Marching Men HTML version
All through the early months of that year in Chicago, rumours of a new and not
understandable movement among labourers ran about among men of affairs. In
a way the labourers understood the undercurrent of terror their marching together
had inspired and like the advertising man dancing on the sidewalk before the
grocery were made happy by it. Grim satisfaction dwelt in their hearts.
Remembering their boyhoods and the creeping terror that invaded their fathers'
houses in times of depression they were glad to spread terror among the homes
of the rich and the well-to-do. For years they had been going through life blindly,
striving to forget age and poverty. Now they felt that life had a purpose, that they
were marching toward some end. When in the past they had been told that
power dwelt in them they had not believed. "He is not to be trusted," thought the
man at the machine looking at the man at work at the next machine. "I have
heard him talk and at bottom he is a fool."
Now the man at the machine did not think of his brother at the next machine. In
his dreams at night he was beginning to have a new vision. Power had breathed
its message into his brain. Of a sudden he saw himself as a part of a giant
walking in the world. "I am like a drop of blood running through the veins of
labour," he whispered to himself. "In my own way I am adding strength to the
heart and the brain of labour. I have become a part of this thing that has begun to
move. I will not talk but will wait. If this marching is the thing then I will march.
Though I am weary at the end of the day that shall not stop me. Many times I
have been weary and was alone. Now I am a part of something vast. This I know,
that a consciousness of power has crept into my brain and although I be
persecuted I shall not surrender what I have gained."
In the offices of the plough trust a meeting of men of affairs was called. The
purpose of the meeting was to discuss the movement going on among the
workers. At the plough works it had broken out. No more at evening did the men
shuffle along, like a disorderly mob but marched in companies along the brick-
paved street that ran by the factory door.
At the meeting David Ormsby had been as always quiet and self- possessed. A
halo of kindly intent hung over him and when a banker, one of the directors of the
company, had finished a speech he arose and walked up and down, his hands
thrust into his trousers pockets. The banker was a fat man with thin brown hair
and delicate hands. As he talked he held a pair of yellow gloves and beat with
them on a long table at the centre of the room. The soft thump of the gloves upon
the table made a chorus to the things he had to say. David motioned for him to
be seated. "I will myself go to see this McGregor," he said, walking across the
room and putting an arm about the shoulder of the banker. "Perhaps there is as
you say a new and terrible danger here but I do not think so. For thousands, no