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THE PLANT WIZARD




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Luther Burbank was born in a brick farmhouse in
Lancaster Mass,

 

he walked round the woods one winter
crunching through the shinycrusted snow
stumbled into a little dell where a warm spring

 

was

 

and found the grass green and weeds sprouting
and skunk cabbage pushing up a potent thumb,
He went home and sat by the stove and read

 

Darwin

 

Struggle for Existence Origin of Species Natural
Selection that wasn't what they taught in church,
so Luther Burbank ceased to believe moved to

 

Lunenburg,

 

found a seedball in a potato plant
sowed the seed and cashed in on Mr. Darwin's

 

Natural

 

Selection
on Spencer and Huxley
with the Burbank Potato.

 

Young man go west;
Luther Burbank went to Santa Rosa
full of his dream of green grass in winter ever-
blooming flowers ever-
bearing berries; Luther Burbank
could cash in on Natural Selection Luther Bur-
bank
carried his apocalyptic dream of green grass in
winter
and seedless berries and stoneless plums and
thornless roses brambles cactus --

 

-82-

 

winters were bleak in that bleak
brick farmhouse in bleak Massachusetts --
out to sunny Santa Rosa;
and he was a sunny old man
where roses bloomed all year
everblooming everbearing
hybrids.

 

America was hybrid
America should cash in on Natural Selection.
He was an infidel he believed in Darwin and

 

Natural

 

Selection and the influence of the mighty dead
and a good firm shipper's fruit
suitable for canning.
He was one of the grand old men until the

 

churches

 

and the congregations
got wind that he was an infidel and believed
in Darwin.
Luther Burbank had never a thought of evil,
selecting improved hybrids for America
those sunny years in Santa Rosa.
But he brushed down a wasp's nest that time
he wouldn't give up Darwin and Natural Selection
and they stung him and he died
puzzled.
They buried him under a cedartree.
His favorite photograph
was of a little tot
standing beside a bed of hybrid
everblooming double Shasta daisies
with never a thought of evil
And Mount Shasta

 



-83-

 

in the background, used to be a volcano
but they don't have volcanos
any more.

 


NEWSREEL VII

 

SAYS THIS IS CENTURY WHERE BILLIONS AND BRAINS ARE
TO RULE

 

infant born in Minneapolis comes here in incubator

 

Cheyenne Cheyenne
Hop on my pony

 

says Jim Hill hits oil trust on 939 counts

 


BIG FOUR TRAIN BLOWN TO PIECES

 

woman and children blotted out admits he saw floggings
and even mutilations but no frightful outrages

 


TRUTH ABOUT THE CONGO FREE STATE

 

Find Bad Fault In Dreadnaught Santos Dumont tells of
rival of bird of prey wives prime aim of Congo natives ex-
traordinary letter ordering away U.S. marines

 


WHITES IN CONGO LOSE MORAL SENSE

 

WOMAN HELD A CAPTIVE BY AMBULANCE CHASERS

 

Thaw Faces Judge in Fateful Fight

 


LABOR MENACE IN POLITICS

 

last of Salome seen in New York heroism of mother un-
availing

 

There's room here for two, dear,
But after the ceremony
Two, dear, as one, dear, will ride back on my pony
From old Cheyenne3

 

-84-

 

THE CAMERA EYE (8)



 

you sat on the bed unlacing your shoes Hey
Frenchie yelled Tylor in the door you've got to fight
the Kid doan wanna fight him gotto fight him
hasn't he got to fight him fellers? Freddie pushed his
face through the crack in the door and made a long nose
Gotta fight him umpyaya and all the fellows on the top
floor were there if not you 're a girlboy and I had on
my pyjamas and they pushed in the Kid and the Kid
hit Frenchie and Frenchie hit the Kid and your mouth
tasted bloody and everybody yelled Go it Kid except
Gummer and he yelled Bust his jaw Jack and Frenchie
had the Kid down on the bed and everybody pulled him
off and they all had Frenchie against the door and he
was slamming right an' left and he couldn't see who was
hitting him and everybody started to yell the Kid licked
him and Tylor and Freddy held his arms and told the
Kid to come and hit him but the Kid wouldn't and the
Kid was crying

 

the bloody sweet puky taste and then the bell rang
for lights and everybody ran to their rooms and you got
into bed with your head throbbing and you were crying
when Gummer tiptoed in an' said you had him licked
Jack it was a fucking shame it was Freddy hit you that

 

-85-

 

time, but Hoppy was tiptoeing round the hall and caught
Gummer trying to get back to his room and he got his

 


MAC

 

By Thanksgiving Mac had beaten his way to Sacra-
mento, where he got a job smashing crates in a dried
fruit warehouse. By the first of the year he'd saved up
enough to buy a suit of dark clothes and take the steam-
boat down the river to San Francisco.



 

It was around eight in the evening when he got in.
With his suitcase in his hand, he walked up Market Street
from the dock. The streets were full of lights. Young
men and pretty girls in brightcolored dresses were walk-
ing fast through a big yanking wind that fluttered dresses
and scarfs, slapped color into cheeks, blew grit and papers
into the air. There were Chinamen, Wops, Portuguese,
Japs in the streets. People were hustling to shows and
restaurants. Music came out of the doors of bars, frying,
buttery foodsmells from restaurants, smells of winecasks
and beer. Mac wanted to go on a party but he only had
four dollars so he went and got a room at the Y and ate
some soggy pie and coffee in the deserted cafeteria down-
stairs.

 

When he got up in the bare bedroom like something in
a hospital he opened the window, but it only gave on an
airshaft. The room smelt of some sort of cleaning fluid
and when he lay down on the bed the blanket smelt of
formaldehyde. He felt too well. He could feel the pranc-
ing blood steam all through him. He wanted to talk to
somebody, to go to a dance or have a drink with a fellow
he knew or kid a girl somewhere. The smell of rouge and

 

-86-

 

musky facepowder in the room of those girls in Seattle
came back to him. He got up and sat on the edge of the
bed swinging his legs. Then he decided to go out, but
before he went he put his money in his suitcase and locked
it up. Lonely as a ghost he walked up and down the
streets until he was deadtired; he walked fast not looking
to the right or left, brushing past painted girls at street-
corners, touts that tried to put addresscards into his hand,
drunks that tried to pick fights with him, panhandlers
whining for a handout. Then, bitter and cold and tired,
he went back to his room and fell into bed.

 

Next day he went out and got a job in a small print-
shop run and owned by a baldheaded Italian with big
whiskers and a flowing black tie, named Bonello. Bonello
told him he had been a redshirt with Garibaldi and was
now an anarchist. Ferrer was his great hero; he hired
Mac because he thought he might make a convert out of
him. All that winter Mac worked at Bonello's, ate
spaghetti and drank red wine and talked revolution with
him and his friends in the evening, went to Socialist pic-
nics or libertarian meetings on Sundays. Saturday nights
he went round to whorehouses with a fellow named
Miller whom he'd met at the Y. Miller was studying to
be a dentist. He got to be friends with a girl named
Maisie Spencer who worked in the millinery department
at the Emporium. Sundays she used to try to get him
to go to church. She was a quiet girl with big blue eyes
that she turned up to him with an unbelieving smile when
he talked revolution to her. She had tiny regular pearly
teeth and dressed prettily. After a while she got so that
she did not bother him so much about church. She liked
to have him take her to hear the band play at the Presidio
or to look at the statuary in Sutro Park.

 

The morning of the earthquake Mac's first thought,
when he got over his own terrible scare, was for Maisie.
The house where her folks lived on Mariposa Street was

 

-87-

 

still standing when he got there, but everyone had cleared
out. It was not till the third day, three days of smoke
and crashing timbers and dynamiting he spent working in
a firefighting squad, that he found her in a provision line
at the entrance to Golden Gate Park. The Spencers were
living in a tent near the shattered greenhouses.

 

She didn't recognise him because his hair and eye-
brows were singed and his clothes were in tatters and he
was soot from head to foot. He'd never kissed her be-
fore, but he took her in his arms before everybody and
kissed her. When he let her go her face was all sooty
from his. Some of the people in the line laughed and
clapped, but the old woman right behind, who had her
hair done in a pompadour askew so that the rat showed
through and who wore two padded pink silk dressing
gowns one above the other said spitefully, "Now you'll
have to go and wash your face."

 

After that they considered themselves engaged, but
they couldn't get married, because Bonello's printshop
had been gutted with the rest of the block it stood in, and
Mac was out of a job. Maisie used to let him kiss her and
hug her in dark doorways when he took her home at
night, but further than that he gave up trying to go.

 

In the fall he got a job on the Bulletin. That was night
work and he hardly ever saw Maisie except Sundays, but
they began to talk about getting married after Christmas.
When he was away from her he felt somehow sore at
Maisie most of the time, but when he was with her he
melted absolutely. He tried to get her to read pamphlets
on socialism, but she laughed and looked up at him with
her big intimate blue eyes and said it was too deep for
her. She liked to go to the theater and eat in restaurants
where the linen was starched and there were waiters in
dress suits.

 

About that time he went one night to hear Upton Sin-
clair speak about the Chicago stockyards. Next to him was

 

-88-

 

a young man in dungarees. He had a nose like a hawk and
gray eyes and deep creases under his cheekbones and
talked in a slow drawl. His name was Fred Hoff. After
the lecture they went and had a beer together and talked.
Fred Hoff belonged to the new revolutionary organiza-
tion called The Industrial Workers of the World. He
read Mac the preamble over a second glass of beer. Fred
Hoff had just hit town as donkeyengine man on a
freighter. He was sick of the bum grub and hard life on
the sea. He still had his pay in his pocket and he was
bound he wouldn't blow it in on a bust. He'd heard that
there was a miners' strike in Goldfield and he thought
he'd go up there and see what he could do. He made Mac
feel that he was leading a pretty stodgy life helping print
lies against the working class. "Godalmighty, man, you're
just the kind o' stuff we need out there. We're goin' to
publish a paper in Goldfield, Nevada."

 

That night Mac went round to the local and filled out
a card, and went home to his boarding house with his
head swimming. I was just on the point of selling out to
the sons of bitches, he said to himself.

 

The next Sunday he and Maisie had been planning to
go up the Scenic Railway to the top of Mount Tamalpais.
Mac was terribly sleepy when his alarmclock got him out
of bed. They had to start early because he had to be on
the job again that night. As he walked to the ferrystation
where he was going to meet her at nine the clank of the
presses was still in his head, and the sour smell of ink and
paper bruised under the presses, and on top of that the
smell of the hall of the house he'd been in with a couple
of the fellows, the smell of moldy rooms and sloppails
and the small of armpits and the dressingtable of the
frizzyhaired girl he'd had on the clammy bed and the
taste of the stale beer they'd drunk and the cooing me-
chanical voice, "Goodnight, dearie, come round soon."

 

"God, I'm a swine," he said to himself.

 

-89-

 

For once it was a clear morning, all the colors in the
street shone like bits of glass. God, he was sick of whor-
ing round. If Maisie would only be a sport, if Maisie was
only a rebel you could talk to like you could to a friend.
And how the hell was he going to tell her he was throw-
ing up his job?

 

She was waiting for him at the ferry looking like a
Gibson girl with her neat sallorblue dress and picture hat.
They didn't have time to say anything as they had to run
for the ferry. Once on the ferryboat she lifted up her face
to be kissed. Her lips were cool and her gloved hand
rested so lightly on his. At Sausalito they took the trolley-
car and changed and she kept smiling at him when they
ran to get good places in the scenic car and they felt so
alone in the roaring immensity of tawny mountain and
blue sky and sea. They'd never been so happy together.
She ran ahead of him all the way to the top. At the ob-
servatory they were both breathless. They stood against a
wall out of sight of the other people and she let him kiss
her all over her face, all over her face and neck.

 

Scraps of mist flew past cutting patches out of their
view of the bay and the valleys and the shadowed moun-
tains. When they went round to the seaward side an icy
wind was shrilling through everything. A churning mass
of fog was welling up from the sea like a tidal wave. She
gripped his arm. "Oh, this scares me, Fainy!" Then sud-
denly he told her that he'd given up his job. She looked
up at him frightened and shivering in the cold wind and
little and helpless; tears began to run down either side of
her nose. "But I thought you loved me, Fenian . . . Do
you think it's been easy for me waitin' for you all this
time, wantin' you and lovin' you? Oh, I thought you
loved me!"

 

He put his arm round her. He couldn't say anything.
They started walking towards the gravity car.

 

-90-

 

"I don't want all those people to see I've been crying.
We were so happy before. Let's walk down to Muir
Woods.""It's pretty far, Maisie.""I don't care; I want
to.""Gee, you're a good sport, Maisie." They started
down the footpath and the mist blotted out everything.

 

After a couple of hours they stopped to rest. They left
the path and found a patch of grass in the middle of a big
thicket of cistus. The mist was all around but it was bright
overhead and they could feel the warmth of the sun
through it. "Ouch, I've got blisters," she said and made
a funny face that made him laugh. "It can't be so awful
far now," he said; "honest, Maisie." He wanted to explain
to her about the strike and the wobblies and why he was
going to Goldfield, but he couldn't. All he could do was
kiss her. Her mouth clung to his lips and her arms were
tight round his neck.

 

"Honest, it won't make any difference about our gettin'
married; honest, it won't . . . Maisie, I'm crazy about
you . . . Maisie, do let me You must let me . . .
Honest, you don't know how terrible it is for me, lovin'
you like this and you never lettin' me."

 

He got up and smoothed down her dress. She lay there
with her eyes closed and her face white; he was afraid she
had fainted. He kneeled down and kissed her gently on
the cheek. She smiled ever so little and pulled his head
down and ruffled his hair. "Little husband," she said.
After a while they got to their feet and walked through
the redwood grove, without seeing it, to the trolleystation.
Going home on the ferry they decided they'd get married
inside of the week. Mac promised not to go to Nevada.

 

Next morning he got up feeling depressed. He was
selling out. When he was shaving in the bathroom he
looked at himself in the mirror and said, half aloud: "You
bastard, you're selling out to the sons of bitches."

 

He went back to his room and wrote Maisie a letter.

 

-91-

 

DEAR MAISIE:

 

Honestly you mustn't think for one minute I don't
love you ever so much, but I promised to go to Goldfield
to help the gang run that paper and I've got to do it. I'll
send you my address as soon as I get there and if you
really need me on account of anything, I'll come right
back, honestly I will.

 

A whole lot of kisses and love
FAINY

 

He went down to the Bulletin office and drew his pay,
packed his bag and went down to the station to see when
he could get a train for Goldfield, Nevada.

 


THE CAMERA EYE (9)

 

all day the fertilizerfactories smelt something awful
and at night the cabin was full of mosquitoes fit to carry
you away but it was Crisfield on the Eastern Shore and if
we had a gasoline boat to carry them across the bay here we
could ship our tomatoes and corn and early peaches ship
'em clear to New York instead of being jipped by the
commissionmerchants in Baltimore we'd run a truck farm
ship early vegetables irrigate fertilize enrich the tobacco
exhausted land of the Northern Neck if we had a gasoline
boat we'd run oysters in her in winter raise terrapin for
the market

 

but up on the freight siding I got talking to a young
guy couldn't have been much older 'n me was asleep in

 

-92-

 

one of the boxcars asleep right there in the sun and the
smell of cornstalks and the reek of rotting menhaden
from the fertilizer factories he had curly hair and
wisps of hay in it and through his open shirt you could see
his body was burned brown to the waist I guess he wasn't
much account but he'd bummed all way from Minnesota
he was going south and when I told him about Chesa-
peake Bay he wasn't surprised but said I guess it's too fur
to swim it I'll git a job in a menhaden boat

 


BIG BILL

 

Big Bill Haywood was born in sixty nine in a
boardinghouse in Salt Lake City.

 

He was raised in Utah, got his schooling in Ophir
a mining camp with shooting scrapes, faro Saturday
nights, whisky spilled on pokertables piled with new
silver dollars.

 

When he was eleven his mother bound him out
to a farmer, he ran away because the farmer lashed
him with a whip. That was his first strike.

 

He lost an eye whittling a slingshot out of scrub-
oak.

 

He worked for storekeepers, ran a fruitstand,
ushered in the Salt Lake Theatre, was a messengerboy,
bellhop at the Continental Hotel.

 

When he was fifteen

 

he went out to the mines in Humboldt County,
Nevada,

 

-93-

 

his outfit was overalls, a jumper, a blue shirt,
mining boots, two pair of blankets, a set of chessmen,
boxinggloves and a big lunch of plum pudding his
mother fixed for him.

 

When he married he went to live in Fort Mc-
Dermitt built in the old days against the Indians,
abandoned now that there was no more frontier;

 

there his wife bore their first baby without doctor
or midwife. Bill cut the navelstring, Bill buried the
afterbirth;

 

the child lived. Bill earned money as he could
surveying, haying in Paradise Valley, breaking colts,
riding a wide rangy country.

 

One night at Thompson's Mill, he was one of five
men who met by chance and stopped the night in the
abandoned ranch. Each of them had lost an eye, they
were the only oneeyed men in the county.

 

They lost the homestead, things went to pieces,
his wife was sick, he had children to support. He went
to work as a miher at Silver City.

 

At Silver City, Idaho, he joined the W.F.M.,
there he held his first union office; he was delegate of
the Silver City miners to the convention of the West-
ern Federation of Miners held in. Salt Lake City in '98.

 

From then on he was an organizer, a speaker, an
exhorter, the wants of all the miners were his wants;
he fought Coeur D'Alenes, Telluride, Cripple Creek,

 

joined the Socialist Party, wrote and spoke
through Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Colorado to
miners striking for an eight hour day, better living, a
share of the wealth they hacked out of the hills.

 

In Chicago in January 1905 a conference was
called that met at the same hall in Lake Street where

 

-94-

 

the Chicago anarchists had addressed meetings twenty
years before.

 

William D. Haywood was permanent chairman.
It was this conference that wrote the manifesto that
brought into being the I.W.W.

 

When he got back to Denver he was kidnapped
to Idaho and tried with Moyer and Pettibone for the
murder of the sheepherder Steuenberg, exgovernor of
Idaho, blown up by a bomb in his own home.

 

When they were acquitted at Boise ( Darrow was
their lawyer) Big Bill Haywood was known as a
workingclass leader from coast to coast.

 

Now the wants of all the workers were his wants,
he was the spokesman of the West, of the cowboys and
the lumberjacks and the harvesthands and the miners.

 

(The steamdrill had thrown thousands of miners
out of work; the steamdrill had thrown a scare into all
the miners of the West.)

 

The W.F.M. was going conservative. Haywood
worked with the I.W.W. building a new society in the
shell of the old, campaigned for Debs for President in
1908 on the Red Special. He was in on all the big
strikes in the East where revolutionary spirit was grow-
ing, Lawrence, Paterson, the strike of the Minnesota
ironworkers.

 

They went over with the A.E.F. to save the Mor-
gan loans, to save Wilsonian Democracy, they stood at
Napoleon's tomb and dreamed empire, they had cham-
pagne cocktails at the Ritz bar and slept with Russian
countesses in Montmartre and dreamed empire, all
over the country at American legion posts and business
men's luncheons it was worth money to make the eagle
scream;

 

they lynched the pacifists and the proGermans
and the wobblies and the reds and the bolsheviks.

 

-95-

 

Bill Haywood stood trial with the hundred and
one at Chicago where Judge Landis the baseball czar
with the lack of formality of a traffic court
handed out his twenty year sentences and thirty-
thousand dollar fines.

 

After two years in Leavenworth they let them
bail out Big Bill (he was fifty years old a heavy broken
man), the war was over but they'd learned empire in
the Hall of the Mirrors at Versailles;
the courts refused a new trial.

 

It was up to Haywood to jump his bail or to go
back to prison for twenty years.

 

He was sick with diabetes, he had had a rough
life, prison had broken down his health. Russia was
a workers' republic; he went to Russia and was in
Moscow a couple of years but he wasn't happy there,
that world was too strange for him. He died there
and they burned his big broken hulk of a body and
buried the ashes under the Kremlin wall.

 


THE CAMERA EYE (10)

 

the old major who used to take me to the Capitol
when the Senate and the House of Representatives were
in session had been in the commissary of the Confederate
Army and had very beautiful manners so the attendants
bowed to the old major except for the pages who were
little boys not much older than your brother was a page
in the Senate once and occasionally a Representative or a
Senator would look at him with slit eyes may be some-
body and bow or shake hearty or raise a hand

 

-96-

 

the old major dressed very well in a morningcoat
and had muttonchop whiskers and we would walk very
slowly through the flat sunlight in the Botanical Gardens
and look at the little labels on the trees and shrubs and
see the fat robins and the starlings hop across the grass
and walk up the steps and through the flat air of the
rotunda with the dead statues of different sizes and the
Senate Chamber flat red and the committee room and the
House flat green and the committee rooms and the Su-
preme Court I've forgotten what color the Supreme Court
was and the committee rooms

 

and whispering behind the door of the visitors' gal-
lery and the dead air and a voice rattling under the glass
skylights and desks slammed and the long corridors full
of the dead air and our legs would get very tired and I
thought of the starlings on the grass and the long streets
full of dead air and my legs were tired and I had a pain
between the eyes and the old men bowing with quick slit
eyes

 

may be somebody and big slit unkind mouths and
the dusty black felt and the smell of coatclosets and dead
air and I wonder what the old major thought about and
what I thought about maybe about that big picture at the
Corcoran Art Gallery full of columns and steps and con-
spirators and Caesar in purple fallen flat called Caesar
dead

 

-97-

 


MAC

 

Mac had hardly gotten off the train at Goldfield when
a lanky man in skhaki shirt and breeches, wearing canvas
army leggins, went up to him. "If you don't mind, what's
your business in this town, brother?""I'm travelin' in
books.""What kinda books?""Schoolbooks and the like,
for Truthseeker, Inc. of Chicago." Mac rattled it off very
fast, and the man seemed impressed. "I guess you're all
right," he said. "Going up to the Eagle?" Mac nodded.
"Plug'll take ye up, the feller with the team . . . You
see we're looking out for these goddam agitators, the I
Won't Work outfit."

 

Outside the Golden Eagle Hotel there were two sol-
diers on guard, toughlooking sawedoff men with their hats
over their eyes. When Mac went in everybody at the bar
turned and looked at him. He said "Good evening,
gents," as snappily as possible and went up to the pro-
prietor to ask for a room. All the while he was wondering
who the hell he dared ask where the office of the Nevada
Workman was. "I guess I can fix you up with a bed.
Travelin' man?""Yes," said Mac. "In books." Down at
the end a big man with walrus whiskers was standing at
the bar talking fast in a drunken whining voice, "If they'd
only give me my head I'd run the bastards outa town soon
enough. Too goddam many lawyers mixed up in this. Run
the sonsobitches out. If they resists shoot 'em, that's what
I says to the Governor, but they're all these sonsobitches
a lawyers fussin' everythin' up all the time with warrants
and habeas corpus and longwinded rigmarole. My ass to
habeas corpus.""All right, Joe, you tell 'em," said the
proprietor soothingly. Mac bought a cigar and sauntered
out. As the door closed behind him the big man was yell-
ing out again, "I said, My ass to habeas corpus."

 

It was nearly dark. An icy wind blew through the ram-

 

-98-

 

shackle clapboard streets. His feet stumbling in the mud
of the deep ruts, Mac walked round several blocks look-
ing up at dark windows. He walked all over the town
but no sign of a newspaper office. When he found himself
passing the same Chink hash joint for the third time, he
slackened his steps and stood irresolutely on the curb. At
the end of the street the great jagged shank of a hill hung
over the town. Across the street a young man, his head
and ears huddled into the collar of a mackinaw, was loaf-
ing against the dark window of a hardware store. Mac
decided he was a squarelooking stiff and went over to
speak to him.

 

"Say, bo, where's the office of the Nevada Workman?"
"What the hell d'you wanter know for?" Mac and the
other man looked at each other. "I want to see Fred
Hoff . . . I came on from San Fran to help in the
printin'.""Got a red card?" Mac pulled out his I.W.W.
membership card. "I've got my union card, too, if you
want to see that."

 

"Hell, no . . . I guess you're all right, but, as the
feller said, suppose I'd been a dick, you'd be in the bull-
pen now, bo."

 

"I told 'em I was a friggin' bookagent to get into the
damn town. Spent my last quarter on a cigar to keep up
the burjwa look."

 

The other man laughed. "All right, fellowworker. I'll
take you round."

 

"What they got here, martial law?" asked Mac as he
followed the man down an alley between two overgrown
shanties.

 

"Every sonofabitchin' yellerleg in the State of Nevada
right here in town . . . Lucky if you don't get run outa
town with a bayonet in yer crotch, as the feller said."

 

At the end of the alley was a small house like a shoebox
with brightly lit windows. Young fellows in miners'
clothes or overalls filled up the end of the alley and sat

 

-99-

 

three deep on the rickety steps. "What's this, a pool-
room?" asked Mac. "This is the Nevada Workman . . .
Say, my name's Ben Evans; I'll introjuce you to the
gang . . . Say, yous guys, this is fellowworker Mc-
Creary . . . he's come on from Frisco to set up type."
"Put it there, Mac," said a sixfooter who looked like a
Swede lumberman, and gave Mac's hand a wrench that
made the bones crack.

 

Fred Hoff had on a green eyeshade and sat behind a
desk piled with galleys. He got up and shook hands. "Oh,
boy, you're just in time. There's hell to pay. They got the
printer in the bullpen and we've got to get this sheet out."
Mac took off his coat and went back to look over the
press. He was leaning over the typesetter's "stone" when
Fred Hoff came back and beckoned him into a corner.

 

"Say, Mac, I want to explain the layout here . . . It's
kind of a funny situation . . . The W.F.M.'s goin' yel-
low on us . . . It's a hell of a scrap. The Saint was here
the other day and that bastard Mullany shot him through
both arms and he's in hospital now . . . They're sore as
a boil because we're instillin' ideas of revolutionary soli-
darity, see? We got the restaurant workers out and we got
some of the minin' stiffs. Now the A.F. of L.'s gettin' wise
and they've got a bonehead scab organizer in hobnobbin'
with the mineowners at the Montezuma Club."

 

"Hey, Fred, let me take this on gradually," said Mac.

 

"Then there was a little shootin' the other day out in
front of a restaurant down the line an' the stiff that owned
the joint got plugged an' now they've got a couple of the
boys in jail for that.""The hell you say.""And Big Bill
Haywood's comin' to speak next week . . . That's about
the way the situation is, Mac. I've got to tear off an
article . . . You're boss printer an' we'll pay you seven-
teen fifty like we all get. Ever written any?"

 

"No."

 

-100-

 

"It's a time like this a feller regrets he didn't work
harder in school. Gosh, I wish I could write decent."

 

"I'll take a swing at an article if I get a chance."

 

"Big Bill'll write us some stuff. He writes swell."

 

They set up a cot for Mac back of the press. It was a
week before he could get time to go round to the Eagle
to get his suitcase. Over the office and the presses was a
long attic, with a stove in it, where most of the boys slept.
Those that had blankets rolled up in their blankets, those
that hadn't put their jackets over their heads, those that
didn't have jackets slept as best they could. At the end of
the room was a long sheet of paper where someone had
printed out the Preamble in shaded block letters. On the
plaster wall of the office someone had drawn a cartoon of
a workingstiff labelled "I.W.W." giving a fat man in a
stovepipe hat labelled "mineowner" a kick in the seat of
the pants. Above it they had started to letter "solidarity"
but had only gotten as far as "SOLIDA."

 

One November night Big Bill Haywood spoke at the
miners' union. Mac and Fred Hoff went to report the
speech for the paper. The town looked lonely as an old
trashdump in the huge valley full of shrill wind and driv-
ing snow. The hall was hot and steamy with the steam of
big bodies and plug tobacco and thick mountaineer clothes
that gave off the shanty smell of oil lamps and charred
firewood and greasy fryingpans and raw whisky. At the
beginning of the meeting men moved round uneasily,
shuffling their feet and clearing the phlegm out of their
throats. Mac was uncomfortable himself. In his pocket
was a letter from Maisie. He knew it by heart:

 

DEAREST FAINY:

 

Everything has happened just as I was afraid of. You
know what I mean, dearest little husband. It's two months
already and I'm so frightened and there's nobody I can
tell. Darling, you must come right back. I'll die if you

 

-101-

 

don't. Honestly I'll die and I'm so lonely for you any-
ways and so afraid somebody'll notice. As it is we'll have
to go away somewheres when we're married and not come
back until plenty of time has elapsed. If I thought I could
get work there I'd come to you to Goldfield. I think it
would be nice if we went to San Diego. I have friends
there and they say it's lovely and there we could tell peo-
ple we'd been married a long time. Please come sweetest
little husband. I'm so lonely for you and it's so terrible to
stand this all alone. The crosses are kisses. Your loving
wife,

 

MAISIE
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Big Bill talked about solidarity and sticking together in
the face of the masterclass and Mac kept wondering what
Big Bill would do if he'd got a girl in trouble like that.
Big Bill was saying the day had come to start building a
new society in the shell of the old and for the workers to
get ready to assume control of the industries they'd created
out of their sweat and blood. When he said, "We stand
for the one big union," there was a burst of cheering and
clapping from all the wobblies in the hall. Fred Hoff
nudged Mac as he clapped. "Let's raise the roof, Mac."
The exploiting classes would be helpless against the soli-
darity of the whole working class. The militia and the
yellowlegs were workingstiffs too. Once they realized the
historic mission of solidarity the masterclass couldn't use
them to shoot down their brothers anymore. The workers
must realize that every small fight, for higher wages, for
freespeech, for decent living conditions, was only signifi-
cant as part of the big fight for the revolution and the
coöperative commonwealth. Mac forgot about Maisie. By
the time Big Bill had finished speaking his mind had run
ahead of the speech so that he'd forgotten just what he
said, but Mac was in a glow all over and was cheering to
beat hell. He and Fred Hoff were cheering and the stocky

 

-102-

 

Bohemian miner that smelt so bad next them was clapping
and the oneeyed Pole on the other side was clapping and
the bunch of Wops were clapping and the little Jap who
was waiter at the Montezuma Club was clapping and the
sixfoot ranchman who'd come in in hopes of seeing a fight
was clapping. "Ain't the sonofabitch some orator," he was
saying again and again. "I tellyer, Utah's the state for
mansized men. I'm from Ogden myself."

 

After the meeting Big Bill was round at the office and
he joked everybody and sat down and wrote an article
right there for the paper. He pulled out a flask and every-
body had a drink, except Fred Hoff who didn't like Big
Bill's drinking, or any drinking, and they all went to bed
with the next issue on the press, feeling tired and flushed
and fine.

 

Next morning when Mac woke up he suddenly thought
of Maisie and reread her letter, and tears came to his eyes
sitting on the edge of the cot before anybody was up yet.
He stuck his head in a pail of icy water from the pump,
that was frozen so hard he had to pour a kettleful of hot
water off the stove into it to thaw it, but he couldn't get
the worried stiff feeling out of his forehead. When he
went over with Fred Hoff to the Chink joint for break-
fast he tried to tell him he was going back to San Fran-
cisco to get married.

 

" Mac, you can't do it; we need you here.""But I'll
come back, honest I will, Fred.""A man's first duty's to
the workin' class," said Fred Hoff.

 

"As soon as the kid's born an' she can go back to work
I'll come back. But you know how it is, Fred. I can't pay
the hospital expenses on seventeenfifty a week."

 

"You oughta been more careful."

 

"But hell, Fred, I'm made of flesh and blood like
everybody else. For crissake, what do you want us to be,
tin saints?"

 

-103-

 

"A wobbly oughtn't to have any wife or children, not
till after the revolution."

 

"I'm not giving up the fight, Fred . . . I'm not sellin'
out; I swear to God I'm not."

 

Fred Hoff had gotten very pale. Sucking his lips in be-
tween his teeth he got up from the table and left the res-
taurant. Mac sat there a long time feeling gloomy as hell.
Then he went back to the office of the Workman. Fred
Hoff was at the desk writing hard. "Say, Fred," said Mac,
"I'll stay another month. I'll write Maisie right now."
"I knew you'd stay, Mac; you're no quitter.""But Jesus
God, man, you expect too much of a feller.""Too much
is too damn little," said Fred Hoff. Mac started running
the paper through the press.

 

For the next few weeks, when Maisie's letters came he
put them in his pocket without reading them. He wrote
her as reassuringly as he could, that he'd come as soon as
the boys could get someone to take his place.

 

Then Christmas night he read all Maisie's letters. They
were all the same; they made him cry. He didn't want to
get married, but it was hell living up here in Nevada all
winter without a girl, and he was sick of whoring around.
He didn't want the boys to see him looking so glum, so
he went down to have a drink at the saloon the restaurant
workers went to. A great roaring steam of drunken sing-
ing came out of the saloon. Going in the door he met Ben
Evans. "Hello, Ben, where are you goin'?""I'm goin' to
have a drink as the feller said.""Well, so am I.""What's
the matter?""I'm blue as hell." Ben Evans laughed.
"Jesus, so am I . . . and it's Christmas, ain't it?"

 

They had three drinks each but the bar was crowded
and they didn't feel like celebrating; so they took a pint
flask, which was all they could afford, up to Ben Evans'
room. Ben Evans was a dark thickset young man with
very black eyes and hair. He hailed from Louisville, Ken-
tucky. He'd had oonsiderable schooling and was an auto-

 

-104-

 

mobile mechanic. The room was icy cold. They sat on the
bed, each of them wrapped in one of his blankets.

 

"Well, ain't this a way to spend Christmas?" said Mac.
"Holy Jesus, it's a good thing Fred Hoff didn't ketch us,"
Mac snickered. "Fred's a hell of a good guy, honest as the
day an' all that, but he won't let a feller live.""I guess
if the rest of us were more like Fred we'd get somewheres
sooner.""We would at that . . . Say, Mac, I'm blue as
hell about all this business, this shootin' an' these fellers
from the W.F.M. goin' up to the Montezuma Club and
playin' round with that damn scab delegate from Wash-
ington.""Well, none of the wobbly crowd's done any-
thing like that.""No, but there's not enough of us . . ."
"What you need's a drink, Ben.""It's just like this god-
dam pint, as the feller said, if we had enough of 'em we'd
get fried, but we haven't. If we had enough boys like
Fred Hoff we'd have a revolution, but we haven't."

 

They each had a drink from the pint and then Mac
said: "Say, Ben, did you ever get a girl in trouble, a girl
you liked a hellova lot?"

 

"Sure, hundreds of 'em."

 

"Didn't it worry you?"

 

"For crissake, Mac, if a girl wasn't a goddam whore
she wouldn't let you, would she?"

 

"Jeez, I don't see it like that, Ben . . . But hell, I
don't know what to do about it . . . She's a good kid,
anyways, gee . . ."

 

"I don't trust none of 'em . . . I know a guy onct
married a girl like that, carried on and bawled an' made
out he'd knocked her up. He married her all right an' she
turned out to be a goddam whore and he got the siph
off'n her . . . You take it from me, boy. . . . Love 'em
and leave 'em, that's the only way for stiffs like us."

 

They finished up the pint. Mac went back to the Work-
man office and went to sleep with the whisky burning in
his stomach. He dreamed he was walking across a field

 

-105-

 

with a girl on a warm day. The whisky was hotsweet in
his mouth, buzzed like bees in his ears. He wasn't sure if
the girl was Maisie or just a goddam whore, but he felt
very warm and tender, and she was saying in a little hot-
sweet voice, "Love me up, kid," and he could see her body
through her thingauze dress as he leaned over her and
she kept crooning, "Love me up, kid," in a hotsweet buz-
zing.

 

"Hey, Mac, ain't you ever goin' to get waked up?"
Fred Hoff, scrubbing his face and neck with a towel, was
standing over him. "I want to get this place cleaned up
before the gang gets here." Mac sat up on the cot. "Yare,
what's the matter?" He didn't have a hangover but he
felt depressed, he could tell that at once.

 

"Say, you certainly were stinkin' last night."

 

"The hell I was, Fred . . . I had a coupla drinks but,
Jesus . . ."

 

"I heard you staggerin' round here goin' to bed like
any goddam scissorbill."

 

"Look here, Fred, you're not anybody's nursemaid. I
can take care of myself."

 

"You guys need nursemaids . . . You can't even wait
till we won the strike before you start your boozin' and
whorin' around." Mac was sitting on the edge of the bed
lacing his boots. "What in God's name do you think we're
all hangin' round here for . . . our health?""I don't
know what the hell most of you are hangin' round for,"
said Fred Hoff and went out slamming the door.

 

A couple of days later it turned out that there was
another fellow around who could run a linotype and Mac
left town. He sold his suitcase and his good clothes for
five dollars and hopped a train of flatcars loaded with ore
that took him down to Ludlow. In Ludlow he washed
the alkali dust out of his mouth, got a meal and got
cleaned up a little. He was in a terrible hurry to get to
Frisco, all the time he kept thinking that Maisie might
kill herself. He was crazy to see her, to sit beside her, to

 

-106-

 

have her pat his hand gently while they were sitting side
by side talking the way she used to do. After those bleak
dusty months up in Goldfield he needed a woman. The
fare to Frisco was $11.15 and he only had four dollars and
some pennies left. He tried risking a dollar in a crapgame
in the back of a saloon, but he lost it right away and got
cold feet and left.

 


NEWSREEL VIII

 

Prof Ferrer, former director of the Modern School in
Barcelona who has been on trial there on the charge of having
been the principal instigator of the recent revolutionary move-
ment has been sentenced to death and will be shot Wednesday
unless

 

Cook still pins faith on esquimaux says interior of the
Island of Luzon most beautiful place on earth

 


align="center"QUIZZES WARM UP POLE TALK

 

Oh bury me not on the lone prairie
Where the wild kiyotes will howl over me
Where the rattlesnakes hiss and the wind blowsd free

 


GYPSY'S MARCHERS STORM SIN'S FORT

 

Nation's Big Men Await River Trip Englewood Club-
women Move To Uplift Drama Evangelist's Host Thousands
Strong Pierces Heart of Crowded Hushed Levee Has $3,018
and Is Arrested

 


GIVES MILLION IN HOOKWORM WAR

 

Gypsy Smith's Spectral Parade Through South Side Red
Light Region

 

with a bravery that brought tears to the eyes of the squad
of twelve men who were detailed to shoot him Francisco
Ferrer marched this morning to the trench that had been
prepared to receive his body after the fatal volley

 

PLUNGE BY AUTO; DEATH IN RIVER

 

-107-

 

THE CAMERA EYE (11)

 

the Pennypackers went to the Presbyterian church
and the Pennypacker girls sang chilly shrill soprano in
the choir and everybody was greeted when they went into
church and outside the summer leaves on the trees wig-
wagged greenblueyellow through the windows and we all
filed into the pew and I'd asked Mr. Pennypacker he was
a deacon in the church who were the Molly Maguires?

 

a squirrel was scolding in the whiteoak but the Penny-
packer girls all the young ladies in their best hats singing
the anthem who were the Molly Maguires? thoughts,
bulletholes in an old barn abandoned mine pits black
skeleton tipples weedgrown dumps who were the Molly
Maguires? but it was too late you couldn't talk in church
and all the young ladies best hats and pretty pink green
blue yellow dresses and the squirrel scolding who were
the Molly Maguires?

 

and before I knew it it was communion and I wanted
to say I hadn't been baptized but all eyes looked shut up
when I started to whisper to Con

 

communion was grape juice in little glasses and
little squares of stale bread and you had to gulp the bread
and put your handkerchief over your mouth and look
holy and the little glasses made a funny sucking noise and
all the quiet church in the middle of the sunny brightblue

 

-108-

 

sunday in the middle of whiteoaks wigwagging and the
smell of fries from the white house and the blue quiet
sunday smoke of chimneys from stoves where fried
chicken sizzled and fritters and brown gravy set back to
keep hot

 

in the middle of squirrels and minetipples in the
middle of the blue Pennsylvania summer sunday the
little glasses sucking to get the last drop of communion

 

and I felt itchy in the back of my neck would I be
struck by lightning eating the bread drinking the com-
munion me not believing or baptized or Presbyterian and
who were the Molly Maguires? masked men riding at
night shooting bullets into barns at night what were they
after in the oldtime night?

 

church was over and everybody was filing out and
being greeted as they went out and everybody had a good
appetite after communion but I couldn't eat much itchy
in the back of the neck scary with masked men riding
Molly Maguires

 


NEWSREEL IX

 


FORFEIT STARS BY DRINKING

 

"Oh bury me not
on the lone prairie"
They heeded not his dying prayer
They buried him there on the lone prairie

 

-109-

 


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