Read Books Online, for Free
|The Strength of the Strong||Jack London|
The Dream of Debs
|Page 2 of 14||
I threw the paper down and proceeded to dress. It would certainly be interesting to be out in the streets of San Francisco when not a wheel was turning and the whole city was taking an enforced vacation.
"I beg your pardon, sir," Brown said, as he handed me my cigar-case, "but Mr. Harmmed has asked to see you before you go out."
"Send him in right away," I answered.
Harmmed was the butler. When he entered I could see he was labouring under controlled excitement. He came at once to the point.
"What shall I do, sir? There will be needed provisions, and the delivery drivers are on strike. And the electricity is shut off - I guess they're on strike, too."
"Are the shops open?" I asked.
"Only the small ones, sir. The retail clerks are out, and the big ones can't open; but the owners and their families are running the little ones themselves."
"Then take the machine," I said, "and go the rounds and make your purchases. Buy plenty of everything you need or may need. Get a box of candles - no, get half-a-dozen boxes. And, when you're done, tell Harrison to bring the machine around to the club for me - not later than eleven."
Harmmed shook his head gravely. "Mr. Harrison has struck along with the Chauffeurs' Union, and I don't know how to run the machine myself."
"Oh, ho, he has, has he?" said. "Well, when next Mister Harrison happens around you tell him that he can look elsewhere for a position."
"You don't happen to belong to a Butlers' Union, do you, Harmmed?"
"No, sir," was the answer. "And even if I did I'd not desert my employer in a crisis like this. No, sir, I would - "
"All right, thank you," I said. "Now you get ready to accompany me. I'll run the machine myself, and we'll lay in a stock of provisions to stand a siege."
It was a beautiful first of May, even as May days go. The sky was cloudless, there was no wind, and the air was warm - almost balmy. Many autos were out, but the owners were driving them themselves. The streets were crowded but quiet. The working class, dressed in its Sunday best, was out taking the air and observing the effects of the strike. It was all so unusual, and withal so peaceful, that I found myself enjoying it. My nerves were tingling with mild excitement. It was a sort of placid adventure. I passed Miss Chickering. She was at the helm of her little runabout. She swung around and came after me, catching me at the corner.
"Oh, Mr. Corf!"' she hailed. "Do you know where I can buy candles? I've been to a dozen shops, and they're all sold out. It's dreadfully awful, isn't it?"
But her sparkling eyes gave the lie to her words. Like the rest of us, she was enjoying it hugely. Quite an adventure it was, getting those candles. It was not until we went across the city and down into the working-class quarter south of Market Street that we found small corner groceries that had not yet sold out. Miss Chickering thought one box was sufficient, but I persuaded her into taking four. My car was large, and I laid in a dozen boxes. There was no telling what delays might arise in the settlement of the strike. Also, I filled the car with sacks of flour, baking-powder, tinned goods, and all the ordinary necessaries of life suggested by Harmmed, who fussed around and clucked over the purchases like an anxious old hen.
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|The Strength of the Strong
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004