Francis A. Adams.

The Transgressors Story of a Great Sin online

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I am only a woman - a woman born to wealth. How could I foretell that you
are not an enemy to the rich, but a true friend of humanity?"

"Then you know me by my true character and not as I am depicted by the
Plutocrats?" Trueman asks, joyfully.

He has heard the word "Harvey," and feels the exultation of the lover
who hears his name pronounced in endearing tones by the woman he loves.

"Yes, I know you as you really are and I have felt the power of your
words; it was not to the mob alone that you spoke. I stood in the shadow
of my father's palace and heard your words. Harvey, you made me feel a
deep pang of sympathy for my fellowmen and women."

The events of the day have been of such a momentous nature that it is
not strange that Ethel should collapse. She has sustained the shock of
her father's murder; the visitation of the citizens, bent on vengeance;
then the unexpected appearance of Harvey Trueman.

She clings to her companion's arm, struggling to control her emotions.
When she ceases to speak a great sob escapes her; then she begins to cry
hysterically.

Trueman cannot bear to hear her heartbreaking sobs. With the impulse of
a father soothing a child he lifts her from the ground, and holding her
in his strong embrace, strides on at the head of the cortege.

When the town is reached the perfect order of the procession is
preserved. It winds through unfrequented streets to the bridge; crossing
the river it continues until checked by the closed gates of the
cemetery.

At the sight of so vast an assemblage and at such an unheard of hour,
the gate-keeper flees in terror. Two or three men enter the house to
emerge with the keys of the great gates and a lamp.

By the fitful rays of this single lamp the movements of the burial party
are conducted.

"Where shall we bury the bodies?" O'Connor asks Trueman.

"As near the gates as possible. I should suggest that the grave be dug
in the circle of the main driveway. The grave of Metz and Purdy will
become one of the most famous in Pennsylvania; it should not be put in
an obscure place."

So the circle is decided upon as the proper place for the common grave
of the millionaire transgressor and the martyr.

As the throng passes through the gates many of the men seize spades and
picks, implements which they know only too well how to use.

It does not take twenty minutes to dig the grave.

When the work is completed, the fact dawns upon the minds of the leaders
that they have neglected to provide a coffin for the bodies.

"What shall we do for coffins?" one of the grave-diggers asks, as he
smooths over the edges of the grave.

"Give them soldiers' burial," suggests one of the bystanders.

"Here, take my shawl," says a shivering woman, as she pulls a thin faded
gray shawl from her shoulders.

Her suggestion is followed by a score of other trembling wretches. The
strangest shroud that ever wrapped mortal remains is used in the
interment.

The bodies of Metz and Purdy are still being carried by the miners. Now
a priest who has accompanied the funeral from the time it crossed the
bridge, is escorted through the crowd to the edge of the grave.

"Will you conduct the burial service over these two bodies?" Trueman
asks of the man of God.

"Neither was prepared for death," protests the priest.

"That is all the more reason for your offering up prayers for their
souls."

"Were they of my faith?" inquires the priest.

"They are dead now and faith has nothing to do with the matter. We want
you as a Christian to pronounce the words of the burial service over
these bodies."

"One of these men was a murderer," further protests the priest.

"Which one?" demands Trueman.

"They say Mete killed German Purdy," is the response.

"And a hundred men within call of us will tell you that Gorman Purdy
killed fifty men in his time," retorts a bystander. These words, so
bitter yet so just, would be cruel indeed for the ears of Ethel Purdy;
but she has lapsed into semi-consciousness. Harvey still holds her in
his arms; he seems oblivious of the burden he has borne for more than a
mile and a half.

"I cannot go through the forms of the church over the grave of these
men," the priest declares emphatically. "It would be a sacrilege. But I
will say a prayer for their departed spirits."

On the tombs that range in a wide semi-circle from the entrance, the
crowd has taken points of vantage. Those who cannot force their way to
the inner circle about the grave, stand aloof, yet where they can
observe the simple, impressive ceremonies.

In a thin, querulous voice the prayer is asked. It is such an invocation
as might have been uttered over the remains of two gladiators. Blood is
upon the head of each; the prayer craves forgiveness. As the priest
concludes, the bodies are wrapped in the shawls and lowered into the
grave.

While the earth is being replaced, Trueman speaks to Ethel. She
partially revives, and seems to understand that her father's body is
being interred. When this thought has been fully grasped she realizes
that she is being supported in Harvey's arms. She makes an instinctive
effort to escape from his clasp; an instant later she looks up into his
face and asks: "You will not leave me?" She pauses. "Give my millions to
the people. I hate the thought of money. Only tell me that you will not
desert me!"

"No, my darling," comes the whisper, "I shall never be parted from you
again, so long as we live. The priest could not perform the burial
service; he can, however, make us man and wife."

As he speaks, Harvey places Ethel gently on her feet.

Standing side by side at the grave which holds victor and vanquished in
the great war for the recovery of the rights of man, Harvey Trueman and
Ethel Purdy present a strange contrast. He is the acknowledged leader of
the plain people; she is the richest woman in America. For him, every
one within reach of his voice has the deepest love and admiration; for
the hapless woman beside him, there is not a man or woman who would turn
a hand to keep her from starving.

If the men and women of Wilkes-Barre can be made to sanction the union
of Trueman and Ethel Purdy, is there any reason to doubt that the
question of social inequalities can be settled without bloodshed?
Trueman determines to venture his election, his future, his life, to win
the greatest triumph of his career, a wife whom the world despises as
the favorite of fatuous fortune.

With a voice vibrant with emotion he addresses the multitude. Now by
subtle argument, now by impassioned appeal he pictures the conditions
that made Ethel's life so utterly different from theirs; how it was
impossible for her to sympathize with them when she had known no sorrow,
when her every wish had always been gratified. He pictures her as she
appears before them; a daughter whose father has been stricken, as if by
a blow from Heaven; a woman left friendless; for the friends of
prosperity are never those of adversity. Thus he awakens a feeling of
pity in the hearts of the people for the woman they have so recently
reviled. Pity gives place to love as he tells them that Ethel Purdy
wishes to give to the citizens of Wilkes-Barre the millions that her
father has hoarded; when he concludes by telling them that she is to
become his wife, an acclaim of rejoicing is given.

The priest, this time without reluctance, pronounces Harvey Trueman and
Ethel Purdy man and wife.

"Go to your homes, my good brothers and sisters," Trueman counsels, "for
to-morrow you enter upon your inheritance through the speedy channel of
voluntary restoration; you are blessed of all men and women, perhaps,
because you have long been the most grievously sinned against.

"Let no one commit an act of violence. It is from you that the country
is to take its signal; you have curbed the hand of anarchy. What you
have done will strengthen others to be patient. No one will have to wait
longer than the next election to have wrongs set right."

The silence that awe induces takes possession of the people. They
disperse quietly to their homes. At two o'clock there is no one on the
streets.

The Coal and Iron Police, who have been lost in the mountains, enter the
town at that hour to find it, to all appearances, deserted.

Harvey and Ethel accompany the priest to the parish house, where they
remain for the night.

All the events of the afternoon and night have been telegraphed abroad.
When morning dawns the people of the country and the world at large read
of the uprising of the miners of Wilkes-Barre, of the attempt to wreck
the train bearing the militia; of the rescue by Sister Martha at the
sacrifice of her life; the stirring scene at the palace and the final
obsequies and marriage ceremonial. All are known to the world. In the
chaotic state of the public mind, this example of reasonable action is
needed. Spread by the power of the pen, it wins man's greatest victory,
a victory of peace.




CHAPTER XXXI.

THE NEW ERA.


From every section of the country the news of the pending election gives
promise of a victory for the Independence party. The people have
accepted the assurances of Harvey Trueman that he will not countenance
violence on the part of the radical element of either the people or the
Plutocrats. His conspicuous action at Wilkes-Barre is an incontestible
proof of his sincerity, and also demonstrates that the masses are not
desirous of reverting to an appeal to force in order to regain their
rights. If the man whom the public hails as a deliverer can be elected,
all the evils of the Trusts and monopolies, it is believed, can be
settled amicably.

So strong has the sentiment in favor of the Independence party become,
that for days before the election great parades of the workingmen in the
principal cities celebrate the coming victory of the people.

Yet the subsidized press maintains a defiant position, and gloomily
predicts that anarchy will prevail upon the announcement of the election
of the Independence party's candidates.

This foreboding has little or no effect on the minds of the earnest
workers; they are ready to trust their interests to men who have proven
themselves honest champions of right, rather than suffer the bondage
imposed by the Magnates.

Trueman, since the hour of his marriage, has spent much of his time in
Wilkes-Barre. He decides that it is better for him to guide the closing
days of the campaign from his home.

After settling the estate of Gorman Purdy, and turning over to the
workingmen the mines, furnaces and breakers that were owned by the late
Coal King, Harvey and his wife go to live in a comfortable villa in the
suburbs.

By her voluntary surrender of the $160,000,000 which the criminal
practices of Gorman Purdy had amassed, Ethel becomes the idol of the
people, not only of Wilkes-Barre, but of the entire country. She gives
substantial proof of the sincerity of her promise made at the grave of
her father. This act of altruism does much to avert any reaction of the
turbulent elements of the large cities.

The prospect of regaining the public utilities by purchase and the
establishment of governmental departments to control them in the
interests of the people as a whole, is made bright by the magnificent
example that is furnished by the towns of Pennsylvania.

Harvey Trueman establishes the leaders of the Unions as the managers of
the mines and breakers. Under his direction the profits of the business
are divided proportionately among all the inhabitants of the town in
which the works are located; those who work receive as their wage
one-half of the net proceeds from the sale of their products. The
remaining fifty per cent, is turned into the public treasury.

Had the millions of the Purdy fortune been distributed to the people by
a per capita allotment, each man and woman of Wilkes-Barre might have
been made independently rich. But this would defeat the ends which Ethel
and Harvey wish to attain. They desire to see every citizen prosper
according to his or her personal effort. So when every one in
Wilkes-Barre is set to work at a profitable trade or occupation, the
residue of the fortune, some $125,000,000, is used to establish a
similar system of co-operation in neighboring mining districts.

In the thirty days that intervenes between the acts of annihilation and
the election, two hundred and fifty thousand miners and other operatives
in Pennsylvania are benefiting by the disbursement of the Purdy
millions. This army of prosperous men makes the state certain of going
to the Independents. The electoral votes of the Keystone state, it is
certain, will decide the election.

As an object lesson which speaks more eloquently than words, Harvey
adopts a suggestion which Sister Martha had made at the opening of the
campaign and which had not been used because of lack of funds.

Biograph pictures of happy and contented miners in Pennsylvania, under
the co-operative system, showing them at their work and at their decent
homes, surrounded by their families, well fed, and clothed, are obtained
in manifold sets. To contrast with these, there are pictures taken from
the actual scenes in other parts of the country, showing women harnessed
to the plow with oxen; women at work in the shoe factories, the tobacco
factories, the sweat-shops. Pictures of the children who operate the
looms in the cotton mills and the carpet factories are obtained to be
contrasted with those which exhibit children at their proper places in
the school room and on the lawns of the city parks.

The pomp of the Plutocrats and the destitution of the masses is
portrayed by these striking contrasts.

With this terrible evidence the Independents carry their crusade into
every city. The principal public squares of the cities are used to
exhibit the biograph pictures. Night after night the crowds congregate
to view the pictorial history of the Plutocratic National Prosperity.
That which arguments cannot do in the way of weaning men from party
prejudice the picture crusade accomplishes.

One of the side lights of the great drama that is being enacted is the
sentiment that develops for the Committee of Forty. Memorial societies
in the states from which the several committeemen hailed, are formed to
give the martyrs, as the forty are now called, a decent burial.
Thirty-nine of the martyrs are thus honored by public interment.

The one missing committeeman is William Nevins. He is supposed to be
buried in the wrecked tunnel under the English channel. It is impossible
to repair the damage done by the explosion; futile efforts are made by
sub-marine divers to locate the exact point at which the break in the
tunnel was made. The action of the water has totally obliterated the
breach. So to the public this watery grave must remain the resting place
of the genius who conceived the plan for the restoration of the rights
of man.

All of the details of the committee come to light through the papers
found on the body of Hendrick Stahl, secretary of the committee. The
fact that Nevins was alone responsible for the plan of annihilation and
that Trueman knew absolutely nothing of it, is incontestibly
established.

This takes away the last argument of the Plutocrats who seek to connect
Trueman with the act of Proscription.

And Nevins? What of him?

He has not kept his pledge to the committee by dying with the
Transgressor who was assigned to him. His pledge to God, to follow the
committee the day after the atonement, has not been kept.

When October fourteenth dawned, the news of the uprising of the people
of Wilkes-Barre and of the part played by Trueman and Ethel, were read
by Nevins from the cable dispatches at Calais.

A fear arose in his heart that the plan for the election of Trueman
might fail. He delayed ending his life and hastened to New York. Upon
his arrival he went as a lodger to a room in a lofty Bowery hotel. From
this watch-tower he reviewed the political field. "I shall redeem my
pledge to-morrow," he said to himself each day.

The night would find him irresolute, not for his fear of death, but for
the dread that some unexpected occurrence might arise to thwart the
people in their effort to carry the election by the peaceable use of the
ballot.

On the flight before the election Nevins hastens to Chicago. In the
crowd at the Independence Headquarters he mingles unobserved. "What news
have you from California?" he asks of one of the press committee. This
is thought to be the pivotal State. At least this is the claim made by
the Plutocrats.

"The indications are that the State will go against us."

"And why so?"

"Because we have not been able to send speakers there, and the
Plutocrats wrecked the train which was conveying the biograph pictures.
You know the Press of the slope, with but few exceptions, are owned by
the Magnates and suppress every bit of news that would be detrimental to
them. They have distorted the acts of the Committee of Forty. Out in
California the great mass of the people look upon the Independents as a
party of Anarchists."

"Trueman can be elected without California, can he not?"

"Elected! Why, he will carry forty States."

"You really believe it?" asks Nevins, earnestly.

"I would wager my life on it," is the instant reply.

Nevins hurries from the headquarters and goes to his room. He writes a
letter to Trueman, setting forth his hopes that the interests of the
people will ever remain Trueman's actuating principle. With absolute
fidelity he tells of the struggle he has undergone since the day he sent
Golding to his death, and his reason for procrastinating in ending his
life.

When the letter is finished Nevins reads it with evident satisfaction.

"Now I will go to the committee," is his resolve.

A pistol lies on the table. He picks up the weapon. There is no
hesitancy in his manner. Death has been a matter which he has
contemplated for months, and it holds no terror for him.

"If I have sinned against Thee, O, God," he murmurs, "death would be too
mild a punishment for me. I would deserve to be everlastingly damned, to
live on this earth and bear the denunciation of my fellowmen.

"My death, like those of the committee who have already fulfilled their
pledge, is not suicide, but part of the inevitable price of liberty."

The pistol is raised to his temple. Then a thought flashes upon him.
"Your death will come as an ante-climax to the election. It may be the
means of defeating the Independents."

This thought causes him to lower the pistol.

"To-morrow," he mutters.

At daybreak Nevins is at the headquarters and remains near the chief
operator, eager for every detail of the election.

"What is the weather prediction?" he inquires.

"Generally clear; light local rains on Pacific seaboard."

"I am most intensely interested in the result of the election," Nevins
confided to the operator, to explain his presence at headquarters. "I
have come all the way from San Francisco to congratulate Trueman on his
election."

"I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Mr. Trueman is at his home in
Wilkes-Barre."

"Well, I shall telegraph him my congratulations. I want to be the first
man in the United States to send him an authoritative message confirming
his election. If you can arrange to let me have the news first, when it
comes in, and will send my message, I shall be glad to pay you for the
service."

"I have the wire that will send him the news," the operator states as he
pats a transmitter on the desk before him. "What do you call a fair
payment for the message?"

"Twenty-five dollars."

"I'll send your message."

Nevins gives the required sum, and sits at the elbow of the man who is
to flash the news of victory to Trueman.

In Wilkes-Barre the day has dawned auspiciously. Trueman is among the
first to perform his duty as a citizen. After voting he returns to his
home.

With his wife at his side he reads the dispatches that come in by a
private wire from headquarters.

"I am happier to-day than I ever was in my life before," Ethel tells
him. "And I know that you will be elected."

"I hope your words come true. But whether I am President or not my
campaign has not been in vain. I have won the fairest bride in the
world, and she and I are doing a real good with a fortune that might
have been a curse."

"Now I can understand the words that are a mystery to so many of the
rich: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive,'" Ethel says, as she
places her hand on her husband's shoulder. "Now I can appreciate the
emotion that impelled you to give the one thousand dollar check to the
miner's widow." As they sit together, through the long day, they discuss
what they will do for the improvement of the people, there is no
provision for the repayment of anti-election promises to the managers of
trusts; no talk of rewarding henchmen with high offices.

By five in the afternoon the messages begin to announce the forecast in
the extreme Eastern states.

"Rhode Island has polled the largest vote in its history. The
Independence Party claims the state by fifteen thousand." Harvey reads
this with an incredulous smile.

"We can hardly hope to carry Rhode Island," he declares frankly.

"You told me only yesterday that Fall River is going wild over the
biograph pictures," Ethel protests.

"The rural vote in Maine is believed to have caused the state to go to
the Independents," is the next message that causes Harvey to doubt his
senses.

"New Jersey washes its hands of trusts. Trueman carries Newark, Trenton,
and Jersey City by overwhelming majorities."

Thus the story of state after state is wired to Wilkes-Barre.

"Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio are claimed to have voted for the people's
candidate. The Plutocrats ridicule the assertion, yet have no figures to
quote."

At nine o'clock the returns by election districts in the populous
cities, begin to arrive.

"In 1238 districts, Greater New York, Trueman leads by a clear majority
of 75,000." Harvey reads without comment.

Ten minutes later, this message is received: "Total of 2200 election
districts, Greater New York, Trueman's majority 180,000. This makes the
state Independent by a safe margin of 100,000."

Harvey Trueman feels for the first time since his nomination that he
will be elected. Joy is written on his face.

"Pennsylvania casts its vote for Trueman and co-operation."

It is eleven-thirty. The proverbial "landslide" of politics has
occurred. Already the townspeople of Wilkes-Barre are surging about the
villa, cheering their champion.

A dozen times Harvey goes to the window to bow his acknowledgments.

Ethel is excited, almost hysterical. With a woman's quick perception she
realizes that her husband has triumphed.

Again they stand at the elbow of the telegraph operator who is receiving
the messages.

"Chicago - " then there was a break.

"Trueman, have Trueman come to the instrument. Answer. Is Trueman at
your elbow?" This message is sent by the operator at headquarters. He
has indicated that it is a private message and only the word Chicago is
written.

"What's the matter?" asks Trueman, who has noticed the pause.

"It's all right, sir; the operator want's you to get this message
immediately." There is another pause.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS,
INDEPENDENCE PARTY HEADQUARTERS.

To HARVEY TRUEMAN, Greeting:

"You are elected President of the United States by popular
acclamation of forty States. I congratulate you. Keep your
faith with the people; place them always above the dollar;
remember that your office was bought by the blood of patriots,
as true as the founders of the Republic; that you owe it to the
majority to keep their rights inviolate. I go to inform the
Committee of Forty that the Revolution of Reason is victorious.

WILLIAM NEVINS."

As Trueman reads these words and grasps their meaning, Nevins, at the
other end of the wire, in distant Chicago, redeems his pledge and drops
dead.

The curtain falls on the Tragedy of Life. The struggle for mere
existence that has retarded mankind from creation, is at an end. Man
enters into possession of his God-given inheritance, _equal
opportunity_, with a valiant leader, and the fairest land in the world
in which to begin the building up of a Republic that insures to all men
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.







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