Nettinger had been one of the few men who succeeded in eluding the police during the days of the reign of anarchy in Chicago in 1885.
He is a man of gigantic build, and of imperturbable placidity. When a soldier in the German army had provoked him to the point where he had to fight, this modern Titan had seized his tormenter and without apparent effort had dashed the man’s brains out by butting him against the wall of the barracks. For this episode Nettinger had been compelled to serve eleven years in the military prison.
During these years he had familiarized himself with the teachings of the socialists, for his companions were, many of them, students of sociology. Upon his release he had come to this country. He invented a compressed air motor, but the American Motor Trust robbed him of his patents.
In the space of five minutes Nettinger strives to defend the theory of anarchy. He denounces all government as a make-shift, and asserts that man should accordingly dispense with the forms of government and depend upon animal instinct to regulate the social community. He names Samuel L. Bell, chairman of the International Patent Commission, as the man who contrived to rob him of his patent rights.
The meeting adjourns at the conclusion of this harangue.
In the hour that has passed the elements for a political revolution have been brought together and combined by a master mind.
The secret session.
It is apparent that the views of the men who have the most serious grievances against the Trusts are yet to be heard. Most of the members are glad that the meeting of the previous night had adjourned so as to afford time for them to consider the salient points of the remarkable proposal that had been sprung by Nevins.
One of the members, who was conspicuous at all of the meetings, a man of pinched features and diminutive form, a veritable Pope Leo, as it were, makes a motion, as soon as the meeting opens, that three of the members be heard, and if their stories in any way coincide with the general views of the others, the pledge of the remaining men, that they hold equally strong opinions, be sufficient to admit them to the standing necessary for the exposition of the plan.
As a means of expediting matters, the committee adopts this resolution and the three men who are to tell their life’s history are chosen. The first of these is a man of the world, a fallen idol of society, who had lately joined the ranks of the oppressed as a consequence of dire financial difficulties.
When he made his advent in the company of the desperate men of Chicago, he had adopted the name of Stephen Marlow.
This name is sufficient, for the men with whom he comes in contact are not occupied in searching genealogies. They are working for results. Marlow is in every sense of the word a leader. He has the grace of manner and the personal charm that at once attracts men. His physical development makes him the envy of the male sex and the idol of the feminine. In stature he is slightly under six feet, with broad shoulders and a fullness of figure that impresses one with the fact that he is a good liver, yet withall muscular.