A happening documented upon the 2nd of September in the year 1883, on Market Street, involving the enterprising Mr. Joseph Steinberg and the industrious Miss Alvean Howard.
People always needed a talking point. For that week, the buzz among the rag-and-coke quarter -- as the textiles and the homes of the miners' wives, for it was so colourfully called in city slang -- the conversation was of little else than the New Haven Gazette, and Mr. Endicott and the pamphlet, and probably most importantly whether or not there was to be a strike. People faced the idea with a sort of grim determination, bolstered up by the union's support that nobody was to go hungry and that there was no chance any "scabs" could steal their jobs out from underneath them. Alvean herself had spent long, long hours at her Women's Societies; it was the families who suffered during the strikes. There were only so many promises one could make about the unions finding sympathetic shop-owners for food, as the women in the rag-and-coke quarter were also notoriously proud. They always were, she reflected. They would hardly take charity from their friends and family of the Union and the Chartists, let alone some sympathetic stranger. It nagged her with worry. In the city you ate badly, living from day to day on sugar and bread -- food spoiled, and you could hardly make more than the barest preserves that country women could make and depend on. And then there were the doctors, many of whom had written the Gazette afire with snooty indignance over the medical claims anyone who brought coal out the earth could overturn after five minutes' company.
For in fact, Alvean Howard had written the pamphlet, and one of the miners who loved a joke and was certainly not that indifferent to an inkpen and paper had sketched the caricature that had become a source of much mirth for everyone. Feelings had been hurt. Mr. Bartholomew Endicott had previously been one of those men in business that they had regarded as something of an ally, a rare friend in what was usually a cruel and self-serving upper tier, and to lose him was a terrible blow. Terrible, thought Alvean, but they were probably naive to think it surprising; most of the upper classes were like that. An excess of money was like an evil. The upper classes had a blinder to those at the bottom: they were rendered invisible.
Generally a power balance was necessary to keep things in check.
It was of course a secret that the pamphlet's writer was Miss Howard, though most of her cronies in the Unions knew, and she had gotten a few unsubtle winks of alliance from others -- really, it was either going to be her, William Marcy or Franz Neumann, so it was not a difficult guess. It was safe in this half-anonymity then that she walked the streets to the marketplace, running errands on that murky day, brisk as she navigated through the crowds. She wore no bonnet, just a kerchief over her head to keep the smuts out her hair; she never had any cause to worry that she might be being followed.