The Bread-winners eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Bread-winners.

“I was also away from the room,” said Farnham; “but I can readily believe the comminatory clauses must have been very cogent.”

“Oh, yes! and such a nice woman she is.”

“Yes, Mrs. Temple is charming,” said Farnham, rising.

“Arthur, do not go!  Stay to dinner.  It will be ready in one moment.  It will strengthen our nerves to have a man dine with us, especially a liberating hero like you.  Why, you seemed to me last night like Perseus in the picture, coming to rescue What’s-her-name from the rock.”

Farnham glanced at Alice.  Her eyes were fixed upon the ground; her fingers were tightly clasped.  She was wishing with all her energy that he would stay, waiting to catch his first word of assent, but unable to utter a syllable.

“Alice,” said Mrs. Belding rather sharply, “I think Arthur does not regard my invitation as quite sufficient.  Will you give it your approval?”

Alice raised her face at these words and looked up at Farnham.  It was a beautiful face at all times, and now it was rosy with confusion, and the eyes were timid but kind.  She said with lips that trembled a little:  “I should be very glad to have Captain Farnham stay to dinner.”

She had waited too long, and the words were a little too formal, and Arthur excused himself on the plea of having to look out for his cohort, and went home to a lonely dinner.

XVI.

OFFITT DIGS A PIT.

A week had passed by; the great strike was already almost forgotten.  A few poor workmen had lost their places.  A few agitators had been dismissed for excellent reasons, having no relation with the strike.  The mayor had recovered from his panic, and was beginning to work for a renomination, on the strength of his masterly dealing with the labor difficulties, in which, as he handsomely said in a circular composed by himself and signed by his friends, he “nobly accomplished the duty allotted him of preserving the rights of property while respecting the rights of the people, of keeping the peace according to his oath, and keeping faith with the masses, to which he belonged, in their struggle against monopoly.”

The rich and prosperous people, as their manner is, congratulated themselves on their escape, and gave no thought to the questions which had come so near to an issue of fire and blood.  In this city of two hundred thousand people, two or three dozen politicians continued as before to govern it, to assess and to spend its taxes, to use it as their property and their chattel.  The rich and intelligent kept on making money, building fine houses, and bringing up children to hate politics as they did, and in fine to fatten themselves as sheep which should be mutton whenever the butcher was ready.  There was hardly a millionaire on Algonquin Avenue who knew where the ward meetings of his party were held.  There was not an Irish laborer in the city but knew his way to his ward club as well as to mass.

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The Bread-winners from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.