The Jungle eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 445 pages of information about The Jungle.
experience, and the burden of it rested upon him.  All the balance of his life he had done nothing but try to make it understood.  When he talked he caught his victim by the buttonhole, and his face kept coming closer and closer—­which was trying, because his teeth were so bad.  Jurgis did not mind that, only he was frightened.  The method of operation of the higher intelligences was Tom Finnegan’s theme, and he desired to find out if Jurgis had ever considered that the representation of things in their present similarity might be altogether unintelligible upon a more elevated plane.  There were assuredly wonderful mysteries about the developing of these things; and then, becoming confidential, Mr. Finnegan proceeded to tell of some discoveries of his own.  “If ye have iver had onything to do wid shperrits,” said he, and looked inquiringly at Jurgis, who kept shaking his head.  “Niver mind, niver mind,” continued the other, “but their influences may be operatin’ upon ye; it’s shure as I’m tellin’ ye, it’s them that has the reference to the immejit surroundin’s that has the most of power.  It was vouchsafed to me in me youthful days to be acquainted with shperrits” and so Tommy Finnegan went on, expounding a system of philosophy, while the perspiration came out on Jurgis’ forehead, so great was his agitation and embarrassment.  In the end one of the men, seeing his plight, came over and rescued him; but it was some time before he was able to find any one to explain things to him, and meanwhile his fear lest the strange little Irishman should get him cornered again was enough to keep him dodging about the room the whole evening.

He never missed a meeting, however.  He had picked up a few words of English by this time, and friends would help him to understand.  They were often very turbulent meetings, with half a dozen men declaiming at once, in as many dialects of English; but the speakers were all desperately in earnest, and Jurgis was in earnest too, for he understood that a fight was on, and that it was his fight.  Since the time of his disillusionment, Jurgis had sworn to trust no man, except in his own family; but here he discovered that he had brothers in affliction, and allies.  Their one chance for life was in union, and so the struggle became a kind of crusade.  Jurgis had always been a member of the church, because it was the right thing to be, but the church had never touched him, he left all that for the women.  Here, however, was a new religion—­one that did touch him, that took hold of every fiber of him; and with all the zeal and fury of a convert he went out as a missionary.  There were many nonunion men among the Lithuanians, and with these he would labor and wrestle in prayer, trying to show them the right.  Sometimes they would be obstinate and refuse to see it, and Jurgis, alas, was not always patient!  He forgot how he himself had been blind, a short time ago—­after the fashion of all crusaders since the original ones, who set out to spread the gospel of Brotherhood by force of arms.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Jungle from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.