Friday, May 31, 2019

The Business Army — Gerry MacGuire and “the nine”

The Business Army -- "The Nine"

Several days later. Mid-day. The beginning of August.

The sky has turned hazy and still. Outside, the electric, orchestral sound of crickets and the distant drone of cicadas.

There is a knock on the door.

Butler walks to the door and opens it. There stands MacGuire, this time alone. MacGuire, smiling once again at the General, lets out a friendly laugh.

"The hot days have really started, haven't they, sir?" he says, his voice a sudden gush. "Thank you, thank you for letting me drop by."

"You've been dropping by quite a bit lately, haven't you?"

"Sir, it's for the good of the Legion."

The two walk to Butler's office, and Butler takes his regular position behind his desk, while MacGuire once more plunks himself in one of the chairs, his physical bulk seemingly diminished by his surroundings.

"I think you've got some explaining to do," Butler says.

"You know, I can explain whatever you want, sir."

"This money that you showed me earlier—where did you get all this money? It cannot be yours."

"Well, y'see, this movement to unhorse the Royal Family, there are other people behind it. Bigger men than me."

"Go on."

"Well, there are nine of them. And the biggest contributor has given me $9,000. And the donations, they run all the way from $2,500 to $9,000."

"What's the object of all this?"

"Well, the object is to take care of the rank and file of the soldiers. To get them their bonus and get them properly cared for."

"With all due respect, Mr. MacGuire, it's time for us to get down to brass tacks. The kind of people who are in favor of the gold standard are not the kind of people in favor of paying the bonus now. If anything, the opposite. That's why Hoover in the first place thought he could get away with busting up the Bonus March the way he did."

"Oh, no, sir, you're wrong about that."

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