On April 24th no wireless message was received from the Mackay-Bennett, but the White Star Line officials and telegraphers familiar with the wireless alphabet were busy trying to reconcile some of the names received with those of persons who went down on the Titanic.
We found ourselves cut off from the rest of the country, as the telegraphers refused to serve us. But the soldiers, who arrived by tens and hundreds on commissions from their respective regiments, invariably said to us: "Have no fears of the front; it is entirely on your side. You need but give the word, and we will send to your aid even this very day a division or a corps."
When he regains consciousness you will tell him what I have said." "It's Warden, ain't it?" grinned the conductor. "Well, I'll be glad to take him. But I'll have to wire for orders. This guy ain't a bona fide passenger." He strode to the telegraphers window. There was a short wait; and during the interval Warden stirred and sat up, swaying from side to side and staring about him in bewilderment.
He defied it! He burst into the main staff room, where the tired officers regarded him with a glare, or momentary, weary wonder, and continued packing up their papers for departure. He went on into the telegraphers' room. Some of the operators were packing their instruments. "The news? What is the news?" Westerling asked hoarsely.
The Teachers' Federation of Chicago is a labor union, and although it was formed before the Women's Trade Union League came into existence, it is now affiliated. The women telegraphers all over the United States are well organized.
Phillips, the wireless operator, seized his key and telegraphed in every direction the call "S O S!" Gossiping among telegraphers hundreds of miles apart, messages of business import, all the scores of things that fill the ocean air with tremulous whisperings of etheric waves, began to give over their chattering.
They set to work a host of lecturers, who held public meetings throughout the country adding recruits and advertising the Order. The most important Knights of Labor strike of this period was the telegraphers' strike in 1883. The telegraphers had a national organization in 1870, which soon collapsed.
Swiftly the troubled deeps of thought grew calm; on their placid surface inconsequent visions were mirrored darkly, fugitive scenes from the store of subconscious memory: Crane's lantern-jawed physiognomy, keen eyes semi-veiled by humorously drooping lids, the extreme corner of his mouth bulging round his everlasting cigar ... grimy lions in Trafalgar Square of a rainy afternoon ... the octagonal room of L'Abbaye Theleme at three in the morning, a swirl of Bacchanalian shapes ... Wertheimer's soldierly figure beside the telegraphers' table in that noisome cave at the Front ... the deck of a tender in darkness swept by a shaft of yellow light which momentarily revealed a group of folk with upturned faces, a petticoat fluttering in its midst....
The time had passed uneventfully with the three young telegraphers, the end of the second week finding Alex and Jack together with the construction-train at the rail-head, and Wilson Jennings back at the temporary station and material-sidings at the viaduct. Perhaps the last few days had passed least interestingly with Wilson, alone in his little box-car station, not far from the old river-bed.
The demands were one day's rest in seven, an eight-hour day shift and a seven-hour night shift, and a general increase of 15 percent in wages. The public and a large portion of the press gave their sympathy to the strikers, not so much on account of the oppressed condition of the telegraphers as of the general hatred that prevailed against Jay Gould, who then controlled the Western Union Company.