“You mean—” Aaron began.
“That they don’t hold their heads high enough. I am not for strikes that finish with a shilling a week more for the men; or for Acts of Parliament which dole out tardy charity. I am for the bigger things. Last night I lay awake, thinking—your friend Richard Graveling set me thinking. We must aim high. I am here for no man’s individual good. I am here to plan not pinpricks but destruction.”
The servant brought in more breakfast. They sat and talked, Maraton asking many questions concerning the men whom he would meet later in the day. Then he looked regretfully at the great pile of letters still before him.
“I shall need a secretary,” he said slowly.
Aaron sprang to his feet.
“Take me,” he begged. “I have been in a newspaper office. I am slow at shorthand but I can type like lightning. I will work morning and night. I want nothing but a little food if I may go about with you and hear you speak. Oh, take me!”
“You are engaged,” he declared. “Go out and hire a typewriter and bring it here in a cab. You can start at once, I hope?”
“This minute,” Aaron agreed, his voice breaking with excitement.
Maraton passed him money and took them both to the door.
“Tell me about to-night?” Julia asked. “Will you go to the Clarion? Shall you speak?”
Maraton shook his head.
“No. I have written to the men whom I am anxious to meet here, and asked them to come to me. I should prefer not to speak at all until I go to Manchester. I have plans, but I must not speak of them for the moment.”
“I had hoped so to hear you speak to-night,” she murmured, and her face fell.
They stood together at the door and looked out across the green tree-tops towards the city.
“The time has gone by for speeches,” he said quietly. “Perhaps before very long you may hear greater things than words.”
They hurried off—Julia to the factory, Aaron to a typewriting depot in New Oxford Street. At the corner of the Square they parted.
“Are you satisfied?” she asked.
His face was all aglow.
“Satisfied! Julia, you told me nothing! He is wonderful—splendid!”
She climbed on to a ’bus with a little smile upon her lips. The long day’s work before her seemed like a holiday task. Then she laughed softly as she found herself repeating her brother’s fervid words:
“Maraton has come!”
Maraton spent three hours and a half that morning in conclave with the committee appointed for his reception, and for that three hours and a half he was profoundly bored. Every one had a good deal to say except Richard Graveling, who sat at the end of the table with folded arms and a scowl upon his face. The only other man who scarcely opened his lips during the entire time, was Maraton himself. Peter Dale, Labour Member for Newcastle, was the first to make a direct appeal. He was a stalwart, grim-looking man, with heavy grey eyebrows and grey beard. He had been a Member of Parliament for some years and was looked upon as the practical leader of his party.