Publication information

Source:
With Claw and Fang
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Death to the Cat’s-Paw” [chapter 10]
Author(s): Babcock, Bernie
Publisher: Clean Politics Publishing Co.
Place of publication: Indianapolis, Indiana
Year of publication: 1911
Pagination: 101-12

 
Citation
Babcock, Bernie. “Death to the Cat’s-Paw” [chapter 10]. With Claw and Fang. Indianapolis: Clean Politics Publishing, 1911: pp. 101-12.
 
Transcription
full text of chapter; excerpt of book
 
Keywords
Leon Czolgosz (fictionalization); Nikola Golzosch; society (criticism); Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: fictional accounts); Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: visitations: fictional accounts); Heva Golzosch; Czolgosz family (fictionalization); Leon Czolgosz (execution: fictional accounts).
 
Named persons
Heva Golzosch; Nikola Golzosch; Jesus Christ; Socrates.
 
Notes
The chapter (below) includes an uncredited partial-page illustration on page 112, captioned as follows: “Anarchy dead? Ha! Ha!”

From title page:

ANARCHY IS HELLTHE SALOON IS ITS PROPHET

     This story is sent out knowing it will be evil spoken of, not alone by open and secret friends of Liquor Traffic[,] anarchy and God-hating apostles of “personal liberty”, but by others more honest, who, forgetting that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, will think because the story is not pleasant it should not have been written. That the story is TERRIBLY TRUE cannot be denied. Whatever its reception, the author has performed a duty however unpleasant it may have been, and casts the book into the arena of TODAY’S THOUGHT with the same purpose that moved those brave ones, in laying the foundation of Christian civilization, to shout in the face of Numidian lions and Rome’s mocking thousands. “PRO CHRISTUS.”

From title page: With Claw and Fang: A Fact Story in a Chicago Setting.

From title page: By Bernie Babcock, Author of “The Daughter of a Republican,” “At the Mercy of the State,” “An Uncrowned Queen,” “The Devil and Tom Walker,” “Justice to the Woman,” etc.
 
Document


Death to the Cat’s-Paw

     Nikola Golzosch, victim of three generations of “man’s inhumanity to man”—human machine and pupil of the Forerunner of the Beast—had finished his course and was ready for his diploma in the school of Crime.
     Eighty million people composed the audience that should clap their hands with joy when his reward was handed him—his grim, silent diploma, DEATH.
     When good old Socrates was doomed to die, because forsooth he did not worship the gods of Athens as did Athens, he was given a cup of poison, and, in the decent solitude of his own cell, lay his stiffening limbs on his couch and went into the rigors of death with no unfriendly eye to watch his quivering agony or to criticize the manner of his death throes.
     Progression sought to improve the manner of the death sentence; and in America, where they have a Humane Society to keep bad boys from hanging dogs, a gallows is builded just outside the prisoner’s cell, and before a gaping crowd the victim is hung by the neck and left to writhe away his life as a worm writhes on a hook.
     How is this for a triumph of Christianity? Christianity, builded on the teachings of that greatest of the Prophets, who forever did away [101][102] with the law, “a tooth for a tooth, a blow for a blow, a life for a life”?
     There are communities where men are not hanged like dogs, where crime is no more rampant than where twelve men sit in unholy justice and decree to rob a fellow of his life—in the name of Law.
     And if for a life must a life be given, who shall rob them of theirs?
     But since man must by man be slain, according to justice as she has thus far evoluted, why not let him go the secluded short route by the certain way of fifteen cents [sic] worth of poison?
     This would at least be a saving to the tax payer.
     No spirit of progression here!
     No evidence this way of the spread of Christianity!
     So thousands of money [sic] are spent and months of energy, and at last one State declares itself in the vanguard of progress because its wise men discovered a way to borrow bolts from the Almighty’s store-house of destruction and shoot them into the bodies of its fellows.
     It was by way of the deadly chair that Nikola Golzosch was to pass to the next highest stage of the human animal’s existence—for stage there must be, else what is evolution save revolution?

*                 *                *                *                *                *                *                *

     Nikola knew his fate.
     Face to face with the fact that for him the quick march from the cradle to the grave had come early, he was torn by conflicting emotions. [102][103]
     Nikola Golzosch knew nothing of the Kingdom of Love whose territory is the heart of man.
     He knew not of any power to tame the beast that is the inheritance of the human animal, for while the great nation of his birth had sent millions away from home to tell the glad news of Heaven and the Way, he, under the shadow of church spires, had been taught to believe in the Kingdom of Hell.
     He had found it everywhere.
     Face to face with the fact of passing from the hell that had been about him, he came to recognize a hell within him.
     Four square walls of solid masonry kept the hell-born forces outside from entering and tearing him limb from limb; but often times when he slept it came to him that there was no final escape, that even after he had seemed to escape their clutches by death, they would change to demons and pursue him, and at such times his screams of terror awoke others who dreamed of punishment and made the long corridors seem haunts of furies.
     But whatever was to follow, the earthly hell of the anarchist was not to be prolonged.
     Pain was yet too fresh in the hearts of America’s millions to let them forget punishment, and they received gladly the news that the chair was ready and the strap and the deadly current.
     When he had been a part of a machine under a roof, Nikola’s mind had dwelt much on the joys of revenge.
     Now his prayer for revenge had been answered, [103][104] not as he had expected, for the thought that he should ever take the life of one who had never harmed him, never once entered his head until he fell under the evil teaching of the Forerunner of the Beast.
     This was past.
     He had been revenged on the FATE that had been so cruel to him, but the wild unrest that had tormented him and had prompted the deed had increased a hundred fold.
     One day, as the condemned man sat silent and sullen in his cell, two women visitors were announced.
     Who could they be?
     Not the Forerunner of the Beast!
     She preached her gospel of Murder.
     But she did not claim the murderer.
     She fed the Serpent but she did not mother its hatched eggs. She increased the propaganda of claw and fang, but when the claw struck and the fang stained with heart blood, she was not there.
     Who could it be?
     Turning toward the grating, Nikola saw two faces looking out from coarse bonnet frames.
     The first was a kindly face, showing deep lines of sorrow and yet no bitterness.
     A face it was to study and to love.
     But Nikola’s restless eye had passed this and as it fell on the second face he sprang forward against the bars, crying, “Heva! Heva!”
     A great sob was the only sound that broke the stillness. [104][105]
     Not since he had spoken the name before had this woman heard herself called by the familiar name that came to her from the cell.
     Since she had last seen him, she had been called by many names—and by none.
     And yet was it Heva?
     When he had last seen her she was a little girl scarce turned to womanhood. Her thick, black hair had hung in braids over her shoulders and her skirts had been too short to hide her shapely limbs.
     This was a woman, old with life lived beyond the boundary of its years. Her face had lost its freshness, and was marked with lines, and the hair tucked under the bonnet showed here and there a silver thread.
     Yet it was Heva, for she said: “My brother! Nikola, my brother!”
     The name sounded strange to him also, for since the day she had been stolen from his care no man had called him brother.
     As a part of a machine he had been called by number.
     At the saloon he had been called as his father had.
     He reached a hand through the bars.
     Heva took it between hers, and when she bent her head he felt hot tears drop on it.
     When she could speak she said, “O Nikola! How could you do it? How could you?”
     “It was my Duty,” the young anarchist replied slowly.
     “Your duty?” she exclaimed. “Your duty to [105][106] take the life of a fellow being, one who had never harmed you? Your duty to take the life of a nation’s President?”
     “It was the only way,” he replied without emotion. “It was not the man, but the Government, I struck at.”
     “Had the Government harmed you?” she questioned.
     “Do you so soon forget?” he asked excitedly.
     “Do you forget it was under Government of club and sword that our father’s father was left mutilated for the fang of the wolf? Do you forget our father’s mother—her debasement and her slavery?
     “Do you forget that our father was brought home in bloody pieces from a massacre that took place on American soil, under American government, because the oppressed sought to throw off the yoke of bondage? And do you forget his dying groans?
     “Do you forget our mother, our good mother, who was let to die of hunger—and cold—as an alley cat is left to die?
     “And you, Heva—have you forgotten yourself? Where have you been?”
     “In Hell!” she answered, without a moment’s hesitation.
     “Even so. And yet living in hell you have not been from under the folds of a flag that waves the lie of freedom; you have not been outside the bounds of that Government which promises the fullest liberty and the free pursuit of happiness. [106][107] Why the necessity of a young girl being forced into hell if there be any virtue in this Government? There is none, and where the fault lies, strike? Since it be in Government, then down with Government!”
     “There is a Better Way,” Heva said gently, “a Better Way, Nikola, my brother. It is the Way of the Cross—the Way of Love.”
     “Our mother was human. She loved, and she was let to starve and freeze in a land of rich plenty where the Christling controls Government.”
     “It is because they lack love that these things be. If those love who profess to, could they see suffering and want and pain where they have power to prevent? It is because they have not learned the Way of the Cross that they are selfish, even to the death of their fellows!”
     “But they call themselves Christians. They say great prayers and give great gifts and write great creeds—and they are liars and thieves!”
     “I know no creed,” Heva answered, “and was never inside a church. But this I know, the Way of the Cross is loving one another as Jesus the Christ loved us. This only is the way to Heaven!”
     “Heaven! Heaven!” Nikola exclaimed with the bitterness of death. “There is no Heaven but Hell. All, all is Hell!”
     “Listen, Nikola,” Heva pleaded. “I have lived in Hell; years in Hell. Into Hell was I stolen—deep, black, dismal, cruel Hell. It was not by those who name the Christ that I was stolen, but by blasphemers. And Nikola, Nikola!” and she [107][108] leaned close to the grating. “I should have pushed myself into the eternal torment of the next Hell if it had not been for Love. Three times I tried. Once with a knife, but its edge was not keen enough; twice by poison, and they pumped me out and cursed me for the trouble. Then was I found by those who love, and in the ‘name of Christ’ I was rescued from hell in Chicago, and by the love of the Crucified One have I come from a world of Hate into the world of Love, so that now I can go about telling the story. I do not know how, but I know the change IS. And Nikola, so sure as the Kingdom of Hate lives in man’s heart, so surely may Love. When Love, comes, comes Heaven, and as our heart it here so shall it go into the hell or heaven that is our next higher life, for we do not die as dogs.” [sic]
     “Heva! Heva!” Nikola said with a shudder, “Tell me not there is no death. I shall go mad! I have lived enough hell already to last an eternity, and do you now come to tell me that it may not end?”
     “Brother,” she replied, “get out of Hell into Heaven before it is too late. This you can do by getting hatred out of your heart and love in.”
     “But I cannot! I cannot! It is all hatred! My father’s parting blessing was to hate. My mother’s last prayer was that I keep you from the soul-rotting hell of Chicago, and because that prayer went unanswered I hate. Tell me there is a God! Tell me to Love! It is as impossible as for me to bend these bars with my fingers.” [108][109]
     “Impossible for you, but not for your Almighty Maker. Ask him to forgive you of your fearful sin. The spirit of the risen Christ is near your heart. If you let him he will enter in, and entering bring great sorrow for your sin, great Love and great peace. Pray, Nikola!”
     “Pray?” he repeated almost savagely, “me pray? I do not know the meaning of the word!”
     “Will you kneel?” she asked.
     Only once in his life had Nikola Golzosch knelt in prayer. Then it had been beside his mother at the altar in a dim church.
     Again he knelt; this time behind iron bars.
     It was Heva’s voice he heard in prayer. But it did not seem strange now and he did not hear her words.
     It seemed that as he knelt his cell had lengthened until it stretched away in long, dim aisles, and its ceiling had lifted itself over his head until it was lost in the shadowy vault above marked by dark ribs. And out of the darkness shown a blood-red sky and outlined against the crimson clouds the shadow of a great dark Cross.
     At its foot lay the body of a pallid man with a gaping wound, before which his mother knelt.
     He seemed to feel his mother’s arm about him once again—then to hear a sob of mingled sadness and joy, and his mother’s voice saying, “It comes to me! It comes to me!” Looking he saw that she kissed the Cross, her face lit with a beautiful radiance.
     Nikola had not understood then. [109][110]
     He did not now.
     But as he wondered, it seemed that the wounded body in the shadow of the Cross took on life. The closed eyes slowly opened and their kindly, penetrating glance was turned for an instant on him.
     The one look was a call for his Soul.
     Nikola reached eagerly forward and would have crept beneath the shadow of the Cross.
     It was only a shadow.
     His hands clasped an iron bar.

*                 *                *                *                *                *                *                *

     Heva had ended her prayer.
     There were tears in her eyes.
     She would not see her brother again.
     When they had arisen from their knees, Nikola said, “I want a Cross!”
     “I have not a Cross, my brother,” she answered, “but if I am permitted I will send you a little gospel that will tell you the story of the Cross and of the Crucified One who loved, and loved—more than any other—and whose Love will turn earth’s Hell into earth’s Heaven.”

*                 *                *                *                *                *                *                *

     But the Gospel and the Book had been too long coming.
     The mind of Nikola Golzosch was in no condition now to study the Way.
     It was a crucifix the condemned anarchist wanted.
     Before he was led to the chair of execution, a priest was admitted to his cell and a Cross was placed in his hand, which, in the dim light of his last earthly day, he kissed reverently in memory [110][111] of his mother, while the priest prayed that his soul might be delivered from the pangs of Hell.

*                 *                *                *                *                *                *                *

     Next day, the wires that had so recently told news of the assassination of a Nation’s beloved President, told the glad news that the murderer was a shriveled corpse.
     And in a short paragraph, as is usual in reports of hangings, the statement was made that he had confessed to a priest.
     Thoughtless people laughed. Pious souls, of a kind of piety, declared with indignation they had no wish to go to Heaven if it were to be filled with anarchists.
     These were they who profess much, but forget that an insurgent chief and murderer was once redeemed from the world of Hate to that of Love, even as he hung on a Roman cross.

*                 *                *                *                *                *                *                *

     Golzosch the anarchist was dead.
     An imperilled [sic] Government had rid itself of one of the catspaws of Anarchy, but, unmindful of Protection by Prevention, had let live that nine-lived Breeding Cat of Crime—the Saloon, freely protected by two great contending and equally guilty political parties.
     When claw and fang shall have taken another stab at the heart of American Government, then will another catspaw be destroyed.
     Wisdom! Wisdom! Where is thy hiding place?

*                 *                *                *                *                *                *                *

     Golzosch the anarchist was dead. [111][112]
     Anarchist he for lack of LOVE!
     Who are the anarchist makers?
     Will the Anarchist because of Hate be damned, while those who for lack of Love perpetuate, by ballot, the conditions that make him, be swept into Eternal Glory?
     Impossible!

THE END.