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    Chapter 25

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    Chapter 25
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    I came to a sudden decision in this crisis. The sensible thing to do was to meet the issue boldly, and take the job of launching Carpenter under proper auspices. He really was a wonderful man, and deserved to be treated decently.

    I addressed the reporter again. "Listen. This gentleman is a man of remarkable gifts, and does not take money for them; so, if you are going to tell about him at all, do it in a dignified way."

    "Of course! I had no other idea--"

    "Your city editor might have another idea," I remarked, drily. "Permit me to introduce myself." I gave him my name, and saw him start.

    "You mean the Mr.--" Then, giving me a swift glance, he decided it was not necessary to complete the question.

    Said I: "Here is my card," and handed it to him.

    He glanced at it, and said, "I'll be very glad to explain matters to the desk, and see that the story is handled exactly as you wish."

    "Thank you," I replied. "Now, yesterday I was caught in that mob at the picture theatre, and knocked nearly insensible. This gentleman found me, and healed me almost instantly. Naturally, I am grateful, and as I find that he is a teacher, who aids the poor, and will not take money from anyone, I want to thank him publicly, and help to make him known."

    "Of course, of course!" said the reporter; and before my mind's eye flashed a new set of headlines:

    WEALTHY CLUBMAN MIRACULOUSLY HEALED

    Or perhaps it would be a double head:

    CLUBMAN, SLUGGED BY MOB, HEALED BY PROPHET

    WEALTHY SCION, VICTIM OF PICTURE RIOT, RESTORED BY MAN FRESH FROM GOD

    I thought that was sensation enough, and that the interview would end; but alas for my hopes! Said that blood-hound of the press: "Will you give public healings to the people, Mr. Carpenter?"

    To which Carpenter answered: "I am not interested in giving healings."

    "What? Why not?"

    "Worldly and corrupt people ask me to do miracles, to prove my power to them. But the proof I bring to the world is a new vision and a new hope."

    "Oh, I see! Your religion! May I ask about it?"

    "You are the first; the world will follow you. Say to the people that I have come to understand the nature and causes of their mobs."

    "Mobs?" said the puzzled young blood-hound.

    "I wish to understand a land which is governed by mobs; I wish to know, who lives upon the madness of others."

    "You have been studying a mob this morning?" inquired the reporter.

    "I ask, why do the police of Mobland put down the mobs of the poor, and not the mobs of the rich? I ask, who pays the police, and who pays the mobs."

    "I see! You are some kind of radical!" And with sickness of soul I saw another headline before my mind's eye:

    WEALTHY CLUBMAN AIDS BOLSHEVIK PROPHET

    I hastened to break in: "Mr. Carpenter is not a radical; he is a lover of man." But then I realized, that did not sound just right. How the devil was I to describe this man? How came it that all the phrases of brotherhood and love had come to be tainted with "radicalism"? I tried again: "He is a friend of peace."

    "Oh, really!" observed the reporter. "A pacifist, hey?" And I thought: "Damn the hound!" I knew, of course, that he had the rest of the formula in his head: "Pro-German!" Out loud I said: "He teaches brotherhood."

    But the hound was not interested in my generalities and evasions. "Where have you seen mobs of the rich, Mr. Carpenter?"

    "I have seen them whirling through the streets in automobiles, killing the children of the poor."

    "You have seen that?"

    "I saw it last night."

    Now, I had inspected our "Times" and our "Examiner" that morning, and noted that both, in their accounts of the accident, had given only the name of the chauffeur, and suppressed that of the owner. I understood what an amount of social and financial pressure that feat had taken; and here was Carpenter about to spoil it! I laid my hand on his arm, saying: "My friend, you were a guest in that car. You are not at liberty to talk about it."

    I expected to be argued with; but Carpenter apparently conceded my point, for he fell silent. It was the young reporter who spoke. "You were in an auto accident, I judge? We had only one report of a death, and that was caused by Mrs. Stebbins' car. Were you in that?" Then, as neither Carpenter nor I replied, he laughed. "It doesn't matter, because I couldn't use the story. Mr. Stebbins is one of our 'sacred cows.' Good-day, and thank you."

    He started away; and suddenly all my terror of newspaper publicity overwhelmed me. I simply could not face the public as guardian of a Bolshevik! I shouted: "Young man!" And the reporter turned, respectfully, to listen. "I tell you, Mr. Carpenter is not a radical! Get that clear!" And to the young man's skeptical half-smile I exclaimed: "He's a Christian!" At which the reporter laughed out loud.
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