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    Chapter 30

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    Chapter 30
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    When I got back to the Labor Temple, I learned that there was to be a mass-meeting of the strikers this Saturday evening. It had been planned some days ago, and now was to be turned into a protest against police violence and "government by injunction." There was a cheap afternoon paper which professed sympathy with the workers, and this published a manifesto, signed by a number of labor leaders, summoning their followers to make clear that they would no longer submit to "Cossack rule."

    It appeared now that these leaders were considering inviting Carpenter to become one of the speakers at their meeting. Two of them came up to me. I had heard this stranger speak, and did I think he could hold an audience? I gave assurance; he was a man of dignity, and would do them credit. They were afraid the newspapers would represent him as a freak, but of course their meeting would hardly fare very well in the papers anyhow. One of them asked, cautiously, how much of an extremist was he? Labor leaders were having a hard time these days to hold down the "reds," and the employers were not giving them any help. Did I think Carpenter would support the "reds"? I answered that I didn't know the labor movement well enough to judge, but one thing they could be sure of, he was a man of peace, and would not preach any sort of violence.

    The matter was settled a little later, when Mary Magna drove up to the Labor Temple in her big limousine. Mary, for the first time in the memory of anyone who knew her, was without her war-paint; dressed like a Quakeress--a most uncanny phenomenon! She had not a single jewel on; and before long I learned why--she had taken all she owned to a jeweler that morning, and sold them for something over six thousand dollars. She brought the money to the fund for the babies of the strikers; nor did she ask anyone else to hand it in for her. It was Mary's fashion to look the world in the eye and say what she was doing.

    T-S was still hanging about, and at first he tried to check this insane extravagance, but then he thought it over and grinned, saying, "I git my tousand dollars back in advertising!" When I pointed out to him what would be the interpretation placed by newspaper gossip on Mary's intervention in the affairs of Carpenter, he grinned still more widely. "Ain't he got a right to be in love vit Mary? All de vorld's in love vit Mary!" And of course, there was a newspaper reporter standing by his side, so that this remark went out to the world as semi-official comment!

    You understand that by this time the second edition of the papers was on the streets, and it was known that the new prophet was at the Labor Temple. Curiosity seekers came filtering in, among them half a dozen more reporters, and as many camera men. After that, poor Carpenter could get no peace at all. Would he please say if he was going to do any more healing? Would he turn a little more to the light--just one second, thank you. Would he mind making a group with Miss Magna and Mr. T-S and the "wealthy young scion"? Would he consent to step outside for some moving pictures, before the light got too dim? It was a new kind of mob--a ravening one, making all dignity and thought impossible. In the end I had to mount guard and fight the publicity-hounds away. Was it likely this man would go out and pose for cameras, when he had just refused fifteen hundred dollars a week from Mr. T-S to do that very thing? And then more excitement! Had he really refused such an offer? The king of the movies admitted that he had!

    We live in an age of communication; we can send a bit of news half way round the world in a few seconds, we can make it known to a whole city in a few hours. And so it was with this "prophet fresh from God"; in spite of himself, he was seized by the scruff of the neck and flung up to the pinnacle of fame! He had all the marvels of a lifetime crowded into one day--enough to fill a whole newspaper with headlines!

    And the end was not yet. Suddenly there was a commotion in the crowd, and a man pushed his way through--Korwsky, the secretary of the tailor's union, who, learning of Carpenter's miracles, had rushed all the way home, and got a friend with a delivery wagon, and brought his half-grown son post-haste. He bore him now in his arms, and poured out to Carpenter the pitiful tale of his paralyzed limbs. Such a gentle, good child he was; no one ever heard a complaint; but he had not been able to stand up for five years.

    So, of course, Carpenter put his hands upon the child, and closed his eyes in prayer; and suddenly he put him down to the ground and cried: "Walk!" The lad stared at him, for one wild moment, while people caught their breath; then, with a little choking cry, he took a step. There came a shout from the spectators, and then--Bang!--a puff as if a gun had gone off, and a flash of light, and clouds of white smoke rolling to the ceiling.

    Women screamed, and one or two threatened to faint; but it was nothing more dangerous than the cameraman of the Independent Press Service, who had hired a step-ladder, and got it set up in a corner of the room, ready for any climax! A fine piece of stage management, said his jealous rivals; others in the crowd were sure it was a put up job between Carpenter and Korwsky. But the labor leaders knew the little tailor, and they believed. After that there was no doubt about Carpenter's being a speaker at the mass-meeting!
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