THE WORLD SHAKES
JOHN REED in Petrograd on the eve of the revolution, was a good reporter, going everywhere, seeing every one. No one could have made the rounds more faithfully or followed leads more diligently. His reporter's legs took his poet's eyes into every corner of the city, and those eyes missed nothing. Moreover, he felt the significance of events, in their relation both to Petrograd's present and his own past. The rightness of what he had become was being tested: if the revolution succeeded, he would know his intuition had been sound and his doubts superfluous; the present would lead by a plain path into the future. If it failed--
As if for the precise purpose of rounding out his education, Kerensky at last consented to give him an interview. How many hours he had waited, with generals and commissars, outside the minister-president's office! Always there had been excuses, but on the morning of October 20, as Reed and Louise Bryant sat in the Tsar's billiard-room and looked at the rosewood panels inlaid with brass, a naval adjutant came and led them to the private library. Kerensky walked towards them, his face an unhealthy color, his hair bristling, his hands nervous. Reed had watched him in the Democratic Congress and the Council of the Republic, seen the man's strange magnetism work miracles, seen him mount from eloquence to hysteria and collapse in weeping. Even now he felt something of his charm and surrendered to the impression he gave of passionate sincerity.
Reed, permitted to ask only a few questions, had planned them carefully. "What do you consider your job here?" was his first.