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THE VAGABOND

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Alice sat with her back propped against the cool trunk of the peach-tree. The strong April sun broke its way through the leaves and made spots on her shining white apron. It was very hot, and Alice's head began to hurt her the way it did when she stayed shut up too long at school. Lifting a small cloth-covered book from her lap, Alice turned over, and lay on her stomach, dangling her feet above her in the air.

The Red Queen, looking very sour for such a sunny spring morning, came trundling across the lawn and stopped under the peach-tree, scowling down at Alice. She looked at the little green book in the grass and snorted, "Child, what trash are you reading?"

Alice rolled over on her back and smiled up at the Red Queen. "I'm reading Marx. It's the Modern Library edition of 'Das Kapital'. Have you ever seen it?"

The Red Queen scowled more than ever, reminding Alice of nothing so much as the sky just before a great rainstorm starts. "Marx! Yes, I saw him in "A Night at the Opera". Is the book as funny as the stateroom scene?"

"You're only trying to mix me up all over again," said Alice, sitting up again, with her legs curled under her. "This is Karl, not Groucho. He writes on economics. You know, demand and supply as related to the production and consumption of goods, both capital and consumers'."

Now the Red Queen was sitting in the grass beside Alice with her arms folded rigidly across her chest. She let out a snort, and the blast made Alice shiver. "My dear, this demand and supply you talk about is nonsense. If you don't stop reading books, you will always talk like this. I only know that I want something, and if I have enough money in my pocket-book I go down to the store to buy it. And if the store doesn't have what I want, I take my money and go home again with-out what I came for. These book-writers mix things up very sadly indeed!"

Alice's head was hurting her more than ever, and she began to scowl as much as the Red Queen. "But Marx says that economics go ever further than ever you think. Why, the whole world's run by it. History is made by economics, just like your going to the store with your pocketful of money. The whole trouble with the world is that people say, no, it isn't so. But it is! The country might be run by the people like Marx, not by people like you, and then there would be a reason for everything. Oh, this book and the sun both mix me up so! There should even be a reason for this book."

The Red Queen jumped up from her seat on the grass and went over to Alice, putting her large cold hand on Alice's burning forehead. Then, without a word, she grasped Alice's hand and dragged her back across the lawn behind her. Two flies were meanwhile buzzing past each other on the little book Alice had left under the peach-tree. This evening at 8 o'clock the Vagabond will make his way to the New Lecture Hall to hear the talk of Mr. Norman Thomas, America's perennial Socialist candidate for President.

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