Part 5 out of 6
He looked at her slowly. ``I have made up my mind to put you out
of my head,'' he said. ``And I shall.''
``Don't!'' she cried. ``Victor--don't!''
He sat again, rested his forearms upon the table, leaned toward
her. ``Look at me,'' he said.
She slowly lifted her gaze to his, met it steadily. ``I thought
so, Victor,'' she said tenderly. ``I knew I couldn't care so
much unless you cared at least a little .''
``Do I?'' said he. ``I don't know. I doubt if either of us is
in love with the other. Certainly, you are not the sort of woman
I could love--deeply love. What I feel for you is the sort of
thing that passes. It is violent while it lasts, but it
``I don't care!'' cried she recklessly. ``Whatever it is I want
He shook his head resolutely. ``No,'' he said. ``You don't want
it, and I don't want it. I know the kind of life you've mapped
out for yourself--as far as women of your class map out anything.
It's the only kind of life possible to you. And it's of a kind
with which I could, and would, have nothing to do.''
``Why do you say that?'' protested she. ``You could make of me
what you pleased.''
``No,'' said he. ``I couldn't make a suit of overalls out of a
length of silk. Anyhow, I have made up my life with love and
marriage left out. They are excellent things for some people,
for most people. But not for me. I must be free, absolutely
free. Free to think only of the cause I've enlisted in, free to
do what it commands.''
``And I?'' she said with tremendous life. ``What is to become of
He laughed quietly. ``You are going to keep away from me--find
some one else to amuse your leisure. That's what's going to
become of you, Jane Hastings.''
She winced and quivered again. ``That--hurts,'' she said.
``Your vanity? Yes. I suppose it does. But those wounds are
healthful--when the person is as sensible as you are.''
``You think I am not capable of caring! You think I am vain and
shallow and idle. You refuse me all right to live, simply
because I happen to live in surroundings you don't approve of.''
``I'm not such an egotistical ass as to imagine a woman of your
sort could be genuinely in love with a man of my sort,'' replied
he. ``So, I'll see to it that we keep away from each other. I
don't wish to be tempted to do you mischief.''
She looked at him inquiringly.
But he did not explain. He said: ``And you are going now. And
we shall not meet again except by accident.''
She gave a sigh of hopelessness. ``I suppose I have lowered
myself in your eyes by being so frank--by showing and speaking
what I felt,'' she said mournfully.
``Not in the least,'' rejoined he. ``A man who is anybody or has
anything soon gets used to frankness in women. I could hardly
have gotten past thirty, in a more or less conspicuous position,
without having had some experience. . . . and without learning
not to attach too much importance to--to frankness in women.''
She winced again. ``You wouldn't say those things if you knew
how they hurt,'' she said. ``If I didn't care for you, could I
sit here and let you laugh at me?''
``Yes, you could,'' answered he. ``Hoping somehow or other to
turn the laugh upon me later on. But really I was not laughing
at you. And you can spare yourself the effort of convincing me
that you're sincere.'' He was frankly laughing at her now.
``You don't understand the situation--not at all. You fancy that
I am hanging back because I am overwhelmed or shy or timid. I
assure you I've never been shy or timid about anything I wanted.
If I wanted you-- I'd--TAKE you.''
She caught her breath and shrank. Looking at him as he said
that, calmly and confidently, she, for the first time, was in
love--and was afraid. Back to her came Selma's warnings: ``One
may not trifle with love. A woman conquers only by surrender.''
``But, as I said to you a while ago,'' he went on, ``I don't want
you--or any woman. I've no time for marriage-- no time for a
flirtation. And though you tempt me strongly, I like you too
well to--to treat you as you invite.''
Jane sat motionless, stunned by the sudden turning of the tables.
She who had come to conquer--to amuse herself, to evoke a strong,
hopeless passion that would give her a delightful sense of warmth
as she stood safely by its bright flames--she had been conquered.
She belonged to this man; all he had to do was to claim her.
In a low voice, sweet and sincere beyond any that had ever come
from her lips before, she said:
``Anything, Victor--anything--but don't send me away.''
And he, seeing and hearing, lost his boasted self- control.
``Go--go,'' he cried harshly. ``If you don't go----'' He came
round the table, seizing her as she rose, kissed her upon the
lips, upon the eyes. ``You are lovely--lovely!'' he murmured.
``And I who can't have flowers on my table or in sight when I've
got anything serious to do--I love your perfume and your color
and the wonderful softness of you----''
He pushed her away. ``Now--will you go?'' he cried.
His eyes were flashing. And she was trembling from head to foot.
She was gazing at him with a fascinated expression. ``I
understand what you meant when you warned me to go,'' she said.
``I didn't believe it, but it was so.''
``Go--I tell you!'' he ordered.
``It's too late,'' said she. ``You can't send me away now--for
you have kissed me. If I'm in your power, you're in my power,
Moved by the same impulse both looked up the arbor toward the
rear door of the house. There stood Selma Gordon, regarding them
with an expression of anger as wild as the blood of the steppes
that flowed in her veins. Victor, with what composure he could
master, put out his hand in farewell to Jane. He had been too
absorbed in the emotions raging between him and her to note
Selma's expression. But Jane, the woman, had seen. As she shook
hands with Victor, she said neither high nor low:
``Selma knows that I care. I told her the night of the riot.''
``Good-by,'' said Victor in a tone she thought it wise not to
``I'll be in the woods above the park at ten tomorrow,'' she
said in an undertone. Then to Selma, unsmilingly: ``You're not
interrupting. I'm going.'' Selma advanced. The two girls
looked frank hostility into each other's eyes. Jane did not try
to shake hands with her. With a nod and a forced smile of
conventional friendliness upon her lips, she passed her and went
through the house and into the street.
She lingered at the gate, opening and closing it in a most
leisurely fashion--a significantly different exit from her
furtive and ashamed entrance. Love and revolt were running high
and hot in her veins. She longed openly to defy the world--her
Impulse was the dominant strain in Selma Gordon's
character--impulse and frankness. But she was afraid of Victor
Dorn as we all are afraid of those we deeply respect--those whose
respect is the mainstay of our self-confidence. She was moving
toward him to pour out the violence that was raging in her on the
subject of this flirtation of Jane Hastings. The spectacle of a
useless and insincere creature like that trifling with her deity,
and being permitted to trifle, was more than she could endure.
But Victor, dropping listlessly to his chair and reaching for his
pencil, was somehow a check upon her impetuousness. She paused
long enough to think the sobering second thought. To speak would
be both an impertinence and a folly. She owed it to the cause
and to her friend Victor to speak; but to speak at the wrong time
and in the wrong way would be worse than silence.
Said he: ``I was finishing this when she came. I'll be done in
a minute. Please read what I've written and tell me what you
Selma took up the loose sheets of manuscript and stood reading
his inaugural of the new New Day. As she read she forgot the
petty matter that had so agitated her a moment before. This
salutatory--this address to the working class--this plan of a
campaign to take Remsen City out of the hands of its exploiters
and despoilers and make it a city fit for civilized residence and
worthy of its population of intelligent, progressive
workingmen--this leading editorial for the first number was
Victor Dorn at his greatest and best. The man of action with all
the enthusiasm of a dreamer. The shrewd, practical politician
with the outlook of a statesman. How honest and impassioned he
was; yet how free from folly and cant. Several times as she read
Selma lifted her eyes to look at him in generous, worshipful
admiration. She would not have dared let him see; she would not
have dared speak the phrases of adoration of his genius that
crowded to her lips. How he would have laughed at her--he who
thought about himself as a personality not at all, but only as an
``Here's the rest of it,'' said he, throwing himself back in his
chair and relighting his pipe.
She finished a moment later, said as she laid the manuscript on
the table: ``That's the best you've ever done.''
``I think so,'' agreed he. ``It seems to me I've got a new grip
on things. I needed a turn such as your friend Davy Hull gave
me. Nothing like rivalry to spur a man on. The old crowd was so
stupid--cunning, but stupid. But Hull injects a new element into
the struggle. To beat him we've got to use our best brains.''
``We've got to attack him,'' said Selma. ``After all, he is the
enemy. We can't let him disarm us by an act of justice.''
``No, indeed,'' said Victor. ``But we'll have to be careful.
Here's what I'm going to carry on the first page.''
He held up a sheet of paper on which he had written with a view
to effective display the names of the four most offensive local
corporations with their contribution--$25,000 each--to the
campaign fund of the Citizens' Alliance. ``Under it, in big
type,'' proceeded he, ``we'll carry a line asking, `Is the
Citizens' Alliance fooling these four corporations or is it
fooling the people?' I think that will be more effective than
columns of attack.''
``We ought to get that out on wall-bills and dodgers,'' suggested
Selma, ``and deluge the town with it once or twice a week until
``Splendid!'' exclaimed Victor. ``I'll make a practical
politician of you yet.''
Colman and Harbinger and Jocelyn and several others of the League
leaders came in one at a time, and the plan of campaign was
developed in detail. But the force they chiefly relied upon was
the influence of their twelve hundred men, their four or five
thousand women and young men and girls, talking every day and
evening, each man or woman or youth with those with whom he came
into contact. This ``army of education'' was disciplined, was
educated, knew just what arguments to use, had been cautioned
against disputes, against arousing foolish antagonisms. The
League had nothing to conceal, no object to gain but the
government of Remsen City by and for its citizens--well paved,
well lighted, clean streets, sanitary houses, good and clean
street car service, honest gas, pure water, plenty of good
schools--that first of all. The ``reform crowd''--the Citizens'
Alliance--like every reform party of the past, proposed to do
practically the same things. But the League met this with:
``Why should we elect an upper class government to do for us what
we ought to do for ourselves? And how can they redeem their
promises when they are tied up in a hundred ways to the very
people who have been robbing and cheating us?''
There were to be issues of the New Day; there were to be posters
and dodgers, public meetings in halls, in squares, on street
corners. But the main reliance now as always was this educated
``army of education''-- these six thousand missionaries, each one
of them in resolute earnest and bent upon converting his
neighbors on either side, and across the street as well. A large
part of the time the leaders could spare from making a living was
spent in working at this army, in teaching it new arguments or
better ways of presenting old arguments, in giving the
enthusiasm, in talking with each individual soldier of it and
raising his standard of efficiency. Nor could the employers of
these soldiers of Victor Dorn's complain that they shirked their
work for politics. It was a fact that could not be denied that
the members of the Workingmen's League were far and away the best
workers in Remsen City, got the best pay, and earned it, drank
less, took fewer days off on account of sickness. One of the
sneers of the Kelly-House gang was that ``those Dorn cranks think
they are aristocrats, a little better than us common, ordinary
laboring men.'' And the sneer was not without effect. The truth
was, Dorn and his associates had not picked out the best of the
working class and drawn it into the League, but had made those
who joined the League better workers, better family men, better
``We are saying that the working class ought to run things,''
Dorn said again and again in his talks, public and private.
``Then, we've got to show the community that we're fit to run
things. That is why the League expels any man who shirks or is a
drunkard or a crook or a bad husband and father.''
The great fight of the League--the fight that was keeping it from
power--was with the trades unions, which were run by secret
agents of the Kelly-House oligarchy. Kelly and the Republican
party rather favored ``open shop'' or ``scab'' labor--the right
of an American to let his labor to whom he pleased on what terms
he pleased. The Kelly orators waxed almost tearful as they
contemplated the outrage of any interference with the ancient
liberty of the American citizen. Kelly disguised as House was a
hot union man. He loathed the ``scab.'' He jeered at the idea
that a laborer ought to be at the mercy of the powerful employer
who could dictate his own terms, which the laborers might not
refuse under stress of hunger. Thus the larger part of the
``free'' labor in Remsen City voted with Kelly--was bought by him
at so much a head. The only organization it had was under the
Kelly district captains. Union labor was almost solidly
Democratic--except in Presidential elections, when it usually
divided on the tariff question.
Although almost all the Leaguers were members of the unions,
Kelly and House saw to it that they had no influence in union
councils. That is, until recently Kelly-House had been able to
accomplish this. But they were seeing the approaching end of
their domination. The ``army of education'' was proving too
powerful for them. And they felt that at the coming election the
decline of their power would be apparent --unless something
drastic were done.
They had attempted it in the riot. The riot had been a
fizzle--thanks to the interposition of the personal ambition of
the until then despised ``holy boy,'' David Hull. Kelly, the
shrewd, at once saw the mark of the man of force. He resolved
that Hull should be elected. He had intended simply to use him
to elect Hugo Galland judge and to split up the rest of the
tickets in such a way that some Leaguers and some reformers would
get in, would be powerless, would bring discredit and ridicule
upon their parties. But Hull was a man who could be useful; his
cleverness in upsetting the plot against Dorn and turning all to
his advantage demonstrated that. Therefore, Hull should be
elected and passed up higher. It did not enter his calculations
that Hull might prove refractory, might really be all that he
professed; he had talked with Davy, and while he had
underestimated his intelligence, he knew he had not misjudged his
character. He knew that it was as easy to ``deal'' with the Hull
stripe of honest, high minded men as it was difficult to ``deal''
with the Victor Dorn stripe. Hull he called a ``sensible
fellow''; Victor Dorn he called a crank. But--he respected Dorn,
while Hull he held in much such esteem as he held his
cigar-holder and pocket knife, or Tony Rivers and Joe House.
When Victor Dorn had first begun to educate and organize the
people of Remsen City, the boss industry was in its early form.
That is, Kelly and House were really rivals in the collecting of
big campaign funds by various forms of blackmail, in struggling
for offices for themselves and their followers, in levying upon
vice and crime through the police. In these ways they made the
money, the lion's share of which naturally fell to them as
leaders, as organizers of plunder. But that stage had now passed
in Remsen City as it had passed elsewhere, and the boss industry
had taken a form far more difficult to combat. Kelly and House
no longer especially cared whether Republican party or Democratic
won. Their business--their source of revenue--had ceased to be
through carrying elections, had become a matter of skill in
keeping the people more or less evenly divided between the two
``regular'' parties, with an occasional fake third party to
discourage and bring into contempt reform movers and to make the
people say, ``Well, bad as they are, at least the regulars aren't
addle-headed, damn fools doing nothing except to make business
bad.'' Both Kelly and House were supported and enriched by the
corporations and by big public contracting companies and by real
estate deals. Kelly still appropriated a large part of the
``campaign fund.'' House, in addition, took a share of the money
raised by the police from dives. But these sums were but a small
part of their income, were merely pin money for their wives and
Yet--at heart and in all sincerity Kelly was an ardent Republican
and House was a ferocious Democrat. If you had asked either what
Republican and Democrat meant he would have been as vague and
unsatisfactory in his reply as would have been any of his
followers bearing torch and oilcloth cape in political
processions, with no hope of gain--beyond the exquisite pleasure
of making a shouting ass of himself in the most public manner.
But for all that, Kelly was a Republican and House a Democrat.
It is not a strange, though it is a profoundly mysterious,
phenomenon, that of the priest who arranges the trick mechanism
of the god, yet being a devout believer, ready to die for his
Difficult though the task was of showing the average Remsen City
man that Republican and Democrat, Kelly and House, were one and
the same thing, and that thing a blood-sucking, blood-heavy leech
upon his veins--difficult though this task was, Victor Dorn knew
that he had about accomplished it, when David Hull appeared. A
new personality; a plausible personality, deceptive because
self-deceiving--yet not so thoroughly self-deceived that it was
in danger of hindering its own ambition. David Hull--just the
kind of respectable, popular figurehead and cloak the desperate
Kelly- House conspiracy needed.
How far had the ``army of education'' prepared the people for
seeing through this clever new fraud upon them? Victor Dorn
could not judge. He hoped for the best; he was prepared for the
The better to think out the various problems of the new
situation, complicated by his apparent debt of gratitude to Davy,
Victor went forth into the woods very early the next morning. He
wandered far, but ten o'clock found him walking in the path in
the strip of woods near the high road along the upper side of the
park. And when Jane Hastings appeared, he was standing looking
in the direction from which she would have to come. It was
significant of her state of mind that she had given small
attention to her dress that morning. Nor was she looking her
best in expression or in color. Her eyes and her skin suggested
an almost sleepless night.
He did not advance. She came rapidly as if eager to get over
that embarrassing space in which each could see the other, yet
neither could speak without raising the voice. When she was near
``You think you owe something to Davy Hull for what he did?''
``The people think so,'' said he. ``And that's the important
``Well--you owe him nothing,'' pursued she.
``Nothing that would interfere with the cause,'' replied he.
``And that would be true, no matter what he had done.''
``I mean he did nothing for you,'' she explained. ``I forgot to
tell you yesterday. The whole thing was simply a move to further
his ambition. I happened to be there when he talked with father
and enlisted him.''
Victor laughed. ``It was your father who put it through. I
might have known!''
``At first I tried to interpose. Then--I stopped.'' She stood
before him with eyes down. ``It came to me that for my own sake
it would be better that you should lose this fall. It seemed to
me that if you won you would be farther out of my reach.'' She
paused, went steadily on: ``It was a bad feeling I had that you
must not get anything except with my help. Do you understand?''
``Perfectly,'' said he cheerfully. ``You are your father's own
``I love power,'' said she. ``And so do you. Only, being a
woman, I'd stoop to things to get it, that a man--at least your
sort of man--would scorn. Do you despise me for that? You
oughtn't to. And you will teach me better. You can make of me
what you please, as I told you yesterday. I only half meant it
then. Now--it's true, through and through.''
Victor glanced round, saw near at hand the bench he was seeking.
``Let's sit down here,'' said he. ``I'm rather tired. I slept
little and I've been walking all morning. And you look tired,
``After yesterday afternoon I couldn't sleep,'' said she.
When they were seated he looked at her with an expression that
seemed to say: ``I have thrown open the windows of my soul.
Throw open yours; and let us look at each other as we are, and
speak of things as they are.'' She suddenly flung herself
against his breast and as he clasped her she said:
``No--no! Let's not reason coldly about things, Victor. Let's
It was several minutes--and not until they had kissed many
times--before he regained enough self- control to say: ``This
simply will not do, Jane. How can we discuss things calmly? You
sit there''--he pushed her gently to one end of the bench--``and
I'll sit at this end. Now!''
``I love you, Victor! With your arms round me I am happy--and SO
``With my arms round you I'm happy, I'll admit,'' said he.
``But--oh, so weak! I have the sense that I am doing wrong--that
we are both doing wrong.''
``Why? Aren't you free?''
``No, I am not free. As I've told you, I belong to a cause--to a
``But I won't hinder you there. I'll help you.''
``Why go over that again? You know better--I know better.''
Abruptly, ``Your father--what time does he get home for dinner?''
``He didn't go down town to-day,'' replied Jane. ``He's not
well--not at all well.''
Victor looked baffled. ``I was about to propose that we go
straight to him.''
If he had been looking at Jane, he might have seen the fleeting
flash of an expression that betrayed that she had suspected the
object of his inquiry.
``You will not go with me to your father?''
``Not when he is ill,'' said she. ``If we told him, it might
kill him. He has ambitions--what he regards as ambitions--for
me. He admires you, but--he doesn't admire your ideas.''
``Then,'' said Victor, following his own train of thought, ``we
must fight this out between ourselves. I was hoping I'd have
your father to help me. I'm sure, as soon as you faced him with
me, you'd realize that your feeling about me is largely a
``And you?'' said Jane softly. ``Your feeling about me--the
feeling that made you kiss me--was that delusion?''
``It was--just what you saw,'' replied he, ``and nothing more.
The idea of marrying you--of living my life with you doesn't
attract me in the least. I can't see you as my wife.'' He
looked at her impatiently. ``Have you no imagination? Can't you
see that you could not change, and become what you'd have to be
if you lived with me?''
``You can make of me what you please,'' repeated she with loving
``That is not sincere!'' cried he. ``You may think it is, but it
isn't. Look at me, Jane.''
``I haven't been doing anything else since we met,'' laughed she.
``That's better,'' said he. ``Let's not be solemn. Solemnity is
pose, and when people are posing they get nowhere. You say I can
make of you what I please. Do you mean that you are willing to
become a woman of my class--to be that all your life--to bring up
your children in that way--to give up your fashionable
friends--and maid--and carriages--and Paris clothes--to be a
woman who would not make my associates and their families
uncomfortable and shy?''
She was silent. She tried to speak, but lifting her eyes before
she began her glance encountered his and her words died upon her
``You know you did not mean that,'' pursued he. ``Now, I'll tell
you what you did mean. You meant that after you and I were
married--or engaged--perhaps you did not intend to go quite so
far as marriage just yet.''
The color crept into her averted face.
``Look at me!'' he commanded laughingly.
With an effort she forced her eyes to meet his.
His smile was contagious. The curve of her lips changed; her
``Am I not reading your thoughts?'' said he.
``You are very clever, Victor,'' admitted she.
``Good. We are getting on. You believed that, once we were
engaged, I would gradually begin to yield, to come round to your
way of thinking. You had planned for me a career something like
Davy Hull's--only freer and bolder. I would become a member of
your class, but would pose as a representative of the class I had
personally abandoned. Am I right?''
``Go on, Victor,'' she said.
``That's about all. Now, there are just two objections to your
plan. The first is, it wouldn't work. My associates would be
`on to' me in a very short time. They are shrewd, practical,
practically educated men --not at all the sort that follow Davy
Hull or are wearing Kelly's and House's nose rings. In a few
months I'd find myself a leader without a following-- and what is
more futile and ridiculous than that?''
``They worship you,'' said Jane. ``They trust you implicitly.
They know that whatever you did would be for their good.''
He laughed heartily. ``How little you know my friends,'' said
he. ``I am their leader only because I am working with them,
doing what we all see must be done, doing it in the way in which
we all see it must be done.''
``But THAT is not power!'' cried Jane.
``No,'' replied Victor. ``But it is the career I wish-- the only
one I'd have. Power means that one's followers are weak or
misled or ignorant. To be first among equals--that's worth
while. The other thing is the poor tawdriness that kings and
bosses crave and that shallow, snobbish people admire.''
``I see that,'' said Jane. ``At least, I begin to see it. How
wonderful you are!''
Victor laughed. ``Is it that I know so much, or is it that you
know so little?''
``You don't like for me to tell you that I admire you?'' said
Jane, subtle and ostentatiously timid.
``I don't care much about it one way or the other,'' replied
Victor, who had, when he chose, a rare ability to be blunt
without being rude. ``Years ago, for my own safety, I began to
train myself to care little for any praise or blame but my own,
and to make myself a very searching critic of myself. So, I am
really flattered only when I win my own praise--and I don't often
have that pleasure.''
``Really, I don't see why you bother with me,'' said she with sly
innocence--which was as far as she dared let her resentments go.
``For two reasons,'' replied he promptly. ``It flatters me that
you are interested in me. The second reason is that, when I lost
control of myself yesterday, I involved myself in certain
responsibilities to you. It has seemed to me that I owe it to
myself and to you to make you see that there is neither present
nor future in any relations between us.''
She put out her hand, and before he knew what he was doing he had
clasped it. With a gentle, triumphant smile she said: ``THERE'S
the answer to all your reasoning, Victor.''
He released her hand. ``AN answer,'' he said, ``but not the
correct answer.'' He eyed her thoughtfully. ``You have done me
a great service,'' he went on. ``You have shown me an
unsuspected, a dangerous weakness in myself. At another
time--and coming in another way, I might have made a mess of my
career--and of the things that have been entrusted to me.'' A
long pause, then he added, to himself rather than to her, ``I
must look out for that. I must do something about it.''
Jane turned toward him and settled herself in a resolute attitude
and with a resolute expression. ``Victor,'' she said, ``I've
listened to you very patiently. Now I want you to listen to me.
What is the truth about us? Why, that we are as if we had been
made for each other. I don't know as much as you do. I've led a
much narrower life. I've been absurdly mis- educated. But as
soon as I saw you I felt that I had found the man I was looking
for. And I believe--I feel--I KNOW you were drawn to me in the
same way. Isn't that so?''
``You--fascinated me,'' confessed he. ``You--or your clothes--or
``Explain it as you like,'' said she. ``The fact remains that we
were drawn together. Well--Victor, _I_ am not afraid to face the
future, as fate maps it out for us. Are you?''
He did not answer.
``You--AFRAID,'' she went on. ``No--you couldn't be afraid.''
A long silence. Then he said abruptly: ``IF we loved each
other. But I know that we don't. I know that you would hate me
when you realized that you couldn't move me. And I know that I
should soon get over the infatuation for you. As soon as it
became a question of sympathies--common tastes--congeniality--I'd
find you hopelessly lacking.''
She felt that he was contrasting her with some one else--with a
certain some one. And she veiled her eyes to hide their blazing
jealousy. A movement on his part made her raise them in sudden
alarm. He had risen. His expression told her that the battle
was lost--for the day. Never had she loved him as at that
moment, and never had longing to possess him so dominated her
willful, self-indulgent, spoiled nature. Yet she hated him, too;
she longed to crush him, to make him suffer--to repay him with
interest for the suffering he was inflicting upon her--the
humiliation. But she dared not show her feelings. It would be
idle to try upon this man any of the coquetries indicated for
such cases--to dismiss him coldly, or to make an appeal through
an exhibition of weakness or reckless passion.
``You will see the truth, for yourself, as you think things
over,'' said he.
She rose, stood before him with downcast eyes, with mouth sad and
sweet. ``No,'' she said, ``It's you who are hiding the truth
from yourself. I hope--for both our sakes--that you'll see it
before long. Good-by-- dear.'' She stretched out her hand.
Hesitatingly he took it. As their hands met, her pulse beating
against his, she lifted her eyes. And once more he was holding
her close, was kissing her. And she was lying in his arms
unresisting, with two large tears shining in the long lashes of
her closed eyes.
``Oh, Jane--forgive me!'' he cried, releasing her. ``I must keep
away from you. I will--I WILL!'' And he was rushing down the
steep slope--direct, swift, relentless. But she, looking after
him with a tender, dreamy smile, murmured: ``He loves me. He
will come again. If not--I'll go and get him!''
To Jane Victor Dorn's analysis of his feeling toward her and of
the reasons against yielding to it seemed of no importance
whatever. Side by side with Selma's
``One may not trifle with love'' she would have put ``In matters
of love one does not reason,'' as equally axiomatic. Victor was
simply talking; love would conquer him as it had conquered every
man and every woman it had ever entered. Love--blind,
unreasoning, irresistible-- would have its will and its way.
And about most men she would have been right-- about any man
practically, of the preceding generation. But Victor represented
a new type of human being-- the type into whose life reason
enters not merely as a theoretical force, to be consulted and
disregarded, but as an authority, a powerful influence, dominant
in all crucial matters. Only in our own time has science begun
to make a notable impression upon the fog which formerly lay over
the whole human mind, thicker here, thinner there, a mere haze
yonder, but present everywhere. This fog made clear vision
impossible, usually made seeing of any kind difficult; there was
no such thing as finding a distinct line between truth and error
as to any subject. And reason seemed almost as faulty a guide as
feeling--was by many regarded as more faulty, not without
But nowadays for some of us there are clear or almost clear
horizons, and such fog banks as there are conceal from them
nothing that is of importance in shaping a rational course of
life. Victor Dorn was one of these emancipated few. All
successful men form their lives upon a system of some kind. Even
those who seem to live at haphazard, like the multitude, prove to
have chart and compass and definite port in objective when their
conduct is more attentively examined. Victor Dorn's system was
as perfect as it was simple, and he held himself to it as rigidly
as the father superior of a Trappist monastery holds his monks to
their routine. Also, Victor had learned to know and to be on
guard against those two arch-enemies of the man who wishes to
``get somewhere''--self-excuse and optimism. He had got a good
strong leash upon his vanity --and a muzzle, too. When things
went wrong he instantly blamed HIMSELF, and did not rest until he
had ferreted out the stupidity or folly of which HE had been
guilty. He did not grieve over his failures; he held severely
scientific post mortems upon them to discover the reason why--in
order that there should not again be that particular kind of
failure at least. Then, as to the other arch-enemy, optimism, he
simply cut himself off from indulgence in it. He worked for
success; he assumed failure. He taught himself to care nothing
about success, but only about doing as intelligently and as
thoroughly as he could the thing next at hand.
What has all this to do with his infatuation for Jane? It serves
to show not only why the Workingmen's League was growing like a
plague of gypsy moth, but also why Victor Dorn was not the man to
be conquered by passion. Naturally, Jane, who had only the
vaguest conception of the size and power of Victor Dorn's mind,
could not comprehend wherein lay the difference between him and
the men she read about in novels or met in her wanderings among
the people of her own class in various parts of the earth. It is
possible for even the humblest of us to understand genius, just
as it is possible to view a mountain from all sides and get a
clear idea of it bulk and its dominion. But the hasty traveler
contents himself with a glance, a ``How superb,'' and a quick
passing on; and most of us are hasty travelers in the scenic land
of intellectuality. Jane saw that he was a great man. But she
was deceived by his frankness and his simplicity. She evoked in
him only the emotional side of his nature, only one part of that.
Because it--the only phase of him she attentively examined--was
so impressive, she assumed that it was the chief feature of the
Also, young and inexperienced women--and women not so young, and
with opportunity to become less inexperienced but without the
ability to learn by experience--always exaggerate the importance
of passion. Almost without exception, it is by way of passion
that a man and a woman approach each other. It is, of necessity,
the exterior that first comes into view. Thus, all that youth
and inexperience can know about love is its aspect of passion.
Because Jane had again and again in her five grown-up years
experienced men falling passionately in love with her, she
fancied she was an expert in matters of love. In fact, she had
still everything to learn.
On the way home she, assuming that the affair was as good as
settled, that she and Victor Dorn were lovers, was busy with
plans for the future. Victor Dorn had made a shrewd guess at the
state of her mind. She had no intention of allowing him to
pursue his present career. That was merely foundation. With the
aid of her love and council, and of her father's money and
influence, he--he and she--would mount to something really worth
while--something more than the petty politics of a third rate
city in the West. Washington was the proper arena for his
talents; they would take the shortest route to Washington. No
trouble about bringing him around; a man so able and so sensible
as he would not refuse the opportunity to do good on a grand
scale. Besides--he must be got away from his family, from these
doubtless good and kind but certainly not very high class
associates of his, and from Selma Gordon. The idea of his
comparing HER with Selma Gordon! He had not done so aloud, but
she knew what was in his mind. Yes, he must be taken far away
from all these provincial and narrowing associations.
But all this was mere detail. The big problem was how to bring
her father round. He couldn't realize what Victor Dorn would be
after she had taken him in hand. He would see only Victor Dorn,
the labor agitator of Remsen City, the nuisance who put
mischievous motives into the heads of ``the hands''--the man who
made them think they had heads when they were intended by the
Almighty to be simply hands. How reconcile him to the idea of
accepting this nuisance, this poor, common member of the working
class as a son-in-law, as the husband of the daughter he wished
to see married to some one of the ``best'' families?
On the face of it, the thing was impossible. Why, then, did not
Jane despair? For two reasons. In the first place, she was in
love, and that made her an optimist. Somehow love would find the
way. But the second reason--the one she hid from herself deep in
the darkest sub-cellar of her mind, was the real reason. It is
one matter to wish for a person's death. Only a villainous
nature can harbor such a wish, can admit it except as a hastily
and slyly in-crawling impulse, to be flung out the instant it is
discovered. It is another matter to calculate--very secretly,
very unconsciously--upon a death that seems inevitable anyhow.
Jane had only to look at her father to feel that he would not be
spared to her long. The mystery was how he had kept alive so
long, how he continued to live from day to day. His stomach was
gone; his whole digestive apparatus was in utter disorder. His
body had shriveled until he weighed no more than a baby. His
pulse was so feeble that even in the hot weather he complained of
the cold and had to be wrapped in the heaviest winter garments.
Yet he lived on, and his mind worked with undiminished vigor.
When Jane reached home, the old man was sitting on the veranda in
the full sun. On his huge head was a fur cap pulled well down
over his ears and intensifying the mortuary, skull-like
appearance of his face. Over his ulster was an old-fashioned
Scotch shawl such as men used to wear in the days before
overcoats came into fashion. About his wasted legs was wrapped a
carriage robe, and she knew that there was a hot-water bag under
his feet. Beside him sat young Doctor Charlton, whom Jane had at
last succeeded in inducing her father to try. Charlton did not
look or smell like a doctor. He rather suggested a professional
athlete, perhaps a better class prize fighter. The weazened old
financier was gazing at him with a fascinated
expression--admiring, envious, amused.
Charlton was saying:
``Yes, you do look like a dead one. But that's only another of
your tricks for fooling people. You'll live a dozen years unless
you commit suicide. A dozen years? Probably twenty.''
``You ought to be ashamed to make sport of a poor old invalid,''
said Hastings with a grin.
``Any man who could stand a lunch of crackers and milk for ten
years could outlive anything,'' retorted Charlton. ``No, you
belong to the old stock. You used to see 'em around when you
were a boy. They usually coughed and wheezed, and every time
they did it, the family used to get ready to send for the
undertaker. But they lived on and on. When did your mother
``Couple of years ago,'' said Hastings.
``And your father?''
``He was killed by a colt he was breaking at sixty- seven.''
Charlton laughed uproariously. ``If you took walks and rides
instead of always sitting round, you never would die,'' said he.
``But you're like lots of women I know. You'd rather die than
take exercise. Still, I've got you to stop that eating that was
keeping you on the verge all the time.''
``You're trying to starve me to death,'' grumbled Hastings.
``Don't you feel better, now that you've got used to it and don't
``But I'm not getting any nourishment.''
``How would eating help you? You can't digest any more than what
I'm allowing you. Do you think you were better off when you were
full of rotting food? I guess not.''
``Well--I'm doing as you say,'' said the old man resignedly.
``And if you keep it up for a year, I'll put you on a horse. If
you don't keep it up, you'll find yourself in a hearse.''
Jane stood silently by, listening with a feeling of depression
which she could not have accounted for, if she would--and would
not if she could. Not that she wished her father to die; simply
that Charlton's confidence in his long life forced her to face
the only alternative--bringing him round to accept Victor Dorn.
At her father's next remark she began to listen with a high
beating heart. He said to Charlton:
``How about that there friend of yours--that young Dorn? You
ain't talked about him to-day as much as usual.''
``The last time we talked about him we quarreled,'' said
Charlton. ``It's irritating to see a man of your intelligence a
slave to silly prejudices.''
``I like Victor Dorn,'' replied Hastings in a most conciliatory
tone. ``I think he's a fine young man. Didn't I have him up
here at my house not long ago? Jane'll tell you that I like him.
She likes him, too. But the trouble with him--and with you,
too--is that you're dreaming all the time. You don't recognize
facts. And, so, you make a lot of trouble for us conservative
``Please don't use that word conservative,'' said Charlton. ``It
gags me to hear it. YOU'RE not a conservative. If you had been
you'd still be a farm hand. You've been a radical all your
life--changing things round and round, always according to your
idea of what was to your advantage. The only difference between
radicals like you robber financiers and radicals like Victor and
me is that our ideas of what's to our advantage differ. To you
life means money; to us it means health and comfort and
happiness. You want the world changed--laws upset, liberty
destroyed, wages lowered, and so on--so that you can get all the
money. We want the world changed so that we can be healthy and
comfortable and happy--securely so--which we can't be unless
everybody is, or is in the way to being.''
Jane was surprised to see that her father, instead of being
offended, was amused and pleased. He liked his new doctor so
well that he liked everything he said and did. Jane looked at
Charlton in her friendliest way. Here might be an ally, and a
``Human nature doesn't change,'' said Hastings in the tone of a
man who is stating that which cannot be disputed.
``The mischief it doesn't,'' said Charlton in prompt and vigorous
dissent. ``When conditions change, human nature has to change,
has to adapt itself. What you mean is that human nature doesn't
change itself. But conditions change it. They've been changing
it very rapidly these last few years. Science--steam,
electricity, a thousand inventions and discoveries, crowding one
upon another--science has brought about entirely new and
unprecedented conditions so rapidly that the changes in human
nature now making and that must be made in the next few years are
resulting in a series of convulsions. You old-fashioned
fellows--and the political parties and the politicians--are in
danger of being stranded. Leaders like Victor Dorn--movements
like our Workingmen's League--they seem new and radical to-day.
By to-morrow they'll be the commonplace thing, found
everywhere--and administering the public affairs.''
Jane was not surprised to see an expression of at least partial
admission upon her father's face. Charlton's words were of the
kind that set the imagination to work, that remind those who hear
of a thousand and one familiar related facts bearing upon the
same points. ``Well,'' said Hastings, ``I don't expect to see
any radical changes in my time.''
``Then you'll not live as long as I think,'' said Charlton. ``We
Americans advance very slowly because this is a big country and
undeveloped, and because we shift about so much that no one stays
in one place long enough to build up a citizenship and get an
education in politics--which is nothing more or less than an
education in the art of living. But slow though we are, we do
advance. You'll soon see the last of Boss Kelly and Boss
House--and of such gentle, amiable frauds as our friend Davy
Jane laughed merrily. ``Why do you call him a fraud?'' she
``Because he is a fraud,'' said Charlton. ``He is trying to
confuse the issue. He says the whole trouble is petty dishonesty
in public life. Bosh! The trouble is that the upper and middle
classes are milking the lower class--both with and without the
aid of the various governments, local, state and national.
THAT'S the issue. And the reason it is being forced is because
the lower class, the working class, is slowly awakening to the
truth. When it completely awakens----'' Charlton made a large
gesture and laughed.
``What then?'' said Hastings.
``The end of the upper and the middle classes. Everybody will
have to work for a living.''
``Who's going to be elected this fall?'' asked Jane. ``Your
``Yes,'' said Doctor Charlton. ``Victor Dorn thinks not. But he
always takes the gloomy view. And he doesn't meet and talk with
the fellows on the other side, as I do.''
Hastings was looking out from under the vizor of his cap with a
peculiar grin. It changed to a look of startled inquiry as
Charlton went on to say:
``Yes, we'll win. But the Davy Hull gang will get the offices.''
``Why do you think that?'' asked old Hastings sharply.
Charlton eyed his patient with a mocking smile. ``You didn't
think any one knew but you and Kelly-- did you?'' laughed he.
``Knew what?'' demanded Hastings, with a blank stare.
``No matter,'' said Charlton. ``I know what you intend to do.
Well, you'll get away with the goods. But you'll wish you
hadn't. You old-fashioned fellows, as I've been telling you,
don't realize that times have changed.''
``Do you mean, Doctor, that the election is to be stolen away
from you?'' inquired Jane.
``Was that what I meant, Mr. Hastings?'' said Charlton.
``The side that loses always shouts thief at the side that
wins,'' said the old man indifferently. ``I don't take any
interest in politics.''
``Why should you?'' said the Doctor audaciously. ``You own both
sides. So, it's heads you win, tails I lose.''
Hastings laughed heartily. ``Them political fellows are a lot of
blackmailers,'' said he.
``That's ungrateful,'' said Charlton. ``Still, I don't blame you
for liking the Davy Hull crowd better. From them you can get
what you want just the same, only you don't have to pay for it.''
He rose and stretched his big frame, with a disregard of
conventional good manners so unconscious that it was inoffensive.
But Charlton had a code of manners of his own, and somehow it
seemed to suit him where the conventional code would have made
him seem cheap. ``I didn't mean to look after your political
welfare, too,'' said he. ``But I'll make no charge for that.''
``Oh, I like to hear you young fellows talk,'' said Martin.
``You'll sing a different song when you're as old as I am and
have found out what a lot of damn fools the human race is.''
``As I told you before,'' said Charlton, ``it's conditions that
make the human animal whatever it is. It's in the harness of
conditions--the treadmill of conditions-- the straight jacket of
conditions. Change the conditions and you change the animal.''
When he was swinging his big powerful form across the lawns
toward the fringe of woods, Jane and her father looking after
him, Jane said:
``He's wonderfully clever, isn't he?''
``A dreamer--a crank,'' replied the old man.
``But what he says sounds reasonable,'' suggested the daughter.
``It SOUNDS sensible,'' admitted the old man peevishly. ``But it
ain't what _I_ was brought up to call sensible. Don't you get
none of those fool ideas into your head. They're all very well
for men that haven't got any property or any
responsibilities--for flighty fellows like Charlton and that
there Victor Dorn. But as soon as anybody gets property and has
interests to look after, he drops that kind of talk.''
``Do you mean that property makes a man too blind or too cowardly
to speak the truth?'' asked Jane with an air of great innocence.
The old man either did not hear or had no answer ready. He said:
``You heard him say that Davy Hull was going to win?''
``Why, he said Victor Dorn was going to win,'' said Jane, still
simple and guileless.
Hastings frowned impatiently. ``That was just loose talk. He
admitted Davy was to be the next mayor. If he is--and I expect
Charlton was about right--if Davy is elected, I shouldn't be
surprised to see him nominated for governor next year. He's a
sensible, knowing fellow. He'll make a good mayor, and he'll be
elected governor on his record.''
``And on what you and the other men who run things will do for
him,'' suggested Jane slyly.
Her father grinned expressively. ``I like to see a sensible,
ambitious young fellow from my town get on,'' said he. ``And I'd
like to see my girl married to a fellow of that sort, and
``I think more could be done with a man like Victor Dorn,'' said
Jane. ``It seems to me the Davy Hull sort of politics is--is
about played out. Don't you think so?''
Jane felt that her remark was a piece of wild audacity. But she
was desperate. To her amazement her father did not flare up but
kept silent, wearing the look she knew meant profound reflection.
After a moment he said:
``Davy's a knowing boy. He showed that the other day when he
jumped in and made himself a popular hero. He'd never 'a' been
able to come anywheres near election but for that. Dorn'd 'a'
won by a vote so big that Dick Kelly wouldn't 'a' dared even try
to count him out. . . . Dorn's a better man than Davy. But
Dorn's got a foolish streak in him. He believes the foolishness
he talks, instead of simply talking it to gain his end. I've
been looking him over and thinking him over. He won't do,
Was her father discussing the matter abstractly, impersonally, as
he seemed? Or, had he with that uncanny shrewdness of his
somehow penetrated to her secret--or to a suspicion of it? Jane
was so agitated that she sat silent and rigid, trying to look
``I had a strong notion to try to do something for him,''
continued the old man. ``But it'd be no use. He'd not rise to a
chance that was offered him. He's set on going his own way.''
Jane trembled--dared. ``I believe _I_ could do something with
him,'' said she--and she was pleased with the coolness of her
voice, the complete absence of agitation or of false note.
``Try if you like,'' said her father. ``But I'm sure you'll find
I'm right. Be careful not to commit yourself in any way. But I
needn't warn you. You know how to take care of yourself. Still,
maybe you don't realize how set up he'd be over being noticed by
a girl in your position. And if you gave him the notion that
there was a chance for him to marry you, he'd be after you hammer
and tongs. The idea of getting hold of so much money'd set him
``I doubt if he cares very much--or at all--about money,'' said
Hastings grinned satirically. ``There ain't nobody that don't
care about money,'' said he, ``any more than there's anybody that
don't care about air to breathe. Put a pin right there, Jinny.''
``I hate to think that,'' she said, reluctantly, ``but I'm
As she was taking her ride one morning she met David Hull also on
horseback and out for his health. He turned and they rode
together, for several miles, neither breaking the silence except
with an occasional remark about weather or scenery. Finally Davy
``You seem to be down about something, too?''
``Not exactly down,'' replied Jane. ``Simply--I've been doing a
lot of thinking--and planning--or attempt at planning--lately.''
``I, too,'' said Davy.
``Naturally. How's politics?''
``Of course I don't hear anything but that I'm going to be
elected. If you want to become convinced that the whole world is
on the graft, take part in a reform campaign. We've attracted
every broken-down political crook in this region. It's hard to
say which crowd is the more worthless, the college amateurs at
politics or these rotten old in-goods who can't get employment
with either Kelly or House and, so, have joined us. By Jove, I'd
rather be in with the out and out grafters --the regulars that
make no bones of being in politics for the spoils. There's slimy
hypocrisy over our crowd that revolts me. Not a particle of
sincerity or conviction. Nothing but high moral guff.''
``Oh, but YOU'RE sincere, Davy,'' said Jane with twinkling eyes.
``Am I?'' said Davy angrily. ``I'm not so damn sure of it.''
Hastily, ``I don't mean that. Of course, I'm sincere--as sincere
as a man can be and get anywhere in this world. You've got to
humbug the people, because they haven't sense enough to want the
``I guess, Davy,'' said Jane shrewdly, ``if you told them the
whole truth about yourself and your party they'd have sense
enough--to vote for Victor Dorn.''
``He's a demagogue,'' said Davy with an angry jerk at his rein.
``He knows the people aren't fit to rule.''
``Who is?'' said Jane. ``I've yet to see any human creature who
could run anything without making more or less of a mess of it.
And--well, personally, I'd prefer incompetent honest servants to
competent ones who were liars or thieves.''
``Sometimes I think,'' said Davy, ``that the only thing to do is
to burn the world up and start another one.''
``You don't talk like a man who expected to be elected,'' said
``Oh--I'm worrying about myself--not about the election,'' said
Hull, lapsing into sullen silence. And certainly he had no
reason to worry about the election. He had the Citizen's
Alliance and the Democratic nominations. And, as a further aid
to him, Dick Kelly had given the Republican nomination to Alfred
Sawyer, about the most unpopular manufacturer in that region.
Sawyer, a shrewd money maker, was an ass in other ways, was
strongly seized of the itch for public office. Kelly, seeking
the man who would be the weakest, combined business with good
politics; he forced Sawyer to pay fifty thousand dollars into the
``campaign fund'' in a lump sum, and was counting confidently
upon ``milking'' him for another fifty thousand in installments
during the campaign. Thus, in the natural order of things, Davy
could safely assume that he would be the next mayor of Remsen
City by a gratifyingly large majority. The last vote of the
Workingmen's League had been made fifteen hundred. Though it
should quadruple its strength at the coming election --which was
most improbable--it would still be a badly beaten second.
Politically, Davy was at ease.
Jane waited ten minutes, then asked abruptly:
``What's become of Selma Gordon?''
``Did you see this week's New Day?''
``Is it out? I've seen no one, and haven't been down town.''
``There was a lot of stuff in it against me. Most of it
demagoguing, of course, but more or less hysterical campaigning.
The only nasty article about me--a downright personal attack on
my sincerity-- was signed `S. G.' ''
``Oh--to be sure,'' said Jane, with smiling insincerity. ``I had
almost forgotten what you told me. Well, it's easy enough to
bribe her to silence. Go offer yourself to her.''
A long silence, then Davy said: ``I don't believe she'd accept
``Try it,'' said Jane.
Again a long pause. David said sullenly: ``I did.''
Selma Gordon had refused David Hull! Half a dozen explanations
of this astounding occurrence rapidly suggested themselves. Jane
rejected each in turn at a glance. ``You're sure she understood
``I made myself as clear as I did when I proposed to you,''
replied Davy with a lack of tact which a woman of Jane's kind
would never forget or forgive.
Jane winced, ignored. Said she: ``You must have insisted on
some conditions she hesitated to accept.''
``On her own terms,'' said Davy.
Jane gave up trying to get the real reason from him, sought it in
Selma's own words and actions. She inquired: ``What did she
say? What reason did she give?''
``That she owed it to the cause of her class not to marry a man
of my class,'' answered Hull, believing that he was giving the
exact and the only reason she assigned or had.
Jane gave a faint smile of disdain. ``Women don't act from a
sense of duty,'' she said.
``She's not the ordinary woman,'' said Hull. ``You must remember
she wasn't brought up as you and I were--hasn't our ideas of
life. The things that appeal to us most strongly don't touch
her. She knows nothing about them.'' He added, ``And that's her
great charm for me.''
Jane nodded sympathetically. Her own case exactly. After a
brief hesitation she suggested:
``Perhaps Selma's in love with--some one else.'' The pause
before the vague ``some one else'' was almost unnoticeable.
``With Victor Dorn, you mean?'' said Davy. ``I asked her about
that. No, she's not in love with him.''
``As if she'd tell you!''
Davy looked at her a little scornfully. ``Don't insinuate,'' he
said. ``You know she would. There's nothing of the ordinary
tricky, evasive, faking woman about her. And although she's got
plenty of excuse for being conceited, she isn't a bit so. She
isn't always thinking about herself, like the girls of our
``I don't in the least wonder at your being in love with her,
Davy,'' said Jane sweetly. ``Didn't I tell you I admired your
taste--and your courage?''
``You're sneering at me,'' said Davy. ``All the same, it did
take courage--for I'm a snob at bottom--like you--like all of us
who've been brought up so foolishly --so rottenly. But I'm proud
that I had the courage. I've had a better opinion of myself ever
since. And if you have any unspoiled womanhood in you, you agree
``I do agree with you,'' said Jane softly. She reached out and
laid her hand on his arm for an instant. ``That's honest,
He gave her a grateful look. ``I know it,'' said he. ``The
reason I confide things to you is because I know you're a real
woman at bottom, Jane--the only real person I've ever happened
across in our class.''
``It took more courage for you to do that sort of thing than it
would for a woman,'' said Jane. ``It's more natural, easier for
a woman to stake everything in love. If she hasn't the man she
wants she hasn't anything, while a man's wife can be a mere
detail in his life. He can forget he's married, most of the
``That isn't the way I intend to be married,'' said Davy. ``I
want a wife who'll be half, full half, of the whole. And I'll
``You mean you haven't given up?''
``Why should I? She doesn't love another man. So, there's hope.
Don't you think so?''
Jane was silent. She hastily debated whether it would be wiser
to say yes or to say no.
``Don't you think so?'' repeated he.
``How can I tell?'' replied Jane, diplomatically. ``I'd have to
see her with you--see how she feels toward you.''
``I think she likes me,'' said Davy, ``likes me a good deal.''
Jane kept her smile from the surface. What a man always thought,
no matter how plainly a woman showed that she detested him. ``No
doubt she does,'' said Jane. She had decided upon a course of
action. ``If I were you, Davy, I'd keep away from her for the
present-- give her time to think it over, to see all the
advantages. If a man forces himself on a queer, wild sort of
girl such as Selma is, he's likely to drive her further away.''
Davy reflected. ``Guess you're right,'' said he finally. ``My
instinct is always to act--to keep on acting until I get results.
But it's dangerous to do that with Selma. At least, I think so.
I don't know. I don't understand her. I've got nothing to offer
her--nothing that she wants--as she frankly told me. Even if she
loved me, I doubt if she'd marry me--on account of her sense of
duty. What you said awhile ago-- about women never doing things
from a sense of duty-- that shows how hard it is for a woman to
understand what's perfectly simple to a man. Selma isn't the
sheltered woman sort--the sort whose moral obligations are all
looked after by the men of her family. The old-fashioned woman
always belonged to some man-- or else was an outcast. This new
style of woman looks at life as a man does.''
Jane listened with a somewhat cynical expression. No doubt, in
theory, there was a new style of woman. But practically, the new
style of woman merely TALKED differently; at least, she was still
the old-fashioned woman, longing for dependence upon some man and
indifferent to the obligations men made such a fuss
about--probably not so sincerely as they fancied. But her
expression changed when Davy went on to say:
``She'd look at a thing of that sort much as I-- or Victor Dorn
Jane's heart suddenly sank. Because the unconscious blow had
hurt she struck out, struck back with the first weapon she could
lay hold of. ``But you said a minute ago that Victor was a
Davy flushed with confusion. He was in a franker mood now,
however. ``I'd like to think that,'' he replied. ``But I don't
honestly believe it.''
``You think that if Victor Dorn loved a woman of our class he'd
put her out of his life?''
``That's hardly worth discussing,'' said Davy. ``No woman of our
class--no woman he'd be likely to look at--would encourage him to
the point where he'd presume upon it.''
``How narrow you are!'' cried Jane, derisive but even more angry.
``It's different--entirely different--with a man, even in our
class. But a woman of our class--she's a lady or she's nothing
at all. And a lady couldn't be so lacking in refinement as to
descend to a man socially beneath her.''
``I can see how ANY woman might fall in love with Victor Dorn.''
``You're just saying that to be argumentative,'' said Davy with
conviction. ``Take yourself, for example.''
``I confess I don't see any such contrast between Victor and
you--except where the comparison's altogether in his favor,''
said Jane pleasantly. ``You don't know as much as he does. You
haven't the independence of character--or the courage--or the
sincerity. You couldn't be a real leader, as he is. You have to
depend on influence, and on trickery.''
A covert glance at the tall, solemn-looking young man riding
silently beside her convinced her that he was as uncomfortable as
she had hoped to make him.
``As for manners--and the things that go to make a gentleman,''
she went on, ``I'm not sure but that there, too, the comparison
is against you. You always suggest to me that if you hadn't the
pattern set for men of our class and didn't follow it, you'd be
absolutely lost, Davy, dear. While Victor--he's a fine, natural
person, with the manners that grow as naturally out of his
personality as oak leaves grow out of an oak.''
Jane was astonished and delighted by this eloquence of hers about
the man she loved--an eloquence far above her usual rather
commonplace mode of speech and thought. Love was indeed an
inspirer! What a person she would become when she had Victor
always stimulating her. She went on:
``A woman would never grow tired of Victor. He doesn't talk
stale stuff such as all of us get from the stale little
professors and stale, dreary text-books at our colleges.''
``Why don't you fall in love with him?'' said Davy sourly.
``I do believe you're envious of Victor Dorn,'' retorted Jane.
``What a disagreeable mood you're in to-day,'' said Davy.
``So a man always thinks when a woman speaks well of another man
in his presence.''
``I didn't suspect you of being envious of Selma. Why should you
suspect me of feeling ungenerously about Victor? Fall in love
with him if you like. Heaven knows, I'd do nothing to stop it.''
``Perhaps I shall,'' said Jane, with unruffled amiability.
``You're setting a dangerous example of breaking down class
``Now, Jane, you know perfectly well that while, if I married
Selma she'd belong to my class, a woman of our class marrying
Victor Dorn would sink to his class. Why quarrel about anything
so obviously true?''
``Victor Dorn belongs to a class by himself,'' replied Jane.
``You forget that men of genius are not regarded like you poor
Davy was relieved that they had reached the turning at which they
had to separate. ``I believe you are in love with him,'' said he
as a parting shot.
Jane, riding into her lane, laughed gayly, mockingly. She
arrived at home in fine humor. It pleased her that Davy, for all
his love for Selma, could yet be jealous of Victor Dorn on her
account. And more than ever, after this talk with him--the part
of it that preceded the quarrel--she felt that she was doing a
fine, brave, haughtily aristocratic thing in loving Victor Dorn.
Only a woman with a royal soul would venture to be thus
Should she encourage or discourage the affair between Davy and
Selma? There was much to be said for this way of removing Selma
from her path; also, if a man of Davy Hull's position married
beneath him, less would be thought of her doing the same thing.
On the other hand, she felt that she had a certain property right
in David Hull, and that Selma was taking what belonged to her.
This, she admitted to herself, was mean and small, was unworthy
of the woman who was trying to be worthy of Victor Dorn, of such
love as she professed for him. Yes, mean and small. She must
try to conquer it.
But--when she met Selma in the woods a few mornings later, her
dominant emotions were anything but high-minded and generous.
Selma was looking her most fascinating--wild and strange and
unique. They caught sight of each other at the same instant.
Jane came composedly on--Selma made a darting movement toward a
by-path opening near her, hesitated, stood like some shy, lovely
bird of the deep wilderness ready to fly away into hiding.
``Hello, Selma!'' said Jane carelessly.
Selma looked at her with wide, serious eyes.
``Where have you been keeping yourself of late? Busy with the
writing, I suppose?''
``I owe you an apology,'' said Selma, in a queer, suppressed
voice. ``I have been hating you, and trying to think of some way
to keep you and Victor Dorn apart. I thought it was from my duty
to the cause. I've found out that it was a low, mean personal
Jane had stopped short, was regarding her with eyes that glowed
in a pallid face. ``Because you are in love with him?'' she
Selma gave a quick, shamed nod. ``Yes,'' she said-- the sound
was scarcely audible.
Selma's frank and generous--and confiding--self- sacrifice
aroused no response in Jane Hastings. For the first time in her
life she was knowing what it meant to hate.
``And I've got to warn you,'' Selma went on, ``that I am going to
do whatever I can to keep you from hindering him. Not because I
love him, but because I owe it to the cause. He belongs to it,
and I must help him be single-hearted for it. You could only be
a bad influence in his life. I think you would like to be a
sincere woman; but you can't. Your class is too strong for you.
So--it would be wrong for Victor Dorn to love and to marry you.
I think he realizes it and is struggling to be true to himself.
I intend to help him, if I can.''
Jane smiled cruelly. ``What hypocrisy!'' she said, and turned
and walked away.
In America we have been bringing up our women like men, and
treating them like children. They have active minds with nothing
to act upon. Thus they are driven to think chiefly about
themselves. With Jane Hastings, self-centering took the form of
self-analysis most of the time. She was intensely interested in
what she regarded as the new development of her character. This
definite and apparently final decision for the narrow and the
ungenerous. In fact, it was no new development, but simply a
revelation to herself of her own real character. She was seeing
at last the genuine Jane Hastings, inevitable product of a
certain heredity in a certain environment. The high thinking and
talking, the idealistic aspiration were pose and pretense. Jane
Hastings was a selfish, self-absorbed person, ready to do almost
any base thing to gain her ends, ready to hate to the uttermost
any one who stood between her and her object.
``I'm certainly not a lovely person--not a lovable person,''
thought she, with that gentle tolerance wherewith we regard our
ownselves, whether in the dress of pretense or in the undress of
deformed humanness. ``Still--I am what I am, and I've got to
make the best of it.''
As she thought of Selma's declaration of war she became less and
less disturbed about it. Selma neither would nor could do
anything sly. Whatever she attempted in the open would only turn
Victor Dorn more strongly toward herself. However, she must
continue to try to see him, must go to see him in a few days if
she did not happen upon him in her rides or walks. How poorly he
would think of her if he knew the truth about her! But then, how
poor most women--and men, too--would look in a strong and just
light. Few indeed could stand idealizing; except Victor, no one
she knew. And he was human enough not to make her uncomfortable
in his presence.
But it so happened that before she could see Victor Dorn her
father disobeyed Dr. Charlton and gave way to the appetite that
was the chief cause of his physical woes. He felt so well that
he ate the family dinner, including a peach cobbler with whipped
cream, which even the robust Jane adventured warily. Martha was
dining with them. She abetted her father. ``It's light,'' said
she. ``It couldn't harm anybody.''
``You mustn't touch it, popsy,'' said Jane.
She unthinkingly spoke a little too commandingly. Her father, in
a perverse and reckless mood, took Martha's advice. An hour
later Dr. Charlton was summoned, and had he not arrived
``Another fifteen or twenty minutes,'' said he to the old man
when he had him out of immediate danger, ``and I'd have had
nothing to do but sign a certificate of natural death.''
``Murder would have been nearer the truth,'' said Martin feebly.
``That there fool Martha!''
``Come out from behind that petticoat!'' cried Charlton.
``Didn't I spend the best part of three days in giving you the
correct ideas as to health and disease --in showing you that ALL
disease comes from indigestion-- ALL disease, from falling hair
and sore eyes to weak ankles and corns? And didn't I convince
you that you could eat only the things I told you about?''
``Don't hit a man when he's down,'' groaned Hastings.
``If I don't, you'll do the same idiotic trick again when I get
you up--if I get you up.''
Hastings looked quickly at him. This was the first time Charlton
had ever expressed a doubt about his living. ``Do you mean
that?'' he said hoarsely. ``Or are you just trying to scare
``Both,'' said Charlton. ``I'll do my best, but I can't promise.
I've lost confidence in you. No wonder doctors, after they've
been in practice a few years, stop talking food and digestion to
their patients. I've never been able to convince a single human
being that appetite is not the sign of health, and yielding to it
the way to health. But I've made lots of people angry and have
lost their trade. I had hopes of you. You were such a hopeless
wreck. But no. And you call yourself an intelligent man!''
``I'll never do it again,'' said Hastings, pleading, but smiling,
too--Charlton's way of talking delighted him.
``You think this is a joke,'' said Charlton, shaking his bullet
head. ``Have you any affairs to settle? If you have, send for
your lawyer in the morning.''
Fear--the Great Fear--suddenly laid its icy long fingers upon the
throat of the old man. He gasped and his eyes rolled. ``Don't
trifle with me, Charlton,'' he muttered. ``You know you will
pull me through.''
``I'll do my best,'' said Charlton. ``I promise nothing. I'm
serious about the lawyer.''
``I don't want no lawyer hanging round my bed,'' growled the old
man. ``It'd kill me. I've got nothing to settle. I don't run
things with loose ends. And there's Jinny and Marthy and the
boy--share and share alike.''
``Well--you're in no immediate danger. I'll come early
``Wait till I get to sleep.''
``You'll be asleep as soon as the light's down. But I'll stop a
few minutes and talk to your daughter.''
Charlton found Jane at the window in the dressing room next her
father's bedroom. He said loudly enough for the old man to
``Your father's all right for the present, so you needn't worry.
Come downstairs with me. He's to go to sleep now.''
Jane went in and kissed the bulging bony forehead. ``Good night,
``Good night, Jinny dear,'' he said in a softer voice than she
had ever heard from him. ``I'm feeling very comfortable now, and
sleepy. If anything should happen, don't forget what I said
about not temptin' your brother by trustin' him too fur. Look
after your own affairs. Take Mr. Haswell's advice. He's stupid,
but he's honest and careful and safe. You might talk to Dr.
Charlton about things, too. He's straight, and knows what's
what. He's one of them people that gives everybody good advice
but themselves. If anything should happen----''
``But nothing's going to happen, popsy.''
``It might. I don't seem to care as much as I did. I'm so
tarnation tired. I reckon the goin' ain't as bad as I always
calculated. I didn't know how tired they felt and anxious to
``I'll turn down the light. The nurse is right in there.''
``Yes--turn the light. If anything should happen, there's an
envelope in the top drawer in my desk for Dr. Charlton. But
don't tell him till I'm gone. I don't trust nobody, and if he
knowed there was something waiting, why, there's no telling----''
The old man had drowsed off. Jane lowered the light and went
down to join Charlton on the front veranda, where he was smoking
a cigarette. She said:
``He's all right for the next few days,'' said Charlton. ``After
that--I don't know. I'm very doubtful.''
Jane was depressed, but not so depressed as she would have been
had not her father so long looked like death and so often been
``Stay at home until I see how this is going to turn out.
Telephone your sister to be within easy call. But don't let her
come here. She's not fit to be about an ill person. The sight
of her pulling a long, sad face might carry him off in a fit of
Jane observed him with curiosity in the light streaming from the
front hall. ``You're a very practical person aren't you?'' she
``No romance, no idealism, you mean?''
He laughed in his plain, healthy way. ``Not a frill,'' said he.
``I'm interested only in facts. They keep me busy enough.''
``You're not married, are you?''
``Not yet. But I shall be as soon as I find a woman I want.''
``IF you can get her.''
``I'll get her, all right,'' replied he. ``No trouble about
that. The woman I want'll want me.''
``I'm eager to see her,'' said Jane. ``She'll be a queer one.''
``Not necessarily,'' said he. ``But I'll make her a queer one
before I get through with her--queer, in my sense, meaning
sensible and useful.''
``You remind me so often of Victor Dorn, yet you're not at all
``We're in the same business--trying to make the human race fit
to associate with. He looks after the minds; I look after the
bodies. Mine's the humbler branch of the business, perhaps--but
it's equally necessary, and it comes first. The chief thing
that's wrong with human nature is bad health. I'm getting the
world ready for Victor.''
``You like him?''
``I worship him,'' said Charlton in his most matter-of- fact way.
``Yet he's just the opposite of you. He's an idealist.''
``Who told you that?'' laughed Charlton. ``He's the most
practical, sensible man in this town. You people think he's a
crank because he isn't crazy about money or about stepping round
on the necks of his fellow beings. The truth is, he's got a
sense of proportion-- and a sense of humor--and an idea of a
rational happy life. You're still barbarians, while he's a
civilized man. Ever seen an ignorant yap jeer when a neat,
clean, well- dressed person passed by? Well, you people jeering
at Victor Dorn are like that yap.''
``I agree with you,'' said Jane hastily and earnestly.
``No, you don't,'' replied Charlton, tossing away the end of his
cigarette. ``And so much the worse for you. Good-night, lady.''
And away he strode into the darkness, leaving her amused, yet
with a peculiar sense of her own insignificance.
Charlton was back again early the next morning and spent that
day--and a large part of many days there- after--in working at
the wreck, Martin Hastings, inspecting known weak spots,
searching for unknown ones, patching here and there, trying all
the schemes teeming in his ingenious and supremely sensible mind
in the hope of setting the wreck afloat again. He could not
comprehend why the old man remained alive. He had seen many a
human being go who was in health, in comparison with this
conglomerate of diseases and frailties; yet life there was, and a
most tenacious life. He worked and watched, and from day to day
put off suggesting that they telegraph for the son. The coming
of his son might shake Martin's conviction that he would get
well; it seemed to Charlton that that conviction was the one
thread holding his patient from the abyss where darkness and
silence reign supreme.
Jane could not leave the grounds. If she had she would have seen
Victor Dorn either not at all or at a distance. For the campaign
was now approaching its climax.
The public man is always two wholly different personalities.
There is the man the public sees--and fancies it knows. There is
the man known only to his intimates, known imperfectly to them,
perhaps an unknown quantity even to himself until the necessity
for decisive action reveals him to himself and to those in a
position to see what he really did. Unfortunately, it is not the
man the public sees but the hidden man who is elected to the
office. Nothing could be falser than the old saw that sooner or
later a man stands revealed. Sometimes, as we well know, history
has not found out a man after a thousand years of studying him.
And the most familiar, the most constantly observed men in public
life often round out a long career without ever having aroused in
the public more than a faint and formless suspicion as to the
truth about them.
The chief reason for this is that, in studying a character, no
one is content with the plain and easy way of reaching an
understanding of it--the way of looking only at its ACTS. We all
love to dabble in the metaphysical, to examine and weigh motives
and intentions, to compare ourselves and make wildly erroneous
judgment inevitable by listening to the man's WORDS--his
professions, always more or less dishonest, though perhaps not
always deliberately so.
In that Remsen City campaign the one party that could profit by
the full and clear truth, and therefore was eager for the truth
as to everything and everybody, was the Workingmen's League. The
Kelly crowd, the House gang, the Citizens' Alliance, all had
their ugly secrets, their secret intentions different from their
public professions. All these were seeking office and power with
a view to increasing or perpetuating or protecting various
abuses, however ardently they might attack, might perhaps
honestly intend to end, certain other and much smaller abuses.
The Workingmen's League said that it would end every abuse
existing law did not securely protect, and it meant what it said.
Its campaign fund was the dues paid in by its members and the
profits from the New Day. Its financial books were open for free
inspection. Not so the others--and that in itself was proof
enough of sinister intentions.
Under Victor Dorn's shrewd direction, the League candidates
published, each man in a sworn statement, a complete description
of all the property owned by himself and by his wife. ``The
character of a man's property,'' said the New Day, ``is an
indication of how that man will act in public affairs.
Therefore, every candidate for public trust owes it to the people
to tell them just what his property interests are. The League
candidates do this--and an effective answer the schedules make to
the charge that the League's candidates are men who have `no
stake in the community.' Now, let Mr. Sawyer, Mr. Hull, Mr.
Galland and the rest of the League's opponents do likewise. Let
us read how many shares of water and ice stock Mr. Sawyer owns.
Let us hear from Mr. Hull about his traction holdings--those of
the Hull estate from which he draws his entire income. As for
Mr. Galland, it would be easier for him to give the list of
public and semi-public corporations in which he is not largely
interested. But let him be specific, since he asks the people to
trust him as judge between them and those corporations of which
he is almost as large an owner as is his father-in-law.''
This line of attack--and the publication of the largest
contributors to the Republican and Democratic- Reform campaign
fund--caused a great deal of public and private discussion.
Large crowds cheered Hull when he, without doing the charges the
honor of repeating them, denounced the ``undignified and
demagogic methods of our desperate opponents.'' The smaller
Sawyer crowds applauded Sawyer when he waxed indignant over the
attempts of those ``socialists and anarchists, haters of this
free country and spitters upon its glorious flag, to set poor
against rich, to destroy our splendid American tradition of a
free field and no favors, and let the best man win!''
Sawyer, and Davy, all the candidates of the machines and the
reformers for that matter, made excellent public appearances.
They discoursed eloquently about popular rights and wrongs. They
denounced corruption; they stood strongly for the right and
renounced and denounced the devil and all his works. They
promised to do far more for the people than did the Leaguers; for
Victor Dorn had trained his men to tell the exact truth --the
difficulty of doing anything for the people at any near time or
in any brief period because at a single election but a small part
of the effective offices could be changed, and sweeping changes
must be made before there could be sweeping benefits. ``We'll do
all we can,'' was their promise. ``Their county government and
their state government and their courts won't let us do much.
But a beginning has to be made. Let's make it!''
David Hull's public appearance was especially good. Not so
effective as it has now become, because he was only a novice at
campaigning in that year. But he looked, well--handsome, yet not
too handsome, upper class, but not arrogant, serious, frank and
kindly. And he talked in a plain, honest way--you felt that no
interest, however greedy, desperate and powerful, would dare
approach that man with an improper proposal-- and you quite
forgot in real affairs the crude improper proposal is never the
method of approach. When Davy, with grave emotion, referred to
the ``pitiful efforts to smirch the personal character of
candidates,'' you could not but burn with scorn of the Victor
Dorn tactics. What if Hull did own gas and water and ice and
traction and railway stocks? Mustn't a rich man invest his money
somehow? And how could he more creditably invest it than in
local enterprises and in enterprises that opened up the country
and gave employment to labor? What if the dividends were
improperly, even criminally, earned? Must he therefore throw the
dividends paid him into the street? As for a man of such
associations and financial interests being unfit fairly to
administer public affairs, what balderdash! Who could be more
fit than this educated, high minded man, of large private means,
willing to devote himself to the public service instead of
drinking himself to death or doing nothing at all. You would
have felt, as you looked at Davy and listened to him, that it was
little short of marvelous that a man could be so self-
sacrificing as to consent to run the gauntlet of low mudslingers
for no reward but an office with a salary of three thousand a
year. And you would have been afraid that, if something was not
done to stop these mudslingers, such men as David Hull would
abandon their patriotic efforts to save their country--and then
WHAT would become of the country?
But Victor and his associates--on the platform, in the paper, in
posters and dodgers and leaflets-- continued to press home the
ugly questions--and continued to call attention to the fact that,
while there had been ample opportunity, none of the candidates
had answered any of the questions. And presently--keeping up
this line of attack--Victor opened out in another. He had
Falconer, the League candidate for judge, draw up a careful
statement of exactly what each public officer could do under
existing law to end or to check the most flagrant of the abuses
from which the people of Remsen City were suffering. With this
statement as a basis, he formulated a series of questions--``Yes
or no? If you are elected, will you or will you not?'' The
League candidates promptly gave the specific pledges. Sawyer
dodged. David Hull was more adroit. He held up a copy of the
list of questions at a big meeting in Odd Fellows' Hall.
``Our opponents have resorted to a familiar trick-- the question
and the pledge.'' (Applause. Sensation. Fear lest ``our
candidate'' was about to ``put his foot in it.'') ``We need
resort to no tricks. I promptly and frankly, for our whole
ticket, answer their questions. I say, `We will lay hold of ANY
and EVERY abuse, as soon as it presents itself, and WILL SMASH
Applause, cheers, whistlings--a demonstration lasting nearly five
minutes by a watch held by Gamaliel Tooker, who had a mania for
gathering records of all kinds and who had voted for every
Republican candidate for President since the party was founded.
Davy did not again refer to Victor Dorn's questions. But Victor
continued to press them and to ask whether a public officer ought
not to go and present himself to abuses, instead of waiting for
them to hunt him out and present themselves to him.
Such was the campaign as the public saw it. And such was in
reality the campaign of the Leaguers. But the real campaign--the
one conducted by Kelly and House--was entirely different. They
were not talking; they were working.
They were working on a plan based somewhat after this fashion:
In former and happier days, when people left politics to
politicians and minded their own business, about ninety-five per
cent. of the voters voted their straight party tickets like good
soldiers. Then politics was a high-class business, and
politicians devoted themselves to getting out the full party vote
and to buying or cajoling to one side or the other the doubtful
ten per cent that held the balance of power. That golden age,
however, had passed. People had gotten into the habit of
fancying that, because certain men had grown very, very rich
through their own genius for money-making, supplemented perhaps
by accidental favors from law and public officials, therefore
politics in some way might possibly concern the private citizen,
might account for the curious discrepancy between his labor and
its reward. The impression was growing that, while the energy of
the citizen determined the PRODUCTION of wealth, it was politics
that determined the distribution of wealth. And under the
influence of this impression, the percentage of sober, steady,
reliable voters who ``stood by the grand old party'' had shrunk
to about seventy, while the percentage of voters who had to be
worried about had grown to about thirty.
The Kelly-House problem was, what shall we do as to that annoying
thirty per cent?
Kelly--for he was THE brain of the bi-partisan machine, proposed
to throw the election to the House- Reform ``combine.'' His
henchmen and House's made a careful poll, and he sat up all night
growing haggard and puffy-eyed over the result. According to
this poll, not only was the League's entire ticket to be elected,
but also Galland, despite his having the Republican, the
Democratic and the Reform nominations, was to be beaten by the
League's Falconer. He couldn't understand it. The Sawyer
meetings were quite up to his expectations and indicated that the
Republican rank and file was preparing to swallow the Sawyer dose
without blinking. The Alliance and the Democratic meetings were
equally satisfactory. Hull was ``making a hit.'' Everywhere he
had big crowds and enthusiasm. The League meetings were only
slightly better attended than during the last campaign; no
indication there of the League ``landslide.''
Yet Kelly could not, dared not, doubt that poll. It was his only
safe guide. And it assured him that the long-dreaded disaster
was at hand. In vain was the clever trick of nominating a
popular, ``clean'' young reformer and opposing him with an
unpopular regular of the most offensive type--more offensive even
than a professional politician of unsavory record. At last
victory was to reward the tactics of Victor Dorn, the slow,
patient building which for several years now had been rasping the
nerves of Boss Kelly.
What should he do?
It was clear to him that the doom of the old system was settled.
The plutocrats, the upper-class crowd--the ``silk stockings,'' as
they had been called from the days when men wore
knee-breeches--they fancied that this nation-wide movement was
sporadic, would work out in a few years, and that the people
would return to their allegiance. Kelly had no such delusions.
Issuing from the depths of the people, he understood. They were
learning a little something at last. They were discovering that
the ever higher prices for everything and stationary or falling
wages and salaries had some intimate relation with politics; that
at the national capitol, at the state capitol, in the county
courthouse, in the city hall their share of the nation's vast
annual production of wealth was being determined--and that the
persons doing the dividing, though elected by them, were in the
employ of the plutocracy. Kelly, seeing and comprehending, felt
that it behooved him to get for his masters--and for himself--all
that could be got in the brief remaining time. Not that he was
thinking of giving up the game; nothing so foolish as that. It
would be many a year before the plutocracy could be routed out,