That was a pretty mess, indeed. Poor Jurgis sat half-dazed. His pull had run up against a bigger pull, and he was down and out! “But what am I going to do?” he asked, weakly.
“How should I know?” said the other. “I shouldn’t even dare to get bail for you—why, I might ruin myself for life!”
Again there was silence. “Can’t you do it for me,” Jurgis asked, “and pretend that you didn’t know who I’d hit?”
“But what good would that do you when you came to stand trial?” asked Harper. Then he sat buried in thought for a minute or two. “There’s nothing—unless it’s this,” he said. “I could have your bail reduced; and then if you had the money you could pay it and skip.”
“How much will it be?” Jurgis asked, after he had had this explained more in detail.
“I don’t know,” said the other. “How much do you own?”
“I’ve got about three hundred dollars,” was the answer.
“Well,” was Harper’s reply, “I’m not sure, but I’ll try and get you off for that. I’ll take the risk for friendship’s sake—for I’d hate to see you sent to state’s prison for a year or two.”
And so finally Jurgis ripped out his bankbook—which was sewed up in his trousers—and signed an order, which “Bush” Harper wrote, for all the money to be paid out. Then the latter went and got it, and hurried to the court, and explained to the magistrate that Jurgis was a decent fellow and a friend of Scully’s, who had been attacked by a strike-breaker. So the bail was reduced to three hundred dollars, and Harper went on it himself; he did not tell this to Jurgis, however—nor did he tell him that when the time for trial came it would be an easy matter for him to avoid the forfeiting of the bail, and pocket the three hundred dollars as his reward for the risk of offending Mike Scully! All that he told Jurgis was that he was now free, and that the best thing he could do was to clear out as quickly as possible; and so Jurgis overwhelmed with gratitude and relief, took the dollar and fourteen cents that was left him out of all his bank account, and put it with the two dollars and quarter that was left from his last night’s celebration, and boarded a streetcar and got off at the other end of Chicago.
Poor Jurgis was now an outcast and a tramp once more. He was crippled—he was as literally crippled as any wild animal which has lost its claws, or been torn out of its shell. He had been shorn, at one cut, of all those mysterious weapons whereby he had been able to make a living easily and to escape the consequences of his actions. He could no longer command a job when he wanted it; he could no longer steal with impunity—he must take his chances with the common herd. Nay worse, he dared not mingle with the herd—he must hide himself, for he was one marked out for destruction. His old companions would betray him, for the sake of the influence they would gain thereby; and he would be made to suffer, not merely for the offense he had committed, but for others which would be laid at his door, just as had been done for some poor devil on the occasion of that assault upon the “country customer” by him and Duane.