He began to walk down the street, talking more to himself than to Jimmie. He was borne away on the wings of his vision; and his companion was so thrilled that he honestly did not know where he was. Afterwards, when he looked back upon this scene, it remained the most wonderful event of his life; he told the story, sooner or later, to every Socialist he met.
Presently the Candidate stopped. “Comrade,” he said, “I must go to the hotel. I want to write some telegrams. You explain to the Committee—I’d rather not see anyone till time for the meeting. I’ll find the way myself.”
JIMMIE HIGGINS HEARS A SPEECH
In the Opera-house were gathered Comrade Mabel Smith and Comrade Meissner and Comrade Goldstein, the secretary of the Ypsels, and the three members of the Reception Committee—Comrade Norwood, the rising young lawyer, Comrade Dr. Service, and Comrade Schultze of the Carpet-weavers’ Union. To them rushed the breathless Jimmie. “Have you heard the news?”
“What is it?”.
“A hundred Socialist leaders shot in Germany!”
“Herr Gott!” cried Comrade Schultze, in horror; and everyone turned instinctively, for they knew how this came home to him—he had a brother who was a Socialist editor in Leipzig, and who was liable for the mobilization.
“Where did you see it?” cried Schultze; and Jimmie told what he knew. And then the clamour broke forth! Others were called from the back part of the hall, and came running, and there were questions and cries of dismay. Here, too, it was as if the crime had been committed against Local Leesville—so completely did they feel themselves one with the victims. In a town where there was a brewery, needless to say there were German workers a-plenty; but even had this not been so, the feeling would have been the same, for the Socialists of the world were one, the soul of the movement was its internationalism. The Candidate discovering that Jimmie was a Socialist had asked and received no further introduction, but had been instantly his friend; and so it would have been with a comrade from Germany, Japan, or the heart of Africa—he might not have known another word of English, the word “Socialist” would have sufficed.
It was a long time before they thought of any other matter; but finally someone referred to the trouble which had fallen upon the local—the Candidate had not showed up. And Jimmie exclaimed, “Why, he’s here!” And instantly all turned upon him. Where? When? How?
“He came this morning.”
“And why didn’t you let us know?” It was Comrade Dr. Service of the Reception Committee who spoke, and with a decided sharpness in his tone.
“He didn’t want anybody to know,” said Jimmie.
“Did he want us to go to the train and think he had failed us?”