Francis A. Adams.

The Transgressors Story of a Great Sin online

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cannot resist the instinctive craving of the animal spirit for blood.

"The sewer was good enough for Metz," exclaims an ironworker,
ferociously. It's good enough for Purdy."

"Where is Purdy's body?"

This question now presents itself to the invaders. It serves as the
keynote for future action.

"Let's find it," suggests the ironworker. And the search of the mansion
is begun.

Anticipating that the crowd might demand the body of the
multi-millionaire, his faithful attendants have hurriedly removed it to
the top of the building. It is concealed in the apartments of the chief
butler. A superficial hunt fails to reveal its place of concealment.
This intensifies the eagerness of the people to find it. They are
positive it was on the premises, for the crowd without completely
surrounds the palace.

Again are the gorgeous furnishings of the forty rooms thrown
helter-skelter. Costly cabinets that refuse to yield to first pressure,
are wrenched open. The frightened butler and the corps of other servants
are impressed into the search. They are compelled to give up the keys to
all closets and rooms. As case after case of silver and gold service are
disclosed, the vulture element pounces upon them. For every piece there
are fifty contestants, and the result is a wild scrimmage which prevents
any one getting so much as a spoon without paying dearly for it.

Half an hour of vain search heats the tempers of the men to the fever
point. Those with the butler finally threaten him with instant death if
he does not disclose the whereabouts of the body, and reluctantly he
obeys. Hounds falling upon their quarry could not exhibit more ferocity
than the mob as it pounces upon the corpse.

Gorman Purdy had been seated in his library when his last summons came.
He was attired in full evening dress. On his shirt bosom, over the
heart, is a spot of blood. It shows where the bullet had found its mark.

A hurried consultation is held. It is decided that the body be carried
to the Potter's field and thrown into the open grave that is kept for
paupers.

Three men pick up the body and start to leave the house.

All this while the impatience of the throng outside has found vent in
ribald jests.

"One dead millionaire is better than an army of workmen," jeers one man.

"He has come to life and has offered to arbitrate," sneers another.

"Bring him out!" is the incessant cry of the thousands.

And now the cortege appears. O'Neil and three committeemen carry the
body of Metz. They pass between an avenue of men, who give way
deferentially.

On reaching the Esplanade the pall-bearers pause. They face toward the
bridge and wait for the procession to form. Then the trio who carry - or
to be precise, drag the body of Purdy - emerge.

A great shout is given as the masses catch a glimpse of the body of the
man who in his lifetime was their unmerciful master.

Darkness has supplanted the twilight. Now the contrast between light and
shade is sharp. At intervals of fifty feet along the Esplanade, wrought
iron gothic flambeaux support powerful electric lights. Objects beyond
the immediate radius of the lights are indistinguishable. The windows of
all the palaces are all closed and barricaded. From across the river the
accustomed flare of the furnaces is missing. The fires are extinguished.

The uncouth countenances of the men and women can be studied in
intermittent flashes as they pass under the strong glare of the lights.
The utter absence of men and women of gentility makes the procession
seem like the invasion of the Huns into the Empire. Among the thousands
there are descendants of those very men who made the legions of Rome
flee in terror. The torch of progress is again in the hands of the
uncultured, and as history proves the race is to undergo another
evolution.

That it is to be effected by internecine revolution none doubts. The
march of carnage is on. Whither will it tend?

A leader of genius is wanted. The plastic emotions of the multitude will
yield to his command.

Already the peaceable character of the visitation of the humble to the
habitation of the haughty, has changed to one of violence.

O'Neil has been able to create the storm, but he lacks the capacity to
direct it. The man of might has stepped forward and has been hailed as
chief.

Just as the body of Purdy is to be brought down the terrace the sound of
distant cheering is heard. It comes from the direction of the bridge.
The men who have hold of the millionaire's body, drop it.

Do the shouts come from the militia?

With ever-increasing magnitude the cheering continues. Whatever the
object may be, it is approaching the palace.

A reflex movement in the crowds indicates that danger is upon them.

"It's the Pinkertons!" is the terror-stricken cry that arises.




CHAPTER XXIX.

PEACE HATH HER VICTORIES.


Now the shouting swells into a general outburst of enthusiasm. "Trueman!
Trueman!" are the words that reach the ears of the men at the foot of
the terrace.

It is not the militia then, that is swooping down upon the people to
crush them for demanding the body of their dead; it is not the
Pinkertons. It is the champion of the people come to their aid!

Breathless from the three miles he has traversed at a run, Trueman sinks
exhausted on the stone steps in front of Purdy's house.

The excited leaders cluster about him and tell him of the events that
have transpired during the afternoon and early evening. "It was four
o'clock when we first heard that Metz had shot and killed Purdy. The
news spread to all the mills and furnaces," explains Chester, one of the
yard hands of the local depot.

"Some one started the story that the police had been instructed to bury
Metz secretly for fear there would be trouble if he was given a public
funeral. You know there was a note found on him which said he had killed
Purdy for the good of the workingmen."

"Yes," breaks in O'Neil, "the folks all over town said they were bound
to see Metz given decent burial. A committee came to me and asked if I
would head a procession to come here and demand the body. We came and
were refused it. Then we broke into the house and got Metz's body.

"Some one started the cry, 'Find Purdy's body and bury it in Potter's
field!' This set the crowd crazy. I could not prevent their seizing it."

Harvey Trueman listens to the stories of the men. He realizes that no
half-measure can be proposed. It will either be necessary for him to
acquiesce to their plan to throw the multi-millionaire's body into the
Potter's field or else oppose them to the last point.

With the knowledge of the various events that have occurred he can
estimate the effect that such an act of violence will have upon the
country. Should the people of the other mining districts hear that the
miners of Wilkes-Barre have risen in revolt against their masters it may
precipitate a general uprising.

The deaths of the leading financiers and manufacturers throughout the
country have made a panic inevitable. If to this is added rioting, the
country will be plunged into a state of veritable anarchy. Why should
not Wilkes-Barre be the centre of this national movement for a peaceable
solution of the question of the rights of labor? One clear note of
confidence sounded amid the general babel may serve as the signal for
rational action.

Reasoning thus, he determines to make a grand effort to convert the
crowd to moderation.

As he passed through the larger cities on his way to the town he heard
that the people of Wilkes-Barre were up in arms. The militia have been
ordered out and will arrive at any moment. The Coal and Iron Police are
crossing the mountain and will show no mercy to the miners. If they find
the people engaged in mischief, the story of past massacres will be
repeated.

"Come with me," says Trueman to his lieutenants. They move quickly up
the steps to the piazza of the magnate's palace.

Here Trueman turns to the crowd.

The cheering and shouting has been kept up during the two or three
minutes that he has been resting. The people have again massed
themselves about the grounds surrounding the house.

"Speech! speech!" they cry.

Trueman raises his hands before his face and lowers them in a sign for
silence. The buzz of the thousands is instantly hushed. In a clear full
voice that increases in volume as he proceeds, he begins his
never-to-be-forgotten oration.

"Women and men of Wilkes-Barre:

"That you are; testified in claiming the body of the man who sacrificed
his life that you might live as freemen in this land of equal rights
none can deny; that you should be moved to seek revenge upon the body of
the man who has of all men been the most intolerant, tyrannical and
merciless to you and the hundreds whom death has claimed, during the
past twenty years, is nothing more than human.

"I believe, as have the philosophers and statesmen of all ages, that the
people can do no wrong; for the voice of the people is, in fact, the
voice of God."

As these words fall upon the ears of the multitude a great shout is
given. Men wave their hats; women flutter their vari-colored shawls,
which serve them as headgear; the sense of righteousness is awakened in
them.

"With an abiding faith in the justice of the Almighty, you have bided
your time; tolerance has ever been your actuating principle; reason has
dictated every appeal that you have made to your masters.

"To-day you feel that the hour for your deliverance has come; that the
fetters have fallen from your wrists. You stand here as emancipated men
of a great nation. That your hearts should be filled with rejoicing,
shows that you are alive to the importance of the occasion.

"Metz, who this day sacrificed his life for you, is worthy of your
admiration. He is one of the world's heroes, one of its martyrs. It is
for you to say if he shall have a monument worthy of his memorable act.

"The peoples of all ages have had their heroes and their martyrs. The
progress of the world is marked by the monuments that have commemorated
the deeds of these men.

"It remains for you to erect a monument for the martyr of the Twentieth
Century.

"Shall it be of brass or of enduring granite?

"Either of these would be a prey to the long lapse of time.

"You may choose as a monument, a mound that shall endure as long as the
world rolls through space; you may convert those piles of brick and iron
on the further side of the river into a mass of ruins; you may set the
indignant torch to this fine line of palaces.

"Whatever you do you may be sure that your example will be the signal
for your fellow workmen throughout the land."

"Burn down the breakers!" cries a thousand voices.

"Those breakers as they stand to-day are fit only to be destroyed,"
continues Trueman.

"They have consumed a pound of human flesh for every ton of coal that
fed them. They have afforded money to a few Plutocrats, with which to
satisfy the rapacious desires of greed; they have been the source of
revenue that made these palaces possible. Those breakers have given you
in return for your long days of toil, only enough to keep life in your
bodies; they have bound you to this spot with fetters stronger than
those of steel. If you should flee from this bondage you would find
starvation awaiting you on the roads."

These sentences have an electrical effect upon the audience. The passive
temperaments of the men and women are being quickened.

"Should you destroy the breakers and furnaces, and these homes of your
oppressors, your own losses would outweigh those of the millionaires.

"Yet your acts would be justifiable.

"Do not move till I have delivered the message I bear.

"I come to you with tidings that will make the blood in your veins flow
faster in a delirium of joy.

"I come to tell you that your fellow workmen in every state in this
Republic are to-day emancipated, even as you yourselves have been. The
sword has been wrested from the hands of tyrants, and has been placed in
the hands of the people.

"The centuries that have come and gone since Christianity was first
preached have seen the sword turned upon the humble, the meek, the
worthy. Now it is to be turned upon the craven few who have fattened at
the expense of the many.

"At the very hour when Melz sent Gorman Purdy to his doom, avenging
angels, disguised as men, were abroad in our land weeding out the seed
of iniquity.

"In San Diego, California, Senator Warwick was killed by the hand of a
man who, when he had rid the earth of the most avaricious man who ever
worked a mine, completed the chapter by taking his own life.

"Henceforth men will not slave in the mines of California or elsewhere
for the sole benefit of misers. The miner will enjoy the fruits of his
labor. He will make significant the words 'The laborer is worthy of his
hire.'

"In St. Louis at the same hour, the owner of the grain elevators, in
which is stored the crops of the great plains, there to be kept until
the needs of the people shall place an exorbitant price upon every
bushel, was smothered to death in the hold of one of his own ships. With
him died the martyr who had succeeded in bringing a just retribution
upon the head of an insatiate oppressor.

"Henceforth bread shall not be made a product of speculation. The hungry
mouths of women and children shall not go unfed that the stock broker
and the grain speculator may amass fortunes.

"The Cotton King of Massachusetts, who has kept men and women out of
employment, and in their stead has worked children in his mills, was
killed in his office as he refused the fifth appeal for an advance of
three cents a day in the pay of the six thousand half-grown children,
most of them girls, who tended his looms and spindles for pauper wages.

"The man who thus abolished for all time the further slaughter of
innocents, went to eternity with the dragon he had slain. The mill owner
went to expiate his sins; the martyr to receive his reward.

"And in New York, the city which I have just left, the ruler of the
Nation's money, the President of the Consolidated Banker's Exchange,
died in a pot of molten lead which he had been brought to hope would be
turned into gold under the touch of an alchemist. The lust of gold that
in life had been his only incentive, proved the means of his undoing.

"Bond syndicates will no longer be formed to corner the people's money,
that millions may be squeezed from the public treasury.

"My fellow-countrymen, this is indeed a great day.

"The full story cannot be told you at a single meeting.

"Know that you are once again free men, not in name only, but in
reality; that your children will never suffer the degradation through
which you have passed.

"The story of your deliverance you will soon know in its entirety.
To-night I can only give you a summary."

"Tell us all! Tell us everything!" thunder the astonished masses. They
forget Metz and Purdy in the presence of this greater news.

"I have only just learned the true facts of this remarkable movement.
The representatives of the people who met in Chicago six months ago to
formulate plans for the protection of labor, found that little could be
accomplished against the combined wealth of the Trusts.

"A permanent committee of forty was elected to carry out the purposes of
the convention. For several weeks the committee occupied itself in
routine work. Its sub-committees reported that they could make no
headway.

"Then at one of the meetings a committeeman named Nevins proposed that
inasmuch as the committee had to deal with a wily and unscrupulous foe,
it constitute itself into a secret body.

"At the first secret meeting he submitted the plan which was carried
into effect to-day.

"It required that every one of the forty men should pledge himself to
rid the world of one of its chief tyrants. He proved to the satisfaction
of the men that by so doing they would be securing the blessings of
liberty and happiness to mankind.

"He counselled them to strip their acts of any semblance of selfishness
by sacrificing themselves with their vanquished enemies.

"At this moment the news is being flashed around the world that the
forty tyrants and the forty martyrs have been gathered to their Maker in
a single day.

"Again is the message that was first uttered in the Garden of Eden sent
to the world: 'Labor is the God-given heritage of man.' Nor shall anyone
keep man from his inheritance.

"To you, men and women of this Trust-ridden community, is given the
opportunity to reap the full benefit of to-day's atonement.

"That you should waste your efforts on the mere gratification of
revenge, was but natural when you did but know of the result of one deed
in the plan of emancipation. Then it might have been enough that you
should destroy the breakers and tear down these palaces.

"But now that you have heard of the National blow that has been struck
for you, all thoughts of violence must be swept from your minds. Now you
must realize that a greater triumph awaits you than to watch the flames
lick up the property of your tormentors.

"That property is now yours!

"These breakers, furnaces, factories; these houses, the mines beneath
the earth's surface, the lands above them, all, all, are yours. It needs
but for you to take possession of your own; for you to enjoy the full
measure of the profit of your labor.

"Return to your homes, filled with rejoicing that you have not been
called upon to stain your hands with blood; that your rights have been
restored through the sacrifice of forty men to whom you and your
posterity shall give immortal fame.

"You will have to work as hirelings only until you yourselves place your
government in the hands of trusted men of your own selection.

"Fraud will no longer seek for public office; avarice will no longer
scheme to gain possession of the world's wealth for the satisfaction of
inordinate desires; inhumanity will no longer vaunt itself in our mills,
our mines, our fields, for to-day the edict has been sent to the world
that death awaits those who shall again seek to enslave labor. There
will be forty martyrs ready for another sacrifice. Who will dare to be
their foe?

"Choose your leaders with care; see that they are sincere in their
determination to work your will.

"When this is done the hovels you now live in will be supplanted by
decent homes; the poor food you now eat will be kept for your swine;
your children will grow up to manhood and womanhood without having had
their minds and bodies stunted by premature toil.

"A Republic of universal happiness and comfort will be yours.

"Such a Republic will be a monument to endure for all time to the memory
of Carl Metz and his thirty-nine co-workers, to the honor of yourselves
and to the security to future generations of the liberty that this
Republic will afford all men.

"Pick up the body of Metz, and I shall help you bury it. I leave the
body of Purdy for whomsoever may be inclined to care for it.

"Men of Wilkes-Barre, again I tell you, to-day you have been delivered
from serfdom. Act as men, not as brutes.

"Choose some one to be your leader and let him direct you until to each
of you is given the opportunity to vote for the laws that you may
desire.

"With blare of trumpet and with tap of drum
Barbaric nations pay to Mars his due,
When victory crowns their arms. To him they sue
For privilege to war, though Mercy's thumb
Bids them as victors, rather to be mum,
And show a noble spirit to the foe;
To vaunt not at their fellow-creature's woe:
O'er victory only doth the savage thrum!
They conquer twice who from excess abstain;
The gentle nation that is forced to war,
In triumph seeks to hide, and put afar
All vestiges of carnage, and restore
Peace in the land, that men may turn again
To worthy toil, as they were wont before.

"Labour is your heritage; return to it."

He ends in a tumult of enthusiasm.

The multitude has been led from one emotion to another with such
rapidity that they are fairly bewildered.

Two things only are clear in all minds. Trueman, the man who has become
their most faithful champion, assures them that now they are to be free;
that they are to be made the sharers in the wealth they create; he also
tells them to select a leader.

By a spontaneous decision Trueman is the name that comes to every lip.

"Trueman! Trueman! You are the man to lead us."

The cry "Trueman!" sweeps through the crowd. It rises in an acclaim the
like of which has never been heard before.

Men rush toward the orator and pick him off his feet. He is placed on
the shoulders of the stalwart miners whom his eloquence and logic has
won, and is borne in triumph at the head of the procession that goes to
bury Carl Metz.

The millionaire's corpse lies on the steps of his late mansion. Clinging
to it in the desperation of outraged womanhood, is Ethel. She had crept
from the house while the eloquence of Trueman's words held the mob
enraptured.

As Trueman is being borne in triumph down the steps his eyes rest on the
terrible picture presented by the dead magnate and his daughter. In an
instant the champion of justice forms a resolve. His heart and mind have
a common impulse - Purdy's body must be saved from desecration; it must
be buried with that of Metz.

"Pick up that body," he orders of the men who surround him. "It must be
buried with Metz."

In his voice there is a ring of command that none dares to question. As
the miners stoop to lift the corpse Ethel utters a cry of anguish that
pierces the hearts of even the most hardened men. It is the wail of
humanity protesting against anarchy.

By a vigorous effort Trueman frees himself from the miners who are
carrying him on their shoulders. He is at the side of Ethel in a moment.

"Do not be frightened. I am here and will protect you and your father's
remains."

His words are spoken in a loud decisive tone and reach the ears of the
crowd that press around the corpse.

Yielding to his indomitable will Ethel arises. She wavers an instant;
then stretches out her arms toward her protector.

Trueman seizes the delicate hands and draws her to his side.

"You are safe in my charge," he whispers to her soothingly. "Come with
me and you shall witness your father's burial. If it is done now the mob
will be pacified and will cease to clamor for vengeance."

Ethel walks by his side in silence.

The magnate's body is picked up and placed on the improvised litter of
boards which serves to support the body of Metz. In silence the
procession moves on toward the town.

The battle for moderation is won.




CHAPTER XXX.

A DOUBLE FUNERAL.


It is in an utterly hopeless frame of mind that Ethel walks beside
Harvey Trueman. She cannot conceive that one man will have sufficient
power over the passions of the multitude to prevent a violent
demonstration when the graveyard is reached.

"They will tear my father's body to pieces," she sobs.

"Take my word for it, there will be no disorder," Trueman assures her.
He walks with Ethel at the head of the motley crowd that only an hour
ago was clamoring for the body of Purdy; this same crowd is now
transformed into an orderly procession. The absence of music, or of any
sound other than the tramp of feet on the smooth hard roadway, makes the
procession unusual. There is deep silence, save for the occasional words
that are spoken by the principal actors.

"This is a sad reunion, Ethel; one that could never have been predicted.
When we parted that afternoon, two years ago, you said you never wished
to see me again. I have remained away, until now. You are not sorry that
I have come to protect you. Tell me that you are not." Harvey's words
are spoken earnestly; he has kept the love of all the months of
separation pent up in his heart. Now he is in the presence of the one
woman in all the world, he adores. Her imperfections are not unknown to
him; he has felt the sting of her long silence, broken only by her
telegram sent at the hour of his triumph in Chicago; yet for all this be
feels his heart throb as quickly as in the old days.

"O, Harvey, can you forgive me for my heartlessness?" she asks in a
faint whisper.

"I could not decide against my father that horrid day, when you and he
parted enemies. And after you had departed I was urged by all my family
and friends to put you out of my thoughts; I was told that you had sworn
to be an enemy to all men and women of wealth; that if I were to
communicate with you it would necessitate my disowning all my home ties.


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