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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThey Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 24
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They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 24 Post by :cclittle Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :3249

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They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 24

CHAPTER XXIV

There was a crowd following us, of course; and I sought to keep Carpenter busy in conversation, to indicate that the crowd was not wanted. But before we had gone half a block I felt some one touch me on the arm, and heard a voice, saying, "I beg pardon, I'm a reporter for the 'Evening Blare'."

Now, of course, I had known this must come; I had realized that I would be getting myself in for it, if I went to join Carpenter that morning. I had planned to warn him, to explain to him what our newspapers are; but how could I have foreseen that he was going to get into a riot before breakfast, and bring out the police reserves and the police reporters?

"Excuse us," I said, coldly. "We have something urgent--"

"I just want to get something of this gentleman's speech--"

"We are on our way to the Labor Temple. If you will come there in a couple of hours, we will give you an interview."

"But I must have a story for our first edition, that goes to press before that."

I had Carpenter by the arm, and kept him firmly walking. I could not get rid of the reporter, but I was resolved to get my warning spoken, regardless of anything. Said I: "This is a matter extremely urgent for you to understand, Mr. Carpenter. This young man represents a newspaper, and anything you say to him will be read in the course of a few hours by perhaps a hundred thousand people. If it is found especially senational, the Continental Press may put it on its wires, and it will go to several hundred papers all over the country--"

"Twelve hundred and thirty-seven papers," corrected the young man.

"So you see, it is necessary that you should be careful what you say--far more so than if you were speaking to a handful of Mexican laborers or Jewish housewives."

Said Carpenter: "I don't understand what you mean. When I speak, I speak the truth."

"Yes, of course," I replied--and meantime I was racking my poor wits figuring out how to present this strange acquaintance of mine most tactfully to the world. I knew the reporter would not tarry long; he would grab a few sentences, and rush away to telephone them in.

"I'll tell you what I'm free to tell," I began. "This gentleman is a healer, a man of very remarkable gifts. Mental healing, you understand."

"I get you," said the reporter. "Some religion?"

"Mr. Carpenter teaches a new religion."

"I see. A sort of prophet! And where does he come from?"

I tried to evade. "He has just arrived--"

But the blood-hound of the press was not going to be evaded. "Where do you come from, sir?" he demanded, of Carpenter.

To which Carpenter answered, promptly: "From God."

"From God? Er--oh, I see. From God! Most interesting! How long ago, may I ask?"

"Yesterday."

"Oh! That is indeed extraordinary! And this mob that you've just been addressing--did you use some kind of mind cure on them?"

I could see the story taking shape; the headlines flamed before my mind's eye--streamer heads, all the way across the sheet, after the fashion of our evening papers:

PROPHET FRESH FROM GOD QUELLS MOB

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CHAPTER XXVI came to a sudden decision in this crisis. The sensible thing to do was to meet the issue boldly, and take the job of launching Carpenter under proper auspices. He really was a wonderful man, and deserved to be treated decently.I addressed the reporter again. "Listen. This gentleman is a man of remarkable gifts, and does not take money for them; so, if you are going to tell about him at all, do it in a dignified way.""Of course! I had no other idea--""Your city editor might have another idea," I remarked, drily. "Permit me to introduce myself." I
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CHAPTER XXIIII went early next morning, but not early enough. The Mexican woman told me that "the master" had waited, and finally had gone. He had asked the way to the Labor Temple, and left word that I would find him there. So I stepped back into my taxi, and told the driver to take the most direct route.Meantime I kept watch for my friend, and I did not have to watch very long. There was a crowd ahead, the street was blocked, and a premonition came to me: "Good Lord, I'm too late--he's got into some new mess!" I leaned
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