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    Chapter 39

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    Chapter 39
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    When Carpenter stopped speaking, his face was dripping with sweat, and he was pale. But the eager crowd would not let him go. They began to ask him questions. There were some who wanted to know what he meant by saying that he came from God, and some who wanted to know whether he believed in the Christian religion. There were others who wanted to know what he thought about political action, and if he really believed that the capitalists would give up without using force. There was a man who had been at the relief kitchen, and noted that he ate soup with meat in it, and asked if this was not using force against one's fellow creatures. The old gentleman who represented spiritualism was on hand, asking if the dead are still alive, and if so, where are they?

    Then, before the meeting was over, there came a sick man to be healed; and others, pushing their way through the crowd, clamoring about the wagon, seeking even to touch the hem of Carpenter's garments. After a couple of hours of this he announced that he was worn out. But it was a problem to get the wagon started; they could only move slowly, the driver calling to the people in front to make room. So they went down the street, and I got into my car and followed at a distance. I did not know where they were going, and there was nothing I could do but creep along--a poor little rich boy with a big automobile and nobody to ride in it, or to pay any attention to him.

    The wagon drove to the city jail; which rather gave me a start, because I had been thinking that the party might be arrested at any minute, on complaint to the police from the church. But apparently this did not trouble Carpenter. He wished to visit the strikers who had been arrested in front of Prince's restaurant. He and several others stood before the heavy barred doors asking for admission, while a big crowd gathered and stared. I sat watching the scene, with phrases learned in earliest childhood floating through my mind: "I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me."

    But it appeared that Sunday was not visitors' day at the jail, and the little company was turned away. As they climbed back into the wagon, I saw two husky fellows come from the jail, a type one learns to know as plain clothes men. "Why won't they let him in?" cried some one in the crowd; and one of the detectives looked over his shoulder, with a sneering laugh: "We'll let him in before long, don't you worry!"

    The wagon took up its slow march again. It was a one-horse express-cart, belonging, as I afterwards learned, to a compatriot of Korwsky the tailor. This man, Simon Karlin, earned a meager living for himself and his family by miscellaneous delivery in his neighborhood; but now he was so fascinated with Carpenter that he had dropped everything in order to carry the prophet about. I mention it, because next day in the newspapers there was much fun made of this imitation man of God riding about town in a half broken-down express-wagon, hauled by a rickety and spavined old nag.

    The company drove to one of the poorer quarters of the city, and stopped before a workingman's cottage on a street whose name I had never heard before. I learned that it was the home of James, the striking carpenter, and on the steps were his wife and a brood of half a dozen children, and his old father and mother, and several other people unidentified. There were many who had walked all the way following the wagon, and others gathered quickly, and besought the prophet to speak to them, and to heal their sick. Apparently his whole life was to consist of that kind of thing, for he found it hard to refuse any request. But finally he told them he must be quiet, and went inside, and James mounted guard at the door, and I sat in my car and waited until the crowd had filtered away. There was no good reason why I should have been admitted, but James apparently was glad to see me, and let me join the little company that was gathered in his home.

    There was Everett, who had now washed the blood off his face, but had not been able to put back his lost teeth, nor to heal the swollen mass that had once been his upper lip and nose. And there was Korwsky, who was now able to sit up and smile feebly, and two other men, whose names I did not learn, nursing battered faces. Carpenter prayed over them all, and they became more cheerful, and eager to talk about the adventure, each telling over what had happened to him. I noted that Everett, in spite of what must have been intense pain, was still faithfully taking down every word the prophet uttered.

    It had been known that Carpenter was to honor this house with his presence, and the family were all dressed in their best, and had got together a supper, in spite of hard times and strikes. We had sandwiches and iced tea and a slice of pie for each of us, and I was interested to observe that the prophet, tired as he was, liked to laugh and chat over his food, exactly like any uninspired human being. He never failed to get the children around him and tell them stories, and hear their bright laughter.
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