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Communists and Capitalists,

A Sketch from Life by Octave Thanet

 

The Countess von Arno was Mr. Seleigman's confidential clerk. Not that M—— smiled over any such paradox: the countess called herself simply Mrs. von Arno.

M—— is a picturesque town on the Mississippi, devoted in general to the manufacture of agricultural implements. The largest plough-factory is Seleigman's: he does business all over the world. A clerk who wrote French, German and Italian fluently was a godsend. This clerk, moreover, had an eminently concise and effective style, and displayed a business capacity which the old German admired immensely. As much because of her usefulness as the modest sum she was able to invest in the business, he offered her a small share in it four years after she first came to M——. She had come to M—— because Mrs. Greymer lived there. Therese Greymer had known the countess from her school-days. When her husband died she came back to her father's house, but spent her summers in Germany. Then old Mr. Dare died suddenly, leaving Therese with her little brother to care for, and only a few thousand dollars in the world. About this time the countess separated from her husband. "So I am poor," said she, "but it will go hard if I can't take care of you, Therese." Thus she became Mr. Seleigman's clerk. M—— forgave her the clerkship, forgave her even her undoubted success in making money, on account of Mrs. Greymer. It had watched Therese grow from a slim girl, with black braids hanging down her white neck as she sat in the "minister's pew" of the old brick church, into a beautiful pale woman in a widow's bonnet. Therese went now every Sunday to the same church where her father used to preach. The countess accompanied her most decorously. She was a pagan at heart, but it pleased Therese. In church she spent her time looking at her friend's profile and calculating the week's sales.

The countess had a day-dream: the dreams which most women have had long ago been rudely broken for her, and the hopes which she cherished now had little romance about them. She knew her own powers and how necessary she was to Seleigman: some day she saw the firm becoming Seleigman & Von Arno, the business widening, and the ploughs, with the yellow eagle on them, in every great city of Europe. "Then," said the countess to herself, standing one March morning, four years after she had first come to M——, by the little dining-room window—"then we can perhaps persuade the workmen to buy stock in the concern and have a few gleams of sense about profits and wages."

She lifted one arm above her head and rested her cheek against it. Otto von Arno during his brief period of fondness had been used to call his wife "his Scandinavian goddess." She was of the goddess type, tall, fair-faced and stately, with thick, pale gold hair, and brown lashes lifted in level lines from steady, deep gray eyes. "Pretty" seemed too small a word for such a woman, yet "beautiful" conveys a hint of tenderness; and Mrs. von Arno's face—it might be because of those steady eyes—was rather a hard face, notwithstanding the soft pink and white of her skin, and even the dimples that dented her cheek when she smiled.

Now she was not smiling. The air was heavy with the damp chill of early spring; and as the countess absently surveyed a gravel-walk bordered by limp brown grasses and a line of trees dripping last night's frost through the fog, she saw a woman's figure emerge from the shadows and come slowly up the walk. She was poorly dressed, and walked to the kitchen-door, where the countess could see her carefully wipe her feet before rapping.

"That must be Bailey's wife," she thought: "I saw her waiting for him yesterday when he came round to the shops for work.—William, my friend, you are a nuisance."

With this comment she went to the kitchen. Lettice, the maid-of-all-work, was frying cakes in solitude. "Mrs. Greymer had taken Mrs. Bailey into the library," she told the countess with significant inflections.

The latter went to the library. It was a tiny, red-frescoed room fitted up in black walnut. There were plants in the bay-window: Mrs. Greymer stood among them, her soft gray wrapper falling in straight and ample folds about her slender figure. Her face was turned toward the countess; a loosened lock of black hair brushed the blue vein on her cheek; she held some lilies-of-the-valley in her hand, and the gold of her wedding-ring shone against the dark green leaves.

"She looks like one of Fra Angelico's saints," thought the countess: "the crimson lights are good too."

She stood unnoticed in the doorway, leisurely admiring the picture. Mrs. Bailey sat in the writing-chair on her right. Once, probably, she had been a pretty woman, and she still had abundant wavy brown hair and large dark-blue eyes with curling lashes; but she was too thin and faded and narrow-chested for any prettiness now. Her calico gown was unstarched, though scrupulously clean: she wore a thin blue-and-white summer shawl, and her old straw bonnet was trimmed with a narrow blue ribbon pieced in two places. Her voice was slightly monotonous, but low-keyed: as she spoke her hands clasped and unclasped each other. The veins stood out and the knuckles were enlarged, but they were rather white than otherwise.

She went on with her story: "The children are so good, Mrs. Greymer; but six of them, and me not over strong—it makes it hard. We hain't had anything but corn meal in the house all this week, and the second-hand woman says our things ain't worth the carting. The children have got so shabby they hate to go to school, and the boys laugh at Willie 'cause his hat's his pa's old one and ain't got no brim, though I bound it with the best of the old braid, for I thought maybe they'd think it was a cap. And the worst was this morning, when there was nothin' but just mush: we hadn't even 'lasses, and the children cried. Oh, I didn't go to tell you all this: you know I ain't a beggar. I've tried to live decent. Oh dear! oh dear!" She tried to wipe away the tears which were running down her thin cheeks with the tips of her fingers, but they came too fast. Mechanically, she put her hand in her pocket, only to take it out empty.

Mrs. Greymer slipped her own dainty handkerchief, which the countess had embroidered, into the other's hand. "You ought to have come to me before, Martha," she said reproachfully—"such an old friend as I am!"

"'Tain't easy to have them as has known you when you were like folks see you without even a handkerchief to cry on," said Mrs. Bailey. "If I'd known where to turn for a loaf of bread, I'd not ha' come now; but I can't see my children starve. And I ain't come to beg now. All we want is honest work. William has been everywhere since they sent him away from Dorsey's just because the men talked about striking, though they didn't strike. He's been to all the machine-shops, but they won't take him: they say he has too long a tongue for them, though he's as sober and steady a man as lives, and there ain't a better workman in M——, or D—— either. William is willing to do anything: he tried to get work on the streets, but the street commissioner said he'd more men he'd employed for years asking work than he knew what to do with. And I thought—I thought, Mrs. Greymer, if you would only speak to Mrs. von Arno—"

"Good-morning, Mrs. Bailey," said the countess, advancing. She had a musical voice, clear and full, with a vibrating quality like the notes of a violin—a very pleasant voice to hear, yet it hardly seemed reassuring to the visitor. Unconsciously, she sat up straighter in her chair, her nervous fingers plaiting the fringe of her shawl.

"I heard you mention my name," the countess continued: "is there anything you wish of me?"

Therese came to Mrs. Bailey's assistance: "Her husband is out of work: can't you do something with Mr. Seleigman, Helen? Bailey is a good workman."

"He is indeed, ma'am," added Bailey's wife eagerly, "and as sober and faithful to his work: he never slights one bit."

"I don't doubt it," said the countess gravely; "but, Mrs. Bailey, if we were to take your husband on, and the union were to order a strike, even though he were perfectly satisfied with his own wages, wouldn't he strike himself, and do all he could to make the others strike?" Mrs. Bailey was silent.

"A strike might cost us thousands of dollars. Naturally, we don't want to risk one; so we have no union-men. If Bailey will leave the union he may go to hammering ploughshares for us to-morrow, and earn, with his skill, twenty dollars a week."

Mrs. Bailey's face worked. "'Tain't no use ma'am," she said desperately: "he won't go back on his principles. He says it's the cause of Labor, and he'll stick to it till he dies. You can't blame him, ma'am, for doing what he thinks is right."

"Perhaps not. But you see that it is impossible for us to employ your husband. Isn't there something I can do for you yourself, though? Mrs. Greymer tells me you sew very neatly."

"Yes, I sew," said Mrs. Bailey in a dull tone, "but I'd be obliged to you, ma'am, if you'd give me the work soon: I've a machine now, and I'll likely not have it next week. There's ten dollars due on it, and the agent says he'll have to take it back. I've paid fifty dollars on it, but this month and lost times was so hard I couldn't pay."

The countess put a ten-dollar bill in her hand. "Let me lend you this, then," she said, unheeding the half shrinking of Mrs. Bailey's face and attitude; and then she avoided all thanks by answering Lettice's summons at the door.

"Poor little woman!" she said to Mrs. Greymer at breakfast—"she didn't half like to take it. She looked nearly starved too, though she ate so little breakfast. How did you manage to persuade her to take that huge bundle?"

"She is a very brave little woman, Helen. I should like to tell you about her," said Mrs. Greymer.

"Until a quarter of eight my time is yours, and my sympathy, as usual, is boundless."

Mrs. Greymer smiled slightly. "I have known her for a great many years," she said, disregarding the countess's last speech: "she went to school with me, in fact. She was such a pretty girl then! Somehow, she took a fancy to me, and used to help me with my Practical Arithmetic—"

"So called because it is written in the most unpractical and incomprehensible style: yes, I know it," interrupted the countess.

"Martha was much brighter than I at it, anyhow, and used to do my examples. She used to bring me the loveliest violets: she would walk all the way over to the island for them. I remember I cried when her people moved to Chicago and she left school. I didn't see her for almost ten years: then I met her accidentally on Randolph street in Chicago. She knew me, and insisted on my going out with her to see her home. It was in the suburbs, and was a very pretty, tidy little place, with a garden in front, where Martha raised vegetables, and a little plot for flowers. She was so proud of it all and of her two pretty babies, and showed me her chickens and her furniture and a picture of her husband. They had bought the house, and were to pay for it in six years, but William was getting high wages, and she had no fears. Poor Martha!"

"Their Arcadia didn't last?"

"No. William got interested in trades-unions: there was a strike, and he was very prominent. He was out of work a long time, and Martha supported the family by taking in sewing and selling the vegetables. Then her third child was born, and she was sick for a long time afterward: she had been working too hard, poor thing! His old employers took William on with the rest of the men when the strike ended, but very soon found a pretext for discharging him; and, in short, they used up all their little savings, and the house went. William thought he had been ill-used, and became more violent in his opinions."

"A Communist, isn't he?"

"I believe so. Martha with her three children couldn't go out to work, but she is a model housekeeper, and she opened a little laundry with the money she got from the sale of some of their furniture. William got work, but lost it again, but Martha managed in a humble way to support the family until William had an offer to come here; so they sold out the laundry to get money to move."

"Very idiotic of them."

"After they came here they at first lived on Front street, which is near the river, and Martha caught the chills and fever. William soon lost his place, and they moved across the river to D——. He became known as a speaker, and things have been going from bad to worse; the children have come fast, and Martha has never really recovered from her fever; and they have had simply an awfully hard time. I haven't seen Martha for three months, and have tried in vain to find out where she lived. Poor Martha! she has never complained, but it has been a hard life for her."

"Yes, a hard life," repeated the countess, rising and putting on her jacket; "but it seems to me she has chiefly her own husband to thank for it. And six children! I have my opinion of Mr. William Bailey."

"You are hardly just to Bailey, Helen: he has sacrificed his own interests to his principles. He is as honest—as honest as the Christian martyrs, though he is an infidel."

"The Christian martyrs always struck me as a singularly unpractical set of people," said the countess.

"Maybe: nevertheless, they founded a religion and changed the world. And, Helen, you and the people like you laugh at Communism and the complaints of the laboring classes, but it's like Samson and the Philistines; and this Samson, blind though he is, will one day, unless we do something besides laugh, pull the pillars down on his head—and on ours."

"He will try" said the countess: "if we are wise, we shall be ready and shoot him dead." She kissed Mrs. Greymer smilingly, and went away. Her friend, watching her from the window, saw her stop to pat a great dog on the head and give a little boy a nickel piece.

One Sunday afternoon, two weeks later, the two friends crossed the bridge to D—— to visit the Baileys. When they reached the end of the bridge they paused a moment to rest. The day was one of those warm, bright spring days which deceitfully presage an immediate summer. On the river-shore crawfishes were lazily creeping over the gravel. The air rang with the blue jay's chatter, a robin showed his tawny breast among the withered grasses, and a flicker on a dead stump bobbed his little red-barred head and fluttered his yellow wings. Beneath the bridge the swift current sparkled in the sun. Over the river, on each side, rose the hills. The gray stone of the government works was visible to the right through the leafless trees: nearer, square, yellow and ugly, stood the old arsenal. A soldier, musket on shoulder, marched along the river-edge: the cape of his coat fluttered in the breeze and his slanting bayonet shone like silver. Before them lay D——, the smoke from its mills and houses curling into the pale blue air.

The countess drew a long breath: she had a keen feeling for beauty. "Yes, it is a lovely place," she said. "The hills are not high enough, but the river makes amends for everything. But what are those hideous shanties, Therese?"

"Are they not hideous?" said Mrs. Greymer. "They are all pine, and it gets such an ugly dirt-black when it isn't painted. The glass is broken out of the windows and the shingles have peeled off the roofs. When it rains the water drips through. In spring, when the river rises, it comes up to their very doors: one spring it came in. It is not a nice place to live in."

"Not exactly: still, I suppose people do live there."

"Yes, the Baileys live there. You see, the rent is low."

The countess lifted her eyebrows and followed Mrs. Greymer without answering. Some sulky-looking men were smoking pipes on the doorsteps, and a few women, whose only Sunday adorning seemed to have been plastering their hair down over their cheeks with a great deal of water, gossiped at the corner. Half a dozen children were playing on the river-bank.

"They fall in every little while," Therese explained, "they are so small, and most of the mothers here go out washing. This is the Baileys'."

William Bailey answered the knock. He was a tall man, who carried his large frame with a kind of muscular ease. He had a square, gray-whiskered face with firm jaws and mild light-blue eyes. The hair being worn away from his forehead made it seem higher than it really was. He wore his working clothes and a pair of very old boots cut down into slippers. The only stocking he had was in his hand, and he appeared to have been darning it. Close behind him came his wife, holding the baby. The bright look of recognition on her face at the sight of Mrs. Greymer faded when she perceived the countess. Rather stiffly she invited them to enter.

The room was small and most meanly furnished, but it was clean. The walls were dingy beyond the power of soap and water to change, but the floor had been scrubbed, and what glass there was in the windows had been washed. There were occasional holes in the ceiling and walls where the plaster had given way: out of one of these peered the pointed nose and gleaming eyes of a great rat. Judging from sundry noises she heard, the countess concluded there were many of these animals under the house, though what they found to live on was a puzzle; but they ate a little of the children now and then, and perhaps the hope of more sustained them. A pale little boy was lying on a mattress in the corner covered with a faded blue-and-white shawl.

Therese had mysteriously managed to dispose of the basket she had brought before she went up to him and kissed him, saying, "I am sorry to see Willie is still sick."

"Yes," said Bailey, smiling bitterly. "The doctor says he needs dry air and exercise: it's damp here."

"Tommy More has promised to lend us his cart, and Susie will take him on the island," Mrs. Bailey said hastily; "it's real country there."

"But you have to have a pass," answered Bailey in a low tone.

"Any one can get a pass," said the countess; "but if you prefer I will ask the colonel to-day, and he will send you one to-morrow."

For the first time Bailey fairly looked the countess in the face: his brows contracted, he opened his lips to speak.

"Oh, papa," cried the boy in a weak voice trembling with eagerness, "the island is splendid! Tommy's father works there, and they's cannon and a foundry and a live eagle!"

"Yes, Willie dear," said his father as he laid his brown hand gently on the boy's curls. He inclined his head toward the countess. "I'll thank you," he said gravely.

The countess picked up a pamphlet from the table, more to break the uncomfortable pause which followed than for any other reason. "Do you like this?" she said, hardly reading the title.

"I believe it," said Bailey: "I am a Communist myself." He drew himself up to his full height as he spoke: there was a certain suppressed defiance in his attitude and expression.

"Are you?" said the countess. "Why?"

"Why?" cried Bailey. "Look at me! I'm a strong man, and willing to do any kind of work. I've worked hard for sixteen year: I've been sober and steady and saving. Look what all that work and saving has brought me! This is a nice place for a decent man and his family to live in, ain't it? Them walls ain't clean? No, because scrubbing can't make 'em. The grime's in the plaster: yes, and worse than grime—vermin and disease sech as 'tain't right for me to mention even to ladies like you, but it's right enough for sech as us to live in. Yes, by G—-! to die in!" He was a man who spoke habitually in a low voice, and it had not grown louder, but the veins on his forehead swelled and his eyes began to glow.

"It is hard, truly," said the countess. "Whose fault is it?"

"Whose fault?" Bailey repeated her words vehemently, yet with something of bewilderment. "Society's fault, which grinds a poor man to powder, so as to make a rich man richer. But the people won't stand this sort of thing for ever."

"You would have a general division of property, then?"

"Indirectly, yes. Power must be taken from bloated corporations and given to the people; the railroads must be taken by government; accumulation of capital over a limited amount must be forbidden; men must work for Humanity, and not for their selfish interests."

"Do you know any men who are working so?"

"I know a few."

"Mostly workingmen?"

"All workingmen."

"Don't you think a general division of property would be for their selfish interests?"

"I don't call it selfish to ask for just a decent living."

"I fancy the chiefs of your party would demand a great deal more than a bare decent living. Mr. Bailey, the rights of property rest on just this fact in human nature: A man will work better for himself than he will for somebody else. And you can't get him to work unless he is guaranteed the fruits of his labor. Capital is brain, and Labor is muscle, but the brain has as much to do with the creation of wealth as muscle: more, for it can invent machines and do without muscle, while muscle cannot do without brain. You can't alter human nature, Mr. Bailey. If you had a Commune, every man would be for himself there as he is here: the weak would have less protection than even now, for all the restraints of morality, which are bound up inseparably with rights of property, would have been thrown aside. Marx and Lasallis and Bradlaugh, clever as they are, can't prevent the survival of the fittest. You knock your head against a stone wall, Mr. Bailey, when you fight society. You have been knocking it all your life, and now you are angry because your head is hurt. If you had never tried to strip other men of their earnings because you fancied you ought to have more, as skilful a blacksmith as you would have saved money and been a capitalist himself. Supposing you give it up? Our firm will give you a chance to make ploughshares and earn twenty dollars a week if you will only promise not to strike us in return the first chance you get."

The workingman had listened with a curling lip. "Do you mean that for an offer?" he said in a smothered voice.

"I mean it for an offer, certainly."

"Oh, William!" cried his wife, turning appealing eyes up to his face.

He grew suddenly white, and brought his clenched hand heavily down on the table. The dishes rattled with the jar, and the baby, scared at the noise, began to scream. "Then," said Bailey, "you may just understand that a man ain't always a sneak if he is poor; and you can be glad you ain't a man that's tempting me to turn traitor."

"I am sure my friend didn't mean to hurt your feelings," Mrs. Greymer explained quickly, giving the countess that expressive side-glance which much more plainly than words says, "Now you have done it!" Mrs. Bailey was walking up and down soothing the baby: the little boy looked on open-eyed.

"I am sorry if I have said anything which has seemed like an insult," said the countess: "I certainly didn't intend one. Perhaps after you have thought it all over you will feel differently. You know where to find me. Good-evening."

She held out her hand, which Bailey did not seem to see, smiled on the little boy and went out, leaving Mrs. Greymer behind.

A little girl with pretty brown curls and deep-blue eyes was making sand-caves on the shore. The countess spoke to her in passing, and left her staring at her two hands, which were full of silver coin. At the bridge the countess paused to wait for her friend. She saw her come out, attended by Mrs. Bailey: she saw Mrs. Bailey watch her, saw the little girl give her mother the money, and then she saw the woman, still carrying her baby in her arms, walk slowly down the river-bank to where a boat lay keel uppermost like a great black arrowhead on the sand. Here she sat down, and, clasping the child closer, hid her face in its white hair.

"And, upon my soul, I believe she is crying," said the spectator, who stopped at the commandant's house and obtained the pass before she went home.

On Monday, Mrs. Greymer proposed asking little Willie Bailey to spend a week with them. The countess assented, merely saying, "You must take the little skeleton to drive every day, and send the livery-bills to me."

"Then I shall drive over this afternoon if Freddy's sore throat is better," said Mrs. Greymer.

But she did not go: Freddy's sore throat was worse instead of better, and his sister had enough to do for some days fighting off diphtheria. So it happened that it was a week before she was able to go to D——. She found the Baileys' door swinging on its hinges, and a high-stepping hen of inquisitive disposition investigating the front room: the Baileys had gone.

"They went to Chicago four days ago," an amiable neighbor explained: "they didn't say what fur. The little boy he cried 'cause he wanted to go on the island fust. Guess he ain't like to live long: he's a weak, pinin' little chap."

Only once did Therese hear from Mrs. Bailey. The letter came a few days after her useless drive to D——. It was dated Chicago, and expressed simply but fervently her gratitude for all Mrs. Greymer's kindness. Enclosed were three one-dollar bills, part payment, the writer said, "of my debt to Mrs. von Arno, and I hope she won't think I meant to run away from it because I can't just now send more." There was no allusion to her present condition or her prospects for the future. Mrs. Greymer read the letter aloud, then held out the bills to the countess.

She pushed them aside as if they stung her. "What does the woman think I am made of?" she exclaimed. "Why, it's hideous, Therese! Write and tell her I never meant her to pay me."

"I am afraid the letter won't reach her," said Mrs. Greymer.

Nor did it: in due course of time Therese received her own letter back from the Dead-Letter Office. The words of interest and sympathy, the plans and encouragement, sounded very oddly to her then, for, as far as they were concerned, Martha Bailey's history was ended. It was in July the countess had met them again. She was in Chicago. Otto was dead. He had given back to his wife by his will the property which had come to him through her: whether because of a late sense of justice or a dislike to his heir, a distant cousin who wrote theological works and ate with his knife, the countess never ventured to decide. The condition of part of this property, which was in Chicago, had obliged her to go there. She arrived on the evening of the fifteenth of July—a day Chicago people remember because the great railroad strike of 1877 reached the city that day.

The countess found the air full of wild rumors. Stories of shops closed by armed men, of vast gatherings of Communists on the North Side, of robbery, bloodshed and—to a Chicago ear most blood-curdling whisper of all—of a contemplated second burning of the city, flew like prairie-fire through the streets.

The countess's lawyer, whom she had visited very early on Thursday morning, insisted on accompanying her from his office to her friend's house on the North Side. On Halstead street their carriage suddenly stopped. Putting her head out of the window, the countess perceived that the coachman had drawn up close to the curbstone to avoid the onset of a yelling mob of boys and men armed with every description of weapon, from laths and brickbats to old muskets. The boys appeared to regard the whole affair as merely a gigantic "spree," and shouted "Bread or Blood!" with the heartiest enthusiasm; but the men marched closer, in silence and with set faces. The gleaming black eyes, sharp features and tangled black hair of half of them showed their Polish or Bohemian blood. The others were Norwegians and Germans, with a sprinkling of Irish and Americans. Their leader was a tall man whom the countess knew. He had turned to give an order when she saw him. At that same instant a shabby woman ran swiftly from a side street and tried to throw her arms about the man's neck. He pushed her aside, and the crowd swept them both out of sight.

"I think I have seen a woman I know," said the countess composedly; "and do you know, Mr. Wilder, that our horses have gone? Our Communist friends prefer riding to walking, it seems." They were obliged to get out of the carriage. The countess looked up and down the street, but saw no trace of the woman. Apparently, she had followed the mob.

By this time some small boys, inspired by the occasion, had begun to show their sympathy with oppressed labor by pelting the two well-dressed strangers with potatoes and radishes, which they confiscated from a bloated capitalist of a grocer on the corner. The shower was so thick that Mr. Wilder was relieved when they reached the Halstead street police-station, where they sought refuge. Here they passed a sufficiently exciting hour. They could hear plainly the sharp crack of revolvers and the yells and shouts of the angry mob blending in one indistinguishable roar. Once a barefooted boy ran by, screaming that the police were driven back and the Communists were coming. Then a troop of cavalry rode up the street on a sharp trot, their bridles jingling and horses' hoofs clattering. The roar grew louder, ebbed, swelled again, then broke into a multitude of sounds—screams, shouts and the tumultuous rush of many feet.

A polite sergeant opened the door of the little room where the countess was sitting to inform her the riot was over. They were just bringing in some prisoners: he was very sorry, but one of them would have to come in there. He was a prominent rioter whom they had captured trying to bring off the body of his wife, who had been killed by a chance shot. It would be only for a short time: the gentleman had gone for a carriage. He hoped the lady wouldn't mind.

The lady, who had changed color slightly, said she should not mind. The sergeant held the door back, and some men brought in something over which had been flung an old blue-and-white shawl. They carried it on a shutter, and the folds of a calico dress, torn and trampled, hung down over the side.

Then came two policemen, pushing after the official manner a man covered with dust and blood.

"Bailey!" exclaimed the countess. Their eyes met.

Bailey bent his head toward the table where the men had laid their burden. "Lift that," he said hoarsely.

The countess lifted the shawl with a steady hand. There was an old white straw bonnet flattened down over the forehead; a wisp of blue ribbon string was blown across the face and over the red smear between the eyebrow and the hair; the eyes stared wide and glassy. But it was the same soft brown hair. The countess knew Martha Bailey.

"There was women and children on the sidewalk, but they fired right into us," said Bailey. He spoke in a monotonous, dragging voice, as though every word were an effort. "They killed her. I asked you to give me work in your shop, and you wouldn't do it. Here's the end of it. Now you can go home and say your prayers."

"I don't say prayers," answered the countess, "and you know I offered you work. But don't let us reproach each other here. Where are your children?"

"Ain't you satisfied with what you have done already?" said Bailey. "Leave me alone: you'd better."

"Gently now!" said one of the policemen.

"Whatever you may think of me," said the countess quietly, "you know Mrs. Greymer was always your wife's friend. We only wanted to help her."

Bailey shook off the grasp of the policemen as though it had been a feather: with one great stride he reached the countess and caught her roughly by the wrist. "Look at her, will you?" he cried: "you and the likes of you, with your smooth cant, have killed her! You crush us and starve us till we turn, and then you shoot us down like dogs. Leave my children alone."

"None of that, my man!" said the sergeant.

The two policemen would have pulled Bailey away, but the countess stopped them. She had turned pale even to her lips, but she did not wince.

"Curse you!" groaned the Communist, flinging his arms above his head; "curse a society which lets such things be! curse a religion—"

The policemen dragged him back. "You'd better go, I think, ma'am," said the sergeant: "the man's half crazy with the sun and fighting and grief."

"You are right," said the countess. She stopped at the station-door to put a bill in the policeman's hands: "You will find out about the children and let me know, please."

Mr. Wilder, who had been standing in the doorway, an amazed witness of the whole scene, led her out to the carriage. "He's a bad fellow, that rioter," he said as they drove along.

The countess pulled her cuff over a black mark on her wrist. "No, he is not half a bad fellow," she answered, "but for all that he has murdered his wife."

Nor has she ever changed her opinion on that point; neither, so far as is known, has William Bailey changed his.

Octave Thanet.