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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThey Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 28
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They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 28 Post by :runtonk Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :2637

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They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 28

CHAPTER XXVIII

However, T-S had come there to get something that day, and I thought I knew what it was. He swallowed his consternation, and all the rest of his emotions. "Now, now, Mr. Carpenter! Ve ain't a-goin' to quarrel about a ting like dat. Dem fellers is hungry, and de money vill give dem vun good feed. Ve git somebody to bring it to dem, and we be friends shoost de same. Billy, maybe you could give it, hey?"

I drew back with a laugh. "You don't get me into your quarrels!"

"Vell," said T-S--and suddenly he had an inspiration. "I know. I git Mary Magna to give it! She's a voman!"

Carpenter turned with sudden wonder. "Then women are permitted to have hearts?"

"Shoost so, Mr. Carpenter! Ha, ha, ha! Ve business fellers--my Gawd, if you knew vot business is, you'd vunder we got hearts enough to keep our blood movin'."

"Business," said Carpenter, still pondering. "Then it's business--"

"Yes, business--" put in T-S. "Dat's it!" And he lowered his voice, and looked round once more. "It's time we vas talkin' business now! Mr. Carpenter, I be frank vit you, I put all my cards on de table. I seen de papers shoost now, vot vunderful tings you do--healin' de sick and quellin' de mobs and all dat--and I tink I gotta raise my offer, Mr. Carpenter. If you sign a contract I got here in my pocket, I pay you a tousand dollars a veek. Vot you say, my friend?"

Carpenter did not say anything, and so the magnate began to expatiate upon the artistic triumphs he would achieve. "I make such a picture fer you as de vorld never seen before. You can do shoost vot you vant in dat story--all de tings you like to do, and nuttin' you didn't like. I never said dat to no man before, but I know you now, Mr. Carpenter, and all I ask you is to heal de sick and quell de mobs, shoost like today. I pledge you my vord--I put it in de contract if you say so--I make nuttin' but Bible pictures."

"That is very kind of you, Mr. T-S, and I thank you for the compliment; but I fear you will have to get some one else to play my part."

Said T-S: "I vant you to tink, Mr. Carpenter, vot it vould mean if you had a tousand dollars every week. You could feed all de babies of de strikers. I vouldn't care vot you did--you could feed my own strikers, ven I git some at Eternal City. A tousand dollars a veek is an awful pile o' money to have!"

"I know that, my friend."

"And vot's more, I pay you five tousand cash on de signin' of de contract. You can go right in now vit dese strikers--maybe you could beat Prince's vit all dat money!" Then, as Carpenter still shook his head: "I give you vun more raise, my friend--but dat's de last, you gotta believe me. I pay you fifteen hunded a veek. I aint ever paid so much money to a green actor in my life before, and I don't tink anybody else in de business ever did."

But still Carpenter shook his head!

"Vould you mind tellin' me vy, Mr. Carpenter?"

"Not at all. You tell me that I may quell mobs for you. But there are mobs in your business that I could not quell."

"Vot mobs?"

"Among others, yourself."

"Me?"

"Yes--you are a mob; a mob of money! You storm the souls of men, and of women too. It will take a stronger force than I to quell you."

"I don't git you," said T-S, helplessly; but then, thinking it over a bit, he went on: "I guess I'm a vulgar feller, Mr. Carpenter, and maybe all my pictures ain't vot you call high-brow. But if I had a man like you to vork vit, I could make vot you call real educational pictures. You're vot dey call a prophet, you got a message fer de vorld; vell, vy don't you let me spread it fer you? If you use my machinery, you can talk to a billion people. Dat's no joke--if dey is dat many alive, I bring 'em to you; I bring de Japs and de Chinks and de niggers--de vooly-headed savages vot vould eat your missionaries if you sent 'em. I offer you de whole vorld, Mr. Carpenter; and you vould be de boss!"

Carpenter became suddenly grave. "My friend," said he, "a long time ago there was a prophet, and he was offered the world. The story is told us--'Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' You recall that story, Mr. T-S?"

"No," said T-S, "I ain't vun o' dese litry fellers." But he realized that the story was not complimentary to him, and he showed his chagrin. "I tell you vun ting, Mr. Carpenter, if you vas to know me better, you vouldn't call me a devil."

And suddenly the other put his hand on the great man's shoulder. "I believe that, my friend; I hate the sin but love the sinner--And so, suppose you come to lunch with me?"

"Lunch?" said T-S, taken aback.

"I went to dinner with you last night. Now you come to lunch with me."

"Vere at, Mr. Carpenter?"

Said Carpenter: "When I went with you, I did not ask where."

Carpenter signed to me and to Everett, the secretary, and the four of us went out of the room. I was as much mystified as the picture magnate, but I held my peace, and Carpenter led us to the elevator, and down to the street. "No," said he, to T-S, "there is no need to get into your car. The place is just around the corner." And he put his arm in that of the magnate, and led him down the street--somewhat to the embarrassment of his victim, for there was a crowd following us. People had read the afternoon papers by now, and it was no longer possible to walk along unheeded, with a prophet only twenty-four hours from God, who healed the sick and quelled mobs before breakfast. But T-S set his teeth and bore it--hoping this might be the way to land his contract.

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CHAPTER XXIXWe turned the corner, and soon I saw what was before us, and almost cried out with glee. It was really too good to be true! Carpenter, in the course of his talks with strikers, had learned where their soup-kitchen was located, the relief-headquarters where their families were being fed; and he now had the sublime audacity to take the picture magnate to lunch among them!The place was an empty warehouse, fitted with long tables, and benches made of planks that were old and full of splinters. Here in rows of twenty or thirty were seated men and women and
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CHAPTER XXVIISoon after the noon-hour, there pushed his way into the crowd a young man, whom I recognized as one of the secretaries of T-S. He was looking for me, and told me in a whisper that his employer was downstairs in his car, and wanted to see Mr. Carpenter and myself about something important. He did not want to come up, because it was too conspicuous. Would we come down and take a little drive? I answered that I should be willing, but I knew Carpenter would not--he had been in an automobile accident the night before, and had refused
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