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Full Online Book HomeLong Stories100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 85
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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 85 Post by :codebluenj Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :2074

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 85

Peter went out from this conference a sober man, realizing for the first time his responsibilities as a voter, and a shepherd to other voters. Peter agreed with Gladys that his views had been too narrow; his conception of the duties of a secret agent had been of the pre-war order. Now he must realize that the world was changed; now, in this new world made safe for democracy, the secret agent was the real ruler of society, the real master of affairs, the trustee, as it were, for civilization. Peter and his wife must take up this new role and make themselves fit for it. They ought of course not be moved by personal considerations, but at the same time they must recognize the fact that this higher role would be of great advantage to them; it would enable them to move up in the world, to meet the best people. Thru five or six years of her young life Gladys had sat polishing the fingernails and fondling the soft white hands of the genteel; and always a fire of determination had burnt in her breast, that some day she would belong to this world of gentility, she would meet these people, not as an employee, but as an equal, she would not merely hold their hands, but would have them hold hers.

Now the chance had come. She had a little talk with Guffey, and Guffey said it would be a good idea, and he would speak to Billy Nash, the secretary of the "Improve America League"; and he did so, and next week the American City "Times" announced that on the following Sunday evening the Men's Bible Class of the Bethlehem Church would have an interesting meeting. It would be addressed by an "under cover" operative of the government, a former Red who had been for many years a most dangerous agitator, but had seen the error of his ways, and had made amends by giving his services to the government in the recent I. W. W. trials.

The Bethlehem Church didn't amount to very much, it was an obscure sect like the Holy Rollers; but Gladys had been shrewd, and had insisted that you mustn't try to climb to the top of the mountain in one step. Peter must first "try it on the dog," and if he failed, there would be no great harm done.

But Gladys worked just as hard to make a success of this lecture as if they had been going into real society. She spent several days getting up her costume and Peter's, and she spent a whole day getting her toilet ready, and before they set out she spent at least an hour putting the finishing touches upon herself in front of a mirror, and seeing that Peter was proper in every detail. When Mr. Nash introduced her personally to the Rev. Zebediah Muggins, and when this apostle of the second advent came out upon the platform and introduced her husband to the crowded working-class audience, Gladys was so a-quiver with delight that it was more a pain than a pleasure.

Peter did not do perfectly, of course. He lost himself a few times, and stammered and floundered about; but he remembered Glady's advice--if he got stuck, to smile and explain that he had never spoken in public before. So everything went along nicely, and everybody in the Men's Bible Class was aghast at the incredible revelations of this ex-Red and secret agent of law and order. So next week Peter was invited again--this time by the Young Saints' League; and when he had made good there, he was drafted by the Ad. Men's Association, and then by the Crackers and Cheese Club. By this time he had acquired what Gladys called "savwaa fair"; his fame spread rapidly, and at last came the supreme hour--he was summoned to Park Avenue to address the members of the Friendly Society, a parish organization of the Church of the Divine Compassion!

This was the goal upon which the eyes of Gladys had been fixed. This was the time that really counted, and Peter was groomed and rehearsed all over again. Their home was only a few blocks from the church, but Gladys insisted that they must positively arrive in a taxi-cab, and when they entered the Parish Hall and the Rev. de Willoughby Stotterbridge, that exquisite almost-English gentleman, came up and shook hands with them, Gladys knew that she had at last arrived. The clergyman himself escorted her to the platform, and after he had introduced Peter, he seated himself beside her, thus definitely putting a seal upon her social position.

Peter, having learned his lecture by heart, having found out just what brought laughter and what brought tears and what brought patriotic applause, was now an assured success. After the lecture he answered questions, and two clerks in the employ of Billy Nash passed around membership cards of the "Improve America League," membership dues five dollars a year, sustaining membership twenty-five dollars a year, life membership two hundred dollars cash. Peter was shaken hands with by members of the most exclusive social set in American City, and told by them all to keep it up--his country needed him. Next morning there was an account of his lecture in the "Times," and the morning after there was an editorial about his revelations, with the moral: "Join the Improve America League."

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 86 100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 86

100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 86
That second morning, when Peter got to his office, he found a letter waiting for him, a letter written on very conspicuous and expensive stationery, and addressed in a woman's tall and sharp-pointed handwriting. Peter opened it and got a start, for at the top of the letter was some kind of crest, and a Latin inscription, and the words: "Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution." The letter informed him by the hand of a secretary that Mrs. Warring Sammye requested that Mr. Peter Gudge would be so good as to call upon her that afternoon at three o'clock.
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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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