It was quite marvelous to see what a difference twelve months had made in Packingtown—the eyes of the people were getting opened! The Socialists were literally sweeping everything before them that election, and Scully and the Cook County machine were at their wits’ end for an “issue.” At the very close of the campaign they bethought themselves of the fact that the strike had been broken by Negroes, and so they sent for a South Carolina fire-eater, the “pitchfork senator,” as he was called, a man who took off his coat when he talked to workingmen, and damned and swore like a Hessian. This meeting they advertised extensively, and the Socialists advertised it too—with the result that about a thousand of them were on hand that evening. The “pitchfork senator” stood their fusillade of questions for about an hour, and then went home in disgust, and the balance of the meeting was a strictly party affair. Jurgis, who had insisted upon coming, had the time of his life that night; he danced about and waved his arms in his excitement—and at the very climax he broke loose from his friends, and got out into the aisle, and proceeded to make a speech himself! The senator had been denying that the Democratic party was corrupt; it was always the Republicans who bought the votes, he said—and here was Jurgis shouting furiously, “It’s a lie! It’s a lie!” After which he went on to tell them how he knew it—that he knew it because he had bought them himself! And he would have told the “pitchfork senator” all his experiences, had not Harry Adams and a friend grabbed him about the neck and shoved him into a seat.
One of the first things that Jurgis had done after he got a job was to go and see Marija. She came down into the basement of the house to meet him, and he stood by the door with his hat in his hand, saying, “I’ve got work now, and so you can leave here.”