“Then you will go?” inquires Mr. Bailey.
“Yes, I shall go there at once and try to be there for the close of the campaign.”
The routine of the night’s work is resumed. Trueman leaves to take a much needed rest.
THE COMMITTEE REPORTS PROGRESS.
As the time approaches for the carrying out of the plan of annihilation, the spirits of the forty vacillate from joyousness to despair at the thought, now of the glorious page they are to give to the history of the world and now, of the terrible means that an inexorable fate compels them to use. Each passes through varying moods. The ever present thought that the day will soon arrive on which each will have to commit two deeds of violence, the one, to take a public enemy out of the world’s arena once and forever; the other, the extinction of self, is enough to keep the mental tension at the snapping point.
Yet, not a man weakens. The stolid march of trained men toward inevitable death is the only counterpart to their action. And their unfaltering fulfillment of the work allotted them is the more remarkable as each works independently. It is one thing to be impelled forward by the frenzy and madness of battle; to be nerved to deeds of valor and self-sacrifice in the face of impending disaster, such as shipwreck and fire; but it is quite another thing to deliberately carry out a plan that taxes the will, the heart and the conscience, and that too, totally unaided by the presence or sympathy of others. This is what these forty men have determined it is their duty to perform.
Nevins is in New York to receive reports from the members of the Committee. A month has passed since their departure from Chicago. From most of the men he receives letters in which they tell of their success. No mention is made of the men to whom they are assigned, yet the reports seem to assure Nevins that the plan will not miscarry.
“I have twice been sorely tempted to abandon my mission,” writes Horace Turner, the plain, honest Wisconsin farmer. “My heart and not my conscience has been weak. But strength of purpose has come to me. I realize that our undertaking is one that the populace will not sanction at the start; it is not one that we can hope to make acceptable to the public mind until it comes to a successful issue.
“The world does not look with favor upon reforms or revolutions until they are accomplished facts. And this is the reason history records the events of every advance of man in letters of blood. This advance is not to be an exception in this point so far as the spilling of blood is concerned; it is to be exceptional in regard to the quantity that is to be sacrificed.
“The revolutions in politics that have preceded it, the reformations in religion, have necessitated the butchery of thousands of men and women; the overturning of existing conditions and the impediment of the human race for generations.