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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XL"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XL</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">A Departure in Battleships</h2> <p>Dru invited the Strawns to accompany him to Newport News to witness the launching of a new type of battleship. It was said to be, and probably was, impenetrable. Experts who had tested a model built on a large scale had declared that this invention would render obsolete every battleship in existence. The principle was this: Running back from the bow for a distance of 60 feet only about 4 feet of the hull showed above the water line, and this part of the deck was concaved and of the smoothest, hardest steel. Then came several turreted sections upon which guns were mounted. Around these turrets ran rims of polished steel, two feet in width and six inches thick. These rims began four feet from the water line and ran four feet above the level of the turret decks. The rims were so nicely adjusted with ball bearings that the smallest blow would send them spinning around, therefore a shell could not penetrate because it would glance off.</p> <p>Although the trip to the Newport News Dock yards was made in a Navy hydroaeroplane it took several hours, and Gloria used the occasion to urge upon Dru the rectification of some abuses of which she had special knowledge.</p> <p>&#8220;Philip,&#8221; she said, &#8220;when I was proselytizing among the rich, it came to me to include the employer of women labor. I found but few who dissented from my statement of facts, but the answer was that trade conditions, the demand of customers for cheaper garments and articles, made relief impracticable. Perhaps their profits are on a narrow basis, Philip; but the volume of their business is the touchstone of their success, for how otherwise could so many become millionaires? Just what the remedy is I do not know, but I want to give you the facts so that in recasting the laws you may plan something to alleviate a grievous wrong.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;It is strange, Gloria, how often your mind and mine are caught by the same current, and how they drift in the same direction. It was only a few days ago that I picked up one of O. Henry&#8217;s books. In his &#8216;Unfinished Story&#8217; he tells of a man who dreamed that he died and was standing with a crowd of prosperous looking angels before Saint Peter, when a policeman came up and taking him by the wing asked: &#8217;Are you with that bunch?&#8217;</p> <p>&#8220;&#8216;Who are they?&#8217; asked the man.</p> <p>&#8220;&#8216;Why,&#8217; said the policeman, &#8217;they are the men who hired working girls and paid &#8217;em five or six dollars a week to live on. Are you one of the bunch?&#8217;</p> <p>&#8220;&#8216;Not on your immortality,&#8217; answered the man. &#8217;I&#8217;m only the fellow who set fire to an orphan asylum, and murdered a blind man for his pennies.&#8217;</p> <p>&#8220;Some years ago when I first read that story, I thought it was humor, now I know it to be pathos. Nothing, Gloria, will give me greater pleasure than to try to think out a solution to this problem, and undertake its application.&#8221;</p> <p>Gloria then gave more fully the conditions governing female labor. The unsanitary surroundings, the long hours and the inadequate wage, the statistics of refuge societies showed, drove an appalling number of women and girls to the streets.--No matter how hard they worked they could not earn sufficient to clothe and feed themselves properly. After a deadly day&#8217;s work, many of them found stimulants of various kinds the cheapest means of bringing comfort to their weary bodies and hope-lost souls, and then the next step was the beginning of the end.</p> <p>By now they had come to Newport News and the launching of the battleship was made as Gloria christened her <i>Columbia.</i> After the ceremonies were over it became necessary at once to return to Washington, for at noon of the next day there was to be dedicated the Colossal Arch of Peace. Ten years before, the Government had undertaken this work and had slowly executed it, carrying out the joint conception of the foremost architect in America and the greatest sculptor in the world. Strangely enough, the architect was a son of New England, and the Sculptor was from and of the South.</p> <p>Upon one face of the arch were three heroic figures. Lee on the one side, Grant on the other, with Fame in the center, holding out a laurel wreath with either hand to both Grant and Lee. Among the figures clustered around and below that of Grant, were those of Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas and Hancock, and among those around and below that of Lee, were Stonewall Jackson, the two Johnstons, Forrest, Pickett and Beauregard. Upon the other face of the arch there was in the center a heroic figure of Lincoln and gathered around him on either side were those Statesmen of the North and South who took part in that titanic civil conflict that came so near to dividing our Republic.</p> <p>Below Lincoln&#8217;s figure was written: &#8220;With malice towards none, with charity for all.&#8221; Below Grant, was his dying injunction to his fellow countrymen: &#8220;Let us have peace.&#8221; But the silent and courtly Lee left no message that would fit his gigantic mold.</p>
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