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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThey Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 34
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They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 34 Post by :Truman Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :2938

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They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale Of The Second Coming - Chapter 34

CHAPTER XXXIV

The speaker paused, and turned; his gaze swept the platform, and those seated on it. Said he: "You are the representatives of organized labor. I do not know your organization, therefore I ask: For what are you united? Is it to follow in the footsteps of your masters, and bind others as they have bound you?"

He waited for an answer, and the chairman, upon whom his gaze was fixed, cried, "No!" Others also cried, "No!" and the audience took it up with fervor. Carpenter turned to them. "Then I say to you: Break down in your hearts and in the hearts of your fellows the worship of those base things which mastership has brought into the world. If a man pile up food while others starve, is not this evil? If a woman deck herself with clothing to her own discomfort, is not this folly? And if it be folly, how shall it be admired by you, to whom it brings starvation and despair?

"Before me sit young women of the working class. Say to yourselves: I tear from my fingers the jewels which are the blood and tears of my fellow-men; I wash the paint from my face, and from my head and my bosom I take the silly feathers and ribbons. I dare to be what I am. I dare to speak truth in a world of lies. I dare to deal honestly with men and women.

"Before me sit young men of the working-class. I say to you: Love honest women. Do not love harlots, nor imitations of harlots. Do not admire the idle women of the ruling class, nor those who ape them, and thereby glorify them. Do not admire languid limbs and pouting lips and the signs of haughtiness and vanity, your own enslavements.

"A tree is known by the fruit it gives; and the masters are known by the lives they give to their servants. They are known by misery and unemployment, by plague and famine, by wars, and the slaughter of the people. Let judgment be pronounced upon them!

"You have heard it said: Each for himself, and the devil take the hindmost. But I say to you: Each for all, and the hindmost is your charge. I say to you: If a man will not work, let him be the one that hungers; if he will not serve, let him be your criminal. For if one man be idle, another man has been robbed; and if any man make display of wealth, that man has the flesh of his brothers in his stomach. Verily, he that lives at ease while others starve has blood-guilt upon him; and he that despises his fellows has committed the sin for which there is no pardon. He that lives for his own glory is a wolf, and vengeance will hunt him down; but he that loves justice and mercy, and labors for these things, dwells in the bosom of my Father.

"Do not think that I am come to bring you ease and comfort; I am come to bring strife and discontent to this world. For the time of martyrdom draws near, and from your Father alone can you draw the strength to endure your trials. You are hungry, but you will be starved; you are prisoned in mills and mines, but you will be walled up in dungeons; you are beaten with whips, but you will be beaten with clubs, your flesh will be torn by bullets, your skin will be burned with fire and your lungs poisoned with deadly gases--such is the dominion of this world. But I say to you, resist in your hearts, and none can conquer you, for in the hearts of men lies the past and the future, and there is no power but love.

"You say: The world is evil, and men are base; why should I die for them? Oh, ye of little faith, how many have died for you, and would you cheat mankind? If there is to be goodness in the world, some one must begin; who will begin with me?

"My brothers: I am come to lead you into the way of justice. I bid you follow; not in passion and blind excitement, but as men firm in heart and bent upon service. For the way of self-love is easy, while the way of justice is hard. But some will follow, and their numbers will grow; for the lives of men have grown ill beyond enduring, and there must be a new birth of the spirit. Think upon my message; I shall speak to you again, and the compulsion of my law will rest upon you. The powers of this world come to an end, but the power of good will is everlasting, and the body can sooner escape from its own shadow than mankind can escape from brotherhood."

He ceased, and a strange thing happened. Half the crowd rose to its feet; and they cried, "Go, on!" Twice he tried to retire to his seat, but they cried, "Go on, go on!" Said he, "My brothers, this is not my meeting, there are other speakers--" But they cried, "We want to hear you!" He answered, "You have your policies to decide, and your leaders must have their say. But I will speak to you again to-morrow. I am told that your city permits street speaking on Western City Street on Sundays. In the morning I am going to church, to see how they worship my Father in this city of many mobs; but at noon I will hold a meeting on the corner of Fifth and Western City Streets, and if you wish, you may hear me. Now I ask you to excuse me, for I am weary." He stood for a moment, and I saw that, although he had never raised his voice nor made a violent gesture, his eyes were dark and hollow with fatigue, and drops of sweat stood upon his forehead.

He turned and left the platform, and Old Joe and I hurried around to join him. We found him with Korwsky the little Russian tailor whose son he had healed. Korwsky claimed him to spend the night at his home; the friend with the delivery wagon was on hand, and they were ready to start. I asked Carpenter to what church he was going in the morning, and he startled me by the reply, "St. Bartholomew's." I promised that I would surely be on hand, and then Old Joe and I set out to walk home.

"Well?" said I. "What do you think of him?"

The ex-centre-rush walked for a bit before he answered. "You know, Billy boy," said he, "we do lead rotten useless lives."

"Good Lord!" I thought; it was the first sign of a soul I had ever noted in Old Joe! "Why," I argued, "you sell paper, and that's useful, isn't it?"

"I don't know whether it is or not. Look at what's printed on it--mostly advertisements and bunk." And again we walked for a bit. "By the way," said the ex-centre-rush, "before he got through, I saw that aura, or whatever you call it. I guess I'm getting nutty, too!"

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CHAPTER XXXVThe first thing I did on Sunday morning was to pick up the "Western City Times," to see what it had done to Carpenter. I found that he had achieved the front page, triple column, with streamer head all the way across the page:PROPHET IN TOWN, HEALS SICK, RAVES AT RICH AMERICA IS MOBLAND, ALLEGED IN RED RIOT OF TALKThere followed a half page story about Carpenter's strenuous day in Western City, beginning with a "Bolshevik stump speech" to a mob of striking tailors. It appears that the prophet had gone to the Hebrew quarter of the city, and finding
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CHAPTER XXXIIIPresident Brown of the Western City Labor Council arose to perform his next duty as chairman. Said he:"The next speaker is a stranger to most of you, and he is also a stranger to me. I do not know what his doctrine is, and I assume no responsibility for it. But he is a man who has proven his friendship for labor, not by words, but by very unusual deeds. He is a man of remarkable personality, and we have asked him to make what suggestions he can as to our problems. I have pleasure in introducing Mr. Carpenter."Whereupon the
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