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Full Online Book HomeLong Stories100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 68
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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 68 Post by :sbeard Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :2276

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 68

So there was the end of high life for Peter Gudge. He moved no more in the celestial circles of Mount Olympus. He never again saw the Chinese butler of Mr. Ackerman, nor the French parlor-maid of Mrs. Godd. He would no more be smiled at by the two hundred and twenty-four boy angels of the ceiling of the Hotel de Soto lobby. Peter would eat his meals now seated on a stool in front of a lunch counter, he would really be the humble proletarian, the "Jimmie Higgins" of his role. He put behind him bright dreams of an accumulated competence, and settled down to the hard day's work of cultivating the acquaintance of agitators, visiting their homes and watching their activities, getting samples of the literature they were circulating, stealing their letters and address-books and note-books, and taking all these to Room 427 of the American House.

These were busy times just now. In spite of the whippings and the lynchings and the jailings--or perhaps because of these very things--the radical movement was seething. The I. W. Ws. had reorganized secretly, and were accumulating a defense fund for their prisoners; also, the Socialists of all shades of red and pink were busy, and the labor men had never ceased their agitation over the Goober case. Just now they were redoubling their activities, because Mrs. Goober was being tried for her life. Over in Russia a mob of Anarchists had made a demonstration in front of the American Legation, because of the mistreatment of a man they called "Guba." At any rate, that was the way the news came over the cables, and the news-distributing associations of the country had been so successful in keeping the Goober case from becoming known that the editors of the New York papers really did not know any better, and printed the name as it came, "Guba!" which of course gave the radicals a fine chance to laugh at them, and say, how much they cared about labor!

The extreme Reds seemed to have everything their own way in Russia. Late in the fall they overthrew the Russian government, and took control of the country, and proceeded to make peace with Germany; which put the Allies in a frightful predicament, and introduced a new word into the popular vocabulary, the dread word "Bolshevik." After that, if a man suggested municipal ownership of ice-wagons, all you had to do was to call him a "Bolshevik" and he was done for.

However, the extremists replied to this campaign of abuse by taking up the name and wearing it as a badge. The Socialist local of American City adopted amid a storm of applause a resolution to call itself the "Bolshevik local," and the "left-wingers" had everything their own way for a time. The leader in this wing was a man named Herbert Ashton, editor of the American City "Clarion," the party's paper. A newspaper-man, lean, sallow, and incredibly bitter, Ashton apparently had spent all his life studying the intrigues of international capital, and one never heard an argument advanced that he was not ready with an answer. He saw the war as a struggle between the old established commercialism of Great Britain, whose government he described as "a gigantic trading corporation," and the newly arisen and more aggressive commercialism of Germany.

Ashton would take the formulas of the war propagandists and treat them as a terrier treats a rat. So this was a war for democracy! The bankers of Paris had for the last twenty years been subsidizing the Russian Tsars, who had shipped a hundred thousand exiles to Siberia to make the world safe for democracy! The British Empire also had gone to war for democracy--first in Ireland, then in India and Egypt, then in the Whitechapel slums! No, said Ashton, the workers were not to be fooled with such bunk. Wall Street had loaned some billions of dollars to the Allied bankers, and now the American people were asked to shed their blood to make the world safe for those loans!

Peter had been urging McGivney to put an end to this sort of agitation, and now the rat-faced man told him that the time for action had come. There was to be a big mass meeting to celebrate the Bolshevik revolution, and McGivney warned Peter to keep out of sight at that meeting, because there might be some clubbing. Peter left off his red badge, and the button with the clasped hands and went up into the gallery and lost himself in the crowd. He saw a great many "bulls" whom he knew scattered thru the audience, and also he saw the Chief of Police and the head of the city's detective bureau. When Herbert Ashton was half way thru his tirade, the Chief strode up to the platform and ordered him under arrest, and a score of policemen put themselves between the prisoner and the howling audience.

Altogether they arrested seven people; and next morning, when they saw how much enthusiasm their action had awakened in the newspapers, they decided to go farther yet. A dozen of Guffey's men, with another dozen from the District Attorney's office, raided the office of Ashton's paper, the "Clarion," kicked the editorial staff downstairs or threw them out of the windows, and proceeded to smash the typewriters and the printing presses, and to carry off the subscription lists and burn a ton or two of "literature" in the back yard. Also they raided the headquarters of the "Bolshevik local," and placed the seven members of the executive committee under arrest, and the judge fixed the bail of each of them at twenty-five thousand dollars, and every day for a week or two the American City "Times" would send a man around to Guffey's office, and Guffey would furnish him with a mass of material which Peter had prepared, showing that the Socialist program was one of terrorism and murder.

Almost every day now Peter rendered some such service to his country. He discovered where the I. W. W. had hidden a printing press with which they were getting out circulars and leaflets, and this place was raided, and the press confiscated, and half a dozen more agitators thrown into jail. These men declared a hunger strike, and tried to starve themselves to death as a protest against the beatings they got; and then some hysterical women met in the home of Ada Ruth, and drew up a circular of protest, and Peter kept track of the mailing of this circular, and all the copies were confiscated in the post-office, and so one more conspiracy was foiled. They now had several men at work in the post-office, secretly opening the mail of the agitators; and every now and then they would issue an order forbidding mail to be delivered to persons whose ideas were not sound.

Also the post-office department cancelled the second class mailing privileges of the "Clarion," and later it barred the paper from the mails entirely. A couple of "comrades" with automobiles then took up the work of delivering the paper in the nearby towns; so Peter was sent to get acquainted with these fellows, and in the night time some of Guffey's men entered the garage, and fixed one of the cars so that its steering gear went wrong and very nearly broke the driver's neck. So yet another conspiracy was foiled!

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 69 100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 69

100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 69
Peter was really happy now, because the authorities were thoroughly roused, and when he brought them new facts, he had the satisfaction of seeing something done about it. Ostensibly the action was taken by the Federal agents, or by the District Attorney's office, or by the city police and detectives; but Peter knew that it was always himself and the rest of Guffey's agents, pulling the wires behind the scenes. Guffey had the money, he was working for the men who really counted in American City; Guffey was the real boss. And all over the country it was the same; the
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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 67 100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 67

100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 67
So there it was. When Peter had heard this letter, he understood that there was no more to be said, and he said it. His own weight had suddenly become more than he could support, and he saw a chair nearby and slipped into it, and sat with eyes of abject misery roaming from Guffey to McGivney, and from McGivney to Hammett, and then back to Guffey again.The head detective, for all his anger, was a practical man; he could not have managed the very important and confidential work of the Traction Trust if he had not been. So now he
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