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Little Red Library
THE DAILY WORKER
1113 W. Washirtflton Blvd.
Will he issued in: as rapid succession
as suitable material will allow.
-TRADE UNIONS IN
AMERICA, by Wm, Z.
Poster, J. P. Cannon
and E. R. Browder,
.vs. 'CLASS COLLAB-
ORATION, by Earl R.
Translation by Max
Wm, P. Dunne.
No. 5.— POEMS FOR WORK-
ERS, Edited by Man-
No. 6. — Marx and Engels on
REVOLUTION I N
AMERICA, br Heinz
No, 8.— 1871— T HE PARIS
COMMUNE, by Max
THE WORLD RULE OP
WALL STREET, by
Twelve copies will be sent of any single
number — choice of numbers— or follow-
ing numbers as soon as off the press.
The Little Reel Library
THE DAMNED AGITATOR
THE COAL BREAKER
By Michael Gold.
The Daily Worker Publishing Co.,
1113 W. Washington Blvd.,
Prin tod in the U. S. A.
The Damned Agitator
rpHE strike was now smoldering into its
h seventh week, and, perhaps, it would soon
be a bitter ash in the mouths of the men. For
funds were at an ebb, scabs were coming in
like a locust pla.gue, the company officials were
growing more and more militant in their self-
righteousness, and the strikers themselves
were drifting into a settled state of depression
and dangerous self-distrust. Their solidarity
was beginning to show fissures and aching
All these woeful conditions beat in like a
winter sea "on the tired brain of Kurelovitch
with the bleak morning light that waked him.
He lifted his throbbing head from the pillow,
looked about the dingy bedroom with his bleary
sleep-glazed eyes, and heaved a long, troubled
sigh out of his pain.
At a meeting of company executives once
Kurelovitch had been denounced as a danger-
ous agitator, whose pathological thirst for vio-
lence had created arid sustained the strike.
"The man is a menace, a mad dog, whose
career ought to be stopped before he does
more mischief/ 7 said one venerable director, his
kind, blue eyes developing a pinkish glare that
would have horrified the women folk of his
"The scoundrel's probably pocketing half of
the strike funds," declared another director
with plump, rosy gills and a full, bald head
that glittered like a sunset cloud, as he stunned
the long table with a blow of his balled fist.
But Kurelovitch was not a mad dog, and he
was not waxing fat with industrial spoils, as so
many of the directors had. He was really a
tall, tragic, rough-hewn Pole, who had been
suddenly hammered into leadership by the
crisis of the strike, by reason of his unquench-
able integrity and social fire. He had deep,
blue, burning eyes, a rugged nose and mous-
taches, and his hands and form were ungainly,
work-twisted symbols of the life of drudgery
he had ledr
Now he was thinking wearily of all the
thorny problems that would be heaped upon
him that day in the course of the strike. As
he extricated himself from the bedclothes and
sat up to dress, the problems writhed and clam-
ored in his jaded brain for solution. For seven
weeks now he had risen almost at dawn and
had labored till midnight at the Titan task of
wringing a fifteen per cent increase out of cap-
italism for his fellow workers. He had grown
gaunt and somber and wise in the process;
skeptical of man and of god. He had seen
plans collapse, heads broken unjustly, sen-
tences inflicted by corrupt judges, babies and
women starving. He had heard himself as-
sailed as a monster by the other group, and as
a weakling and tool by the more embittered of
his own side.
His wife heard him sigh, and she called from
the kitchen, where she was already stirring.
"There ain't no coffee for you this morning,
Stanislaw," she announced in a sullen voice, in
which there was also anger and scorn. "And
there ain't no nothin' else to eat, only a few
hunks of old bread."
Kurelovitch stumbled wearily to his feet and
entered the malodorous kitchen. Greasy pans
and platters and sour garbage were strewn
about, and in an opaque cloud of smoke his
wife was hovering over the stove, their fourth
child mewing in the nest of her arms. She was
heating all the milk she had for the infant, and
when her husband came in she turned on him
with swift virulence.
"No, not a taste of food in the house, damn
you," she spat. "And the kids went to bed
last night without hardly any supper,"
"But it's not my fault, now, is it, Annie?"
the big man returned humbly as he went over
■— — ! — •
to her and put an arm over her shoulder. She
cast it off with fierce contempt, and stood him
off with a volley of words that were like poison-
ed arrows, each piercing straight to his vital
"It is your fault, you clumsy fool, you," she
screamed out of her over-laden heart. "You
were one of the first men to go out on strike,
even though we hadn't a penny in the house
at the time. And last week when the company
wanted the men to come back you talked them
out of it, and so we're all still starving, thanks
"But, Annie—" the tall man attempted gent-
"Don't Annie me, or try to fool me with one
of your speeches. You know the strike's lost
as well as I do, and that after it you'll be black-
listed in every mill town in New England. But
you don't care if your children starve, do you?
You'd be glad to see us all dead, wouldn't you?"
The man had crumpled under the attack, and
he seemed as small almost as his infuriated
wife. But then he straightened in the dusty
pallor of the kitchen, and moved to the door.
"FI1 see that yoii get a lot of groceries and
things from headquarters this morning," lie
said huskily, as he went out into the dark, bit-
Kurelovitch shivered at his contact" with the
gray, sharp air. A thin ash of snow had fallen
through the night, and was. now a noisome
slush, after its brief experience with the mill
town, which degraded everything it touched.
The muddy ooze squirmed through the vul-
nerable spots in his shoes, and started the
gooseflesh along Kurelovitch's spine. Across
the river in the drab morning he could see the
residential heights where the rich dwelt, and
they reminded him of the village of his youth,
with its girdle of snow-covered hills and peace-
ful cottages. He remembered a Polish lullaby
his mother used to sing to him, and shivered
From the rough bridge which bound the split
halves of the town he could see the mill, glow-
ering and blocking shadows deep as ignorance
on the rotting ice of the river. The resplend-
ent emblem of America gleamed and waved
from a staff on the low, sprawling structure, as
if to sanctify all that went on beneath. And
now Kurelovitch had traversed a morass of de-
caying huts and offal-strewn streets and was
directly within the massive shadow of the mill.
Two or three of his fellow-workers recognized
him, and came hurrying forward from the
picket line. Kurelovitch's day had begun.
"The damned gunmen are out for fight this
morning," said a sombre, chunky Pole, swath-
ed in old burlap and a tremendous fur cap that
had come from Europe.
"Yes, they must have gotten more booze
than usual last night," said another striker be-
tween his chattering teeth.
A young picket with brooding, dark eyes
burst out with a hot voice, "Well, we'll give
them any fight they want, the dirty lice. We're
not afraid." Kurelovitch put his hand on the
young chap, and then the three went with him
to where about fifty or more of the strikers
were shifting slowly up and down the length
of the wide mill gate.
There were men and women in the line, all
dark and silent and seeming more like a host
of mourners than anything else in the world
of bitter sky and slush-laden earth. They were
muffled to the chins in grotesque rags, and
their breaths went up like incense in the chill
morning. A mood of sadness and suspense
hung about them, and whenever they passed
the knot of gunmen at the gate they turned
their eyes away almost in grief.
Two of the gunmen had detached themselves
from the evil-eyed mob huddled, like a curse,
at the gate. They carried clubs in their hands,
and at their hips could be seen bulging the bad-
ges of their mission in life, which was to break
si rikes and to murder.
They came up to Kurelovitch and sneered at
him with sadistic eyes. As he walked up and
down in the sluggish picket line, they dogged
iimi and used their vilest art to taunt him into
About an hour later, as. he was departing
from the line, the two gunmen still followed
him. A little group of pickets, therefore, form-
ed themselves in a cordon about Kurelovitch
and escorted him to the strike headquarters,
burning all the way with repressed rage. Kur-
elovitch was a marked man in the strike zone,
and his maiming was a subject of much yearn-
ing and planning by the gunmen.
The daily meetings of the strikers were held
in a great barn-like structure in the center of
the tangled streets and alleys of the mill-work-
ers' quarters. A burst of oratory smote Kurel-
ovitch as he entered the great room and a thou-
sand faces, staring row on row, orientated to
the leader as he marched in.
"Kurelovitch, Kurelovitch has come," ran a
murmur like wind through a forest.
Kurelovitch leaped on the rough stage, where
others of the strike committee were sitting, and
whispered in consultation with a fellow Pole.
He learned that there was nothing of moment
that day— no sign from the bosses nor funds
from sympathizers. It was merely another of
the dark days of the strike.
"But many of the Russians are getting rest-
less," the man whispered. "Ravillof has been
at them, and yesterday their priest told them
to go back. Give 'em hell, Kurelovitch!"
Kurelovitch came to the edge of the platform
in a hush like that of an operating room, look-
ing out over a foam of varied faces. They were
faces that had blown into the golden land on
the twelve winds of the world, though about
nine-tenths of the faces were the broad-boned,
earthy, beautiful faces of mystic Slavdom.
Daylight struggled through large, smutty win-
dows and dusted the heads and shoulders of
the strikers with a white, transcendent powder.
A huge oilcloth behind Kurelovitch proclaimed
in big, battering letters, "We Average $9 a
Week and We Are Demanding 15 Per Cent
More. Are You With Us?"
The air tightened as Kurelovitch loomed
there, a sad hero, stooped and gaunt with .
many cares. Finger-deep hollows were in his
cheeks, and, with his blazing eyes and strong
mouth, he seemed like s.ome ascetic follower of
the warrior Mohammed.
"Fellow workers. . . "
In low, thrilling Polish he began by disposing
of the secular details of the strike, as on every
day. Then something would come over Kurel-
ovitch, a strange feeling of automatism, as ic
he were indeed only the voice that this simple-
hearted horde had created out of their woe.
The searing phrases would rush from his lips
in a wild, stormy music, like the voice of a gale,
as as mystic and powerful.
With both hands holding his breast, as if it
wore bursting with passionate vision, Kurelo-
vitch lifted his face in one of his superb mo-
ments and flamed up like an Isaiah.
"Fellow workers," he chanted, giving the
words a value such as cannot be transmitted
by mere writing, "we can never be beaten, for
we are the workers on whose shoulders rest
the pillars of the world and in whose hands are
the tools by which life is carried on. Life, lib-
erty and happiness— let us not rest till we have
gotten these for ourselves and our children's
children I Let us not permit the accidents of a
strike to stay us on our journey toward the
beautiful city of freedom, whose grace is one
day to shine on all the world.
"We are beginning to starve, some of us, but
let us starve bravely, for we are soldiers in a
greater and nobler war than that which is
bleeding Europe. We are soldiers in the class
war which is finally to set mankind free of all
war and all poverty, all bosses and hate. Work-
ingmen of the world, unite; we have nothing to
lose but our chains; we have a world to gain!"
Kurelovitch ended in a great shout, and then ,
the handclapping and whistles rose to him in
turbulent swirls. He found himself suddenly
weary and limp and melancholy, and his deep-
est wish was to go off somewhere alone to wait
until the hollow places inside were refilled. . .
But, with the others of trie strike committee,
he left the platform and fused into the discus-
sions that were raging everywhere. Every-
body tried to come near Kurelovitch, to speak
co him. He was a common hearth at which
his people crowded and shouldered for warmth,
his starving, wistful people who believed him
when he said they could wipe out the accumu-
lated woe of humanity. . .
He was treated to long recitals of the work-
ings of the proletarian soul in this time of want
and panic and anger. He heard a hundred tales
of temptation, of desperate hunger, of outrages
at the hands of the gunmen. Kurelovitch lis-
tened to it all like a grave, kind father confes-
sor, untying many a Gordian knot with his
clear-eyed strength and understanding.
And then came to him Raviloff, the leader
of the Russians, a short, black, wrinkled man,
with slow eyes that became living coals of fire
when passion breathed on them.
He was angry to impotence now, "You said
in your speech that I was a traitor, Kurelo-
vitch," he shouted fiercely. "You lie; I am not.
But we Russians think this strike is lost, and
that we'd all better go back before it's too late."
"It's not lost," Kurelovitch replied slowly.
"The mills can't work full time until we choose
to go back. And, Raviloff, I say again that
you're a scab and traitor if you go back now."
Raviloff flushed purple with wrath, and
rushed upon the tall Pole as if to devour him.
I in I; Kurelovitch did not lift his stern, calm gaze
I'rom the other's face, and a light like that of
swords came and went in his blue eyes. The
Russian surged up and touched him, chest to
chest, and then Kurelovitch intrigued the other
into a sensible discussion that served to keep
the Russian on the firing line. . .'
And thus it went. So Kurelovitch passed
his day, moving from the swooning brink of
one crisis to another. He sat with the strike
committee for many hours in a smoky room
and agonized over w r ays and means. He ad-
dressed another large meeting at headquarters
in the afternoon. He went out on the picket
line and was singled out for threats and taunts
again by the gunmen, so that he felt murder
boiling in his deeps and left. Then he had to
return later to the picket line because word
was rushed to him that five of the pickets had
been arrested in a fight finally precipitated by
the gunmen. Kurelovitch spent the rest of the
afternoon scurrying about and finding bail for
Toward night he had a supper of ham sand-
wiches and coffee, and then he and three of
the strike committee went to a meeting of sym-
pathizers about fifteen miles away. Kurelovitch
made his third passioned address of the day,
and stirred up a large collection. The long,
dull, wrenching ride home followed.
He got off the trolley car near his house
about midnight, his brain whirling and hot, his
heart acrid and despairing. The urgency of
the fight was passed, and nothing was left to
buoy him against his weariness. He walked
in a stupor; the day had sucked every atom of
his valor and strength. He wished dumbly for
death; he was the cold ashes of the flaming
Kurelovitch of the day. Had gunmen come
now and threatened him he would have cringed
and then wept.
There was a feeble light waning and waver-
ing in the window of his little three-room flat,
and when he had fumbled with the lock and
opened the dilapidated door he found some one
brooding with folded arms near the stove. It
stood up awfully and turned on him with bale-
ful eyes, like a wild beast in its cave.
"You rotten dng! ,} his wife screamed at Ku-
relovitch in the vast quiet of the night. "You
mean and dirty pig!"
"To go away in the morning and leave us
to starve ! To send food to other's families and
then to forget us! Oh, you'd be glad if we all
died of starvation! You'd laugh to see us all
dead, you murderer!"
Kurelovitch was too sorrowful to attempt an
answer. He went to the bedroom where he
and two of the children slept and shut the door
behind him. His wife took this for a gesture
of contempt, and her frenzy mounted to a
blood-curdling crescendo that ran up and down
the neighborhood like a ravaging blight. Heads
popped out of windows and bawled to her to
stop for Christ's sake. And, Anally she broke
down of sheer exhaustion and Kurelovitch
heard her shuffling into bed.
There was anguished silence, and then Ku-
relovitch heard his poor, overburdened drudge
of a wife weeping terribly, with gulping sobs
that hurt him like knives ....
And now he could not sleep at all, even after
her sobbing had merged into ugly snoring. He
tossed as in a fever, as he had on so many
other nights of the seven frantic weeks of the
He went blindly for relief to the window,
beyond which reigned the cold, inimical night.
The shabby slum street dwindled to an ob-
scure horizon, and the mass of the mill build-
ing could be seen dominating over the ragged
houses. No being was abroad in the desolate
dark; he saw a chain of weak lanterns casting
morbid shadows, and the vicious wind whip-
ping up the litter of the streets. The stars
were white and high overhead, as distant as
beauty from the. place where Kurelovitch
burned with sleeplessness. He heard the
rattling gurgling snore of his wife.
Kurelovitch ached with his great need of
forgetfulness. As he twitched on his humid
bed the days that had gone and the darker
days to come ranged about and taunted him
like fiends. The feeling that he held the fate
of the strike in his hand rested on him mon-
strously, and his starving children made him
gasp and cry like one drowning.
In dumb anguish he prayed unconsciously to
the power of the righteousness, to God or
whatever fate it was that had brought him in-
to the world. But no relief came that way, and,
finally, after a struggle, he groped with all his
pangs to a little dresser in the room, where
he searched out a brandy bottle. This he took
to bed with him, and drank and drank and
drank again, till the past and the more ter-
rible future were blurred in kindly night, and
the great dark wings of peace folded over him
and he sank into the maternal arms of ob-
On the morrow he would wake and find the
ring of problems haunting him again, and he
would grapple them again in his big, tragic
fashion till his soul bled with many fresh
wounds as he stumbled home in the" night. And
thus he would go on and on till he was broken
or dead, for Kurelovitch had dared to spit into
the face of the beast that reigns mankind, and
never for this sin would he be permitted to
know sweetness or rest under the wide shin-
ing range of the heavens,
HE morning was spent unwinding the yards
Of red tape that are woven into the steel
chains of a prison. The four I. W. W. prison-
ers were checked thru several offices, the war-
den spoke to them a moment or two, then
they turned in their gray prison clothes and
received in exchange their own forgotten
creased clothes, stale after five years' repose
in a bag. Then they were searched twice for
contraband letters, then they were given their
railroad tickets to -Chicago, the city where
they had been tried.
"So long, boys/' one of the guards at the
last steel door leading to the world said joy-
fully to them. He was a tall, portly, serene
Irishman, with gray walrus moustaches, and
he had seen 'hundreds of released men stand
blinking like these four in the strange sun-
light, dazed as if they had been fetched from
the bottom of the sea. "So long, boys; drop in
again some time when you're lonesome; we
enjoyed your visit."
The men smiled awkwardly at him, stiffly
and with the show of prison deference to a
guard. They were still deferential and cau-
tious like prisoners; in their minds they were
not yet free.
They walked silently down the flat dusty
road leading from the penitentiary to the high-
road, their jaws set, their pale faces appearing
unfamiliar and haggard to each other as their
eyes glanced from side to side.
"So this is America l» said little Blackie
Doan, heaving a deep sigh and spitting hard
and far into the road to display his nonchal-
ance Blackie was more nervous and trem-
bling inside than any of the other men; but
he could never forget that a gentleman swag-
gers and grins and spits with a tough air when
he is in a difficult situation. This blow of
sudden freedom and sunlight after five years
in prison fell harder upon Blackie than upon
the other men. He had just come, the day
before from five month's of solitary confine-
ment 'in a black, damp underground cell
where he had been expiating the worst of
prison offenses. He had battered with fists
and feet a guard more than half a foot his
height for the reason that his guard had been
beating wiith fist and blackjack and keys a
weak, half-witted boy of nineteen who never
seemed to remember his place m the line —
another enormous prison crime.
"The land of the free and the home of the
brave I" John Brown, a tall, lankly Enghsh-
iii ;mi, with gray hair, hawk nose, and steady
blue eyes added monotonously, as in a litany.
"Wish I had a chew of tobacco!"
The other two I. W, W. prisoners just re-
leased after their five years' punishment for
the crime of having opposed a world war did
not say a word, but stumbled along dumbly,
as if waiting for something more interesting
to happen. One was Hill Jones, a husky young
western American, with the face and physique
of a college football player, and with ; large
luminous green eyes that stared at the world
like those of an unspolied child's. The other
I. W. W. was Ramon Gonzales, a young, slim,
dark American-Mexican, the second genera-
tion of those hard-working Mexican peons who
build the railroads of our western country.
"Wish I had a chew of tobacco!" repeated
Brown, licking his dry lips with his tongue, and
sweeping the brown drab prairie with his eyes.
"Peel as if I could spit cotton!"
The truth was, he wanted the tobacco to
steady his nerves. Like the others, he was
quivering internally with a rout of weird emo-
tions. He had lived for five years in a steel
house, behind steel bars, in a routine that was
enforced by men with blackjacks and shot-
guns, and that was inhuman and perfect as
steel. Now he was free. No one was watch-
ing him; he was strolling down a hot country
road, under the immense yellow sky. He was
back in the word of free men and free women ;
and he, and the others with him should have
1 urn Hum] deeply, kissed the earth and rejoiced;
instead they seemed tense and worried, a little
What had they expected? They could not
have said, but like all prioners, they had built
up, without knowing it, fantastic and exag-
gerated notions of the world outside. It
seemed a little ordinary to them now. The sky
was a dun yellowish waste with a sun shining
thru it. The wide dull prairie stretched on
every hand like the floor of some empty barn,
with shocks of gray rattling corn stacked in
dreary rows, file after file to the horizon. A
dog was barking somewhere. Smoke was ris-
ing from a score of farm-houses, and they
heard the whistle of a distant freight train.
There was dull burning silence on everything,
the silence of the sun. The world of free-
dom seemed dull; but prisons are tense with
sleepless emotions of hope and fear.
They were passing a farmer in a flannel
shirt, plodding behind a team of huge horses
in a field of stubble. His lean, brown face
was covered with sweat and fixed in grim,
unsmiling lines as he held down the bucking
plow and left a path of rich black soil behind
"Looks like a guy in for life, doesn't he?"
said Brown, pointing to him with his thumb.
"Looks like that murderer cell-mate of yours,
doesn't he, Ramon?"
The Ml He Mexican cast a swift, worried
glance with his black eyes at the dull fanatic
behind the plow.
"Yes," he said sharply, and stared back
at the road behind his feet, :
"Same old goddamn, corn," said Blackie,
grinning, as he kicked a tin can out of the
road, and spat, all in the same moment. "Same
old goddamn Hoosiers, raising the goddamn
corn! Corn and Hoosiers — God, why don't
they raise carrots once in a while?"
The others offered no answer to this Amer-
ican conundrum. They were moving on to
fresh sights in this new world they had been
thrust into— they were staring at the bend
in the highroad where the town street began,
two miles away from the prison. The ugly
frame houses of the middle west set among
trees and smooth lawns, the trolley tracks,
the stone pavements, then the stores and shop
windows when they came nearer the heart of
the town — that was what they saw. Up and
down the streets men and women walked in
the humdrum routine of life. A grocer was
weighing out sugar in a dark window. They
passed the little shop of an Italian cobbler.
They passed a white school building, from
which came the sound of fresh young voices
singing. There was a line of Fords standing at
the curb near the railroad depot. There were
more women and men walking slowly about
the square near the depot, discussing house-
work, and the election for sheriff and the price
of corn and the price of hogs. This was the
. "I don't see no brass hands out to meet us
home," said Blackie, with his irrepressible grin.
"How do you account for that, Hill? Ain't
they heard we're coming?"
Hill,- the young husky quarterback with the
large green eyes, seemed unable to say a word.
He scowled at Blackie, it seemed, and shook
'•'What's the matter, .Hill?" that worthy
queried, with an insolent grin, "ain't we as
good as they boys who fought to make the
world safe for democracy?"
"Aw, shut up!" Hill Jones muttered, "you
get as talkative as a parrot sometimes!"
"I'm an agitator, that's why I talk," Blackio
jeered and would have said more, but that the
Englishman Brown put his hand on Blackie's
arm. There was a policeman loitering on the
next corner, and for some strange reason,
known only to ex-prisoners, the impassive
Englishman was suddenly shaken to his soul.
"Let's get some coffee and," he said, leading
them in the door of a cheap restaurant shaded
fry a wide brown maple 'tree. The four sat on
stools against a broad counter loaded with
plates of dessert, and looked into a mirror at
their pale prison faces.
"Coffee and crullers," ordered the English-
man, naming the diet of all those who wander
along the roads of America, and pick up their
food like the sparrows where they can find it.
"Ham and eggs," said Hill.
"Ham and eggs and French friend and cof-
fee," said Blackie.
"Ham and eggs," said Ramon, in a muffled
The restaurant proprietor, a fat, cheerful
man in a white apron, had been counting bills
a.l his cash register and talking crops with a
young farm hand in overalls. He locked the
register with a sharp snap and took their or-
ders leisurely, the while guessing their status
with his shrewd eyes. He repeated the orders
into the little cubby hole leading to the kitchen.
"Solitary confinement,, eh, what?" Blackie
said to the Englishman, pointing at the for-
lorn, middle-aged face of the cook that peered
out of the cubby hole and repeated the orders
as if in a voice from the tomb.
Neither Brown nor the others answered, but
waited with grim patience for their food. When
it came, they wolfed it down rapidly, as if
someone were watching over them. Blackie
could not be still, however.
"This is better than the damn beans and
rotten stew every day at the other hotel," he
muttered. "Real ham and eggs! Oh, Boy!!"
Brown looked at the clock. It was just noon.
"I guess the boys are having their grub now,"
he said. "Yes, there goes the whistle. Gosh,
you can hear it all the way over here!"
Yet, it was the prison whistle, the high
whining blast like the cry of some cruel hun-
gry beast of prey, rising and falling over the
little town and all the flat corn-lands, the
voice of the master of life, the voice of the
god of the corn-lands. The four prisoners in
this restaurant knew that call well; and every-
one in the town and everyone living on the
corn-lands knew it as thoroly as they did.
"Look," said Blackie, pointing thru a win-
dow behind them, "you can just see the top of
the prison walls from here. Who would have
thunk you could see it so far?"
The men turned from their food to stare
gloomily, while the fat proprietor hid a know-
ing smile behind his curled moustaches.
"Two thousand men in hell/ said Jones
quietly, "and all these Hoosiers know is corn
and hogs. God, is it worth while? Twenty-
five of our boys still in there, ninety-six still
in Leavenworth— God, why do we let ourselves
be crucified for these Hoosiers?"
"Jim Downey's got fifteen more years to go;
so has Frank Varrochek, Harry Bly, Ralph
Snellins and four more," said John Brown
quietly, piercing with his deep blue eyes thru
Jill the distance. "And Jack Small has con-
sumption; and George Mulvane is going crazy
1 1 ill, do you think we'll ever get 'em out
K anion suddenly became hysterical.
[-Ie stood up with brandished fists and shook
thenl at the distant prison, quivering with the
rage of five years of silence. His olive face
darkened with blood, and locks of his long
raven-black hah* fell in his eyes, so that he
could not see. He flamed into sudden Latin
"Beasts!" he cried, in a choked, furious
voice ] "rohbers of the poor, murderers of the
young; hangmen, capitalists, patriots; you
think you have punished us! You think we
will he silent now, and not speak of your
crimes! You dirty fools, you can never si-
lence us! You can torture us, you can keep
us in prison for all our lives—"
"Oh, Ramon," Blackie cried, pushing him
feack into his seat, and patting him soothingly
on the shoulder. "Easy, easy! We all feel as
sore as you do, Ramon, and we hate just as
hard. By God, we hate them. But easy now,
The others helped quiet the nerve-wracked
young Mexican, and he finally subsided and
sat there with his face between his hands until
they had finished their food. Then the four
paid their check to the discreet but amused
fat proprietor, and went into the street on
their way to the railroad station, trying again
to appear casual and unconcerned.
At the next corner another policeman was
lounging against a store window, and it was
with an effort that each of the freed men
passed his vacant eye. They braced up and
walked by bravely, hut they still found it hard
to brieve thai they were really free
ft would take them some months to become
acouatomecl to the greater prison house known
;i.« the world.
The Coal Breaker
ALWAYS between the sky and their earth
A the miners saw the unhallowed, grim, irreg-
ular mass of the coal-breaker, a tall structure
black with dust and ugly as a giant toad. It
dominated the whole valley.
There were green trees in that valley, mead-
ows and flowers for the light to kindle in the
summer days. The spring brot a soft flush
there, much as in other parts of the world.
There were stars and moon at night, the sun
by day. . B p ., .
There was beauty, but it lived furtively un-
der a shadow. A grea^som'bre coal mine was
in that valley. It had dragged its black, slimy
trail across the clear brightness of nature A
town of dirty, sad houses was heaped about
like stacks of filth on the grass of the valley
level. Huge hills of slag stood about the mine s
mouth, mounds of darkness from which spurt-
oil over jets of diabolical flame.
The humble men of all the races lived m
the shambling houses of the town. They shuf-
fled in the raw morning thru the muddy
■livrli; toward the mine pit, and returned in
the dusk with their emptied dinner pails, their
faces black as sinister masks, .their bodies
d ripping sweat and stooped in weary curves.
Saturday nights there was one brief candle
6! romance lit in this dark reality of toil. The
miners drew their pay then, and spent some
of it on liquor. They danced, they sang, they
Fought and grew sentimental, they remembered
for a moment their human heritage of play.
I was in Miduvski's general store on a night
Sue/h as this. The place was dimly lit by
lamps, and Miduvski, a big, bald-headed,
shrewd speculator, stood plotting behind his
counter. There were a few odd customers
lounging about. Nothing happened for an hour
or so; then some of the miners came trooping
There were about eight of them, and a few
boys who worked in the coal-breaker trailed
admiringly in the rear. The miners were
dressed an overalls and black caps with tiny
lamps fastened on them, and these lamps
seemed like the horns of a group of wild-faced
ilovils. The men were of all races, most of
them short and squarly built. Their white
teeth flashed out of the gloom of their faces
as they laughed uproariously, for they were
all a little drunk.
"Set 'em up, Miduvski!" shouted one, a
stout powerful man with a merry black face
and little Chinese eyes. "The kdd here is treat-
He dragged forward a youngster who was
no more than ten years old, and who was
dressed in ragged overalls too long for him,
and a miner's cap that came over his ears.
The boy had high cheek bones, and coal dust
darkened his straight nose and sandy hair of
a young Slav.
'The little Hunkie is goin* to treat!" roared
the stout miner again. "This ds his first week
in the breaker, and he's eelefbratin'. Ainchyer,
"Yen!" the boy said, laughing mirthlessly
and staring at them all with big, dazed eyes.
"I'm a man now!"
At this there was a general outbreak of
laughter, and one of the men clapped the boy
approvingly on the shoulder. Miduvski filled
the glasses with whiskey, which they gulped
down With great smacking of lips and long
"Give the kid a hooker too!" shouted a tall,
reckless Irishman, pounding on the counter.
"He's one of us now, by gory!"
"Yes, yes!" cried the other men, and the
storekeeper poured another glass of the red,
fiery stuff, which they boy swallowed mechan-
"Yah!" shouted the men admriingly, "that's
They watched the boy take out his pay enve-
I. ami extract a dollar Ml which he laid on
"Game to the core!" the Irishman said, slap-
I m . i ? -, Mm* hoy on the back again. "Let's have
another now! My treat!"
The boy leaned against the counter, and
looked about him foolishly. "I ain't goin* to
be a miner all my life," he announced, with
a superior air. 'Ton go-in' to be a doctor!"
41 1 tooray for Jansy!" the men shouted, reach-
ing out for the newly-filled glasses.
the hoy drank with them again, with a care-
less pride on his young face. But the next mo-
inent the wide store with its shadows of lamp-
llghl and its dark, deep corners and laden
shelves grew dim and whirling to his eyes. He
fell like rushing out into the fragrant country
night, to fling himself down on the cool grass
somewhere, and to breathe pure adr. A miner
offered him a chew of tobacco, and the boy
Hint il necessary to stuff the vile brown plug
in [lis month, and to munch it busily. But he
was sicl? to the pit of his stomach.
A small boy had crept shyly into the place,
and was looking at the scene with fear. He
came over- finally and plucked the young
i mi:-, worker by the sleeve.
"Jansy," he said, "Mommer's lookin' for ye
everywhere, and she says she'll give ye an
;, u lui Ilckin' if ye don't come right home. She's
[tin' fer yer pay!"
The breaker-boy pushed his young brother
away with a silly smile. "Beat it!" he said
haughtily, tho reeling and .sick with the to-
bacco and rot-gut whiskey, "I'm a man now.
Just tell Mommer I'm a man now!"
The little boy drew back in fright, and stood
staring at his brother from the doorway, doubt-
ful as to what to do.
"Hooray for Jansy!" the men shouted in
glee, lifting the boy on their shoulders. "Game
to the core!"
"We'll have to get him a girl tonight!" the
Irishman cried waving his glass of whiskey
recklessly. "He's a real man now, the little
l \ilak, workin', drinkin', ehewin', and whorin'!"
The boy grinned wearily. Outside in the
night could be seen the monstrous form of the
breaker in whose black bowels gangs of chil-
dren slaved in fierce silence ten hours each day,
sorting the slag from the coal with raw fin-
gers. The coal breaker dominated the town,
it blotted out the night and stars from human
eyes. Its dust darkened all the houses and
rested heavily on the weeds struggling about
the mine's mouth, and in that valley even
childhood was fouled and withered by the
black, black dust of the breaker.
**"*"***».ll ■■»«' 1 1 HI J
Lenin on Organization.
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