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Full Online Book HomeLong Stories100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 83
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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 83 Post by :Dusty13 Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :1292

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 83

Among the first load to be brought in was Miriam Yankovich. Miriam had joined the Communist Party, and she had been born in Russia, so that was all there was to her case. Peter, knew, of course that it was Miriam who had set Rosie Stern after him and brought about his downfall. Still, he could not help but be moved by her appearance. She looked haggard and old, and she had a cough, and her eyes were wild and crazy. Peter remembered her as proud and hot-tempered, but now her pride was all gone--she flung herself on her knees before him, and caught hold of his coat, sobbing hysterically. It appeared that she had a mother and five young brothers and sisters who were dependent upon her earnings; all her money had been consumed by hospital expenses, and now she was to be deported to Russia, and what would become of her loved ones?

Peter answered, what could he do? She had violated the law, they had her membership card in the Communist Party, and she had admitted that she was alien born. He tried to draw away, but she clung to him, and went on sobbing and pleading. At least she ought to have a chance to talk with her old mother, to tell her what to do, where to go for help, how to communicate with Miriam in future. They were sending her away without allowing her to have a word with her loved ones, without even a chance to get her clothing!

Peter, as we know, had always been soft-hearted towards women, so now he was embarrassed. In the handling of these cattle he was carrying out the orders of his superiors; he had no power to grant favors to any one, and he told Miriam this again and again. But she would not listen to him. "Please, Peter, please! For God's sake, Peter! You know you were once a little in love with me, Peter--you told me so--"

Yes, that was true, but it hadn't done Peter much good. Miriam bad been interested in Mac--in Mac, that most dangerous devil, who had given Peter so many anxious hours! She had brushed Peter to one side, she had hardly been willing to listen to what he said; and now she was trying to use that love she had spurned!

She had got hold of his hand, and he could not get it away from her without violence. "If you ever felt a spark of love for a woman," she cried, "surely you cannot deny such a favor--such a little favor! Please, Peter, for the sake of old times!"

Suddenly Peter started, and Miriam too. There came a voice from the doorway. "So this is one of your lady friends, is it?" And there stood Gladys, staring, rigid with anger, her little hands clenched. "So this is one of your Red sweethearts, one of your nationalized women?" And she stamped her foot. "Get up, you hussy! Get up, you slut!" And as Miriam continued to kneel, motionless with surprise, Gladys rushed at her, and clutched two handfuls of her heavy black hair, and pulled so that Miriam fell prone on the floor. "I'll teach you, you free lover!" she screamed. "I'll teach you to make love to my husband!" And she dragged Miriam about by that mop of black hair, kicking her and clawing her, until finally several of the bulls had to interfere to save the girl's life.

As a matter of fact Gladys had been told about Peter's shameful past before she married him; Guffey had told her, and she had told Peter that Guffey had told her, she had reminded Peter of it many, many times. But the actual sight of one of these "nationalized women" had driven her into a frenzy, and it was a week before peace was restored in the Gudge family. Meantime poor Peter was buffeted by storms of emotion, both at home and in his office. They were getting ready the first Red train, and it seemed as if every foreign Red that Peter had ever known was besieging him, trying to get at him and harrow his soul and his conscience. Sadie Todd's cousin, who had been born in England, was shipped out on this first train, and also a Finnish lumberman whom Peter had known in the I. W. W., and a Bohemian cigar worker at whose home he had several times eaten, and finally Michael Dubin, the Jewish boy with whom he had spent fifteen days in jail, and who had been one of the victims of the black-snake whippings.

Michael made no end of wailing, because he had a wife and three babies, and he set up the claim that when the "bulls" had raided his home they had stolen all his savings, two or three hundred dollars. Peter, of course, insisted that he could do nothing; Dubin was a Red and an alien, and he must go. When they were loading them on the train, there was Dubin's wife and half a hundred other women, shrieking and wringing their hands, and trying to break thru the guards to get near their loved ones. The police had to punch them in the stomachs with their clubs to hold them back, and in spite of all these blows, the hysterical Mrs. Dubin succeeded in breaking thru the guards, and she threw herself under the wheels of the train, and they were barely able to drag her away in time to save her life. Scenes like this would, of course, have a bad effect upon the public, and so Guffey called up the editors of all the newspapers, and obtained a gentleman's agreement that none of them would print any details.

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All over the country the Red trains were moving eastward, loaded with "wobblies" and communists, pacifists and anarchists, and a hundred other varieties of Bolsheviks. They got a shipload together and started them off for Russia--the "Red Ark" it was called, and the Red soap-boxers set tip a terrific uproar, and one Red clergyman compared the "Red Ark" to the Mayflower! Also there was some Red official in Washington, who made a fuss and cancelled a whole block of deportation orders, including some of Peter's own cases. This, naturally, was exasperating to Peter and his wife; and on top of it
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Peter was so busy these days that he missed several nights' sleep, and hardly even stopped to eat. He had his own private room the prisoners were brought for examination, and he had half a dozen men under his orders to do the "strong arm" work. It was his task to extract from these prisoners admissions which would justify their being sent to prison if they were citizens, or being deported if they were aliens. There was of course seldom any way to distinguish between citizens and aliens; you just had to take a chance on it, proceeding on the
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