The end of the strike had been a nine days’ wonder, for it proved that there had actually been no strike at all, since the owner had simply closed down the shops, torn down a few walls, sold the machinery and ore, and canceled all his business obligations. No sensation, however vital, lasts very long these days; and after these nine days it turned its attention to other things, this mutable public. Employers, however, and union leaders, all over the continent, went about their affairs thoughtfully. If one man could do this unheard-of thing, so might others, now that an example had been set before them. The dispersed men harbored no ill feeling toward Morrissy; he, as they supposed, had acted in good faith for the welfare of the union. But for the man who had had the courage to make good his threats, for him they had nothing but bitterness and hate.
Patty would always remember that final night of the strike when John had come in early in the morning, his clothes torn, his hands bloody, his hair matted to his forehead, and hatless. He had been last to leave the shops, and he had, unarmed, run the gantlet of the maddened strikers who had been held at bay for six long hours. Only his great strength and physical endurance had pulled him out of the arms of violent death. There had been no shot fired from the shops. The strikers saw the utter futility of forcing armed men, so they had hung about with gibe and ribald jeer, waiting for some one careless enough to pass them alone. This Bennington did. His men had forgotten him. Bennington’s injuries had been rather trivial; it had been his personal appearance that had terrified the women. He had fallen asleep half an hour after reaching home, and he had slept till nine that evening. Upon awakening he had begun at once to plan a trip to Europe, to wander from capital to capital for a year or so. No one had interrupted him; not even the mother, grown old in the past month, had demurred at his plans. He would have none near him but Kate, and she had hovered about him, ministering to his wants as a mother over a sick child. ... Kate! It all came back with a rush. Kate! Oh, what was she, Patty, to believe? That night she had loved Kate almost to idolatry. She shuddered, turned away from the ruins, and set off at a gallop till she came upon brick pavement. She rarely trotted upon pavement, but this morning she had no thought for the horse; she burned to be at work. She trotted rapidly into town, across the principal thoroughfares, this way being the short cut. By this time men were on the way to work. Many of them turned their heads to stare at her. There was only one woman in town who sat a horse like this one, and it could be no less a person than Patty Bennington. All the men recognized her instantly. She had their good wishes, for all that her brother had taken away the bread and butter of some of them. Many touched their hats from mere force of habit.
There was one man, however, who glared evilly at her from the curb. She recognized him in spite of his discolored face, the result of a long, uninterrupted debauch. It was Bolles. As he caught her eye he smiled evilly and leered at her.