To the little machinist there flashed a sudden idea. He caught his friend by the arm. “Emil!” he exclaimed. “Do you remember that time when Ashton Chalmers and old Granitch came to our meeting at the Opera-house?”
“Sure thing!” said Emil.
“Maybe that done it!”
“Nothing more likely.”
“And it was me that sold him the tickets!”
Jimmie was thrilled to the bottom of his shoes. Such is the reward that comes now and then to the soul of a propagandist; he struggles on amid ridicule and despair—and then suddenly, like a gleam of light, comes evidence that somewhere, somehow, he has reached another mind, he has made a real impression. Ashton Chalmers had listened to the Socialist orator, and he had gone away and read and investigated; he had realized the force of this great world movement for economic justice, he had broken the bonds and barriers of his class, and told the truth about what he saw coming. When Jimmie read the wonderful words which the bank president had spoken, he was nearer to an impulse to fight Germany than at any previous moment of his life!
JIMMIE HIGGINS WRESTLES WITH THE TEMPTER
Of course, not all the Socialists of Leesville had got the “military bug” like Emil Forster. Late in the afternoon, Jimmie ran into Comrade Schneider, on his way home from work at the brewery, and he was the same old Schneider—the same florid Teuton countenance, the same solid Teuton voice, the same indignant Teuton point of view. All Jimmie had to do was to mention the name of Emil, and Schneider was off. A hell of a Socialist he was! Couldn’t even wait for the drill-sergeant to come after him, but had to run and hunt for him, had to go and put himself out in the public square, where the town-loafers could watch him playing the monkey!
No, said Schneider, with abundant profanity, he had not moved one inch from his position; they could send him to jail any time they got ready, they could stand him up before a firing-squad, but they’d never get any militarism into him. Pressed for an answer, the big brewer admitted that he had registered; but he wasn’t going to be drafted, not on his life! Jimmie suggested that this might be because he had a wife and six children; but the other was too much absorbed in his tirade to notice Jimmie’s grin. He blustered on, in a tone so loud that several times people on the street overheard, and gave him a black look. Jimmie, being less in the mood of martyrdom, parted from him and went to see the Meissners.