Conrad looked confusedly around, and
the same voice said again, “Mr. Dryfoos!”
and he saw that it was a lady speaking to him from
a coupe beside the curbing, and then he saw that it
was Miss Vance.
She smiled when, he gave signs of
having discovered her, and came up to the door of
her carriage. “I am so glad to meet you.
I have been longing to talk to somebody; nobody seems
to feel about it as I do. Oh, isn’t it
horrible? Must they fail? I saw cars running
on all the lines as I came across; it made me sick
at heart. Must those brave fellows give in?
And everybody seems to hate them so I can’t
bear it.” Her face was estranged with excitement,
and there were traces of tears on it. “You
must think me almost crazy to stop you in the street
this way; but when I caught sight of you I had to
speak. I knew you would sympathize I
knew you would feel as I do. Oh, how can anybody
help honoring those poor men for standing by one another
as they do? They are risking all they have in
the world for the sake of justice! Oh, they are
true heroes! They are staking the bread of their
wives and children on the dreadful chance they’ve
taken! But no one seems to understand it.
No one seems to see that they are willing to suffer
more now that other poor men may suffer less hereafter.
And those wretched creatures that are coming in to
take their places those traitors ”
“We can’t blame them for
wanting to earn a living, Miss Vance,” said
“No, no! I don’t
blame them. Who am I, to do such a thing?
It’s we people like me, of my class who
make the poor betray one another. But this dreadful
fighting this hideous paper is full of it!”
She held up an extra, crumpled with her nervous reading.
“Can’t something be done to stop it?
Don’t you think that if some one went among them,
and tried to make them see how perfectly hopeless
it was to resist the companies and drive off the new
men, he might do some good? I have wanted to go
and try; but I am a woman, and I mustn’t!
I shouldn’t be afraid of the strikers, but I’m
afraid of what people would say!” Conrad kept
pressing his handkerchief to the cut in his temple,
which he thought might be bleeding, and now she noticed
this. “Are you hurt, Mr. Dryfoos? You
look so pale.”
“No, it’s nothing a little
scratch I’ve got.”
“Indeed, you look pale.
Have you a carriage? How will you get home?
Will you get in here with me and let me drive you?”
“No, no,” said Conrad,
smiling at her excitement. “I’m perfectly
“And you don’t think I’m
foolish and wicked for stopping you here and talking
in this way? But I know you feel as I do!”
“Yes, I feel as you do.
You are right right in every way I
mustn’t keep you Good-bye.”
He stepped back to bow, but she put her beautiful hand
out of the window, and when he took it she wrung his
“Thank you, thank you!
You are good and you are just! But no one can
do anything. It’s useless!”
The type of irreproachable coachman
on the box whose respectability had suffered through
the strange behavior of his mistress in this interview
drove quickly off at her signal, and Conrad stood a
moment looking after the carriage. His heart
was full of joy; it leaped; he thought it would burst.
As he turned to walk away it seemed to him as if he
mounted upon the air. The trust she had shown
him, the praise she had given him, that crush of the
hand: he hoped nothing, he formed no idea from
it, but it all filled him with love that cast out
the pain and shame he had been suffering. He
believed that he could never be unhappy any more; the
hardness that was in his mind toward his father went
out of it; he saw how sorely he had tried him; he
grieved that he had done it, but the means, the difference
of his feeling about the cause of their quarrel, he
was solemnly glad of that since she shared it.
He was only sorry for his father. “Poor
father!” he said under his breath as he went
along. He explained to her about his father in
his reverie, and she pitied his father, too.
He was walking over toward the West
Side, aimlessly at first, and then at times with the
longing to do something to save those mistaken men
from themselves forming itself into a purpose.
Was not that what she meant when she bewailed her
woman’s helplessness? She must have wished
him to try if he, being a man, could not do something;
or if she did not, still he would try, and if she
heard of it she would recall what she had said and
would be glad he had understood her so. Thinking
of her pleasure in what he was going to do, he forgot
almost what it was; but when he came to a street-car
track he remembered it, and looked up and down to see
if there were any turbulent gathering of men whom
he might mingle with and help to keep from violence.
He saw none anywhere; and then suddenly, as if at
the same moment, for in his exalted mood all events
had a dream-like simultaneity, he stood at the corner
of an avenue, and in the middle of it, a little way
off, was a street-car, and around the car a tumult
of shouting, cursing, struggling men. The driver
was lashing his horses forward, and a policeman was
at their heads, with the conductor, pulling them;
stones, clubs, brickbats hailed upon the car, the horses,
the men trying to move them. The mob closed upon
them in a body, and then a patrol-wagon whirled up
from the other side, and a squad of policemen leaped
out and began to club the rioters. Conrad could
see how they struck them under the rims of their hats;
the blows on their skulls sounded as if they had fallen
on stone; the rioters ran in all directions.
One of the officers rushed up toward
the corner where Conrad stood, and then he saw at
his side a tall, old man, with a long, white beard,
who was calling out at the policemen: “Ah,
yes! Glup the strikerss gif it to
them! Why don’t you co and glup the bresidents
that insoalt your lawss, and gick your Boart of Arpidration
out-of-toors? Glup the strikerss they
cot no friendts! They cot no money to pribe you,
to dreat you!”
The officer lifted his club, and the
old man threw his left arm up to shield his head.
Conrad recognized Zindau, and now he saw the empty
sleeve dangle in the air over the stump of his wrist.
He heard a shot in that turmoil beside the car, and
something seemed to strike him in the breast.
He was going to say to the policeman: “Don’t
strike him! He’s an old soldier! You
see he has no hand!” but he could not speak,
he could not move his tongue. The policeman stood
there; he saw his face: it was not bad, not cruel;
it was like the face of a statue, fixed, perdurable a
mere image of irresponsible and involuntary authority.
Then Conrad fell forward, pierced through the heart
by that shot fired from the car.
March heard the shot as he scrambled
out of his car, and at the same moment he saw Lindau
drop under the club of the policeman, who left him
where he fell and joined the rest of the squad in pursuing
the rioters. The fighting round the car in the
avenue ceased; the driver whipped his horses into
a gallop, and the place was left empty.
March would have liked to run; he
thought how his wife had implored him to keep away
from the rioting; but he could not have left Lindau
lying there if he would. Something stronger than
his will drew him to the spot, and there he saw Conrad,
dead beside the old man.