My Darling George,—
I wish you were here safe by my side. How I hate strikes, they are so like a family quarrel on the front porch. Everybody looks on in pity, husband and wife calling each other names, and breaking the furniture, and innocent little children fleeing to the neighbors for protection. Strikes are simply horrid. Can’t you stop it? Labor and capital are like bears in a pit with sharpened teeth tearing each other’s flesh. Of what use is our so-called civilization if it permits such brutal scenes? George, the lion in father is again aroused. There is no telling what he will do this time.
It was cruel of the employees to stop his sale to the English syndicate. Something terrible is going to happen. I feel it. I dreamed about it last night before I left Niagara. You must counsel moderation. I am so glad mother is not here to counsel severity. In the morning I shall put my hand on father’s arm, and say, “Father, I have been praying for God to help you.”
I read in the Evening Dispatch that the employees claimed an increase of their pay because promised by the company when times improved; that the company now flatly refused to restore the old wages; that the mayor of the city had sent fifty policemen to guard the mills, and that the 4000 employees in an enthusiastic public meeting had resolved to continue the strike.
George, you are in a very trying position. The company of course depends on your loyalty, and the employees also have great confidence in your fairness. What can you do? If disloyal to the Company, you lose your position. What more can I do, except to pray!
Above all, my dear, be loyal to your conscience
and do right. Be just.
Come and see me at your earliest possible moment.
Your own loving
Gertrude’s brave letter reached George before ten o’clock the next morning, and greatly cheered him. He was never more occupied, but he snatched a moment to say in reply:
Office of The Harrisville Iron & Steel Co.
Glad for your heroic letter. It sings the peace-song of the angels. I shall be guarded in my words and actions. Good things, I hope, will result from all this terrible commotion. I confess I see only darkness ahead, save as it is pierced by the light of your love.
We have a thousand men this morning building a fence eight feet high around our works. It looks like war to the knife under the present policy. Of course I can’t say much till my opportunity comes, if it ever does.
Believe me, darling Gertrude,
The note was dispatched by special messenger. Its receipt and contents gave comfort to Gertrude.
Colonel Harris left his breakfast table almost abruptly. One egg, a piece of toast, and a cup of coffee were all he ate. It was an earlier meal than usual which the Swiss cook had prepared, and by half past six Colonel Harris started from home to his office, Gertrude from her chamber window kissing her hand to him, saying, “Keep cool, father!”