MABEL DODGE came down to El Paso to meet him. He must have felt a little better about their relationship. He was no longer the promising poet who had caught the fancy of a rich, intelligent, aggressive woman; he was a man who had been accepted by Villa and his fighters and been hailed as the ablest of war-correspondents.
In New York his friends were eager to listen to his stories, which were sometimes accurate and always colorful. Copey praised the Mexican articles. Colonel Harvey told a friend that they were the best war-reporting he had ever read. Reed polished up for the Metropolitan his account of the battle of Torreon and his interview with Carranza, and worked at briefer sketches for the Masses.
During his absence there had been savage warfare in which the police had broken up meeting after meeting of the unemployed. The I.W.W. and the anarchists had entered the fight for free speech, and scores of skulls had been cracked. Both radicals and police were preparing for a battle on the Saturday after Reed's return. Lincoln Steffens, who had seen the violence of the preceding weekend, went to Colonel Arthur Woods, just about to be appointed commissioner of police, and told him it was the forces of law and order that made riots. Impressed, Woods called off the police. Reed was sent by the World--as a young man who had been jailed a year ago for activities on behalf of the I.W.W.--to report the meeting. Steffens was right: there was no violence.
Mexico was still foremost in Reed's mind. On April 21, 1914,