Ernest was delicate in such matters. He did not repeat his suggestion, though he knew only too well the sore straits the Socialist Party was in through lack of money.
“I sleep in cheap lodging houses,” the Bishop went on. “But I am afraid, and never stay long in one place. Also, I rent two rooms in workingmen’s houses in different quarters of the city. It is a great extravagance, I know, but it is necessary. I make up for it in part by doing my own cooking, though sometimes I get something to eat in cheap coffee-houses. And I have made a discovery. Tamales* are very good when the air grows chilly late at night. Only they are so expensive. But I have discovered a place where I can get three for ten cents. They are not so good as the others, but they are very warming.
* A Mexican dish, referred
to occasionally in the literature
of the times. It is supposed that it was warmly seasoned.
No recipe of it has come down to us.
“And so I have at last found my work in the world, thanks to you, young man. It is the Master’s work.” He looked at me, and his eyes twinkled. “You caught me feeding his lambs, you know. And of course you will all keep my secret.”
He spoke carelessly enough, but there was real fear behind the speech. He promised to call upon us again. But a week later we read in the newspaper of the sad case of Bishop Morehouse, who had been committed to the Napa Asylum and for whom there were still hopes held out. In vain we tried to see him, to have his case reconsidered or investigated. Nor could we learn anything about him except the reiterated statements that slight hopes were still held for his recovery.
“Christ told the rich young man to sell all he had,” Ernest said bitterly. “The Bishop obeyed Christ’s injunction and got locked up in a madhouse. Times have changed since Christ’s day. A rich man to-day who gives all he has to the poor is crazy. There is no discussion. Society has spoken.”
THE GENERAL STRIKE
Of course Ernest was elected to Congress in the great socialist landslide that took place in the fall of 1912. One great factor that helped to swell the socialist vote was the destruction of Hearst.* This the Plutocracy found an easy task. It cost Hearst eighteen million dollars a year to run his various papers, and this sum, and more, he got back from the middle class in payment for advertising. The source of his financial strength lay wholly in the middle class. The trusts did not advertise.** To destroy Hearst, all that was necessary was to take away from him his advertising.