It was finally decided that Comrade Mary should call on Jerry Coleman in the morning, and satisfy herself that he really meant business; if so, she would get the full committee together on the following evening. The committee had authority to go ahead, as soon as the necessary fund was made up, so if Coleman was all right, there was no reason why the first issue of the paper should not appear next week. Comrade Jack Smith, a reporter on the Herald, the capitalist paper of Leesville, was to resign and become editor of the Worker, and he already had his editorials written—had been showing them about in the local for the past month!
Jimmie and Meissner set out for home, happy in the feeling that they had accomplished more for Socialism on that one night than in all the rest of their lives. But then, as they walked, there came suddenly a clamour of bells on the night air; a fire! They knew the signals, and counted the strokes, and made the discovery that it was in the neighbourhood of their own home! An engine went by on the gallop, with sparks streaming out behind, and they broke into a run. Before they had gone a couple of blocks, they saw a glare in the sky, and their hearts were in their throats; poor Meissner panted that he had neglected to pay his last month’s insurance!
But as they ran, in the ever-growing throng of people, they realized that the fire was too near for their own home; also, it was a bigger blaze than could have been made by any number of shacks. And presently there were shouts in the crowd, “It’s the Empire! The Old Shops!” There came a hook and ladder truck, rushing by with shrieking siren, and then the fire-chief in his automobile with a fiercely clanging bell; they turned the corner, and far down the street before them was the building in which for four years Jimmie had tended the bolt-making machine. They saw that one whole end of it was a towering, leaping, sweeping pillar of flames!
JIMMIE HIGGINS HELPS THE KAISER
Jimmie Higgins regarded with the utmost resentment the determination of the war to come to Leesville, in spite of all his labours to keep it out. Take the most preposterous thing you could imagine—the most idiotic thing on the face of the earth—take German spies! When Jimmie heard people talking about German spies, he laughed in their faces, he told them they were a bunch of fools, they belonged in the nursery; for Jimmie classed German spies with goblins, witches and sea-serpents. And here suddenly the bewildered little man found himself in the midst of a German spy mania, the like of which he could never have dreamed!