They repeated the procedure in Scollay Square and along Atlantic Avenue in the North End. General Cole blocked off access to any streets entering Scollay Square and set up a checkpoint on the Broadway Bridge. Anyone caught on the streets in question without a viable reason for being there was subject to immediate arrest.
The city remained quiet throughout the day, the streets empty.
Governor Coolidge held a press conference. While he expressed sympathy for the nine confirmed dead and the hundreds injured, he stated that it was the mob itself that was to blame. The mob and the policemen who had left their posts. The governor went on to state that while the mayor had attempted to shore up the city during the terrible crisis, it was clear he had been wholly unprepared for such an emergency. Therefore control from this point on would be assumed by the state and the governor himself. In that capacity, his first order of business was to reinstate Edwin Upton Curtis to his rightful place as police commissioner.
Curtis appeared by his side at the rostrum and announced that the police department of the great city of Boston, acting in concert with the State Guard, would brook no further rioting. "The rule of law will be respected or the consequences will be dire. This is not Russia. We will use every measure of force at our disposal to ensure democracy for our citizens. Anarchy ends today."
A reporter from the Transcript stood and raised his hand. "Governor Coolidge, am I clear that it is your opinion that Mayor Peters is at fault for the past two nights' chaos?"
Coolidge shook his head. "The mob is at fault. The policemen who committed gross dereliction of their sworn duties are at fault. Mayor Peters is not at fault. He was merely caught unawares and was thus, in the early stages of the riots, a bit ineffectual."
"But, Governor," the reporter said, "we've heard several reports that it was Mayor Peters who wished to call out the State Guard within an hour of the police walkout, and that you, sir, and Commissioner Curtis vetoed the idea."
"Your information is incorrect," Coolidge said.
"Your information is incorrect," Coolidge repeated. "This press conference is completed."
Thomas Coughlin held his son's hand while he wept. Connor didn't make a sound, but the tears slid freely from the thick white bandages covering his eyes and rolled off his chin to dampen the collar of his hospital gown.
His mother stared out the window of Mass General, trembling, her eyes dry.
Joe sat in a chair on the other side of the bed. He hadn't spoken a word since they'd lifted Connor into the ambulance last night.
Thomas touched Connor's cheek. "It's okay," he whispered. "How's it okay?" Connor said. "I'm blind."
"I know, I know, son. But we'll get through this."
Connor turned his head away and tried to remove his hand, but Thomas held fast to it.
"Con'," Thomas said, hearing the helplessness in his own voice, "it's a terrible blow. Of that there can be little doubt. But don't give in to the sin of despair, son. It's the worst sin of all. God will help you through this. He just asks for strength."
"Strength?" Connor coughed a wet laugh. "I'm blind."
At the window, Ellen blessed herself.
"Blind," Connor whispered.
Thomas could think of nothing to say. Maybe this, of all things, was the true price of family--being unable to stop the pains of those you loved. Unable to suck it out of the blood, the heart, the head. You held them and named them and fed them and made your plans for them, never fully realizing that the world was always out there, waiting to apply its teeth.
Danny walked into the room and froze.
Thomas hadn't thought it through, but he realized immediately what Danny saw in their eyes: They blamed him.
Well, of course they did. Who else was to blame?
Even Joe, who'd idolized Danny for so long, stared up at him with confusion and spite.
Thomas kept it simple. "Your brother was blinded last night." He raised Connor's hand to his lips and kissed it. "In the riots."
"Dan?" Connor said. "That you?"
"It's me, Con'."
"I'm blind, Dan."
"I don't blame you, Dan. I don't."
Danny lowered his head and his shoulders shook. Joe looked away. "I don't," Connor said again.
Ellen left the window and crossed the room to Danny. She placed a hand on his shoulder. Danny raised his head. Ellen looked in his eyes as Danny dropped his hands by his side and turned up the palms. Ellen slapped him in the face.
Danny's face crumpled and Ellen slapped him again.
"Get out," she whispered. "Get out, you . . . you Bolshevik." She pointed at Connor. "You did that. You. Get out."
Danny looked toward Joe, but Joe looked away.
He looked at Thomas. Thomas met his eyes and then shook his head and turned his face from him.
That night, the State Guard shot four men in Jamaica Plain. One died. The Tenth Regiment cleared the dice players from the Boston Common, marching them up Tremont Street at bayonet point. A crowd gathered. Warning shots were fired. A man was shot through the chest trying to rescue a dice player. He succumbed to his wounds later that eve ning.
The rest of the city was quiet.
Danny spent the next two days marshaling support. He was as sured in person that the Telephone & Telegraph Union was ready to walk off the job at a moment's notice. The Bartenders Union assured him of the same, as did the United Hebrew Trade Unions, and the Carmen and Electrical Workers Unions. The firemen, however, would not agree to meet with him or return his calls.
Icame here to say good-bye," Luther said. Nora stepped back from the door. "Come in, come in." Luther entered. "Danny around?"
"No. He's at a meeting in Roxbury."
Luther noticed she had her coat on. "You're going there?" "I am. I expect it might not go well."
"Let me walk you then."
Nora smiled. "I'd like that."
On their way to the el, they got plenty of stares, this white woman and this black man strolling through the North End. Luther considered staying a step behind her, so he'd appear to be her valet or something similar, but then he remembered why he was going back to Tulsa in the first place, what he'd seen in that mob, and he kept abreast of her, his head high, his eyes clear and looking straight ahead.
"So you're going back," Nora said.
"Yeah. Got to. Miss my wife. Want to see my child."
"It'll be dangerous, though."