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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 312 pages of information about Jimmie Higgins.

Yes, Comrade Baskerville could appreciate his sufferings, because she had suffered too.  She had had a stepmother, and had run away from home at an early age and fought her own way.  That was why she stood so firmly for woman’s emancipation—­she knew the slavery of her sex through bitter experience.  There were many men who believed in sex-equality as a matter of words, but had no real conception of it in action; as for the women—­well, you might see right here in the local the most narrow, bourgeois ideas dominating their minds.  Jimmie did not know what ideas Comrade Baskerville meant, but he knew that her voice was musical and full of quick changes that made him shiver.

He was supposed to be taking her home; but he had no idea where she lived, and apparently she had no idea either, for they just wandered on and on, talking about all the wonderful new ideas that were stirring the minds of men and women.  Did Comrade Higgins believe in trial marriages?  Comrade Higgins had never heard of this wild idea before, but he listened, and bravely concealed his dismay.  What about the children?  The eager feminist answered there need not be any children.  Unwanted children were a crime!  She proposed to get the working-class women together and instruct them in the technique of these delicate matters; and meantime, lacking the women, she was willing to explain it to any inwardly embarrassed and quaking man who would lend his ear.

Suddenly she stopped and cried, “Where are we?” And there came a peal of merry laughter, as she discovered they had gone far astray.  They turned and set off in the right direction, and meantime the lecture on advanced feminism continued.  Poor Jimmie was in a panic—­tumbled this way and that.  He had considered himself a radical, because he believed in expropriating the expropriators; but these plans for overthrowing the conventions and disbanding the home—­these left him aghast.  And trilled into his ear by a vivid and amazing young thing with a soft hand upon his arm and a faint intoxicating perfume all about her!  Why was she telling these things to him?  What did she mean?  What?  What?

IV

They came to the house where she lived.  It was late at night, and the street was deserted.  It was up to Jimmie to say good night, but somehow he did not know how to say it.  Comrade Evelyn gave him her hand, and for some reason did not take it away again.  Of course it would not have been polite for Jimmie to have pushed it away.  So he held it, and looked at the shadowy form before him, and felt his knees shaking.  “Comrade Higgins,” said the brave, girlish voice, “we shall be friends, shall we not?” And of course, Jimmie answered that they would—­always!  And the girlish voice replied, “I am glad!” And then suddenly it whispered, “Good night!” and the shadowy form turned and flitted into the house.

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