“But I haven’t any left, Helen,” said the discouraged woman; “and I don’t believe I’ll ever recover any. I’ve rested hope after hope on Dave’s assurances of his ability to make a success in life. Really he is a queer genius, and I don’t use the word genius entirely with disrespect. In some ways he’s clever, very clever, but in other ways he is the most impossible man you ever knew. I believe he is thoroughly honest, but he has no idea of the value of money or what it means to his family. I believe he is by far the strongest leader among the men, but it does neither him nor his family any good. Many a labor leader would make such power and position a source of revenue for himself, but not Dave. Instead, half of his earnings, when he works, are devoted to the labor cause.”
“How does he get such a hold on the miners?” Helen inquired.
“By talk, just talk, and really, I must admit he is the cleverest speaker I ever heard. I’ve seen an audience of a thousand working men and women stand on their tiptoes and cheer him as if they would burst their lungs. I was proud of him on such occasions, but when we got home to our stale bread and soup I could not help wondering if it was not all a dream and I had not just waked up to the reality of things.”
“When will he be home?”
“I wish I could tell you,” the woman said, helplessly. “He may be here in five minutes and he may not come before 12 or 1 o’clock tonight.”
“Right here is where the holiday charity work of the Flamingo Camp Fire begins,” she told herself. Then aloud she added:
“I haven’t had much to eat since morning, couldn’t eat much this noon in my condition of mind, and I’m hungry; what have you in the house for a Sunday evening lunch, Nell?”
“Not much, Helen,” was the reply. “Only a half a loaf of rye bread and some corn molasses. The children used to be very fond of that, but they’ve had it so often since the strike began, that they’re almost sick of it.”
“Is there any store open near here where I can go and buy something?”
“There’s a bakery and delicatessen over on the street where the car line runs. It’s probably open now.”
“Will I find a drug store over there, too? I want to use the telephone.”
“Yes, you’ll find a drug store on that street, a block north.”
“I’ll go at once and you set the table while I’m gone. We’ll have a feast that will delight the hearts and stomachs of these little ones.”
“God bless you, Helen,” were the last words that fell on her ears as she went out.
“I must call up Marion and tell her where I am,” she mused as she hastened toward the drug store. “I would have told her where I was going before I left, but I was afraid she wouldn’t let me go. Besides, I don’t feel like telling her everything yet.”
A few minutes later she was in the drug store applying for permission to use the telephone.