“Gee!” exclaimed Jimmie. “What do you take us for? A bunch of crooks?”
No, said the other, he was not such a poor judge of character. And Jimmie remarked grimly that anybody who was looking for easy money did not go into the business of Socialist agitation. If there was anything a Socialist could boast of, it was that their workers and elected officials never touched any graft. Mr. Coleman—that is, Jerry—would be handed a receipt for every dollar they spent.
It chanced that that same night there was a meeting of the Propaganda Committee of the local, which consisted of half a dozen of the most active members. Jimmie and Meissner hurried to this place, with their new-found wealth burning a hole in their pockets. They informed the committee that they had been collecting money for the propaganda fund, and produced before the eyes of the astounded comrades the sum of one hundred dollars.
It happened that the chairman of the committee had just received from the National Office of the party in Chicago a sample of a new leaflet entitled “Feed America First”; this leaflet could be had in quantities for a very low price, a dollar or two per thousand; as a result of Jimmie’s contribution, a telegram was sent for ten thousand of the leaflets to be shipped by express. And then there was a proposition from the state office for Comrade Seaman, author of a book against war, to speak every night for two weeks in Leesville. The local had voted to turn down his proposition for lack of funds; but now, with the new contributions, the propaganda committee felt equal to the fifty dollars involved. And then there was the idea of Comrade Gerrity, the organizer, who was conducting street meetings every Wednesday and Saturday nights; if he could have an assistant, at fifteen a week, the soap-boxing could go on every night. John Meissner here put in—he was sure that contributions could be got for that purpose, provided the decision was made without delay. So the decision was made.
The meeting was adjourned, and then Meissner and Jimmie went into conference with Gerrity, the organizer, and Schneider, the brewer, and Comrade Mary Allen, all three of whom happened to be on the committee entrusted with the affairs of the Worker. Jimmie explained that they had met a union organizer—they could not tell about him, but the committee would have a chance to meet him—who would put up the balance of the money needed, provided that the paper would be willing to call at once for a strike of the Empire employees. Could that promise be made? And Comrade Mary Allen laughed, indicating her scorn for anybody who could cherish a doubt on that question! Comrade Mary was a Quaker; she loved all mankind with religious fervour—and it is astonishing how bitter people can become in the cause of universal love. Her sharp, pale face flushed, and her thin lips set, as she answered that the Worker would most surely fight the war-profiteers, so long as she was on the managing committee!