The Iron Heel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about The Iron Heel.

“My father was a good man,” Ernest once said to me.  “The soul of him was good, and yet it was twisted, and maimed, and blunted by the savagery of his life.  He was made into a broken-down beast by his masters, the arch-beasts.  He should be alive to-day, like your father.  He had a strong constitution.  But he was caught in the machine and worked to death—­for profit.  Think of it.  For profit—­his life blood transmuted into a wine-supper, or a jewelled gewgaw, or some similar sense-orgy of the parasitic and idle rich, his masters, the arch-beasts.”

CHAPTER VII

THE BISHOP’S VISION

“The Bishop is out of hand,” Ernest wrote me.  “He is clear up in the air.  Tonight he is going to begin putting to rights this very miserable world of ours.  He is going to deliver his message.  He has told me so, and I cannot dissuade him.  To-night he is chairman of the I.P.H.,* and he will embody his message in his introductory remarks.

     * There is no clew to the name of the organization for which
     these initials stand.

“May I bring you to hear him?  Of course, he is foredoomed to futility.  It will break your heart—­it will break his; but for you it will be an excellent object lesson.  You know, dear heart, how proud I am because you love me.  And because of that I want you to know my fullest value, I want to redeem, in your eyes, some small measure of my unworthiness.  And so it is that my pride desires that you shall know my thinking is correct and right.  My views are harsh; the futility of so noble a soul as the Bishop will show you the compulsion for such harshness.  So come to-night.  Sad though this night’s happening will be, I feel that it will but draw you more closely to me.”

The I.P.H. held its convention that night in San Francisco.* This convention had been called to consider public immorality and the remedy for it.  Bishop Morehouse presided.  He was very nervous as he sat on the platform, and I could see the high tension he was under.  By his side were Bishop Dickinson; H. H. Jones, the head of the ethical department in the University of California; Mrs. W. W. Hurd, the great charity organizer; Philip Ward, the equally great philanthropist; and several lesser luminaries in the field of morality and charity.  Bishop Morehouse arose and abruptly began: 

     * It took but a few minutes to cross by ferry from Berkeley
     to San Francisco.  These, and the other bay cities,
     practically composed one community.

“I was in my brougham, driving through the streets.  It was night-time.  Now and then I looked through the carriage windows, and suddenly my eyes seemed to be opened, and I saw things as they really are.  At first I covered my eyes with my hands to shut out the awful sight, and then, in the darkness, the question came to me:  What is to be done?  What is to be done?  A little later the question came to me in another way:  What would the Master do?  And with the question a great light seemed to fill the place, and I saw my duty sun-clear, as Saul saw his on the way to Damascus.

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The Iron Heel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.