We were both hungry and tired, and M'Dermott suggested a retreat to a neighbouring Lockhart's. Seated before a more than doubtful cup of tea, in a grimy room, where texts stared at us from the walls, we discussed the situation, and decided to inquire about a workshop which we saw advertised, and which seemed promising.
George M'Dermott, barrister, applied to the magistrates to assign a place for the members of the bar. Mr. Dix I don't know that the bar, unless they are engaged in the cases, have any greater privilege than anyone else. We have a wretched court here. Mr. M'Dermott said the bar was entitled to have room made for them when it could be done. Mr.
"Well," exclaimed M'Dermott at last, "propaganda implies propagandists, and propagandists entail bellies! All these fellows seem pretty well starving. What would they say to a little grub?" On my interpreting the old fellow's suggestion he and it were received with universal acclaim.
Kosinski, Armitage, and Giannoli, after making up and addressing the last parcel, had left for their respective abodes; Beppe and Meneghino, having turned the wheel the whole evening, had fallen to sleep exhausted, stretched on a bench in the machine-room; and I, after having partaken of a cup of tea and some hot buttered toast which old M'Dermott had provided for me, sat nodding and dozing on one side of the fire.
But I had come to see the almost ludicrous side of the Anarchist party, especially in England, considered as a practical force in politics. Short and Simpkins were typical figures M'Dermott, an exceptionally good one of the rank and file of the English party.
M'Dermott had come round, and he stood at my elbow discussing the propaganda and the situation generally. He was much rejoiced at the turn matters were taking on the Continent, and deplored the lukewarmness of English Anarchists. "You cannot have a revolution without revolutionists," was a favourite phrase of his, and he was at no trouble to conceal his opinion of most of the comrades.
I had risen from the table, and was going into the passage, when I perceived the agent looking over the way-bill with the guard. As soon as he perceived me, he walked out in front of the inn. Before the guard had put up the bill, I requested to look at it, wishing to ascertain if I had been booked in my own name. It was so. The four names were, Newland, Cophagus, Baltzi, M'Dermott.
Mr M'Dermott called for a glass of brandy and water, drank it off in haste, and then, followed by the porter, with his luggage, went down to embark. As soon as he was gone, I burst into a fit of laughter. "Well, Mr Cophagus, acknowledge that it is possible to persuade a man out of his senses.
I was in the habit of rising rather late, as very often Saturday night was an all-night sitting at the office of the Tocsin, and Sunday morning was the only time I found it convenient to pay a little attention to the toilet. But I used generally to manage to be by twelve in some public place, and help Short and M'Dermott to start a meeting.
I was relieved at the turn matters had taken, which threw the ridicule on the other side, and before long we were ready, little M'Dermott having made himself very useful, running actively up and down the ladder laden with parcels. We must have looked a queer procession as we set off.