As he strode away, on the long road toward he knew not what, words seemed to form and shape in his strengthened and refortified mind—words for long years forgotten—words that he once had heard at his mother’s knee:
“He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city!”
A GLIMPSE AT THE PARASITES.
The Longmeadow Country Club, on the Saturday afternoon following Armstrong’s abrupt dismissal, was a scene of gaiety and beauty without compare. Set in broad acres of wood and lawn, the club-house proudly dominated far-flung golf-links and nearer tennis-courts. Shining motors stood parked on the plaza before the club garage, each valued at several years’ wages of a workingman. Men and women—exploiters all, or parasites—elegantly and coolly clad in white, smote the swift sphere upon the tennis-court, with jest and laughter. Others, attended by caddies—mere proletarian scum, bent beneath the weight of cleeks and brassies—moved across the smooth-cropped links, kept in condition by grazing sheep and by steam-rollers. On putting-green and around bunkers these idlers struggled with artificial difficulties, while in shops and mines and factories, on railways and in the blazing Hells of stoke-holes, men of another class, a slave-class, labored and agonized, toiled and died that these might wear fine linen and spend the long June afternoon in play.
From the huge, cobble-stone chimney of the Country Club, upwafting smoke told of the viands now preparing for the idlers’ dinner, after sport—rich meats and dainties of the rarest. In the rathskeller some of the elder and more indolent men were absorbing alcohol while music played and painted nymphs of abundant charms looked down from the wall-frescoes. Out on the broad piazzas, well sheltered by awnings from the rather ardent sun, men and women sat at spotless tables, dallying with drinks of rare hues and exalted prices. Cigarette-smoke wafted away on the pure breeze from over the Catskills, far to northwest, defiling the sweet breath of Nature, herself, with fumes of nicotine and dope. A Hungarian orchestra was playing the latest Manhattan ragtime, at the far end of the piazza. It was, all in all, a scene of rare refinement, characteristic to a degree of the efflorescence of American capitalism.
At one of the tables, obviously bored, sat Catherine Flint, only daughter of the Billionaire. A rare girl, she, to look upon—deep-bosomed and erect, dressed simply in a middy-blouse with a blue tie, a khaki skirt and low, rubber-soled shoes revealing a silk-stockinged ankle that would have attracted the enthusiastic attention of gentlemen in any city of the world. No hat disfigured the coiled and braided masses of coppery hair that circled her shapely head. A healthy tan on face and arms and open throat bespoke her keen devotion to all outdoor life. Her fingers, lithe and strong, were graced by but two rings—a monogram, of gold, and the betrothal ring that Maxim Waldron had put there, only three weeks before.