Sure enough, it was after train-time! Jimmie had entirely forgotten both the train and the committee, and now he had not the grace to hide his offence. All he could do was to tell his story—how he had spent the afternoon walking in the country with the Candidate, and how they had gone swimming, and how they had got the news from the bulletin board, and how the Candidate had acted and what he had said. Poor Jimmie never doubted but that his own thrill was shared by all the others; and at the next regular meeting of the local, when Comrade Dr. Service sat down on some proposition which Jimmie had ventured to make, the little machinist had not the faintest idea what he had done to deserve the snub. He was lacking in worldly sense, he did not understand that a prosperous physician, who comes into the movement out of pure humanitarianism, contributing his prestige and his wealth to the certain detriment of his social and business interests, is entitled to a certain deference from the Jimmie Higginses, and even from a Candidate.
You might have thought that Jimmie would be tired; but this was a day on which the flesh had no claims. First he helped Comrade Mabel in depositing upon every seat a leaflet containing a letter from the local candidate for Congress; then he rushed away to catch a street-car, and spent his last nickel to get to his home and keep his engagement with Lizzie. He would not make with her the mistake he had made with the Committee, you bet!
He found that Lizzie had faithfully carried out her part of the bargain. The three babies were done up in bright-coloured calico dresses; she had spent the morning in washing and ironing these garments—also her own dress, which was half-red and half-green, and of generous, almost crinoline proportions. Lizzie herself was built on that scale, with broad hips and bosom, big brown eyes and heavy dark hair. She was a fine strong woman when she had shed her bedraggled house gown, and Jimmie was proud of his capability as a chooser of wives. It was no small feat to find a good woman, and to recognize her, where Jimmie had found Lizzie. She was five years older than he, a Bohemian, having been brought to America when she was a baby. Her former name—you could hardly call it her “maiden” name, considering the circumstances—was Elizabeth Huszar, which she pronounced so that for a long time Jimmie had understood it to be Eleeza Betooser.
Jimmie snatched a bite of bread and drank a cup of metallic tasting tea, and packed the family into the baby-carriage, and trudged the mile and half to the centre of the city. When they arrived, Lizzie took the biggest child, and Jimmie the other two, and so they trudged into the Opera-house. On this hot night it was like holding three stoves in your arms, and if the babies woke up and began to cry, the parents would have the painful choice of missing something, or else facing the disgusted looks of everyone about them. In Belgium, at the “People’s House”, the Socialists maintained a creche, but the American movement had not yet discovered that useful institution.