Jimmie walked away with the strangest tumult in his soul. It was something which the poets had been occupied for centuries in trying to portray, but Jimmie Higgins had no acquaintance with the poets, and so it was a brand new thing to him, he was left to experience the shock of it and to resolve the problems of it all alone. To be rolled and tossed about like a man in a blanket at a college ragging! To be a prey to bewilderment and fear, hope and longing, despair and rebellion, delicious excitement, angry self-contempt and tormenting doubt! Truly did that poet divine who first conceived the symbol of the mischievous little god, who steals upon an unsuspecting man and shoots him through the heart with a sharp and tormenting arrow!
The worst of it was, Jimmie couldn’t tell Lizzie about it. The first time in four years that he had had a trouble he could not tell Lizzie! He even felt ashamed, as he came home and crawled into bed—as if he had done some dreadful wrong to Lizzie; and yet, he would have been puzzled to tell just what the wrong was, or how he could have avoided it. It was not he who had made the young feminist so delicious and sweet and frank and amazing. It was not he who had made the little god, and brewed the poison for the arrow’s tip. No, it was some power greater than himself that had prepared this situation, some power cruel and implacable, which plots against domestic tranquillity; perhaps it was some hireling of capitalism, which will not permit a propagandist of social justice to do his work in peace of soul.
Jimmie tried to hide what was going on; and of course—poor, naive soul—he had never learned to hide anything in his life, and now was too late to begin. The next time the local met, the women were saying that they were disappointed in Comrade Higgins; they had thought he was really devoted to the cause, but they saw now he was like all the rest of the men—his head had been turned by one smile on a pretty face. Instead of attending to his work, he was following that Baskerville creature about, gazing at her yearningly, like a moon-calf, making a ninny of himself before the whole room. And he with a wife and three babies at home, waiting for him and thinking he was hustling for the cause. When the meeting adjourned, and the Baskerville creature accepted the invitation of Comrade Gerrity to escort her home, the dismay of Comrade Higgins was so evident as to be ludicrous to the whole room.
In the interest of common decency it was necessary for the women of the local to take action on this matter. At least, a couple of them thought so, and quite independently and without pre-arrangement they called on Lizzie next day and told her that she should come more frequently to meetings, and keep herself acquainted with the new ideas of advanced feminism. And so when Jimmie came home that night, he found his wife dissolved in tears and there was a most harrowing scene.