Poor Bill! He lay across the seat, and Jimmie, who had to sit next to him, caught him in his arms and held him. He was quivering, with awful motions like a spasm. He made no sound, and Jimmie was terrified, thinking that he was dying. Before long Jimmie felt a hot wetness stealing over his hands, first slimy, then turning sticky. He had to sit there, almost fainting with horror; he dared not say anything, for maybe the policeman would strike him also. He sat, clutching in his arms the shaking body, and whispering under his breath, “Poor Bill! Poor Bill!”
They came to the station-house, and Bill was carried out and laid on a bench, and the others were stood up before the desk and had their pedigrees taken. Gerrity demanded indignantly to be allowed to telephone, and this demand was granted. He routed Lawyer Norwood from a party, and set him to finding bail; and meantime the prisoners were led to cells.
They had been there only a couple of minutes when there came floating through the row of steel cages the voice of a woman singing. It was Comrade Mabel Smith in that clear sweet voice they had so often listened to on “social evenings” in the local. She was singing the Internationale:
Arise, ye prisoners of starvation.
Arise, ye wretched of the earth!
The sound thrilled them to the very bones, and they joined in the chorus with a shout. Then, of course, came the jailer: “Shut up.” And then again: “Shut up!” And then a third time: “Will ye shut up?” And then came a bucket of water, hurled through the cell bars. It hit Jimmie squarely in the mouth, and in the words of the poet, “the subsequent proceedings interested him no more!”
About midnight came Lawyer Norwood and Dr. Service. Both of these men had protested against the street-speaking at this time; but of course, when it came to comrades in trouble, they could not resist the appeal to their sympathies. Such is the difficulty of entirely respectable and decorous “parlour” Socialists, in their dealings with the wayward children of the movement, the “impossibilists” and “direct actionists” and other sowers of proletarian wild oats. Dr. Service produced a wad of bills and bailed out all the prisoners, and delivered himself of impressive indignation to the police-sergeant, while waiting for an ambulance to carry “Wild Bill” to the hospital. Jimmie Higgins, who had always hitherto shouted with the “wild” ones, realized suddenly how pleasant it is to have a friend who wears black broadcloth, and carries himself like the drum-major of a band, and is reputed to be worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars.