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Marching Men

CHAPTER IV.4
In the office McGregor occupied in Van Buren Street there was another desk
besides his own. The desk was owned by a small man with an extraordinary long
moustache and with grease spots on the lapel of his coat. In the morning he
came in and sat in his chair with his feet on his desk. He smoked long black
stogies and read the morning papers. On the glass panel of the door was the
inscription, "Henry Hunt, Real Estate Broker." When he had finished with the
morning papers he disappeared, returning tired and dejected late in the
afternoon.
The real estate business of Henry Hunt was a myth. Although he bought and sold
no property he insisted on the title and had in his desk a pile of letterheads
setting forth the kind of property in which he specialised. He had a picture of his
daughter, a graduate of the Hyde Park High School, in a glass frame on the wall.
When he went out at the door in the morning he paused to look at McGregor and
said, "If any one comes in about property tend to them for me. I'll be gone for a
while."
Henry Hunt was a collector of tithes for the political bosses of the first ward. All
day he went from place to place through the ward interviewing women, checking
their names off a little red book he carried in his pocket, promising, demanding,
making veiled threats. In the evening he sat in his flat overlooking Jackson Park
and listened to his daughter play on the piano. With all his heart he hated his
place in life and as he rode back and forth to town on the Illinois Central trains he
stared at the lake and dreamed of owning a farm and living a free life in the
country. In his mind he could see the merchants standing gossiping on the
sidewalk before the stores in an Ohio village where he had lived as a boy and in
fancy saw himself again a boy, driving cows through the village street in the
evening and making a delightful little slap slap with his bare feet in the deep dust.
It was Henry Hunt in his secret office as collector and lieutenant to the "boss" of
the first ward who shifted the scenes for McGregor's appearance as a public
character in Chicago.
One night a young man--son of one of the city's plunging millionaire wheat
speculators--was found dead in a little blind alley back of a resort known as Polk
Street Mary's place. He lay crumpled up against a board fence quite dead and
with a bruise on the side of his head. A policeman found him and dragged him to
the street light at the corner of the alley.
For twenty minutes the policeman had been standing under the light swinging his
stick. He had heard nothing. A young man came up, touched him on the arm and
 
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