John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary

By Granville Hicks; John Stuart | Go to book overview

V
PROUD NEW YORK

MAKING only one stop--at Cambridge--John Reed returned to Portland. Family finances he found rather worse than he had expected. Although the real estate owned by the Reeds and the Greens theoretically represented a comfortable sum, it was so burdened with mortgages and the ownership was so divided that his father could realize little money from it, and was having difficulty in meeting daily expenses. There was no doubt that the son would have to find a job as soon as possible.

His mother and father tried to be pleasant about the engagement, but he could see that they were distressed. Their friends were dismayed at his planning to marry a French girl, and his friends were dismayed at his planning to marry at all. They asked him how he planned to support a wife on rejection slips, and he had no answer except to set his jaw and consign the whole city to hell.

If he had to find a job, he had no intention of looking for it in Portland. Despite his mother's objections, he hastened back to New York, where the first thing he did was to join the Harvard Club and the second was to get in touch with Lincoln Steffens. Steffens said, "I guess you will have your chance." He had always regarded Reed and Lippmann, whom he had already placed on Everybody's, as his boys. He secured Reed a temporary position on the Globe and then set him to work on the American Magazine.

Reed had been a little afraid of Steffens when he met him at Harvard; he seemed too serious, too wise, too difficult to talk

-64-

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