you are--how much you reveal of yourself at
once. I was all but engaged to another woman when I saw you.
I've been fighting against my love for you--fighting against the
truth that suddenly came to me that you were the only woman I had
ever seen who appealed to and aroused and made strong all that is
brave and honest in me. Selma, I need you. I am not infatuated.
I am clearer- headed than I ever was in my life. I need you.
You can make a man of me.''
She was regarding him with a friendly and even tender sympathy.
``I understand now,'' she said. ``I thought it was simply the
ordinary outburst of passion. But I see that it was the result
of your struggle with yourself about which road to take in making
If she had not been absorbed in developing her theory she might
have seen that Davy was not altogether satisfied with this
analysis of his feelings. But he deemed it wise to hold his
``You do need some one--some woman,'' she went on. ``And I am
anxious to help you all I can. I couldn't help you by marrying
you. To me marriage means----'' She checked herself abruptly.
``No matter. I can help you, I think, as a friend. But if you
wish to marry, you should take some one in your own class-- some
one who's in sympathy with you. Then you and she could work it
out together--could help each other. You see, I don't need
you--and there's nothing in one- sided marriages. . . . No, you
couldn't give me anything I need, so far as I can see.''
``I believe that's true,'' said Davy miserably.
She reflected, then continued: ``But there's Jane Hastings. Why
not marry her? She is having the same sort of struggle with
herself. You and she could help each other. And you're, both of
you, fine characters. I like each of you for exactly the same
reasons. . . . Yes--Jane needs you, and you need her.'' She
looked at him with her sweet, frank smile like a breeze straight
from the sweep of a vast plateau. ``Why, it's so obvious that I
wonder you and she haven't become engaged long ago. You ARE fond
of her, aren't you?''
``Oh, Selma,'' cried Davy, ``I LOVE you. I want YOU.''
She shook her head with a quaint, fascinating expression of
positiveness. ``Now, my friend,'' said she, ``drop that fancy.
It isn't sensible. And it threatens to become silly.'' Her
smile suddenly expanded into a laugh. ``The idea of you and me
married--of ME married to YOU! I'd drive you crazy. No, I
shouldn't stay long enough for that. I'd be of on the wings of
the wind to the other end of the earth as soon as you tried to
put a halter on me.''
He did not join in her laugh. She rose. ``You will think again
before you go in with those people--won't you, David?'' she said,
sober and earnest.
``I don't care what becomes of me,'' he said boyishly.
``But _I_ do,'' she said. ``I want to see you the man you can
``Then--marry me,'' he cried.
Her eyes looked gentle friendship; her passionate lips curled in
scorn. ``I might marry the sort of man you could be,'' she said,
``but I never could marry a man so weak that, without me to
bolster him up, he'd become a stool-pigeon.''
And she turned and walked away.
A few days later, after she had taken her daily two hours' walk,
Selma went into the secluded part of Washington Park and spent
the rest of the morning writing. Her walk was her habitual time
for thinking out her plans for the day. And when it was writing
that she had to do, and the weather was fine, that particular
hillside with its splendid shade so restful for the eyes and so
stimulating to the mind became her work-shop. She thought that
she was helped as much by the colors of grass and foliage as by
the softened light and the tranquil view out over hills and
When she had finished her article she consulted the little nickel
watch she carried in her bag and discovered that it was only one
o'clock. She had counted on getting through at three or half
past. Two hours gained. How could she best use them. The part
of the Park where she was sitting was separated from the Hastings
grounds only by the winding highroad making its last reach for
the top of the hill. She decided that she would go to see Jane
Hastings--would try to make tactful progress in her project of
helping Jane and David Hull by marrying them to each other. Once
she had hit upon this project her interest in both of them had
equally increased. Yes, these gained two hours was an
opportunity not to be neglected.
She put her papers into her shopping bag and went straight up the
steep hill. She arrived at the top, at the edge of the lawn
before Jane's house, with somewhat heightened color and
brightened eyes, but with no quickening of the breath. Her slim,
solid little body had all the qualities of endurance of those
wiry ponies that come from the regions her face and walk and the
careless grace of her hair so delightfully suggested. As she
advanced toward the house she saw a gay company assembled on the
wide veranda. Jane was giving a farewell luncheon for her
visitors, had asked almost a dozen of the most presentable girls
in the town. It was a very fashionable affair, and everyone had
dressed for it in the best she had to wear at that time of day.
Selma saw the company while there was still time for her to draw
back and descend into the woods. But she knew little about
conventionalities, and she cared not at all about them. She had
come to see Jane; she conducted herself precisely as she would
have expected any one to act who came to see her at any time.
She marched straight across the lawn. The hostess, the
fashionable visitors, the fashionable guests soon centered upon
the extraordinary figure moving toward them under that blazing
sun. The figure was extraordinary not for dress--the dress was
plain and unconspicuous--but for that expression of the free and
the untamed, the lack of self-consciousness so rarely seen except
in children and animals. Jane rushed to the steps to welcome
her, seized her extended hands and kissed her with as much
enthusiasm as she kissed Jane. There was sincerity in this
greeting of Jane's; but there was pose, also. Here was one of
those chances to do the unconventional, the democratic thing.
``What a glorious surprise!'' cried Jane. ``You'll stop for
lunch, of course?'' Then to the girls nearest them: ``This is
Selma Gordon, who writes for the New Day.''
Pronouncing of names--smiles--bows--veiled glances of
curiosity--several young women exchanging whispered comments of
amusement. And to be sure, Selma, in that simple costume,
gloveless, with dusty shoes and blown hair, did look very much
out of place. But then Selma would have looked, in a sense, out
of place anywhere but in a wilderness with perhaps a few tents
and a half-tamed herd as background. In another sense, she
seemed in place anywhere as any natural object must.
``I don't eat lunch,'' said Selma. ``But I'll stay if you'll put
me next to you and let me talk to you.''
She did not realize what an upsetting of order and precedence
this request, which seemed so simple to her, involved. Jane
hesitated, but only for a fraction of a second. ``Why,
certainly,'' said she. ``Now that I've got you I'd not let you
go in any circumstances.''
Selma was gazing around at the other girls with the frank and
pleased curiosity of a child. ``Gracious, what pretty clothes!''
she cried--she was addressing Miss Clearwater, of Cincinnati.
``I've read about this sort of thing in novels and in society
columns of newspapers. But I never saw it before. ISN'T it
Miss Clearwater, whose father was a United States Senator--by
purchase--had had experience of many oddities, male and female.
She also was attracted by Selma's sparkling delight, and by the
magnetic charm which she irradiated as a rose its perfume.
``Pretty clothes are attractive, aren't they?'' said she, to be
``I don't know a thing about clothes,'' confessed Selma. ``I've
never owned at the same time more than two dresses fit to
wear--usually only one. And quite enough for me. I'd only be
fretted by a lot of things of that kind. But I like to see them
on other people. If I had my way the whole world would be well
``Except you?'' said Ellen Clearwater with a smile.
``I couldn't be well dressed if I tried,'' replied Selma. ``When
I was a child I was the despair of my mother. Most of the people
in the tenement where we lived were very dirty and
disorderly--naturally enough, as they had no knowledge and no
money and no time. But mother had ideas of neatness and
cleanliness, and she used to try to keep me looking decent. But
it was of no use. Ten minutes after she had smoothed me down I
was flying every which way again.''
``You were brought up in a tenement?'' said Miss Clearwater.
Several of the girls within hearing were blushing for Selma and
were feeling how distressed Jane Hastings must be.
``I had a wonderfully happy childhood,'' replied Selma. ``Until
I was old enough to understand and to suffer. I've lived in
tenements all my life--among very poor people. I'd not feel at
home anywhere else.''
``When I was born,'' said Miss Clearwater, ``we lived in a log
cabin up in the mining district of Michigan.''
Selma showed the astonishment the other girls were feeling. But
while their astonishment was in part at a girl of Ellen
Clearwater's position making such a degrading confession, hers
had none of that element in it. ``You don't in the least suggest
a log cabin or poverty of any kind,'' said she. ``I supposed you
had always been rich and beautifully dressed.''
``No, indeed,'' replied Ellen. She gazed calmly round at the
other girls who were listening. ``I doubt if any of us here was
born to what you see. Of course we-- some of us--make
pretenses--all sorts of silly pretenses. But as a matter of fact
there isn't one of us who hasn't near relatives in the cabins or
the tenements at this very moment.''
There was a hasty turning away from this dangerous conversation.
Jane came back from ordering the rearrangement of her luncheon
table. Said Selma:
``I'd like to wash my hands, and smooth my hair a little.''
``You take her up, Ellen,'' said Jane. ``And hurry. We'll be in
the dining-room when you come down.''
Selma's eyes were wide and roving as she and Ellen went through
the drawing-room, the hall, up stairs and into the very prettily
furnished suite which Ellen was occupying. ``I never saw
anything like this before!'' exclaimed Selma. ``It's the first
time I was ever in a grand house. This is a grand house, isn't
``No--it's only comfortable,'' replied Ellen. ``Mr.
Hastings--and Jane, too, don't go in for grandeur.''
``How beautiful everything is--and how convenient!'' exclaimed
Selma. ``I haven't felt this way since the first time I went to
the circus.'' She pointed to a rack from which were suspended
thin silk dressing gowns of various rather gay patterns. ``What
are those?'' she inquired.
``Dressing gowns,'' said Ellen. ``Just to wear round while one
is dressing or undressing.''
Selma advanced and felt and examined them. ``But why so many?''
``Oh, foolishness,'' said Ellen. ``Indulgence! To suit
``Lovely,'' murmured Selma. ``Lovely!''
``I suspect you of a secret fondness for luxury,'' said Ellen
Selma laughed. ``What would I do with such things?'' she
inquired. ``Why, I'd have no time to wear them. I'd never dare
put on anything so delicate.''
She roamed through dressing-room, bedroom, bath- room, marveling,
inquiring, admiring. ``I'm so glad I came,'' said she. ``This
will give me a fresh point of view. I can understand the people
of your class better, and be more tolerant about them. I
understand now why they are so hard and so indifferent. They're
quite removed from the common lot. They don't realize; they
can't. How narrow it must make one to have one's life filled
with these pretty little things for luxury and show. Why, if I
lived this life, I'd cease to be human after a short time.''
Ellen was silent.
``I didn't mean to say anything rude or offensive,'' said Selma,
sensitive to the faintest impressions. ``I was speaking my
thoughts aloud. . . . Do you know David Hull?''
``The young reformer?'' said Ellen with a queer little smile.
``Does he live like this?''
``Rather more grandly,'' said Ellen.
Selma shook her head. A depressed expression settled upon her
features. ``It's useless,'' she said. ``He couldn't possibly
become a man.''
Ellen laughed. ``You must hurry,'' she said. ``We're keeping
As Selma was making a few passes at her rebellious thick
hair--passes the like of which Miss Clearwater had never before
``I've been somewhat interested in David Hull of late--have been
hoping he could graduate from a fake reformer into a useful
citizen. But--'' She looked round expressively at the luxury
surrounding them-- ``one might as well try to grow wheat in
``Davy is a fine fraud,'' said Ellen. ``Fine--because he doesn't
in the least realize that he's a fraud.''
``I'm afraid he is a fraud,'' said Selma setting on her hat
again. ``What a pity? He might have been a man, if he'd been
brought up properly.'' She gazed at Ellen with sad, shining
eyes. ``How many men and women luxury blights!'' she cried.
``It certainly has done for Davy,'' said Ellen lightly. ``He'll
never be anything but a respectable fraud.''
``Why do YOU think so?'' Selma inquired.
``My father is a public man,'' Miss Clearwater explained. ``And
I've seen a great deal of these reformers. They're the ordinary
human variety of politician plus a more or less conscious
hypocrisy. Usually they're men who fancy themselves superior to
the common run in birth and breeding. My father has taught me to
size them up.''
They went down, and Selma, seated between Jane and Miss
Clearwater, amused both with her frank comments on the scene so
strange to her--the beautiful table, the costly service, the
variety and profusion of elaborate food. In fact, Jane, reaching
out after the effects got easily in Europe and almost as easily
in the East, but overtaxed the resources of the household which
she was only beginning to get into what she regarded as
satisfactory order. The luncheon, therefore, was a creditable
and promising attempt rather than a success, from the standpoint
of fashion. Jane was a little ashamed, and at times extremely
nervous-- this when she saw signs of her staff falling into
disorder that might end in rout. But Selma saw none of the
defects. She was delighted with the dazzling spectacle--for two
or three courses. Then she lapsed into quiet and could not be
roused to speak.
Jane and Ellen thought she was overwhelmed and had been seized of
shyness in this company so superior to any in which she had ever
found herself. Ellen tried to induce her to eat, and, failing,
decided that her refraining was not so much firmness in the two
meals-a-day system as fear of making a ``break.'' She felt
genuinely sorry for the silent girl growing moment by moment more
ill-at-ease. When the luncheon was about half over Selma said
abruptly to Jane:
``I must go now. I've stayed longer than I should.''
``Go?'' cried Jane. ``Why, we haven't begun to talk yet.''
``Another time,'' said Selma, pushing back her chair. ``No,
don't rise.'' And up she darted, smiling gayly round at the
company. ``Don't anybody disturb herself,'' she pleaded.
``It'll be useless, for I'll be gone.''
And she was as good as her word. Before any one quite realized
what she was about, she had escaped from the dining-room and from
the house. She almost ran across the lawn and into the woods.
There she drew a long breath noisily.
``Free!'' she cried, flinging out her arms. ``Oh--but it was
Miss Hastings and Miss Clearwater had not been so penetrating as
they fancied. Embarrassment had nothing to do with the silence
that had taken possession of the associate editor of the New Day.
She was never self-conscious enough to be really shy. She
hastened to the office, meeting Victor Dorn in the street
doorway. She cried:
``Such an experience!''
``What now?'' said Victor. He was used to that phrase from the
ardent and impressionable Selma. For her, with her wide-open
eyes and ears, her vivid imagination and her thirsty mind, life
was one closely packed series of adventures.
``I had an hour to spare,'' she proceeded to explain. ``I
thought it was a chance to further a little scheme I've got for
marrying Jane Hastings and David Hull.''
``Um!'' said Victor with a quick change of expression --which,
however, Selma happened not to observe.
``And,'' she went on, ``I blundered into a luncheon party Jane
was giving. You never saw--you never dreamed of such style--such
dresses and dishes and flowers and hats! And I was sitting there
with them, enjoying it all as if it were a circus or a ballet,
when-- Oh, Victor, what a silly, what a pitiful waste of time and
money! So much to do in the world--so much that is thrillingly
interesting and useful--and those intelligent young people
dawdling there at nonsense a child would weary of! I had to run
away. If I had stayed another minute I should have burst out
crying-- or denouncing them--or pleading with them to behave
``What else can they do?'' said Victor. ``They don't know any
better. They've never been taught. How's the article?''
And he led the way up to the editorial room and held her to the
subject of the article he had asked her to write. At the first
opportunity she went back to the subject uppermost in her mind.
``I guess you're right--as usual. There's no hope for any people
of that class. The busy ones are thinking only of making money
for themselves, and the idle ones are too enfeebled by luxury to
think at all. No, I'm afraid there's no hope for Hull--or for
``I'm not sure about Miss Hastings,'' said Victor.
``You would have been if you'd seen her to-day,'' replied Selma.
``Oh, she was lovely, Victor--really wonderful to look at. But
so obviously the idler. And-- body and soul she belongs to the
upper class. She understands charity, but she doesn't understand
justice, and never could understand it. I shall let her alone
``How harsh you women are in your judgments of each other,''
laughed Dorn, busy at his desk.
``We are just,'' replied Selma. ``We are not fooled by each
Dorn apparently had not heard. Selma saw that to speak would be
to interrupt. She sat at her own table and set to work on the
editorial paragraphs. After perhaps an hour she happened to
glance at Victor. He was leaning back in his chair, gazing past
her out into the open; in his face was an expression she had
never seen--a look in the eyes, a relaxing of the muscles round
the mouth that made her think of him as a man instead of as a
leader. She was saying to herself. ``What a fascinating man he
would have been, if he had not been an incarnate cause.''
She felt that he was not thinking of his work. She longed to
talk to him, but she did not venture to interrupt. Never in all
the years she had known him had he spoken to her--or to any
one--a severe or even an impatient word. His tolerance, his good
humor were infinite. Yet--she, and all who came into contact
with him, were afraid of him. There could come, and on occasion
there did come--into those extraordinary blue eyes an expression
beside which the fiercest flash of wrath would be easy to face.
When she glanced at him again, his normal expression had
returned--the face of the leader who aroused in those he
converted into fellow-workers a fanatical devotion that was the
more formidable because it was not infatuated. He caught her eye
``Things are in such good shape for us that it frightens me. I
spend most of my time in studying the horizon in the hope that I
can foresee which way the storm's coming from and what it will
``What a pessimist you are!'' laughed Selma.
``That's why the Workingmen's League has a thick- and-thin
membership of thirteen hundred and fifty,'' replied Victor.
``That's why the New Day has twenty- two hundred paying
subscribers. That's why we grow faster than the employers can
weed our men out and replace them with immigrants and force them
to go to other towns for work.''
``Well, anyhow,'' said the girl, ``no matter what happens we
can't be weeded out.''
Victor shook his head. ``Our danger period has just begun,'' he
replied. ``The bosses realize our power. In the past we've been
annoyed a little from time to time. But they thought us hardly
worth bothering with. In the future we will have to fight.''
``I hope they will prosecute us,'' said Selma. ``Then, we'll
grow the faster.''
``Not if they do it intelligently,'' replied Victor. ``An
intelligent persecution--if it's relentless enough --always
succeeds. You forget that this isn't a world of moral ideas but
of force. . . . I am afraid of Dick Kelly. He is something more
than a vulgar boss. He SEES. My hope is that he won't be able
to make the others see. I saw him a while ago. He was extremely
polite to me--more so than he ever has been before. He is up to
something. I suspect----''
Victor paused, reflecting. ``What?'' asked Selma eagerly.
``I suspect that he thinks he has us.'' He rose, preparing to go
out. ``Well--if he has--why, he has. And we shall have to begin
all over again.''
``How stupid they are!'' exclaimed the girl. ``To fight us who
are simply trying to bring about peaceably and sensibly what's
bound to come about anyhow.''
``Yes--the rain is bound to come,'' said Victor. ``And we say,
`Here's an umbrella and there's the way to shelter.' And they
laugh at OUR umbrella and, with the first drops plashing on their
foolish faces, deny that it's going to rain.''
The Workingmen's League, always first in the field with its
ticket, had been unusually early that year. Although it was only
the first week in August and the election would not be until the
third of October, the League had nominated. It was a ticket made
up entirely of skilled workers who had lived all their lives in
Remsen City and who had acquired an independence-- Victor Dorn
was careful not to expose to the falling fire of the opposition
any of his men who could be ruined by the loss of a job or could
be compelled to leave town in search of work. The League always
went early into campaign because it pursued a much slower and
less expensive method of electioneering than either of the old
parties--or than any of the ``upper class'' reform parties that
sprang up from time to time and died away as they accomplished or
failed of their purpose--securing recognition for certain
personal ambitions not agreeable to the old established bosses.
Besides, the League was, like the bosses and their henchmen, in
politics every day in every year. The League theory was that
politics was as much a part of a citizen's daily routine as his
other work or his meals.
It was the night of the League's great ratification meeting. The
next day the first campaign number-- containing the biographical
sketch of Tony Rivers, Kelly's right-hand man . . . would go upon
the press, and on the following day it would reach the public.
Market Square in Remsen City was on the edge of the power
quarter, was surrounded by cheap hotels, boarding houses and
saloons. A few years before, the most notable citizens, market
basket on arm, could have been seen three mornings in the week,
making the rounds of the stalls and stands, both those in the
open and those within the Market House. But customs had rapidly
changed in Remsen City, and with the exception of a few old
fogies only the poorer classes went to market. The masters of
houses were becoming gentlemen, and the housewives were elevating
into ladies--and it goes without saying that no gentleman and no
lady would descend to a menial task even in private, much less in
Market Square had even become too common for any but the inferior
meetings of the two leading political parties. Only the
Workingmen's League held to the old tradition that a political
meeting of the first rank could be properly held nowhere but in
the natural assembling place of the people--their market. So,
their first great rally of the campaign was billed for Market