Full Online Books
BOOK CATEGORIES
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
LINKS
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
donate
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesKing Coal: A Novel - Book 4. The Will Of King Coal - Section 1 To Section 5
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
King Coal: A Novel - Book 4. The Will Of King Coal - Section 1 To Section 5 Post by :khushee Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :3265

Click below to download : King Coal: A Novel - Book 4. The Will Of King Coal - Section 1 To Section 5 (Format : PDF)

King Coal: A Novel - Book 4. The Will Of King Coal - Section 1 To Section 5

BOOK FOUR
SECTION 1

The pit of death was giving up its secrets. The hoist was busy, and cage-load after cage-load came up, with bodies dead and bodies living and bodies only to be classified after machines had pumped air into them for a while. Hal stood in the rain and watched the crowd and thought that he had never witnessed a scene so compelling to pity and terror. The silence that would fall when any one appeared who might have news to tell! The sudden shriek of anguish from some woman whose hopes were struck dead! The moans of sympathy that ran through the crowd, alternating with cheers at some good tidings, shaking the souls of the multitude as a storm of wind shakes a reed-field!

And the stories that ran through the camp--brought up from the underground world--stories of incredible sufferings, and of still more incredible heroisms! Men who had been four days without food or water, yet had resisted being carried out of the mine, proposing to stay and help rescue others! Men who had lain together in the darkness and silence, keeping themselves alive by the water which seeped from the rocks overhead, taking turns lying face upwards where the drops fell, or wetting pieces of their clothing and sucking out the moisture! Members of the rescue parties would tell how they knocked upon the barriers, and heard the faint answering signals of the imprisoned men; how madly they toiled to cut through, and how, when at last a little hole appeared, they heard the cries of joy, and saw the eyes of men shining from the darkness, while they waited, gasping, for the hole to grow bigger, so that water and food might be passed in!

In some places they were fighting the fire. Long lines of hose had been sent down, and men were moving forward foot by foot, as the smoke and steam were sucked out ahead of them by the fan. Those who did this work were taking their lives in their hands, yet they went without hesitation. There was always hope of finding men in barricaded rooms beyond.

Hal sought out Jeff Cotton at the entrance to the tipple-room, which had been turned into a temporary hospital. It was the first time the two had met since the revelation in Percy's car, and the camp-marshal's face took on a rather sheepish grin. "Well, Mr. Warner, you win," he remarked; and after a little arguing he agreed to permit a couple of women to go into the tipple-room and make a list of the injured, and go out and give the news to the crowd. Hal went to the Minettis to ask Mary Burke to attend to this; but Rosa said that Mary had gone out after he and Miss Arthur had left, and no one knew where she was. So Hal went to Mrs. David, who consented to get a couple of friends, and do the work without being called a "committee." "I won't have any damned committees!" the camp-marshal had declared.

So the night passed, and part of another day. A clerk from the office came to Hal with a sealed envelope, containing a telegram, addressed in care of Cartwright. "I most urgently beg of you to come home at once. It will be distressing to Dad if he hears what has happened, and it will not be possible to keep the matter from him for long."

As Hal read, he frowned; evidently the Harrigans had got busy without delay! He went to the office and telephoned his answer. "Am planning to leave in a day or two. Trust you will make an effort to spare Dad until you have heard my story."

This message troubled Hal. It started in his mind long arguments with his brother, and explanations and apologies to his father. He loved the old man tenderly. What a shame if some emissary of the Harrigans were to get to him to upset him with misrepresentations!

Also these ideas had a tendency to make Hal homesick; they brought more vividly to his thoughts the outside world, with its physical allurements--there being a limit to the amount of unwholesome meals and dirty beds and repulsive sights a man of refinement can force himself to endure. Hal found himself obsessed by a vision of a club dining-room, with odours of grilled steaks and hot rolls, and the colours of salads and fresh fruits and cream. The conviction grew suddenly strong in him that his work in North Valley was nearly done!

Another night passed, and another day. The last of the bodies had been brought out, and the corpses shipped down to Pedro for one of those big wholesale funerals which are a feature of mine-life. The fire was out, and the rescue-crews had given place to a swarm of carpenters and timbermen, repairing the damage and making the mine safe. The reporters had gone; Billy Keating having clasped Hal's hand, and promised to meet him for luncheon at the club. An agent of the "Red Cross" was on hand, and was feeding the hungry out of Mrs. Curtis's subscription-list. What more was there for Hal to do--except to bid good-bye to his friends, and assure them of his help in the future?

First among these friends was Mary Burke, whom he had had no chance to talk to since the meeting with Jessie. He realised that Mary had been deliberately avoiding him. She was not in her home, and he went to inquire at the Rafferties', and stopped for a good-bye chat with the old woman whose husband he had saved.

Rafferty was going to pull through. His wife had been allowed in to see him, and tears rolled down her shrunken cheeks as she told about it. He had been four days and nights blocked up in a little tunnel, with no food or water, save for a few drops of coffee which he had shared with other men. He could still not speak, he could hardly move a hand; but there was life in his eyes, and his look had been a greeting from the soul she had loved and served these thirty years and more. Mrs. Rafferty sang praises to the Rafferty God, who had brought him safely through these perils; it seemed obvious that He must be more efficient than the Protestant God of Johannson, the giant Swede, who had lain by Rafferty's side and given up the ghost.

But the doctor had stated that the old Irishman would never be good to work again; and Hal saw a shadow of terror cross the sunshine of Mrs. Rafferty's rejoicing. How could a doctor say a thing like that? Rafferty was old, to be sure; but he was tough--and could any doctor imagine how hard a man would try who had a family looking to him? Sure, he was not the one to give up for a bit of pain now and then! Besides him, there was only Tim who was earning; and though Tim was a good lad, and worked steady, any doctor ought to know that a big family could not be kept going on the wages of one eighteen-year-old pit-boy. As for the other lads, there was a law that said they were too young to work. Mrs. Rafferty thought there should be some one to put a little sense into the heads of them that made the laws--for if they wanted to forbid children to work in coal-mines, they should surely provide some other way to feed the children.

Hal listened, agreeing sympathetically, and meantime watching her, and learning more from her actions than from her words. She had been obedient to the teachings of her religion, to be fruitful and multiply; she had fed three grown sons into the maw of industry, and had still eight children and a man to care for. Hal wondered if she had ever rested a single minute of daylight in all her fifty-four years. Certainly not while he had been in her house! Even now, while praising the Rafferty God and blaming the capitalist law-makers, she was getting a supper, moving swiftly, silently, like a machine. She was lean as an old horse that has toiled across a desert; the skin over her cheek-bones was tight as stretched rubber, and cords stood out in her wrists like piano-wires.

And now she was cringing before the spectre of destitution. He asked what she would do about it, and saw the shadow of terror cross her face again. There was one recourse from starvation, it seemed--to have her children taken from her, and put in some institution! At the mention of this, one of the special nightmares of the poor, the old woman began to sob and cry again that the doctor was wrong; he would see, and Hal would see--Old Rafferty would be back at his job in a week or two!


SECTION 2.

Hal went out on the street again. It was the hour which would have been sunset in a level region; the tops of the mountains were touched with a purple light, and the air was fresh and chill with early fall. Down the darkening streets he saw a gathering of men; there was shouting, and people running towards the place, so he hurried up, with the thought in his mind, "What's the matter now?" There were perhaps a hundred men crying out, their voices mingling like the sound of waves on the sea. He could make out words: "Go on! Go on! We've had enough of it! Hurrah!"

"What's happened?" he asked, of some one on the outskirts; and the man, recognising him, raised a cry which ran through the throng: "Joe Smith! He's the boy for us! Come in here, Joe! Give us a speech!"

But even while Hal was asking questions, trying to get the situation clear, other shouts had drowned out his name. "We've had enough of them walking over us!" And somebody cried, more loudly, "Tell us about it! Tell it again! Go on!"

A man was standing upon the steps of a building at one side. Hal stared in amazement; it was Tim Rafferty. Of all people in the world--Tim, the light-hearted and simple, Tim of the laughing face and the merry Irish blue eyes! Now his sandy hair was tousled and his features distorted with rage. "Him near dead!" he yelled. "Him with his voice gone, and couldn't move his hand! Eleven years he's slaved for them, and near killed in an accident that's their own fault--every man in this crowd knows it's their own fault, by God!"

"Sure thing! You're right!" cried a chorus of voices "Tell it all!"

"They give him twenty-five dollars and his hospital expenses--and what'll his hospital expenses be? They'll have him out on the street again before he's able to stand. You know that--they done it to Pete Cullen!"

"You bet they did!"

"Them damned lawyers in there--gettin' 'em to sign papers when they don't know what they're doin'. An' me that might help him can't get near! By Christ, I say it's too much! Are we slaves, or are we dogs, that we have to stand such things?"

"We'll stand no more of it!" shouted one. "We'll go in there and see to it ourselves!"

"Come on!" shouted another. "To hell with their gunmen!"

Hal pushed his way into the crowd. "Tim!" he cried. "How do you know this?"

"There's a fellow in there seen it."

"Who?"

"I can't tell you--they'd fire him; but it's somebody you know as well as me. He come and told me. They're beatin' me old father out of damages!"

"They do it all the time!" shouted Wauchope, an English miner at Hal's side. "That's why they won't let us in there."

"They done the same thing to my father!" put in another voice. Hal recognised Andy, the Greek boy.

"And they want to start Number Two in the mornin'!" yelled Tim. "Who'll go down there again? And with Alec Stone, him that damns the men and saves the mules!"

"We'll not go back in them mines till they're safe!" shouted Wauchope. "Let them sprinkle them--or I'm done with the whole business."

"And let 'em give us our weights!" cried another. "We'll have a check-weighman, and we'll get what we earn!"

So again came the cry, "Joe Smith! Give us a speech, Joe! Soak it to 'em! You're the boy!"

Hal stood helpless, dismayed. He had counted his fight won--and here was another beginning! The men were looking to him, calling upon him as the boldest of the rebels. Only a few of them knew about the sudden change in his fortunes.

Even while he hesitated, the line of battle had swept past him; the Englishman, Wauchope, sprang upon the steps and began to address the throng. He was one of the bowed and stunted men, but in this emergency he developed sudden lung-power. Hal listened in astonishment; this silent and dull-looking fellow was the last he would have picked for a fighter. Tom Olson had sounded him out, and reported that he would hear nothing, so they had dismissed him from mind. And here he was, shouting terrible defiance!

"They're a set of robbers and murderers! They rob us everywhere we turn! For my part, I've had enough of it! Have you?"

There was a roar from every one within reach of his voice. They had all had enough.

"All right, then--we'll fight them!"

"Hurrah! Hurrah! We'll have our rights!"

Jeff Cotton came up on the run, with "Bud" Adams and two or three of the gunmen at his heels. The crowd turned upon them, the men on the outskirts clenching their fists, showing their teeth like angry dogs. Cotton's face was red with rage, but he saw that he had a serious matter in hand; he turned and went for more help--and the mob roared with delight. Already they had begun their fight! Already they had won their first victory!


SECTION 3.

The crowd moved down the street, shouting and cursing as it went. Some one started to sing the Marseillaise, and others took it up, and the words mounted to a frenzy:

"To arms! To arms, ye brave!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On victory or death!"


There were the oppressed of many nations in this crowd; they sang in a score of languages, but it was the same song. They would sing a few bars, and the yells of others would drown them out. "March on! March on! All hearts resolved!" Some rushed away in different directions to spread the news, and very soon the whole population of the village was on the spot; the men waving their caps, the women lifting up their hands and shrieking--or standing terrified, realising that babies could not be fed upon revolutionary singing.

Tim Rafferty was raised up on the shoulders of the crowd and made to tell his story once more. While he was telling it, his old mother came running, and her shrieks rang above the clamour: "Tim! Tim! Come down from there! What's the matter wid ye?" She was twisting her hands together in an agony of fright; seeing Hal, she rushed up to him. "Get him out of there, Joe! Sure, the lad's gone crazy! They'll turn us out of the camp, they'll give us nothin' at all--and what'll become of us? Mother of God, what's the matter with the b'y?" She called to Tim again; but Tim paid no attention, if he heard her. Tim was on the march to Versailles!

Some one shouted that they would go to the hospital to protect the injured men from the "damned lawyers." Here was something definite, and the crowd moved in that direction, Hal following with the stragglers, the women and children, and the less bold among the men. He noticed some of the clerks and salaried employes of the company; presently he saw Jeff Cotton again, and heard him ordering these men to the office to get revolvers.

"Big Jack" David came along with Jerry Minetti, and Hal drew back to consult with them. Jerry was on fire. It had come--the revolt he had been looking forward to for years! Why were they not making speeches, getting control of the men and organising them?

Jack David voiced uncertainty. They had to consider if this outburst could mean anything permanent.

Jerry answered that it would mean what they chose to make it mean. If they took charge, they could guide the men and hold them together. Wasn't that what Tom Olson had wanted?

No, said the big Welshman, Olson had been trying to organise the men secretly, as preliminary to a revolt in all the camps. That was quite another thing from an open movement, limited to one camp. Was there any hope of success for such a movement? If not, they would be foolish to start, they would only be making sure of their own expulsion.

Jerry turned to Hal. What did he think?

And so at last Hal had to speak. It was hard for him to judge, he said. He knew so little about labour matters. It was to learn about them that he had come to North Valley. It was a hard thing to advise men to submit to such treatment as they had been getting; but on the other hand, any one could see that a futile outbreak would discourage everybody, and make it harder than ever to organise them.

So much Hal spoke; but there was more in his mind, which he could not speak. He could not say to these men, "I am a friend of yours, but I am also a friend of your enemy, and in this crisis I cannot make up my mind to which side I owe allegiance. I'm bound by a duty of politeness to the masters of your lives; also, I'm anxious not to distress the girl I am to marry!" No, he could not say such things. He felt himself a traitor for having them in his mind, and he could hardly bring himself to look these men in the eye. Jerry knew that he was in some way connected with the Harrigans; probably he had told the rest of Hal's friends, and they had been discussing it and speculating about the meaning of it. Suppose they should think he was a spy?

So Hal was relieved when Jack David spoke firmly. They would only be playing the game of the enemy if they let themselves be drawn in prematurely. They ought to have the advice of Tom Olson.

Where was Olson? Hal asked; and David explained that on the day when Hal had been thrown out of camp, Olson had got his "time" and set out for Sheridan, the local headquarters of the union, to report the situation. He would probably not come back; he had got his little group together, he had planted the seed of revolt in North Valley.

They discussed back and forth the problem of getting advice. It was impossible to telephone from North Valley without everything they said being listened to; but the evening train for Pedro left in a few minutes, and "Big Jack" declared that some one ought to take it. The town of Sheridan was only fifteen or twenty miles from Pedro, and there would be a union official there to advise them; or they might use the long distance telephone, and persuade one of the union leaders in Western City to take the midnight train, and be in Pedro next morning.

Hal, still hoping to withdraw himself, put this task off on Jack David. They emptied out the contents of their pockets, so that he might have funds enough, and the big Welshman darted off to catch the train. In the meantime Jerry and Hal agreed to keep in the background, and to seek out the other members of their group and warn them to do the same.


SECTION 4.

This programme was a convenient one for Hal; but as he was to find almost at once, it had been adopted too late. He and Jerry started after the crowd, which had stopped in front of one of the company buildings; and as they came nearer they heard some one making a speech. It was the voice of a woman, the tones rising clear and compelling. They could not see the speaker, because of the throng, but Hal recognised her voice, and caught his companion by the arm. "It's Mary Burke!"

Mary Burke it was, for a fact; and she seemed to have the crowd in a kind of frenzy. She would speak one sentence, and there would come a roar from the throng; she would speak another sentence, and there would come another roar. Hal and Jerry pushed their way in, to where they could make out the words of this litany of rage.

"Would they go down into the pit themselves, do ye think?"

"They would not!"

"Would they be dressed in silks and laces, do ye think?"

"They would not!"

"Would they have such fine soft hands, do ye think?"

"They would not!"

"Would they hold themselves too good to look at ye?"

"They would not! They would not!"

And Mary swept on: "If only ye'd stand together, they'd come to ye on their knees to ask for terms! But ye're cowards, and they play on your fears! Ye're traitors, and they buy ye out! They break ye into pieces, they do what they please with ye--and then ride off in their private cars, and leave gunmen to beat ye down and trample on your faces! How long will ye stand it? How long?"

The roar of the mob rolled down the street and back again. "We'll not stand it! We'll not stand it!" Men shook their clenched fists, women shrieked, even children shouted curses. "We'll fight them! We'll slave no more for them!"

And Mary found a magic word. "We'll have a union!" she shouted. "We'll get together and stay together! If they refuse us our rights, we'll know what to answer--we'll have a _strike!_"

There was a roar like the crashing of thunder in the mountains. Yes, Mary had found the word! For many years it had not been spoken aloud in North Valley, but now it ran like a flash of gunpowder through the throng. "Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike!" It seemed as if they would never have enough of it. Not all of them had understood Mary's speech, but they knew this word, "Strike!" They translated and proclaimed it in Polish and Bohemian and Italian and Greek. Men waved their caps, women waved their aprons--in the semi-darkness it was like some strange kind of vegetation tossed by a storm. Men clasped one another's hands, the more demonstrative of the foreigners fell upon one another's necks. "Strike! Strike! Strike!"

"We're no longer slaves!" cried the speaker. "We're men--and we'll live as men! We'll work as men--or we'll not work at all! We'll no longer be a herd of cattle, that they can drive about as they please! We'll organise, we'll stand together--shoulder to shoulder! Either we'll win together, or we'll starve and die together! And not a man of us will yield, not a man of us will turn traitor! Is there anybody here who'll scab on his fellows?"

There was a howl, which might have come from a pack of wolves. Let the man who would scab on his fellows show his dirty face in that crowd!

"Ye'll stand by the union?"

"We'll stand by it!"

"Ye'll swear?"

"We'll swear!"

She flung her arms to heaven with a gesture of passionate adjuration. "Swear it on your lives! To stick to the rest of us, and never a man of ye give way till ye've won! Swear! _Swear!_"

Men stood, imitating her gesture, their hands stretched up to the sky. "We swear! We swear!"

"Ye'll not let them break ye! Ye'll not let them frighten ye!"

"No! No!"

"Stand by your word, men! Stand by it! 'Tis the one chance for your wives and childer!" The girl rushed on--exhorting with leaping words and passionate out-flung arms--a tall, swaying figure of furious rebellion. Hal listened to the speech and watched the speaker, marvelling. Here was a miracle of the human soul, here was hope born of despair! And the crowd around her--they were sharing the wonderful rebirth; their waving arms, their swaying forms responded to Mary as an orchestra to the baton of a leader.

A thrill shook Hal--a thrill of triumph! He had been beaten down himself, he had wanted to run from this place of torment; but now there was hope in North Valley--now there would be victory, freedom!

Ever since he had come to the coal-country, the knowledge had been growing in Hal that the real tragedy of these people's lives was not their physical suffering, but their mental depression--the dull, hopeless misery in their minds. This had been driven into his consciousness day by day, both by what he saw and by what others told him. Tom Olson had first put it into words: "Your worst troubles are inside the heads of the fellows you're trying to help!" How could hope be given to men in this environment of terrorism? Even Hal himself, young and free as he was, had been brought to despair. He came from a class which is accustomed to say, "Do this," or "Do that," and it will be done. But these mine-slaves had never known that sense of power, of certainty; on the contrary, they were accustomed to having their efforts balked at every turn, their every impulse to happiness or achievement crushed by another's will.

But here was this miracle of the human soul! Here was hope in North Valley! Here were the people rising--and Mary Burke at their head! It was his vision come true--Mary Burke with a glory in her face, and her hair shining like a crown of gold! Mary Burke mounted upon a snow-white horse, wearing a robe of white, soft and lustrous--like Joan of Arc, or a leader in a suffrage parade! Yes, and she was at the head of a host, he had the music of its marching in his ears!

Underneath Hal's jesting words had been a real vision, a real faith in this girl. Since that day when he had first discovered her, a wild rose of the mining-camp taking in the family wash, he had realised that she was no pretty young working-girl, but a woman with a mind and a personality. She saw farther, she felt more deeply than the average of these wage-slaves. Her problem was the same as theirs, yet more complex. When he had wanted to help her and had offered to get her a job, she had made clear that what she craved was not merely relief from drudgery, but a life with intellectual interest. So then the idea had come to him that Mary should become a teacher, a leader of her people. She loved them, she suffered for them and with them, and at the same time she had a mind that was capable of seeking out the causes of their misery. But when he had gone to her with plans of leadership, he had been met by her corroding despair; her pessimism had seemed to mock his dreams, her contempt for these mine-slaves had belittled his efforts in their behalf and in hers.

And now, here she was taking up the role he had planned for her! Her very soul was in this shouting throng, he thought. She had lived the lives of these people, shared their every wrong, been driven to rebellion with them. Being a mere man, Hal missed one important point about this startling development; he did not realise that Mary's eloquence was addressed, not merely to the Rafferties and the Wauchopes, and the rest of the North Valley mine-slaves, but to a certain magazine-cover girl, clad in a mackintosh and a pale green hat and a soft and filmy and horribly expensive motoring veil!

 


SECTION 5.

Mary's speech was brought to a sudden end. A group of the men had moved down the street, and there arose a disturbance there. The noise of it swelled louder, and more people began to move in that direction. Mary turned to look, and all at once the whole throng surged down the street.

The trouble was at the hospital. In front of this building was a porch, and on it Cartwright and Alec Stone were standing, with a group of the clerks and office-employes, among whom Hal saw Predovich, Johnson, the postmaster, and Si Adams. At the foot of the steps stood Tim Rafferty, with a swarm of determined men at his back. He was shouting, "We want them lawyers out of there!"

The superintendent himself had undertaken to parley with him. "There are no lawyers in here, Rafferty."

"We don't trust you!" And the crowd took up the cry: "We'll see for ourselves!"

"You can't go into this building," declared Cartwright.

"I'm goin' to see my father!" shouted Tim. "I've got a right to see my father, ain't I?"

"You can see him in the morning. You can take him away, if you want to. We've no desire to keep him. But he's asleep now, and you can't disturb the others."

"You weren't afraid to disturb them with your damned lawyers!" And there was a roar of approval--so loud that Cartwright's denial could hardly be heard.

"There have been no lawyers near him, I tell you."

"It's a lie!" shouted Wauchope. "They been in there all day, and you know it. We mean to have them out."

"Go on, Tim!" cried Andy, the Greek boy, pushing his way to the front. "Go on!" cried the others; and thus encouraged, Rafferty started up the steps.

"I mean to see my father!" As Cartwright caught him by the shoulder, he yelled, "Let me go, I say!"

It was evident that the superintendent was trying his best not to use violence; he was ordering his own followers back at the same time that he was holding the boy. But Tim's blood was up; he shoved forward, and the superintendent, either striking him or trying to ward off a blow, threw him backwards down the steps. There was an uproar of rage from the throng; they surged forward, and at the same time some of the men on the porch drew revolvers.

The meaning of that situation was plain enough. In a moment more the mob would be up the steps, and there would be shooting. And if once that happened, who could guess the end? Wrought up as the crowd was, it might not stop till it had fired every company building, perhaps not until it had murdered every company representative.

Hal had resolved to keep in the back-ground, but he saw that to keep in the back-ground at that moment would be an act of cowardice, almost a crime. He sprang forward, his cry rising above the clamour. "Stop, men! Stop!"

There was probably no other man in North Valley who could have got himself heeded at that moment. But Hal had their confidence, he had earned the right to be heard. Had he not been to prison for them, had they not seen him behind the bars? "Joe Smith!" The cry ran from one end of the excited throng to the other.

Hal was fighting his way forward, shoving men to one side, imploring, commanding silence. "Tim Rafferty! Wait!" And Tim, recognising the voice, obeyed.

Once clear of the press, Hal sprang upon the porch, where Cartwright did not attempt to interfere with him.

"Men!" he cried. "Hold on a moment! This isn't what you want! You don't want a fight!" He paused for an instant; but he knew that no mere negative would hold them at that moment. They must be told what they did want. Just now he had learned the particular words that would carry, and he proclaimed them at the top of his voice: "What you want is a union! A _strike!_"

He was answered by a roar from the crowd, the loudest yet. Yes, that was what they wanted! A strike! And they wanted Joe Smith to organise it, to lead it. He had been their leader once, he had been thrown out of camp for it. How he had got back they were not quite clear--but here he was, and he was their darling. Hurrah for him! They would follow him to hell and back!

And wasn't he the boy with the nerve! Standing there on the porch of the hospital, right under the very noses of the bosses, making a union speech to them, and the bosses never daring to touch him! The crowd, realising this situation, went wild with delight. The English-speaking men shouted assent to his words; and those who could not understand, shouted because the others did.

They did not want fighting--of course not! Fighting would not help them! What would help them was to get together, and stand a solid body of free men. There would be a union committee, able to speak for all of them, to say that no man would go to work any more until justice was secured! They would have an end to the business of discharging men because they asked for their rights, of blacklisting men and driving them out of the district because they presumed to want what the laws of the state awarded them!

If you like this book please share to your friends :
NEXT BOOKS

King Coal: A Novel - Book 4. The Will Of King Coal - Section 6 To Section 10 King Coal: A Novel - Book 4. The Will Of King Coal - Section 6 To Section 10

King Coal: A Novel - Book 4. The Will Of King Coal - Section 6 To Section 10
SECTION 6.How long could a man expect to stand on the steps of a company building, with a super and a pit-boss at his back, and organise a union of mine-workers? Hal realised that he must move the crowd from that perilous place."You'll do what I say, now?" he demanded; and when they agreed in chorus, he added the warning: "There'll be no fighting! And no drinking! If you see any man drunk to-night, sit on him and hold him down!"They laughed and cheered. Yes, they would keep straight. Here was a job for sober men, you bet!"And now," Hal continued,
PREVIOUS BOOKS

King Coal: A Novel - Book 3. The Henchmen Of King Coal - Section 21 To Section 25 King Coal: A Novel - Book 3. The Henchmen Of King Coal - Section 21 To Section 25

King Coal: A Novel - Book 3. The Henchmen Of King Coal - Section 21 To Section 25
SECTION 21.Hal went into the drawing-room car. There were Mrs. Curtis and Reggie Porter, playing bridge with Genevieve Halsey and young Everson. Bob Creston was chatting with Betty Gunnison, telling her what he had seen outside, no doubt. Bert Atkins was looking over the morning paper, yawning. Hal went on, seeking Jessie Arthur, and found her in one of the compartments of the car, looking out of the rain-drenched window--learning about a mining-camp in the manner permitted to young ladies of her class.He expected to find her in a disturbed state of mind, and was prepared to apologise. But when he
NEXT 10 BOOKS | PREVIOUS 10 BOOKS | RANDOM 10 BOOKS
LEAVE A COMMENT