Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 607
Unemployed men had formed a camp near the railroad in Iris’s hometown. Alex Thomas was often seen at the camp. Laura was also seen there on occasion with Alex. A local newspaper reporter came to the Chase house and told Reenie that he had noticed Laura hanging out with Alex, who was known as a union sympathizer. The reporter had also witnessed Laura smoking with the young man.
Iris, who was now following her father to work at the Button Factory in order to learn the business, was too busy to keep track of Laura. Even if she had had the time, she knew her sister no longer listened to her advice. However, she did talk to Laura about Alex, and she asked what her intentions were. Laura told Iris that she was trying to save Alex’s soul. Iris had heard Laura using this excuse on one of their former tutors. She did not know whether to take Laura seriously. However, there was nothing Iris could have done to persuade her sister to end her relationship with the young man. Iris decided to keep an eye on her sister when she could.
One night there were riots in the town. The unemployed workers, it was reported, had been roused by outside agitators and inspired to create havoc. It had started innocently with a meeting at which unionization was discussed. Emotions had risen in the midst of it, and fights had broken out. Men then marched into the town and broke into shops. A fire was set at the button factory. The night watchman at the factory was found dead.
Laura’s behavior changed after this night. For instance, Iris noticed that Laura stopped eating much of her dinner. Instead, she would place her food on a tray and take it up to her bedroom, telling Reenie she would eat it later. The day after the riots, policemen came to the Chase house to interview Laura. Iris sat with her sister and listened. The police suggested that Laura might know something about a suspect for whom they were searching. They referred to Alex Thomas. Laura claimed that though she did know him, she had no idea where he was. Afterward, Laura confessed to Iris that Alex was...
(The entire section contains 607 words.)
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