Martin Eden HTML version

Chapter 39
Over the coffee, in his little room, Martin read next morning's paper. It was a
novel experience to find himself head-lined, on the first page at that; and he was
surprised to learn that he was the most notorious leader of the Oakland
socialists. He ran over the violent speech the cub reporter had constructed for
him, and, though at first he was angered by the fabrication, in the end he tossed
the paper aside with a laugh.
"Either the man was drunk or criminally malicious," he said that afternoon, from
his perch on the bed, when Brissenden had arrived and dropped limply into the
one chair.
"But what do you care?" Brissenden asked. "Surely you don't desire the approval
of the bourgeois swine that read the newspapers?"
Martin thought for a while, then said:-
"No, I really don't care for their approval, not a whit. On the other hand, it's very
likely to make my relations with Ruth's family a trifle awkward. Her father always
contended I was a socialist, and this miserable stuff will clinch his belief. Not that
I care for his opinion - but what's the odds? I want to read you what I've been
doing to-day. It's 'Overdue,' of course, and I'm just about halfway through."
He was reading aloud when Maria thrust open the door and ushered in a young
man in a natty suit who glanced briskly about him, noting the oil-burner and the
kitchen in the corner before his gaze wandered on to Martin.
"Sit down," Brissenden said.
Martin made room for the young man on the bed and waited for him to broach his
"I heard you speak last night, Mr. Eden, and I've come to interview you," he
Brissenden burst out in a hearty laugh.
"A brother socialist?" the reporter asked, with a quick glance at Brissenden that
appraised the color-value of that cadaverous and dying man.
"And he wrote that report," Martin said softly. "Why, he is only a boy!"