“I was blacklisted, sir,” said Jurgis.
At which the other frowned. “Blacklisted?” he said. “How do you mean?” And Jurgis turned red with embarrassment.
He had forgotten that a blacklist did not exist. “I—that is—I had difficulty in getting a place,” he stammered.
“What was the matter?”
“I got into a quarrel with a foreman—not my own boss, sir—and struck him.”
“I see,” said the other, and meditated for a few moments. “What do you wish to do?” he asked.
“Anything, sir,” said Jurgis—“only I had a broken arm this winter, and so I have to be careful.”
“How would it suit you to be a night watchman?”
“That wouldn’t do, sir. I have to be among the men at night.”
“I see—politics. Well, would it suit you to trim hogs?”
“Yes, sir,” said Jurgis.
And Mr. Harmon called a timekeeper and said, “Take this man to Pat Murphy and tell him to find room for him somehow.”
And so Jurgis marched into the hog-killing room, a place where, in the days gone by, he had come begging for a job. Now he walked jauntily, and smiled to himself, seeing the frown that came to the boss’s face as the timekeeper said, “Mr. Harmon says to put this man on.” It would overcrowd his department and spoil the record he was trying to make—but he said not a word except “All right.”
And so Jurgis became a workingman once more; and straightway he sought out his old friends, and joined the union, and began to “root” for “Scotty” Doyle. Doyle had done him a good turn once, he explained, and was really a bully chap; Doyle was a workingman himself, and would represent the workingmen—why did they want to vote for a millionaire “sheeny,” and what the hell had Mike Scully ever done for them that they should back his candidates all the time? And meantime Scully had given Jurgis a note to the Republican leader of the ward, and he had gone there and met the crowd he was to work with. Already they had hired a big hall, with some of the brewer’s money, and every night Jurgis brought in a dozen new members of the “Doyle Republican Association.” Pretty soon they had a grand opening night; and there was a brass band, which marched through the streets, and fireworks and bombs and red lights in front of the hall; and there was an enormous crowd, with two overflow meetings—so that the pale and trembling candidate had to recite three times over the little speech which one of Scully’s henchmen had written, and which he had been a month learning by heart. Best of all, the famous and eloquent Senator Spareshanks, presidential candidate, rode out in an automobile to discuss the sacred privileges of American citizenship, and protection and prosperity for the American workingman. His inspiriting address was quoted to the extent of half a column in all the morning newspapers, which also said that it could be stated upon excellent authority that the unexpected popularity developed by Doyle, the Republican candidate for alderman, was giving great anxiety to Mr. Scully, the chairman of the Democratic City Committee.