His eye caught another blue-pencilling.
“Editorial, eh?” said he, adjusting his glasses. “Better and better! This affair will sweep those troublemakers off the map, or I’m a beggar!”
Then, with the keenest of satisfaction, he focussed his attention on the sapient editorial:
The arrest and impending conviction of Gabriel Armstrong, the noted Socialist leader, on a white-slave traffic charge, will do much to set all sane thinkers right in regard to this whole matter of Socialist ethics. Socialists, as we have all heard, contend that their system of thought teaches a high and pure form of morality. How will they square this assertion with the hard, cold facts, as brought to light in this most revolting case?
Much more seems to lie beneath the surface than at first sight appears. Though we desire to suspend judgment until all the data are known, it appears conclusively proved that Armstrong is but one of a band of white-slavers operating through the organization of, and with the consent of the Socialist party, or at least of its responsible officials.
If this prove to be the case, it will substantiate the suspicion long felt in many quarters that this whole movement, ostensibly political, is really a menace to the moral and social welfare of the nation. A foreign importation, openly standing against the home, the family and religion, may well be expected to foster such crimes and to be a “culture-medium” for the growth of such vile microbes as this man Armstrong, and others of his kind.
Turn on the light! Bring the social antiseptics! Let all the facts be established; and when known, if—as we anticipate—they prove this nasty conspiracy, let us make an end, now and forever, to this un-American, immoral and filthy thing, Socialism! To this object this paper now and henceforth pledges its policy; and all decent publications, all citizens who love their country, their God, their homes, their flag, will join with it in a nation-wide crusade to choke this slimy monster of Anarchy and Free-love, and fling it back into the Pit where it belongs.
Long live religion, purity and the flag! Down with Socialism!
Flint regarded this masterpiece with an approving eye. Then, chuckling to himself, he arose and with slow steps advanced toward the dining-room where already Catherine was awaiting him.
“Now,” he murmured to himself, and smiled thinly, “now for a little scene with Kate!”
CATHERINE’S SUPREME DECISION.
The meal was almost at an end—silently, like all their hours spent together, now—before the old man sprang his coup. It was characteristic of him to wait thus, to hold his fire till what he conceived to be the opportune moment; never to act prematurely, under any circumstances whatever.