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56 STULTITIA

November. How soon are you labor men going
to see the light and come along with us ?

MR. STONE

The trouble with you Socialists is, you're all
purr. Now, we know what's good for us. We're
not in politics. We play both ends against the
middle and make all parties deliver some of the
goods all of the time.

Mr. Caro looks up with interest, his smile gone,
and appears about to speak.

MR. HOPE

Well, the capitalists do exactly the same thing.
You find them distributed in all parties and voting
always for the interests of capital.

DAN

Why, Mr. Hope, there're several high-brow
millionaires in your Socialist party. What's their
game?

MR. HOPE

{Fervently) They've seen the vision of a per-
fect future. (To Stone) Now if you labor
men would come over to us, things would move
faster.



SECOND DISCUSSION 57

Just then Mrs. Riley returns, looking de-
lighted.

MRS. RILEY

Dan, here's friends of yours from Chicago.

There enters a young man wearing a very old
dress suit, black waistcoat and tie. This is
Mr. Turner, a clerk in the office of the
United Contracting Company. With him
enters his sister, a slight and distinguished
looking woman of under thirty with grey eyes,
a fine forehead, fair hair and well chiseled
chin and mouth. She wears a simple pale
blue silk dress, slightly open at the throat.
They advance in the most unaffected man-
ner. Daniel Riley springs forward to
greet them.

DAN

How are you, Mr. Turner? Haven't seen you
since the train. I'm holding my party together
you see. {Waving to the others, who all nod
familiarly) Good evening, Miss Turner. I
want to make you both acquainted with my mother.



58 STULTITIA

MISS TURNER
(To Mrs. Riley, shaking hands) I am aw-
fully glad to meet you, Mrs. Riley. My
brother's told me so much about you from Dan.
We all came on the same train from Chicago, you
know. I'm awfully excited. I am going to the
White House to a big party tonight.

The sound of a hand-organ in the street grows
nearer through the open windows and the tune
turns out to be " The Wearing of the Green"

MRS. RILEY

Ye must stay here awhile, my dears, because
it's me that's givin' a big party meself tonight.
Me two pets in the Departments is comin', Cap-
tain Hawk and Mr. Drake, and they asked me if
they couldn't bring some lady friends along. I
want Dan to meet thim. (Rapturously) They're
grand byes. I don't know what we'd do in the
Government without 'em. I must be fixin' the
tea in case they come.

Mrs. Riley begins to arrange her tea things
at one end of the table. The hand-organ has
now grown loud, still playing, " The Wear-
ing of the Green" Dan grasps his mother



SECOND DISCUSSION 59

around the waist and begins to dance her up
and down furiously while the others clap.
Just then the door opens and in walk Cap-
tain Hawk and Mr. Drake, with two
ladies in evening dress and wraps. Miss
MiDDLETON we know. The other lady is of
a more developed figure with the beauty of
youth, promising, however, a certain coarse-
ness. Her eyebrows are raised and her man-
ner is faintly supercilious. Behind follows
Mr. Charles Barney, a very fashionably
dressed and rather vapid looking young man
who seems anxious to help Miss Middleton
with her wraps.

Mrs. Riley bustles hospitably to take the
ladies 9 wraps. Captain Hawk and Mr.
Drake take these from her, pile all the wraps
on the table by the door and each retains one
of Mrs. Riley's hands and bows " Good
evening! 9

CAPTAIN HAWK

It was very good of you to let us come and to
let us bring these young ladies.



60 STULTITIA

MR. DRAKE

We're making a night of it. We're going to
the White House later on.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Mrs. Riley, this is Miss Middleton, daughter
of our friend the Chief of Staff, and this is Miss
Rock, Senator Rock's daughter. This is Mr.
Barney. We had to bring it along or it would not
let Miss Middleton come.

Mr. Barney looks foolish and Miss Middle-
ton looks bored.

captain hawk
{Continuing) Now we want to meet that won-
derful son of yours.

Daniel Riley walks forward with an easy
manner and introduces himself.

DAN

Now I want to make you acquainted with Mr.
Turner and Miss Turner, his sister. We work in
the same place. He drives a pen and I boss a
gang, — preferring out-of-door life.

They shake hands, Mr. Turner somewhat
awkwardly; Miss Turner with grace. She



SECOND DISCUSSION 61

and Miss Middleton drop naturally into
conversation.

DAN

When I got my mother's telegram and said I
was coming to see the sights of the capital, several
friends decided to come at the same time, so we're
quite a party.

Mrs. Riley has seated herself at the head of
the table, making tea and has placed the three
ladies near her.

DAN

Ladies, this is Mr. Caro, of the International
Society for Social Strife. My father came from
the old country to work and he's just come from
the old country to tell us not to work, so you and
he are both members of the leisure class.

Caro bows gravely. Hawk and Drake step
forward and shake hands cordially.

CAPTAIN HAWK

We must have a talk, Mr. Caro. Are you an
American ?



62 STULTITIA

MR. CARO

{In a foreign accent) Soon I get my first
papers {shrugging his shoulders) but you know
I am a citizen of the world.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Did you have to do military service before you
came over here?

MR. CARO

No, I escaped that tyranny. I belong to the
great army of common humanity {rhetorically)
which knows no country.

DAN

{Comes over and takes Hawk by the arm)
Come on, that's only part of the show. Here's
Mr. Hope, the Socialist. He tells the boys about
everybody owning everything together so nobody
can get enough to loaf on, but just now higher
wages and shorter hours are more in our line.
{Meanwhile they shake hands) Here's Mr.
Stone. He's the real dope. If he keeps on with
his politics and strikes, soon we'll all be million-
aires and workin' less than no time at all.



SECOND DISCUSSION 63

MR. STONE

(Shaking hands) Dan's a fine boy. Dan, you
oughtn't to give us away in front of these capital-
ists.

MR. DRAKE

Thanks for calling me a capitalist. Hawk,
here, is our real millionaire. He has money to
throw at the birds, but he always throws it at the
birds of paradise. He's an idealist.

MRS. RILEY

Now I want ye to all sit down and have some
tea and get acquainted with me bye Dan.

They distribute themselves at the table.

MISS ROCK

(In a voice of cloying s'meetness) Really, Mrs.
Riley, this is most interesting. The very most in-
teresting party I have ever been to. You know I
am fearfully interested in all the modern move-
ments.

MISS TURNER

Are you a suffragist, Miss Rock?



64 STULTITIA

MISS ROCK

Oh, yes. I'm going to march in the parade.,
Are you? What color cape will you wear?

MISS TURNER

I think so. I am not quite sure. My brother's
gone crazy with Senator Hyhead and I am so busy
trying to keep him from running after all the new
fads that it's making me half a conservative.
What do you think of woman's suffrage, Miss
Middleton?

MISS MIDDLETON

{Thoughtfully) I believe in it, although I am
a conservative.

MR. TURNER

{With ardor) I supposed you were a conser-
vative, Miss Middleton. You see, I'm a clerk.
I belong to the class that feels the high cost of liv-
ing. Wages go up, everything goes up, except our
salaries. If you'd heard Senator Hyhead express
these things, you'd understand why. His party's
going to give us all a square deal. Why there's
the initiative, referendum and recall, direct pri-
maries, child labor laws ; we're going to have the
rule of the people and a square deal for everyone.
It's beautiful.



SECOND DISCUSSION 65

MR. DRAKE

{To Turner) I sympathize with your dis-
content as a salaried man. Manual labor has a
better market, — and it can strike. Your sala-
ried man is the worst treated in the whole com-
munity. Salaries ought to be expressed in fixed
purchasing power, — in the price of food and
clothes.

MR. HOPE

Of course, Miss Middleton and her friends are
conservatives. They belong to the capitalistic
class. Mr. Turner, not one of those quack medi-
cines has anything to do with your economic symp-
toms. We Socialists are indebted to your party.
All your discontented voters fall right into our
lap. Labor demands princely wages. Greedy
capital wars with labor. People like you are
ground between them. The Socialists come along
and say, " Peace, gentlemen, we will take its wages
from labor and its profits from capital, substitute
common ownership and remove all cause of envy."

MR. STONE

Not for mine, Mr. Hope, with wages what they
are and rising. Even Senator Hyhead's party
has not left the earth on the tariff question. I



66 STULTITIA

don't know how the socialists stand on that and
I'd want to know about their wage scale and the
cost of living. If I had to raise the potatoes un-
der their scheme, I'd want quite a price.

DAN

If Mr. Turner's sore bein' a clerk and a gentle-
man on $60 a month, it's open to him to wear
overalls for $4 per and up. I don't know what
my share would be with Mr. Hope's socialism, but
I see my way to a tidy little business of my own
in the next few years.

Mr. Hope and Mr. Turner indulge in brown
study.

MR. STONE

Miss Middleton, I am a radical. I'm for war
with capital — not to the death, — I would not kill
the goose that lays the golden eggs, — but war and
no compromise and strikes and rough house, yes,
within the law, you understand, and no injunc-
tions against labor, till we get just all the traffic'll
bear.

MISS ROCK

Really, Mr. Stone, I think your views are quite
shocking.



SECOND DISCUSSION 67

MISS MIDDLETON

Oh, I don't know, they're just like the views of
selfish capital.

MR. DRAKE

( To Miss Rock) I don't know, either, Miss
Rock. I could imagine it was your father talk-
ing on the other side of the question. (To the
others) You know Senator Rock is against the
income tax. He is an extreme individualist where
the rights of capital are concerned; objects to all
government control. He thinks the sole function
of government is to protect capital from being
robbed by labor, just as Mr. Stone here thinks the
sole object of society should be to give tremendous
wages even to the most unskilled workman and
to make capital such an easy mark that it won't
be worth having. (To Miss Rock) Your
father and Mr. Stone are as like as two peas. I'd
love to see them together and chalk out the ring.

CAPTAIN HAWK

It's like party government. We all pretend to
want the greatest good of the whole nation.
Then, instead of working together to discover
what that is, we try desperately to disagree as to
means. We nurse along false issues like the



68 STULTITIA

negro question. See how the politicians still work
that to paralyze the South; — the South's enslaved
by the negro's freedom. They've got to keep
their party together — to keep themselves in of-
fice. If we must have party government, why
can't we sincerely try to decide what one policy is
best for the country and then disagree as to which
set of men can best carry it out? You have com-
petition enough in a horse race, although the horses
all run in the same direction. If a vote must be a
bet let us vote for the best man ; let us have parties
of persons; but let us not make party government
a fake contest of false and trumped-up issues.

DAN

That!s the talk.

MR. DRAKE

Yes; it's the same old fundamental fallacy, the
outworn religion of competition that our new poli-
ticians are preaching to us. Competition, war,
fight — with all the waste of war: war instead
of combination as the life of industry: war between
parties as the life of the body politic. Why not
war then between capital and labor, class war,
as the life of society? No, they're not that log-



SECOND DISCUSSION 69

ical. Mr. Caro's religion is more so. What we
really want is not war, but co-operation — mo-
nopolistic combination of the spirit of the whole
nation for the whole nation's good. (Aside)
They haven't amended the Sherman Law to make
that illegal — yet !

MR. TURNER

(To Miss Middleton) Why are you a con-
servative, Miss Middleton? Do you think things
are right in this country ?

MISS MIDDLETON

No — I am a conservative because I think it's
more efficient. I should be a socialist if I believed
socialism would work, for I honestly believe in
seeking the greatest good of the greatest number.
But socialists and other expressives seem to start
in the clouds and work down to earth. I believe
in standing firmly on the earth we've got and
building up !

MR. DRAKE

Miss Middleton, you were going to tell Miss
Turner what you think of woman's suffrage.



yo STULTITIA

MISS MIDDLETON

Well, one good thing I see in it is that with a
female voter in his house the average American
citizen would be ashamed to be so ignorant as he
now is of our great public questions. Why half
the men, like Mr. Barney here, won't bother to
go to the polls.

MISS ROCK

My father's against it, but it's absurd that
women of property should have nothing to say
about the laws. Besides, it's an insult to women
to be denied the right to vote. Mr. Caro, you're
a foreigner, what do you think? {With an en-
gaging smile)

MR. CARO

In Europe, yes. In America, I don't know.
The women of America are so conservative, —
and so sentimental.

MISS MIDDLETON

I don't worry about the question of dignity. I
think women's votes would help in all legislation
for social betterment.



SECOND DISCUSSION 71

MR. DRAKE

That's the statesmanlike view. All we need to
know is whether votes for women will give better
net results in our elections. One thing that wor-
ries me is this. We've got so many organizations
and so many foreigners in this country. I don't
care whether it's American Slavs or Italians or
Jews or Greeks, or American plumbers or law-
yers, or American this or that. I'm afraid we're
going too fast. We can't have self-centered
groups that won't co-operate with the rest of the
body politic and still preserve the democratic na-
tional purpose that alone can save us. Now will
the women double the selfish vote of every organ-
ized group, and the rest of the women stay away
from the polls ?

MISS MIDDLETON

I don't think so.

MR. CARO

In Europe — and it gets the same here — the
women of the vast proletariat will swell the vote
of their class — the workers of the whole world
whose interests are the same and world-wide, not
country-wide.



72 STULTITIA

CAPTAIN HAWK

Mr. Caro, in America we have no " classes";
we have no " proletariat " in the fixed and con-
tinuous sense you mean — and we don't want them.
Those are ideas you ought to leave behind. When
you come here you must come here to join our
family, to play the game our way. Just as a fam-
ily hangs together that the young may be reared,
the aged supported, and the members live decently
and well, so our great American family is going
to hang together for the benefit of all its members.
Patriotism is the filial piety of the nation. It em-
braces its ideals like a religion. It has these uses,
even if there never is another war. I'd like to
see conscription to break in just such a citizen as
you will make — and to discipline us all to our
filial duty to our great democratic State.

MR. CARO

But your Irish-Americans want one thing.
Your American Catholics stand together — and
your Methodists and so on. Your American Jews
want this ; your American —

CAPTAIN HAWK

No one appreciates more than I do those fine
men of foreign birth who have been men and patri-



SECOND DISCUSSION 73

ots first. No one recognizes more than I the
value of the good types still brought to our citizen-
ship by the right sort of immigration. But my
point is this: We must not work as members of
a sect or a race or a group for its own separate
interests. We must all be Americans — first, last
and all the time ! I'm for every good American
whatever his race or creed. I'm against (strik-
ing his hand on the table) American Jews, for
example, — though I'm willing to fight and die for
Jewish Americans. What I demand is (loudly)
our country first. (Turning to Mr. Caro) Of
course I am against you, Mr. Caro; you're too
broad-minded for me. If you people want to
regulate a country go back and begin on your
own. You'll find when the time comes that there
are a few old-fashioned Americans left and that
they propose to regulate their own country in their
own way.

MR. CARO

(Smiling) Oh, you hold these views because
you're a capitalist and an aristocrat, Captain
Hawk, and belong to the military caste besides.



74 STULTITIA

CAPTAIN HAWK

(Rising! somewhat angrily) You call me an
aristocrat ? Thank you. In the true Greek mean-
ing " aristocracy " means power in the hands of
the best; " kakistocracy " means power in the
hands of the worst. Representative democracy,
by the grace of God, will sometime mean spirit in
the heart and brain of the sovereign people to ex-
ert their power to govern themselves through their
chosen best representatives — true aristocrats in
fact. So you see true democracy and true aris-
tocracy are the same thing. Who is the aristocrat
— who is the best man? It's a question of fact.
You admit it in the prize ring. Why not outside
it? Why you could almost have a mathematical
scale of honesty, sincerity, wisdom and unselfish-
ness to measure men by.

MR. CARO

But look at the French Revolution. Look at
history. The rich always grind down the poor.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Yes ; and if now the poor grind up the rich and
the rich grind down the poor, why that's the re-
vived religion of competition. Beautiful, isn't it?



SECOND DISCUSSION 75

Now I can credit you with sincerity; but you
can't credit me with sincerity, because I'm rich.
It's the same with our new political demagogue.
If my family has been useful enough to grow rich,
why we're pariahs, we're suspect. I have a sim-
ple standard of worth. Who's the snob, the man
you call an " aristocrat " or your politician who's
so very " plain people " that he can't abide the
thought that a man can be both rich and honest ?
It's a rotten aristocracy, a diseased caste idea, this
rot about aristocrats and commoners, and " the
peepul " and the " plain people." We're all
Americans, aren't we, with equal rights? Well,
I'm not going to let these demagogues set up a
snobbish aristocracy or mediocrity, or whatever is
the quality of their hypothetical commoners, and
elbow me out of my political birthright. I'm one
of the people, and I'm going to have my rights.

A MESSENGER BOY
{Opens the door and without taking of his cap
sings out) Telegram for Mr. Caro.

MRS. RILEY
(Rises, saying) Sh! me bye, you're interrupt-
ing a session of the Supreme Court.



76 STULTITIA

She walks toward the boy and takes the tele-
gram.

MRS. RILEY

Of all the sad parties. Ye ought to keep this
government business in the Departments. They
don't worry like this, serious-like, down at Con-
gress.

Mr. Caro rises and receives the telegram from
Mrs. Riley. He goes to one side and reads
it. There is a gleam in his eye. He turns
somewhat pale and with a slight tremor
places the telegram in his pocket.

MRS. RILEY

No bad news, I hope, Mr. Caro.

MR. CARO

Oh, no, nothing in particular.
They resume their seats.

DAN

Never mind, mother, it's a fine party. I'm hav-
ing the time of my life. Remember, you made me
go to school, and I'm a politician. This is the
real highbrow dope. Captain Hawk's right. If



SECOND DISCUSSION 77

the foreigners don't like it they can go home. I'm
not going to let Mr. Hope divide up the tidy little
business I'm soon starting, and I'm always telling
Mr. Stone here not to push the capitalist too hard
because I hope to be one myself some day.

CAPTAIN HAWK

I can assure you, Mrs. Riley, that your son is
a most efficient politician. {He goes around to
Dan, who stands up, and shakes his hand) Mr.
Riley, I want to congratulate you and to thank
you for a real service to the country.

MR. TURNER

What did he do ?

MRS. RILEY

Why, me Congressman, that man Shuffler'd
been worryin' the life out of Cap'n Hawk 'n Mr.
Drake, botherin' 'em about their work for the
Government. {With pride) I just telegraphed
Dan. He fixed Mr. Shuffler, all right !

DAN

Oh, don't mention it. {To Turner) Your
Senator Hyhead's always talking about giving the



78 STULTITIA

rule back to the people. Why, man, youVe got
it — only you don't know it. Shuffler's my rep-
resentative ; well, I just made him represent.



MR. DRAKE

He worked very well in this case because you
happened to be right. Shuffler went wrong be-
cause he thought you were wrong. He just boot-
licks you. He hasn't any opinion of his own. If
you had been wrong, he'd have helped you stay
wrong. You ought to elect somebody who's man
enough to have an opinion of his own and take a
chance on making you agree with him before the
next election.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Yes, that would be representative government.
We now have reflexive government. We elect
too many chameleons. They don't dare think and
the people haven't got the time to.

MISS MIDDLETON

Mr. Turner, do you attend all the primaries
and vote at every election, and follow the politics
of your ward?



SECOND DISCUSSION 79

MR. TURNER

{Looking rather embarrassed) Well — Miss
Middleton — you see my work in the office — such
long hours and poor pay. — The Government is
oppressing the people. But when the Expressive
party comes in —

MR. STONE

Yes, the Government doesn't give the poor man
a square deal. I agree with Mr. Caro and Mr.
Hope in that.

MR. DRAKE

Does it ever occur to you that you are the Gov-
ernment? The way people talk about " the Gov-
ernment " as if it were something far away that
they had nothing to do with, makes me tired.
Every one has an equal share in the sovereignty,
only Senator Rock and Mr. Stone must both re-
member as Danton or somebody said in the French
Revolution, " The rights of each man end where
the rights of the next man begin."

MISS MIDDLETON

Is that too conservative for you, Mr. Turner?



80 STULTITIA

DAN

You won't get Mr. Stone to agree to that.
What about the scabs?

MR. STONE

Organized labor proposes to put an end to the
open shop. If a man wants to work, he can join
the union. We have got to be organized. What
can we do against the trusts and the combinations ?

CAPTAIN HAWK

Yes, Senator Rock can't see why my dollar
should be free of the money trust and you can't
see why my labor should be free of the labor trust.
But where do I come in ?

There is heard the voice of a newsboy in the
street calling " Extra! ,y All listen.

MRS. RILEY

Dan, buy one. I hope nothin's happened to
the President.

Dan goes out.

MR. CARO

You seem to be very fond of the President,
Mrs. Riley.



SECOND DISCUSSION 81

MRS. RILEY

Shure I am. I'm an American and we've chose
him to be boss.

MR. DRAKE

( To Hawk) I wonder what that extra can be.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Oh, battle, murder, or sudden death. Nothing
good is considered interesting nowadays.

DAN

(Returns, looking excited and reads as he walks
across the room) " Big cotton mill blown up.
Plant destroyed. Officials of company buried in
ruins. Casualties may reach thirty."

MISS ROCK

Oh! how horrible. Where is it?

DAN

Meadville.

MISS ROCK

Oh ! that's where my brother is manager. My
father's mills. Horrible! Oh, take me home
right away. I must see father.



82 STULTITIA

She looks very pale and agitated, but carefully
smooths her hair and adjusts her wraps of-
fered by Mr. Drake, while the others gather
about her solicitously.

CAPTAIN HAWK

( To Barney) You take Miss Rock home in
your motor. I will take the other ladies in mine.
( To Miss Rock) I do hope your brother's safe.
He probably had left his office early. You will
doubtless find a reassuring message at home.
Don't worry.

She goes out with Barney.

CAPTAIN HAWK

{To Stone very seriously) Mr. Stone, that's
not an American way for capital and labor to fight.
You and Senator Rock may believe in war to the
knife, but those of us who are older Americans
do not. Senator Rock began as a poor boy, an
immigrant's son. He began as a laborer, as I sup-
pose you did. If you were a capitalist you'd be
Senator Rock. You are simply Senator Rock as
a labor leader.



SECOND DISCUSSION 83

MR. STONE
{Professionally) Organized labor deprecates
these outrages. They hurt the cause. They dis-
credit the movement.


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Online LibraryFrancis Mairs Huntington-WilsonStultitia, a nightmare and an awakening; in four discussions → online text (page 3 of 7)