The Jungle By Upton Sinclair Chapter 26

And so Jurgis spent the balance of the night in the stockyards station house. This time, however, he had money in his pocket, and when he came to his senses he could get something to drink, and also a messenger to take word of his plight to "Bush" Harper. Harper did not appear, however, until after the prisoner, feeling very weak and ill, had been hailed into court and remanded at five hundred dollars' bail to await the result of his victim's injuries. Jurgis was wild about this, because a different magistrate had chanced to be on the bench, and he had stated that he had never been arrested before, and also that he had been attacked first — and if only someone had been there to speak a good word for him, he could have been let off at once.

But Harper explained that he had been downtown, and had not got the message. "What's happened to you?" he asked.

"I've been doing a fellow up," said Jurgis, "and I've got to get five hundred dollars' bail."

"I can arrange that all right," said the other — "though it may cost you a few dollars, of course. But what was the trouble?"

"It was a man that did me a mean trick once," answered Jurgis.

"Who is he?"

"He's a foreman in Brown's or used to be. His name's Connor."

And the other gave a start. "Connor!" he cried. "Not Phil Connor!"

"Yes," said Jurgis, "that's the fellow. Why?"

"Good God!" exclaimed the other, "then you're in for it, old man! I can't help you!"

"Not help me! Why not?"

"Why, he's one of Scully's biggest men — he's a member of the War-Whoop League, and they talked of sending him to the legislature! Phil Connor! Great heavens!"

Jurgis sat dumb with dismay.

"Why, he can send you to Joliet, if he wants to!" declared the other.

"Can't I have Scully get me off before he finds out about it?" asked Jurgis, at length.

"But Scully's out of town," the other answered. "I don't even know where he is — he's run away to dodge the strike."

That was a pretty mess, indeed. Poor Jurgis sat half-dazed. His pull had run up against a bigger pull, and he was down and out! "But what am I going to do?" he asked, weakly.

"How should I know?" said the other. "I shouldn't even dare to get bail for you — why, I might ruin myself for life!"

Again there was silence. "Can't you do it for me," Jurgis asked, "and pretend that you didn't know who I'd hit?"

"But what good would that do you when you came to stand trial?" asked Harper. Then he sat buried in thought for a minute or two. "There's nothing — unless it's this," he said. "I could have your bail reduced; and then if you had the money you could pay it and skip."

"How much will it be?" Jurgis asked, after he had had this explained more in detail.

"I don't know," said the other. "How much do you own?"

"I've got about three hundred dollars," was the answer.

"Well," was Harper's reply, "I'm not sure, but I'll try and get you off for that. I'll take the risk for friendship's sake — for I'd hate to see you sent to state's prison for a year or two."

And so finally Jurgis ripped out his bankbook — which was sewed up in his trousers — and signed an order, which "Bush" Harper wrote, for all the money to be paid out. Then the latter went and got it, and hurried to the court, and explained to the magistrate that Jurgis was a decent fellow and a friend of Scully's, who had been attacked by a strike-breaker. So the bail was reduced to three hundred dollars, and Harper went on it himself; he did not tell this to Jurgis, however — nor did he tell him that when the time for trial came it would be an easy matter for him to avoid the forfeiting of the bail, and pocket the three hundred dollars as his reward for the risk of offending Mike Scully! All that he told Jurgis was that he was now free, and that the best thing he could do was to clear out as quickly as possible; and so Jurgis overwhelmed with gratitude and relief, took the dollar and fourteen cents that was left him out of all his bank account, and put it with the two dollars and quarter that was left from his last night's celebration, and boarded a streetcar and got off at the other end of Chicago.

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