"Commissioner, it's Mayor Peters."
"You call for my resignation, I expect."
"I call for damage assessment. Let's start there."
Curtis sighed. "One hundred and twenty-nine arrests. Five rioters shot, none critically injured. Five hundred sixty-two people treated for injuries at Haymarket Relief, a third of those related to cuts from broken glass. Ninety-four muggings reported. Sixty-seven assaults-andbattery. Six rapes."
"Your estimate as to the real number?"
Another sigh. "Based on uncorroborated reports from the North End and South Boston, I'd place the number in the dozens. Thirty, let's say."
"Thirty." Peters felt the need to weep again, but it didn't come as an overwhelming wave, merely as a stabbing sensation behind his eyes. "Property damage?"
"In the hundreds of thousands."
"The hundreds of thousands, yes, I thought so myself."
"Mostly small businesses. The banks and department stores--" "Hired private security. I know."
"The firemen will never strike now."
"The firemen," Curtis said. "The sympathy strike. My man in the department tells me they are so irate about the countless false alarms they responded to last night that they've turned against the strikers."
"How does this information help us right now, Commissioner?"
"I won't resign," Curtis said.
The gall of this man. The gumption. A city under siege of its populace and all he thinks of is his job and his pride.
"You won't have to," Peters said. "I'm removing you from your command."
"Oh, I can. You love rules, Commissioner. Please consult Section Six, Chapter Three-twenty-three of the 1885 city bylaws. Once you've done that, clean out your desk. Your replacement will be there by nine."
Peters hung up. He would have expected to feel more satisfaction, but it was one of the more dispiriting aspects of this entire affair that the only possible flush of victory had lain in averting the strike. Once it had begun, no man, least of all himself, could lay claim to any accomplishment. He called to his secretary, Martha Pooley, and she came into the office with the list of names and telephone numbers he'd asked for. He started with Colo nel Sullivan of the State Guard. When he answered, Peters skipped all formalities.
"Colo nel Sullivan, this is your mayor. I am giving you a direct order that cannot be countermanded. Understood?"
"Yes, Mr. Mayor."
"Assemble the entire State Guard in the Boston area. I am putting the Tenth Regiment, the First Cavalry Troop, the First Motor Corps, and the Ambulance Corps under your command. Is there any reason you cannot perform these duties, Colonel?"
"None whatsoever, sir."
"See to it."
"Yes, Mr. Mayor."
Peters hung up and immediately dialed the home of General Charles Cole, former commander of the Fifty-second Yankee Division and one of the chief members of the Storrow Committee. "General Cole."
"Would you serve your city as acting police commissioner, sir?" "It would be my honor."
"I'll send a car. At what time could you be ready, General?" "I'm already dressed, Mr. Mayor."
Governor Coolidge held a press conference at ten. He announced that in addition to the regiments Mayor Peters had called up, he had asked Brigadier General Nelson Bryant to assume command of the state response to the crisis. General Bryant had accepted and would command the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Fifteenth Regiments of the State Guard as well as a machine-gun company.
Volunteers continued to converge on the Chamber of Commerce to receive their badges, uniforms, and weapons. Most, he noted, were former officers of the Massachusetts Yankee Division and had served with distinction in the Great War. He further noted that 150 Harvard undergraduates, including the entire football team, had been sworn in as members of the volunteer police department.
"We are in good hands, gentlemen."
When asked why the State Guard had not been called out the previous evening, Governor Coolidge responded, "Yesterday I was persuaded to leave matters of public safety to city authorities. I have since regretted the wisdom of this trust."
When a reporter asked the governor how he'd suffered the bruise under his left eye, Governor Coolidge announced that the press conference was over and left the room.
Danny stood with Nora on the rooftop of his building and looked down at the North End. During the worst of the rioting, some men had blocked off Salem Street with truck tires they'd doused in gasoline and lit afire. Danny could see one now, melted into the street and still smoking, the stench fi lling his nostrils. The mob had grown all evening, restless, itchy. At about ten o'clock, it had stopped roiling and begun to vent. Danny had watched from his window. Impotent.
By the time it abated about 2 A. M., the streets lay as smashed and violated as they had after the molasses flood. The voices of the victims--of assaults, of muggings, of motiveless beatings, of rape--rose from the streets and out of tenement windows and rooming houses. Moaning, keening, weeping. The cries of those chosen for random violence, bereft with the knowledge that they'd never know justice in this world.
And it was his fault.
Nora told him it wasn't, but he could see she didn't fully believe it. She'd changed over the course of the night; doubt had entered her eyes. About the choice he'd made, about him. When they'd fi nally lain down in bed last night, her lips found his cheek and they were cool and hesitant. Instead of going to sleep with one arm over his chest and one leg over his, her usual custom, she turned onto her left side. Her back touched his, so it wasn't a complete rejection, but he felt it nonetheless.
Now, standing with their coffee on the rooftop, looking at the damage strewn below them in the gray light of an overcast morning, she placed a hand on Danny's lower back. It was the lightest of touches and just as quickly removed. When Danny turned, she was chewing the edge of her thumb and her eyes were moist.
"You're not going to work today," he said.
She shook her head but said nothing.
She stopped chewing her thumb and lifted her coffee cup off the parapet. She looked at him, her eyes wide and blank, unreadable. "You're not going to--"
"Yes, I am," she said.
He shook his head. "It's too dangerous. I don't want you out on those streets."
Her shoulders moved almost imperceptibly. "It's my job. I'm not getting fired."