Chapter 49 continues

The story so far: Debs rallies the troops, and addresses a crowd of 10,000 in Duluth.

 

Debs’ words reverberated in her head as the crowd burst into applause at the end of the speech. Even as she saw Elizabeth gesturing her forward to the stage where she had sat, Katka could not get three phrases out of her mind: Innocent as babes. She thought of Lily, pregnant and making jokes with the men who were throwing horseshoes. Marked for execution. She thought of Anton, perched on his buggy, blankets covering goods he smuggled for the strikers. Murdered by the Steel Trust: She thought of Paul. His curly hair falling crazily on his forehead when he arrived at her door in Slovenia. “You are a tiger in the night,” he had told her. She wasn’t. But because he believed she was, she tried to become one.

Katka felt herself being led by Old Joe, through the few rows of people that separated them from the front. “Katka!” Elizabeth cried, grabbing her hand as she navigated the stairs. “Wasn’t it a grand speech? I told you he was marvelous, and now you know how right I was. And here’s the good news. Eugene has an engagement later tonight in Minneapolis. But before he goes, he would like to invite all of us to luncheon with him. At the Fitger’s restaurant.”

“Me too?” Old Joe said.

“Of course, you!”

They scurried toward Elizabeth’s borrowed motorcar, Mr. Debs shaking hands along the way. “Bully for us, Katka,” Old Joe whispered. “Never ate at a fancy restaurant. Think they’ll let me in?”

They let him in. But he never got to eat.

 

Chapter 50

 

They drank water out of fancy goblets and looked at the menu. Old Joe, dressed in denim coveralls, was excited. Elizabeth and Mr. Debs talked with great animation. Katka was preoccupied. Debs had given her the speech he delivered. She was cross-checking it with her notebook. A waiter approached carrying a silver platter. He lifted the lid and revealed a note card with the monogram of the hotel on the outside. “A message for you, ma’am,” he said to Elizabeth.

“For me?”

“We have a telephone. I was told to find a blue-eyed woman with a wide-brimmed hat. Are you Mrs. Flynn?”

“I am.”

“I do apologize for interrupting your luncheon.”

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn turned the note card over and read the brief inscription to herself. “It’s from the defense team. The state has approached them with a settlement. They want me there as an adviser. We must go at once.”

 

Tomorrow: Chapter 50 continues.