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was not a pretty woman, except so far as cause he was likely to lose his home that youth and delicacy are pretty. Indeed, he was buying on the installment plan ; she was too thin, too pallid, and too care and it was when Pete was going to get worn for beauty; but she had honest, married, too, and he had it saved up to kind blue eyes, and her lips were sensi- buy the furniture. She had money saved, tive and daintily cut. She wore a de too, for she had been a “second girl" for cent, 'faded brown stuff gown and a three years; and when Pete told her he'd jacket too thin for the bitter weather out- have to wait before they were married, side. At intervals, warm as the intoler and felt so bad, she showed him her sarable atmosphere of the car was, she shiv- ings-bank book, and how proud he was ered. Yet she pressed her face the closer of her! Well, there was one thing, Pete to the pane, while a tremor of some strong and she had never had any mean times; emotion stirred every line.
there never was such a kind man as Pete; "Something is the matter with that and they were so happy till the plowwoman," said the man in black.
works shut down and Pete went to Fair"Asphyxiation!" retorted the stout port, hearing of a job there. But there man. “I feel it myself. I don't blame wasn't any job in the plow-works, so he the railway for not running a Pullman on went into the steel-mill and got a job this train, but they might gire us air there; and they saved a bit of money that's no expense to them !"
and bought the little shelter in Fairport. Meanwhile, the woman, who had heard She shut her eyes and seemed to see the every word, was thinking drearily to her little room on which they had spent so self how the rich made troubles out of much time. There was the table Pete such trivial matters. “If that man with made himself, borrowing Johnny Durgan's the fur collar once was in Pete's place,” tools. And she had felt so cross at Johnny thought Nellie Bates, "he'd think this car because he came in upon the table proudly was heaven! Oh, poor Pete! poor Pete!" displayed in the center of the room and The tears welled in her eyes, but she laughed and hollered out, “Say, Pete, dashed them away, hoping no one saw the what makes your fine table so pigeonmotion. “He told me I must be careful toed?" But the legs did turn in a little, and look cheerful,” she remembered, and though that didn't make it the least bit struggled to force a smile at a small tod worse to stand. The money for the brass dler who was trying to break his head lamp she made by going out to help a against the chairs, as he staggered down lady with a dinner. The curtains were so the aisle.
pretty, too. And now everything was The mother, a careworn farmer's wife, gone, and the baby was dead, and Petejerked him off his feet into her arms, and she choked down the sob in her throat. sank into a seat without a glance at Nellie. If only there was some one she could ask Nellie would have been glad had she sat to help her! At this thought she looked beside her, and had moved her shabby at the people on the chairs. The farmer's valise off the next chair, with that pur- wife had given the child a large brown pose. "If somebody was here, I'd maybe cooky, and he was making a depressing get my mind off Pete for a minnit,” she spectacle of himself without let' or hinhad thought, “and she didn't look so drance, while she read from the pile of proud as the rest of the ladies in the car. books that the newsboy had deposited on Maybe she'd have been willing”-Nellie the chair in front of her. Nellie did not broke off with a sigh that almost made dare address her. Neither did she dare
She pressed her speak to the stout lady in a wonderful face closer to the glass, the mounting ter
black velvet hat, magnificent with plumes ror in her straining at her throat. She and crimson roses. This personage had couldn't see anything, and the terrible been assisted on to the train at a small shrieking pound of the wheels tore every station by two stout sons and the brakeother sound to pieces. She tried to force She had so many packages that her mind off the terror even if it flew back she had called to the conductor : " You'll to old sorrows. She thought of their hard have to help me out, or I'll bare to stay year in Fairport, of the " friend” to whom on the car all night;" and when the conPete had lent a hundred dollars once, be- ductor laughed, and she laughed also, in
itself into a groan.
a mellow, musical peal, Nellie had gazed the level of the agricultural products. Yet wistfully at her and almost determined to the workingmen would fight that." speak to her ; but as she saw her wave “ You see," said the other, “they the newsboy's nuts and candies and entic naturally fight a reduction because it is ing gum sternly away, her heart failed so hard to raise wages again.” her. And, certainly, she should not dare “ And right they are, usually,” said intrude on the peevish invalid smothered Thorne, wondering casually whether that in his greatcoat, who swore at the porter little woman in front really had turned her for opening the ventilators; while those head sidewise to listen ; she might be a rich men on the chairs behind her only workingman's wife by her appearance-a frightened her. No, the whole world was workingman out of a job. “I say they are against poor people. The best of the rich right when the cause is a transient one, people didn't care, and the mean rich peo a mere tumble-and-get-up-again drop in ple were just like the men in that picture prices ; but when the trouble is a perma. Pete bought, called The Shipwreck, where nent reason for depressing prices, then the men were pushing and shoving the they aren't right, they are as wrong as other men off a raft, and one poor little possible! Look at the cruel irony of the boy was just drifting off to drown. She situation ! Here are our socialist friends never had liked that picture ; it gave her howling the roof off because labor doesn't a bad dream once; but Pete bought it get the fair share of its product. Marx, Lecause of the beautiful gilt frame and you know, wasn't too modest; he claimed its being only a dollar and sixty-nine that labor ought to have all the product. cents, marked down from five dollars. Interest was the crime of the centuries. Now, they were like those men on the raft; Well, to-day, in every business—and the and the waters were over them.
Lord knows there are enough of them-Never in her whole hard-working, self- that isn't more than paying expenses, or denying lise had Nellie hated other people, that is running at a loss, labor is getting or grudged those who had better things it all! And the more labor gets, the and sofrer lives than she their great r worse the times are, and the worse labor riches; but at this moment her heart was really is off. I tell you, David, we're hot with the unreasoning anger of pain. partners; and we can't cheat our partners “I'd be better off, and Pete'd be better off, and wreck a business and make money if we'd stole and cheated; it ain't any in the end. Not often. And to-day the better than stealing and cheating they've manufacturer and the merchant and the done to us!" Thus she thought bitterly; retail man are catching as bad a blow as straining her ears for some other sound the workingman ; and the capitalist, the than the rumble of the train and the in- fellow with money to lend, is getting it cessant pound of the trucks. The talk of worst of all and is the sickest of the crowd. the two men behind came to her, and she Think of mortgages ; even farm lands in tried to listen. She felt that she could good, honest, middle Western States are not much longer control her fears; and shriveled all up, and stocks and bonds-. Pete had warned her to look cheerful.
oh, we're all catching it, this storm. But *. They talk about the workingman I believe the manufacturer is the hardest suffering”-it was Thorne who
hit of the lot.
If I ever pull through this speaking—" and there's no question, the year and get to a time when I don't have workingman out of a job is suffering like to lie awake night thinking how I can the mischief. The workingman with a meet the competition of the fellows who job, a steady job, never was so well off, have sliced off wages, without slicing for his wages haven't been reduced in mine, and don't dream of the faces of men anything like the proportion of other we have to turn off when they are only things But the trouble is, the man with seeking work, and can run my shops on a job is often working eight hours or hall full time with good wages—whew! I shall time. He'd be better off if he were work go down on my uninitiated knees and ing for less wages and working full time. thank the good Lord, and promise to try The worst of the situation to my mind is to be a better man ! You needn't laugh, that, low as manufacturing products are, you cynical clergyman!" they will have to come lower yet to reach " I'm not a clergyman, I'm only a min
ister," returned the man that he called “Did you take the man's name?" said David, " and I assure you that in my the minister. soul I am very far from laughing—it's “ Yes; his name was Peter Bates"only your grotesque form of earnestness, the woman shut her lips a little t ghterThorne. Yes, I suspect that reducing very decent fellow and a good workman; wages is a painful thing, light as some machinist, not a regular iron workerpeople make of it.”
helped about repairing the rolls. I took " Painful! It's like drawing teeth to a the pains to go around to his address, but man who has a human heart in him; and I had to go out of town that night, and it most manufacturers haven't hearts of was a week before I got back ; and, do you stone, though I admit the most of us believe, the poor beggar had been sold don't see as much as we ought of our men out in the meanwhile. He had a little and don't keep enough in touch with three-roomed house, owned it himself, on them. But I'll tell you something as bad one of the streets the city has just paved if not worse than reducing wages—that is, with brick; and the taxes came to more to have to reduce your force. I had to. than the poor little place was worth, so It was sickening. The worst of it was I they lost it; and as they had put a chattel had to drop into the office at the bad mortgage on the furniture to enable them time, and hear one man talking to our to pay up clean on the house, it did look superintendent. We laid off the unmar bad for the poor creatures. But they were ried men and a few of the younger mar gone,
and I couldn't find them." ried men. This man was a young fellow ; But that was unjust on the part of the he didn't look much more than a boy, city; it wasn't taxation, it was confiscabut he was married. But Balcom told tion." me he was one of the new men. I over
" Looked like that to me, but they heard bim, with that pitiful attempt at argued that the value of the property ponchalance they always make, you know, would be increased by the pavement. saying to Balcom, 'Say, I wouldn't like Seems to me it was rather like throwing to have it generally known, but if you'd a man into deep water who could not pay me a dollar a day, I'd be willing to swim : he'd learn to swim—if he didn't get stay for a while ;' and, as Balcom shook drowned ! But municipalities do queer bis head, the poor fellow's voice changed things. Ours, besides frightening all the in a queer kind of a way, with a break in poor property-owners into fits, because it, and a kind of quiver all over his face, for several small property-owners actually all the world like a child's, and says he, have lost or will lose their holdings on quickly, 'If you jest keep me on two weeks account of the big tax, ran a brick pavelonger--my baby's dead and my wife's ter- ment through a stone quarry; bless your rible sick '-I wanted to chip in and get soul, when they came to that stone roadnear enough to tip the wink to Balcom ; but bed they didn't turn a hair-just piled on that moment somebody fell on me with a the assessment onto the abutting property telegram, and when I came back the poor —which belonged to some one out of the fellow was gone. I asked Balcom, and State and was fair game-and ran their he said he couldn't keep him on, but he road straight through, quarried it out and put him first on the list when we take on laid a course of brick, as the specifications more men. But, confound it ! I can't get demanded- put a brick roadway on top of the look of that man's back out of my
the stone !" head; his shoulders had such a look of “I call it atrocious—are we going to dejection, and his trousers had been stop ?" patched in so many places, and so neatly The train was jarring and making a --so blamed neatly. I don't know why shuddering purr as its speed slackened. that should have made me pity him more,
Nellie threw up her head, clenching her but it did."
fists unconsciously in a horrible fear, He bad forgotten all about the woman Why should they stop? She could see in front, who was resting her head wearily through the blurred
windows only a on the chair; nevertheless, she heard every winter-stung prairie, bare of any human word. listening with an indescribable sign except fences and dead corn-fields. eagerness,
She pressed her face closer to the pane
and gasped ineffable relief as Thorne “Don't be frightened; I won't give him answered; “Big water-tank on the other away." side ; good for ten minutes here."
“Yes, sir; and it's getting so awful “Oh, I will do it," she resolved. “I've cold. I've got out every station to see he got to; he talked like a kind man." was all right, till he told me I mustn't
She turned her head. “ If you please, they'd suspect something. I gave him sir," said she, her voice trembling in · some lunch; but it wasn't much, only spite of her, “what time do we get to what a neighbor lady gave me—a couple of Kansas City ?”
biscuits and a sausage, and I'd ten cents I “ Half-past nine, madam," answered got him a cup of coffee with. You won't, Thorne, courteously.
please, say anything to the conductor 'bout Nellie caught her breath.
There was it. We never did a cheating thing before, no color to ebb out of her white face ; but Pete or me ; but Pete, when he lost his job a blue shadow settled about her mouth. with you, he couldn't git another, though
“I thought it would be sooner,” she he'd go every day with his shovel, that he said. “ Please, sir, how much is the fare bought, to the Street Commissioner; and to Kansas City from here?”
before we lost our shelter, just like you - About six dollars, I think."
said, sir, Pete he begged the Street ComShe tried to speak, but could not keep missioner jest to give him work and let her mouth from quivering.
him work it out. It seemed like he " Haven't you bought your ticket?” ought to give him work when he'd paid said Thorne, kindly.
taxes and when we got to pay such a big “Yes, sir—oh yes, sir; it ain't for me. tax; but he said there was men in worse She slipped her hand under her collar need than we. God knows how that and drew forth a gold locket, then from could be, for Pete made the baby's her left hand she pulled off a slender coffin himself, when it died, and we--we wedding-ring “ The ring's solid gold, couldn't even hire a covered carriage; but sir," she said, her imploring eyes on his that's what he said. And it looked like face; “ the locket's jest plated, but the we'd starve, when a friend of Pete's that man said it would wear for twenty years, he'd lent money to a good bit back, he got and it was a very stylish design. Will a job for Pete in Kansas City and sent you—would you give me six dollars for him the money. And then Pete didn't the two?"
know what to do. I was so weak with Thorne drew back; she misunder- my sickness I couldn't wash, nor go out, stood his motion, and added, quickly, “If nor I didn't know anybody where to go; you will take them and lend me the and we knew we could go to his friend's money on them, I'll pay it back. I ain't for a day and get trusted, if we could quite exactly a stranger to you. My hus- only get to Kansas City. So Pete he band, Peter Bates—"
told me not to worry, and he come back “Excuse me,” interrupted Thorne; “I smiling and give me the ticket he'd want to get up and come into your seat; bought, and he told me he'd fixed it he will you permit me?" He had suited his could ride free; and for me to not worry, ac.ion to his words and was sitting in the he'd meet me in the Kansas City depot. next chair before the train stopped. And I did get on; but I got out to maybe
• Now," said he, “what do you want catch a glimpse of him; and I found how to sell your wedding-ring for ; and isn't he was riding free !” Her words choked that hair in the locket?"
her; the blue eyes fixed on Thorne wa"Yes, sir ; it's Pete's and—and Baby's.
vered and shrunk away. But I would take the hair out. I'll
“ Where was he?" surely pay it back if you'll buy it; and if “He was riding on the bumpers, siryou'd give me the money now, so I could the third car back-" get the ticket."
The chair that held the stout lady in "Whom do you want the ticket for?" the plumed hat suddenly whirled round.
“For Pete, sir.” She spoke almost in “ Do you mean to tell me that your husa whisper.
band's outside, in this sleet, riding on the “Is he stealing a ride?”
trucks, and that's what's made you get She looked at him in an agony. out at ʼmost every station and act like you
have? I thought, twice, you were crying, able to keep his hold. Yet, even through but when I looked round you were pre- her terror, a perception of the kindness of tending to be cheerful—”
all these people, whom she had thought so "He told me I must look cheerful. far from kind, was threading its way to her Oh, Missis, you won't tell on him—" bewildered soul.
The stout lady turned on Thorne: "Are She saw the woman with the child slip you going to find the conductor and get a piece of silver into the hat before she that man off, or am I?"
came across the aisle, satchel in hand. "I think you would better let me," said “Say, I heard it all," she cried. “I've got Thorne, “Now, Mrs. Bates, don't worry some luncheon here and some coffee, and any more; we'll have your husband here I've got a tin cup, and I'm going to set it in a minute."
right on the coals and warm it for you. “Yes, don't you worry,” added the Do you like your coffee pretty sweet?" minister, who had risen as well as Thorne. “I can't eat,” said Nellie, “I'm"We'll get him."
there's something in my throat! Oh, do "You let me come in there," said the you think he's helt on ?" stout lady, with decision. “You look after “Of course he's held on,” said the lady him and I'll attend to her. And the in the hat, firmly. "We should have quicker you are the better.”
bumped if he hadn't. I know you can't Anybody could see that the stout lady eat; but you can drink. And he'll be was a woman of power, accustomed to wanting some good hot drink—that's the command. In her own village no doubt best thing you can do! And this lady she was the President of the Woman's here ”—calmly impressing a young girl Club, a massive pillar of the church, and who had come down the aisle to join the one to whom distress of any sort applied little crowd clustered about the seatnaturally for aid, and from whom it would “this lady, here, will mind your little girl take reproof with meekness.
while you're doing it!" Thorne and the minister did her bid “Oh, you're so kind !” Nellie stamding as readily as if they had been under mered; and then something seemed to her sway for years. They hurried out of break in her throat, and she burst into
At the same moment, two or tears. three men in other parts of the car, The woman beside her wrapped a aroused by the stir, came forward ; and strong, kind arm about her.
“ There, the invalid in the greatcoat met them. there,” she soothed;
don't want " What's the matter ?” repeated the him to find you crying !" s!out lady in a fine, sonorous voice that Nellie strangled her sobs instantly; had often, in the Woman's Club, drowned and if anything had been needed (which a dozen shrill feminine pipes with its or- it was not) to clutch the grip of the stout gan-like tones. "The matter is that, rather lady's will on the obedience of the pasthan leave his wife behind to starve alone, sengers in that car, this proof of capacity this woman's husband is riding on the would have done the trick. trucks, clinging to them, half frozen, from “It's only because you—you are all so Fairport to Kansas City; and she's try- awful good and kind, and—and we thought ing to sell her wedding-ring to get a
there wasn't no more kind folks in the ticket for him !"
world,” sobbed Nellie, almost breaking * And I'm taking up a collection," down again. added the invalid, flinging a dollar into
“ Folks are kind enough they only his own hat before he passed down the know,” said the stout lady, in her assured aisle.
manner. Now, you look cheerful, for—" ** That's right, sir," exclaimed the stout But even the stout lady's cheerful voice lady, her own purse out with her word. halted in a thrill of fear at the sight of
Nellie sat in a daze, relinquishing her- Thorne's compassionate face in the doorself to the new guidance, with a faint way and the grave faces behind him ; comfort stealing like oil over her tumult Nellie staggered to her feet with a of fears. But the train had stopped now, dreadful face of anticipation. But it was and her one overwhelming emotion was hardly a second, hardly the smother of a the dread lest Pete should not have been heart-beat, before her companion's voice