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J. R. SHERLEY.
A. S. MASON. A. F. BARTLETT. L. M. GILMORE.
J. W. KING. L. W. COTTLE. O. R. T. GROUP—MOBILE & OHIO RAILWAY- QUITMAN, MISS.
PENGELLY, LABOR DETECTIVE. (Not long ago Pengelly told me the following extraordinary story. Knowing Pengelly, I have every reason to believe that the account is true in every particular, though the names are changed for obvious reasons. ]
TOOK the job. To my astonishment,
the office work-being, in fact, sole occupant of the place, in charge of the telephone, typewriter, records, and having supervision of the operatives' reports. When I pleaded inexperience and timidity before so momentous a task, Chanter assured me, with a smile, that my fears were groundless; that the business was easily learned, and that the chief asset I would need to have was a pair of sharp eyes, a fertile imagination, and a quiet mouth.
With these preliminaries out of the way, I settled down to what I imagined would prove a disciplined, routine type of private police recording
I soon learned that it was of a far different character.
Chanter undertook contracts from employers of labor to break strikes, spy on labor unions, sort out agitators, and to employ himself in any other delicate commission incidental to the manufacturer's side of the labor war which continually menaces the nation. Whether Chanter's methods of accomplishing his tasks is a common one or not is a question beyond the purpose of this account.
Among the lesser commissions which I assisted my chief in handling were the ordinary ones in which manufacturers, having but the merest suspicion regarding the loyalty of their men, desired Chanter to make secret investigations and render reports. When Chanter made his investigation of a shop, and found an absence of
agitation or of agitation leaders, he did not let that discomfit him. He would pick out some employe—usually one possessing qualities of leadership and ambition--and then study him and his habits until he had become familiar with them.
Chanter would then sit in his office and either dictate to me or write out himself a fictitious picture showing that this harmless employe was secretly undermining the loyalty of his fellow employes and had at heart a walkout or a strike plot.
Chanter was not content with this. He would keep the report in abeyance for a number of days, and then, boldly affixing to it a mysterious alphabetical pseudonym, “A. J."—supposed to represent one of Chanter's trusted operatives—would forward it to the office of the manufacturer, together with a bill calling for fifteen dollars a day for the fictitious "A. J." and a reasonable office fee! And the manufacturer would gulp the report and out would go the poor, unsuspecting and harmless employe, either to a long season of unemployment or, worse still, to a black list, while Chanter packed the check in his wallet!
When I trembled at the daring of my chief in such manipulations, declaring that the clients were men whose acumen in business matters should not be despised, Chanter pled to no nervousness on that account, feeling sure that the manufacturer's vulnerable points were their sensitiveness to the plots of labor and their proneness to suspect even harmless laborers of possible incendiarism. Chanter felt secure, and during my term of service in such matters the reports were always accepted unquestioningly and acted on without giving the poor victims any practical opportunity to clear up the matter. For Chanter always advised his clients to avoid debate with
agitators by discharging them for more ostensible faults.
Very often such arbitrary action on the part of an employer brought on a strike which the latter would stubbornly fight, believing that he was defending his industry from disloyal attacks. The public would have much to say concerning the dictatorialness of workingmen aiming to keep plotting disturbers at work, without once suspecting that Chanter and I pulled the strings, and that a detective office had innocently been paid by the employer to initiate the costly contest!
I had particular charge of the "reports." Chanter's “reports" were the feature of his office and the glory of his fertile brain. He had his clients persuaded that the operatives he employed were men and women holding positions in the different industries, and, consequently, that to divulge their names-even to a client—would form breach of faith and lay them open to oppression. All of which the clients—who usually compelled their salesmen to account for every two-cent stamp-accepted in wonderful faith. Such secrecy added to the effect of genuineness, as Chanter always urged.
By this system of “reports" Chanter rarely failed in what he undertook, especially in placing guilt or opening plots or discovering plans hostile to his clients. He trained me how to substitute fiction when fact would displease the client; how to tap the imagination when the reality supplied
In fact, at one time, Chanter, according to the “reports" he was sending to his clients, had over a dozen "operatives" at work, each drawing fifteen dollars a day, when, in fact, the reports emanated from his own and my brain, while the "A. Y's" and “B. K's" and the other listed “operatives” were
none other than bar-room soaks ready to swear to anything for a drink and a dollar!
I was amazed at the ramifications of Chanter's bribes. Apparently few among the decisive people in the labor problein could resist the eloquence of his lavish wages. The labor unions would have been distracted-bewildered-breathless had they been aware who were the spies they harbored.
In one instance one of Chanter's best operatives was the treasurer of a local union, himself on a day's pay with the men, while drawing a lavish wage from Chanter's clients.
Even when Chanter sought dependable information through the men and women he retained who directed labor union sentiment and labor agitation, he was always in a state of uncertainty concerning the validity of the reports they sent in. This uncertainty may be understood when it is known that in one instance Chanter had to be ordered by a client to have some operative secure an official and influential place in a certain union and bring about a vote of the members calling for a strike, in order that the client could have an excuse to fight the union, weaken it, and work towards an open shop. In such matters Chanter himself was at the mercy of his operative and was forced to take the latter's word for what he reported. In this way I sometimes found my chief and the clients the victims of the double-cross.
For example, I carried on the payroll of the office a workingman of high official importance and influence in unionism, who, because of his strategic position, was given a lavish fee each week for his services. He was expected to report the names of new members, the funds of the organization and of affiliated organizations, and to carry out what wishes Chanter imposed on him. He was counted a valuable man, and his reports were made the basis for decisive action by the clients. I later discovered that this man had been playing with them; that he was drawing three salaries-one for his day's work, one from Chanter, and one from the union as their spy! Chanter and his clients had been receiving absolutely false reports from him!
Chanter trained me to be more solicitous for the “reports” than for the character of men who made them. He also taught me never to scruple about carrying out the literal wishes of the clients-even when the principle involved was a humane or legal
Chanter disregarded what tools he used so long as the “reports” went in and his clients' checks came back. The most astonishing commentary upon the work of
this office and upon the depths to which industrial warfare can stoop, is found in my part in a drama which filled our papers at the time and which you would immediately recognize if proper names were given.
A severely contested strike had been waged for some time with open malignity on both sides. The strikers had been gaining until the detective offices had flooded the industry with thugs, fighters and toughs. Seeing their victory in danger, the strikers became more threatening in their attitude. Their rage was aimed, especially, against the leader of the strike-breakers—a human ox named “Slanning.” A demon of strength and of fearlessness was Slanning-always hungry for a clash with the strikers. Finally it was whispered-perhaps on the winds—that the strikers had hired a gang to “get Slanning.” Meanwhile the strike had gained such fury that from the Atlantic to the Pacific the papers gave it large headlines.
One of the employers—the one employing Slanning—sent the following order to our office:
"Have someone stick to Slanning-never let him get from sight. If anything is done, we want a witness !"
I understood the order. It was nothing less than this: to furnish a witness to the impending murder of Slanning! Nothing in the order concerning the protection of the man!
Chanter came into the office and to him I reported the client's order.
"Well," snapped Chanter, “do it."
"But we've no to send out, Mr. Chanter."
“Get someone-anybody so long as Slanning's covered!"
I knew what that meant, also. He called into the office an ex-dentist who had drifted into the city heart, his imagination aflame with the romance of a detective's career-a desire stimulated by the incessant reading of novels. I had put the man off because of his emaciated, apologetic, consumptive and gawky appearance. Still, laughing in my sleeve, I felt myself acting a farce as he nominated this mortal for the role of Slanning's shadow. I gave the "shadow" one of Chanter's alphabetical nom de plumes
“A. Z."-and told him to come back as soon as possible ready for the task. When he did return I found him armed with a bulldog revolver and a dark lantern, in true Nick Carter and Old Sleuth fashion.
“Leave those things here," I ordered, laughing, "you'll only get in trouble with that gun. Remember, now, you're not being sent out to get in the mess; only to shadow Slanning and report what you see. Remember that, now, and don't go to making a fool out of yourself!"
"A. Z.” left the office for his first piece of detective work.
That night I waited for his report, but “A. Z." did not appear. At breakfast, however, the following morning, the paper reported, in startling headlines, the murder of Slanning at the hands of thugs. His body had been riddled with five bullets ! Nothing appeared concerning “A. Z.” But as I sat in my office a few moments later the door was thrust open and “A. Z.” stood on the threshold.
His clothes were sadly torn and stained with dirt. His hair was ruffled and tangled with burdock burrs. His left cheek was bloody and raw where the skin had been scraped from it. Ghostly fright was manifest in his trembling, eye-staring appear
Had he performed his task? He had. Slanning had been picked up as he left the work. “A. Z.” had followed him into a saloon where the giant had faced a group of strikers, mocked them, and compelled some of them to drink with him by the simple expedient of gripping them by the coat collars and flinging them on the schooners of ale. Then, with a blustering laugh, the strike-breaker had started for home, with "A. Z.” sticking to his track with great tenacity.
As the big man started to cross a vacant lot on the outskirts of the city, however, "A. Z.” had seen five men leap into the foreground, pump bullets into the defenseless man, and start to run away. Losing control of himself, “A. Z.” had burst into a shouting run to aid Slanning. The murderers seized him, and threw him aside against a rock, and ordered him not to move for two hours. Their instructions he obeyed
N what is called the Black Forest in
Gaatz and his wife, who had but one child, a daughter, Gretchen, who was the main comfort of her parents. She and Hans Dreckel, the son of a blacksmith, were brought up together, each being the other's only companion, for the region in which they lived was sparsely settled, and no other family lived near them.
Jacob Gaatz was a woodcutter. When Gretchen was nineteen years old there came a great commotion in the family. Hans Dreckel one day met Gretchen on the road carrying a bundle of fagots and said to her:
“Gretchen, I have come to an important decision. I am young and strong and am not satisfied to remain here in the forest, where there is nothing for a man to do but cut wood. One can earn only money enough by so doing to keep body and soul together, for if we ask á better price our employers say to us : “There are plenty of men who would like the work at the same price. If you are not satisfied we will employ others in your place.' I shall go where there are labor unions, and, since I hear that there are better prices paid in the United States of America, I shall go there."
Hans kept his eyes on Gretchen while he was speaking and saw hers gradually fall till they rested on the ground and were wet with tears. Till this moment Hans had never thought of Gretchen other than as a playmate, and, after they were grown, as a friend. But now, when he saw the tears gather in her eyes because he was to leave her, a new sensation was born in his heart, a tenderness for the maiden with whom he had been reared, and, taking her in his arms, he kissed away her tears.
When Gretchen reached her home and threw the fagots beside the fireplace she sat down in a chair and covered her face with her hands. Her mother, who was washing the breakfast dishes, paused and said :
"What is the matter, Gretchen?"
It was a long while before the mother could draw from her daughter that Hans was going to that far country, America. But Gretchen did not tell her what was of far more importance to all of them—that he had asked her to go with him as his wife. - It was hard for the poor girl to lose her companion and, since the announcement of his intended departure, her lover.
There would have been no cause for sorrow, but reason for rejoicing, if she could have yielded to his wish. This she could not do, for it would have been cruel for her to leave her old father and mother, who would now need her more and more every day. She only said that Hans was going to America, knowing that if her parents knew they were keeping her from going with him it would trouble them greaily.
When Hans found that Gretchen would not go with him he asked her to promise him that if her parents died she would come to him. But this was not much comfort to him, for on that condition his sweetheart was not likely to join him for many years. And, as for Gretchen, it meant that she must lose her parents in order to join her lover.
The day Hans left he said to Gretchen: "You know that my father is old and can not live long and my mother is not my own mother; but my stepmother. Father will never come to me in America, and when he dies mother will go to live with one of her