Jimmie Higgins eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 392 pages of information about Jimmie Higgins.

At the third meeting after the war began, the prosperous Dr. Service arose, and in his impressive oratorical voice moved that the local should send a telegram to the National Executive Committee of the party, requesting it to protest against the invasion of Belgium; also a telegram to the President of the United States, requesting him to take the same action.  And then what pandemonium broke loose!  Comrade Schneider, the brewery-worker, demanded to know whether Local Leesville had ever requested the National Executive Committee to protest against the invasion of Ireland.  Had the Socialist party ever requested the President of the United States to protect Egypt and India from oppression?

Comrade Dr. Service, who had remained on his feet, began a passionate denunciation of the outrages perpetrated by the German army in Belgium; at which Comrade Schneider’s florid face turned purple.  He demanded whether all men did not know that France had first invaded Belgium, and that the Belgians had welcomed the French?  Weren’t all the Belgian forts turned toward Germany?  Of course! answered the doctor.  But what of that?  Was it a crime for a man to know who was going to attack him?

The purple-faced brewer, without heeding this question, demanded:  Did not all the world know that the French had begun the war with an aeroplane bombardment of the German cities?  The Comrade Doctor, his face also purpling, replied that all the world knew this for a tale sent out by the German propaganda machine.  How did all the world know it? roared Schneider.  By a cable-censorship controlled by British gold?

Jimmie was much exicted by this dispute.  The only trouble was that he found himself in agreement with both sides, and with an impulse to applaud both sides.  And also he applauded the next speaker, young Emil Forster, a pale, slender, and fair-haired youth, a designer in the carpet-factory.  Emil was one who seldom raised his voice in the meetings, but when he did, he was heard with attention, for he was a student and a thinker; he played the flute, and his father, also a member of the local, played the clarinet, so the pair were invaluable on “social evenings”.  In his gentle, dispassionate voice he explained how it was not easy for people in America to understand the dilemma of the German Socialists in the present crisis.  We must remember that the Germans were fighting, not merely England and France, but Russia; and Russia was a huge, half-civilized land, under perhaps the most cruel government in the world.  How would Americans feel if up in Canada there were three hundred millions of people, ignorant, enslaved, and being drilled in huge armies?

All right, retorted Dr. Service.  But then why did not the Germans fight Russia, and let France and Belgium alone?

Because, answered Emil, the French would not permit that.  We in America thought of France as a republic, but we must remember that it was a capitalist republic, a nation ruled by bankers; and these bankers had formed an alliance with Russia, the sole possible aim of which was the destruction of Germany.  France had loaned something like four billions of dollars to Russia.

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Jimmie Higgins from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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