A Poor Wise Man (Chapter 31, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 31

The discovery that Lily had left his house threw Jim Doyle into a frenzy. The very manner of her going filled him with dark suspicion. Either she had heard more that morning than he had thought, or--In his cunning mind for weeks there had been growing a smoldering suspicion of his wife. She was too quiet, too acquiescent. In the beginning, when Woslosky had brought the scheme to him, and had promised it financial support from Europe, he had taken a cruel and savage delight in outlining it to her, in seeing her cringe and go pale.

He had not feared her then. She had borne with so much, endured, tolerated, accepted, that he had not realized that she might have a breaking point.

The plan had appealed to his cynical soul from the first. It was the apotheosis of cynicism, this reducing of a world to its lowest level. And it had amused him to see his wife, a gentlewoman born, bewildered before the chaos he depicted.

"But--it is German!" she had said.

"I bow before intelligence. It is German. Also it is Russian. Also it is of all nations. All this talk now, of a League of Nations, a few dull diplomats acting as God over the peoples of the earth!" His eyes blazed. "While the true league, of the workers of the world, is already in effect!"

But he watched her after that, not that he was afraid of her, but because her re-action as a woman was important. He feared women in the movement. It had its disciples, fervent and eloquent, paid and unpaid women agitators, but he did not trust them. They were invariably women without home ties, women with nothing to protect, women with everything to gain and nothing to lose. The woman in the home was a natural anti-radical. Not the police, not even the army, but the woman in the home was the deadly enemy of the great plan.

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