"Laugh all you want," Hetta Losivich said that night. "Laugh so that you look like fools, like hyenas. And the industrialists will laugh at you because they have you exactly where they want you. Impotent. Laughing, but impotent."
A brawny Estonian named Pyotr Glaviach slapped Danny on the shoulder. "Pampoolats, yes? Tomorrow, yes?"
Danny looked up at him. "I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
Glaviach had a beard so unruly it looked as if he'd been interrupted swallowing a raccoon. It shook now as he tilted his head back and roared with laughter. He was one of those rare Letts who laughed, as if to make up for the paucity in the rest of the ranks. It wasn't a laughter Danny particularly trusted, however, since he'd heard that Pyotr Glaviach had been a charter member of the original Letts, men who'd banded together in 1912 to pitch the first guerrilla skirmishes against Nicholas II. These inaugural Letts had waged a campaign of hit-and-hide against czarist soldiers who'd outnumbered them eighty to one. They lived outdoors during the Russian winter on a diet of half-frozen potatoes and massacred whole villages if they suspected a single Romanov sympathizer lived there.
Pyotr Glaviach said, "We go out tomorrow and we hand out pampoolat. For the workers, yes? You see?"
Danny didn't see. He shook his head. "Pampoo-what?"
Pyotr Glaviach slapped his hands together impatiently. "Pampoolat, you donkey man. Pampoolat."
"Flyers," a man behind Danny said. "I think he means flyers." Danny turned in his booth. Nathan Bishop stood there, one elbow resting on the top of Danny's seat back.
"Yes, yes," Pyotr Glaviach said. "We hand out flyers. We spread the news."
"Tell him 'okay,' " Nathan Bishop says. "He loves that word." "Okay," Danny said to Glaviach and gave him a thumbs-up. "Ho-kay! Ho-kay, meester! You meet me here," Glaviach said. He gave him a big thumbs-up back. "Eight o'clock."
Danny sighed. "I'll be here."
"We have fun," Glaviach said and slapped Danny on the back. "Maybe meet pretty women." He roared again and then stumbled away.
Bishop slid into the booth and handed him a mug of beer. "The only way you'll meet pretty women in this movement is to kidnap the daughters of our enemies."
Danny said, "What are you doing here?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're a Lett?"
"Hoping to be."
Nathan shrugged. "I wouldn't say I belong to any one organization. I help out. I've known Lou for a long time."
"Comrade Fraina," Nathan said and gestured with his chin. "Would you like to meet him some day?"
"Are you kidding? I'd be honored."
Bishop gave that a small, private smile. "You have any worthwhile talents?"
"I hope so."
"Give me some samples, I'll see what I can do." He looked around the bar. "God, that's a depressing thought."
"What? Me meeting Comrade Fraina?"
"Huh? No. Glaviach got me thinking. There really isn't a good- looking woman in any of the movements. Not a . . . Well, there's one." "There's one?"
He nodded. "How could I have forgotten? There is one." He whistled. "Bloody gorgeous, she is."
He laughed. "If she were here, you'd know it."
"What's her name?"
Bishop's head moved so swiftly Danny feared he'd blown his cover. Bishop looked him in the eyes and seemed to be studying his face. Danny took a sip of his beer.
Bishop looked back out at the crowd. "She has lots of them." chapter fourteen Luther got off the freight in Boston, where Uncle Hollis's chicken-scratch map directed him and found Dover Street easily enough. He followed it to Columbus Avenue and followed Columbus through the heart of the South End. When he found St. Botolph Street, he walked down a row of redbrick town houses along a sidewalk carpeted in damp leaves until he found number 121 and he went up the stairs and rang the bell.
The man who lived at 121 was Isaiah Giddreaux, the father of Uncle Hollis's second wife, Brenda. Hollis had married four times. The first and third had left him, Brenda had died of typhus, and about five years back Hollis and the fourth had kind of mutually misplaced each other. Hollis had told Luther that as much as he missed Brenda, and he missed her something terrible on many a day, he sometimes missed her father just as much. Isaiah Giddreaux had moved east back in '05 to join up with Dr. Du Bois's Niagara Movement, but he and Hollis had remained in touch.
The door was opened by a small slim man wearing a dark wool three-piece suit and a navy-blue tie speckled with white dots. His hair was speckled with white, too, and cropped close to his skull, and he wore round spectacles that revealed calm, clear eyes behind their panes.
He extended his hand. "You must be Luther Laurence." Luther shook the hand. "Isaiah?"
Isaiah said, "Mr. Giddreaux if you please, son."
"Mr. Giddreaux, yes, sir."
For a small man Isaiah seemed tall. He stood as straight as any man Luther had ever seen, his hands folded in front of his belt buckle, his eyes so clear it was impossible to read them. They could have been the eyes of a lamb lying down in the last spot of sun on a summer evening. Or those of a lion, waiting for the lamb to get sleepy.
"Your Uncle Hollis is well, I trust?" He led Luther down the front hall.
"He is, sir."
"How's that rheumatism of his?"
"His knees ache awful in the afternoons but otherwise he feels in top form."
Isaiah looked over his shoulder as he led him up a wide staircase. "He's done marrying I hope."
"I believe so, sir."
Luther hadn't been in a brownstone before. The breadth of it surprised him. He'd have never been able to tell from the street how deep the rooms went or how high the ceilings got. It was as nicely appointed as any of the homes on Detroit Avenue, with heavy chandeliers and dark gumwood beams and French sofas and settees. The Giddreauxs had the master bedroom on the top floor, and there were three more bedrooms on the second, one of which Isaiah led Luther to and opened the door long enough for him to drop his bag on the floor. He got a glimpse of a nice brass bed and walnut dresser with a porcelain wash pot on top before Isaiah ushered him back out again. Isaiah and his wife, Yvette, owned the whole place, three floors and a widow's walk on top that looked out over the entire neighborhood. The South End, Luther discerned from Isaiah's description, was a budding Greenwood unto itself, the place where Negroes had carved out a little something for themselves with restaurants served their kind of food and clubs played their kind of music. Isaiah told Luther the neighborhood had been born out of a need for servant housing, the servants being those who attended to the needs of the rich old- money folk on Beacon Hill and in Back Bay, and the reason the buildings were so nice--all red- brick town houses and chocolate bowfront brownstones--was that the servants had taken pains to live in the style of their employers.