John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary

By Granville Hicks; John Stuart | Go to book overview
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XIII
ALMOST THIRTY

THE Metropolitan for January, 1917, announced Reed's proposed trip to China: "He will hold up the mirror to this mysterious and romantic country, and we shall see its teeming millions and the big forces at work there. Imagine Reed in this rich 'copy' empire--the man of whom Rudyard Kipling said, 'His articles in the Metropolitan made me see Mexico.'" Reed and Louise Bryant, securing their passports and a stock of letters of introduction, made all their plans.

On January 22, 1917, Wilson delivered his famous speech advocating peace without victory. The next day Bethlehem Steel announced a two hundred percent stock dividend. A week later, Count Bernstoff informed the United States government that Germany was about to engage in virtually unrestricted submarine warfare, and on February 3 the President announced the severing of diplomatic relations. That week Hovey wrote Reed that under the circumstances it seemed unwise to spend money on articles about China. " Whigham and I," he said, "think that we had best put off consideration of your trip to China until we can see more clearly ahead. Meanwhile, is there anything in connection with the new situation you can suggest that we could do in place of it?"

There was nothing. The abandoning of the trip to China meant the end not only of one of Jack Reed's romantic dreams but also of a very substantial reality, his profitable employment by the Metropolitan. Roosevelt's policies had come more and more to dominate the magazine; Socialism was forgotten, and only preparation for war mattered. Whigham and Hovey had been. all

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