March laughed outright. “Well, I’m not a millionaire, anyway, Lindau, and I hope you won’t make an example of me by refusing to give toil. I dare say the millionaires deserve it, but I’d rather they wouldn’t suffer in my person.”
“No,” returned the old man, mildly relaxing the fierce glare he had bent upon March. “No man deserves to sufer at the hands of another. I lose myself when I think of the injustice in the world. But I must not forget that I am like the worst of them.”
“You might go up Fifth Avenue and live among the rich awhile, when you’re in danger of that,” suggested March. “At any rate,” he added, by an impulse which he knew he could not justify to his wife, “I wish you’d come some day and lunch with their emissary. I’ve been telling Mrs. March about you, and I want her and the children to see you. Come over with these things and report.” He put his hand on the magazines as he rose.
“I will come,” said Lindau, gently.
“Shall I give you your book?” asked March.
“No; I gidt oap bretty soon.”
“And—and—can you dress yourself?”
“I vhistle, ’and one of those lidtle fellowss comess. We haf to dake gare of one another in a blace like this. Idt iss nodt like the worldt,” said Lindau, gloomily.
March thought he ought to cheer him up. “Oh, it isn’t such a bad world, Lindau! After all, the average of millionaires is small in it.” He added, “And I don’t believe there’s an American living that could look at that arm of yours and not wish to lend you a hand for the one you gave us all.” March felt this to be a fine turn, and his voice trembled slightly in saying it.
Lindau smiled grimly. “You think zo? I wouldn’t moch like to drost ’em. I’ve driedt idt too often.” He began to speak German again fiercely: “Besides, they owe me nothing. Do you think I knowingly gave my hand to save this oligarchy of traders and tricksters, this aristocracy of railroad wreckers and stock gamblers and mine-slave drivers and mill-serf owners? No; I gave it to the slave; the slave—ha! ha! ha!—whom I helped to unshackle to the common liberty of hunger and cold. And you think I would be the beneficiary of such a state of things?”
“I’m sorry to hear you talk so, Lindau,” said March; “very sorry.” He stopped with a look of pain, and rose to go. Lindau suddenly broke into a laugh and into English.
“Oh, well, it is only dalk, Passil, and it toes me goodt. My parg is worse than my pidte, I cuess. I pring these things roundt bretty soon. Good-bye, Passil, my tear poy. Auf wiedersehen!”