Three days passed, and then one afternoon Jimmie was summoned to see a visitor. He could guess who the visitor was, and he went with his heart in his throat, and looked through the dark mesh of wire, and saw Lizzie standing—stout, motherly Lizzie, now very pale, and breathing hard, and with tears running in little streamlets down her cheeks. Poor Lizzie, with her three babies at home, and her plain, ordinary, non-revolutionary psychology, which made going to jail a humiliation instead of a test of manhood, a badge of distinction! Jimmie felt a clutch in his own throat, and an impulse to tear down the beastly wire mesh and clasp the dear motherly soul in his arms. But all he could do was to screw his face into a dubious smile. Sure, he was having the time of his life in this jail! He wouldn’t have missed it for anything! He had made a Socialist out of “Dead-eye Mike”, and had got Pete Curley, a fancy “con” man, to promise to read “War, What For?”
There was only one thing which had been troubling him, and that was, how his family was getting on. They had had practically nothing in the house, he knew, and poor Meissner could not feed four extra mouths. But Lizzie, also screwing her face into a smile, assured him that everything was all right at home, there was no need to worry. In the first place, Comrade Dr. Service had sent her a piece of paper with his name written on it; it appeared that this was called a cheque, and the groceryman had exchanged it for a five dollar bill. And in the next place there was a domestic secret which Lizzie had to confide—she had put by some money, without letting Jimmie know it.
“But how?” cried Jimmie, in wonder—for he had thought he knew all about his household and its expenses.
So Lizzie explained the trick she had played. Jimmie had committed an extravagance, treating her to a new dress out of his increased earnings: a gorgeous contrivance of several colours, looking like silk, even if it wasn’t. Lizzie had stated that the cost was fifteen dollars, and he, the dupe, had believed it! The truth was she had bought the dress in a second-hand shop for three dollars, and had put twelve dollars away for the time of the strike!
And Jimmie went back to his “tank”, shaking his head and philosophizing: “Gee! Can you beat these women?”
JIMMIE HIGGINS DALLIES WITH CUPID
The strike was over when Jimmie came out of jail; it had been settled by the double-barrelled device of raising the wages of the men and putting their leaders behind bars. Jimmie presented himself at his old place of working, and the boss told him to go to hell; so Jimmie went to Hubbardtown, and stood in the long line of men waiting at the gate of the engine company. Jimmie knew about black-lists,