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    Chapter 44

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    Chapter 44
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    I joined the group, and made clear to them, as tactfully as I could, that they were not wanted inside. Comrade Abell threw up his hands. "Oh, those labor skates!" he cried. "Those miserable, cowardly, grafting politicians! Thinking about nothing but keeping themselves respectable, and holding on to their fat, comfortable salaries!"

    "Vell, vat you expect?" cried Korwsky. "You git de verkin' men into politics, and den you blame dem fer bein' politicians!"

    "Nothing was said about returning the money, I suppose?" remarked Everett, in a bitter tone.

    "Something was said," I replied. "I said it. I don't think the money will be returned."

    Then Carpenter spoke. "The money was given to feed the hungry," said he. "If it is used for that purpose, we can ask no more. And if men set out to preach a new doctrine, how can they expect to be welcomed at once? We have chosen to be outcasts, and must not complain. Let us go to the jail. Perhaps that is the place for us." So the little group set out in a new direction.

    On the way we talked about the labor movement, and what was the matter with it. Comrade Abell said that Carpenter was right, the fundamental trouble was that the workers were imbued with the psychology of their masters. They would strike for this or that improvement in their condition, and then go to the polls and vote for the candidates of their masters. But Korwsky was more vehement; he was an industrial unionist, and thought the present craft unions worse than nothing.

    Little groups of labor aristocrats, seking to benefit themselves at the expense of the masses, the unorganized, unskilled workers and the floating population of casual labor! That was why those "skates" at the Labor Temple has so little enthusiasm for Carpenter and his doctrine of brotherhood! In this country where every man was trying to climb up on the face of some other man!

    Our little group had come out on Broadway. It attracted a good deal of attention, and a number of curiosity seekers were beginning to trail behind us. "We'll get a crowd again, and Carpenter 'll be making a speech," I thought; and as usual I faced a moral conflict. Should I stand by, or should I sneak away, and preserve the dignity of my family?

    Suddenly came a sound of music, fifes and drums. It burst on our ears from round the corner, shrill and lively--"The Girl I Left Behind Me." Carpenter, who was directly in front of me, stopped short, and seemed to shrink away from what was coming, until his back was against the show-window of a department-store, and he could shrink no further.

    It was a company of ex-service men in uniform; one or two hundred, carrying rifles with fixed bayonets which gleamed in the sunshine. There were two fifers and two drummers at their head, and also two flags, one the flag of the Brigade, and the other the flag of Mobland. I remembered having noted in the morning papers that the national commander of the brigade was to arrive in town this morning, and no doubt this was a delegation to do him honor.

    The marchers swept down on us, and past us, and I watched the prophet. His eyes were wide, his whole face expressing anguish. "Oh God, my Father!" he whispered, and seemed to quiver with each thud of the tramping feet on the pavement. After the storm had passed, he stood motionless, the pain still in his face "It is Rome! It is Rome!" he murmured.

    "No," said I, "it is Mobland."

    He went on, as if he had not heard me. "Rome! Eternal Rome! Rome that never dies!" And he turned upon me his startled eyes. "Even the eagles!"

    For a moment I was puzzled; but then I remembered the golden eagle with wings outspread, that perches on top of our national banner. "We only use one eagle," I said, somewhat feebly.

    To which he answered, "The soul of one eagle is the same as the soul of two."

    Now, I had felt quite certain that Carpenter would not get along very well with the Brigade, and I was more than ever decided that he must be got out of the way somehow or other. But meantime, the first task was to get him away from this crowd which was rapidly collecting. Already he was in the full tide of a speech. "Those sharp spears! Can you not see them thrust into the bowels of human beings? Can you not see them dripping with the blood of your brothers?"

    I whispered to Everett, thinking him one among this company of enthusiasts who might have a little common sense left. "We had better get him away from here!" And Everett put his hand gently on the prophet's shoulder, and said, "The prisoners in the jail are hoping for us." I took him by the other arm, and we began to lead him down the street. When we had once got him going, we walked him faster and faster, until presently the crowd was trailing out into a string of idlers and curiosity seekers, as before.
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