The Iron Heel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about The Iron Heel.
* We cannot but marvel at Everhard’s foresight.  Before ever the thought of wonder cities like Ardis and Asgard entered the minds of the oligarchs, Everhard saw those cities and the inevitable necessity for their creation.

“Thus will the surplus be constantly expended while labor does the work.  The building of these great works and cities will give a starvation ration to millions of common laborers, for the enormous bulk of the surplus will compel an equally enormous expenditure, and the oligarchs will build for a thousand years—­ay, for ten thousand years.  They will build as the Egyptians and the Babylonians never dreamed of building; and when the oligarchs have passed away, their great roads and their wonder cities will remain for the brotherhood of labor to tread upon and dwell within.*

* And since that day of prophecy, have passed away the three centuries of the Iron Heel and the four centuries of the Brotherhood of Man, and to-day we tread the roads and dwell in the cities that the oligarchs built.  It is true, we are even now building still more wonderful wonder cities, but the wonder cities of the oligarchs endure, and I write these lines in Ardis, one of the most wonderful of them all.

“These things the oligarchs will do because they cannot help doing them.  These great works will be the form their expenditure of the surplus will take, and in the same way that the ruling classes of Egypt of long ago expended the surplus they robbed from the people by the building of temples and pyramids.  Under the oligarchs will flourish, not a priest class, but an artist class.  And in place of the merchant class of bourgeoisie will be the labor castes.  And beneath will be the abyss, wherein will fester and starve and rot, and ever renew itself, the common people, the great bulk of the population.  And in the end, who knows in what day, the common people will rise up out of the abyss; the labor castes and the Oligarchy will crumble away; and then, at last, after the travail of the centuries, will it be the day of the common man.  I had thought to see that day; but now I know that I shall never see it.”

He paused and looked at me, and added: 

“Social evolution is exasperatingly slow, isn’t it, sweetheart?”

My arms were about him, and his head was on my breast.

“Sing me to sleep,” he murmured whimsically.  “I have had a visioning, and I wish to forget.”

CHAPTER XV

LAST DAYS

It was near the end of January, 1913, that the changed attitude of the Oligarchy toward the favored unions was made public.  The newspapers published information of an unprecedented rise in wages and shortening of hours for the railroad employees, the iron and steel workers, and the engineers and machinists.  But the whole truth was not told.  The oligarchs did not dare permit the telling of the whole truth.  In reality, the wages had been raised much higher, and the privileges were correspondingly greater.  All this was secret, but secrets will out.  Members of the favored unions told their wives, and the wives gossiped, and soon all the labor world knew what had happened.

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The Iron Heel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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