The End Of The Silent Campaign

: Still Jim

"The dream in them of a greater good lifts humans from the

level of brutes. Take this dream from them and they are like

quenched comets."


It was Oscar's turn to get to his feet. "Manning," he said, "ain't you

learned your lesson yet? Who was it kicked me out of the dirty political

scrape I was getting
nto and made me see straight? Huh? Who was it?

Well, it was my wife. And who woke my wife up? It was Mrs. Pen, wasn't

it? And who, by your own admission, showed you things you'd been seeing

crooked all your life? Huh? 'Twas Mrs. Pen, wasn't it? You're as

moss-bound in lots of ways as a farmer. Now I've learned my lesson. I'm

willing to admit that women folks has got intuitions that beat our fine

ideas all hollow. She may not do us any good. But I want to know what

she thinks about things. I'll be yelling votes for women next. Gimme her

address. I'm going to send her a night message they'll have to use an

adding machine to count the words in."

"What can be done in a week?" asked Jim, with his first show of

irritation. "I won't have her bothered, I tell you."

"Still Jim," said Uncle Denny, "do you suppose she's thought of anything

else but the situation out here, excepting, of course, poor Sara? And

Pen's Irish! Even long distance fighting has charms for her."

Henderson looked at Jim's dark circled eyes and his compressed lips. "Go

to bed, Boss," he said in his tender voice. "See if you can't get some

sleep. You have done your best. Is there anyone in the valley you ain't

seen yet?"

"Two or three," said Jim.

"See them," said Henderson. "We are going to put up a fight to keep you

here, Mr. Manning."

Jim started for his bedroom door, then he came back and said slowly: "I

don't want you fellows to misunderstand me. I'm the least important item

in this matter. I admit that it's crucifying me to leave the dam, but

there is no doubt they can find a better man than I am for the job. I

woke up too late. You folks must keep on in one last fight against

Fleckenstein. For Fleckenstein stands for repudiation. Repudiation means

the undermining of the basic principle of the Reclamation Service. And

the loss of that principle means the loss of the Projects as a great

working ideal for America. It was that principle that was the real

kernel of the New England dream in this country. We've got to work not

so much for equality in freedom as for equality in responsibility to the

nation. Don't waste a moment on keeping me here. Make one last effort to

defeat Fleckenstein."

Then Jim went into his room and closed the door.

When he had gone, Murphy said in a low voice: "It's too late to lick

Fleckenstein. Are we going to lie down on the Boss losing his job,


"Not till I've beaten the face off Fleckenstein," said Henderson,


"I want to get in touch with Mrs. Pen," said Oscar Ames.

"Aw, forget it, Ames!" said Murphy. "I don't doubt she's a smart girl,

but this is no suffragette meeting."

"Don't try to start anything," said Oscar. "Wait till you're married for

thirty years like me and maybe you'll have learned a thing or two."

"Don't quarrel, boys," said Uncle Denny. "Me heart is like lead within

me. How can I think of Jim as anywhere but with the Service?"

"If he goes, I go," said Henderson. "The only reason I stayed up on the

Makon was because of him. What's the matter with the wooden heads in

this country? I'd like to be fool killer for a year."

Murphy was chewing his cigar. "You'd have to commit suicide if you was,"

he said. "I've tried everything against Fleckenstein except the one way

to swing votes in America and that's with whiskey or dollars. Under the

circumstance we can't use either. I'm going to turn in. I'm at the end

of my rope."

Henderson followed Murphy to the door. Oscar Ames forgot to lower his

voice. He squared his big shoulders and shouted: "You blame quitters! I

ain't ashamed to ask women for ideas if you are. The women got me into

this fight and I'll bet they get me out."

He nodded belligerently at Uncle Denny and strode out into the night.

Uncle Denny, left alone in the living room, stood long on the hearthrug,

talking to himself and now and again shaking his head despondently.

"I mind how after he found himself, he was always making trails in front

of the old fireplace in the brownstone front. I mind how he first heard

of the Reclamation Service. 'How'd you like that, Uncle Denny,' he said,

'James Manning, U.S.R.S.' What'll he do now, poor lad?

"Thank God his father's dead, for if he felt worse than I do he'd kill

himself. No! No! I'll not say that! He'd have felt like meself that

'twas worth all the sorrow to hear Still put his idea ahead of himself

as he did tonight. That's the test of a man's sincerity. And in her

heart, his mother'll be glad. She's always worried lest he get killed on

one of his dams, bless her heart."

Uncle Denny moved about the room, closing the door and putting away the

cigars. He picked Jim's hat off the floor and patted it softly as he

hung it up.

"What'll he do now, poor boy?" he murmured. Then he turned out the light

and went to bed.

Jim received a message the next morning, saying that a certain Herr

Gluck would reach the dam that afternoon.

"And who is he?" asked Uncle Denny.

"He's an engineer the German government is sending over to see some of

the stunts I've been doing on the dam," said Jim. "I'll show him round,

then I'll turn him over to you for the hour before supper. I want to see

old Miguel, who is coming up to the dam."

"I'm itching to lay hands on him. Does he speak English?"

Jim laughed. "Better than I do. He's written me a couple of times."

Jim brought Herr Gluck in over the great road. The German was full of

enthusiasm. "Blasted from solid rock! How not like America! This was

built for the future! How did you come to do it?"

Jim smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

"You belong not to this country," Herr Gluck went on, "you belong to the

old world where they build for their descendants."

Jim thoroughly enjoyed the long afternoon on the dam with the German.

Herr Gluck's questions were searching and invigorating. They took Jim

out of himself and he showed Herr Gluck a scientific knowledge and

enthusiasm that few people were fitted to appreciate.

At five o'clock Jim took Herr Gluck up to his house and turned him over

to Uncle Denny. The rotund, flaxen-haired German and the rotund,

gray-haired Irishman took stock of each other. Uncle Denny moved two

chairs before the open door.

Herr Gluck sat down. "Himmel! What beauty!" he exclaimed, as the faint

lavender distances with the far mountains flashing sunset gold met his

gaze. "Not strange that Mr. Manning has enthusiasm."

Uncle Denny sighed in a relieved way as if he had catalogued the


"They say," said Dennis, "that a man must close his soul to the Big

Country or else he will become great or go mad. And do you think me boy

has done good work here, Herr Gluck?"

The German made some extraordinary rings of smoke and nodded his head

slowly. "He has done some daring things well that may not be great in

themselves, but they show imagination. That is the point. He has

imagination. Many are the engineers who are accurate, who are

trustworthy, but imagination, creative ability, no! You observe the

shape of his head, his jaw, his hands--the dreamer, urged into action.

And the impudence of his sand-cement idea! In my country we dare make

our concrete only very rich. He shows me this afternoon that diluted

rightly with sand, cement can be made stronger." Herr Gluck chuckled


Uncle Denny almost purred. "He was so as a lad. He was captain of his

school football teams because he could think of more wild tactics than

all the rest of them put together. And always got away with them,

looking sad and never an unnecessary word."

Herr Gluck nodded. "He is so valuable here that I think it not possible

I get him to come to Germany yet?"

Michael Dennis got red in the face and took a long breath. "But they

don't appreciate him here. He's been asked to resign in a few days now."

The German's round eyes grew rounder. "Nein! And why? Has he got into

foolishness? He is young, they must remember."

"It's a long tale," said Uncle Denny, "but I'll tell it to you," and he

plunged into the story of the Project.

Herr Gluck listened breathlessly.

"And so you see," Dennis ended, "that for all he has done he feels he's

failed, for everything the dam has stood for in his mind has come to

naught. And that's a bad feeling for a man as young as Jim. He'll never

readjust himself, Jim won't. He can get another job but his life's big

dream will have gone to smash. His inspiration will be gone. And what

will he do then, poor boy?"

"But it's impossible," persisted Herr Gluck. "He's a valuable man. It is

not possible they would dismiss him. Some day when he is older he will

do great things your country can't afford to lose. What is the matter

with your Head of the Service?"

"Impossible!" snorted Uncle Denny. "Impossible! The word is not in the

vocabulary of the American politician. The Director is all right, a fine

clean fellow. But he can't help himself. It's either Jim or the Project

to be smirched. They won't be satisfied, the politicians, till they get

the Service attached to the Spoils system. What do they care for

scientific achievement? Soul of me soul! I'd like to be Secretary of the

Interior for fifteen minutes. I'd discharge everyone in the Department,

ending with meself."

Herr Gluck was visibly excited. "I tell you it is not possible! He's a

great engineer in the making? They cannot know it or they would not so


Uncle Denny lost patience. "I'm telling you it is so! Don't you know

that nothing is impossible to ignorant men?" he shouted. "Didn't

ignorance crucify Christ? Didn't the ignorant make Galileo deny his

world was round? Didn't ignorance burn Joan of Arc at the stake? Every

advance the world has made has been with bloody footsteps. Don't we

always kill the man in the vanguard and use his body as a bridge to

cross the gulf of our own fear and ignorance? I tell you, I fear


Herr Gluck rose and shook his plump fist in Uncle Denny's face. "Those

are days gone by in my country," he roared. "They may be true in this

raw land or in besotted Ireland, but in the Fatherland we worship brain.

Do not include the Fatherland in your recriminations! Once in a while

you accomplish great things in your foolish country here with its

hysteria and frothing and bubbling. But come to my country if you would

see the quiet patient advance of noble science with scientists revered

like kings."

"There were colleges in Ireland," shouted Uncle Denny, "when your

ancestors were wearing fur breech clouts and using cairns for books!"

Jim came slowly up the trail and Uncle Denny and Herr Gluck sat down a

little sheepishly. Herr Gluck did not waste any time in preliminaries as

Jim came in the door.

"Your Uncle tells me of the trouble here on the dam," he said. "My

government is undertaking some great work which I will describe to you.

We will make you a formal offer if you will it consider."

Jim sat down in the doorway, pulled off his hat and looked up into the

German's face. Herr Gluck concisely and clearly outlined the work. Jim

listened intently, then as Herr Gluck finished and waited for Jim's

answer, the young engineer looked away.

He saw the Elephant dominating the river and desert, guarding and

waiting--for what? Jim wondered. He saw the far road that he had built,

winding into the dim mountains. For a long time he sat battling with

himself in the flood of emotion that rose within him. It really had

come, he realized, with Herr Gluck's offer. He actually was to turn his

work over to another man to finish. The two older men watched him


Finally Jim said: "The New England stock in this country is

disappearing, Herr Gluck. Perhaps we are no longer needed. At any rate

we haven't been strong enough to stay. This dam has been more than a dam

to me. It has meant something like, 'Anglo-Saxons; their mark; by Jim

Manning.' Some other man will finish the dam quite as well as I, but I

don't think he will have my dream about it."

Herr Gluck leaned forward and said: "We all are Teutons, one family.

That is why we always have quarreled. But we understand each other. Come

to Germany and build for other Teutons, since they will not have you


"An expatriate! Poor dad!" muttered Jim. Then he said, in his quiet

drawl, "I'll come, but you'll be getting only half a man."

The German looked away. He was a scientist, yet he was of a nation that

had produced Goethe as well as Weismann and his heart was quick to

respond to truth, shot with the rainbow tints of vision.

"I know!" he said. "I know! Man needs the impulse of national pride and

honor behind his mind. There are those that claim that they achieve for

human kind and not for their own race alone. But I doubt it. After all,

Goethe spoke for Deutschland, Darwin spoke for England. Therefrom came

their greatness. And yet if they will not have you here, dear

friend--Ach Himmel, I cannot urge thee! Come if thou wilt!"

Herr Gluck broke off abruptly to turn to Uncle Denny. "Who is the

highest authority in this Service?"

"The Secretary of the Interior," said Uncle Denny. "Come, we must eat

supper or Mrs. Flynn will be using force on us."

Jim took Herr Gluck over to the midnight train. The German was very

quiet, but Jim was even more so. As Jim left him Herr Gluck said: "Keep

a good heart, dear friend. I shall say a few truths myself before I have


Jim shook hands heartily. "There is nothing to be done, Herr Gluck, but

I'm grateful for your sympathy. You will hear from me about the new

work," and he drove off in the darkness, leaving Herr Gluck in the hands

of the ranchers Marshall and Miguel, who had spent the afternoon and

evening at the dam, and were going to Cabillo by train.

Jim had received no answer from the Secretary of the Interior to his

last letter. He was a little puzzled and hurt. There had been one

flashing look pass between himself and the Secretary at the May hearing

that had stayed with Jim as though it had declared a friendship that

needed neither words nor personal association to give it permanence. Jim

had counted on that friendship, not to save him his job, but to save his

idea. No answer had come to his letter. Jim believed that the story of

the interview with Freet had finally destroyed the Secretary's faith in

his integrity.

Pen had written a long letter jointly to Jim and Uncle Denny some two

weeks after leaving the dam. It was the first word they had had except

through telegrams. Sara's will had been read. He had left Pen all his

property, which was enough to yield a living income for her. Pen

enclosed a copy of the note Sara had left her with his papers.

"You have always felt bitter at my stinginess. But I knew that I could

not live long and I wanted to repay you for your care of me. I did not

spend an unnecessary cent nor did I let you. I have been ugly but it

didn't matter to you. I knew you didn't care for me and so I didn't try

to be decent."

Uncle Denny shook his head over this note. "No human soul but has its

white side, and there you are! I hope I'll never sit in judgment on

another human being."

"Has she any comment on Sara's note?" asked Jim, who was resting on the

couch while Uncle Denny read the letter to him.

Uncle Denny looked on the reverse side of the sheet. Pen had written:

"This touches me very much. But when I consider the sources of poor

Sara's money I can't bear to touch it. I am arranging to give it to the

home for paralytic children. I hope that both of you will approve of my

doing so."

The two men stared at each other and Jim said nothing. He was consumed

by such a longing for Pen that he scarcely dared speak her name. But

Uncle Denny nodded complacently and said:

"You can always bet on Pen!"

The day after Herr Gluck's visit there was to be a political rally of

the Fleckenstein forces at Cabillo. To the great relief of Dennis and

his two henchmen, Jim made no move to attend the meeting. The first

concrete pouring on the last section of the foundation was to be made

that day and Jim was engrossed with it. Fleckenstein was late in getting

to the meeting. This, too, was better luck than the three conspirators

had hoped for. The meeting was made up almost entirely of farmers who

wanted to hear Fleckenstein's last statement of his pledges.

Before the chairman called the meeting to order, Oscar Ames mounted the

platform and asked permission to say a few words while the audience

waited for Fleckenstein. Oscar then put forth the great effort of his


He squared his great shoulders and threw back his tawny head.

"Fellow citizens, there is a great disgrace coming onto this community.

You all know the Project engineer, James Manning. Well, there ain't been

anyone who's fought him harder or made him more trouble till lately than

I have. But lately, fellow citizens, I've got to know him. I tell you

right now that he's the smartest fellow that ever come into these parts.

He's got some ideas that I'm not smart enough myself to understand, but

I do know enough to realize that if he gets a chance to carry them out

he'll make this Project the center of America!"

Oscar paused and someone called, "Go it, Oscar! Throw her in to low and

you'll make it!"

"Well, fellow citizens, Fleckenstein and his crowd and all the rest of

us, helping with kicks, have worked it so that Jim Manning has been

asked to resign. They tell him that he's so unpopular here that the

Service can't afford to keep him. Understand that? In other words, we

farmers are such fools that we can't appreciate a good man just because

his ideas differ from ours. But we can go crazy over a man like

Fleckenstein because he'll take the trouble to jolly us. Fellow

citizens, I ask you, are you going to sit by while the man that would

make this Project into a valley empire is kicked out?"

Oscar stood for a moment glaring at his grinning hearers. Murphy climbed

up beside him and shoved him aside.

"Down with the Irish!" yelled someone.

"You never paid me the fifty dollars you ran up for whiskey in my

saloon, Henry," replied Murphy.

There was a roar of laughter and Murphy followed it quickly. "You all

know me. I was in the saloon business in this valley for twenty years.

But not one of you can say I wasn't on the straight all that time. The

nearest I ever come to doing a man dirt was up in the dam. I was running

a saloon just off the Reserve and Big Boss Manning jumped me and made me

clean out my own joint. I was mad and I went up to the Greek there, who

since is dead, for I heard the Greek was backed by Big Money with which

he backed Fleckenstein to do the Service. Says I to myself, I'll help

the Greek to do Manning.

"But the Greek cursed me out as I'll stand from no man. Then they took

me to Manning and he treated me like a gentleman and asked me for my

word of honor to keep off the Project. I know men. And I saw that the

fellow I'd set out to do was a real man, carrying a load that was too

big for the likes of me to sabez and that it made him sad and lonely. I

was sick of the saloon business, anyhow, and when I got his number, I

was proud to have been licked by him. Do you get me? Proud! And I says,

I'm his friend for life and I'll just keep an eye on the pikers who are

trying to do him.

"And I have. You know me, boys. You know that after the priest and the

doctor it's the saloonkeeper that knows a man's number. Let me tell you

that Fleckenstein is a crook. He'll steal anything from a woman's honor

to a water power site. He's playing you folks for suckers. He's having

everything his own way. Charlie Ives is the only fellow who's had the

nerve to run against Fleckenstein and he's a dead one.

"And now Fleckenstein has done the Big Boss. He's made monkeys of you

farmers. He's got you to roasting Manning till you've ruined him. And

they ain't one of us fit to black his boots. This Project is his life's

blood to him. There isn't anything he would[n't] sacrifice to its

welfare. And you're throwing him out. Ain't a man's sacrifice worth

anything to you? Will you take his best and give him the Judas kiss in

return? Are ye hogs or men?"

There was an angry buzz in the room. Just as Uncle Denny started upon

the platform, a tall lank farmer whom the man next him had been nudging

violently, rose.

"My name's Marshall," he said, "and my friend Miguel here says I gotta

get up and say the few things he and I agreed on last night. I'm mighty

sick of hearing us farmers called fools. And now even the women folks

have begun it. When our wives won't give us any peace maybe it's time we

reformed our judgments. I'm willing to say that I think I've been

mistaken about Manning. He came over to my place for the first time a

few weeks back. I never talked with him before or got a good look at

him. Boys, a man don't get the look that that young fella has on his

face unless he's full of ideas that folks will kick him for. I felt kind

of worked up about him then, but I didn't do anything.

"Last night I rode down to Cabillo with a Dutchman, some big bug who'd

been up at the dam. I'd just been up there with Miguel. He told us that

Jim Manning is attracting notice in the old country by the work he's

doing on this dam. And he roasted us as samples of fat cattle who'd let

a man like Manning go. At least that's what I made out, for he was so

mad he talked Dutch a lot. Miguel and I made up our minds then that we'd

got in wrong. What has this fellow Fleckenstein ever done for us? Is he

going to get us branded over the country as a bunch that'll jump an

honest debt? It looks to me as if Manning had done more for us than we

knew. I'm willing to give Manning a new chance. I move we turn this

meeting into a Manning meeting and I move we send a petition to the

Secretary of the Interior to keep Manning on the job."