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Title: The Boy With the U.S. Census
Author: Rolt-Wheeler, Francis, 1876-1960
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: THE STATUE OF LIBERTY. The welcome of New York, the
gateway of the New World, to all races and peoples of the earth.
(_Courtesy of U.S. Immigration Station, Ellis Island._)]



THE BOY WITH THE U.S. CENSUS

BY FRANCIS ROLT-WHEELER

[Illustration: The Boy With the U.S. Census]

With Thirty-eight Illustrations, principally from
Bureaus of the United States Government


November, 1911



To My Son Roger's Friend

HAMILTON DAY



PREFACE

Life in America to-day is adventurous and thrilling to the core. Border
warfare of the most primitive type still is waged in mountain
fastnesses, the darkest pages in the annals of crime now are being
written, piracy has but changed its scene of operations from the sea to
the land, smugglers ply a busy trade, and from their factory prisons a
hundred thousand children cry aloud for rescue. The flame of Crusade
sweeps over the land and the call for volunteers is abroad.

In hazardous scout duty into these fields of danger the Census Bureau
leads. The Census is the sword that shatters secrecy, the key that opens
trebly-guarded doors; the Enumerator is vested with the Nation's
greatest right--the Right To Know--and on his findings all battle-lines
depend. "When through Atlantic and Pacific gateways, Slavic, Italic, and
Mongol hordes threaten the persistence of an American America, his is
the task to show the absorption of widely diverse peoples, to chronicle
the advances of civilization, or point the perils of illiterate and
alien-tongue communities. To show how this great Census work is done,
to reveal the mysteries its figures half-disclose, to point the paths to
heroism in the United States to-day, and to bind closer the kinship
between all peoples of the earth who have become "Americans" is the aim
and purpose of

THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I
A BLOOD FEUD IN OLD KENTUCKY

CHAPTER II
RESCUING A LOST RACE

CHAPTER III
A MANUFACTORY OF RIFLES

CHAPTER IV
THE BOY LEADER OF A CRUSADE

CHAPTER V
"DON'T DEPORT MY OLD MOTHER!"

CHAPTER VI
THE NEGRO CENSUS FROM THE SADDLE

CHAPTER VII
HOBOES ON THE TRAMP

CHAPTER VIII
THE CENSUS HEROES OF THE FROZEN NORTH

CHAPTER IX
CONFRONTED WITH THE BLACK HAND

CHAPTER X
RIOTS AROUND A CITY SCHOOL


ILLUSTRATIONS

The Statue of Liberty (_Frontispiece_)
Taking the Census in Old Kentucky
Kentucky Mountaineer Family
Moonshining
Bill Wilsh's Home in the Gully
Bill Wilsh in the School
Alligator-Catching
The Census Building
Making Gun-sights True
"A Bull's-eye Every Time!"
Young Boys from the Pit
"I 'ain't Seen Daylight for Two Years"
Eight Years Old and "Tired of Working"
The Biggest Liner in the World Coming in
Immigration Station, Ellis Island
Where the Workers Come from
On a Peanut Farm
In an All-Negro Town
"'Way down Yonder in de Cotton Fiel'"
How Most of the Negroes Live
Facsimile of Punched Census Card
Tabulating Machine
Pin-box and Mercury Cups
Over the Trackless Snow with Dog-team
The Census in the Aleutian Islands
"Can We Make Camp?"
To Eskimo Settlements by Reindeer
Gathering Cocoanuts
Taking the Census in a City
Festa in the Italian Quarter
The Fighting Men of the Tongs
Arrested as the Firing Stops
Work for Americans



THE BOY WITH THE U.S. CENSUS


CHAPTER I

A BLOOD FEUD IN OLD KENTUCKY


"Uncle Eli," said Hamilton suddenly, "since I'm going to be a
census-taker, I think I'd like to apply for this district."

The old Kentucky mountaineer, who had been steadily working his way
through the weekly paper, lowered it so that he could look over the top
of the page, and eyed the boy steadfastly.

"What for?" he queried.

"I think I could do it better than almost anybody else in this section,"
was the ready, if not modest, reply.

"Wa'al, perhaps yo' might," the other assented and took up the paper
again. Hamilton waited. He had spent but little time in the mountains
but he had learned the value of allowing topics to develop slowly, even
though his host was better informed than most of the people in the
region. Although not an actual relative, Hamilton always called him
"Uncle" because he had fought with distinguished honor in the regiment
that Hamilton's father commanded during the Civil War, and the two men
ever since had been friends.

"I don't quite see why any one sh'd elect to take a hand in any such
doin's unless he has to," the Kentuckian resumed, after a pause; "that
census business seems kind of inquisitive some way to me."

"But it seems to me that it's the right kind of 'inquisitive.'"

"I reckon I hadn't thought o' there bein' more'n one kind of
inquisitiveness," the mountaineer said, with a smile, "but if you say
so, I s'pose it's all right."

"But don't you think the questions are easy enough?" asked the boy.

"They may be easy, but thar's no denyin' that some of 'em are mighty
unpleasant to answer."

"But if they are necessary?"

"Thar's a-plenty o' folks hyeh in the mount'ns that yo' c'n never make
see how knowin' their private affairs does the gov'nment any good."

"But you don't feel that way, Uncle Eli, surely?"

"Wa'al, I don' know. Settin' here talkin' about it, I know it's all
right, an' I'm willin' to tell all I know. But I jes' feel as sure as
c'n be, that befo' the census-taker gets through hyeh, I'm goin' to be
heated up clar through."

"But why?" queried the lad again. "The questions are plain enough, and
there was practically no trouble at the last census. I think it's a fine
thing, and every one ought to be glad to help. And it's so important,
too!"

"Important!" protested the old man. "Did yo' ever see any one that ever
sat down an' read those tables an' tables o' figures?"

"Not for fun, perhaps," the boy admitted. "But it isn't done for the
sake of getting interesting reading matter; it's because those figures
really are necessary. Why there's hardly a thing that you can think of
that the census isn't at the back of."

"I don't see how that is. They don't ask about a man's politics, I
notice," the mountaineer remarked.

"No," answered Hamilton promptly, "but the number of members a State
sends to Congress depends on the figures of the population that the
census-takers gather, and the only claim that any legislator has to his
seat is based on their information."

"I suppose you'd say the same about schools, too."

"Of course," the boy answered.

"But I hear the Census Bureau this year wants all sorts of information
about the crops an' the number of pigs kept an' all that sort o' stuff."

"Don't you think the food of all the people of the United States is
important enough, Uncle Eli? And then the railroads, too,--they depend
on the figures about the crops and all sorts of other things which go as
freight."

"You seem to know a lot about it," the mountaineer said, looking
thoughtfully at the boy.

"I ought to," Hamilton said, "because I'm going to be an assistant
special agent in the Census of Manufactures right away. I applied last
October and took the exam a couple of weeks before coming here on this
visit."

"What makes yo' so cocksure that you've passed the examination?" he was
asked.

"I didn't find it so hard," Hamilton replied, "figures have always been
easy for me, and when my brother was studying for that chartered
accountant business I learned a lot from him."

"Your dad, he was a great hand fo' figures, so I s'pose yo' come by it
naturally enough. An' you're jes' sure you've passed?"

"I haven't heard one way or the other," said Hamilton, "but I'm pretty
sure."

"Wa'al, thar's no use sayin' anythin' if you're all sot, but it's the
business of the gov'nment, an' I'd let them do it."

"But I'm hoping to work right with the government all the time, Uncle
Eli," the boy explained "either with the Census Bureau or the Bureau of
Statistics or some work like that. And anyway, if it's the government's
business, I'm an American and it's my business."

"Yo' have the right spirit, boy," the old man said, "an' I like to see
it, but you're huntin' trouble sure's you're born. S'posin' yo' asked
the questions of some ol' sorehead that wouldn' answer?"

"He'd have to answer," replied Hamilton stoutly, "there's a law to make
him."

"I don't believe that law's used much," hazarded the old man.

"It isn't," Hamilton found himself forced to admit. "I believe there
were not very many arrests all over the country last census. But the
law's there, just the same."

"It wouldn' be a law on the Ridge," the mountaineer said, "an' I don'
believe it would do yo' any good anywhar else. On the mount'ns, I know,
courtesy is a whole lot bigger word than constitution. Up hyeh, we
follow the law when we're made to, follow an idee backed up by a
rifle-barrel because we have to, but there's not many men hyeh that won'
do anythin' yo' ask if yo' jes' ask the right way."

"But there are always some that give trouble," Hamilton protested,
trying to defend his position.

The old Kentuckian slowly shook his head from side to side.

"If yo' don' win out by courtesy," he said, "it's jes' because yo'
haven' been courteous enough, because yo' haven' taken yo' man jes'
right. Thar isn't any such thing as bein' too gracious. An' anyway, a
census-taker with any other idee up hyeh would be runnin' chances right
along."

"You mean they would shoot him up?" asked Hamilton.

"I think if he threatened some folks up hyeh an' in the gullies thar
might be trouble."

"But the fact that he represented the government would insure him from
harm, I should think."

"I don't think much of that insurance idee," the old man said. "I can't
remember that it helped the revenue men sech a great deal. The only
insurance I ever had was a quick ear, an' even now, I c'n hear a twig
snap near a quarter of a mile away. An' that used to be good insurance
in the ol' days when, if yo' weren't gunnin' for somebody, thar was
somebody gunnin' fo' you."

"But there's no one 'gunning' for you now, is there, Uncle Eli?" asked
the boy amusedly.

"I haven't b'n lookin' out especially," the Kentuckian responded, with
an answering slow smile, "an' I reckon sometimes that I might jes' as
well leave the ol' rifle in the house when I go out."

"But you never do," put in Hamilton quickly.

"I reckon that's jes' a feelin'," rejoined the mountaineer, "jes' one o'
these habits that yo' hate to give up. I'd sort o' be lost without it
now, after all these years. Thar's no one to worry about, anyway,
savin' Jake Howkle, an' I don' believe he's hankerin' for
blood-lettin'."

"Jake? Oh, never," Hamilton replied with assurance; "why, he's only
about my age."

"That's only partly why," the old man said, "not only because he's your
age, but because he's b'n at school. Shootin' an' schoolin' don' seem to
hit it off. I reckon thar would have b'n a sight less trouble in the
mount'ns if thar had b'n mo' schools."

"There are plenty of schools in the mountains now, aren't there?" asked
Hamilton. "It must be very different here, Uncle Eli, from what it was
when you were a boy."

"Thar has been quite a change, an' the change is comin' faster now. But
thar's still a lot o' folk who a'nt altered a bit sence the war. You
city people call us slow-movin' up hyeh, an' as long as thar's any o'
the ol' spirit abroad thar's a chance o' trouble. If yo' really are
goin' in for this census-takin', I'd keep clar o' the mount'ns."

"You really would?" queried the boy thoughtfully.

"An' what's more," continued his Uncle, "I would jes' as soon that yo'
didn' have anythin' to do with it near hyeh. I don' want to see any
little differences between families, such as census-takin' is likely
to provoke."

[Illustration: TAKING THE CENSUS IN OLD KENTUCKY: Typical conditions of
an enumerator's work in the mountain districts. (_Courtesy of Art
Manufacturing Co., Amelia, O._)]

"Why, Uncle Eli!" cried Hamilton in amazement, "you talk as though the
days of the feuds were not over."

"Are yo' sure they're all over?" the Kentuckian said.

"I had supposed so," the boy replied. "I thought the Kentucky 'killings'
had stopped ten or fifteen years ago."

"It's a little queer yo' sh'd bring that up today," the old man said,
"for I was jes' readin' in the paper some figures on that very thing.
Yo' like figures, this will jes' suit you. Where was it now?" he
continued, rustling the paper; then, a moment later, "Oh, yes, I have
it."

"'During the terms of the last three Kentucky governors,'" he read,
"'over thirteen hundred criminals have been pardoned, five hundred of
them being for murder or manslaughter.' It says fu'ther on," the old man
added, "that pardonin' is jes' as frequent now as it ever was. I don'
believe it is, myself, but if thar is such a lot o' pardonin' goin' on
for shootin', thar must have been a powerful lot o' shootin'."

"But that's for all the State," objected the boy, "not for the
mountains only. That must be for crimes in the cities and all sorts of
things. You can't make the feuds responsible for those."

"Not altogether," the mountaineer agreed, "the real ol'-time feud is
peterin' out, an' it's mainly due to the schoolin'. The young folks
ain't ready fo' revenge now, an' that sort o' swings the women around.
An' up hyeh in the mount'ns, same as everywhar else, I reckon, the idees
o' the women make a pile o' difference."

"But I should have thought the women would always have been against the
feuds," said Hamilton.

"Yo'd think so, but they weren't. They helped to keep up the grudges a
whole lot."

"Aunt Ab hasn't changed much," volunteered the lad.

"She hasn't for a fact. Ab is powerful sot. She holds the grudge against
the Howkles in the ol' style. But the feelin' is dyin' out fast, an'
soon it'll be like history,--only jes' read of in books."

"What I never could see," remarked Hamilton, "was what started it all.
It isn't as if the people in the mountains had come from some part of
the world where vendettas and that sort of thing had been going on for
generations. There must have been some kind of reason for it in this
section of the country. Feuds don't spring up just for nothing."

"Thar was a while once we had a powerful clever talker up hyeh," the
Kentuckian answered, "actin' as schoolmaster for a few weeks. I reckon
he'd offered to substitute jes' to get a chance to see for himself what
life in the mount'ns was like. He was writin' a book about it. We got
right frien'ly, an' he knew he was always welcome hyeh, an' one day I
asked him jes' that question. It was shortly befo' he lef' an' I wanted
to know what he thought about us all up hyeh."

The mountaineer leaned back in his chair and chuckled with evident
enjoyment of the recollection.

"I jes' put the question to him," he said, "in the mildes' way, an' he
started right in to talk. Thar was no stoppin' him, an' I couldn'
remember one-half o' what he said. But I reckon he had it about right."

"How did he explain the feuds, Uncle Eli?" asked the boy.

"Wa'al," said the mountaineer, with a short laugh, "he begun by sayin'
we were savages."

"Savages?"

"Not jes' with war-paint an' tomahawk, yo' understan'," continued the
old man, enjoying the boy's astonishment, "but uncivilized an' wild.
Thar an't any finer stock in the world, he said, than the mount'neers o'
the Ridge, clar down to Tennessee, an' he said, too, that they were o'
the good old English breed, not foreigners like are comin' in now."

"That's right enough," Hamilton agreed, "and, what's more, they were
gentlemen of good birth, most of them; there was not much of the peasant
in the early colonists."

"So this author chap said. But he explained that was the very reason
they got so wild."

"I don't see that," objected Hamilton, "and I certainly don't see where
the 'savage' idea comes in."

"Wa'al, he said that when you slid down from a high place it was harder
to climb back than if the fall had b'n small. An' that's why it's so
hard for those who have gone down,--they can see the depth o' the fall."

Hamilton, who was of an argumentative turn of mind, would have protested
at this, but the old mountaineer proceeded.

"When the pioneers settled in the mount'ns they kind o' stuck. Those
that went on, down into the Blue Grass region, went boomin' right ahead,
but those that stayed in the mount'ns had no chance."

"I don't see why not?" objected the boy.

"They were jes' cut off from everywhar. We are to-day, for that matter.
When a place gets settled, an' starts to try an' raise somethin' to
sell, the product has got to be taken to market. But thar was no
railroad up in the mount'ns. Children were easy to raise, an' a
population grew up in a hurry, but the land was too poor for good
farmin', the roads were too bad for takin' corn to market, an' thar was
no way o' gettin' to a town."

"You are pretty well cut off," said Hamilton.

"We were more so then," the mountaineer said. "An' so, while all the
country 'round was advancin' up in the mount'ns, fifty years ago, we
were livin' jes' like pioneers. An' some, not bein' able to keep up the
strain, fell back."

"So it really isn't the fault of the mountaineers at all," cried the
boy, "but because they were sort of marooned."

"It was unfortunate," replied the old man, "but it really was our own
fault. If the mount'n country was worth developin', we should have
developed it; if not, we should have left."

"I've often wondered why you didn't, Uncle Eli," said Hamilton.

"Yo' must remember," the Kentuckian said, "that the mount'neers are a
most independent lot. They want to be independent, an' up hyeh, every
man is his own master. But, thar bein' no available market if they did
work hard, what was the use o' workin'? Some o' them, 'specially down in
the gullies, got lazy an' shif'less. But they hung on all the harder to
the idees o' the old times,--honor an' hospitality."

"I've always understood," said Hamilton, "that there was more
hospitality to be found up here in the mountains than in almost any
place on the globe."

"As yo' said," the old man continued, "we're jes' like a crew o'
shipwrecked sailors marooned on an island without a boat, without any
means o' gettin' away. If some o' the families high up in the gullies
are ignorant, it's because they've had no schoolin', not because they
haven' got the makin's o' good citizens; if they're a bit careless about
religion, it's because they've had no churchin', an' if they don' pay
much heed to law, it's because the law has never done much for them.
The ocean o' progress," went on the mountaineer, with a flourish, "has
rolled all 'roun' the mount'ns, but of all the fleets o' commerce in all
these years, thar has not been one to send out a boat to help the
marooned mount'neer."

"Didn't they ever try to get help?" queried the boy.

"We're not askin' help," the Kentuckian said, "thar's no whinin' on the
mount'ns. I jes' tell yo' that when the time comes for the mount'neers
o' Kentucky an' Virginia an' Tennessee an' Carolina to get a fair
chance, they'll show yo' as fine a race o' men an' women as the Stars
an' Stripes flies over."

"They are mighty fine right now, I think," the boy said.

"They have their good points," the Kentuckian agreed; "thar's nothin'
sneakin' in the men up hyeh, an' thar an't any lengths to which a man
won't go, to do what he thinks is the squar thing. You've heard about
the Beaupoints?"

"No," the boy answered, "what was that?"

"It was jes' an incident in one o' these feuds that you were talkin' of,
an' I'm goin' to tell yo' about it, to show yo' what a mount'neer's
idee o' honor is like. Thar was a family livin' on the other side o' the
Ridge, not a great ways from hyeh, by the name o' Calvern, an' in some
way or other--I never heard the rights of it--they took to shootin' up
the Beaupoints every chance that come along. One day Dandie Beaupoint
found a little girl that had hurt herself, an' he picked her up in his
arms an' was carryin' her home when one o' the Calvern boys shot him in
his tracks. One o' the Beaupoint brothers was away at the time, but the
others felt that the Calverns hadn't b'n playin' fair, an' they reckoned
to lay them all out. They did, too, all but one, an', although they had
a chance to nail him, they let him alone."

"Why was he let off?" queried Hamilton.

"I reckon it was because he had a young wife an' a little child," the
old man answered. "Now Jim Beaupoint, the one that had been away, he
come home after a while, an' hadn't happened to hear about the wipin'
out o' the Calverns. On his way home, he had to pass the Calvern place,
an' so he made a wide cast aroun' the hill to keep out o' sight, when
suddenly, up a gully, he saw this Hez Calvern standin' there with his
rifle on his arm, an', quick as he could move, Jim grabbed his gun an'
fired. It was a long shot an' a sure one."

"Was it--" the boy began, but the old man waved the interruption aside
and proceeded.

"Reloadin' his rifle, Jim Beaupoint rode slowly to whar Hez Calvern was
lyin', when suddenly, from a clump o' bushes close by, there come a
rifle shot, an' the rider got the bullet in his chest. Befo' fallin'
from the saddle, however, the young fellow fired at the bushes from
which smoke was driftin', an' a shrill scream told him that the
sharpshooter was a woman."

"Some one who had been with Hez Calvern?" asked Hamilton.

"His wife. Well, although Jim was mortally hurt an' sufferin'--as the
tracks showed afterwards--he tried to drag himself to the bushes in
order to help the woman who had shot him an' who he had shot unknowin';
but he was too badly hurt, an' he died twenty yards from the place whar
he fell."

"Was the woman dead, too?" asked Hamilton.

"No, but terrible badly hurt. What I was wantin' to tell yo', though,
was the result of all this. Wa'al, the Beaupoints took the woman to
their home an' nursed her night an' day for five long years. She was
helpless, only for her tongue, an' she lashed an' abused them till the
day she died, an' never once, in all those years, did any one o' the
Beaupoints reproach her in return."

"And the youngster?"

"They took the boy, too, an' reared him the bes' they knew how, jes' the
same as one o' their own. One o' the Beaupoint boys went an' lived on
the Calvern place, an' worked it,--worked it fair an' squar', an' put
aside every cent that come out o' the farm. For thirteen years the
Beaupoints looked after the farm an' reared the boy. On the day he was
fourteen year old, Jed Beaupoint--that was the father--called the lad,
told him the whole story, give him a new rifle an' a powder horn, an'
handed over the little bag o' coin that represented thirteen years o'
work on the Calvern holdin'."

"There certainly couldn't be anything squarer than that!" exclaimed
Hamilton. "And he gave the boy the farm, too?"

"Every inch of it. Jed Beaupoint was a squar' man, cl'ar through. An' he
said to the boy--he tol' me the story himself--'Johnny Calvern, thar's
yo' farm an' yo' rifle. Now, if yo're willin', I'll see that thar's no
trouble until yo're twenty-one, an' then yo' c'n go huntin' revenge if
yo've a mind to, or, if you're willin', we'll call the trouble off now,
an' thar won't be any need o' rakin' it up again.'"

"He made it up on the spot, of course?" questioned Hamilton.

The Kentuckian shook his head.

"He did not," he replied. "The boy thought a minute or two an' then said
he'd wait until he was grown up, an' let him know then."

"Although he had been brought up by the Beaupoints!" exclaimed the boy
in surprise. "But surely it never came up again."

"Well, not exac'ly. When Johnny Calvern was about nineteen he got
married, an' a few days befo' the time when he would be twenty-one, he
rode up to the Beaupoint place, an' tol' the ol' man that he was willin'
to let the feud rest another ten years, because of his wife an' little
baby, but that he would be ready to resume shootin' at that time."

"But he had no real grudge against the Beaupoints had he, Uncle Eli?
They had always been kind to him, you said."

"Not a bit o' grudge," the mountaineer answered, "they were good
friends. An' I reckon it wasn't Johnny that wanted the trouble to begin
again, but thar's always a lot o' hotheads pryin' into other folks'
business. However, ol' Jed Beaupoint didn't mind; he agreed to another
ten years' truce, an' all went on peacefully as befo'. Durin' those ten
years, however, Johnny's wife died, an' he got married again, this time
to the sister o' a wanderin' preacher, a girl who had once lived in
cities, an' she soon showed him that the ol' feud business must be
forgotten. But it is a mite unusual, even hyeh, to farm a man's land an'
bring up his child fo' thirteen years, an' then give him everythin' yo'
can with the privilege o' shootin' yo' at sight for all the favors
done."

"It doesn't sound a bit like the usual feud story," said Hamilton, "one
always thinks of those as being cold-blooded and cruel."

"Thar an't a mite o' intentional cruelty in them; it's jes' that life is
held cheap. Most o' them begun over some small thing like an election."

"There were quite a number of them, Uncle Eli, weren't there?"

"One ran into the other so easily that one feud would often look like
half a dozen, an' trouble would be goin' on in various places. But
there were really seven of them, all big ones."

[Illustration: KENTUCKY MOUNTAINEER FAMILY. In the heart of the feud
district, where the rifle is never out of reach. (_Courtesy of the
Spirit of Missions._)]

"What were they, Uncle Eli?"

"Wa'al, thar was the McCoy-Hatfield feud in Pike County, that started
over the ownership o' two plain razorback hogs, but afterwards got very
bitter, owin' to the friendship o' one o' the McCoy girls with the son
o' Bad Anse Hatfield. Then thar was the Howard-Turner feud in Harlan
County. An' then--"

"What started the Howard-Turner feud?" interrupted the boy.

"That was over a game o' cards. One o' the Howards had been winnin', an'
Jim Turner, with a pistol, forced him to give back the money he had won.
That affair raged a long time. The Logan-Tolliver feud in Rowan County
was over an election fo' sheriff. The Logans elected their candidate,
an' so the Tollivers killed one o' the Logans at the polls and wounded
three others."

"That's expressing dissatisfaction with an election with some spirit,"
Hamilton remarked.

"Then thar was the French-Eversole feud in Perry County," continued the
Kentuckian, reminiscently. "Ol' Joe Eversole was a merchant in a town
called Hazard, an' he helped Fulton French to start a little store. In
time French almos' drove Eversole out o' business. That was a strange
fight, because neither French nor Eversole ever got into the
shootin',--indeed they remained frien'ly even when their supporters were
most bitter."

"Who carried on the feud, then?" asked Hamilton in surprise, "if the
principals didn't?"

"Wa'al, I guess the worst was a minister, the Rev. Bill Gambrill. Ho ran
the French side an' kep' the trouble stirred up all the time."

"I think I've heard of the Turner war, too," said the boy. "Was that the
same as the Howard-Turner fighting?"

"All of them were mixed up in each other's feuds in that Turner family,"
the Kentuckian replied, "but the 'Turner War' or the 'Hell's Half-Acre'
feud was in Bell County, an' it started over some question o' water
rights in Yellow Creek. It was a sayin' down in Bell County that it
couldn't rain often enough to keep Hell's Half-Acre free from stains o'
blood."

"It is a fearful record, Uncle Eli, when you put them together that
way," the boy said.

"An' I haven't even mentioned the worst o' them, the Hargis-Cockrill
feud in Breathitt County. That lasted for generations, an' started over
some election for a county judge. I don' know that any one rightly
remembers the time when Breathitt County wasn't the scene of some such
goin's on."

"But they are all over now, aren't they?"

"I was jes' goin' to tell yo'. They're all over but one, an' that one is
sometimes called the Baker-Howard or the Garrard-White feud, for all
four families were mixed up in it. Not so very long ago I was talkin' to
the widow o' one o' the men slain in that fightin', an' sayin' to her
how good it was that the feelin' had all died out, an' she said--thar
was a lot of us thar at the time--'I have twelve sons. Each day I tell
them who shot their father. I'm not goin' to die till one o' them shoots
him.' I'm reckonin' to hear o' trouble in Clay County mos' any time, but
I really think that is the last o' them."

"What started that?"

"An argument over a twenty-five dollar note," was the response. "But you
don't want to think these were the real causes; they were usually jes'
firebrands that made things worse. Most o' these hyeh feuds date back to
enmities made in the Civil War an' in moonshinin'."

"But why the war?" asked Hamilton. "I thought nearly all the
mountaineers in Kentucky fought for the North--I know you were with Lee,
of course, but I thought that was exceptional."

"None o' them fought for the No'th!" exclaimed the old Confederate
soldier indignantly.

"Why, Uncle Eli!" said Hamilton, in surprise, "I was sure that most of
them went into the Union army."

"So they did, boy, so they did, but those who did it thought they were
fightin' for the nation, not for the No'th. An' the slavery question
didn' matter much hyeh. Don' yo' let any one tell yo' that the Union
army was made up o' abolitionists, because it wasn't. It was made up o'
bigger men than that. It was made up o' patriots. I thought them wrong
then,--I do yet; but thar ain't no denyin' that they were fightin' for
what they thought was right."

"But why did you join the South, Uncle Eli?" asked the boy. "I can
understand father doing it, because he was a South Carolinian."

"I was workin' fo' peace," the mountaineer rejoined "When No'th and
South was talkin' war, Kentucky, as yo' will remember havin' read,
decided to remain neutral, an' organized the State Guards to preserve
that neutrality. I was willin' to let well enough alone, but when the
No'th come down an' tried to force the State Guards to join their cause,
I went with the rest to Dixie. I don' believe," added the old man
solemnly, "that thar ever was a war like that befo', where every man on
both sides fought for a principle, an' where there was no selfish motive
anywhere."

"The Howkles were with the Federals, weren't they?" prompted Hamilton,
fearing lest the old man should drift into war reminiscences, when he
wanted to hear about feuds.

"Ol' Isaac Howkle was," the mountaineer replied "an' that was how the
little trouble we had begun. At least, it had a good deal to do with it.
Isaac an' I had never got along, an' jes' befo' the war, we had some
words about the Kentucky State Guards. But I wasn't bearin' any grudge,
an' I never supposed Isaac was. However, in a skirmish near Cumberland
Gap, I saw that he was jes' achin' to get me, an' the way he tried was
jes' about the meanes' thing I ever heard o' any one doin' on the
Ridge."

"How was it, do tell me?" pleaded Hamilton, his eyes shining with
interest.

"Howkle was with Wolford's cavalry, an' I was under 'Fightin''
Zollicoffer, as they called him," the old man began. "Thar had been a
little skirmish,--one o' these that never get into the dispatches that
don' do any good, but after which thar's always good men lef' lyin' on
the ground. We had driven 'em back a bit, an' I was comin' in when I saw
a lad--he didn't look more'n about fifteen--lyin' in a heap an'
groanin'. Knowin' a drink would do him more good than an'thin' else, I
reached for my canteen, an' stooped down. Jes' about then, a horseman
dashed out o' the scrub an', almos' befo' I could think o' what was
comin', he struck at me with his sabre."

"When you were giving drink to a wounded soldier!" cried Hamilton
indignantly. "What a cowardly trick!"

"It was ol' Isaac Howkle," nodded his uncle, "an' I s'pose he reckoned
this was a chance to get even on the ol' grudge. But I rolled over on
the grass jes' out o' reach o' his stroke, an' he missed. I grabbed my
rifle an' blazed at him as soon as I could get on my feet, but he had
reached the shelter of the trees again an' I missed him."

"That's about the meanest thing I ever heard," said the boy.

"So I thought," the Kentuckian answered, "an' so the poor lad seemed to
think too. I saw he was tryin' to speak, an' I put my ear close to his
lips, thinkin' he might have some message he wanted to give. But, tryin'
to look in the direction where Howkle had gone, he whispered, 'Don't
blame the Union.' He was thinkin' more o' the credit o' his side than of
his own sufferin's."

"That was grit," said Hamilton approvingly. "Did he die, Uncle Eli?"

"Not a bit of it. We got him back into our lines an' he was exchanged, I
believe. Anyway, I know he was livin' after the war, fo' I saw his name
once on a list o' veterans. But most o' the boys were like that--mostly
young, too--an' men o' the stripe of Isaac Howkle were very few."

"But you got him in the end, didn't you?"

The old mountaineer looked intently at the boy's excited face.

"I didn't," he said, "an' I don' rightly know that it's good for yo' to
be hearin' all these things. Yo' might hold it against Jake Howkle."

"That I wouldn't," protested Hamilton. "Jake isn't to blame for his
father's meanness."

"That's the right way to talk," the old soldier agreed. "Wa'al, if yo'
feel that way about it, I reckon thar's no harm in my tellin' yo' the
rest of it, now that I've got started. When the war was all over an' I
got back hyeh, I remembered what had happened, an' I sent word to Isaac
Howkle that I didn' trust him, an' after what he had done I was
reckonin' that he was waitin' his chance to get me, an' that he'd better
keep his own side o' the mountain."

"But, Uncle Eli," said the boy, "that didn't make a feud surely; that
was only a warning."

"I wasn't reckonin' to start a feud at all," said the old man
thoughtfully, "an' it really never was one. It was jes' a personal
difference between Isaac Howkle an' me. Thar was lots o' times that I
could have picked off either o' his two brothers, but I was jes'
guardin' myself against Isaac."

"But you said he got there first!" said the boy. "Did he shoot some one
in your family?"

"Wa'al, yes, he did," the mountaineer admitted "Yo' never knew the one.
He was my brother-in-law,--Ab's younges' sister's first husband. He had
been married jes' two months, an' was only a hundred yards from this
house when Isaac shot him."

"How did you know for sure that it was Howkle who had done the
shooting?" asked Hamilton.

"We didn't know for sure, at first. A week or two after, a boy from the
Wilshes' place come up with a message sayin' that Isaac Howkle had tol'
him to say that he'd get the ol' man nex' time."

"I shouldn't have thought a boy would have had the nerve to bring such a
message," said Hamilton thoughtfully. "Wouldn't bringing word like that
look like taking sides, and wouldn't it bring his own family into the
trouble!"

The old man shook his head in instant denial.

"Po' white trash from the gullies," he said, "no, they don't count one
way or the other."

"What happened after you got that message?" asked the boy.

"Nothin' much, for a while, though I was snoopin' aroun' the mount'ns
consid'rable. I met the brothers sev'ral times, an' I know they could
have had me. But I had nothin' against them, nor they me, an' so it was
jes' left to Isaac an' me. Once I found him over near our pasture, but
he saw me an' got into cover. At last I found him in the open near our
house again, an' in easy range."

"Did you fire right away?" asked Hamilton excitedly.

"I didn't shoot. I got a lead on him, sure, but I jes' couldn't shoot
without warnin' him. It seemed kind o' mean to shoot him unawares, an'
as I didn't want to take an unfair advantage, I shouted to him. It was
pretty far off to be heard, but I could see that he recognized me. I was
only waitin' long enough to let him get his gun to his shoulder when
some one fired jes' behin' me. Howkle's bullet went through my arm, but
he dropped in his tracks. He thought I had shot him but my gun was never
fired off."

"Who was it that fired, Uncle Eli!"

"The brother o' the young fellow he had shot befo'."

"Was he dead?" asked the boy.

"Wa'al," said the mountaineer, a little grimly, "I didn' go down to see
an' wait aroun' 'till all his friends gathered. But I reckon he was dead
when they found him later."

"And the brothers?"

"They never came into the story at all. I'm jes' mentionin' this to yo'
to show yo' that thar's reason in my advisin' yo' to keep clar o' this
district. If you're reckonin' on doin' census work, yo' go somewhar that
you're not known to any one. Thar's trouble enough even for a stranger
in the mount'ns, an' a stranger would find it easier than any one else."

"Why is that, Uncle Eli?" asked the boy.

"In the first place, yo' can't show discourtesy to a stranger, an' yo'
know that if he doesn' do things jes' the way yo' like to have 'em done,
it's because he doesn' know, an' so he's not to blame. I like your
spirit about the census, Hamilton," the old mountaineer continued, "an'
if yo' can give the gov'nment any service, I reckon yo'd better try, but
leave the mount'n districts either to popular favorites or to a
stranger."



CHAPTER II

RESCUING A LOST RACE


That same evening, as it chanced, one of the younger Wilsh boys came up
to the house on an errand from a neighbor, and Hamilton, remembering
that the messenger's father had been a go-between in the feud story he
had been hearing, noted the lad with interest. Indeed, his appearance
was striking enough in itself, with his drooping form, his extreme
paleness, and his look of exhaustion.

"How far is it from the Burtons, Uncle Eli?" asked Hamilton.

"Eight miles," was the reply.

Hamilton stared at the mountain boy. Judging from his looks he was not
strong enough to walk a hundred yards, yet he had just come eight miles,
and evidently was intending to walk back home that evening. Then
Hamilton remembered that this lad was one of the "poor whites" of whom
he had read so much, and he strolled toward the messenger who was
sitting listlessly on one of the steps.

"Howdy!" said the newcomer in a tired voice.

Hamilton answered his greeting, and, after a few disjointed sentences,
said:

"You look tired. It must be a long walk from the Burtons."

"Jes' tol'able," the boy answered. "I'm not so tired. You f'm the city?"
he queried a few minutes later, evidently noting the difference between
Hamilton's appearance and that of the boys in the neighborhood.

"Yes, New York," answered Hamilton.

But the stranger did not show any further curiosity and Hamilton was
puzzled to account for his general listlessness. He thought perhaps it
might be that the boy was unusually dull and so he asked:

"Are you still going to school?"

A negative shake of the head was the only reply.

"Why not? Isn't there a school near where you live?"

"Close handy, 'bout five miles," was the reply.

"Then why don't you go there?" questioned Hamilton further.

"Teacheh's gone."

"Funny time for holidays," the city boy remarked.

"Not gone fo' holidays."

"Oh, I see," said Hamilton, "you mean he's gone for good. But aren't you
going to have another one?"

"Dunno if he's gone for good," the mountain boy answered.

Hamilton stared in bewilderment.

"Cunjer got him," the other continued.

But this did not explain things any better.

"Cunjer?" repeated Hamilton. "You mean magic?"

The mountain boy nodded.

"Yes, cunjer," he affirmed.

"You're fooling, aren't you?" said Hamilton questioningly, "you can't
mean it. I never heard of 'cunjer' as a real thing. There's lots about
it in books, of course, but those are fairy tales and things of that
sort."

"An' yo' never saw a cunjer?"

"Of course not."

"Reckon they don' know as much in cities as they think they do," the
youngster retorted.

"Just what do you mean by 'cunjer'?" asked Hamilton, knowing that it
would be useless to argue the conditions of a modern city with a boy who
had never seen one.

"Bein' able to put a cunjer on, so's the one yo' cunjer has got to do
anythin' yo' want."

"Sort of hypnotism business," commented the older boy.

"Dunno' what yo' call it in the city. Up hyeh in the mount'ns we call it
cunjer, an' thar's some slick ones hyeh, too."

"But how did the teacher get mixed up in it?" queried Hamilton. "It
doesn't sound like the sort of thing you'd expect to find a schoolmaster
doing."

"He wasn't doin' it, it was again' him," the mountain boy explained.
"The folks hyeh suspicioned as he was tippin' o' the revenoo men."

"Who did? Moonshiners?"

"Easy on that word, Hamilton," suddenly broke in the old Kentuckian, who
had overheard part of the conversation, "thar's plenty up hyeh that don'
like it."

"All right, Uncle Eli, I'll remember," the boy answered; then, turning
to his companion, he continued "You were saying that some of the people
in the mountains thought the schoolmaster was giving information to the
revenue men."

"Some said he was. I don' believe it myself, an' most of us boys didn'
believe it, but then the teacheh was allers mighty good to us."

"Did the revenue officers come up here!"

The mountain lad nodded his head.

"Often," he said, "an' when they come to the stills they seemed to know
ev'rythin' an' ev'rybody. An' then some one tol' that it could be proved
on the teacheh. It never was, but thar was a plenty o' people who
believed the story. I didn't, but then the teacheh was allers good to
me."

"But what did the revenue men have to do with the 'cunjering'?" asked
Hamilton, desiring to keep his informant to the point.

"They didn't, it was the men on the Ridge."

"Do you know how it happened?"

"I know all about it," the lad answered, with a slightly less listless
air, "for I was in school that mornin'. For a week or more we boys had
seen ol' Blacky Baldwin sort o' snoopin' aroun' near the school, but as
we allers crossed our fingers an' said nothin' so long as he was in
hearin', we weren't afraid."

"What did you do that for?"

The younger boy looked at the city-bred lad with an evident pity for his
ignorance.

[Illustration: MOONSHINING. Revenue officers hot on the trail. (_Brown
Bros._)]

[Illustration: MOONSHINING. Revenue officers hot on the trail; the fire
is burning, the still working, and the moonshiner's coat hangs on a
tree. (_Brown Bros._)]

"So's he couldn't cunjer us, O' course," he said. "Don' yo' even know
that? Ol' Blacky Baldwin is a first-class cunjer, an' any one o' them
can cunjer you with the words he hears yo' sayin'."

"But if this 'cunjer-fellow' was hanging around the school," suggested
Hamilton, "why didn't you tell the master?"

"An' get Blacky down on us? You-all can bet we kep' quiet an' didn' even
talk about Blacky to each other. Wa'al, that went on for a week or two.
Then, one mornin', while we was all in school, a big storm come up,
thunder an' lightnin' an' all. Suddenly, jes' after a clap o' thunder
that sounded almos' as if it had hit the schoolhouse Ol' Blacky Baldwin
walked through the door an' up to the teacheh's table. He was carryin a
twisted thing in his hand, like a ram's horn, an' I knew it was his
cunjerin' horn, although I hadn't even seen it befo'."

"What did the master say when he came in?"

"Nary a word. It was awful dark an' the thunder was rumbling aroun'
among the hills. I took one look at Ol' Blacky Baldwin's face, an' then
hid my eyes. I reckon the others did the same."

"Why?"

"His face was all shiny with a queer green light, sendin' up smoke,
like ol' dead wood does sometimes after a rain."

"Phosphorus evidently," muttered Hamilton to himself, but he did not
want to interrupt the lad now that he had started, and therefore did not
discuss the point.

"He walked right up to the teacheh's table," continued the younger boy,
"an' he pointed the horn at him, accordin' to one o' the boys who says
he was peepin' through his fingers. I wasn't lookin', I wasn't takin'
any chances. And then we all heard him say to the teacheh:

"'You air goin' to have a fall an' be killed. You air goin' to have a
fear o' fallin' all your days, an' you air goin' to be drove to places
where you're like to fall. By night you air goin' to dream o' fallin',
an', wakin' an' sleepin', the fear is laid upon you.'"

"And that was all?"

"That was all," the mountain boy replied. "After a bit, I looked up and
Ol' Blacky Baldwin was gone; the teacheh looked peaked an' seemed kind
o' skeered, but he didn't say anythin'."

"Well, it was a little scary," said Hamilton. "I don't wonder it shook
him up."

"That was only the beginnin'," the storyteller went on. "About half an
hour after that, one o' the boys dropped his slate pencil on the floor
an' it broke, so he asked the teacheh for a new one. The slates 'n'
pencils was kep' on a shelf over the teacheh's chair, an' he got on the
chair to reach one down. We was all watchin' him, when suddintly he give
a groan an' his eyes rolled back so's we couldn't see nothin' but the
whites; his face got all pale, an' his lips sort o' blue; he reeled an'
was jes' goin' to fall when he sort o' made a grab at the shelf an' hung
on as though he was fallin' off a cliff.

"Two of the bigger boys, thinkin' he had a stroke or somethin', went up
an' spoke, but he didn't answer, jes' hung on to that shelf. Standin' on
the chair as he was, of course the boys couldn' make him let go, an'
they couldn' make him hear or understan' a mite. So they pulled up a
bench and one of 'em climbed up an' forced his hand open. Jes' like a
flash Teacheh grabbed him so hard that he yelled."

"Just with one hand?" Hamilton queried.

"One hand. Wa'al, they pretty soon made Teacheh let go the other hand,
an' helped him down fr'm the chair an' sat him down in it. As soon as
his feet touched the floor, he let go the feller's shoulder an' sort o'
lay back in his chair. He sat there for a bit an' then he leaned
forward, put his hands on the desk, an' stared right in front of him,
jes' as if we wa'n't there at all.

"'I thought I was fallin',' he said gruffly.

"We waited a while for him to begin agin, but he jes' sit there, lookin'
straight in front of him, an' repeatin' ev'ry minute or two: 'I thought
I was fallin'! I thought I was fallin'!'"

Hamilton shivered a little, for the mountain boy told the story as
though he were living through the scene again.

"I don't wonder you got scared," he said. "Did he come to?"

"Not right then," the boy answered. "We waited a while an' then some of
the fellers got up an' went out sof'ly. I went, too, an' the teacheh
never even seemed to see us go."

"Didn't you think he had gone crazy?"

"We all knew it was cunjerin'," the lad rejoined "an' when we got
outside the door thar was Ol' Blacky Baldwin waitin', lookin' jes' the
same as usual. As I come by, he said, jes' as smooth, 'School's out
early to-day, boys.' But I don't think any of us answered him. I know I
didn't. I jes' took and run as hard as I knew how. An' when I got to the
top o' the hill an' looked back, an' saw Blacky goin' into the
schoolhouse again, I couldn' get home fast enough."

"Was that what broke up the school?"

"Not right away," the other replied. "Thar was some that never come nigh
the place agin, but befo' two weeks most of us was back. Teacheh allers
seemed diff'rent; ev'ry once in a while, one of us would see him walkin'
on the edge of a cliff, or fin' him dizzily hangin' on to somethin' for
fear o' fallin'."

"How long did that go on?" queried Hamilton.

"'Bout a month, I reckon. An' Teacheh was in trouble more'n more all the
time, because folks wouldn' have him boardin' 'roun', same's he'd allers
done."

"Why not?"

"Wa'al, he'd wake up in the night screamin', 'I'm fallin', I'm fallin','
and no one wanted to have a ha'nted teacher in the house. An' Blacky
Baldwin, he jes' hung aroun' the school, and we-all would see him every
day, mutterin' an' laughin' to himself. Then, suddintly, Teacheh
disappeared, an' though we hunted fo' him everywhar, he wasn' found.
We-all reckoned he had fallen somewhars, but I've thought sence that
p'r'aps he jes' went away, goin' back to the city, and leavin' no tracks
so's to make Ol' Blacky Baldwin believe he'd be'n killed."

"That sounds likely enough," Hamilton said. "But even if he did get
away, I don't believe that he'd want to come back."

"I reckon not," the mountain boy agreed. "Anyway, the school's shut up
now."

"How about the revenue men?" asked Hamilton.

"They haven't be'n here sence Teacheh went away," was the reply. "An' I
reckon they're not wanted."

The boy stopped short as the old mountaineer came over to where he was
squatting and gave him a long answer to the message he had brought. The
old man read it to him from a sheet of paper on which he had penciled it
roughly. Bill Wilsh listened in a dreamy way, and Hamilton wondered at
his seeming carelessness. The old man read it twice, then, rising to his
feet, the boy repeated it word for word and without so much as a nod to
Hamilton, slouched off in a long, lazy stride that looked like loafing,
but which, as Hamilton afterwards found out, covered the ground rapidly.

"Do you suppose he'll remember all that, Uncle Eli?" asked Hamilton in
surprise.

"He? Oh, yes," the mountaineer replied, "word for word, syllable for
syllable--that is, fo' to-day."

"He must have a good memory," the boy exclaimed "I'm sure I couldn't."

"But he'll forget every word by to-morrow," the other continued, "almost
forget that he was hyeh to-day at all. That's why they're so hard to
teach, those po' whites, what they learn doesn't stick. I heard him
tellin' yo' about the disappearance o' the last teacheh."

"Yes, he was putting it down to 'cunjering.' Is there much of that sort
of idea in the mountains?"

"None among the mount'neers proper," replied the old man. "Some o' the
po' whites down in the gullies talk about it, but thar's mo' difference
between the folks in the gullies an' on the Ridge th'n there is between
the mount'ns an' the Blue Grass. They are different, an' they look
different, too."

"Bill Wilsh certainly does," agreed Hamilton, "but I thought at first it
was because he was tired out with a long walk after a day's work."

The Kentuckian shook his head.

"They're all that way," he said. "They jes' look all beaten out as if
they hadn't any life left in them at all. I reckon the most o' them have
hookworm, too, an' they just look fit to drop."

"Hookworm, Uncle Eli? What is that?" asked the boy.

"It's a queer kind o' disease," the old man answered, "that comes from
goin' barefoot. There's a kind o' grub in the soil, and it works its way
in. It's only jes' recently that it's be'n found out that the po' whites
are peaked and backward because they're sick, and now they know a cure
fo' it, why hookworm is being driven right out o' the South."

"Was there so much of it?"

"Puttin' an end to it will make useful American citizens out o'
thousands o' poor critters that never knew what ailed them."

"But where did the 'poor whites' come from, Uncle Eli? What made them
that way?"

"Whar they come from I jes' don' rightly know. I reckon I saw more o'
them when I was down in Georgia, but the Florida 'crackers' are still
worse off. Thar's not so many in the mount'ns an' those that are here
live 'way up in the gullies. The sure 'nough po' whites, or 'Crackers'
as they call them, belong to the pine belt, between the mount'ns an' the
swamps o' the coast."

"Why are they called 'Crackers'?"

"I don' know, unless because they live on cracked corn and razor-back
hog. It an't so easy to say how they begun. Thar's a lot o' French
names, an' thar's a tradition that two shiploads o' Huguenots were
wrecked off Georgia in the early days an' foun' their way inland,
settlin' down without anythin' to start with, an' not knowin' for a
generation or two whar any settlements could be foun'. An' thar's a lot
o' folks that have just drifted down, down,--livin' jes' like the
'Crackers' an' often taken to be the same. An' the slavery system made
it worse because thar was no middle white class--either rich or po',
thar was nothin' between,--that is, down in that part o' the country.
But yo' mus' remember that thar has been a great change in the last
twenty years, an' that the children o' 'Cracker' families are doin' jes'
as well as anybody in the South."

"How is that, Uncle Eli?"

"Wa'al, in the days befo' the war, the po' whites were jes' trash. The
planters wouldn' have 'em, because the slaves did all the work; they
wouldn' work themselves, an' they didn' own slaves. So they were worse
off than the negroes an' even the black race looked down on 'em. But the
war waked them up."

"They all fought for the South, didn't they?"

"Mos'ly all. They were food fo' powder, but I always reckoned they
hindered more'n they helped. For the 'Cracker,' however, the war meant
everythin'. It placed him side by side with the Southern gentleman, it
strengthened the color line, an' jes' enough o' them made good to show
the others thar was a chance fo' them, too."

"Then they started in to improve right after the war, did they?"

The Kentuckian shook his head negatively.

"No," he said, "at first they were far worse off than befo' because the
Freedman's Bureau an' the carpet-baggers made trouble right an' lef'.
The No'th had a fine chance, but the carpet-baggers were jes' blind to
everythin' excep' the negro, an' the po' white was jes' as shabbily
treated by the No'th as he had be'n by the South. Now that everybody is
seein' that yo' can't make a negro jes' the same as a white man by
givin' him a vote, thar's a chance fo' the po' white. I reckon the
'Cracker' as a 'Cracker' is goin' to be extinct pretty soon, an' the
South is goin' to be proud o' the stock it once despised. Atlanta is the
fastes' growin' city in the South, an' Atlanta is jes' full o' men whose
folks weren't much more'n 'Crackers.' The po' white, in a few years, is
goin' to be only a memory like the backwoodsman o' the time o' Dan'l
Boone."

"That promises well for the South," said Hamilton.

"The boom o' the South is jes' beginnin'," the old man said, "an' if
you're goin' to do census work this next year, yo' jes' watch the
figures an' see whar the old South comes in. It's a pity you're goin'
back to Wash'n'ton to-morrow, as I think yo' ought to see more o' this
country befo' yo' go."

"I'd like to, ever so much, Uncle Eli," the boy answered, as he got up
from the step and started for the big loft where he slept with the
mountaineer's two sons, "but, even if I don't get a chance, I've learned
a lot from you about the folk on the mountains and about the South
generally."

The mountaineer nodded a good-night as the boy disappeared.

"Now thar," he said to his wife, who had been knitting stockings during
the latter part of the conversation, and occasionally interjecting a
word, "thar is a boy that is really achin' to know things. I wish Rube
and Eph were more like him."

"Nothin' but hounds an' vittles worries them," the woman replied
sharply, "but they an't none like city boys, an' I'd ruther have 'em the
way they air than to come pesterin' with questions like Hamilton does
you. I don't set any sort o' stock in it, an' I don't encourage him in
sech nonsense."

The big Kentuckian smiled, and filled his corn-cob leisurely as he
turned the talk to other things.

Early the next morning, Hamilton and the oldest of the two boys started
on their fourteen-mile ride to the station, where the lad was to take an
afternoon train for Washington. They had gone about three miles, when
they came upon Bill Wilsh sitting on the stump of a tree by the
roadside.

"I reckoned you-all would come along this way," he said, "an' I've be'n
thinkin' more'n more 'bout Teacheh havin' likely gone to the city, an'
not bein' dead after all. Yo' goin' to the city now?"

[Illustration: BILL WILSH'S HOME IN THE GULLY. (_Courtesy of Doubleday,
Page & Co._)]

[Illustration: BILL WILSH IN THE SCHOOL. (_Courtesy of Doubleday, Page
& Co._)]

"I'm going to Washington, Bill," Hamilton answered.

"Is that the city?"

"It's one of them."

"Do yo' s'pose that'd be the city Teacheh went to?"

"I couldn't say, Bill," the lad replied, "there's no way of knowing, but
it's likely enough."

"I was thinkin'--" the mountain boy began then he broke off suddenly.
"I'm mighty partial to whittlin'," he continued irrelevantly.

"The best ever," interjected Hamilton's companion. "Yo' ought to have
shown him some of your work, Bill."

"I was allers hopin' Teacheh would come back," said the boy in his
listless, passionless way, "an' he seemed so fond o' the school that I
whittled a piece to give him when he showed up agin. But now I reckon he
an't a-goin' to come back. Does you-all reckon he'll come back from the
city?"

Hamilton looked down at the lad, and wanted to cheer him up, but he
could not see what would be likely to bring the schoolmaster back, and
so he answered:

"I'm afraid not, Bill. But he might, you know."

"I reckon not. But I'd like him to know he a'nt fo'gotten in the
mount'ns. I want yo' to tell him that thar a'nt be'n a week sence he
went away that I an't be'n down to the school an' swep' the floor an'
seen that his books was in the place he liked to have 'em be. I wouldn'
want him to come back from his wanderin', if he still is wanderin', an'
think he was fo'gotten. It an't much, I know, to sweep a floor," he
added, looking up to Hamilton, "but yo' tell him an' he'll understan'.
It's about all that I kin do. He'll understan' if yo' tell him."

Neither of the other boys spoke, and after a moment the mountain lad
went on:

"An' when yo' see him, give him this, an' tell him it comes from Bill,
his 'tryin' scholar.' He used to call me that because, although I wasn't
learnin' much, I was always tryin'. An' yo' can tell him I'm tryin'
still."

Reaching his hand into the bosom of his ragged shirt the boy pulled out
a slab of wood four inches square. It was carved as a bas-relief,
showing the schoolhouse in the foreground in high relief, with the
wooded hills beyond.

"That's great!" exclaimed Hamilton. "I don't believe I ever saw better
carving than that anywhere."

A momentary gleam of pleasure flashed into the boy's dull eyes, but he
went on again in the same lifeless voice.

"Thar's the schoolhouse jes' as it was when he was here last, but it's
never looked the same to me sence. I want yo' to give this to him an'
show him, if yo' will, that I whittled it with the door open, jes' to
show him we're lookin' for him back."

"But supposing I shouldn't meet him in the city?" queried Hamilton
gently. "Washington is a large place and there are many other cities."

"I reckon you-all have mo' chance o' findin' him thar than I have hyeh.
I reckon he an't goin' to come back hyeh, an' then he'd never know that
we an't fo'gotten him, an' he'd think we was ungrateful. But yo'll try
an' find him?"

Hamilton was conscious of a lump in his throat at the simple
faithfulness of the mountain boy, and he said gently:

"Very well, Bill, if you feel that way about it, of course I'll try.
But you haven't told me his name as yet."

"I was thinkin' o' that," the boy answered. Then he took from his pocket
a home-made gum-wood case, and opening it, took out a small piece of
paper and handed it to Hamilton.

"Be keerful of it," he said, "that paper tears mighty easy."

Hamilton smoothed the paper out on the palm of his hand, and looked at
it carefully. It was a "copy," merely of pothooks, done in lead pencil,
the strokes wavering and of differing slopes, and the whole so smudged
as scarcely to be recognizable But, down in the corner, written in ink,
in a firm, bold hand, were the words, "Very Good, Gregory Sinclair."

Hamilton copied the name into his notebook and, refolding the paper as
carefully as possible in the same folds, he handed it to the barefooted
boy standing on the road beside his horse's head.

"Did you-all read it?" he asked.

"Yes," said Hamilton.

"Did you-all see that he said 'Very Good'?"

"'Very Good' was what was written," agreed Hamilton, thinking of the
wavering and smudged pothooks.

"I c'n do better now," the boy said quietly, "an' I've been tryin' jes'
as hard as though Teacheh was in yonder schoolhouse. But thar's no one
to write 'Very Good' on 'em any mo', an' I reckon thar an't goin' to be.
But I'm trustin' that you'll fin' him an' you'll tell him that he an't
fo'gotten."

Without a word of farewell, the boy struck into the woods and was lost
to sight. The two lads started on their way, but they had not ridden a
hundred yards when they heard a hail; looking back, they saw the
mountain boy standing on a point of the ridge; and echoing down to them
came the lonely cry:

"Fin' him, an' tell him he an't fo'gotten."



CHAPTER III

A MANUFACTORY OF RIFLES


Settling himself comfortably in the train for his long journey to the
capital, one of the first things that Hamilton did was to take from his
pocket the little carving that had been given him by the mountain lad
and put it away carefully in his grip. Examining it closely as he did
so, the boy was astonished to note the fineness of the work, and he
realized that it must have taken Bill Wilsh all the spare moments of a
long winter to finish it. The work was all the more surprising, Hamilton
thought, since it had been done just with a single tool, a common
pocketknife, and was yet as fine and delicate as though carved with a
set of costly tools. He made up his mind to buy a set and send them to
Bill Wilsh with the first pay that he got from his Census Bureau work.

Seated across the aisle from him was another lad about his own age, with
whom Hamilton rather wanted to make acquaintance, but the opportunity
did not arrive until the first meal, when, by chance, they found
themselves on opposite sides of one of the small tables in the dining
car. The usual courtesies of the table led to conversation, in the
course of which Hamilton's companion dropped the word "census" in a
manner which showed his familiarity with the progress of the work of
preparation.

"Are you interested in the census?" asked Hamilton promptly.

"Rather," the other replied. "I'm going to work in the Bureau. As a
matter of fact, I'm just going to Washington to get my appointment now."

"You are!" exclaimed Hamilton. "Why, that's exactly what I'm doing. It's
queer we should meet this way."

"Are you going as an assistant special agent, too?" his new friend
asked.

"I'm going to start in that way," the boy replied

"How do you mean 'start'?" the other queried. "I understand that work on
the manufactures will last three or four months, and by that time all
the other census-taking will be over."

"I'm going to try to get some of the population work as well," Hamilton
explained. "I think it will be even more fun than the manufactures end,
and I heard that they're going to put on a few population enumerators
from those who have been on the manufactures work, admitting them
without an exam. I think the population census gathering will be fine."

The other boy shook his head.

"I don't think I'd want it," he said, "at least not in a city, and I'm
going to do the manufacturing work, of course, in a city."

"Where are you going to be?" asked Hamilton.

"I took the exam in 'Frisco," the older boy replied; "that's my home
town, and I expect to work out there."

"That's quite a walk from here!" exclaimed Hamilton.

"I had to come to Washington," the boy answered "and so my people wanted
me to go and see my sister down in Florida. She married a fellow who's
busy reclaiming some swamp land down there, and he promised me a try at
alligator hunting."

"That sounds prime," suggested Hamilton, "and I should think that in
that reclamation work there would be lots of chance for it. It would
be worth watching, too, just to see how they got at that work. I should
think they would find themselves up against a pretty stiff job,
engineering down in those swamps. And then there must be barrels of
snakes, too?"

[Illustration: ALLIGATOR-CATCHING. The sport at its best; tackling a
fair sized reptile with bare hands. (_Courtesy of Outing Magazine._)]

"Water moccasins and copper-heads mostly," said his friend cheerfully,
"but you soon get so used to them that you don't mind them. It's very
seldom that you ever hear of any one being bitten by a snake. They all
seem more anxious to get out of your way than you out of theirs."

"And you're anxious enough, too!" remarked Hamilton.

"That's pretty good security, don't you think?" queried the older boy
with a laugh. "When both sides want to get away, there's not much chance
of a meeting."

"But how about the alligators?"

"That was real good sport," the other rejoined. "But I kept down to the
smaller chaps most of the time. I don't suppose there's really very much
danger, even in the big fellows, as long as you know just how to handle
them."

"I don't think I'm particularly keen about handling them," answered
Hamilton. "I shouldn't think the big ones would want more than about one
bite to put you out of business."

"That's all right," the older boy admitted, "but what's the use of
giving one that chance? Anyway, so I learned down there, it's not so
much the bite that the hunters are afraid of as the stroke of the tail.
It doesn't take such a big alligator to break your leg like a pipestem
with a sweep of that long, scaly tail of his."

"But how do they catch them?"

"With a noose, when they're sunning themselves. An alligator lies on a
bank, half in and half out of the water, most of the time, with his eyes
shut. Sometimes he really is asleep, and sometimes he isn't. That's
where the fun comes in. Of course, if you can get the boat right up to
where he is, close enough to slip the noose over his jaws, you've got
him all right. There's a knob on the snout that keeps the noose from
slipping off, and he sort of strangles when you tow him through the
water. But if you can't get there with the boat you have to go it on
foot."

"You mean you have to get out of the boat and walk right up to his
jaws?"

"Yes, just that."

"It doesn't sound particularly good to me," Hamilton remarked.

"It isn't nearly as bad as it sounds," the other replied. "As long as
you don't make too much noise, and keep out of reach of his tail, you're
all right. If you slip up, you want to jump out of the way about as
lively as you know how. But he'll never come after you, or mighty
seldom. If you get a slip-knot over his snout, and can throw a
half-hitch over his tail, why, the biggest of them is easy enough to
handle."

"But what are they caught for?"

"There's quite a steady sale. The big fellows are sometimes sold alive
to parks and aquariums and circuses, but most of them are killed and the
whole skins dressed and used for hanging on the walls of dens, like
trophies. The real market is for the skins of the little fellows, which
are made up into all sorts of alligator leather bags. Most of that stuff
is imitation, but still quite a lot of it is real. It's plenty of fun
catching the little 'gators, because even the smallest of them can give
you quite a nip and a reptile three feet long is a handful. I did well
enough out of it, because in addition to the sport I had, my
brother-in-law let me have the skins of all those I caught myself. Some
people, too, want to have baby ones as pets, but I don't think I'd want
to have them around, myself, after they grew to any size," he added, as
the boys rose and went back to the Pullman.

By the time the train had reached Washington the two had become
thoroughly friendly, and Hamilton liked his new acquaintance so much
that he would gladly have seen more of him than merely as a traveling
companion. But as the other lad was going out to San Francisco, there
was no likelihood of their being thrown together at all. Indeed, on his
arrival, Hamilton found that he had been assigned to an Eastern city, so
he had to bid his new-made friend "Good-by."

The exterior of the Census Bureau building was a disappointment to
Hamilton, by reason of its unimposing appearance. Indeed, it was
altogether too small for the purposes of the census, and during the rush
of the decennial work, there were departments of the census scattered
through various other buildings, adding no little inconvenience to the
work. Accustomed to the New York structures, towering tens of stories
into the air, the two-story red brick building of the census looked
small to Hamilton, though comfortable and pleasant to work in. It was
deceiving in its size, however, for the floor space was big and not
much broken, and there seemed to be plenty of room. But it was not until
the boy returned after his population work some months later, that he
saw this building as the center of unparalleled activity.

[Illustration: THE CENSUS BUILDING. Where Hamilton learned the immense
importance of this great function of the government. (_Walden
Fawcett._)]

"I understand," said the chief of the manufacturing division to him,
"that you are desirous of coming to the Census Bureau as one of the
permanent force, not just for the decennial period only?"

"Yes, Mr. Clan," was the boy's reply, "that is, if the Bureau is
willing."

"That will depend entirely on the work you do. I didn't see your papers
personally, but I understand you received a high rating, and that you
have had a good deal to do with figures.--That is, for a youngster," he
added, noting the youthfulness of the lad standing before him.

"Yes, sir, I have," answered Hamilton.

"What made you think of taking this work up?" was the next question.

"Because I like it, sir."

The divisional chief leaned back in his chair, put his fingers together
in characteristic attitude, and smiled.

"Eh," he said, "you are sure you will like the work?"

"Quite, sir," said Hamilton in his decided way. "I looked it all over,
and I know."

"You will be less sure of the future when you are older," the Scotchman
said, "but if you 'know,' there's nothing more to be said. I'm going to
put you under the care of Mr. Burns, and he will instruct you further in
the work."

"But, Mr. Clan--" began the boy.

"Well?"

"Where am I going, sir?"

"New Haven, Connecticut--a good town, and one that will give you plenty
of work. You'd better start for there to-night. I hope you will like it
as much as you expect."

"Thank you, sir," Hamilton replied, seeing that his superior deemed the
interview at an end. "I'll do the very best I can."

On arriving in New Haven the following day, Hamilton made his way to the
local Census Office opened by his new leader. He found Mr. Burns to be a
typical statistician, to whom figures had a meaning beyond themselves,
but to whom little was of value unless it could be expressed in figures.
Hamilton introduced himself briefly.

"You're Noble," the other said abruptly. "When will you be ready to
begin?"

"Any time," answered Hamilton. "Right after lunch, sir, if you want me
to make a start."

"There's a portfolio," the census agent answered, "take it along and you
can begin just as soon as you're ready."

"What instructions have you to give me, sir?" asked Hamilton.

"I save eleven and a half per cent of the time given to instructions by
writing them. You'll find a copy in there," he said, pointing to the
portfolio.

"Very well, sir," the boy replied, "I'll go ahead, and if I find
anything I don't understand, shall I come and ask you?"

"Telephone!" the census agent said. "Quicker to 'phone even if only in
the next room. Average conversation, six minutes; average telephone
conversation, two minutes; average value of my time for six minutes,
eighteen cents; average cost of 'phone for two minutes, one cent; direct
saving to me seventeen cents, not counting time of your traveling to
come and talk. No! Telephone!"

"All right, sir," Hamilton answered, "I'll 'phone," and realizing that
his new chief had the question of the valuation of time down to a fine
point, he hurried away.

On reaching the hotel he examined his portfolio with a great deal of
curiosity. The schedules were familiar, for one of the features of the
examination he had taken had been the filling out of such a census
schedule from financial statements of a group of factories. The written
instructions, however, were thoroughly characteristic of the man, and
percentage figures were scattered around like punctuation marks. But the
explanations were clear as crystal, none the less, and gave no
opportunity even for telephoning.

An old New England center, and a college town, New Haven proved a most
interesting field in which to work. By far the larger number of people
with whom the boy came in contact were of old American stock and gave
him every assistance possible.

"The census-taker?" one old man said, when Hamilton called. "Come right
in the office and sit down. Now tell me what I can do for you," and when
the boy mentioned the principal items of the schedule, the manufacturer
spent a good hour working over the books with his office force to get
out the figures desired. When Hamilton thanked him, he replied:

"I'm an American, Mr. Noble, and one of the stones they moved from the
old churchyard of the Old Center Church and that bore the date 1681 was
the tombstone of my direct ancestor. I think you'll find most of the New
England stock proud of the United States and only too glad to do
anything they can to help the government in its census or anything else
for the good of the country."

"I'm sure of it," the boy said heartily, "but there's mighty few of that
old type left. There's not ten per cent of the people in the country now
that are real bred-in-the-bone Americans."

"It is a pity," the old man said, shaking his head, "and the worst of it
is that even that ten per cent lives principally in the country. It's
the cities that influence the progress of the nation. We talk about
making these foreigners over into our idea of what Americans should be,
and we forget that all the time they are influencing us to become the
kind of Americans they think we ought to be."

"I guess that's true," the boy said, "because in New York, where my
folks live, the old New Yorkers seem entirely strange and out-of-place
in the dash and glitter."

"Of course," the New Englander replied. "The real Americans are plain,
solid people; it's the Jewish strain in New York that has brought about
the display of wealth, and to the large number of Southern Europeans are
due the colors, the lights, the music, the public dining, and all the
rest of it. It may be the American of to-day, but it isn't what
Americanism meant a few years ago."

"A good deal of New York life does seem foreign in a kind of way," said
Hamilton, "and I'm glad," he added, as he closed his portfolio, "that
the Census Bureau put me at work in one of the old-fashioned towns
first."

As the boy went on in his work he came to find how thoroughly the spirit
of Yale was felt in the town. Almost all the leading business men were
Yale graduates, and instead of displaying the "town and gown" hostility
of some university places, New Haven was inordinately proud of its
college. Of course, even in such a town, there was quite a proportion of
foreign-born manufacturers but the boy found that the Jewish
establishments were even easier to tabulate than those owned by
Americans, the Hebrew understanding of the details of business being so
thorough.

"That's not so very detailed!" one of these remarked to Hamilton when
the boy had come to the end of his list of questions.

"It's a relief to hear somebody say that," answered the young
census-taker with a laugh, "because I hear a dozen times a day the
complaint that no one could be expected to know as much about a business
as these schedules require."

It was not to be expected that the work would proceed without an
occasional hitch, and Hamilton had one such with a firm of Italian
marble-cutters in which the bookkeeping had been of so curious a
character that it was next to impossible to get out the kind of figures
the government wanted. Another was in a small Chinese place, where they
made little trinkets to sell to tourists in the "Chinatown" districts of
the larger cities, representing them to be imported articles of value.
Another was with a small place run by two brothers, Persians, making
fringes and tassels for fraternal order badges and matters of that kind.
It was interesting to the lad, for he had the chance to see the works in
a number of cases, and he learned a lot about the way many queer things
were made.

But Hamilton's hopes were set on visiting one especial manufacturing
plant in New Haven, and he had determined to ask that he be allowed to
go over it before he left the town. This was the great sporting gun
works. Hamilton was passionately fond of sport, and had owned a
Winchester ever since he was twelve years old. Indeed, he had read up on
guns a good deal, and it was one of his hobbies.

His delight was great, therefore, when at the end of a long day, after
he had turned in his schedule to his chief, the latter said:

"Noble, your work is good. Johnson is faster. Up to last night he had
turned in one, decimal five-two per cent more establishments than you,
but your proportion of capital invested is larger, showing that the
works you went to took more time. Your schedules are better. This takes
a little over one-fifth more of my own time than I had figured at first.
I was going to do the Winchester works myself. I think you can do it.
You had better go ahead. It's complicated, but they'll help you all they
can. There's not much time left."

"Very well, Mr. Burns," said Hamilton decisively with the
characteristic raising and lowering of his eyebrows, "I'll get all there
is, all right."

The next morning, about ten o'clock, Hamilton presented himself at the
general offices of the company on the outskirts of the town, about a
mile from the college. He asked to see the business manager, and was
granted an interview.

"Mr. Arverne," said the boy, "I called with regard to securing the
figures for the census of nineteen hundred and ten."

"But you are not the special agent surely?" said the manager, looking at
him sharply.

"No, sir," the boy answered, "Mr. Burns is the special agent, and I am
one of his assistants."

"I should have thought Mr. Burns would have come himself," the man said;
"you are young for this work, aren't you?"

Hamilton flushed at this reference to his boyish appearance, but he
answered steadily: "Yes, sir, I believe I am younger than most of the
assistant special agents, but I have had a good deal to do with
figures."

"Burns is a good man," the manager continued. "If the government has
men of that stamp all over the country, the statistics will be
invaluable. You know Mr. Burns?" he added suddenly.

"Only just since this work began, Mr. Arverne," the boy replied.

"Queer chap. I don't believe he eats a bit of food or drinks a glass of
water without mentally figuring the nutritious percentage in the food,
and the effect of his drink upon the water supply of the world."

Hamilton laughed.

"He is a little that way, sir," he said.

"A little!" the manager exclaimed. "But to return to the point. You
didn't tell me why Mr. Burns didn't come himself."

"He said that the office work was piling up, sir," answered the boy,
"and--if you don't mind my saying so, Mr. Arverne--he spoke of it as an
opportunity for me, since it was the largest plant in the city and my
schedules had been the most complete of those turned in to him."

The manager eyed the boy keenly.

"Mr. Burns doesn't make many mistakes," he said, after a moment, "and if
he has confidence in you, he knows what he is talking about. This is a
country of young men anyway, and it seems to be getting younger all the
time. Where is the schedule?"

Hamilton handed him the paper and sat back, waiting. Several minutes
passed, while the manager went over the questions item by item.

"Yes," he said at last, "I think our books can answer every question
there without difficulty. We keep very complete books. I am not so sure,
Mr. Noble," he continued, "that I can give you those figures immediately
in just exactly that form."

"In what points do your books differ?" asked Hamilton quietly.

"Not in any essentials, but in a few minor points," the manager replied.
"For example, you want to know here the exact number of employees on our
pay roll on December 15th. Now I could have the pay roll department--we
keep it as an entirely separate department here--turn up instantly the
payments for the week in which that date occurs, but in order to
separate that one day from the week, reference will have to be made to
the Employment Bureau to find out what workers left, and how many were
added, and the day of the week on which each of these left or began
work in that week, and to add or to deduct such sums from the weekly
pay roll."

"That difficulty has come up several times," said Hamilton, "because not
many people pay their employees by the day. But in nine cases out of
ten, an average for that week is usually struck, figuring in some cases
by the days and in others by the hours. I suppose you noticed that the
schedule itself states that what is sought is 'a normal day'?"

"I saw that," was the reply, "but it seems to me that when possible it
is better to have all the details carried out to the full. However, even
that is not the most serious difficulty of these questions."

"No," said Hamilton, "that one hasn't given much trouble. The hitch
usually comes just at the point you're looking at now--the cost of
materials."

"That's just exactly it. Our non-productive departments consume a great
deal of material, mill-supplies and fuels, but if we include those with
all the rest of it, our figures will not show a right proportion."

"What do you mean by your non-productive departments?" asked the boy.
"That seems rather a curious phrase."

"Those in which the work done is not directly a part of the making of
guns or ammunition. For example, we have a large force of draughtsmen
working on new models of rifles and mechanisms and on machinery to
enable us to make the new types. We make all the machinery that we use,
right here in the plant. We make our own tools, too, so that there is a
great deal of designing."

"Those are not non-productive," commented Hamilton.

"We call them so," was the reply.

"I don't think the Census Bureau considers them as such," said Hamilton,
feeling rather proud of this opportunity to explain some of the workings
of the Bureau; "it seems to me more satisfactory to consider that these
works not only manufacture guns, rifles, and ammunition, but also
machinery and tools."

"But those are for our own use!" objected the manager.

"Yes, of course, I see that," said the boy. "But even if you do use them
yourselves, you make them yourselves. If you leave them out in the
schedule it would make the figures all wrong."

"How would it?"

"Well, the schedule wouldn't show anything paid out for machinery, and
you've got to have machinery, and you'd seem to be paying wages, without
getting anything for it. It seems to me that even if you do use the
machinery yourselves you really sell it to yourselves, only at cost
price or at whatever figure you name."

"I suppose in a sense we do," said the business manager, "but that seems
a very roundabout way of getting at it."

"I don't think it is," Hamilton replied. "If you bought the machinery
you would have to pay the manufacturer his profit. Instead of that you
make the profit yourselves. The value, of course, should also be carried
to the capital account."

"Well," the older man said, "I'm willing to put it down either way, and
in that light these departments might be called productive, although not
directly productive. You seem to have figured this sort of business out
pretty well for a youngster," he added.

"I suppose that's natural," Hamilton answered, "because I've been doing
nothing else for the past two weeks."

"Then how about advertising," the manager suggested; "perhaps you can
tell me where that is usually listed? As part of the sales force?"

"No, sir," was the prompt reply; "it is reported as a miscellaneous
expense."

"Very well," the official said, "if you come back at four o'clock this
afternoon I will have the schedule ready for you." Then, seeing that the
boy hesitated, he said, "Did you want it before then?"

"Oh, no, Mr. Arverne, thank you," the boy answered "that wasn't what I
had in mind at all. I was wondering whether, if I came back at three
o'clock, I would be allowed to see something of the works. In quite a
number of places I have been shown through the plant, sometimes because
I had to get figures from managers of different departments, sometimes
because I had a few minutes to spare while a clerk was filling up the
schedule. But I've always been so interested in guns, and especially in
Winchesters, that I really should like to find out how they're made."

The business manager shook his head dubiously.

"We very rarely show any one over the plant," he said, "because there
is very little to be gained by it. And in any case, there are some
portions of the works where visitors are never allowed, such as
ammunition rooms where there are quantities of powder about, and similar
places."

"I'd like to be able to say that there was a desire on the part of the
Census Bureau for a report," said Hamilton, "but honestly I haven't the
right to say so. I'm only asking as a favor. At the same time I have
seen special reports on selected industries issued by the Bureau, and
possibly my information might chance to be of value to the special agent
who was getting it up."

"Come back at two o'clock, then," said the manager. "One of the members
of the Board, Mr. Nebett, is here to-day, and if he has no objection
I'll try to find some one to show you round."

Promptly at the appointed hour, Hamilton handed his card to the doorman,
who showed him into a waiting-room. In a few minutes the door opened,
and a keen-looking, well-set-up man appeared who came forward and held
out his hand.

"I've been hearing about you from Mr. Arverne," he said, "and he tells
me that you want to look over the works."

"Mr. Nebett?" queried the boy, and in response to an affirmative nod,
he continued, "Yes, sir, I'm very anxious to see part of it at any rate.
I can see that it's a huge place, but gun-making must be so interesting
that I'd like to see how it's done."

"I think Mr. Arverne said something to me about your writing up a
special report, a summary or something of that kind."

"That was just a suggestion, Mr. Nebett," the boy replied. "I told Mr.
Arverne that the Census Bureau did issue special bulletins on selected
industries, and that perhaps I might have an opportunity to make use of
some information. But that's a personal idea of mine only, because most
of those bulletins are written by experts in the Bureau."

"Well," was the reply, "I don't see that it can do us any harm, anyway,
and if you are so interested you can come along with me. I like to go
through the works every once in so often, and perhaps I can tell you
more about these things than any other man in the place, because I get a
chance to see it as a whole."

"If you would," began the boy.

"Come along, then," said the official, without further parley, and he
led the way out of the general offices and across the street to the
first of a huge group of buildings. Walking through the yard the two
came presently to a long structure running alongside the railroad
sidings. "This," Hamilton was informed, "is just the storeroom for raw
material as it comes off the cars."

He turned half round as though to leave the building, but Hamilton
stopped him with a question.

"Steel, principally?" he asked.

"Steel."

"What kind of steel?" persisted Hamilton.

"Oh, different kinds."

"Why different kinds?" continued the boy, working his eyebrows, as was
his habit when in earnest. "For different kinds of guns?"

"Yes," answered the older man, evidently deciding that he would have to
go into the matter thoroughly with Hamilton, and passing on into the
storehouse. "We get mostly three kinds of steel, nickel steel, carbon
steel, and soft steel, with a small proportion of other forms. We do
that for the very reason you mentioned, that they are used for different
kinds of work. Nickel steel we do not use for the cheaper grades of
guns, because it is so much harder, and costs so much more to work.
Indeed, very few gun-makers use nickel steel for barrels at all, but we
do on all our high-grade work."

"I notice," Hamilton said, "that all the steel here is stored in bars
and rods. Do you buy it that way, or have you a rolling mill in
connection with the plant?"

"Buy it," the other said immediately. "You can't run a rolling mill at a
profit except on a large scale, and, anyway, this is too far from the
source of supply. We get our copper in ingots, but not our steel."

"I notice," the boy continued, fingering a long ticket attached to a
bundle of steel rods by a wire, "that you say here, 'Do not disturb
until report from laboratory is received.'"

"Certainly," said the other, "every order as it comes in is tested. We
have two laboratories, a physical and a chemical, and not a scrap of
material is used until it is found to be fully up to the specifications.
There's no guesswork there, but the most rigid scientific tests. That
keeps any poor material from slipping through.

"Now," he continued, "I'll show you what happens to those bars."

He led the way to a small building where the bars were cut into certain
recognized lengths for the men at the drop forges to handle.

"This forging shop," the manufacturer said, entering it as he spoke, "is
where most of the metal parts of the gun are first roughly shaped, and
this man is working on part of a cartridge ejector. Watch him now," he
went on, following the action of the workman; "he takes a piece of steel
out of the furnace behind him, lays it on the die, touches a lever, and
the big drop-hammer comes down,--once, twice. He turns it over, brings
the drop-hammer down again, once, twice, and the piece is shaped. It has
rough edges all round, of course, and so he takes it, while it is still
glowing red, to a more exact die, and brings the drop-hammer down once,
and turns it over, then brings down the hammer again once. Now the shape
is almost perfect but for that fringe of metal all round. He picks it
up, puts it on that die on this next machine close by his hand, touches
a lever, and a knife, exactly the shape of the die comes down, crunch!
shaving off the iron clean all round, and there is your forging done,
and all with the one heating. Of course it isn't finished off, but you
can see for yourself that the rough work is done, and all in the space
of a few moments."

Hamilton found it hard to tear himself away, for while the principle was
the same, all the different forges were turning out different parts, and
it was a fascination to the boy to see those glowing lumps of steel come
out of the furnace and with the few strokes of the drop-hammer, fall a
few seconds later, the shaped part of a rifle. Some of the machines were
making receivers for the stock, the largest piece of metal, and other
small parts like the trigger or the hammer, while still others were
preparing the barrels of the gun for drilling.

"It is not likely to occur to you," said his guide, "that it would not
do to let all those various parts cool off by chance. For example, in
winter they would cool more rapidly than in summer, and those near the
door more quickly than those in the inner part of the forging house.
That would make them of varying hardness. So, in order to make sure that
they shall be the same, all those pieces you have seen being made are
annealed."

"How is the annealing done?" asked Hamilton.

"That is simple enough," was the reply. "All that has to be done is to
heat them again all to the same degree of heat, then let the oven cool
at a certain rate. Here are the annealing ovens."

"This is certainly a hot place," said the boy, as he stepped into the
next building. "Whew! I wonder any one stays in here."

"No one does," his conductor answered. "We have this arranged so that
all the furnaces are filled in the morning, when they are cold, and
there are pyrometers to tell when the right heat is reached. All the
ovens, you see, are managed by these switches near the door. Look
here--"

He slipped one of the switches into place, and the pyrometer needle
swung around and pointed to the degree of heat in the oven which it was
supposed to register.

"What are those little clocks for?"

"One for each oven," Mr. Nebett answered; "the keeper of the furnaces
sets them when an oven is up to the required heat. Then, you see, it is
easy to tell when they have been cooling long enough."

"I should think," said Hamilton, "that making the barrel was the most
important part of a gun, because, after all, that is the only part a
bullet touches, and it must have to be exact. I've often thought of
that, how the tiniest difference at the mouth of the barrel would at a
thousand yards range cause it to be away off the mark."

"It does have to be exact," his guide answered, "but that is a matter of
care rather than of difficulty. In this next building we bore the
rifle-barrels, just a simple boring process, as you see, but there are
all sorts of precautions taken to insure absolute steadiness. As soon as
a barrel is taken from the boring machine it is put through a test, to
determine whether it is correct in size to the one-half of
one-thousandth of an inch in diameter. If it is not as exact as that, it
is set aside. That is only the first of a long series of tests, too. You
would be surprised at the number of barrels that are rejected from the
time of the first selection until the gun is completed. Here, for
example, is perhaps the most sensational one."

He led the boy to a small building, standing by itself in the middle of
the yard, heavily built, and looking almost like a log cabin of the old
type, made of great timbers. It was just a bit of a place, divided into
two parts by a heavy timber wall.

"What in the wide world is this for?" asked the boy.

"I'll show you in a minute, I think we're just in time," the official
said, as he led the way in. Hamilton followed him into the inner
chamber. A long row of gun barrels was the first thing the boy noticed,
the barrels all lying in slots. A gray-haired man was filling a heavy
charge of powder behind each one. The guns were pointing into a bank of
sand.

"If you notice," said his guide, "you'll see that a little device, like
the old percussion cap is right by each of those charges of powder. Are
you all ready, Jim?" he queried, as the old man straightened up.

"Yes, Mr. Nebett," was the reply.

"All right," the other said, "we'll go into the room." He pointed out to
Hamilton, as they passed from one part of this little building to the
other, that each of these percussion caps was attached to a wire which
ran through the wall to the little room into which they were going.

"Look out, Mr. Nebett," said the old man, after he had closed and
fastened the heavy door, "and you, young sir, don't be frightened," and
he pulled the wire hanging overhead.

There was a terrific explosion and a roar, and though Hamilton had been
half expecting it, he jumped. Then he laughed.

"I guess I did jump, after all," he said. "What was that for?"

"To test the strength of the barrels," said his friend, as the old
workman slid back the heavy door. "There, you see," he added, "one of
them did burst." He pointed to one of the gun barrels rent at the side.
"Once in a while," he continued, "they just go up in pieces, and if you
look at the walls and the ceiling you'll see any number of bits of metal
driven in deeply."

"But he seemed to be putting in an awfully heavy charge," said the boy.

"We do that in order to be sure that we shall not expend a great deal of
labor on a barrel which in the end would fail to pass inspection, and
also to safeguard against accident," the other explained. "We do use a
very heavy charge because our guns sell all over the world, and in some
countries--England, for instance--the test is extremely severe. It's a
costly process, as it spoils a lot of barrels, but it is better to lose
material than to put out a piece of work which might not be
trustworthy."

Hamilton looked around the proof-room carefully. Certainly it seemed to
have gone through the wars. From the thick wood huge gashes had been
rent, and the entire interior was jagged and splintered.

"How much of a charge do you put to each barrel?" he asked; and when the
formula was given him for each of the different styles of rifle, the boy
whistled in amazement.

"I should think that any barrels that stood that test could stand
anything afterwards," he said admiringly.

"Well, they do," the other said. "It's very seldom that you hear of a
first-class gun exploding. I don't recall a case of one of ours for
years and years. And even if by some chance flaw they did, the good
ones, being nickel steel, would just make a hole in the barrel,--not fly
to pieces. But, as a matter of fact, any barrel that has been through
that 'proof-room' will have been subjected to the greatest strain it
will ever have to undergo, for there is no cartridge made that would
have one-half the power in proportion to the size of the barrel."

From the proof-room Hamilton's guide led him through different parts of
the works, where various machines were employed in preparing and
finishing the rough forgings he had seen made and annealed. Thus, for
example, in a receiver for a gun stock, one machine worked a bevel edge
on it, another bored it to the size of the gun barrel, accurate to the
thousandth part of an inch, another pierced the tiny screw holes, and
yet other machines made even the minute screw, done, as was explained to
Hamilton, so that the threads in each should fit with absolute
exactness.

"But do you really mean to say," queried Hamilton in surprise, "that
every one of these fifty or more parts of each gun is inspected and
tested?"

The official led him to a number of long rows of tables.

"Here," he said, "are girls doing nothing else all day long. Here is a
testing die for a part of the ejector of one of our 1911 models. You see
that there are two spaces for all of them. It must fit into this one, it
must not fit into that, which is a thousandth of an inch smaller. If too
big, you see it won't fit into either, if too small, it would fit into
the one where it ought not. Every tiny piece is gauged on all its sides
and in every hole and at all points with this double gauge system."

"That doesn't leave much for guesswork," said Hamilton. "But there is
something that's been puzzling me."

"What is that?" asked his guide.

"I've always heard a lot about gun-metal," Hamilton answered, "and yet
all the way through, these parts have been nothing but steel. And all
the guns I ever saw had that bluish look, as gun-metal has. For example,
my watch is what they call gun-metal," and he took it from his pocket
and showed the back of it.

"Gun-metal," said the other, "is an alloy of copper and tin and once was
used almost exclusively for cannon and big guns generally. But you're
right about all guns having a bluish tinge. That is all steel, but it is
treated by a process called coloring or bluing. I'll show you--both the
old way and the new."

Going down the stairs and crossing the yard, he took Hamilton into a
small building where there were a couple of open charcoal furnaces, in
which the charcoal was intensely hot, but not hot enough to catch fire.
The pieces of finished steel were buried in this charcoal, and every
few minutes the men in charge would draw them out, wipe them over with a
bunch of oiled waste, and thrust them back into the fire. It was about
the dirtiest, blackest, grimiest work the boy had ever seen.

"That is the old way," Hamilton was told, "and although it is handwork
instead of machine work it is not a bit better in its results than the
new way. The modern system, besides, is much simpler and cleaner."

In the next building was a row of charcoal ovens, revolving in such a
way that the parts to be blued were alternately covered and released
from the superheated charcoal, the effect of the greasing also being
done at every automatic revolution Each furnace door bore an asbestos
clock.

"What are those clocks for?" asked Hamilton. "The same as those others,
I suppose, so that the man in charge can put in a number of certain
parts of a gun and leave them in for a regular length of time at a
certain heat, and pull them out all done?"

"Just that," was the reply. "The only gain in the old style is that each
part being handled separately, if there is ever so little difference in
the metal, the bluer can give it a shorter or a longer time, whereas
the machine treats all alike."

"Then when the gun is assembled, all the work is done?" queried
Hamilton, who was becoming a little tired from his long tramp through
the works and among the furnace-heated shops.

"No," said the other. "That wouldn't do at all. A gun has not only got
to shoot, but it has got to shoot straight."

"But how in the world," said Hamilton, "can you tell whether a gun will
shoot straight or not?"

"One of the most important ways," said his informant, "is to let an
expert look through the barrel. One of our best men, for example, has
done nothing else all his life; his father before him was a
barrel-sighter and his son has just entered the works. He does it this
way--here, you try," and he handed a barrel to Hamilton. "Rest the
barrel in this crotch," he continued, "and look at the window. You see
there is a piece of ground glass with a thin black line running across
it. Point the barrel so that it is aimed just below that line, and if
you get it right, you will see a reflection of that line running
lengthways up the barrel."

[Illustration: MAKING GUN-SIGHTS TRUE. Marksmen firing new-made rifles
and adjusting the sights until every weapon carries perfectly.
(_Courtesy of Winchester Repeating Arms Co._)]

Hamilton put the barrel up and looked and looked, but for a minute or
two he could not get the direction, then he caught the line. But the
reflection in the barrel was confusing, and it seemed to him that he saw
several lines.

"It's awfully hard just to get that straight," the boy said, "and it's
dazzling, too."

"That man you saw there," answered his guide, as they moved away, "can
tell almost to the width of a thread of a spider's web if a barrel is
straight. Here, too, is another barrel test going on. You see this man
is pushing a soft lead slug which fits the barrel snugly through the
barrel by means of a brass rod. It takes a certain amount of pressure to
push the lead slug through the barrel. Such slight variations in
diameter of the bore as one-tenth of a thousandth can be readily
detected, for if the barrel is smaller at any point than where it
entered, the slug will stick, and if it is the least bit larger at any
point, the slug will slide through too easily. Men accustomed to this
class of work can readily detect an increase or decrease in diameter of
one ten-thousandth part of an inch."

"You certainly have it down fine, Mr. Nebett," Hamilton commented.

"We try to," responded his guide. "Then when the barrel experts have
had their turn, the gun is assembled and goes to the action men."

"Who are they?" asked the boy.

"They test the trigger pull, the cartridge ejection, the fall of the
hammer, the filling of the magazine, and all such points. They have two
sets of dummies, such as were used for testing the parts. One must fit,
the other not, and so any fault in the mechanism is detected. The same
with ejection,--we must be sure that a cartridge will not stick. Then
after that--"

"Still more tests!"

"Didn't I tell you that we had to be sure that a gun could be made not
only to shoot but to shoot straight? Our crack shots get the guns next."

"What do they do?" asked the boy, "fire at targets?"

"Yes. But first a man, incased in an armored barricade, shoots a few
extra heavy cartridges in each rifle, in order to make sure that no
weakness has been caused by the various processes through which all the
parts have passed. Then he turns it over to the crack shots. They fire
half a dozen shots at a target, then look at the target through a
telescope. Those men know that they can hit the bull's eye every time,
so that if the shots are wide of the mark, either there is a defect in
the gun or the sights are not true. In nine cases out of ten it is the
fault of the sights, and they file them true."

"Then really every gun has been fired before being sold?"

"We turn out about sixteen hundred guns a day, and each one has been
fired several times."

"Shotguns, too?"

"The same standard of accuracy is needed in those. It is just as
important that a shotgun should throw a certain percentage of its shot
within a certain radius as it is that a rifle bullet should go straight.
Down in this little room," he continued, "a man stands all day shooting
down this gallery, forty yards range, and each target is brought back
and measured. In a circle with a fifteen-inch radius a boy counts the
numbers of holes made in the paper by the tiny shot. There should be
300. If there are 290 the gun is passed, but if less it is rejected.
Sometimes you get very queer shot patterns without knowing why."

"Do all shotguns throw as evenly as that?"

"All good ones should. It is astonishing to see how regularly the
'scatter' of a barrel will work out. Every barrel, of course, is stamped
with the number of shots it has put into the fifteen-inch circle."

"And you make cartridges, too, don't you?" Hamilton asked.

"That's one of the largest branches of our business," his guide replied,
"but there's not very much in that to show you, except of course the
making of the metal caps, and this is simply the punching of circular
pieces of copper or brass, turning up the edges, or 'cupping' them, as
it is called, drawing them to length, inserting the primer pocket and
heading--the filling is done in a building perpetually closed to
visitors. We think too much of our visitors," he added with a smile, "to
risk blowing them up. I don't suppose really, that there would be any
danger,--we have not had an accident for years,--but it's a business in
which accident is only prevented by extreme care, and we believe in
being thorough."

Chatting pleasantly, Mr. Nebett showed Hamilton through the various
general offices, the payroll department, and the draughting and
designing room, and finally returned to the business manager's office,
where they found the schedule awaiting him, filled out in almost every
detail. A few spaces had been left blank until the boy's return, some
trifling explanation being readily answered by him.

[Illustration: "A BULL'S-EYE EVERY TIME!" The expert looking through
telescope at target which he has fired at with new guns to test their
accuracy. (_Courtesy of Winchester Repeating Arms Co._)]

"I must thank you ever so much," said the boy, turning to the director
of the company who had taken so much trouble in showing him around, "it
has been one of the most interesting afternoons I have had in all my
life. I feel quite as though I had been witnessing the equipping of the
world's armies on the eve of a great war."

"That would be all right," said the business manager, "if we were making
military rifles, but ninety-five per cent of our work is for sporting
purposes."

"But how about your cartridges?"

"There, perhaps," Mr. Nebett said, "The Hague tribunal would look
askance at us."

Hamilton had his portfolio under his arm, but at the door he turned.

"How many cartridges do you put out?" he asked.

"Six million a day," was the reply.



CHAPTER IV

THE BOY LEADER OF A CRUSADE


So long as Hamilton's work dealt with the larger manufactories of the
district he encountered comparatively little trouble, as he knew enough
of the desires of the Census Bureau to be able to help those business
men whose books did not specifically divide receipts, expenses, and so
forth in the same order as the government required. Indeed, he made
several very pleasant acquaintanceships during the weeks in New Haven,
and it was not until he was "checking up," going to all the small places
that had not been listed, that he really found himself in difficulties.
He anticipated trouble with the dressmakers, and consequently his
delight was great when he learned that this had been omitted from the
census since 1904 because it is a "neighborhood industry." But the
milliners proved just as bad.

In the first place, Hamilton could not work up any enthusiasm over a
millinery establishment, and although he had definite instructions that
each one was to be considered as a factory and entered upon the
schedules as one, he thought such an idea was stretching the point a
little far. Fortunately he had covered a large number of them during the
first weeks of the work, visiting the places in the early morning and in
the evening when the offices of the larger factories were closed. His
worst clash occurred at almost the very last one to which he went.

It was a little after five o'clock, just as it was beginning to get
dark, that Hamilton, having ascertained from the Business Telephone
Directory the address of a milliner not down on his lists, who did work
for wholesale as well as retail trade, went up the steps of a really
handsome house, and rang the bell. He did so reluctantly, for there was
no plate on the door, and he did not wish to annoy strangers. But the
address seemed straight enough.

The door was opened by a becapped maid, and Hamilton was shown into a
handsomely furnished drawing room. On a table in the corner, the boy
caught sight of a pile of fashion magazines, and he was sure that he was
on the right track. After a few moments' delay, a richly dressed little
Frenchwoman bustled in. She seemed surprised to see the boy, and halted
on the threshold. Hamilton rose.

"I understand, Madame," he said, "that you are an 'exclusive' milliner?"

The woman looked bewildered.

"You make hats?" Hamilton continued, perceiving at a glance that the
woman was foreign-born.

"Is it a hatter zat you want?" she asked.

"No, no," the boy replied, "I just want to know if you are a milliner?"

The Frenchwoman, not at all enlightened by this explanation, answered:

"I do not make ze hats; I design zem, and ze ozzers make zem."

"Oh, I thought you were the proprietor," said Hamilton; "then you don't
own this place!"

"I am ze proprietor, but I do not own ze house," she said; "I pay ze
rent. But why you ask? I pay my rent!"

"Oh, of course," answered Hamilton, "but that has nothing to do with it.
I did not wish to trouble you that way. I come from the census, and
wanted to make sure that this was the place I was looking for."

"What is zat--ze census?"

"That is the way the government finds out about all the people in the
country," explained Hamilton, "their names and how old they are, what
they work at and how many people they employ, the wages they pay or are
paid, and all sorts of things."

The Frenchwoman's eyes had been getting bigger and rounder at every
sentence, and when Hamilton had finished, she said with an air of
regretful surprise:

"An' they tol' me zere was no police spy in America!"

"There isn't, so far as I know," the boy answered.

"But you--"

"I'm not a police spy," the boy said, a little nettled at being
misunderstood.

"No? Zen zat is all ze more strange. In my country zose are ze questions
ze gendarmes ask. An' if you are not policeman, why do you wear badge?"
she queried, pointing to the little census shield on Hamilton's coat.

"That has nothing to do with the police," the boy insisted, "that's a
census badge. Madame," he added, "do I look like a policeman?"

The Frenchwoman, remembering the military appearance of the gendarmes
of her native land and the burly make-up of the American policeman,
shook her head.

"Perhaps you are disguise'?" she said, with a smile.

"No, I'm not disguised," Hamilton responded, "and the badge is just to
show that I have the right to ask you these questions."

"I do not know anyzing at all about it," the milliner objected, "but if
you say you have ze right!" she shrugged her shoulders and sat down.

Hamilton promptly picked up his portfolio, opened it on his knee, and
began to put some of the queries required. He got along well enough
while the formal questions about name, address, nature of work, and so
forth were in hand, but the question about the number of hours worked
during the year made the woman most indignant.

"What is ze good of a question like zat?" she asked. "What does it
matter if ze girls work all ze night to finish ze hat for ze gr-rand
occasion, ze wedding, ze garden party? When zey work more, zey get more
pay!"

"Of course," said Hamilton diplomatically, "with such a number of
society people as you deal with that must happen very often."

It was a successful move. The Frenchwoman beamed on him.

"In ze season, yes, perhaps twenty or thirty evenings, but even zen ze
girl go home by twelve o'clock."

Hamilton smiled to himself as he did a little figuring and filled up the
schedule to show the prevailing practice followed in the establishment
during the year. He was a little dubious about asking the questions
concerning the wages paid, but he found no trouble.

"In your kind of work," he said, "I suppose the girls get good wages."

"Ze very best," the woman answered, and Hamilton found that this was
true. Indeed, so anxious was she to impress on him how much better were
the wages paid by her than those in other establishments that the boy
secured a large amount of unexpected valuable information. But he came
to a dead stop on the question of raw material used during the year. For
the material used in wholesale work the figures were easily secured, but
the retail trade was another matter. This the milliner really could not
give, for, as she pointed out, most of the few especial customers she
had, brought the materials to her to be made up, and she had no means
of knowing what had been paid for them. Nor would she even try to make
an estimate.

"But I must know," said Hamilton, in despair. "See for yourself,--here
it says that every factory must state the total cost of all material
used during the year and the value of the products."

"Factory!" the milliner jumped to her feet. "What you say--a factory!
Zis establishment a factory! And me, one of ze designers of ze great
Maison Chic in Paris! Zis is insult!"

For a moment Hamilton was amazed at the tempest he had so suddenly
evoked; then he tried to pacify the woman.

"That's just a general word," he said, "and it is used for every place
where things are made."

"No, no, no," she cried, "I know bezzer zan zat. A factory has chimney,
high, high, and smoke, an' nasty smells, an' machines. I have seen zem!"

"That's one kind of factory," answered the boy, "but it is only one
kind. But if you like we won't use the word at all."

This time, however, Hamilton's persuasions were of no avail. The
milliner had taken offense at the word "factory," and not another word
could the boy get out of her on any subject; the deadlock had become
absolute when the door opened and the maid showed in a young girl,
evidently a customer. The proprietress immediately greeted her in
voluble French, recounting as nearly as Hamilton could judge from her
gestures her sorrows and trials at the boy's hands.

As soon as there was a lull, Hamilton said to the newcomer:

"I beg your pardon, but since you seem to know French, would you mind
explaining to Madame what the census is? She seems to think I am a
police spy, or something."

"Oh, the census!" the girl exclaimed. "I could not make out what it was
all about. I thought it must be some question of taxes."

"No," Hamilton explained, "it is the Census of Manufactures, and
millinery places have to be counted. I got along all right, and have
finished my schedule but for one thing, and that I cannot get hold of.
If you would just ask her the cost of the materials in the hats she made
last year, I'll be through and then I won't be delaying you."

But not even the girl's fluent French could bring any light on this
subject, and laughingly she had to admit to the boy that her success
had been no greater than his own.

"I'll tell you," said Hamilton; "I've got an idea how we could get at
it."

"How?" asked the girl interestedly, for having taken a part in it, she
was American enough to be unwilling to give up; "what have you to
suggest--what is your plan?"

"You are one of Madame's customers?"

"Yes."

"And, of course, whatever kind of books are kept here, there must be
some sort of ledger, so that your bills can go to you every month."

The girl made a little grimace.

"The bills certainly come," she assured him.

"Well, then," said Hamilton triumphantly, "if we can find out from
Madame what proportion of all her trade your account is, and if you can
make a guess as to what the material you have brought her cost you, we
shall come pretty close to being able to make an estimate on the cost of
goods of all her customers."

"That's an excellent scheme," the girl said. "I don't know that I can
give very exact figures, but you want just a rough idea?"

"I'd like it exact, of course," the boy answered, "but since that
doesn't seem easy to get, the next best thing is a close estimate."

With this device in mind, very few minutes elapsed before the required
information was secured, a rough guess made at the result, and the
schedule finally filled out. As Hamilton rose to go, the girl said
laughingly: "I think I should at least receive 'honorable mention' in
the dispatches as a census-taker, the same as soldiers do in war."

"Very well," said Hamilton, smiling in return, "I'll bear it in mind,"
and thanking her heartily, he went on his way, greatly relieved that the
difficulty was over.

In a piece of extra territory that Mr. Burns had assigned to the boy,
there were several factories in which there had been some difficulty in
securing properly filled schedules, partly because much of the work was
done on the night shift. Because of this, Hamilton had got in touch with
some of these factories--they were principally glass works--on the night
side first. He frequently found it necessary to work thus in the
evenings, especially after this added work, which was given him because
the district proved too large for the agent having it in charge.

Little by little he worked these down until but one remained, owned by
Germans, where the boy experienced great difficulty in securing any sort
of attention. The night superintendent, however, was ready to help, and
Hamilton went to him constantly in the endeavor to have the schedule for
that factory filled. This was the easier, as the night superintendent in
question had recently been promoted to that position from head
bookkeeper.

One night, waiting for the superintendent to work out these figures, he
sauntered through the works. A phrase from Edwin Markham's "The Hoe-Man
in the Making" kept ringing through his head. It ran as follows--"It is
in the glass-factory perhaps, that the child is pushed most hopelessly
under the blind hammer of greed," and the boy wondered whether this
especial works was one of those which the poet-author had visited. Owing
to the number of times Hamilton had been forced to go to this factory,
two or three of the men had come to know him by sight, and they nodded
now as he passed through. Noticing a boy that looked even younger than
himself,--for unconsciously his eye was seeking that of which he was
thinking,--he turned to one of the men who had nodded to him, and said
casually, and with an air of surprise:

"Why, that chap there doesn't look any older than me!"

"I don't suppose he is so very old," the man replied, "sixteen, maybe."

"Seems a shame to have to start in so young," Hamilton went on, with an
assumed air of carelessness, "and I suppose he's been here some years."

"Probably about four or five," was the reply.

"You know," continued Hamilton, in a conversational tone, "I should
think it would be hard for a boy to start in working like that, and at
night especially."

The man paused in his work an instant, and looked at the lad, passing
his hand over his forehead as he did so.

"I was just ten years old when I began," he said. "I'm only thirty now.
I look fifty, don't I?"

"You certainly look over thirty," Hamilton admitted.

"Oh, I look fifty all right, I know that, and I'm as nearly played out
as a man of fifty. And it's all due to work when I was a youngster.
Every year that a boy is put to hard physical work before he is sixteen
is equal to five years taken off his life."

"I wonder that any employer does it, and that any State permits it,"
said Hamilton.

"There's not as much of it in Connecticut as in other States, although
the figures show that it is growing here," was the reply. "But you talk
as though you had been having a session with 'the crusader,'" the
workman continued.

"Who's the crusader?" asked Hamilton.

"Haven't you seen him, then? With your ideas, you ought to get along
well together. And," he added, more seriously, "'the crusader' will be
heard of yet."

"Why?"

"He's a boy who started at work in this place when he was only seven
years old," the workman answered. "He's been here eight years now, and
he's an odd genius. He taught himself to read and write, but he doesn't
read anything except about labor conditions all over the world, and he
knows all there is to know, I guess, about this business of children
working. All the labor union people and the socialists know 'the
crusader,' young as he is, and they send him, free, nearly every book
and paper that's published."

[Illustration: YOUNG BOYS FROM THE PIT. A group of workers in a coal
mine during dinner-time. Many even younger work on the night shift.
(_Courtesy of the Ridgway co._)]

"But why do you call him 'the crusader'?" asked Hamilton.

"Because he has some crusade idea on the brain,--thinks he can start a
revolution or something that will put a stop to child labor, and he
talks all the time of getting ready for this 'crusade' as he calls it.
But everybody likes him just the same, and he's a good worker--when he's
not talking."

"Which is he?" asked Hamilton. "I'd like to talk to him, if I might."

"No reason why you shouldn't," the other answered "he's kept busy of
course, but there are minutes in which he can talk, and 'the crusader'
is given special favors, anyway. That's the boy, 'carrying in' over
there."

Hamilton looked with interest at the boy thus pointed out. He would have
been noticeable, even without the knowledge of his peculiar position,
but with it, his difference from his fellows became most marked.
Hamilton had a couple of large apples in his pocket, and he thought this
might be a good opening. Taking one of them out of his pocket, he
started to eat it, and sauntered leisurely over to where the boy was
working. He watched him for a minute or two; then, when the boy looked
up, he said casually:

"Have an apple?"

Almost wolfishly the work-boy took the fruit from Hamilton and commenced
to devour it. It was clear either that he was hungry or that such a
luxury as an apple seldom fell to his lot. A few sentences passed, and
then Hamilton asked:

"How long have you been in the factory here?"

"Eight years," 'the crusader' replied.

"You must have been just a youngster when you first came, then?"

"Seven years old," was the answer, "and small at that!"

"It's a shame to let little children work like that, I think," said
Hamilton, wondering whether this would have the effect of rousing the
other, "it must do them harm."

But even though expecting some fiery retort, Hamilton was unprepared for
the transformation in the lad. A moment before he had been a stooped
childish figure with an old and weary face, carrying trays of hot glass
from furnace to bench and bench to furnace, but at the word he turned.
The air of weariness fell from him, his back straightened, life and
passion flamed into his eyes, and despite the grime and sordidness of
his surroundings, despite the rags in which he was clothed, under the
dull glow of the furnaces and the flickering violet play of a distant
arc light he seemed the bearer of some high message as his boyish
treble, rich in the tones of a familiar despair, rang through the
factory.

"The land is filled with the voice o' cryin'," he began, "an' no one
seems to hear. Tens o' thousands o' children cry themselves to sleep
every night, knowin' that the mornin' only brings another day o' misery.
Think of a little boy or girl o' ten years old, sufferin' already so
much that hope is gone, an' tired enough to die! There are twenty-five
thousand children less than ten years old in the fact'ries of America."

"Perhaps the people who could help don't know about it," suggested
Hamilton.

"They know," the other continued, "but they don't care. They stop their
ears to the cryin' o' the children an' talk about America as the land of
opportunity. It _is_ the land of opportunity--opportunity for the
children to starve, opportunity to suffer, opportunity to die wretched
an' to be glad to die. There's no country in the world where children
are tortured as they are in the fact'ries of the United States."

"Oh, surely it can't be as bad as that," protested Hamilton.

The objection only increased the "crusader's" vehemence.

"There don't any children have to work anywhere as they do here," he
fairly shouted, "here where they rob the cradle for workers, where the
little voices become sad and bitter 'most as soon as they can lisp,
where the brightness o' childhood fades out before its time, an' where
its only world is the mill, the shop, an' the fact'ry. Their tiny bones
unset, they make them stand in one position all day long until you hear
the children moanin' hour after hour, moanin' and no one hears, or
hearin', cares.

"They send missionaries to China," cried the lad further, "but there's
no child labor there; they try to reform the 'unspeakable Turk' but
there's no atrocity upon the children there; they call the heathen lost,
though in the worst an' wildes' tribes the children have a home an'
lovin', if savage care; Russia cries shame on what goes on in our
fact'ries here, an' even an Indian chief that they were showin' the
sights of our great cities to, when asked what had surprised him most,
answered, 'Little--children--workin'.'"

"You mean it is peculiar to America? That there is really more of it
here than in Europe?" asked Hamilton incredulously.

"More? There's none there like there is here. An' it's gettin' worse all
the time, worse this year than last year, worse last year than ten years
ago. 'Child-labor,' somebody says, 'has about it no halo of antiquity.
It is a thing of yesterday, a sudden toadstool in the infernal garden.'
It is all our own," he laughed harshly, "let us be proud of it."

"How many children did you say?" asked Hamilton tersely, staggered and
shocked by this statement of the facts of the case.

"Enough to sink the land in shame," the speaker declared. "There were a
trifle over a hundred thousand children between the ages of six and
fourteen workin' in the fact'ries of America last year. The figures
showed that over half of 'em were workin' more'n eight hours a day, that
a large percentage were workin' twelve to sixteen hours, an' twenty-two
thousand of 'em are at night work."

As he said the last words, the "crusader" hurried away in response to a
call from one of the men. He resumed his carrying in of the red-hot
bottles from the benches where the men had been molding them, to the
annealing oven, and for a time Hamilton watched him. The work was a
fearful strain. Sitting where he was, Hamilton could see all the way to
the annealing oven. Counting the number of steps the "crusader" had to
take, Hamilton found the distance to be about one hundred feet, and
watching another boy, who was working regularly, not intermittently as
was the city lad's new acquaintance, he found that seventy-two trips an
hour were made, making the distance covered in eight hours nearly
twenty-two miles.

The red-hot bottles were carried in asbestos shovels, and these had to
be kept fairly straight, imposing a terrific strain upon the back. In
addition to this, the boys were compelled to face the furnace each time
they came back, passing from the heat of the melting oven, in front of a
draughty open door, to the heat of the annealing oven.

In order to keep up with the work, the boys had to run, for it could not
be done at a walk, and thus were alternately greatly overheated and
chilled with icy draughts.

Seeing that the "crusader" would be busy for a while, but wanting to
take the matter up with him further, Hamilton strolled over to where the
glass-blowers were working. This particular factory was turning out
cheap glass bottles, and there was little of the fascination that exists
in factories where high-grade glass is made into many curious shapes and
blown with great skill into marvelous thinness. In the middle of the
room was a large round furnace containing a number of small doors not
quite four feet from the ground, and a glass-blower was stationed before
each of these. With long iron blowpipes these men, by giving the
blowpipe a little twirl as they thrust it into the semi-molten metal,
drew out on the end of it a small mass of glass, of about the
consistency of nearly melted sealing wax, and holding this mass on the
end of the blowpipe by keeping it in motion, they blew it into balls and
rolled the ball of soft, red-hot glass on their rolling boards. Then
they lifted the blowpipe and blew again, sharp and hard, forcing the
soft glass to its proper form. The now cooling glass was broken from the
end of the blowpipe with a sharp, snapping sound, and the blowpipe was
plunged in the furnace again for another bottle. The whole had taken
but a few seconds.

"Why do they have so many boys around these places?" queried Hamilton of
the workman he had been watching.

"Have to, they say," the glass-blower replied, "cheap bottles mean cheap
labor. No one ever expects to pay anything for a bottle--that is thrown
in with everything liquid you buy. The manufacturer's got to make his
little profit somewhere an' in a cheap bottle he makes it by employin'
young boys cheap an' workin' 'em till they drop."

"Is it done this way everywhere?"

The workman shook his head.

"No need to do it even here," he said. "It takes money, though, to put
in an endless belt to carry the bottles to the annealin' oven. The big
fact'ries mostly have 'em, but there are plenty o' places like this in
small towns where everythin' is done on a cheap scale, an' a boy's labor
is about the cheapes' thing in the United States--unless it's a girl's."

Seeing that the glass-blower was being delayed in his task, Hamilton
sauntered away, and went back to the place where the "crusader" worked.
The latter broke out again as soon as he saw the boy coming.

"I've been talkin' to you about children workin'," he said, "but you
haven't thought of babies bein' made to work?"

"Babies!"

"Of four an' five years old."

"But they couldn't do any real work!" exclaimed Hamilton.

"Do you know what one factory owner in the South said, not knowin' he
was talkin' to a member o' the child-labor commission? He said 'A kid
three year old can soon learn to straighten out tobacco leaves for
wrappers, and a little worker of four is good help in stripping.'"

"In a cigar factory?"

"Of course,--an' the children find it so hard to keep up that they are
taught to chew snuff--as a stimulant--before they are six year old. Jane
Addams, writin' o' the torture chambers they call cotton mills in parts
o' the South, said she saw on the night shift, with her teeth all
blackened and decayed from excessive snuff chewin', a little girl o'
five year old, busily and clumsily tyin' threads in coarse muslin, an'
answerin' a question she said she had been there every night throughout
the hot summer excep' two, when 'her legs and back wouldn't let her get
up.' An' what do you suppose the fact'ry owner did--send a physician?
No, he docked her the two days' wages for the time she'd been away ill,
an' another day's fine as a punishment."

"That's brutal!" cried Hamilton. "Didn't the parents protest?"

"The parents? That's where the mill-owners have their strongest help.
They threaten to discharge the parents if the children don't work an'
work hard, and they force the father or mother into whippin' the child
to compel it to stay at the loom. The whole country went to war once
over the question of a negro havin' to work under compulsion,--or at
least, that had quite a bit to do with the war,--but you can enslave
white children, you can starve 'em, you can shut 'em up in rooms without
air, you can surround 'em with dangerous machinery, you can force 'em to
be whipped, you can snatch 'em from their cradles in their homes, you
can snap your fingers at the schools, an' you can fill churchyards with
a worse Massacre o' the Innocents than history ever tells about, an' the
men and women of America don't care."

[Illustration: "I 'AIN'T SEEN DAYLIGHT FOR TWO YEARS." Trapper boy
working a twelve-hour day below ground, often too tired to go up in the
cage at the end of the day and sleeping on the ground beside the track.
(_Courtesy of the Ridgway Co._)]

"Oh, yes, they do," again protested Hamilton. "It must be that they
don't know."

"How can they help but know? There are a few that have heard what Spargo
calls 'The Bitter Cry of the Children,' but those few are very few, an'
the misery an' shame goes on, gettin' worse with ev'ry year."

"What's going to be done?"

"The children will have to rescue the children," the boy cried. "If
men's hearts are cold and women's hearts are asleep, at least the boys
can hear. There's no power like a boy's, an' a boy will do anythin'
that's big and brave and worth the doin'. In a year from now I'm goin'
to start a crusade, like the Children's Crusade in hist'ry, an' march to
every mill an' fact'ry in the United States where a child is workin',
and make the owner sign a paper pledgin' himself not to employ a child
again. Give me an army of American boys an' I'll sweep the country like
a flight o' locusts."

"But who would join?"

"Every boy worth his salt. S'pose I came to you an' said 'In that mill
at the end o' your street, little children are bein' slaved and driven
to death because no one has the nerve to say what they think. We'll
rescue those children. Join us, we're five hundred strong!' Would you go
along?"

"Guess I'd have to join," the boy agreed, "but you'd get into all sorts
of trouble."

"Can I get into a worse trouble than any o' those babies have?" the
other asked indignantly. "What right have I to go on, even as I do,
knowin' how they are sufferin'. I don't care about trouble, I've had
nothin' else all my life. But if by gettin' into trouble myself, I could
get even one hollow-eyed shadow of a child to run about and play like
other folks, I'd be willin' to take anythin' that come after. I don't
see that carryin' bottles is goin' to help the world much, but if I can
carry hope an' health to some little boy or girl, I'm goin' to do it.
How, I don't know. But I ain't goin' to die without bein' able to
remember some poor child that's better off because lived."

"What can I do to help?" asked Hamilton eagerly and aggressively, as
though he expected instant marching orders to some distant factory.

"You can do somethin',--every boy can do somethin'. If nothin' else, you
can help to wake a sleepin' an' selfish nation. If the cryin' o' the
children has ever rung in your ears, it'll never stop till you're doin'
somethin' to help. Do you think I could dream every day, as I do, o'
that 'spectral army of pygmy people sucked in from the hills to dance
beside the crazing wheel' and not do somethin'?"

"But--"

"Could I hear trampin' round me day an' night, the laggin' step of a
'gaunt goblin army that outwatches the sun by day an' the stars by
night, an' work an' sleep in peace? An' there's one thing more to say,
an' then I must go,--that there's a stain o' shame 'pon the honor of
America that'll never be wiped away until child labor is put down!"

Thoughtful and subdued in spirit, Hamilton strolled back to the night
superintendent's office, where he found the figures done at last and the
completed schedule awaiting him. He gratefully accepted the offer of a
cup of coffee, from some which had just been sent in, and sat down
beside the desk.

"I've been talking with the 'crusader,'" he remarked.

The night superintendent looked up interestedly.

"What do you think of him?" he asked, a little sharply, Hamilton
thought.

"I think there's no question about his being sincere," the boy answered,
"but I can hardly believe that the figures he gives and the facts he
talks about are true."

"They're true enough, I'm sorry to say," said the older man, sighing,
"but the 'crusader' usually isn't fair to the South. He blames the South
for the cotton mill horrors, when, as a matter of fact, a very large
proportion of the mills in which the worst conditions were found are
owned by New England capitalists. I'm a New Englander by birth myself,
'naughty-two' at Yale, but I'm able to see the mistakes of the North
just the same."

"I've always been taught that the North was more or less mixed up in
it," answered Hamilton. "It was shown to me a long time ago that the
slavery in the South wasn't started by the plantation owners. There were
no Southern vessels in the slave trade, they were all New England
skippers and New England bottoms. The shame of the slave traffic belongs
originally to the North."

"And now a large share of the child labor, too," the other agreed. "But
you've got to remember that it was the easy shiftlessness of the South
that made such conditions possible. I guess the blame is about even."

"But is nothing being done on this child-labor business?" asked
Hamilton. "I tried to find that out from the 'crusader' but he didn't
answer."

"Yes," said the superintendent heartily, "a great deal is being done.
The Bureau of the Census has been of immense service, and other bureaus
of the Department of Commerce and Labor are working on it, largely
through information gathered for them by the census. Then there have
been thorough Congressional investigations, and the States are being
checked up hard to insure that factory inspection shall be real, not
nominal. Don't let the 'crusader' persuade you that everybody is asleep
and that nothing is being done; the government is doing a good deal,
although the country as a whole is unaware of it."

"Yet it is increasing?"

"In spite of all that is done to prevent it, it is increasing," the
other said quietly, "that is the sad part. If it could be thought of as
a passing thing, it would be bad enough, but to know that every month
hundreds of children die from enforced labor and that greater numbers
fill their places, is a sad reflection on the industrial life of
to-day."

"Well, as the South progresses, that will probably take care of itself,
won't it?" queried the boy.

The superintendent looked at him curiously.

"I think you told me last evening that you were a New York boy," he
said.

"Yes, Mr. Wharton," answered Hamilton.

"I suppose you consider New York a fairly progressive city?"

"Greatest on earth!" affirmed the boy in true Gotham style.

"Yet that same progressive city," the older man declared, "is the
headquarters of several forms of industry in which large percentages of
the workers are children under fourteen years of age."

"What kinds of business can those be?" asked Hamilton in surprise.

"Making ostrich plumes and artificial flowers. It's not factory labor,
of course, but that doesn't alter the point that at least half the
output of artificial flowers is made by the cramped fingers of children,
generally after school and far into the night. They are not officially
reported, of course, but less than twenty per cent is done by men. The
disgraceful fact that the New York schools are so crowded that many of
them can only give 'half-time' to the children and consequently teach
them in two sections is a great help to the sweat-shop managers. But
every city has its own share of this child labor in the homes, although
in some of the smaller places, civic associations and municipalities
have taken the matter in hand with considerable success. Even that is
but a drop in the ocean."

"Your 'crusader' will have to lead his crusade then, it seems," the boy
suggested.

"Poor lad!" sighed the superintendent.

"Why?" asked Hamilton.

"He will never lead that crusade," the older man replied pensively.

"Why not?"

The man tapped his chest significantly.

"He is incurably ill," he said, "partly glass-blowers' disease from
breathing the particles of glass dust. Men don't mind it so much, but it
is fatal to children when the lungs are not yet strong. We keep the
'crusader' here in order to help him as much as we can, although he
gives a lot of trouble in the works with his revolutionary theories. I
haven't the heart to send him away; he couldn't get other work, and
being all alone in the world, he might starve."

"You mean--"

"That he will not live six months. That army of boys of which he speaks
so often will never go on the march, the banners he has designed for it
will wave over no other battalions than those he has seen in dreams, and
the drums will sound the final 'taps' for him before they roll for the
advance. And in that sleep, the cries of the children shall all be happy
ones."

[Illustration: EIGHT YEARS OLD AND "TIRED OF WORKING." Boy in Southern
cotton mill who has been employed "two summers and a winter before
that."]



CHAPTER V

"DON'T DEPORT MY OLD MOTHER!"


The "crusader's" talk on the child-labor question set Hamilton's mind
working, and as soon as he got back to Washington and was busy
tabulating the manufacturing statistics which had been gathered and sent
in, he tried to learn something about the employment of children. He
chanced to meet one of the photographers who had been with the
Congressional commission, and the tales this man told were even more
detailed. Hamilton found that the figures quoted had not been
overstated, and he determined that just as soon as he grew old enough he
would do all he could toward correcting this abuse.

But Hamilton found the actual statistical work not a little tedious,
although it was work which usually he enjoyed, and this sense of the
time dragging was largely due to the fact that the boy had not heard a
word about his being considered in line for the population work. It was
therefore a considerable relief to him when Mr. Burns said to him
suddenly one morning:

"So you're going over to the population side, I hear?"

"Am I? I didn't know," Hamilton replied. "I had wanted to go, but not
hearing anything about it, I was afraid the plan had been shelved."

"The Director told me this morning that you were going to be
transferred."

"The Director himself?"

"Yes. I had a talk with him about the figures for the manufactures of
the New England States, and we happened to mention you; he knew your
name, so I told him that your schedules had averaged six and a third per
cent better than those of any one else in that section. So he said,
'That reminds me, I had almost forgotten that I had decided to put Noble
on the population work. I'll see that arrangements for that transfer are
made,' and he scribbled something on a pad."

"That was awfully kind of you, Mr. Burns," said Hamilton, "to mention me
to the Director in that way."

The statistician looked at him curiously.

"I wasn't dealing in kindness," he said dryly, "I was dealing in
percentages. If that turned out well for you, it is yourself you have
to thank, not me. I merely stated the figures, and they read in your
favor."

The boy laughed outright.

"I believe, Mr. Burns," he said, "that you would more easily forgive a
man who attacked you personally than one who gave you an incorrect list
of figures."

"Certainly I would," the statistician replied. "I could hit back in the
first case, but in the second who can tell how far I might be led
astray!"

"Well," the boy answered, "I'm glad at any rate that my figures tallied
up all right."

"I don't want to seem inquisitive," said the older man, "but when did
you get in the population examination?"

"There was some talk of my being accepted without going through the
exam," said Hamilton, "because of the fact that I was doing census work
of a more difficult character already, but I thought I would rather feel
that everything had been done in the usual manner. I took the exam at
New Haven, one afternoon."

"But are you going to do the population work there?"

"No, Mr. Burns," the boy explained. "The Director wrote to me that I
would be allowed to send in a formal application in the regular way
through the supervisor of the enumeration district to which I had asked
to be assigned. The supervisor of that district had said beforehand that
he would be willing to appoint me, as the section was so sparse that
enough qualified enumerators were hard to get."

"Well, where are you going, then?"

"I don't know, for sure yet, of course," the boy explained, "whether
everything will go through as planned, but if so, I shall be going to
Kentucky."

"In the mountains where you had been visiting?"

"Oh, no," the boy answered, "in another part of the State
entirely,--down toward the black belt of Kentucky."

"Kentucky isn't a black belt State," his friend objected.

"No, Mr. Burns, but there are parts where the negroes are tolerably
thickly settled. The supervisor is a friend of my older brother, and he
says that is an interesting part of the country."

"But can a Board of Examiners in one district look over the papers for
the supervisor of another district?"

"No, sir," explained the boy, "but they can allow the examination to be
taken before them and have the papers sent to the supervisor of the
other district. It was a little irregular, I suppose, but the Director
knew all about it and it was for the good of the census, he thought, as
he had been told there were not enough enumerators in the district to
which I hoped to go."

"Well," the statistician replied, "if you're headed for Kentucky I
should think you'd like to see your folks before going."

"I had planned to go up on Saturday afternoon," Hamilton said. "I can
get to New York by evening and spend Saturday night and all day Sunday
there, catching the midnight train back. It brings me in early enough
for office hours."

"And this is Friday," said the other thoughtfully. "I'll tell you what
to do. I can arrange for you to be off Saturday morning; it is only a
half day, and you can catch the first train out after business hours
to-day."

"That would be bully!"

"I estimate," the statistician said, rapidly dotting down some figures
on a pad, "that the fractions of overtime you have worked recently,
cumulatively considered, enable me to do that fairly, so that you've
earned it."

"That's fine," said Hamilton, "for the family is going to Europe for the
summer, and I shouldn't see any of them at all unless I ran up to New
York now."

The older man nodded his confirmation of the suggested arrangement, and
returned to his figures. During the noon hour Hamilton hurriedly packed
a grip, and was back at the office without a minute lost, for he found a
train leaving at a most advantageous hour, and by calling a taxi he was
just able to catch it.

At breakfast the following morning, the conversation turned upon
immigration, and Hamilton read in a newspaper the statement that two
large liners were in New York harbor and would dock that morning, that
each carried a record passenger list of immigrants, and that Ellis
Island was making preparations for a busy day.

"I've never seen Ellis Island," the boy announced "Father, do you know
if visitors are allowed over there?"

"I'm fairly sure of it," his father replied, "but in any case there
ought to be no trouble for you, since the Bureau of the Census is a
part of the Department of Commerce and Labor, just as is the Bureau of
Immigration."

"I think I'd like to go."

"I think you ought to go," his father said. "Taking up the population
business, you ought to try to get hold of all the information you can,
ahead of time. I have been there several times, on business, and it is a
most interesting place."

Accordingly, the eleven o'clock boat from the Barge Office, New York,--a
pier near Castle Garden, the historic immigration station,--carried
Hamilton to the famous Ellis Island. Preferring his request, the lad
speedily found himself in the presence of the Commissioner. He stated
his wants briefly.

"Mr. Commissioner," he said, "I'm an assistant agent of the Census
Bureau in Washington, and I'm just going to my station as an enumerator
for the population. I have two days in New York and I'd like to learn
how things are done on the Island here. May I have a pass?"

The Commissioner answered briefly.

"Read this," he said, taking a sheaf of manuscript out of the drawer of
his desk, "and here's a short review for the use of visitors, and I'll
send you in to the Chief Clerk to get a pass, and if there's anything
more you want, let me know." He touched a bell. "Show this gentleman to
Mr. Tuckman, and let him be given a special pass," he said,--and
Hamilton was ushered out promptly, thinking as he went that this was
evidently one place where time was not wasted.

The Chief Clerk was equally ready to assist the lad, and armed with his
special pass he started round the building, finding himself practically
free of the island. Hamilton possessed the capacity of making friends
readily, and with his alert manner and direct appeal, he usually secured
attention. Walking sharply through the place he soon found himself down
in what was called the Information Division. For the moment one of the
clerks was not busy, and Hamilton, stepping up to him, began to ply him
with questions. A tall young fellow, who was standing nearby, listened
for a few moments, then turned to Hamilton.

"See here," he said, "you can't learn much about Ellis Island just by
asking questions, you've got to go around and see for yourself."

"That's just what I propose doing," Hamilton answered, "but I thought it
wouldn't be such a bad plan to get an idea of things first, and then I
should understand what I saw. There's not much use in watching things
unless you understand just what's going on. I have some knowledge of it,
of course, because the Commissioner gave me some reading matter to look
over, and I've got a special pass, so that I want to make the best use
of it."

"Suppose you come along with me, then," said his new acquaintance, who
was none other than the Chief of the Information Division, "and I'll
show you round myself as far as I can spare the time. It so happens that
there are a lot of scattering things I want to look after through the
building to-day, and if you don't mind my leaving you alone, once in a
while, I'll take you through systematically. Where do you want to
begin?"

"Right at the very start," rejoined Hamilton "I always think the
beginning is the most important part, and I'd hate to lose any of it."

"All right," said his conductor good-humoredly; "if you want it all, you
shall have it. I notice, too," he said, as they walked along the hall
and out of the door to the well-kept lawns that stretch between the main
building and the sea wall, "that you're in good time, for there's a
barge just pulling in."

"The barge is from one of the liners that came in this morning, I
suppose?" queried the lad.

"Yes, one of the Hamburg boats," his guide replied.

"Are those barges run by the immigration authorities?"

"No," was the answer, "those are owned or managed by the steamboat
companies. They bring all the steerage passengers who can't show that
they are citizens, and all the cabin passengers who are being detained."

"Cabin passengers," echoed Hamilton in surprise; "I didn't think any
cabin passengers came to Ellis Island. All second cabin, I suppose?"

"Not a bit of it," answered the immigration official; "there's quite a
sprinkling of first-class passengers as well. Why, during a period of
three months recently, nearly three thousand cabin passengers were
detained on the island here, and I suppose twenty per cent of them had
come over in the first-class saloon."

"But why should any first-class passengers be stopped and shipped to
Ellis Island?" queried the boy. "I don't understand. I thought Ellis
Island was to keep out people who were paupers, or diseased, or were
undesirable citizens!"

[Illustration: THE BIGGEST LINER IN THE WORLD COMING IN. Ocean steamship
with thousands of immigrants on board entering New York harbor; the
Statue of Liberty in the distance. (_Brown Bros._)]

"That's just exactly what it is for," the other replied, "but the United
States government doesn't think that having money enough to pay for a
first-class passage makes every man a desirable citizen! A first-class
berth is no insurance against an incurable disease, for example, and
there's nothing to prevent a criminal from coming over in the first
cabin." He laughed. "Most of them do, I think," he said.

"It really never appealed to me just that way," the boy remarked; "I
supposed always that first-class passengers went right through if they
passed quarantine."

"That would mix things up," the older man said. "Why, in that case we
should have all the mentally deficient, all the paupers, and all the
freaks landing here in shoals. Any group of friends, or any government,
for that matter, would find it cheap and easy to dump all the public
charges of Europe on our shores for the price of a first-class ticket.
Oh, no, that would never do. Once in a while, you hear passengers on the
big liners complaining of the inquiries made before they land, but it's
got to be done. You can see for yourself what would happen if we
didn't."

"But if they bring plenty of money, they would not become public
charges."

"No, and we can't exclude them on that ground. But money, for example,
has nothing to do with crime or anarchism or things of that sort. I tell
you, there's a big slice of our work done before ever a vessel reaches
her dock at a New York pier. Of course, problems do come up nearly every
day, such as circus freaks, for instance."

"You mean the living skeleton, the tattooed lady, the fat baby, the
giant, and so forth?" asked Hamilton.

"Exactly. Are those people to be considered desirable citizens, or not?
There is no question as to their inability to make a living by any
customary kind of work, but on the other hand it is very difficult to
prove that they could not get good money at a sideshow. If, however,
they are able to show that they have been engaged in Europe by an
American circus manager, they can come under the alien contract labor
law."

"Then this string of people," said Hamilton, pointing to those who had
just been unloaded from the barge, "may be from all classes of the
ship."

"They might be," his guide replied, "but the chances are that they are
all steerage. Cabin passengers that are detained usually come on the
last boat, with the inspector. We have quarters here with a little more
privacy for them, and they are kept together. But now watch this line.
Suppose we go this way," and stepping over a low iron railing, the
official, followed by Hamilton, walked briskly up beside the line. A few
yards from the door of the building, this line of people passed into a
long barred lane. At the entrance of this stood an inspector who checked
off the large ticket each immigrant had pinned on him to show his
identity, in order to prevent confusion further on. Passing before the
inspector at brief but regularly measured intervals, the immigrants
walked one by one up this barred lane to where it made a right angle.

"There's the first inspecting doctor," said Hamilton's conductor,
pointing to a man standing just at the angle and watching carefully each
immigrant as he walked up. After a moment Hamilton turned to his
companion in surprise:

"But he isn't doing anything!" he said.

"Doctor," said the chief of the division, with a laugh, "I am afraid we
shall have to investigate this matter. Here is a lad who says that
you're doing nothing. He's watched you for a couple of minutes and you
haven't made a move."

Hamilton began to protest, but the big doctor only laughed in reply,
without taking his eyes, however, from the procession of figures which
one by one walked up to him and made the turn round the angle.

"If he'll wait a minute or two more," he said, "perhaps I'll have a
chance to do something, and save my reputation."

There was a pause; then the doctor continued:

"I think there's something doing now; watch this man coming up."

"He seems to limp just the merest trifle, that's all I can see," the boy
replied.

"Bone disease of some kind, or maybe joint," the doctor said,
"tuberculous hip, like as not," and as the man passed by he leaned
forward and chalked a big "B" on the shoulder of his coat. "'B' for
Bones," the doctor explained to Hamilton.

"What will happen to him?" asked the boy of the immigration official.

"Because of that mark?"

"Yes, sir."

"It simply means that he will be held for 'special inquiry.' He may be
all right, but before he is passed, he will have to be examined
physically--a thorough physical examination, I mean. Now here, you see,
is another doctor."

Eight or ten yards further on stood another man, all in white as the
first had been, who took up the inspection where the judge of bone
malformations had left off. A sunken chest, he explained to Hamilton, a
hectic flush, a pinched nostril, an evident difficulty in breathing, a
certain carriage of the head, a blueness of the lips, certain types of
pallor, all these and a number of little points which experience had
shown to be symptoms of organic disease his trained eye could detect at
a glance, and he, too, every few minutes, stooped forward and chalked
upon the coat of the man or the blouse of the woman, as the case might
be, a letter which told of a suspected disease.

"I suppose I ought not to say anything," said Hamilton, "but that looks
a little 'hit-or-miss' to me. It's hard on an immigrant to be detained
on the basis of a medical examination that barely takes ten seconds."

"If that were all," said the official, smiling, "it surely would be a
hardship. But you don't quite get the point. All these passengers really
are detained, and this arrangement is only a way to render the detention
shorter by letting those go through unchecked who do not need further
examination. This is not to delay the suspects, but to cause less
trouble to the others. Here, however is where most of them get stopped."

He pointed to another doctor, standing close to the last, who examined
the eyes quickly and deftly (principally for a chronic and contagious
disease called "trachoma"), scrupulously cleansing fingers and
instrument between each immigrant.

Passing the eye doctors the immigrants came to an inspector who stood at
a place where a large grating was built midway in the passage, dividing
it into two parts. All those who had been marked by any of the doctors,
and, in the cases of families, all those in the party of any one so
marked, passed up the right hand passage which led to the Special
Inquiry; the others were guided to the left hand side of the grating,
which led directly into the main primary inspection room.

"Do you suppose they understand anything of the meaning of that
division," asked Hamilton, "why some go on this side and some on the
other!"

"They don't at all," was the reply. "You will notice that there are no
signs up, and that no attempt is made--at this point--to talk to the
immigrant or to try to make him understand anything. Then, too, since
all the members of a family or party are kept together, there is no
reason why they should make a disturbance. They simply go where they are
sent. If we separated the families, sending some on one side and some on
the other, then there would be trouble!"

"That's true," said Hamilton, "in many cases they couldn't read the
signs, and they don't know at all what the doctors' marks mean."

"Exactly, and once past the inspector, there is no getting out or coming
back, for the two passages lead directly into two series of rooms from
which there is no outlet except in a given direction."

"But the others who are all right,--where do they go?" asked the boy.

"They're not safe yet," his conductor answered "They have only passed a
preliminary looking over. All that this first group of doctors does,
remember, is to detect the questionable or to pass the obviously
unquestionable--whichever way you like to put it, and thus avoid delay
in the primary inspection room."

"Which group are we going to see first?"

"Those who have been passed," was the reply, "because most of them will
go right out, and you can follow that more easily."

Going up the stairs, Hamilton found himself in an immense room all
divided up into little lanes by bars and gratings. Each of these lanes
bore a large number suspended over its entrance, corresponding to the
number of one of the manifest sheets of the vessel, and likewise to the
number pinned on the clothing of every immigrant while he was still on
the vessel, when his name was tallied with the manifest sheet.

"I see the reason of those numbers they have pinned on them now," said
Hamilton, "it's all the same principle, to avoid talk and questioning."

"Certainly," his friend said, "and if you look a little closely, you
will see that in addition to the big number on the card that is pinned
on, there is also a smaller number."

"I had noticed that," Hamilton answered, "and I was going to ask you
what it was for."

"That is the number of the name on the manifest sheet," the other
replied. "Thus, for example if Giordano Bruno is the tenth name on the
seventh manifest sheet, this man at the top of the stairs will guide him
into aisle number seven. Then, when his turn comes and he has moved up
to the desk at the end of the line, the inspector doesn't have to waste
time questioning him, and finding the place on the manifest sheet. He
looks at the number, runs his finger down to the tenth name, and has him
at once."

"It's a great system," said Hamilton admiringly.

"Why you're right at the start of it," said the official with a laugh;
"wait till you get further on, if you want to find system."

"Here I see, too, the questioning begins," remarked Hamilton.

"Yes, some of the inspectors at the desk know several languages, and
they are assisted by interpreters when necessary. They hold a
responsible position, because they can decide to let an alien land. You
see they ask the immigrant the same questions that are on the manifest
sheet. If the answers tally all the way through, if the man understands
and gives an apparently straight story, if he has a sufficiency of funds
to keep him until he has a chance to get work, and especially if he has
already a railroad ticket to friends at some inland point, he is given a
blue ticket and allowed to pass directly through to the right into the
railroad waiting rooms."

"But if he hasn't?"

"Then he goes down this passage which leads again to the special inquiry
rooms where you saw the others going. He is given a different colored
ticket, in accordance with the expected objection. You see, the
inspector does not attempt to pass upon the merits of the case. He just
affirms that the passenger has not made his title clear. Just as before,
the aim is to enable the desirable immigrant to land as quickly and
easily as possible. Supposing there were no crowd, an immigrant could
land on the wharf, be looked over by the doctors, pass through the
primary inspection, answer all questions, and be in the railroad waiting
rooms ready for his train in less than four minutes. That's not much of
a hardship!"

"It certainly isn't," Hamilton agreed. "And I notice that most of them
seem entitled to land."

"That varies a great deal," his guide said. "I think it averages about
ninety per cent. In a few ships, especially those handling little of
the Continental traffic, those held for special inquiry drop as low as
five per cent, while for the vessels bringing immigrants from southern
and eastern Europe, the proportion held will rise to nearly one-third of
the entire passenger list."

"All right," said Hamilton in a satisfied tone, "I guess I have that
straight. But I notice there is a third stream of people. One, you say,
is going to the railroad waiting rooms, one down to special inquiry, but
how about the third?"

"That's the 'temporary detention' group. I'll take you there in a
minute, but let us finish up with the man who is to be admitted. Here is
the railroad waiting room."

A few feet further on Hamilton found an immense room, like a railroad
ticket office, where tickets could be bought for any railroad or
steamship route to any point in the United States or Canada. A
money-changing booth was in the place, where foreign money could be
turned into United States currency at the exact quotation for the day,
even down to the fractions of a cent.

"Why are they pinning on more tickets?" asked Hamilton. "I thought when
they took off the tickets upstairs that would be the end of it."

"That also is to make it easier for them," the other said. "Most of
these people are poor, and we try to make traveling as cheap for them as
possible. Nearly all the railroads run one train each day that carries
special cars for the immigrant service. They give, accordingly, a
cheaper rate to the government. Supposing, for example, that the regular
number of the Lehigh Valley train was always numbered '9,' then every
man who purchased a ticket for a point on the Lehigh Valley would be
given the ticket '9.' Then, when the boat that was taking the passengers
for Lehigh Valley points left Ellis Island, all the 9's would be
gathered together and no one would be left behind."

"Nothing seems to have been forgotten," said Hamilton, "even food, for I
see there's a big counter over there."

"That's quite a thing, too," the other said. "A man can get two days'
food, six meals, for a dollar, or a little over sixteen cents a meal."

"And what in the wide world can he buy for that price?" exclaimed the
boy.

"Here's a sample of the contents of one box," the other said; "read it,
it tells you what there is. 'Four loaves of bread, two pounds of cooked
beans, twelve ounces of sausage, one can of beef, one can of sardines,
six ham sandwiches, three pies, and four oranges.' I'm sure you wouldn't
starve on that."

"No," said Hamilton, "I think I could get along if I ate it all. But why
is it that most of the immigrants here are men? Have the women been lost
in the shuffle?"

The immigration official laughed.

"They're not lost," he said, "most of the women pass through the
'temporary detention' rooms. We're going to visit there now. Of course
there are some women who will be able to take the train directly, but we
try to see that they go with some one, or that their being met is
assured. The tickets pinned on them are not given until an inspector has
seen their railroad tickets, and they do not land in New York streets at
all. A boat takes each group to the railroad pier, and they are escorted
to the train by an inspector, who places them in charge of the conductor
who is responsible for their arrival at their destination. Nearly all go
West or South and start from the Jersey side. It is an entirely
different matter with women and children who want to land in New York
City. In every case they are detained until called for by some relative.
And that relative has to prove to us that he really is the relative in
question."

"How do they meet?"

"I'll show you right now. In this room," he continued, entering another
large waiting room, "are all the people 'temporarily detained.' Most of
them will he released shortly. If you listen you can hear just how it is
done, because that clerk who has just come in has a list."

As he spoke a young fellow stepped forward and read a list of nine
names. Seven of the nine were in the room and came to the front, the
clerk ticking off their names on the sheet.

"Can we go on?" asked Hamilton. "I would like to see just how this
works!"

"All right," responded his guide, smiling at the boy's eagerness, "go
ahead."

As they reached the next room, Hamilton saw the clerk ushering the seven
immigrants behind a grating. Outside the grate was a narrow open space
and then a desk. On the farther side of the desk the friends of the
seven in question were waiting. There was one lad, just about his own
age, among the friends, and Hamilton waited curiously to see whom he was
to meet. Among the immigrants was a sweet-faced old Frenchwoman, and
Hamilton hoped that she might be the lad's relative. As it chanced, this
boy was the first to come up.

[Illustration: IMMIGRATION STATION, ELLIS ISLAND. The greatest center of
racial activity in the world, where a million aliens yearly pass through
to American citizenship. (_Courtesy of U.S. Immigration Station, Ellis
Island._)]

"For whom are you calling?" he was asked.

The young lad answered clearly and promptly, and the clerk nodded
approvingly as the questions proceeded.

"You say you have an older brother," the clerk said, "and the two of you
are able to keep your grandmother?"

"Yes, indeed, sir," was the reply.

"You are young to have come. Why didn't your brother come instead?"

"He has been a waiter in a French hotel," answered the boy, "and has not
learned much English He asked me to come."

A few short, sharp queries established the relationship without question
and the boy was released from the desk. The door in the grating was
opened, and to Hamilton's delight it was the old Frenchwoman who came
out. After a most affectionate greeting, they went off together, the boy
coming back to thank the clerk profusely, with true French courtesy.

"I suppose all that is necessary," said Hamilton "but I'll admit I don't
see why. No one would be likely to call for some one else's
grandmother!"

"We want to be sure that women who land here are really with their own
people," said the official, evading a more direct statement, "and
sometimes if the chief of the 'temporary detention' work is not
satisfied, the immigrant is sent back to 'special inquiry.'"

"How long are they detained?"

"Nearly all go out the same day. A few, however, have to telegraph for
their friends to meet them, and we look after that on their behalf. They
are never temporarily detained over five days, except in the case where
a child has been held in quarantine and some member of the family has to
remain until the patient is released in order to take charge of him.
That covers, you see, all those who come here except the 'special
inquiry' cases."

"May I see those?" asked Hamilton.

"That's not so easy," his friend replied, "and you wouldn't get much out
of it. They are handled, one by one, in Courts of Special Inquiry, each
court consisting of three inspectors, an interpreter, and a
stenographer, while doctors are always on call. Special Inquiry,
remember, does not mean that there is any reason for excluding the
immigrant, merely that his inclusion is not self-evident. In most cases,
answers to a few questions settle all difficulties, and the decisions to
exclude are rare. In doubtful cases, a Court of Special Inquiry takes
great pains to investigate the whole condition closely. When a decision
to exclude is reached, the immigrant is given an opportunity to 'appeal'
to the Commissioner, and these appeals vary from fifteen to seventy a
day. Further appeals may be taken in rare cases."

"And when all appeals are lost?"

"Then the immigrant must be deported at the expense of the steamship
company that brought him."

"What are the usual grounds for deportation?" asked Hamilton.

"Principally persons of unsound mind, insane, diseased, paupers likely
to become a public charge, criminals, anarchists, contract laborers, and
those who by physical defect are unable to make a living."

"It seems to me that you go to a great deal of trouble here," Hamilton
said, "and it must be a big expense keeping and looking after such a mob
of people."

"We don't pay for their keep," the official answered; "we make the
steamship companies do that. They are expected to bring desirable, not
undesirable immigrants here, and if they bring people whom we cannot
accept, they must take the consequences and bear the expense of
deporting them. Our deporting division looks after that, and it is one
of the hardest parts of our work. We've a pathetic case there now."

"You mean that Bridget Mahoney case," said an inspector, who had just
stepped up. "I beg your pardon for interrupting, but I was just going to
ask you to come and see about that case. There are some new
developments."

"I'll go right in," said Hamilton's guide interestedly. "I think you
might come along, too," he added, turning to the boy.

"Who is Bridget Mahoney?" Hamilton asked. "That's a good old Irish
name."

"And she's a good old Irish soul," the other answered. "She landed here
about three weeks ago, fully expecting her son to meet her, but during
the five days when she was in temporary detention he failed to show up."

"But why didn't you telegraph to the son?" asked Hamilton, who was
beginning to feel as though he knew all the ropes.

"We couldn't find his right address."

"Was he a traveling man?"

"It wasn't that. The woman said she knew he lived in a town called
Johnson, or Johnston, or something like that, but she didn't know in
what State. Now there are nearly forty post-offices with that name in
America, and we sent telegrams or letters to every one of these. But we
never received a definite reply."

"Well, if she's all right, as you say she is," said Hamilton, "why can't
she land and wait until her son is reached?"

"Bridget's over seventy," the chief replied, "and not very strong; she'd
be a public charge, sure."

"And yet she's all right?"

"Oh, perfectly," he said as soon as they reached the building.

"We got this telegram yesterday and I took it to your office this
morning," the newcomer answered, "to talk it over with you, but you
weren't there."

The chief of the Information Division glanced at the telegram and then
turned it over to Hamilton.

"Read that," he said. "That's the way it came, without signature or
anything."

Hamilton read it eagerly, and as soon as he had finished, "that's from
Bridget Mahoney's son," he announced, with as absolute assurance as
though it had been signed.

The deportation official looked up in surprise, but Hamilton's guide
made a hasty explanatory introduction.

"We should like to be as sure as you are," said the deportation chief,
"although I think we all rather hope it is from him. But you see it
isn't dated Johnstown or anything like that, and it isn't signed. Just
simply the words:

"'Don't--deport--my--old--mother.'"

"If you notice," he continued, "it comes from away out West, and it
might apply to any one of thousands of cases. 'My Old Mother' might have
been deported weeks ago."

"But this is yesterday's wire," Hamilton's friend interjected, "you said
there were new developments in the case."

"There are," Farrell replied, drawing another telegram out of his
pocket. "This one came this morning, and it's just about as intelligent
as the one you have. Notice, though, that it's dated from Chicago early
yesterday evening."

"What does it say?" burst out Hamilton, too eager to wait until it was
read.

"It's very short," was the answer, "it just reads:

"'--Hold--Mother--'"

"Unsigned?"

"Unsigned, just as before."

"It must be from the same person," Hamilton suggested.

"I think there's little doubt of that," the deportation chief agreed.

"Whoever sent it must be traveling fast," the boy remarked, "that last
one was from Montana."

"I've been doing my best to persuade myself that I have the right to
keep Bridget longer. Twice I've begged an extra stay from the
Commissioner, and he's been willing to consent, but he thinks she's got
to go back now. There's really no valid reason that I can give against
it."

As they walked toward the desk in the deporting division, one of the
clerks called the chief. He came back a moment or two later with a
telegram in his hand.

"A third one," he said, "it must have come while I was out at lunch. The
same person wrote all three, for this is almost the same as the first;
it reads:

"'--Don't--deport--my--old--Mother--I--have--plenty--to--support--her--'"

"Where's it dated from?" asked the boy.

"I hadn't noticed," the deportation chief replied. "Oh, yes, why it's
from Albany!"

"That's pretty near here!" Hamilton said excitedly. "Oh, Mr. Farrell,
what time was that sent?"

"Quarter to twelve."

"Whoever sent it ought to be here by now! Mr. Farrell, I'm just as sure
as can be that is from Bridget Mahoney's son."

"If it is, he may reach here in time," the other answered, "but it will
mean a great deal of trouble, because the boat sails early in the
morning long before the office here is open, and the deported aliens go
on board to-night. Indeed they are going now---if they haven't gone."

"And Bridget with them?"

"Yes, I'm sorry to say Bridget is with them." He strolled to the
window. "No," he continued, "they haven't gone yet, but they will in a
few minutes."

"Could I see her before she goes?"

"What for?"

"Just to cheer her up a bit," pleaded the boy.

The two men looked at each other, and Hamilton's new acquaintance
nodded.

"You won't say anything about these telegrams," the chief warned him.

"No--very well," said Hamilton, "but it seems a shame that she doesn't
know."

The three passed through the door to the yard beside the lawns, and
there Hamilton encountered one of the most desolate groups he had ever
seen, sitting and standing in all attitudes of dejection. Among them was
a little old lady with snow-white hair, walking with a stick, but
clear-eyed and brisk-looking.

"You're Mrs. Mahoney?" the boy asked.

"I'm Bridget Mahoney, young masther," the old Irishwoman answered, "at
your service, sorr."

"I hear you haven't found your son yet," Hamilton said; "did you write
to him before you left the old country?"

"I did, dear, but I intoirely disremember what I did wid the letther. I
know I intinded to give it to Mickey O'Murry, but I'll niver tell ye
whether I did give it to him, an' if I did, there's no knowin' av he
posted it. 'Tis a difficult thing to remember, this letther-postin' and
maybe he forgot."

"But what did you write on the envelope? Can't you remember what you
wrote?"

"'Tis I that am the poor hand for writin', young masther, but there was
no schoolin' when I was a gurrl such as there is now. Jim, that's me
son, he makes shift to read me writin', but he always sinds me a written
envelope to put me answer in so that the postman can read it. An' so I
niver learnt the address. I thought, av course, he'd be here. But he
isn't, dear, an' so I must thravel all the weary way home again."

"But you don't sail till morning," said Hamilton, as cheerfully as he
could, "and maybe he'll come by then. I have a feeling, Mrs. Mahoney,
that he's just surely going to come."

"I'm not thinkin' it," the old woman said bravely, "but I take it
kindly, young masther, that ye should thry an' make the goin' easy. But
it isn't easy, 'tis a hard returnin'. An' me so proud that me son should
send for his ould mother. 'Tis a great country this America, but it's
too big. I'd niver 'ave lost me Jim in the ould country. I see they're
callin' us, an' I wish ye an ould woman's blessin', young masther, for
your cheerin' me at the last."

With a certain dignity, the old woman turned away and shook hands with
all the officials, with whom she had become a favorite during the three
weeks of her stay. Hamilton just ached to be able to do something, to
tell the Commissioner of the later telegrams, to appeal to the
department, to make some wild effort, but the actuality of the group for
deportation slowly making their way to the barge showed him the folly of
any such ideas. He roused himself, just as the friendly official who had
been his guide turned round with outstretched hand.

"I think you have seen it all now," he said, "and as the boat from New
York is just pulling in, you'll have plenty of time to board her."

Hamilton thanked his conductor warmly, and with a final look at the
group about to be deported, the last few stragglers of whom were making
their way toward the barge, he started along the wharf in the direction
of the New York boat. He was on the opposite side of the ship and had to
walk round, but, as his friend had said, there was plenty of time. He
had a good view of the boat as she landed.

The minute the bow touched the quay, before the mooring chains were on,
a middle-aged man who had been standing in the front of the boat, leaped
the light chain that runs waist high across the bow, and started on a
dead run up the bridge to the shore. One of the inspectors tried to stop
him, but he cried, as he went past:

"I'm going to the Commissioner's office. Don't stop me. I'm in a hurry."

Hamilton could just hear him, and it struck the boy as unnecessary for
the man to say he was in a hurry, for he showed it clearly enough. But
just before the runner reached him a sudden thought flashed into the
boy's mind.

"Are you Jim Mahoney?" he called, just as the man swept by.

"Yes," answered the other, scarcely slackening speed and passing him.

Hamilton wheeled on the instant, and caught up to him in a few steps,
for the other man was older, not in training, and getting out of breath.

"You'll do it, don't worry," the boy said, as he overtook him, running
along beside him. "I was talking to your mother a few minutes ago and
she was all right. But she was just starting for the steamer then.
There's not a second to lose."

"What shall I do?" puffed the other.

"Go in there, by that door marked 'Information.' Tell them who you are
and they'll fix things up in a hurry. Then go up and see the
Commissioner. I'll go on and tell them at the boat."

Then, seeing that the man hesitated, he shouted:

"Go in there," and nudged him in the direction of the door.

As the man turned, Hamilton settled himself down to run. In a second he
was at the landing. The tender had just cast off her ropes and was
moving out.

"Bridget," he cried, and his voice rang high and clear above the
dripping of the water from the cable, the creaking of the wheel as it
swung round, and the churning of the screw. "Bridget, Bridget Mahoney,
Jim's here!"

The captain came to the window of the pilot house and called back:

"What's that?"

"Bridget!" he shouted again. "Bridget Mahoney's Jim's here!"

There was a pause, the captain not seeming to understand the situation,
but a cheer went up from the deportation officials on board and from
some of the tender's crew who knew; and the cry ran along the decks:

"Bridget, Bridget Mahoney! Jim's here!"

[Illustration: WHERE THE WORKERS COME FROM. Family of German
immigrants, passing through Ellis Island on their way to the Middle
West. (_Courtesy of U.S. Immigration Station, Ellis Island._)]



CHAPTER VI

THE NEGRO CENSUS FROM THE SADDLE


Leaving New York the next day after his visit to the Immigration Station
on Ellis Island, Hamilton stayed only a few hours in Washington to
receive final instructions before proceeding to the southwestern part of
Kentucky where his work as a population census-taker was to begin.

At the appointed place he found the supervisor awaiting him.

"I suppose you know," remarked his brother's friend, shaking hands,
"that I've given you a fairly well scattered district to cover. You said
you wanted to get a chance to see Kentucky as it really is, and this,
together with your mountain experience, ought to give you variety
enough."

"They told me in Washington that it was largely a negro district?" the
boy said questioningly.

"It is about as much of a black district as any in Kentucky," was the
reply, "but it isn't solid black by any means. Therein lies its
interest. The negroes are of all varieties, from old-time slaves who
have never left the plantation on which they were piccaninnies during
the war, to progressive negroes owning fair-sized tracts of land, most
of them still living in the one-room shacks that you see all over the
country, but a few having bought what used to be the 'big house' in
antebellum days."

"That's just exactly what I was after," Hamilton said with delight. "How
do I cover it, sir? In the saddle?"

"You can drive, if you want to," the supervisor replied, "and if it
wasn't for the agricultural schedules, I think it would be easier to do
the work from a buggy. But with the field work to consider, and in a
district as scattered as yours is, the saddle might work out better."

"I had been thinking of that," Hamilton said, "if a farmer was on the
other side of a plowed patch, I'd have no way of getting to him in a
buggy except by tying the horse and walking, while in the saddle I could
easily take short cuts. And I imagine, in a countryside such as you say
this is, I'll probably need to see every one on the place in order to
get anything like accurate figures."

"It's not at all unlikely," the supervisor rejoined. "Well, I thought
you would be needing a horse, and I've been looking round for one for
some time. I think I have the very one you will want. I told the owner
to hold back sale until you had a chance to look at her."

"Then the quicker I see the owner, the better?" suggested the boy.

"I think I had better go with you," the supervisor said, "and then they
won't try any over-clever work. Horse-dealing isn't always the most
guileless business, you know."

"So I've understood," Hamilton said, "and I really don't know enough to
judge the fine points of a horse."

"I was born and bred in the Blue Grass," his friend remarked, "and so
I've been around horses pretty much all my days. The census work is
quite a change from that."

"I hope you didn't have any bother over my coming in this somewhat
irregular way?" asked Hamilton, remembering what Mr. Burns had said to
him in Washington.

The supervisor laughed.

"Nothing serious," he said, "but there were several people who tried to
cut you out,--one of them especially. There were three applicants for
this district, and the one who was most resentful about an outsider
coming in wouldn't have been appointed under any circumstances. Indeed,
the best of the three undertook to describe the other two. His letter
was a wonder," he added, picking up one of the files; "I think I saved
it.--Yes, here it is. Read it, while I get ready to go out with you,"
and he handed the letter to Hamilton.

The letter was as follows in every detail:

     "MR. ----

     "Dr. Sir I made out the Blank for a Job taking Census was a going
     to make it & when I Got to the Postoffice there was such an a ray
     of aplicants I concluded not to do so

     "in the first Place there is two of these aplicants are Habichual
     Drunkards one Professor A---- the other Mr. P---- A---- was born in
     Canaday & has NO Interest here Except to be Suported by his wife &
     the Publick & has had his Last School to Teach in this Town. he is
     so Imoral People will not Tollerate him any Longer the Wrighter has
     seen him on a Saturday SO Drunk he would Fall against People he met
     if that is the Kind of Man you are looking For I don't want a Job I
     can get along without

     "I will send in my application Just the Same

     "Mr. P---- is Not fare behind and is Dealer in Coal & Feed & his
     Father has to take Cair of the Business for him.

     "Dont concider him for a moment Mr

     "as to my self this is the Firste time I ever aske for Publick
     Buisness & I am an Indipendent Belever of mans Privlages & always
     lived in this County

     "you have this Information Without feer of any of above statements
     Being Denide

     "I remain Resptfully

     "------"

Hamilton laughed as he returned the letter to the supervisor, who had
just come back with his hat and gloves as the boy finished reading the
epistle.

"I don't think I need have been afraid of any of those three as rivals,"
he said, "that is, if our friend is right. His information, however, may
not be any more correct than his spelling."

"It's exaggerated, of course," the supervisor answered, "that's easy to
see, but setting aside the question of jealousy there's a good deal of
truth in what he says. Selecting and teaching enumerators was no light
job, let me tell you. You take seventy-five to a hundred absolutely
green hands, who have never done anything like it before, and it is a
hard proposition to make them understand. When you have to try and teach
them in a few weeks just how to do what is really difficult to do well,
you have a heavy task on your hands."

"You didn't appoint any colored enumerators, I suppose?" Hamilton
questioned.

"No," the supervisor answered decidedly. "My judgment was against it to
start with and I couldn't see that any of my districts warranted it. It
may be different in counties where the proportion of colored population
runs as high as eighty and ninety per cent, but there are none like that
in Kentucky."

"Just in Georgia and Mississippi?"

"Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas have a few scattering 'black'
counties too," the supervisor answered, "for I wrote to several places
about this very colored enumerator question. I found the supervisors
over those districts about evenly divided for and against. I have been
able to get suitable men all through, I think, though I might have had
difficulty in securing a good appointee for your district."

"It's pretty wild out there evidently," Hamilton said anticipatorily.

"Not so much wild as isolated. Kentucky is scarcely a railroad center,
you know. Out of twenty-one counties in my district, fourteen possess
neither railroad, telegraph, nor telephone connection with the rest of
the world at all."

Hamilton whistled softly.

"I hadn't realized that there was any part of Kentucky as isolated as
that," he said, "even in the mountains. But I'm glad, just the same,
because these isolated communities are much more fun than the places
where everybody seems to be cut out by the same pattern."

"You'll find all the variety you want," the supervisor remarked, as he
turned into a big stable building, "and you'll need four legs more
beside your own two." He led the way to a stall near the far end of the
building, and brought out the little mare of which he had been speaking.

"What a beauty!" exclaimed the boy.

The supervisor laughed.

"That's no way to buy a horse," he said, turning to the stableman; "it's
a good thing I arranged the price before he came, or you'd have tacked
on another twenty dollars."

"Easy, and more than that," said the owner, with a grin.

"Well, Noble," said his friend, "I don't hear yon raising any
objections."

"I haven't any," the boy replied promptly. "And the price is what you
said to me?" he queried, turning to the supervisor.

"Yes, that stands," his friend replied.

"All right, then," said Hamilton, "I'll take her."

The supervisor pulled out his pocketbook.

"I had an idea," he said, "that you were just boy enough to want the
mare when you saw her and to want her right away. I made out a check for
the amount, and you can make one out to me when you get ready," and he
handed the slip to the boy.

Hamilton started to thank him, but the supervisor cut him short.

"If you'll come to the office this afternoon," he said, "the clerk will
give you the schedules and papers all ready made out for your district.
Here's a typewritten copy of the lectures I've been giving to the
enumerators, and while I don't suppose you really need to, you had
better read it over and return it to me when you're through with it. Now
I'm going to leave you here with this gentleman," he added, nodding to
the owner of the horse, "and you can arrange with him about getting a
saddle and so forth for the mare. Drop in at the office in the morning
as you start out and I'll make sure that nothing has been forgotten. See
you later," and with a nod to Hamilton, he stepped out of the stable.

To the boy the afternoon fairly seemed to fly, there were so many things
to do; and it was not until just before closing hours that he reached
the office and secured his portfolio. He had a brief chat with the
clerk, and went back to his hotel to study carefully the map of his
district and the route suggested, and to make sure that he thoroughly
understood the population and agricultural schedules he would have to
use. They were different in form, of course, from the manufacturing
schedules which the boy knew by heart, but the essential principles were
the same, and Hamilton found that in half an hour's time he saw plain
sailing.

"It's a mighty good thing I had that manufacturing work," he said half
aloud, "or I'd find this pretty tricky. I should think it would be hard
for any one not at all used to it."

By supper time--they kept to old-fashioned ways in the little
hotel--Hamilton felt himself perfectly sure of his ground on the work,
and he went to bed early, knowing he had a long ride and a hard day
before him.

The following morning, an early breakfast over, Hamilton started on the
journey to his enumeration district, stopping at the office for a
moment's chat with his friend the supervisor, and receiving his
good-luck wishes before he went. The mare was a delight, being
well-paced, and the horseman from whom Hamilton had bought the animal
had taken a great deal of pains to get him a saddle tree that fitted
him, so that the boy enjoyed every minute of the ride. He reached the
first point in his district about one o'clock, and after a hasty dinner
started to work. The place was a tiny village, containing about forty
houses.

The population work, as Hamilton had expected, proved to be
comparatively simple, and the first house he visited was a fair sample
of the greater number of those he tabulated all through the month. As a
typical example it impressed itself upon his memory. He began next door
to the house where he had eaten dinner. The natural privacy of a home
was quite different from the public nature of a factory, and Hamilton
felt a little strange as he walked up to the door and knocked.

"Good-morning," he said, as soon as the door was opened, "I'm the
census-taker and I called for the paper that was sent for you to fill
in."

"Yo' mean dat ar big sheet o' paper, jes' noth'n but quest'ns?" answered
the young negro woman, who appeared at the door.

"That's it," the boy answered, "is it all filled out and ready?"

"Lawsy, no! Why, it would take me fo' eveh to do all that writin'. Ah'm
no school-teacheh. An' besides, that's fo' fahmers. An' yo' have anotheh
jes' like it!" she continued, noting the portfolio the boy carried. "Ah
jes' know I can't eveh tell yo' all dose things."

"This is different," Hamilton pointed out. "Those other questions are
about farms, just as you say, but these are all about your own family."

"Yes, sah, yes, sah. Ah tol' mah husban' so when we were talkin' about
that yar farm business. The paper in the town gave a list o' questions,
an' Ah thought Ah would get mah Steve to help me get ready so's Ah sh'd
be able to answer yo' rightly when yo' come aroun', but he jes' said he
was too tiehed to do anythin', an' dat ar census list is the
confusin'est thing Ah eveh saw. Ah thought Ah ought to do somethin', an'
so Ah jes' took a big sheet o' wrappin' paper an' started to write the
answers to the quest'ns on that, thinkin' some o' the neighbors'
children would copy it on the sheet fo' me. But, I tell yo', sah, that
befo' I was half way through tellin' what the newspaper said we had to
tell, I was so mixed up that I was writin' mahself down as mah own
daughter and provin' that the baby was twice divo'ced."

"Then you really haven't got anything ready at all," said Hamilton.

"Nothin', sah."

"Then I'll just have to ask you the questions, and put the answers down
myself," the boy said cheerfully. "We might as well start right now."

"Won't yo' come in, sah?" the woman suggested. "Yo'll need a table, an'
pens an' ink."

"I have a fountain pen," the lad answered, "but it would be easier
writing on a table. I guess I will come in. Now," he continued, as soon
as he was seated, "has this house a number?"

"Yas, sah," the woman replied, "seventeen, High Street."

"And this is the first family I've seen, and the first house," said
Hamilton, entering a "1" in both columns. "Now for the head of the
family. I think you said something about your husband?"

"Yas, sah, Steve, he's my husban'. We done been married six years."

"You say his name is Stephen? What is his other name?"

"Lawson, sah."

"He's colored, I suppose."

"Yas, sah, he's quite dark complected."

"And you're his first wife?" queried the boy, as he wrote "Lawson,
Stephen," in the name column, the word "Head" in the relation column,
and the letter "B" for black, under the color or race column.

"Ah reckon Ah'm his first wife," the woman replied, "he was jes'
twenty-one when Ah married him."

"And you've been married six years," the boy went on, entering Stephen
Lawson's age as 27, the number of years married as "6," and "M. 1," to
show that he was married, and married only once. "But you look like a
girl still," he added, "you must have been married very young."

"Ah was jes' sixteen," she answered; "we was married on mah birthday."

"And your name is--?"

"Lily, sah."

"Any other name?"

"Mariamne, sah."

For a moment or two Hamilton wrote busily, filling in "Lily M.," "Wife,"
"F" for female, "Mu" for mulatto, "22" for present age, "M. 1" for first
marriage, and "6" for the number of years in wedlock.

"You have children?"

"One li'l boy, sah, but he's deaf an' dumb. An' so quick an' clever,
sah, in other ways, yo' wouldn' believe!"

"That's hard luck," said Hamilton kindly, "but they do such wonderful
things to help them now, you know. And he can learn a lot by reading."

"Yas, sah, it's hard enough. But we're glad he ain't blind."

"And what is his name?"

"Edward Habberton, sah, an' he's jes' fo' years old, near five."

Hamilton entered the name of the little deaf and dumb boy, whom he
could see sitting in an inner room, and noted down in the schedule his
age, his color, and the nature of his affliction.

"Now, Lily," he continued, "were you both born in Kentucky?"

"No, sah," she replied, "none of us, savin' little Eddie. I'm f'om
Delaware, an' mah Steve, he's f'om Maryland, where my mother come f'om."

"Wait a bit," said Hamilton, holding up his hand to stop her, "let me
get this straight. Stephen Lawson is from Maryland, you said, you're
from Delaware, and the boy was born in this State. Is that right?"

"Yas, sah."

"And you said your mother came from Maryland but I suppose since you're
from Delaware your father was from Delaware also."

"Yes, sah," the woman answered, "he done live in Wilmin'ton all his
life."

So Hamilton put down the birthplaces of the wife's parents and in the
same fashion those of the husband, while the filling in of the columns
for the parents of the child was simply a matter of copying.

"There's no need to find out about your naturalization then," he went
on, "of course you're both Americans. And you both speak English," and
he entered this also on the language column.

"What does your husband work at?" was the boy's next query.

"He's a gardener, sah."

"Odd jobs?"

"Oh, no, sah, in the big nu'sery here."

"On regular wages, then?"

"Yas, sah, nine dollahs a week."

"I don't have to put down how much he earns," the boy explained, "only
to state whether he is paying wages, or being paid wages, or working on
his own account.--But you must find it hard to get along on nine a
week."

"Ah make mo 'n he does," the woman explained.

"You do? How?"

"Washin', sah. An' Ah take a lot o' fine washin', laces an' things like
that, which the ladies want jes' as carefully done! Ah make as high as
twelve an' sometimes fifteen dollahs a week."

"That helps a lot," said Hamilton, as he noted down the facts that the
woman was a laundress, and that she worked on her own account, typified
by the letters "O.A." in the wage column.

"You both read and write--or, wait a bit, I think you said you couldn't
write, and that you have to get the neighbors' children to help you."

"Ah can read pretty well," the woman replied, "but Ah never had enough
schoolin' to write much; mah mother was ill all the time, an' Ah had to
stay home. But Steve, he writes beautiful, an' he makes out all mah
bills an' things like that."

"I think there's only one question more," the boy said, delighted to
find that after all, even in the house of a negro laundress who did not
know how to write, the information could be so easily secured. After
jotting down a "Yes" and a "No" respectively for Husband and Wife in the
columns for literacy, he continued, "And that question is, whether this
house is owned by you or whether you rent it."

"We're only rentin' it, sah. Steve wants to buy it an' put a mo'gage on,
but Ah don't know anythin' about mo'gages an' Ah won't buy until Ah can
pay the whole price right down. Don' yo' think Ah'm right?"

"Well, Lily," answered the lad, as he folded up his portfolio and
prepared to go to the next house, "it would hardly do for one of Uncle
Sam's census men to come between a husband and a wife on the question
of their buying of their own home, would it?"

"Ah reckon not, sah. Is that all, sah?"

"Yes, Lily, that's all, and I'm very much obliged."

"It wasn't so awful bad," said the woman, with a sigh of relief.

"It's easy enough to answer census questions when you want to make it
easy and tell a straight story," Hamilton replied, "but you see what
trouble it would be for me with some one who wasn't willing to talk, and
how hard it would be for any one to make up a story as he went along,
and find it tally at every point in all the later questions."

"Well, sah," she called, in reply, as the lad passed out, "Ah jes' hope
yo' don' fin' a single one like that in this hyar whole village."

"I hope not, Lily. Good-morning," he rejoined and turned toward the next
house.

The enumeration of the rest of the village went on rapidly. By working
quickly Hamilton was able to complete the numbering of the village by
nightfall, and he so stated on his daily report card, which he mailed to
the supervisor that evening.

The following morning he started off on his little mare, and struck
something new and puzzling at every holding he touched. The agricultural
schedule fairly made his head swim. It had certain difficulties which
the manufacturing schedule did not have, because, although the latter
contained more detailed information and required a more accurate
statement, still all manufacturers kept books. For the details needed in
the agricultural statistics no books had been kept; the negro farmer
seldom or never knew how many chickens he had, and the wild guesses that
would be made as to value of animals and land nearly turned the boy's
hair gray. Some of the white farmers were every bit as careless, one man
valuing his horses at $200 apiece and the next at $50; one man
estimating his land at $150 an acre and the next at $10.

A typical case was that of Patrick Meacham. Hamilton secured the facts
for his population schedule with comparatively little trouble from the
Meacham household, although he had to listen to a great deal of
unnecessary family history. There was no great difficulty, moreover, in
finding out that the farm consisted of 80 acres owned and 10 rented, but
a snag of the first magnitude was encountered on the question as to how
much of it was improved.

"Sure, 'tis all improved," the farmer said; "it was in horrible shape
whin I bought it."

"I don't mean improved that way," Hamilton objected, "what I want to
know is how much of it is good for pasture, is prepared for crops, and
so forth."

"Sure, it's all good for somethin'," the Irishman answered; "what for
should I buy it if it wasn't good for anythin"?"

"Have you a wood-lot?" asked Hamilton, deciding to try and get at the
question in another way.

"I have a wood-lot. But I built a good strong fence around it, since I
came here,--ye don't mean to tell me that doesn't improve it? If ye
lived here, ye'd know better."

"That's all right, Mr. Meacham, it makes it better all right, but it
isn't counted in as 'improved land.' I'll put it down specially though.
There's ten acres of it, you said."

"And there's ten acres of swamp land that ye couldn't improve unless ye
built it on piles," the farmer said.

"I'll have to refer that to the Reclamation Service, I guess," the boy
answered, "anyhow for the time we'll just call it 'unimproved' and let
it go at that."

The next few questions passed off without a hitch, but an inquiry
concerning the number of animals born on the place during the year was
like opening the flood-gates of a dam. If Meacham had been as good a
farmer as a yarn-spinner there would have been no question as to his
success, for he had some story to tell about every yearling on the
place, and they were inimitably told. It was with great reluctance that
Hamilton found himself obliged to head off the man's eloquence and make
him stick to hard facts. An inquiry as to the number of eggs sold was
somewhat of a puzzle, but the farmer's wife knew the amount of the
"trade" she had received at the grocery store in the nearest town in
return for eggs, and at an average sale price of nine cents a dozen,
this was easily computed. She was also the authority on the amount of
butter made and sold, and on the garden truck.

The business man of the house was a twelve-year-old boy. Not far away, a
neighbor had forty acres in clover and some fruit trees, and knowing the
value of bees for pollinating the fruit, he was glad to have this boy
keep six hives near the orchard and field. A good share of the honey had
gone to the neighbor, and the family themselves had used all they
wanted, but still the boy's profit for what he had sold amounted to
sixty dollars. He was keen to have Hamilton enter him on the schedule as
an independent apiarist on his own account, but Hamilton pointed out to
him that a $250 farm was the smallest one allowed to be listed.

This low limit was almost reached the next day when Hamilton found
himself on a peanut farm for the first time. He had always known that
peanuts, unlike all other "nuts," grew underground but he had made the
common mistake of supposing them to grow on the roots of the peanut
plant like the tubers of a potato, instead of really being a true nut,
developing from a flower the elongation of the lower portion of which
reaches to the ground. The farm was run by an orphaned colored girl
nineteen years old and her four younger brothers.

[Illustration: ON A PEANUT FARM. Caesar and his sister at work when
Hamilton came to take the census.]

"Jes' as soon as the young-uns gits big enough," she said to Hamilton,
when discussing the statistics of her little holding, "we're goin' to
buy a big patch o' peanut land. Ah'd like to grow peanuts every year,
but these hyar gov'nment papers say yo' shouldn't. They say once in
every fo' years is enough fo' peanuts, but Ah'm goin' to try it every
other year."

"Aren't they a very troublesome crop?"

"'Bout the same as potatoes, Ah reckon. But they pay a good price fo'
picked peanuts, an' Ah can get these boys hyar to do the pickin'. In one
o' the papers Ah saw up to Colonel 'Gerius' place the other day, one the
gov'nment puts out, thar's a list showin' this country has to send to
foreign countries fo' twelve million bushels o' peanuts every year. Ah'm
goin' to try raisin' a real big crop, and Dicky hyar," she added,
pointing to the oldest boy, "thinks jes' as I do about it."

Hamilton was distinctly impressed with the evidence that this young
negro girl and her younger brothers not only knew enough about the
peanut business to be able to make it pay, but that they were reading
the government bulletins.

"I didn't know," he said hastily, "that you people--" and he stopped
suddenly, realizing the ungracious ending to his sentence.

"You mean us colored folks,--you didn't think we troubled 'bout such
things? Yas, sah, we don' have all the advantages o' white folks but
we're improvin' right along. Colonel 'Gerius jes' does all he can, an'
he gets us gov'nment seeds an' papers, an' advises every one fo' miles
aroun'. Yas, sah, we're gettin' on. If yo' have to go to Bullertown,
sah, yo'll fin' as nice a li'l place as thar is f'om one end o' the
United States cla'r to the other, an' thar's not one white person in
it."

"Bullertown?" queried Hamilton in surprise. "I'm glad to hear it, for
that's the next place on my map."

"We're all proud of it hyar, sah, an' it 'pears to me, Bullertown owes
jes' everythin' to the folks at the Big House and to Mistah Ephraim
Jones. Yo'll see Mistah Jones, sah, an' I'd take it kindly if yo'll
remember me to him."

"All right, Delia, I will," said Hamilton. "Let's see, I did get all the
figures, didn't I?"

"Yo' said yo' had them all, sah," was the reply.

"Good enough. Well, I guess I'll go along. I'll not forget your message.
Good-by--" and the boy set his horse on a canter down the narrow road.
Throughout the rest of the day the census-gathering was of similar
character, and it was drawing toward dark when the boy saw before him a
well-ordered array of houses which he felt sure must be Bullertown.
Asking his way to the hotel from the first darky that he met, he was
answered most courteously.

"Thar's no hotel hyar, sah," the negro said, "but Mr. Ephraim Jones
entertains the visitin' strangehs, sah, an' if yo' go right on to that
big yaller house an' ask fo' Mr. Jones, sah, Ah jes' knows yo'll be
right welcome."

Hamilton felt diffident about quartering himself upon a perfect stranger
in this way, but it seemed to be the custom of the place, and since
there was no hotel, there seemed nothing else to do, and he rode on to
the gate. Tethering his mare to a tie-post in front of the house he
started up the walk, carrying his portfolio, so that in the event of any
mistake he might be able to make it appear that he had merely come to
take the census. But before he reached the door it was opened by a
wrinkled and old, but dignified darky.

"Walk in, sah, walk right in," he said. "Ah'll sen' one o' the boys to
look after yo' horse. Tom!" he called, "yo' take the gen'leman's horse
to the stable, rub him down with a wisp, an' give him some hay. In half
an hour water him, an' give him a feed o' oats."

"I'm obliged to you," said Hamilton, "for taking all this trouble, but
perhaps I had better explain who I am."

"That's jes' as yo' like, sah."

"Well," said Hamilton, "I'm the census-taker for this district, and I
was looking for a hotel where I could stay the night and begin work in
the morning. A man I met on the street told me that this town had no
hotel and suggested that if I came to you, I might be advised where to
go."

"We have no hotel in Bullertown, sah," the old negro preacher answered,
"but the gen'lemen that come hyar do me the honor us'ally, sah, of bein'
my guests. Ah have a guest-room, sah, jes' 'sclusively fo' gen'lemen who
are not people of color."

Hamilton found himself flushing at the consciousness that this very
thought had been in his mind, and in order to cover any possible signs
that might have appeared in his expression, he answered hastily:

"Oh, that's all right,--it wouldn't have mattered."

The old preacher looked at him quietly and a little reproachfully and
said:

"If you don' jes' mean things like that, young sah, don' say them. We
know. We find, sah, that it is mos' desirable for every one concerned.
If yo' like, sah, an' if yo're ready, Ah'll show yo' to yo'r room."

[Illustration: IN AN ALL-NEGRO TOWN. Residents of Bullertown on the day
that the census was taken. (_Brown Bros._)]

[Illustration: IN AN ALL-NEGRO TOWN. Residents of Bullertown on the day
that the census was taken. (_Brown Bros._)]

Hamilton could not help contrasting this reception with that which he
would have received in any town not entirely a negro community, and he
expressed this feeling to his host as they went up the stairs.

"It is entirely different hyar, sah," the latter said, "yo' see we are
isolated, an' a guest is rare. Then this community is a syndicate an' is
not run like a town. Thar's no quest'n hyar, sah, about colored and
white people bein' the same,--we know they're different. An' we believe,
sah, that it is in preservin' the color line, not in tryin' to hide it,
that the future good of our race lies. An' so thar's not a foot o' land
in Bullertown owned by any other than people o' color, an' not a white
person lives hyar."

"You own all the land, then?"

"The syndicate does, yes, sah."

"Then you must have some wealthy men among you?"

"No, sah, not one. The town was begun, sah, by the kindness of Colonel
Egerius."

"Colonel--he was, that is, he is--" began Hamilton, stammering.

"He is not a negro, sah," the old man answered finishing the boy's
embarrassed sentence for him with entire self-possession. "Colonel
Egerius, sah, was a plantation owner, befo' the war. Ah was one o' his
slaves, an' mos' o' the people in Bullertown are the children o' those
born in the plantation quarters."

"And he started the town?"

"Yas, sah, in a way. He fought with Lee, sah, an' my brother was his
body-servant all through the war. When Lee surrendered, the Colonel came
back to the old plantation. Some of the slaves had gone, but thar was
quite a few left still. He called us to the big house an' tol' us to
stay by the ol' place an' he would pay us wages. Some--Ah was not one o'
them, though Ah see now they were right,--said the quarters were not fit
to live in."

"But I thought you said Colonel Egerius was a kind master? How could
that be if the quarters were so bad?"

"No, sah," he said, "Ah should never call the old massa kind, he was
fair an' ready to help a willin' worker. But his slaves was his slaves
an' they had no rights. Thar wasn't any whippin' or any o' that sort o'
thing, but it was work all day, f'om befo' daylight till afteh dark, an'
we lived jes' anyhow."

"How came he to start the town, then?" queried Hamilton. "Your
description of him doesn't sound as though he were a man who would do
much for you."

"It was jes' because o' that, Ah think, that he did, sah. He was just,
sah. He said that while we were slaves we should be treated as slaves.
Now that the negro was not a slave any mo', thar was no reason to make
him live like one. He used to say the South was now pledged to help the
nation instead o' the Confederacy, an' while he did not agree, he would
live up to that pledge."

"That seems as fair as anything could be."

"Yas, sah, but it was easier to say that than to do it. Thar was no
money in the place, the slaves hadn' had wages, an' yo' can't build
houses without money, an' money was scarce afteh the war."

"How in the wide world did you manage it?" asked Hamilton.

"As Ah was sayin', sah, it was Colonel Egerius' doin'. He got a surveyor
from the town an' hunted over the plantation to fin' the best site fo'
a village,--the surveyor's name was Buller."

"That's where the town got its name, then?"

"Yas, sah, Ah jes' wanted it called Egerius, but the Colonel wouldn't
hear of it. Then all o' the ol' slaves that wanted to stay by the place
got together, an' the Colonel showed us how to make a sort o' syndicate.
Then he sol' us the land jes' as low as it could be made, payment to be
in labor on the plantation, so in a few years' work every man who wanted
to stay reg'lar on the job got title to his lan' an' his house, an' took
wages afteh that."

"That was a wise move," said the boy after a moment's thought. "He sold
his land at a fair price, got the money back that he put into buildings,
established a regular supply of labor for his plantation, and at the
same time fixed it all right for you."

"Yas, sah," the old negro answered, "an' now every man in the town
either owns his house or is buyin' one f'om the syndicate, an' we have
bought up all the surveyed property f'om the Colonel. Now, sah,"
continued the preacher, "if yo' will excuse me, Ah will see that yo'r
supper is got ready. Hyar, sah," he added, opening the door into a
small room, "is yo'r sittin' room, an' yo'r supper will be served hyar."

As much surprised as gratified at the excellent arrangements for his
comfort, Hamilton refreshed himself after his dusty ride, and was as
hungry as a wolf when supper arrived. A little darky girl, black as the
ace of spades, waited at table, and in conversation Hamilton learned
that she was the adopted daughter of the eldest son of the negro
preacher, the son being a professor in one of the negro colleges. After
supper Hamilton asked to see his host in order that he might secure the
details of the family for the census, and thus make use of a disengaged
evening.

"So your son is Professor of English at the University," said Hamilton,
as, with all the details secured, he closed the census portfolio. "Do,
you think the negro ought only to learn a few things, or do you think he
ought to be taught just the same as in the regular universities?"

"Thar should be one good university," said the old preacher, "with very
difficult admission examinations. It would be a good thing fo' colored
lawyers an' doctors, an' if the standard were high--higher even than in
white colleges--these men would get standin' fo' themselves an' give
standin' to the colored race. But, even then, I'd have them keep away
f'om the other lawyers an' doctors."

"You're strong on that color line, Ephraim," the boy remarked. "Surely
you don't believe in 'Jim Crow' cars and all that sort of thing?"

"As long as thar is prejudice, Ah do," was the unexpected answer, "an'
thar's no place fo' the negro in the city. He can't beat the white man,
an' thar's no chance o' his securin' a monopoly o' any trade. Thar's
nothin' fo' him in the city savin' jes' labor an' bein' a servant, a
porter, or somethin' o' that kind."

"You don't see many negro laborers in Northern cities," the boy
remarked, "they're mostly elevator runners and in positions of that
kind."

"It is in the No'th that trouble lies," the old man said, "the South has
settled hers."

"How do you make that out?" cried the boy. "You say the South has
settled the race question? I thought it was the biggest issue there was,
down here and in the Gulf States."

The old negro preacher shook his head.

"Farmin' an' cotton raisin' has settled it. Did yo' know that mo' than
two-fifths, or nearly half the cotton raised in the United States was
grown by negroes ownin' their own land? An' the cotton crop of
America's one of her biggest sources o' wealth. Those that don' own the
land lease it on a share basis known as the métayer system, but more'n
more o' them are owners every year."

"I hadn't really thought of the negroes as owning land at all," said
Hamilton thoughtfully.

"A stretch o' land three times as big as the British Isles, or equal to
the New England States is owned by the colored race," was the reply,
"makin' in the United States a negro country larger than plenty o'
kingdoms."

"And is that land worth much?"

"Oveh half a billion dollahs, sah, Ah was told at the last census, an'
it's worth a lot mo' now."

"But," said Hamilton, "the negro doesn't seem able to make use of it.
Even if he does own the land and is making money, he still goes on
living in a shiftless way. One would hardly believe the kind of shacks
I've seen in the last couple of days."

"Ah'm ashamed to say you're right, sah," the old negro answered, "Ah
reckon one-third of all the negroes in the South still live in
one-roomed cabins, cookin', eatin', and sleepin' in the same room, men,
women, an' children all together. But they're improvin' right along."

"They ought," said the boy, "if they're working on cotton, because, I've
been told, that is always a cash crop. But why does every one leave the
cotton crop to the negro. It isn't a hard crop to raise, is it?"

"Thar's no one else c'n do it but the negro, sah," the preacher
answered. "It's the hardes' kin' of work, an' it has to be done in
summer, an' thar's no shade in a cotton fiel'. Right from the sowin'
until the las' boll is picked, cotton needs tendin', an' yo' don' have
much cool weather down hyar."

"You sow cotton something like corn, don't you?" asked the boy, who had
never seen a cotton plantation and wanted to know something about it.

"Yas, sah, jes' about the same way, only it has to be hilled higher an'
hoed more'n corn. An' weeds jes' spring up in the cotton fiel's oveh
night. The pickin', too, is jes' killin' work. Yo' see a cotton plant
doesn' grow mo'n about fo' feet high an' thar's always a lot of it
that's shorter. The bolls hang low, sometimes, an' yo've got to go
pickin', pickin', stoopin' halfway oveh an' the hot sun beatin' down on
yo' neck an' back. Since the war the planters have tried all sorts o'
labor, but thar's no white man that c'n pick cotton, they get blindin'
headaches an' fall sick. I reckon their skulls are too thin or maybe
it's jes' because they're not black, seem' that it's harder fo' a
mulatto th'n a full-blood negro."

[Illustration: "'WAY DOWN YONDER IN DE COTTON FIEL'." Typical picking
scene. Working under a blazing sun and a haze of heat, without any shade
in sight. (_Brown Bros._)]

"You would make all the negroes cotton planters?"

"Ah'd have all the cotton crop in the hands o' the negroes, sah," the
old man answered, "an' the trade schools would provide fo' all the
workers in towns in the cotton district, an' in solid negro towns thar'd
be room fo' all the colored doctors an' lawyers an' preachers."

"I see your idea," said Hamilton. "You would just make the cotton
section solid negro. Would you try and be independent of the whites?"

"No, sah," the other answered decidedly. "It's jes' those No'thern
niggehs that are talkin' that way all the time. Thar's a lot o' talk up
No'th, but down hyar an' furtheh South, whar the mos' o' the colored
people are, they're willin' enough to be let alone. Thar's a lot o' talk
about a race war, an' it might come some time, but not likely fo' a good
many hundred years, an' somethin will come up to settle it befo' then.
But Ah'm reckoning sah, that yo'll be wantin' to make war unless Ah let
yo' go to bed. Thar's a bell, sah, if yo' want anythin'."

"I wonder," said Hamilton half aloud, as the door closed behind his
host, "if that isn't a whole lot more likely to be true than the
alarmist stories you read in magazines."

The following morning, after Hamilton had almost finished covering one
side of the street in collecting the census statistics, he heard the
trot of horses' hoofs, and looking up, saw a tall, stern-visaged
soldierly-looking gentleman, with iron-gray hair, riding a powerful
iron-gray horse. Beside him rode a young fellow, evidently his son. Both
reined up when they saw Hamilton. Seeing that he was expected to
introduce himself, he stepped forward.

"My name is Hamilton Noble," he said; "I'm the census enumerator for
this district. I presume you are Colonel Egerius?"

"Yes, Mr. Noble," the old Confederate leader replied. "Ephraim sent me
word that you were here, and I received a letter a week ago from the
supervisor, whom I have known for some time, telling me that you were a
friend of his. I wanted to bid you welcome, sir, and to express the hope
that we shall have the pleasure of seeing you at dinner with us
to-night."

Hamilton bowed.

"I shall enjoy coming, Colonel Egerius," he said. "At what hour?"

"Six-thirty," the Colonel replied, "we keep early hours in the country.
By the way," he added, "have you heard anything of this peonage business
here this morning?"

"No, sir," the boy answered, "I started out with my schedules bright and
early."

"I purpose to hold an inquiry after lunch," the planter continued. "You
are lunching at Ephraim's of course?"

"Yes, Colonel Egerius," the boy answered.

"Very well," was the reply, "we will lunch together if you have no
objection. Since I heard of your expected arrival I have been looking
forward to your visit. Now that you are here, sir, we must make the most
of you. Allow me to present my son Percy."

Hamilton made a suitable reply, and consulting his watch found that it
was almost lunch time.

"I will join you in half an hour, Colonel Egerius," he said, "and shall
look forward to the evening with great pleasure."

"You play a good knife and fork, I trust," said the old gentleman,
smiling, as he gathered up the reins.

"Almost good enough to do justice even to Southern hospitality,"
answered Hamilton with a smile. The old soldier nodded approvingly.
"Remember now," he said, as he rode away, "we'll hold you to your word."

At lunch Hamilton took occasion to remark on the well-being of
Bullertown.

"I was surprised," he said, "to find a village so well managed and
looked after, and all by negroes."

"There's nothing surprising in that," the Colonel answered. "How could
they do anything different? I have shown them every step they were to
take; all that they had to do was to continue."

"You mean they couldn't have done it by themselves?"

"The negro never has done anything by himself," the old Confederate
replied. "He has lived as far back as time goes in one of the most
fertile and well-watered countries of the world,--Africa--and he never
had enough initiative to rise out of tribal conditions."

"But he seems to be doing all right now," suggested Hamilton. "I hear
the negro is getting to own quite a share of the cotton crop."

"He has not done so well as appearances would show," the soldier
replied; "he has learned a few--only a few--of the tricks of modern
civilization, and those only outwardly. The few cases of leadership such
as that of Booker T. Washington, for instance, are due to the white
strain, not the negro."

"I thought Booker T. Washington was a pure negro!" exclaimed Hamilton.

"He is not," was the emphatic reply. "In his own writings he states that
his father was a white man. His mother was a negress. He gets his brains
from his father and his color from his mother."

"Do you think that the negroes will ever marry enough with the white to
become all white?"

"Not now," the Southerner answered. "It is a crime in many States and
punishable with imprisonment."

"Then what's going to be done?"

"I'm unreconstructed yet," the old Colonel said grimly. "I think still
the negroes were better off as slaves. They're always going to be
slaves, anyway, whether in name or not. And as for their relation to
the cotton crop. You say they are succeeding in it. Perhaps. But did
they learn the uses of cotton, did they develop machinery to clean and
spin it, or devices for weaving? Was it negroes who worked out the best
means of cultivating the cotton or experimented on the nature of the
most fertile soils? Not a bit of it. They simply grow cotton the way the
white folks showed them."

"But they seem to be getting a big share of it!"

"I see you've been talking to Ephraim. What good would it do the negroes
if they owned every foot of the cotton land? They would still have to
depend on the man that buys the crop, and the cotton exchange wouldn't
be run for the benefit of the negro. In slavery days, too, there was
some one to take an interest in the negro and help him. Now he's got to
do it for himself, and he can't do anything but go on in the same old
groove."

"You think it was better in the old days?"

"In some ways for the negro, yes. But it was harder for the people of
the South. There was always trouble of some kind in the slave quarters.
Before the war you had to support all the old, the sick, the children,
and the poor workers. Under present conditions you hire just whom you
want. The cost is about even, and the responsibility is less. Now," he
added, lunch being over, "if you've finished we'll go and see what this
peonage business is. Ephraim," he called, "is that man here?"

"Yas, sah," answered the old negro. "He's hyar."

"Bring him in, then."

In a minute or two the old darky returned, bringing with him a gaunt,
emaciated negro, who cringed as he entered the room. He was followed by
a brisk, young mulatto.

"If yo' please, Massa," said the old preacher, dropping unconsciously
into the familiar form of address, "this is Peter, young Peter's
father."

"I've seen him before," the Colonel said abruptly "Peter, were you on
this plantation?"

"Yas, Massa."

"What's the matter with him, Ephraim?" queried the old soldier. "He
looks to me as though he hadn't had enough to eat."

"It isn't only that, Massa," said the negro, "he's been whipped 'most to
death."

"Whipped!" cried Hamilton, startled. Then, remembering suddenly that
the matter was not his concern, he flushed and turned to the Colonel.

"I beg your pardon, sir," he said, "I forgot."

The old soldier, who had been a stern disciplinarian in his time, had
drawn himself up indignantly at the boy's interruption, but his
immediate apology caused the old gentleman to see that it was just a
flash of boyish indignation, so he merely turned and said:

"Let him tell his story."

"Ah was born hyar durin' the war," the negro began. "Ah c'n jes'
remember Missis, an' Ah've often heard mah mother cry when we was livin'
in Atlanta an' trouble come, 'If only Ah could go to Missis.'"

"Get to your story, boy," said the Colonel, "I haven't time to waste."

"Ah was brought up in Atlanta, Georgia, an' times was always hard. Six
years ago Ah hired out to a lumber man in Florida. Thar were sixty of us
hired together. The pay was good. The day we come, we were put into a
group o' huts with a stockade 'roun', an' men with rifles guarded us
night an' day. Ah reckon thirty men was shot tryin' to escape durin' the
years I was thar."

"Thirty?"

"Yas, sah, leastways I know of five, an' heard o' the rest."

"Talk about what you know, not what you've heard," admonished the old
soldier. "Go on."

"It was killin' work. We had to be in the woods by daylight an' stay
thar until it was too dark to see. Thar was trouble enough at first but
the worst come later. About three years ago a lot mo' huts was put up
an' the stockade was made bigger. We thought things would be easier as
the new men would get all the knockin' about. Nex' week the new crowd
came,--they were convic's hired for the job."

"Excuse my interrupting, Colonel Egerius," asked the lad, "but can that
be true? Does any State hire out its convicts to forced labor?"

"Some do," was the reply, "and Florida is one of them. Go on, boy."

"Floggin's started in when the convicts come, an' thar was no difference
made between us an' them. We were supposed to be paid, but our pay was
always in tickets to the comp'ny store, an' they charged double prices
for everythin'. They never gave us a cent o' money. A lot of us got
together an' decided to escape, but when it come to doin' it, only
three would go. One got away entirely, one was shot, an' Ah was caught.
They took me to the stockade an' whipped me 'mos' to death, three days
runnin'. The third day Ah was so near dead that they didn't tie me up,
an' when, hours later, Ah did stagger to mah feet, they jes' pointed to
the fields whar the hands was workin'. Ah heard one o' the guards say,
'He won't go far,' an' Ah hid in the woods, Ah don' know how long, jes'
livin' on berries, an' at las' Ah got away. Ah knew Ah would be safe in
Kentucky."

The Colonel looked at the man closely.

"I believe you've been a bad nigger," he said, "and I wouldn't believe
any more of your story than I had to. But it's easy enough to see that
you have been abused, and that you need help right now. I'll give you a
chance. Peter, your father is staying with you?"

"Yas, sah."

"Ephraim," the Colonel said, turning to the old preacher, "put this man
on the payroll as a field hand, beginning from to-morrow, but don't send
him to the field for a couple of weeks. Behave yourself," he added,
turning to the peonage victim, "and you'll be all right here."

The negro thanked him profusely, and went out, his wretched frame
showing up miserably in the strong sunlight as he passed by the window
of the dining room.

"But that's worse than any slavery I ever heard of," burst out Hamilton
indignantly.

"Peonage?" answered the old veteran. "Oh, yes, much worse."

"And it still goes on?"

"There were several hundred stockades in operation last year," was the
reply, "and that's a fair sample of their work."

[Illustration: HOW MOST OF THE NEGROES LIVE. Type of shack usually seen
in Southern States, though the owners are not always in poor
circumstances.]



CHAPTER VII

HOBOES ON THE TRAMP


Although he realized that his lines had fallen in pleasant places for
the enumeration work, it was not without a certain sense of satisfaction
that Hamilton entered up what was marked on the map as the last house,
and started for the supervisor's office. He was a day ahead of time, and
was congratulating himself on his success in having covered the entire
district in the appointed time. In order to make his record as good as
possible the lad thought he would get an early start and be in the
supervisor's office before noon, thus emphasizing his punctuality.
Accordingly it was but a little after seven o'clock when he was in the
saddle and on the road.

Knowing from experience that the highway made quite a circuit to reach a
little group of three houses, which he had already enumerated, Hamilton
struck out across country, using a little footpath through some woods.
At that early hour of the morning he was not expecting to meet any one,
and it was a great surprise to him when he heard voices. A moment later
he reached a small clump of trees, and came right upon three men, one
with a tea-pot in his hand, standing up and leaning a little forward as
though ready to show aggressiveness to any intruder, the other two on
the ground, one sitting, and one lying half asleep on some boughs
carelessly thrown down. As Hamilton was still in his enumeration
district and felt that here were some people who might not have been
registered, he pulled up.

"'Morning, boys!" he said ingratiatingly.

"Howdy!" the impromptu cook replied, and waited for the boy to go on.

"I'm the census-taker for this district," the boy continued, "and I knew
this was a short cut across the fields; but I didn't know I should find
you here."

"Inform the gentleman, Bill," spoke the traveler who was lying down,
"that we were equally unaware of the unexpected pleasure of this meeting
but that we would have been better prepared to meet him had he sent a
courier to announce his coming."

"You heard him," the first speaker supplemented jerking his thumb over
his shoulder.

"I heard him all right," answered Hamilton, dropping immediately into
the spirit of the thing, "but tell him that I was unaware that he had
left his town residence for this convenient and airy country house."

"As I live, an intelligent reply!" was the response in tones of
surprise, and the speaker sat up on his rough couch.

To Hamilton the situation was a little difficult. There would be no
trouble in merely exchanging a few greetings and then passing along on
his journey, but the boy was above all things conscientious, and he
could not forget that these men were probably not entered upon the books
of the census, and that now, on the very last day of census-taking, they
were in his district. And he knew well enough, that if he broached the
question it would not be favorably received. However he thought he saw a
way out.

"If you have a pannikin of tea to spare," he said, "I'd enjoy it."

"If you like to put up with what we've got, join us an' welcome," the
tall tramp said.

"All right," Hamilton answered, "I will."

"Permit me to do the honours!" said the second tramp. "This is 'Hatchet'
Ben Barclay, the gentleman sitting down is 'Jolly' Joe Smith--not
because of his humor but because of his powers of persuasion, and I am
Harry Downe, very much at your service."

"Better known as the 'Windy Duke,'" interjected the tea-maker, who had
by this time returned to his task of preparing breakfast, and was busy
frying slices of ham on a piece of stick over the hot wood coals.

"I'm Hamilton Noble," the boy answered in return, "and I've just got
through taking the census for this district. I've got all the names in
here," he added, tapping his portfolio, "and now I'm going to the
supervisor's office to turn in my reports."

"I am afraid your census will be incomplete," said 'Windy,' "for, so far
as I am aware, the rolls of the United States will be lacking the names
and distinction of this gallant little company."

"Haven't you been listed?" asked Hamilton, glad that the subject should
have seemed to come up in so natural a way and mentally congratulating
himself on the success of his device to secure the friendship of the
crowd.

"Nary a list," said 'Hatchet Ben,' "the rustlers of the Ringling Circus
told us that they had been enumerated four times, once for every week
they played, an' that not a blessed one of the census men would believe
they had been taken before; but they cut us out entire."

"Well, I guess I had better take you right now," said Hamilton. "I've
room on the census sheet for a few more names."

"You can count me out," said 'Hatchet Ben,' "I'm not lookin' for that
kind of fame."

"Don't you think it's fair to the country to let it know who you are?"

"What's the census to me?" the other said defiantly. "I calc'late a
country that doesn't give a fellow a livin' doesn't care much about his
name."

"But you're getting a living, just the same," answered Hamilton, "and
you're an American, anyhow, aren't you?"

"New York State," the tramp replied.

"And you?" asked Hamilton, turning to the orator of the party.

"I'm an Oxford man," answered the 'Windy Duke,' "classical tripos--if
you know what that means."

"I do," answered Hamilton, "but why--" and he stopped.

"You were going to ask me why I prefer to wander afield rather than be
'cribbed and confined' within narrow walls. I am but one of many, an
educated man without any knowledge of how to use his learning. Do you
care for Greek? There are some clever scenes from Aristophanes that I
can give you, or if you have a taste for satire I yield second place to
none in my interpretation of Juvenal. On the pre-Cadmean alphabets I
am--in my humble way--quite an authority. But these magnificent
talents," he added with a self-depreciatory smile, "do not enable me to
run a business as successfully as a Greek fruit peddler or a Russian Jew
vender of old clothes."

"You could teach," suggested Hamilton.

"Only my friends," replied the scholar. "To teach requires pedagogy and
numerous devices for improving the youthful mind. I do not greatly
admire the youthful mind and it bores me. I am informed that I also bore
it. Hence I prefer rather to wander than to teach. I do not claim
originality in this rôle; there have been 'scholar gypsies' before this.
The phrase sounds better than 'educated hobo,' but the meaning is the
same."

"And you?" queried Hamilton of the third speaker.

"Plain American," the other said simply, "born and raised in Ohio. Not a
Yankee, not a Westerner, not a Southerner,--nothin', jest plain
Middle-West American."

"Well," suggested Hamilton, "I think you chaps ought to let me put you
down in the schedule here. We need white men in this country badly
enough in all conscience, and we might as well make the strongest
showing we can. Two Americans and an Englishman will help the average
just that much. Part of the 'white man's burden,'" he added with a
laugh.

"If you put it that way," said 'Hatchet Ben,' "I calc'late after all I'm
elected for one. Anything I can do to put down, even on paper, these
foreigners that live on nothin' and drive a decent man out of a job,
I'll do. I'm down on this jabberin' mob from the south o' Europe bein'
dumped down here by the hundred thousand every year, an' you can take
that straight from me."

"It's a little curious," said Hamilton, noting down the facts as they
came up in conversation, not wanting to work directly upon the schedule
for fear of rebuffs, "that two of you should be Americans and one an
Englishman. Somehow, one always thinks of an American as making good,
not tramping it."

"Nearly all hoboes are Americans," 'Hatchet Ben' explained, "there's a
few English, and a few Swedes. Lots of races in this country you never
meet on the road."

"Trampdom," said 'Windy,' "is a most exclusive circle. For example, you
never saw a Jew hobo, did you?"

"No," Hamilton said. "Never."

"And you're never likely to," 'Hatchet Ben' interjected, "there's no
money in it, not unless it is organized and run on a percentage basis.
There are a few French Canadians, but no real Frenchmen on the road, and
the Dagoes never take to it."

"I wonder why?" Hamilton queried.

"I purpose writing a monograph upon the subject of the nationality of
the Hobo Empire," the 'Windy Duke' broke in, "and therein I shall
enlarge upon my theory that the life of a tramp requires more
independence and more address than any profession I know. I find that
usually those who adopt this unromantic gypsy career are the men who
will not drop to the level of the horde below them and who consequently
take to the life of the road in protest against the usage of an
ill-arranged social state. That, for example, is the condition of my two
friends here."

"Would you mind my asking what made you take to the road?" said
Hamilton, turning to the first speaker.

"Not at all," 'Hatchet Ben' replied. "It's a very usual story. I'm a
steel worker by trade, an' when I was workin' I was reckoned among the
best in the plant."

"What did you quit it for?" asked Hamilton.

"Slovaks," the man answered. "Every year or two the Pittsburg operators
would get together an' pretty soon gangs of foreigners would start
comin' to the West. They seemed to know where to come, an' started work
the mornin' after they got there, without even seein' the boss."

"But that could hardly be, I should think," said Hamilton; "that would
be importing contract labor and they would be stopped at Ellis Island."

"Not much fear of that," the steel worker answered "the operators keep
men in Europe just trainin' the foreigners what to say. These men come
over in the steerage with the immigrants, advance them, if necessary,
the amount of money to enable them to land, buy their railroad tickets
at this end, an' all the rest of it."

"Dangerous business if they got caught at it!"

"They're paid to take chances," the other replied. "Then, when these
foreigners come, they know nothin' about the scale of wages in America
only that the pay is so much larger than anythin' they can get in their
own country, an' they live even here in so cheap a way that no matter
what wages they receive they can put money aside every week. The boss
doesn't see any use in payin' them at a high rate, when they work just
as well for small, an' down goes the wages."

"But they get a poorer grade of labor that way," objected Hamilton, "I
shouldn't think that would pay."

"They make up for it by increasin' the power of machinery, by givin' a
man less and less to learn and more and more of some simple thing to
do."

"In a way that ought to be good, too," the boy persisted, "for the more
a machine does, the bigger wages the man who runs it gets."

"I'm not a machinist," the tramp replied, "an' even if I were I should
be in competition with the Swedes all along the line. Bein' just a
steel worker, I stood for one reduction in wages because they promised
to give me a better job. But this supposed better job was just bossin' a
gang of these foreigners, an' they got after me because I took every
chance I got to talk 'union' to these men, showin' them how they could
just as easily get more pay than they were bein' given. That didn't suit
the company at all, so I was fired, an' they put me on the black list."

"And you couldn't get any more work there at all?"

"Not there, or at any place in the district. Or, for that matter, in any
place in the United States unless I gave a false name. Steel workin' is
my trade, an' I don't know any other; the men that run that trade in the
United States refuse to let me work at it; very well, then, if the
country won't let me earn my livin' by working for it, it'll have to
give me a livin' without. But I'd go to work to-morrow, if I had the
chance."

"Not me," began 'Jolly Joe,' as soon as the tall tramp had finished,
"I'd sooner be a hobo th'n anythin' else I know. In the first place, I'm
not like 'Hatchet Ben,' I don't like work an' I don't do any unless I
have to, an' then besides, there's more exercise for my talents in this
business. If you think it isn't a trick to rustle grub for three hungry
men, just you try it. An' while I've been on the road for nearly six
years, I've never had a dog set on me yet."

"How do you mean?" asked the boy.

"There's always grub on a farm if you know the right way to go about
getting it," was the reply "and there's very few places I ever go away
from without some bread or a hunk of ham or a pie. Lots of chickens get
lost, too, an' you find them wanderin' about in the woods, belongin' to
nobody, an' there's plenty of nests that hens lay astray that the
farmers never could find. If you watch the bees closely, there's nearly
always some swarm that's got away an' made a nest in a dead tree. The
trouble is that most people are too busy to lie still all day an' watch,
an' those that aren't busy don't know."

"But you don't rustle tea that way," said Hamilton, touching the tin
pannikin with his knuckle.

"'Windy' looks after that."

"I am not without some small means," explained the 'Windy Duke,' "but my
income would not permit my living in any sufficiently attractive city
in a manner suitable to my desires. By adopting this vagrant life,
however, I am able to relinquish a part of my very moderate annuity to
my sister, and still retain sufficient to share up with my
fellow-adventurers when times are hard or 'Jolly's' persuasive tongue is
not quite up to the mark."

"But you didn't tell me," said Hamilton, turning to 'Jolly Joe,' "why
you started going on the road. You said you didn't like work, but where
had you tried it?"

"I'll make the story short," was the reply. "I'm a railroad section
hand, an' was lookin' to be made a foreman on a section near New York. I
had a pile of friends among the men just above me, and I believe I would
have worked up pretty rapidly."

"You would be president of the road by now, 'Jolly,'" put in the 'Duke.'

"I'd be goin' up, anyhow," the other replied. "But one day an order came
along from headquarters changin' the make-up of the gangs, an' next week
I found myself the only American on an Italian gang, under an Italian
foreman. All of us were shifted around the same way. The foreman knew a
little English--not much--an' he tried to give me orders in mixed
English an' Italian. I told him I wouldn't do anythin' I wasn't told to
do in straight American, an' when he started in jabberin' and abusin' me
with every bad name he'd heard since he landed, why, I gave him a
hammerin'. So, just as 'Hatchet Ben' here was driven out by Slovaks, it
was a gang of Italians that gave me my throw-down. I tell you America's
all right for everybody but the American He doesn't stand a show."

"That sounds hard for the American working-man," the boy said, "but
there must be a lot of them working somewhere, they're not all tramping
it."

"The back-country farmer is an American nearly every time," 'Hatchet
Ben' replied, "the foreigners don't get so far away from the cities and
towns. I don't know why."

"I think I know the reason of that," volunteered Hamilton. "I heard some
census men talking about it, and one of them had spent a long time in
Italy. He said that while it was true plenty of the peasants worked in
the fields, they usually lived together in villages and went to the
fields in the morning. Then the farms are very small,--our average-sized
farm here would make five or six of them,--and so the village idea
can't be made to work in this country, and the Italians won't stand for
being separated from the nearest neighbor by a mile or two."

"I can quite understand that," the Englishman said thoughtfully; "it
would be far less pleasant living in this care-free fashion of ours if
one were doing it alone."

"It may be rather pleasant," Hamilton admitted slipping back into his
pocket the necessary details for the schedule which he had secured from
the three men while breakfast was being prepared, "but I think a day or
two of it would be enough for me, and I certainly wouldn't like your end
of it, 'Jolly'!"

"Well," the other replied, as Hamilton strolled over to his mare and
lightly swung himself in the saddle, "if I hadn't done some rustlin'
yesterday you would have gone without breakfast this mornin' or at
least, without this kind of breakfast."

"And mighty good it was," the boy replied, "I don't know when I've
enjoyed a meal so much. I'm ever so much obliged, boys. Good-by."

The incident gave Hamilton plenty to think about on the rest of the ride
to town, and he found himself genuinely sorry not to have a chance to
see more of the three. He could not help admitting to himself that
under proper conditions they would be just as fine citizens of the
country as any one could be, and the phrase "Nearly all hoboes are
Americans" kept running in his head.

He reached the supervisor's office just as a young fellow, but little
older than Hamilton himself was stepping out. He noticed Hamilton's
portfolio and said, a little mischievously, the boy thought:

"How many, if I may ask?"

"Twenty-two hundred and six," answered Hamilton, rightly supposing the
question to refer to the number of people he had enumerated.

The other threw up his hands.

"I pass," he said, "you beat me by nearly a hundred," and he laughed and
went on, while Hamilton continued on his way to the supervisor's office.
The boy exchanged greetings with his friend, who said:

"I heard you talking with that young chap who just left, when you were
coming into the office. Do you know him at all?"

"Not in the least," replied Hamilton, and he quoted the brief
conversation.

"There's quite a story about that case," the supervisor said, settling
himself back in his chair, "and though I'm as busy as an angry hornet
I'll stop just long enough to tell you. When I was picking the
enumerators for the Gullyville district--that's away at the other end of
the section from where you were--I found an unusual number of
applicants. At the examination, however, there were two who stood head
and shoulders above the rest. One was the principal of a village school,
and another was the chap you saw. His name is Wurtzi, and he gave his
occupation as a student and his age as nineteen."

"I didn't think he looked even as old as that," commented Hamilton.

"Yes, he's nineteen. As I was saying, the choice seemed to lie between
these two. Wurtzi's paper was a few points better than the other, indeed
I think it was one of the best tests turned in to me from any center. On
the other hand, the schoolmaster was a graduate of one of the large
colleges, had lived most of his life here and in the mountain districts
of the State, was prominent in church affairs, and knew everybody. That
was why, when I sent the papers to Washington, I recommended him for
appointment instead of the boy, of whom I knew nothing except that his
examination paper was slightly the better of the two."

"Yet the boy got the job!"

"He did," the supervisor answered. "The government rejected my
recommendation, and I got a letter from the Director stating that Wurtzi
should be appointed on his showing rather than the other unless I knew
something against him."

"I suppose that was fairer," Hamilton said thoughtfully, "but I thought
that matters of that kind were left to the discretion of the
supervisor."

"Generally they were, but still there were reversals in a good many
cases," was the reply. "But from everything that I've heard, suggestions
from Washington seem to have had the knack of being just about exactly
the right thing. They certainly were in this case. I sent the lad his
commission at once, of course."

"What did the master have to say?" asked Hamilton.

"I'm coming to that," the supervisor replied. "Two or three days later
he came into my office.

"'I understand Wurtzi has secured the enumerator's job?' he said.

"'Yes,' I answered, 'it was a pretty close thing between you so I sent
the papers to Washington to decide, and the Director ruled that the
other was more satisfactory.' The schoolmaster laughed and sat down.

"'I don't know whether I ought to be angry or pleased,' he said; 'it all
depends on how you look at it whether it can be considered as a
compliment or an affront.'

"I just stared at him.

"'I don't follow you in the least,' I said. He laughed.

"'Of course you didn't know that Wurtzi was one of the boys in my
school,' he replied, 'and more than that, he is the poorest boy in the
school. He lives about three miles out of the village, and the only way
in which he could secure his father's permission to allow him to come to
school was that he should turn over to him the trifling sum we pay for
janitor work.'"

"Pretty good stuff in the boy to want to learn under those conditions,"
commented Hamilton.

"He wanted to educate himself, and his mother was very ambitious. She is
Polish, evidently of the better class--and, as you know, the Poles are
one of the most intellectual races of the world--and the boy gets his
brains from her. The school-master told me that two years ago the boy
could neither read nor write his own name, and yet, within that time he
had learned to rival his teacher in a fair contest! And during those two
years he had been walking barefoot three miles to school, getting there
by daybreak, making the fire, sweeping the floor, cleaning the windows,
and then settling down to prepare his morning lessons before the opening
of school.

"I told Sinclair," the supervisor continued, "that I thought he ought to
be ten times prouder of the success of his pupil than of the merits of
an examination paper, because it took a higher degree of ability to
teach well than merely to answer a set of test questions, and the boy
must have been wonderfully well taught to achieve so much. He agreed
with me, of course, but I could see that it irked him a little just the
same. He volunteered, however, to assist his pupil as much as he could."

"That was very decent of him, I think," Hamilton said, "lots of men
would have borne a grudge. But did you say his name was Sinclair?"

"Yes," the supervisor answered, "Gregory Sinclair. Why?"

"And you said he had been in the mountains?"

"Quite a good deal."

"Then that must be Bill Wilsh's teacher," exclaimed Hamilton, and he
told the supervisor the story of the "cunjer," the whittled schoolhouse
and the "trying" scholar. "I've got the carving still," he concluded,
"and as you probably will see Mr. Sinclair again soon, I wonder if you
would give it to him for me. Don't forget to tell him that the door was
made to appear open, to show him that he was expected back."

"Of course, I shall be glad to give it to him," the supervisor answered,
"and from what I know of Sinclair, I feel sure he will go back, though
probably only in the holidays and for a visit. Where is this carving?"

"At the hotel, sir," the boy answered, "I'll bring it over this
afternoon. I'm sorry not to have had the chance of seeing him myself, he
must be a fine chap."

"He is," the supervisor agreed, "and he showed the stuff he was made of
in connection with this poor lad in his school. I happen to know that he
really put in a lot of time helping Wurtzi in order that he might make
good."

"You said the boy was Polish?"

"Polish, of the stock that's making another country out of the deserted
districts of New England. Land that has been abandoned by the Americans
the Poles are making productive. That's where the real wealth of the
future is coming in--from the people who will work the ground without
exhausting it as reckless landowners formerly have done all through this
country. Many a farm has had its soil so robbed of nourishment that its
fertility will take years and years to return. These European peasants,
however, are so used to making much of a small plot that they are
redeeming the ground. You know, I'm one of those that believe in all the
immigration possible, and I've never forgotten one of Broughton
Brandenburg's sayings about it."

"What was that?" asked the boy.

"That 'it is always the most ignorant immigrant that makes the best
citizen.'"

"I certainly don't see that," Hamilton replied.

"He absorbs Americanism more quickly," the other explained. "For
example, there's no class hatred idea to be fought down, no anarchistic
tendencies, no desire to turn liberty into license. The ignorant
immigrant comes to work, he gets a job immediately, he finds that there
is good pay and steady employment for a man who does work. There's not
one in ten thousand of that kind that does not prosper from the day he
lands. But you'll hear all sorts of ideas and suggestions in Washington.
When do you go?"

"I'm leaving to-night, sir," the boy answered. "I thought it might
please the Bureau if I were there a day ahead of time."

"They'll be willing enough," the supervisor answered "I imagine every
added helper is of value now, with all these schedules piling in. I'll
drop a note to the Director to-night, telling him of your work; your
schedules are in good shape, and I think you've done very well to cover
your district in the time. I wish you all sorts of luck, and write to me
once in a while from Washington so that I can hear what you're doing and
how you're getting along."

Hamilton thanked the supervisor heartily, and after a word or two of
farewell returned to the house of a friend where he was to dine before
starting on the night train for Washington. Immediately on reaching
there he went directly to the Census Bureau, sent in his card, and the
Director's secretary, a keen young fellow, came out to see him.

"I think I've heard Mr. Burns speak about you, Mr. Noble," he said,
looking at the card he held in his hand. "The Director is very busy
right now, but he said when you came you were to go down to Mr. Cullern;
I'd take you there myself but I'm needed here."

"Well, there's really no necessity, Mr. Russet," the boy replied, "tell
me where it is and I'll find my way."

But the other beckoned to an attendant.

"Show this gentleman to Mr. Cullern," he said. Then, turning with a
smile to the boy, he said, "You'll be all right, I guess."

Hamilton thanked him, and the secretary hurried back through the
swinging half length door to the inner office. Following the messenger,
Hamilton found himself on the main floor with hundreds of machines
clicking on every side of him. The chief of the floor looked at the
card, turned it over, read what had been penciled on the back, and said
promptly:

"I think I'll start you on one of the punching machines."

"Very well, sir," the boy answered, "I want to learn everything I can."

"I have a vacant machine," the other continued, "one of the men is away
on sick leave. If you want to begin right away you can start this
afternoon. Here," he said, picking up a pamphlet from a pile which lay
on a table near by, "is a list of instructions."

"I'm quite ready to start now," Hamilton declared.

"Your machine is over here, then," his new superior said, leading the
way to a far corner of the room. "You had better try to find out as much
as you can from the instructions, and one of the foremen will be 'round
to tell you more about the working of it a little later."

"All right, sir," the boy replied, sitting down at the machine, "I think
I can get on to it without much trouble."

The keyboard was entirely strange to Hamilton. It looked not unlike that
of a big typewriter, or resembled even more closely a linotype keyboard,
only it was divided off into sections each one of which was brightly
colored, giving the arrangement of the keys quite a gay effect. The
instructions were very clear, and with the machine in front of him the
boy quickly saw its principles. He was so deeply sunk in the book that
he did not notice the coming of the sub-section foreman, who looked down
at the boy for a moment or two with an amused smile. Presently he
coughed, and Hamilton looked up suddenly to see him standing there.

"I beg your pardon," asked the boy, "were you speaking?"

"No," said the newcomer, "but I was going to before long. You seem to be
just eating up that book."

"Mr. Cullern said he thought you would be here before very long," said
Hamilton, rightly guessing that this must be the foreman, "and I thought
the more I knew about it before you came, the better it would be all
'round."

"Do you know anything about census work?" was the next question.

"Yes, sir," the boy answered, "I was an assistant special agent on the
manufactures division, and I only left my population district the day
before yesterday."

"I thought it likely that you had been doing enumeration work," the
foreman answered, "coming in to-day, just when that end of the work
closes, but I didn't know, of course, you had been doing manufactures. I
wonder why they sent you to this department; I should have supposed that
you would be editing schedules."

"I hope to go on the Census Bureau force permanently," the boy
explained, "and I was anxious to have a chance to learn all the various
parts of the work by doing them myself. Judging from this book, it
doesn't seem hard."

"Let me hear what you know about it."

Hamilton closed the book.

"I think I have it fairly straight," he said. "These first four columns
on the card I have nothing to do with, so far as I can make out; is that
right?"

"Yes," the older man replied, "that is looked after in another way. The
district and State and all that sort of thing go in that section, and
that is arranged by what we call a gang-punch."

"I don't know how that works," the boy said, "this list of instructions
to the punching clerk doesn't say anything about it."

"It doesn't need to," his informant answered, "for the simple reason
that the punching clerk has nothing to do with it. But I'll tell you if
you want to know. There are about seventy thousand enumeration districts
in the United States, and all we have to do is to set the gang-punch to
the number of the district."

"But there are not seventy thousand divisions on the card or anything
like it," the boy cried, "all told there are only forty-eight places in
those four columns."

"That works by the permutation of numbers," was the reply. "You can
arrange two numbers in only two ways, but you can arrange three figures
in six ways, four in twenty-four ways, five in one hundred and twenty
ways, six in seven hundred and twenty, seven in over five thousand ways;
ten would give you over three and a half million ways of changing them
around--and you can see for yourself where forty-eight would land you.
The actual address, street, and house number, and everything else we get
by reference to the schedule."

"That's enough!" cried Hamilton. "I can see now. It would take a sheet
of paper a city block long merely to write down the figures."

"If you wrote down end to end all the possible relations that
forty-eight figures could be put into you'd need a lifetime to write
them down. Why, just with an alphabet of twenty-four letters, Leibnitz
the great mathematician, calculated that over six hundred septillions of
easily pronounceable words, none over three syllables long, could be
arranged. We have room enough to arrange any trifling little matter
like seventy or eighty million addresses, although, in truth, the
gang-punch merely provides the district and section of district, and the
schedule would give the rest if we had any need to refer to it."

"I see," said Hamilton, "and I suppose a number is put on the card which
corresponds with every district number on the schedule. Then I come in
on all the rest of the card."

"Yes, every other hole is punched by the clerk."

"But this machine doesn't seem to punch," the boy objected; "I put in a
canceled card just now and tried it, but when I put the key down,
nothing happened, the key just stayed down."

"It's not supposed to punch until the whole card is ready," the other
explained. "You depress into position the various keys you want until
all the records needed for this one card are ready. Then you can glance
over your keyboard, comparing what might be called your map of depressed
keys with the line of the schedule you are copying. If one is wrong, you
can release that one and put down the correct one in its place, the card
being as yet untouched. You see, each field or division of the card
corresponds with a differently colored section of the keyboard, and this
makes it easy to insure accuracy in reading from the schedule."

"But how is the punching done, then?" queried Hamilton.

"You press the bar," the foreman explained, "and that throws in the
motor attached to the punching mechanism, which brings the entire die
and card up against the end of the punches which have been depressed by
the operator, including, of course, the gang-punch, and these perforate
the card. It is then immediately withdrawn, and drops automatically into
either the 'male' or the 'female' compartments of the machine, the
location of the hole tilting the slide that determines on which side the
punched card shall fall."

"So that really the sorting into sexes is done by the one and the same
operation as the punching of the card," the boy remarked; "I see now.
That's a first-class idea."

"It saves a great deal of work," the older man said. "Then, too, with
the same group of motions a new card has been fed from the holder and is
in place for punching. At the same time, the schedule, which is held in
rigid alignment, has been turned just exactly the right amount to bring
the next line in the direct vision of the operator. Thus he never has
to stop and think whether he has done a line or not and never skips a
line because of an error of eyesight."

"I can understand that now," the boy answered "Now let me see whether I
really can do the rest of the card. In what you call the third
column--though it is really the fifth--I punch either 'Hd' for the Head
of the Family, 'Wf' for Wife, 'S' or 'D' for Son or Daughter, and 'Ot'
for Other?"

"That's right."

"Then, further down the same line, 'M' is Male and 'F' is Female. That's
easy enough. In the next section down, but still in the same line is 'W'
for White, 'Mu' for Mulatto, 'B' for Black, 'Ch' for Chinese, 'Jp' for
Japanese, and 'In' for Indian."

"Go ahead," the foreman said, "you're not likely to go wrong as yet."

"The age seems clear, too," said Hamilton, "you punch the five-year
period nearest to the age and then add on. For instance, the way it
looks to me is that if a fellow was sixteen, you would first punch the
'15' and then the '1' in that little cornerwise bit at the bottom of the
next section. But I don't see what the '5' is for."

[Illustration: FACSIMILE OF PUNCHED CENSUS CARD. Example of record made
for every person in the United States, this card being the actual record
of the author.]

"That's for babies in the sixth division of the first year, or from nine
to eleven months old; the first division means under one month, and the
rest either one, two, or three months apiece."

"I see it all now," exclaimed the boy, "you have to punch two holes for
age for every person. For a boy of ten, you would have to punch the '0'
as well as the '10,' I suppose, to make sure he isn't older and the
extra years forgotten."

"That's the reason exactly."

"The meaning of the section next to the age is easy, too," Hamilton
continued. "'S' for Single, 'M' for Married, 'Wd' for Widowed, 'D' for
Divorced, 'Un' for unknown, any one could guess. But this 'Mother
Tongue' business has me going."

"I thought it would," was the reply. "But it's not so hard if you
remember a few things, particularly that the language of a country is
not always spoken by the greatest number of its inhabitants. Now the
mother tongue of Wales is Welsh, but a large proportion of the people do
not speak Welsh. Thus an English-speaking Welshman's card would be
punched 'OL,' meaning Other Language, or the language next in
importance to the mother language of the country."

"On that basis," said Hamilton, "if the second most important language
of Denmark is German a card that was punched 'Den' for the country would
have to be punched 'OL' if the person whose census was registered had
spoken German as his native tongue, but 'LC' if he had spoken Danish,
which is the native tongue of the country. But I should think there
would be some cases that would not come under that rule."

"There are--a few," the foreman replied, "but the way in which those are
to be punched will be noted on the schedule by the schedule editors."

"Some schedules need a good deal of editing, I suppose," exclaimed
Hamilton thoughtfully.

"You may be sure of that," the other answered. "If you think for a
moment how impossible it would be to have all the supervisors and
enumerators work exactly in the same style, you can see how necessary it
must be for some group of persons to go over them to make them all
uniform. Besides which, there are a lot of obvious mistakes that the
editors remedy before the card is punched ready for tabulation. But go
on with your explanation, so that I can see if you really do understand
it."

"The parent columns run the same way, of course," Hamilton continued,
"'U.S.' meaning any one born in the United States, and 'Un.' cases in
which the parentage is unknown. Then 'NP' means native-born parents, and
'FP' foreign-born parents. Further on, 'Na' means Naturalized, 'Al'
stands for Alien, 'Pa' that first papers have been taken out, and 'Un'
unknown. Down the column, 'En' seems to mean that the foreign-born can
speak English, 'Ot' that he can only speak some tongue other than
English. The year of immigration, of course, is obvious. But this
occupation, I can't make head or tail of!"

"That you have to learn," the instructor said. "There is a printed list
here for reference that contains the principal kinds of employment in
the United States and classifies them. In a very little while you will
find that you can remember the numbers which signify the more common of
these and you will need to refer to the list but seldom. All occupation
returns not contained in the printed list will be classified and punched
later by a special force of clerks. Holes punched for those out of work
and the number of weeks unemployed are all easy. At the top of the last
column, too, 'Emp' means Employer, 'W' Wage Earner, while 'OA' means
working on his or her own account, and 'Un' is for Unemployed."

"All right, sir," Hamilton replied, "I think I can do it now. I should
find it harder, though, if I hadn't been writing all those things just
exactly as they are here on population schedules for the last month."

"It makes an astonishing difference," the experienced man agreed, "you
know the why and wherefore of everything. Now you had better take this
old test schedule and I will give you fifty blank cards, and we will see
how they come out."

Through the rest of the afternoon, Hamilton worked steadily over this
set of cards, not only doing the work, but getting the principles of the
whole thing thoroughly in his mind, and, as he had said to the
sub-section chief, knowing just the manner in which the schedules had
been made up helped him to an extraordinary degree. He was well pleased,
therefore, when he came down to work the following morning, to find at
his machine a real schedule, not the test that he had been working on
the afternoon before; the exact number of cards required for his
schedule all ready in the hopper of the machine, and it was pointed out
to him that error was not permissible and that he must account for every
card.

"Why is that?" asked Hamilton, "what difference would a card or two
make?"

"It isn't the cards, it's the numbering," the other explained. "Don't
you remember that each card was numbered, and so, if one card is wrong
it would throw all the succeeding numbers out? Besides, you never have a
chance to see whether a card is right or not, because after you have
touched the lever and the card is punched it slides into its own
compartment. You have all the chance you want to look over your
arrangement of depressed keys before the card is punched, but none
after."

Before a week had passed by, Hamilton was so thoroughly at home with the
machine that the work seemed to him to become more or less mechanical,
and his interest in it began to wane. As--under government
regulations--he left work early, he sauntered over several times to the
verification department to become familiar with the work of the machine
used there. There was a fascination to the boy in this machine, for it
seemed almost to possess human intelligence in its results, and he was
curious to know the principle on which it worked. Generally every one
quit at half-past four o'clock, just as he did, but sometimes a man
would work a few minutes longer to finish a batch of cards, and the boy
would go to watch him.

When he was over there one day, after hours, Hamilton saw Mr. Cullern on
the floor.

"Still looking for information?" questioned the older man, with a smile.

"Yes, sir," answered the boy, "I've been watching this machine and I've
spoken to one or two of the operators about the principle of it, but
they none of them seem to know. They knew how to run it, and that was
about all."

"The principle is simple enough," the chief replied, "but it would be a
bit hard to understand the combination unless you had the clew. Then it
is all as clear as day, although the machine itself is a little
complicated. You noticed, of course, that the operator lays a card on
this plate which is full of holes, and you probably noticed that these
holes correspond with the points on the card, and that the way in which
the card is fed into the machine insures that the holes shall coincide
exactly."

"That I saw," Hamilton answered, "and I could see, of course, that
this was one of the most important parts of the machine, and that upon
it a good deal of the exactness of the work depended."

[Illustration: TABULATING MACHINE. Mechanism whereby the punched cards
are verified and every error prevented, and which also tabulates and
numbers all records taken. (_Courtesy of the Bureau of the Census._)]

"It does," the other replied. "Now if you look into those holes in the
plate you can see a little cup of bright metal under each hole. What do
you suppose that is?"

"I'm not sure, of course," the boy responded, "but it looks very much
like quicksilver."

"That's exactly what it is, quicksilver, or mercury. Now mercury, you
ought to know, can transmit an electric current, so that if an
electrically charged pin comes down into the cup of mercury, the cup
itself being attached to an electric current, a circuit is formed."

"Now I'm beginning to see," the boy said, "but what is the idea of the
cup of mercury; could not the pin just as well touch on a metal plate?"

"It could, of course, but a piece of dust between would prevent contact,
the pins would wear away quickly, and the plate would get worn, whereas,
by the pin just dropping into the mercury there is no friction and no
fear of a missed contact."

"The pins are in that square box at the end of the long arm which comes
down every time a card is put on the plate, aren't they, Mr. Cullern?"
asked Hamilton.

"Yes, and if there is no card there and the pins in the square box are
started down, they are automatically stopped before they reach the
mercury so as not to make a contact on every point. Also if a card were
there without any holes punched, none of the pins would reach the
mercury and no contact would be made."

"But with a punched census card," interrupted the boy, eager to show
that he understood, "the pins go through the holes in the cards and do
not go through where no holes are punched, so that somehow the number of
holes in the card is registered. But still, there's so much difference
in the cards that I don't see how this machine can verify them, can tell
which are right and which wrong!"

"There is variety enough," answered the chief, "for of the hundred
million cards punched, no two are exactly the same, they could not be."

"Couldn't it happen perhaps that two people of the same age should do
the same work, be both married and so forth?" asked the boy
interestedly.

"They would have to live in the same district, they would have to be
employed the same way, they would have both to be married and have the
same number of children and a whole lot more things, and even then--the
cards would be different for they would represent different numbers on
the schedule on which their names were registered. No, there are not two
cards in the entire series punched alike."

"Then I don't see how in the wide world this machine can tell which
cards are right among millions so entirely different from each other."

"They don't verify by finding the cards that are right," was the answer,
"but by picking out the cards that are wrong."

"What's the difference?"

"There is a wide difference. You can see that it would be easy enough to
arrange that machine so that if a wrong combination of contacts were
made the bell would not ring. Such wiring might be highly complex, but
you see the idea is simple. For a right group of contacts, all the wires
are satisfied, as it were, and the bell rings; for an error, one wire,
cut in on by a wrong wire, breaks the contact, and the bell does not
ring."

"But what do you mean by a wrong grouping?" asked the boy.

"You ought to be able to guess that," the chief said reproachfully.
"For instance if a card is punched 'Wf' for Wife and also is punched
'Male' that card is sure to be wrong, and if 'Emp' for employer is
punched on the same card as an age punch showing the person to be a
three-year-old youngster, the card is wrong. There are twenty-three
different possibilities of error which are checked by this verification
machine, and for any one of these twenty-three reasons a card is thrown
out."

"For example if 'Na' for naturalized is punched on the same card as 'N'
for native-born, and things of that sort, I suppose?" the boy
questioned.

"And many others of similar character," the older man agreed.

"But how about insufficiently punched cards?" queried Hamilton. "I can
see that it would be easy to arrange the wires so as to catch really bad
inconsistencies, but supposing a figure were only left out, there would
be no contact made to show the error."

"Except in the age column," was the reply, "there is supposed to be a
punch in every field and only one. Any field which does not have a
contact from every card registers its disapproval by throwing out that
card."

"And what happens to the rejected cards?" asked Hamilton, with interest.

"A checker-up compares them with the original schedules, and if
incorrectly punched, punches a new card, if only insufficiently punched,
punches the missing place. But the number of cards found wrong does not
reach a high percentage."

"You know I've been thinking," Hamilton said thoughtfully, "that while I
suppose it is all right getting all those holes punched in a card, and
so forth, I should think it would be fearfully hard to handle the card
afterwards. All these little holes look so much alike."

"To the eye, perhaps," the chief said, "but you must remember that these
cards are never sorted by eyesight. And you must remember that the
sorting process is done by machinery all the way along, just as the
verifying and the tabulating is handled in a purely mechanical fashion.
You remember that each card was punched with a gang-punch?"

"Of course," the boy said, "that was to specify the district."

"We keep all those together from the time they are punched till after
we are through with the verifying, so that all the cards of a certain
enumeration district, and of every section in that district, are kept
together in a separate box."

"My word," Hamilton exclaimed, "what a storage you must have!"

"You ought to go down and see it some time," the other said. "It's big
enough, with every State and every county and every district in the
country having its own place, and every little village in that district
right where it belongs in a box of its own, under that State, county,
and district. I'm telling you this just to show you that we don't have
to sort the cards for location at all, and that in itself saves us a lot
of labor and time."

"And they were sorted into sexes on the punching machine, I remember,"
Hamilton remarked.

"Yes, and that prevents another handling of every card, you see," the
chief went on, "so that without any further special division, every card
is divided by village, district, county, and State, as well as sex, when
it leaves the punching machine From there it comes to the tabulating
machine--which is just the same as the verification, only instead of the
electrical connections being made through relays only, they are
sometimes made direct to counters."

"Just how, Mr. Cullern?" the boy asked.

"Well," the other continued, "when the pin, passing through the hole in
the card, drops into the little cup of mercury it closes a current
passing through an electro-magnet controlling a counter or a dial
corresponding with each possible item of information on the card, and
for each contact made to each dial, an added unit is registered. The
tabulating process is completed by an automatic recording and printing
system, somewhat along the stock ticker plan, connected with each dial.
When desired, touching an electric button will cause every dial to print
automatically the number recorded on a ribbon of paper."

"That is before sorting?"

"Or after. Cards may be tabulated along a lot of different lines. And
the sorting device depends again upon another machine, operated by the
same principle."

The chief led the boy to another portion of the floor.

"This sorter," he said, "can be set for thirteen different compartments.
In determining the country of birth, for example, at any given point on
the card, an electrically charged brush finds the hole punched and
directs the card in between two of those finely divided wire levels,
where a traveling carrier picks it up and runs it along to the point
where the wires stop, the top wire extending to the furthest
compartment. As the card falls, it is tilted into place against the pile
of preceding cards, an automatic receiver holding them together, the
operator clearing away the pile from each division as it becomes full.
As you can see, that feed knife moves so rapidly and the endless band
fingers carry the cards out of the way in such a hurry that they move
along in a steady stream. We have only twenty of these machines and they
handle all the cards."

"It's hard to believe," said Hamilton wonderingly, "that these machines
don't think."

"We're just building one in here," the supervisor replied, leading the
way into a little partitioned-off section of the room, "that has an
uncanny ingenuity. This machine feeds itself with cards, verifies and
tabulates at an incredible speed. It took some time to perfect all the
adjustments, but it is running finely now, and it will simplify the work
of the next census amazingly, just as the machines you saw have made the
old hand punching machines of former times seem very cumbersome. But
this one," he added, "is a gem."

[Illustration: PIN-BOX AND MERCURY CUPS. Details of mechanism which
almost magically detects mistakes in any census card. (_Courtesy of the
Bureau of the Census._)]

"It's a little like magic, it seems to me," said Hamilton, "to think of
every person in this whole country being registered on a card with a lot
of little holes in it, and practically the whole history on it. It
certainly is queer."

"There is something mysterious in it," the chief answered with a laugh.
"One feels as though all the secrets of the United States were boxed up
and in the storage vaults of the building. But the magician is the
Director. He is the man whose spells have woven this web of
organization, whose skill and knowledge have unlocked commercial
secrets, and whose perception has always seen the essential fact."

"It's great work to have a share in," the boy declared enthusiastically.

"To make us all feel that," his superior replied "is the chiefest spell
of the Director of the Census."



CHAPTER VIII

THE CENSUS HEROES OF THE FROZEN NORTH


"This is surely one blazing day," said Hamilton one day early in June,
as after the noon hour, he settled back at his work on the punching
machine.

"We'll cool you off all right," responded the foreman, who was coming up
at the moment and heard the boy's remark, "for I understand they're
looking for editors on the Alaskan schedules. A big batch of them has
just arrived and I happen to know that your name has been recommended.
Mr. Cullern asked me to send you to him just as soon as you came in."

"I should like that above all things," Hamilton replied, "partly because
I've always been interested in Alaska, and also because this work has
got a little monotonous. I hadn't thought of the Alaskan census," he
continued, "and that's strange too; I should think census-taking up in
that country must have been full of excitement and adventure."

"Probably it was," responded his friend, "but you won't find any
thrilling yarns on the schedules; they'll be just like any other
schedules, I should imagine, only that the occupations will be of a
different variety. But you had better go along and see the chief."

Hamilton went gladly, thinking that no matter how formal the schedules
might be that dealt with Alaska they could not help but show to some
extent the character of the conditions in which they had been secured
and the difficulties attaching to work in that isolated land.

"How would you like to try your hand at the editing of the Alaska
schedules, Noble?" asked the chief of the division when the boy appeared
before him a few moments later.

"Very much indeed, Mr. Cullern," Hamilton replied.

"I understand that you have shown a great deal of interest in your work
while you have been here," the chief said, "and when I was asked
yesterday if I had any one to recommend I thought of you at once. Having
had experience in the manufactures end, as well as in the population,
ought to help you a good deal in the work. You were a special agent in
the manufactures, were you not?"

"Yes, sir," the boy answered, "but I don't think any of the places to
which I went resembled in any way the conditions in Alaska."

"Probably not," the chief said dryly, "New England isn't usually
considered in that light. But the underlying principles are the same, of
course, all the way through. Well, if you want to try it, here is your
chance."

"Very well, sir," Hamilton answered promptly. "I shall be glad to take
it up."

The boy waited a moment, but as there seemed nothing more to be said, he
walked back to his machine, to straighten up before leaving.

"As soon as you're through with that schedule," the foreman in charge of
the sub-section told him, "let me know, and then you can go to Mr.
Barnes, who is in charge of the Alaskan schedules."

"I've nearly finished," answered the boy, "I'll be done in a quarter of
an hour anyway."

Accordingly, a little later, Hamilton found his way to another part of
the building, where he met his new superior, a small, alert, nervous,
quick-spoken man, who, as Hamilton afterwards found out, had the
capacity of working at lightning speed, and then stopping and wanting to
talk at intervals. He said very little when Hamilton first came to him,
merely handing him a number of schedules to edit.

Hamilton watched him furtively several times and noted the amazing
rapidity of his work. Secretly he knew he could not attain that speed,
but he thought he had better make as good a showing as he could, and so
he, too, buckled to the job for all he was worth. When the boy had done
two or three schedules, each containing fifty names, Mr. Barnes reached
out for those that had been edited and went through them closely. He
made one or two corrections.

"That's not half bad, Noble," he said suddenly, "but I can see from one
or two little things you let go by that you are not entirely familiar
with that country. I'll tell you more about it later, but in the
meantime you had better look over some of the reports the supervisors
have sent in; they give you an insight into what those enumerators out
there had to go through in order to secure anything like complete
schedules. Here in one from the Fourth District, for example, there is a
graphic description of the work which I think you ought to enjoy. It's
good writing, too."

"My enumeration work was in Kentucky," said Hamilton, "so I haven't much
line on the conditions in the North. But I've always enjoyed books and
stories about Alaska, and I'd like to read the report."

"It will give you the atmosphere," said Barnes, "listen to this
paragraph, for example: 'The work was performed during the severest
winter known in this part of Alaska by the oldest settlers there. There
did not appear to be a man who did not have a pride in his work, an
anxiety to create a record for traveling time, a desire to enumerate all
the people in the district assigned to him, and to have to his credit
less loss of time because of weather than any of the other agents.'"

"I guess," said Hamilton, "that supervisor had those enumerators just
breaking their necks to beat out the other agents, and he worked on
their pride to get up their speed."

"'That the service lost none of its men from freezing to death, and that
every man returned safely, is a matter for congratulation and of good
fortune, from the fact that there were in this part of Alaska more
deaths from the weather this winter than all preceding years in total;
cases in which those who met such deaths did not begin to go through the
sacrifice and privation that these agents of the service did.'"

"Makes you proud to have been an enumerator, doesn't it?" asked the boy.
"But it always seems difficult to realize hardship unless you have been
there."

"I spent a winter in Alaska," said Barnes emphatically, "and I can feel
the thrill of it in every line. He knows what he's writing of, too, this
man. Hear how he describes it: 'All the men in the service,'" he
continued, "'covered hundreds of miles over the ice and snow, in weather
ranging from 30 to 70 degrees below zero, the average temperature
probably being about 40 below. Because of the absolute lack of beaten
trails--' I wonder," he broke off, "if any one who hasn't been there can
grasp what it means!"

Hamilton waited.

"No beaten trail," Barnes said reminiscently, "means where stunted
willows emphasize by their starved and shivering appearance the nearness
of the timber; where the snow-drifts, each with its little feather of
drifting snow sheering from its crest, are heaped high; where the snow
underfoot is unbroken; where under snow-filled skies a wind studded
with needle-sharp ice crystals blows a perfect gale; where the lonely
and frozen desolation is peopled only by the haunting shape of fear that
next morning a wan and feeble sun may find you staggering still blindly
on, hopelessly lost, or fallen beside a drift where the winter's snows
must melt before your fate is known."

He stopped abruptly and went on with his schedule. Hamilton worked on in
silence. Presently, as though there had been no pause, Barnes resumed
his quotation from the supervisor's report:

"'Because of the absolute lack of beaten trails, and the fact that the
snow lies so loosely on the ground like so much salt, no matter what its
depth may be, it was necessary through all their work to snow-shoe ahead
of the dog-teams. When one considers their isolation,--often traveling
for days without other shelter than a tent and fur robes--it can be
understood what sacrifices some of these men made to visit far-away
prospectors' cabins and claims. However, no man who travels in this part
of the country ever considers that there is any hardship, unless there
is loss of life, and they take their work stoically and good-naturedly,
though they drop in their tracks at the end of the day.'"

He tossed over the report to Hamilton.

"Look it over," he said. "I tell you there's some stirring stuff in
that, and just the bald reports of the enumerators' trips leave the
stories of explorers in the shade."

The boy took up the report as he was bidden, and read it with avidity.
Presently, upon a boyish exclamation, the other spoke:

"What's that one you've struck?"

"It's the enumerator from the district of Chandler," answered Hamilton.

"Go ahead and read it aloud," Barnes said, "I can go on with these
schedules just as well while you do."

"'At no time after he left Fairbanks,'" read the boy, "'did the
thermometer get above 30 degrees below zero. His long journey away from
a base of supplies made it impossible for him to carry a sufficient
supply of grub, and he was obliged to live off the country, killing
moose, mountain sheep, and other fresh meat. He froze portions of his
face several times, and on one occasion dropped into six feet of open
water, nearly losing his life in consequence.'"

"That would be fearful," said Barnes, "unless he could pitch camp right
there, put up a tent, build a fire, and change into dry clothing."

"There seems to have been mighty little wood for that up there,"
Hamilton remarked, "because, speaking of this same enumerator, the
supervisor says, further on, 'In crossing the Arctic Range and in
returning he traveled above timber line eighteen hours in both
directions, which, in a country where fire is a necessity, can be
understood is a very considerable sacrifice. He traveled in many places
where a white man had never been before, and as there are no beaten
trails or government roads in the district anywhere, he was obliged,
everywhere, to snow-shoe ahead of his team to beat down a trail.'"

"Did you ever snow-shoe?" asked Barnes abruptly.

"Once," answered Hamilton, "when I went to Canada to visit some cousins;
they had a snow-shoe tramp and insisted on my coming along. But I was
stiff for a week."

"Well," said the editor, "when you try to break trail and have to keep
ahead of a dog-team coming along at a fair clip, it's just about the
hardest kind of work there is."

"They all seem to have had their own troubles," said Hamilton, who had
been glancing down the pages of the report: "here's the next chap, who
got caught in a blizzard while accompanying the mail carrier, and if it
hadn't been for the fact that the people of the nearest settlement knew
that the mail carrier was expected on that day and sent out a rescue
party to search for him, neither of the two men would ever have been
found, and the census would have lost a man."

"That was up in the Tanana region, wasn't it?" queried Barnes, but
without looking up from his work.

"Yes," answered the boy, "and from all accounts that must be a wild part
of the country. Speaking of that same enumerator, the supervisor says:
'That this agent survived the work during the stormy period and came
back alive was the wonder of the older inhabitants of the country. No
less than four times this man was found by other travelers in an
exhausted condition, not far from complete collapse, and assisted to a
stopping place. He lost three dogs, and suffered terribly himself from
frost-bite. In the same district, during the same time, eight persons
were frozen to death, six men and two women.' There's quite a story
here, too, telling how he himself rescued a couple of trappers in the
last stages of hunger, exposure, and exhaustion."

"It's fearful to think of," the other commented; "just imagine those
agonizing journeys in the teeth of an Arctic wind, traveling over
hundreds of miles of trackless wilderness to get less than one-tenth as
many people as a city enumerator would find in one block!"

"But why do it in winter?" asked Hamilton. "It's hot up there in summer,
I've heard, and driving in the warm weather is pleasant enough; there's
no hardship in that!"

"You can't drive where there are no roads, and you can't ride where
there are no horses. Then the time available is short."

"Why is it so short?"

"You haven't a railroad going to every point in Alaska," Barnes pointed
out, "there's usually a trip of several hundred miles before you get to
the place from which to start. And when are you going to make that
journey?"

"In the spring," Hamilton said, "as soon as it gets mild."

"I reckon you don't know much about Alaska," the older man remarked.
"When the snow thaws, the creeks overflow, and the rivers become raging
torrents. You can't ride, and if you walk, how are you going to cross a
swollen river, filled with pieces of ice the size of this room? Those
Alaska rivers are huge bodies of water, many of them, and there are no
bridges."

"How about boats?"

"You mean traveling on those ice-filled rivers? It couldn't be done."

"But as soon as the ice goes out?"

"That's pretty well into June, to start with, and then you would have to
pole up against the current all the way, and the currents of most of the
rivers are very swift. Did you ever pole a boat up against a swift
mountain river?--I thought not. Suppose, by very hard work, you could
make two or three miles an hour up stream,--at that rate how long would
it take you to go up to the highest settlement? And then you would have
to go all the way down again and ascend the next stream; and even then
more than half the settlements would be on streams and creeks you could
not get to with boats because of falls, of rapids, of long portages, and
things of that kind."

"I guess they couldn't use a boat," said Hamilton, "but still I don't
see why they couldn't ride!"

"Ride what? Dogs? Or reindeer? I suppose you mean to take a horse up
there?"

"That's what I was thinking of," Hamilton admitted.

"How would you get him up there? Take him in a dog-sled the preceding
winter? You know a horse couldn't travel on the snow like a dog-team.
And if you did get him up to the starting point during the winter, on
what would you feed him? Dried salmon? That's all there is, and while it
makes good enough dog-feed, a horse isn't built that way. There's no
hay-cutting section up there, and your horse would starve to death
before you had a chance to ride him. And even supposing that you could
keep him alive,--I don't believe you could ride him over the tundra
swamps; there is no horse made that could keep his footing on those
marshy tussocks."

"I see you're right," said Hamilton, "I hadn't thought of all that."

The older man continued: "There are horses in the towns of southern
Alaska, because, you know, there is one narrow strip that runs a long
way south, and there the weather is not severe. But the north is
another matter entirely. The pay that you would have to offer in order
to lure the men away from the gold-diggings would be enormous. No, it
had to be a winter job, and in the Geography section--where I was last
year--it took us all our time to estimate satisfactory enumeration
districts for Alaska."

[Illustration: OVER THE TRACKLESS SNOW WITH DOG-TEAM. Census agents in
Alaska starting on perilous journeys in the most severe winter ever
known in sub-Arctic regions. (_Courtesy of the Bureau of the Census._)]

"The Geography section?" queried Hamilton in surprise. "I hadn't heard
of that. What is that part of the census work for?"

"To map out the enumeration districts," his superior explained. "That is
a most important part of the work. You remember that the enumeration
district was supposed to provide exactly a month's work for each man?"

"Yes," Hamilton answered, "I know I had to hustle in order to get mine
done in the month."

"Supposing," said the other, "that all the people that were on your
schedule had lived in villages close together, would it have taken you
as long to do?"

"Of course not," Hamilton replied, "I could have done it in half the
time. What delayed things was riding from farm to farm, and they were
scattered all over the countryside."

"Exactly," Barnes continued, "but I suppose you never stopped to think
that the number of people in each district and the nature of the ground
to be covered both had to be considered. Then allowance had to be made
for the enumeration of those not readily accessible, and for such
natural obstacles as unbridged rivers; all these had to be mapped out
and gone over by the Census Bureau before the sections were assigned."

"No," the boy replied, "I never really stopped to think who it was that
made up all those districts. And, now you come to speak of it, I don't
see how it could have been done without being on the ground."

"Yet it is evident," the other said, "that it must have been done. It
wouldn't be fair to tell a man to finish a district that represented
seven or eight weeks' work, nor to promise a month's work to a man and
then give him a district that had only two or three weeks' employment.
You couldn't alter the districts afterwards, either, as everything had
to be prepared in Washington for enumeration and tabulation by the
original districts as mapped out."

"You mean," said Hamilton, "that every square mile of territory in the
United States, the number of people on it, the kind of land it was, the
roads and trails, the distance from the nearest town, the rivers, and
the location of bridges across them, and all that sort of thing had to
be worked out in advance?"

"Every acre," was the reply, "and the worst of it was that there was
very little to go by. The lists for the last Decennial Census were only
of use in the Eastern districts, for in the West large towns had grown
up that were mere villages then. Whole sections of territory which were
uninhabited ten years ago are thick with farms today and the 'Great
American Desert' of a few years ago is becoming, under irrigation, the
'Great American Garden.'"

"The Survey maps helped, I should think," said Hamilton. "I have a
friend, Roger Doughty, on the Geological Survey, and he told me all
about the making of the Topographic maps."

"They helped, of course, but even with those it was hard to work out
some of the queerly shaped districts. The supervisors helped us greatly
after the larger districts had been planned, but the Geography division
had to keep in touch with every detail until the entire country was
divided into proportionately equal sections.

"And you had to do that for Alaska, as well!"

"As far as we could. Of course it was difficult to determine routes of
travel there, and to a large extent that had to be left to the
supervisors, but they merely revised our original districting. It took a
lot of figuring in Alaska because of the tremendous travel difficulties
there and the thousands of miles of territory still unsurveyed."

"I had never realized the need of all that preparatory work," the boy
admitted.

"There's a great deal of the work that has to be done in the years
before the census and in the years after," he was informed, "and the
Bureau is kept just as busy as it can be, all the while. The Decennial
Census, although it is the biggest part of the census work, is only one
of its many branches, and then there are always other matters being
looked after, like the Quinquennial Census of Manufactures, and such
numberings as those of the Religious Bodies and the Marriage and Divorce
Statistics of a few years ago."

"I understood the Bureau had regular work all the year round?" Hamilton
said.

"Indeed it has. All the births and deaths that are registered are
tabulated here, and a number of tables of vital statistics are worked
out which are of immense value to doctors not only in the United States
but all over the world. Then, as I think you know, we have for years
made a special study of cotton crop conditions, and there is a bulletin
published at stated intervals showing the state of the cotton industry
in the United States. Then there is all the statistical work on cities
of over 30,000 inhabitants, and there is scarcely a question which has
reference to the population or the manufacturing interests of the
country that is not referred sooner or later to the Bureau of the
Census."

"You work with the Forest Service, too, I believe," said Hamilton.
"Wilbur Loyle, a forest ranger whom I knew very well, showed me some
figures that the Bureau had prepared."

"Only in the collection and publication of statistics of forest
products," said Barnes, rising and changing his office coat,--for the
conversation had run on long after office hours,--"owing to their
co-operation the task is not cumbersome; questions of information or
special statistics asked for by Congress or by the executive departments
take up a great deal of time when added to an already extensive routine
work."

Editing the schedules of the population of Alaska, just as Hamilton had
expected, proved to be of the most intense interest, since, despite the
closest desire on the part of the enumerators to confine themselves
strictly to official facts, the wildness of the frontier life would
creep in. An example of this was the listing of an Eskimo girl on the
schedule as having "Sun" and "Sea" for her parents with an explanatory
note to the effect that she had been found as a tiny girl upon a heap of
sea moss on the beach. Another was when an enumerator wrote on his
schedule under 'language spoken,' "Some pesky lingo; I know most of
their talk, but this was too much for me and the hut was too strong to
stay in long."

Such comments made it easy to create a picture of the semi-savagery of
the fur-clad fishers on the shores of the Arctic Sea.

Another schedule, one which interested the boy greatly, was that in
which the age of an Indian was described as "200 snows." To try to get
this worked out to the probably true age of 80 or 90 years evidently had
been quite a task. The enumerator wrote:

"This Indian ain't 200 years old. He says he's 200 snows, but I can't
quite figure it out. He says he was 20 snows when he got first woman,
kept her 4 snows, then she go away! He complained that 'he had no
women 4 suns and catch no women 4 snows.' He 'got more woman, keep her 5
snows, then she eat cold (frozen to death). Got no woman 20 snows, she
good woman.' He could not give any clue about his children only that
'his chickens 30 to 45 snows!' They reckon here only from what they can
remember, so this buck is probably counting from about ten years old.
That would make him thirty when he first got a wife, thirty-four when
she died, thirty-eight when he got his next wife, and forty-three when
she died. Counting his oldest child at 45 this would make him about
seventy-five. Where the '200 snows' comes in, I don't see."

[Illustration: THE CENSUS IN THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS. Enumerator on a
schooner skirting the icy shores of the glacier-fed waters of the
Behring Sea. (_Courtesy of the Bureau of the Census._)]

A great treat to the boy came, however, when one of the enumerators from
the Second District of Alaska, who had been summoned East in the spring
on business concerning some property with which he was associated, and
had come as soon as the break-up permitted travel, dropped into the
Census Bureau. He made himself known to the Director, and the latter,
always ready to show attention and being really proud of the Census
Bureau staff, arranged to have him shown around the building. The
Alaskan was a small fellow, hard as nails, given to stretches of
silence, but with a ready, infectious laugh and the ability to tell a
good yarn after he got started. Presently, just before quitting time, he
reached the desk where Barnes and Hamilton were editing schedules.

"This ought to interest you," said the Bureau official who was showing
him around, "these men are just going over the Alaskan schedules before
sending them to the machines to be punched and tabulated."

Looking interested, the man bent forward and, with a muttered word of
apology, picked up the schedule on which Hamilton was working at the
time. "This must be one o' mine!" he said, with an air of surprise.

"But that is marked, 'Copy'!" said Hamilton "I was just wondering where
the original was."

"I'm willin' to gamble quite a stack, son," was the surprising reply,
"that you'd have been wonderin' a whole lot more if the original had
come down to you."

"Why, how's that?"

"Well, I reckon I c'n handle dogs better'n I can a pen," he said, "an'
when you come to try an' write one o' these schedules on scraps o' dried
skin you c'n count it sure's shootin' there's some decipherin' got to
be done."

Barnes looked at the official who was showing the Alaskan 'round the
building, and knowing him very well, he said to the visitor, "Spin us
the yarn; I've been up there and I'd like to hear it myself, and I know
the lad is just wild to hear it."

"I want to be a part of that audience, too," said the official, with a
smile.

"I don't want to hold up the job!" the visitor suggested hesitatingly.

"Go ahead," his conductor answered. "Here we are all waiting, and it's
nearly half-past four anyway."

"Well, then, it was up in the Noatak Pass--" he was beginning, when
Hamilton stopped him.

"I don't want to interrupt, right at the start," he said, "but where is
that pass?"

"I should have told you," said the miner goodhumoredly, "it's the pass
between the Endicott an' the Baird ranges, at the extreme northern end
of the Rockies. I hated to go through it, an' I wouldn't have, most
times, not unless there was a mighty big pull to get me over there, but
I had promised to count every one in my district, an' so, of course,
there was nothin' else to do but go, even though I knew there was no one
on the other side but a bunch of Eskimos. Well, we were halfway up the
pass when the Indian guide stopped the dogs an' listened. It was just
about noon an' the travelin' was good, so that, wantin' to make time, I
got good an' mad at the stop. Knowin' my Indian, I kep' quiet just the
same, always bein' willin' to bet on an Indian bein' right on the trail.
First off, I could notice nothin', then, when I threw back my parka hood
I could hear a boomin' in the air as though some one was beatin' a gong,
miles and miles away. It was so steady a sound that after you had once
heard it for a while you wouldn't notice it, an' you would have to
listen again real hard to see if it was still goin' on."

"Like distant thunder?" queried Hamilton.

"Not a bit. It was high, like a gong, an' it wasn't any too good to
hear. The dogs knew it, too, for though we had been stopped nearly five
minutes none of them had started to fight."

"Do dogs fight every time they stop?"

"Just about. They try to, anyway. In the traces, of course, they can't
do much but snap an' snarl, but that they're always doin'. This time,
however, all save one or two of them stood upright sniffin' uneasily.

"'Wind?' I asked the Indian.

"'Heap wind!' he answered. 'Go back?'

"Now you may lay ten to one that when an Indian is the first to suggest
goin' back, trouble with a big 'T' is right handy. I reckon that was the
first time I ever did hear an Indian propose goin' back. 'Why go back,
Billy?' I asked.

"'Heap wind,' he repeated, 'old trail easy.' He pointed ahead, 'No
trail!'"

"He meant, I suppose," Hamilton interjected, "that if you doubled on
your tracks the trail would have been broken before, and it would be
easy going."

"That's the bull's-eye, and if a storm did come up we'd have a trail to
follow and not get lost."

"Did you go back?"

"I did not. I figured that while we were about a day's journey to a
settlement either way, we were perhaps an hour nearer where we were
goin' than where we had come from, an' that perhaps the storm would hold
off long enough for us to make it. Those storms last for days,
sometimes, an' we'd have the trip to make anyway, even if we did go
back. Besides, I didn't want to lose the time. 'No, Billy,' I called to
the Siwash, 'go on!'

"I was sorry the minute I said it, because I knew the Siwash thought me
wrong, although, bein' an Indian, of course he never showed a sign. He
started up the dogs without a word. I knew he thought it reckless and
dangerous, but tortures wouldn't have made him say so. In half an hour's
time, I began to be sure he was right."

"Did the storm strike as soon as that?" asked the boy.

"No. If it had, I think I should have gone back. But at the end of that
half-hour, we topped a rise that gave a view of the country ahead an'
showed it to be broken an' bad travelin'. I shouldn't have liked the
look of it at any time, but with a storm brewin' an' the Indian wantin'
to go back, it sure did look ugly. But the faint roarin' of the distant
storm sounded no louder, the sky was no heavier, the air no colder, the
wind no higher,--an' I built my hopes upon a delay in its comin', an'
plunged on. We were makin' good time; the dogs were keepin' up a fast
lick, an' the Indian ahead, workin' to break the trail, was movin' like
a streak. I sure never did see an Indian travel the speed he did. I was
behind, pushin' the sled, an' I had to put out all there was in me. An
hour went by, an' I was just beginnin' to think that we would be able to
cover the greater part of the distance, when a huge white shape rose
from the snow near by, passed in front of the sledge, and disappeared.
I've been scared once in my life. This was that once."

"What was it?" asked Hamilton breathlessly.

"I watched," the Alaskan continued, "an' presently about a hundred yards
away, an' a little to the right of the sled, the snow began to move. I
couldn't feel a breath of wind. But the snow seemed to writhe an' stir
as though some monster from the Arctic night was wakin' from his winter
sleep, an' a wisp of snow hurled upwards; then, with a heave the snow
crust broke an' fell apart an' a column of snow shot up like a geyser
swirlin' into a pillar a hundred feet high.

"A moment it stood; then swayed over an' begun to move slowly at first,
but gatherin' speed every second, noiselessly, save for a sound like the
indrawin' of a breath and a faint crackin' as the hard snow crust
shivered into atoms where it struck. Aimlessly, yet seemin' to have a
hidden purpose as though wreathin' the figures of some Boreal dance, it
come near us and fell back; moved away an' threatened again; then swept
upon us till its icy breathin' gripped our throats, an' our hearts stood
still.

"An' in the silence, one dog whined.

"Behind the sled there stirred the snow anew, an' in a moment or two
another column threw itself at the sky, and behind us an' around, other
of these columns rose an' moved like spectral dancers under the
slate-green clouds of the snow-filled sky. No wind, no sound but the
lone leader of the team howlin' in utter fear."

"A dancing blizzard!" said Barnes, in an awed tone, under his breath.

"If there had been anythin' to do, it would have been easier," the
Alaskan continued, "but to move was not more dangerous than to stay
still. In answer to a sign, the Indian started up the dogs again, an' we
went on, though the road ahead looked like the ice-forest of a
disordered dream. Presently, without a moment's warnin' one of the huge
snow pillars came rushin' straight at us, an' I braced myself by the
sledge to hold to it if I could, but it swerved before it reached us an'
ran along beside the trail. About fifty feet ahead it swerved again and
cut across the trail, an' the extreme edge caught the Indian, picked
him up in the air, an' threw him at least thirty feet."

"Was he hurt?" cried Hamilton.

"Not a bit, for there was nothin' to fall on but snow. He picked himself
up, looked carefully at his snow-shoes to see that they had not been
damaged, an' resumed his place at the head of the dogs. What would have
become of him if he had been plucked into the middle of the whirlwind is
hard to say. I wouldn't have counted on seein' him again anyway."

"But you never really got caught by any?"

"Wouldn't be here talkin', if I had," was the reply. "But when we come
to the track of that whirlwind column, it was a puzzle how to get
across. The column, goin' like a railroad train, had cut a gully in the
hard snow full ten feet deep,--the sides as clean cut as though done
with a knife, or rather with a scoop, because the edge was slightly
scolloped all the way along."

"How did you get across?"

"Axes," was the brief reply. "We cut through the snow crust and beat
down a steep path on both sides of the gully an' made the dogs take it.
Dog harness is strong, but I was afraid of the strain on it that time."

"How long did the blizzard last?"

"You mean the whirlwinds?"

"Yes, sir," the boy answered.

"Not very long,--quarter of an hour, perhaps. Then I felt a slight
breeze, an' at the same moment the columns, bendin' their heads like
grass before the wind, swept to the right of us, an' were out of sight
in a moment. The Indian yelled and pointed to the left, throwin' himself
on the ground as he did so."

"What was it?" cried Hamilton.

"It looked like a solid wall of snow, an' before I realized it was
comin', the storm struck, hurled me to the ground, an' rolled me over
an' over in the snow. I wasn't hurt, of course, but it took me so long
to get my breath that I thought it was never goin' to come, an' that I
should suffocate. But after that first burst, the blizzard settled down
to the regular variety, an' we all felt more at home. But even at that,
it was the worst one I ever saw in the North, an' I've been there nine
winters."

"What did you do? Go back?"

"No use tryin' to go back," the traveler said, "because those whirlwinds
had cut gullies across the snow in every direction so that our old trail
was no use to us. We went ahead a bit, as far as we could, but soon
realized that there was nothin' to do but camp right where we were an'
wait for the blizzard to blow over. Usually two days is enough for the
average storm to let up a little, but it was not until the third day
that there was any chance of startin', an' even then it was almost as
bad as could be for travel. But I had to make a start then."

"Why?" asked Hamilton, who always wanted to know the details of
everything.

"Because we were runnin' short of dog-feed, an' you can't let your dogs
die of hunger, for then you can't get anywhere. But the blizzard had
drifted everything an' was still driftin', so that the snow was hard in
some places and soft in others; the travelin' was almost impossible, an'
you couldn't see twenty yards ahead. Then while the blizzard had filled
the gullies made by the whirlwinds, the snow in them was not packed down
as hard as the rest of the surface, an' dogs an' sled an' Indian an'
myself would all go flounderin' into the drift, an' it would be a tough
pull to get the sled out again.--That was a hard trip.

"The worst of it came when, without a bit of warnin', without our even
knowin' where we were, the hard crust of the snow gave way beneath us,
an' the sled, the dogs, and myself fell headlong down a slope an' into a
stream of runnin' water, the sled upside down, of course."

"How about the Indian?" asked the boy.

"He saved himself from goin' into the water, an' it was a good thing
that he did, for he was able to help in pullin' us out. But, from one
point of view, the accident was a help, for it told the Indian just
where we were. There was only one stream of that size in that
neighborhood, an' until we found it, we were hopelessly lost. But from
that time we knew that the settlement we were headin' for was straight
up the stream, an' all we had to do was to follow it. But it was a race
for life, in order to get to camp before frozen clothin' and various
frostbites crippled me entirely."

"But how about the dogs?" queried Hamilton. "I should think it would be
worse for them than for you."

The Alaskan shook his head.

"A 'husky' can stand just about anythin' in the way of cold," he said,
"an' my leaders 'Tussle' and 'Bully' were a couple of wonders. Only one
of the dogs gave out. Well, we made the camp finally, pretty well done
up all round. The worst of it was, that when we come to unpack the
sled--we did it with an ax because everythin' was frozen solid--the
census pouch was missin'. Luckily there was no past work in it,--only
blank schedules, information papers, an' things of that sort. So I made
up the schedules on odd bits of paper and skins, as I told you, an' the
supervisor copied them on the schedule to send in, an' that schedule you
have in your hand is the copy of those very pieces of skin."

[Illustration: CAN WE MAKE CAMP? A last rush for shelter as the blizzard
strikes, wiping out all landmarks.]

Hamilton glanced at the paper with redoubled interest.

"I suppose it was no use trying to get the pouch back," he said.

"I didn't think it would be," the Alaskan replied "but I tried to reach
the place where the sled had been overturned, an' each time the weather
drove me back. On the third day I got a chance to go with some Eskimos
with reindeer to a little settlement about twenty miles off, an' so I
went along and got the names there, comin' back on a reindeer sled.
That's the only time I ever felt like Santa Claus. I'm sure I don't look
it."

[Illustration: TO ESKIMO SETTLEMENTS BY REINDEER. Census enumerator
using half-wild animals when dog-team was too exhausted to go farther.
(_Courtesy of the Bureau of the Census._)]

Hamilton looked at his spare figure and laughed.

"No," he said, "I don't think an artist would be likely to pick you for
the part. How did you like the reindeer, though? I've always wondered
that they didn't use them more in Alaska. The government keeps a herd,
doesn't it?"

"Yes," was the reply, "but that is more for fresh meat than for travel.
A good reindeer is a cracker-jack of an animal when he wants to be, but
when he takes a streak to quit, it doesn't matter where it is or what
you do to him, he won't go another step. A balky mule is an angel of
meekness beside a reindeer. You can always make a mule see what you want
him to do--although the odds are that he won't do it even then--but when
a reindeer gets stubborn,--why, he just can't be made to understand
anythin'!"

"Yet I've read that they use them a good deal in Lapland!" said the boy
in surprise.

"They have domesticated them more thoroughly, I guess," the Northerner
replied. "In time they may be worked up here in the same way, and when
you consider how short a time the government has had to do what is
already accomplished, it seems to me the result is wonderful. Of course,
so far as traffic is concerned there are dogs enough, and they do the
work in mighty good shape."

"How did you work back from the settlement which you had got to with
such difficulty?" the boy asked.

"I came back another way, in order to take in a little group of houses
on a small pay-creek," was the reply. "But it was comin' back from that
trip, on the Koatak River, that I had quite a time, although I was not
the sufferer. We had been havin' a hard spell of weather, but there come
a week when conditions on the trail were much better an' we were reelin'
off the miles in great shape. I hadn't a place on my map for about sixty
miles, when in the distance I saw a little hut, just in the fringe of
some stunted cottonwoods and some scraggy willows, for we were not far
from the timber limit.

"'Billy,' I called to the Indian, 'ever see that hut before?'

"The Indian shook his head, but knowin' that I wanted to see an' count
everybody in the district, he turned off the trail--he said it was a
trail but I couldn't see it--an' led the way to the hut. I went in an'
found a man lying on a couple of planks, just about dead. He was one of
the survivors of the wrecked steamer _Filarleon_, and had frozen all
the fingers of both hands. Two or three were turnin' gangrenous; an' one
of these had got so bad that with his other crippled hand, he had sawed
off the decomposin' member with his pocket-knife. One foot also was
frozen an' had turned black, but that afterwards recovered."

"What did you do for him?" asked the boy.

"Put him on the sled, of course," the Alaskan answered, "an' took him to
the nearest settlement. I afterwards heard that a doctor happened in to
camp soon after I left, an' got at his hurts right away, an' that he was
put back into fair condition all but the one finger.--That's no
tenderfoot's country up there."

"I wonder you stuck it out," said Hamilton. "But then," he added a
moment later, "I can see how a fellow would hate to quit."

"It was tough," reluctantly admitted the narrator, "an' I'll tell you
what I did. I'm not much of a hand with the pen, but right in the middle
of the work I found a man who was goin' down the river, an' I sat down
and wrote a long letter to the supervisor. It was about as plaintive a
thing as I ever read. I had no reason to expect an answer, but by chance
another party was comin' up that way, an' some weeks later I received a
reply. What do you suppose he said!"

"I haven't the least idea," answered the boy.

"His answer read just this way:

"'I chose you because you were experienced in the treeless coast. Go to
it. We are expecting you to make good.'"

"And," Hamilton said, his eyes shining, "I'll bet you did!"



CHAPTER IX

CONFRONTED WITH THE BLACK HAND


The sidelights that Hamilton had received on the Alaskan enumeration had
given him a greater zest for census work than ever, and he devoted not a
little of his spare time to the study of conditions in the far North.
Indeed, the lad became so enthusiastic about it that every evening, when
he reached home, he worked out the route of the enumerator whose
schedules he had edited during that day's work. He had secured the big
geological reconnaissance map of Alaska for the purpose. Consequently,
it was with a sense of regret that he faced the day when the last of the
Alaskan schedules had been edited.

"What next, I wonder, Mr. Barnes?" said Hamilton, laying down his pen
and glancing round to his companion. "How about Porto Rico? They had a
census this spring, too, didn't they?"

"I imagine the Porto Rico work is about done," his friend replied, "at
least I know that most of it came in some weeks ago. How are you on
Spanish?"

"I can read it all right," Hamilton answered, "although I don't write
particularly well. But are the schedules all in Spanish?"

"Yes, indeed," said the other.

"I don't think simple Spanish would bother me at all," Hamilton replied.
"I knew a chap who was going to the Philippines and he wanted some one
to take up Spanish with him so that he wouldn't be alone in it; and to
keep him company, I hammered at it too. But, after a bit, he joined a
class, so I dropped out, although I did study once in a while so as not
to forget it altogether."

"Why don't you suggest that you know Spanish," remarked Barnes, "and
perhaps you'll get the chance."

Accordingly, when a little later, the final copy on the Alaskan
schedules was turned in, Hamilton asked concerning the Porto Rican work,
and ventured his slight familiarity with Spanish.

"We have several translators," replied the chief, "but still, I suppose
Mr. Alavero can make you useful. I'll let you know later on."

In a few moments he returned and beckoned to the boy, who followed him,
with a word of farewell and thanks to the editor of the Alaskan
schedules with whom he had enjoyed working greatly.

"Mr. Alavero," the official said, introducing Hamilton, "this is Noble.
I don't know what his Spanish is like, but I think he may be of some use
to you in getting out the manufactures statistics, as he did some work
along that line early in the year and has been with the census ever
since."

The editor smiled affably at the boy and shook hands with heartiness.

"The schedule work is all done," he said, "but it will take some time
preparing the report. It is going to be fuller than most of them because
there is so much American capital invested in Porto Rico that a detailed
analysis will be of value."

"It is real editorial work, then!" Hamilton said, with a note of
pleasure in his voice.

"I think," said the chief dryly, "that Mr. Alavero will do the editorial
work, as you call it, since he is the editor; you are to assist him in
preparing tables and matters of that kind."

But no sooner had the Bureau official gone than the Porto Rican came
forward.

"If you like," he said, "we'll try to arrange some part of the work that
you can do all yourself, writing and everything else, so that it will
be 'real' editorial work, and you'll be able to see your own writing in
print."

Hamilton thanked him fervently, and from that day on would have done
anything for his new superior.

"This is a considerable change, Mr. Alavero," said Hamilton the
following morning, when he found himself at a table littered with maps
and drawings of the island, with papers in Spanish and English, with
reports and circulars containing pictures of the sub-tropical landscapes
and towns of Porto Rico. "I have been doing nothing but Alaska for a
month past."

"Too cold!" the Porto Rican cried, with a shrug of the shoulders. "I was
in Washington this last winter and I thought I should die of freezing."

"You are from Porto Rico yourself, Mr. Alavero?"

"I was never away from the island at all," was the reply, "never even on
a steamboat until I came to the United States last autumn; I came to
show the people in your Congress that the coffee growers of Porto Rico
need help."

"Why?"

"Porto Rican coffee is the finest in the world," the editor answered
with a graphic gesture, "and when Porto Rico was Spanish we could sell
in Europe at high prices, but now the European tariff against the United
States includes us, and our coffee is taxed so that we cannot sell it.
And the American market is satisfied with Brazilian coffee, which is of
a cheaper grade."

"Is coffee the principal crop down there?" queried the boy. "I notice
that nearly half these papers and books deal with coffee plantations."

"It is still, but not as it once was," the Porto Rican answered. "Sugar
and tobacco are the other big crops."

"Coffee is easy to grow, isn't it?" asked the boy. "It doesn't want all
the attention that cotton does?"

"After a grove is well-established, no, though we prune a great deal;
but sugar, yes. That's not such an obstacle though. There is plenty of
labor on the island."

"Isn't the bulk of the island colored?"

"No, no, no," answered the Porto Rican, shaking his finger in emphatic
denial, "more than three-fifths are pure white, a much smaller
proportion of negroes than in some of your Southern States. The
negroes were slaves, but Spain freed them in 1873. There was no war." He
smiled. "We are a most peaceful people."

[Illustration: GATHERING COCOANUTS. Where the census-taker in Porto Rico
had to wait for his figures until the head of the house climbed down.
(_Courtesy of the Department of War._)]

"Not like our other accession from Spain," Hamilton commented. "I mean
the Philippines; you certainly couldn't call the Filipinos peaceful, it
seems to me that they come just about as wild as they make them."

"Wild? You do not know the half!" said the excitable little editor, who,
despite the frequency of his gestures and the volubility of his
explanations was busily working with diagrams the while. "You know there
was a census in Porto Rico in 1899?"

"I didn't until this morning," the boy answered "but as I see that most
of these tables are compared with that year it is evident that there
must have been."

"There was a census," the editor went on, after a pause during which he
had been working over a column of figures, "and my uncle was a
supervisor. Mr. Gatten--you know him?"

"Only by name," Hamilton replied.

"He was in the Porto Rico census, too. Then in 1903 he went to assist in
the census of the Philippines. It was done by the War Department,
because the fighting was hardly over. You think the census difficult?
You should hear my uncle! The Dattos were not all stopped fighting,
because just as soon as the Philippine Commission thought it safe, the
census began."

"Did any one get killed by hostile natives?" asked Hamilton, scenting a
story.

"Several wounded, one badly, but no one killed. But"--and he waggled a
finger warningly--"there were plenty of places where the census was only
estimated! The blowpipe and the poison arrow are most dangerous. Even
with the soldiers taking the census and going with other census men, it
was very risky among the uncivilized tribes."

"They are really wild?" said Hamilton.

"I think the wildest people in the world, the most savage, are in those
jungles. My uncle had to go to the haunts of the Pygmies."

"Pygmies!" exclaimed Hamilton in surprise. "I didn't know that the Stars
and Stripes floated over Pygmy tribes! I thought they were only in
Africa!"

"The Negritos are pygmies," answered the editor, "seldom over four feet
ten inches for the man and the woman two or three inches shorter; they
use their toes like fingers, they wear only a loin-cloth, their hair is
fuzzy like a black bush, and they seldom use fire, even for cooking."

"How do they live?" asked Hamilton. "We have got used to thinking of the
Red Indians as a part of the United States races, but the Pygmies seem
outlandish. Have they huts or do they live in caves, or how?"

"Nothing!" was the answer. "A few have rough huts, but most of them
wander in the forests."

"But where do they sleep?"

"On the ground."

"I should think they would be afraid of wild beasts," the boy remarked.

"There are very few in the Philippines," was the reply.

"How about snakes, then?" queried the lad.

"They have to take chances on snakes. But you know a snake will scarcely
ever strike unless alarmed or attacked. No snake will bite a sleeping
man. Wild animals only attack for food, and man is left alone as much as
possible."

"Haven't they pythons there? And a python could easily strangle and
swallow a man."

"He could, but he doesn't," the Porto Rican pointed out; "rabbits are
more his size, or a young fawn. The Negritos are safe enough, as far as
that goes."

"What do they live on?"

"Fish, mostly, together with roots and berries; and they can get all
they want with bow and arrow, or with a stone. They can throw a stone as
straight as you could shoot a bullet."

"We ought to import some of them for baseball pitchers," suggested
Hamilton with a grin. "But it really must have been an awful job
enumerating them. And when it comes to poisoned arrows!--No thank you,
I'd rather stick to old Kentucky. Are there many of them?"

"No," was the reply, "the Negrito is dying out, just as the aboriginal
tribes all over the world are doing. There are only about twenty-three
thousand of the Pygmies left now."

"But there are more natives than that in the Philippines?" queried the
boy.

"Hundreds of thousands. You see there are really three different types
of savages in the Philippines, according to the census reports. The
aboriginal tribes are the Negritos, perhaps as close to primitive man as
any people on earth; those are the ones I have been telling you about,
and they are a race all to themselves, as different from the rest of
the Filipinos as the negro is from the white man. The true Filipinos are
Malays."

"Even the head-hunters?"

"Certainly. There are Filipinos of two grades,--apparently of two
periods of migration. The first came and settled the islands away a long
time back, driving the Pygmies to the forests, and occupying the coasts
themselves. These tribes, the Igorots, the Ilongots, the Bilans, and so
forth, are of the same general type as the head-hunters of Borneo, and
some,--like the Ilongots--to this day carry out the savage custom that
'no young man can be accepted in marriage until he has presented his
bride with a human head.'"

"That is certainly savage," Hamilton agreed; "one never thinks that sort
of thing can be going on still, and certainly not under the American
flag!"

"It is, though," the Porto Rican replied. "The third group," he
continued, "the Moros and so forth, are all Mohammedans, and they seem
to have come to the islands after the semi-civilization of the Malay
archipelago and its submission to Mohammedanism. The Moros are haughty
and assume the air of conquerors. As the Igorots drove the Negritos to
the forest and thence to the wild interior, so the Moros drove the
Igorots. They are largely pure Malay, warlike and cruel, but shrewd and
capable of culture. They assume an over-lordship over all other tribes
and their Dattos can generally enforce it."

"It seems strange," the boy said, "to think of going among those savages
and asking them the same questions that United States citizens were
asked, writing the answers on the same kind of schedules, and counting
these ferocious head-hunters on a tabulating machine."

"Of course," the editor reminded him, "the Philippine census last time
was taken by the War Department, although the Bureau is even now
considering what will be the best way to attack the problem should it
have to take the next Philippine census, as it probably will. But while
it was primitive, the work wasn't so very different. They were able to
use advance schedules, for example."

The boy stared, and his informant laughed outright.

"They were a little different," he explained, "and it was during the
enumeration of the Igorots and similar tribes. It was soon found that
they could count up to ten but no further. A certain number of them
could grasp the idea of ten groups of ten. So a bundle of sticks was
sent to each village and each man was made to cut notches in these
sticks up to ten to show how many children, or pigs, or chickens he had.
In some of the villages so my uncle told me, the supervisor had a
branding iron made with which he had branded on the tally sticks the
figure of a pig, or a house, or a chicken or whatever it might be."

"That is about as far back, I should think, as any one could go, in the
way of census-taking," the boy said. "I thought some of my up-country
negro farmers were barbaric--especially when I came across some
voodooism, but now I see I didn't know what barbarism meant."

"There's just as much savagery--of a kind--right in the heart of
civilization," said the Porto Rican. "The slums of a great city are
little less dangerous than a Philippine jungle, and you will do well to
remember it."

"Why should I remember it especially?" asked Hamilton in surprise.

"Mr. Burns, who has been made an Inspector, told me the other day that
he expected to start soon for some of the larger cities, where reports
of census frauds had been made, and that he thought he would take you
along, if the Director was willing."

"You mean the Mr. Burns I was with in New Haven?"

"Yes, he seems to want to have you as his assistant in that work."

"That would be just splendid," said Hamilton, his eyes shining, "but how
about the Porto Rican report, Mr. Alavero?"

"I think I can manage it," the other replied, endeavoring to suppress a
smile, "and the chapter that you were working on is nearly done, isn't
it?"

"Yes, sir," the boy answered, "I can finish it in a couple of days."

"That will be in plenty of time," the editor assured him. "I don't think
Mr. Burns intends to start until some time next week."

Before many days had passed Hamilton found the correctness of the Porto
Rican's information, for as he was busily engaged in compiling a big
tabulation on the proportion of breadwinners per age and sex for one of
the provinces of the island, his friend the special agent of
manufactures, under whom he had been at New Haven, strolled into the
office.

"Why, Mr. Burns," the boy said delightedly, jumping up and shaking
hands, "I haven't seen you for ever so long."

"I haven't been in Washington more than twenty-two per cent of the
time," was the reply "and I'm going away on the eleven-fifty next
Tuesday evening. Do you want to come along?"

"But--"

"The Director said, if you wanted to come, I could take you."

"Where are we going, Mr. Burns?"

"New York."

"What for?"

"Seems to me, Alavero," said the Inspector, turning to the Porto Rican,
"that you've been teaching this lad to ask questions. Out of the four
remarks he has made since I came in, two have been questions. Fifty per
cent is a high average. Well, I'll tell you," he added, turning to the
boy, "it's just this: there are always some cities that aren't satisfied
with the census. I believe of the cities of over thirty thousand
inhabitants at this census there has been something like nine,
decimal-eight-one per cent protests, and the most necessary of these the
Bureau investigates. Perhaps ten or a dozen in the entire country get a
recount. The Bureau doesn't officially recognize some of them but sends
an inspector to look over the ground, and see if everything was done
right. That's what we're going to do in New York."

"All right," said Hamilton briefly.

"You'll be on that train?"

"Yes, Mr. Burns," the boy answered. "Eleven-fifty P.M., Tuesday."

The opportunity was one which Hamilton had been coveting, for he felt
that if he only had a chance to get at the city methods he would have
covered almost the entire ground of the field-work of the Decennial
Census, and while he was sorry to leave his Porto Rican friend, still
the novelty appealed to him greatly, and in spite of his former chief's
mathematical conversation, Hamilton was genuinely fond of him.

"I've been wondering, Mr. Burns," the boy said, as they stood in the
great concourse of the Union Station at Washington, "whether there would
not be a very large number of protests about census figures,--people
always seem to have such an exaggerated idea of the size of their own
towns."

"There is to some extent," Burns replied. "I think something like a
hundred places filed protests in this last census."

"Then I read something, too, about census frauds," Hamilton said, "soon
after the taking of the census, in which it was suggested that some
enumerators--who were paid per capita--had bolstered up the figures in
order to get more out of it."

"There was a little of that," the Inspector said, "but by far the
greatest amount of fraud was due to the desire on the part of the
inhabitants of a town or city to make the place appear larger and more
important. Tacoma, Washington, was the most flagrant example of this,
why, they padded 32,527 names there, and even when the Census had made a
recount they tried to repeat the same performance, complaining of the
results and demanding a second recount."

"Was this granted?"

"It was," the Inspector replied, "largely in order that the Census
Bureau itself might have an opportunity to check the correctness of its
methods. The second recount was performed by expert statisticians and
with extreme care."

"And how did it come out?" the boy asked.

"It substantiated the first recount in every way. It was, indeed, a
wonderful object lesson in showing how small is the margin of error in
the United States Census."

"But was there really much fraud among the enumerators and supervisors,
Mr. Burns?"

"With perhaps one exception, no criticism could be made of the
supervisors, but you can't have 70,000 enumerators, chosen for temporary
work, and expect perfection! There was quite a little over-counting,
caused by entering hotel transients as having permanent residences, by
numbering citizens both at business and home addresses, and the constant
difficulty of the floating population. Deliberate frauds were very few;
where trouble was found it was usually discovered to have been due to
the unauthorized activity of committees of boards of trade or other
commercial organizations, giving lists of names all ready to be copied
on the enumerator's schedule, which the latter did not take the time and
trouble to verify."

"Then do you think the net result of the census is to make it seem that
there are more people in the country than really are here?"

"No," the Inspector replied confidently, "the total figures are an
understatement, probably of about one per cent, maybe a little less, but
certainly not much more."

"I think that's mighty close," Hamilton said. "But do towns never wish
to have small numbers announced?"

"There was only one case, so far as I know," the other replied, "in
which a Business Men's Association wrote and demanded a recount on the
ground that the figures were too big. The reason was a dispute about
raising city salaries when a certain population mark was reached.

"And now, Noble," he continued, moving on toward the train platform, "we
want to look into the question of statistics in New York carefully.
Personally I believe the work has been as well done as possible, and I
know the Director is satisfied, but one or two little matters have come
up, which want looking into."

Being on a midnight train, Hamilton had no chance for further talk with
the Inspector; but it was quite a home-coming when, after passing
through the great tunnels under the Hudson River, he found himself next
morning among the skyscrapers of New York again.

"I suppose every one feels the same way about his own town," Hamilton
said, "but it always seems to me that you feel the bigness of things
more in New York than anywhere. In Washington there always seems lots of
time to do everything you want, but New York is just made up of hustle.
You've got to know what you want in this city and you've got to do it in
a hurry, before some one else gets there first."

"New York certainly is hurried and restless; I can't say I like the
noise and the skyscrapers," replied Burns.

"But it's great the way those buildings tower up," the boy exclaimed
enthusiastically, "the low houses and poky ways of older and smaller
cities look as though they were made for dwarfs, after living in the New
York streets."

"Yet there are taller buildings, in other places, even in Europe," the
statistician remarked.

"Spires!" answered the boy, "propped up by buttresses and flying
buttresses and all the rest of it so as to keep them from falling. Look
at those," he added, pointing at the skyscrapers before him, "they're
not afraid to stand by themselves; they mean something, they have a use,
while a spire just sticks straight up, pointing at nothing and being of
no service unless it is to hang bells in a belfry. I don't care what
people say about those crazy old tumble-down buildings of the Middle
Ages, they may be beautiful and all that, but they're useless nowadays.
The New York skyscraper is the greatest example of architecture in the
world because it best does what it was built to do."

"You are enthusiastic, Noble," said his friend.

"I'm a New Yorker all the way through," the lad continued, "and I want
to feel that I'm right in the whirl of things, where there is so much to
do that you can't crowd it into a day, where the fun is at the same
speed as the work. No backwaters for me, I want to be right out in the
center. I don't say that I'm going to win, but I want to be a game sport
and try my strength with the rest of the crowd in the current, sink or
swim. It's all right to say that the heart of the nation is Washington,
and the backbone is the farm, but its nerve center is here,--right here
in New York. America's the wonder of the world, all right, but all there
is to it is capital plus brains, and New York is the furnace that melts
them down into that quickness and grip on things we call the American
spirit. Millions from every race of the world come here, and the Statue
of Liberty is the first symbol, and the skyscrapers of lower New York
the first reality they see of the Land of Promise."

"How about the inside of these great shells of structure?"

"No such office buildings in the world," the boy answered
enthusiastically. "The salt winds from over three thousand miles of
ocean blow around them; in their steel walls there are lots of windows;
lightning speed elevators make the top floor easier to get at than the
second story of a dark, old-fashioned staircase building; and I've heard
that the marble mosaic entrances of the larger of them put the Italian
palaces to shame. I don't know Europe, but I do know New York, and I
believe, Mr. Burns, if you knew it as I do, you'd be as proud of it
too."

The Inspector looked at the boy quietly.

"You're wrong," he said soberly, "in thinking that I don't know New
York. To-morrow morning you do a little work in a section of the city in
which you have probably never been, and I think we'll hear less tall
talk. If you could count the tens of thousands of families who live in
rooms with nothing but court windows; if you could find out in how many
thousand families children are toiling under sweatshop conditions till
far into the night; if you were to ask the tuberculosis district nurses
what conditions they find, you might then do a little thinking on your
own account. It's only right you should be proud of New York, but you'd
better see both sides before you are sure of yourself. Now, I suppose
you're going home?"

"Yes, sir," said Hamilton, a little taken aback by his friend's rebuke.

"Call at my hotel early to-morrow morning and I'll start you on a
'Seeing New York' trip of a new kind." And turning off sharply, the
Inspector swung himself aboard a passing cross-town car.

Nine o'clock the next morning found Hamilton in one of the worst
districts he had ever seen. Thronged as it was, the boy was sufficiently
conscious of his difference from the people he met to feel
uncomfortable. He had one of the schedules that had been filled out
during the enumeration of the city, and the Inspector had bidden him
verify certain portions of it which were either confusing or slightly
incorrect. This was to be done in a dozen or so districts, and if the
information was found to be adequate, showing that the enumerators'
work had been faithfully done, there would be no need for further
inspection.

The home manufacture of ostrich feathers first gave Hamilton a clear
insight into poverty. Four or five rooms each occupied by a family of
several persons he entered in one tenement, and in each he found three
or four people working over ostrich plumes, working nervously at high
speed, afraid to stop, even for a moment. He noted conditions carefully,
and was amazed to find that each of the little strands was wired--he had
always supposed that plumes grew upon the ostrich the way that they are
sold.

In one such family dejection seemed to have reached its lowest ebb. The
window looked out on a court,--a court that was never cleaned and where
all manner of rubbish was thrown. Although it was morning and a
brilliant, sunshiny day, the light within was so dim that it was hard to
work by; yet with characteristic shiftlessness the window had not been
washed for months and diminished still further the little light there
was; a mattress in the opposite corner from a shaky cooking gas-burner
showed that this room was the entire home.

[Illustration: TAKING THE CENSUS IN A CITY. Enumerator at a doorway,
entering in his portfolio the details of a household.]

"Where is your husband?" asked the boy, noting on the schedule a man's
name as head of the family.

"In hospital--perhaps dead. See!"

The woman pointed to a telegram which had fallen to the floor. Hamilton
picked it up. It read:

"John Sobieski worse. Come at once," and was signed with the name of one
of the large hospitals.

"Did you go?" asked the boy.

The woman shook her head.

"Two hours lost, if I go. No good. Two hours' work means twenty-four
cents. What's the use?"

"What's the matter with him?"

"Consumption. I die soon, next year, perhaps. All the children sick."

The boy looked around at 'all the children.' There were five of them in
that room, and all--even the youngest, a baby four years old--were
knotting the feathers on the plume. The baby could hardly do it, but he
was learning.

"Many hands make light work," said Hamilton as cheerfully as he could.
"With so many little workers you ought to get along finely."

"Yes," the woman answered listlessly, "we get along. Some days we make
as much as a dollar!"

"Each of you?"

"Do we look so rich? One dollar for everybody. But that is only
sometimes, when I am not too sick. We can get a little more than five
dollar the week, by working all the time."

The boy hastily asked the remaining questions on the schedule, found
everything correctly reported and relieving his conscience by giving a
little help out of his own pocket, he left for the next place.

On the floor below was a family working on fur, every one of them with
hacking coughs caused by tiny particles of fur in the lungs.

"We work or we starve," was again the unanswerable explanation.

In the house next door, embroidering rich cloaks, Hamilton found a
family of which several of the members had a bad infectious skin
disease. Chancing to meet a health inspector soon afterwards he told him
about this family and gave him their address.

"I can stop it, as far as this family is concerned," the health officer
said, "and I suppose I ought to. But you know what it means, I
suppose?"

"What?" asked the boy.

"It means, if I take their work away, they will starve to death in a
couple of weeks."

"And if you don't?"

"If I don't, they'll go on spreading disease. Oh, I'll have to put a
stop to it, of course, but tell me what is going to happen to the
family."

"They ought to go to a hospital," Hamilton said.

The health officer shook his head.

"They are not hospital cases," he said. "None of them need more medical
attention than they can get in a dispensary, and every hospital to which
they applied would treat them in an Out-Patient department. They would
have to take in more work, or die."

"But where would they get the work?"

"Any of these sweatshop jobbers will give it to them. It makes no
difference to the middlemen where the work is done or out of what dens
it comes, as long as it is done cheap."

"And is all clothing open to the same risk?" asked the boy.

The health inspector shook his head.

"Cheap clothing is not," he said, "because even the cheapest kind of
labor is more expensive than machinery, and machine-made clothes are
clean. But costly dresses which need hand embroidery are sent to
sweatshops to be done. Not all, of course, but enough of them to keep
thousands of women and children working day and night the year round.
The more elaborate the gown, the longer is it likely to have been in a
tenement that the future wearer would not even allow her dog to enter."

From house to house Hamilton went, finding misery at every step, with
the single consolation that the schedule showed in almost every case
that the son or the daughter who was working had moved out of the slums,
or that the family had progressed sufficiently to find better quarters.
Everywhere the children from these fearful homes seemed to have been
dowered with promise, and as Burns had suggested, the sole comfort and
hope for the future lay in the fact that the New York slum is a
one-generation slum.

It was growing toward noon when Hamilton finished the short list that
the Inspector had given him in that poorest section, and he was glad
when he was able to leave the pressure of the poverty behind him. His
next district was a section of the Italian quarter, and Hamilton knew
that while he would find poverty of a certain kind there, there was
enough of the community spirit among the Italians to prevent such
conditions as he had witnessed and enough frugality among them to enable
them to make the best of all they had.

Feeling that it was time for lunch, the boy hunted around a while for
some restaurant that looked as though it would serve a meal that would
not be too distasteful. After a little search he found a small place
that seemed to be just the thing. The sign board was in Italian and the
list of dishes pasted on the windows was in Italian, but Hamilton's
Spanish enabled him to make out what the phrases meant, and he went in.
At a table not far from the door, a man was sitting with his back to the
entrance. He did not hear the lad's step until Hamilton was just behind
him, then, with an Italian cry, he turned upon its face the paper on
which he had been writing, and jumped to his feet so quickly that the
chair on which he had been sitting overturned, and he stumbled as he
stepped back a pace or two. He glared threateningly at the boy, who
apologized for startling him. But it was evident that the man did not
understand a word of English.

Hearing the clatter the proprietor came out from an inner room, and
seeing the Italian standing there, broke into a passionate torrent of
speech, all utterly unintelligible to Hamilton.

"I hava told heem," he explained to the boy, "that I not wanta heem in
this-a place at all."

"I shouldn't think you would," said Hamilton, "I don't like his looks.
Can I have some dinner?" he added, laying on the table a book he had
just taken from his pocket, for the boy when alone always read at his
meals.

"Certainly, sair," and the proprietor rattled off a string of dishes
from which the boy made a copious selection, for he was hungry.

But he noticed that the man who had been sitting at the table had not
left the place but was furtively watching, a few steps away. He was an
ugly-looking customer, and Hamilton, full of grit as he was, felt
uneasy. Casting his eye down to where he had laid his book, he noticed
the piece of paper sticking from beneath it, and noticed moreover, a
heavy shadow as though there were a drawing on the other side. His pulse
beat a little faster as an idea came into his mind, but he showed no
sign until the proprietor returned to set the table.

"I think," he said, watching the stranger carefully as he spoke, "that
gentleman left a paper behind him. Ask him."

The proprietor, looking much puzzled, put a question in Italian, to
which was evidently returned a sharp denial.

Still watching him, Hamilton slowly reached out his hand for the paper
which lay on the table, only half-hidden by the book, and turning it
over laid it flat upon the white cloth.

It was the Black Hand.

[Illustration: FESTA IN THE ITALIAN QUARTER. Boys in Little Italy, New
York, preparing for one of the many characteristic holidays. (_Brown
Bros._)]



CHAPTER X

RIOTS AROUND A CITY SCHOOL


There was a moment's utter silence. The bright little restaurant had
suddenly become charged with mystery, the slinking stranger seemed to
have become in a moment allied to secret powers of evil, and the whole
atmosphere seemed baneful in the sinister significance of that drawing
on the table. A glance at the restaurant-keeper dispelled all question
of complicity. His jaw had fallen, his face was ashen, his lips bluish.

The other saw his advantage in the terror the mere display had excited,
and stepping forward, he reached out his hand to pick up the paper,
saying in English:

"Mine!"

Before the Italian had time to grasp the sketch, Hamilton quietly took
it and folded it in half.

"I wouldn't be so ready to claim it, if I were you," he said, knowing
that the other might not understand the words but could tell the tone.

"What are you going to do?" queried the restaurant-keeper in a hoarse
whisper. "They will kill-a me!"

Hamilton thought hard for a moment or two. In the first place the matter
had nothing to do with the Census Bureau, and the boy felt that while he
was on duty in that work and wearing the census badge he was not a
private citizen. Again, it was not a crime to draw a hand on a piece of
paper, and the space obviously left for the blackmail message had not
been filled in, and thirdly he could not swear that he saw him draw the
hand; he only saw the paper in the man's possession.

"Tell him," he said to the restaurant-keeper, "that I shall say nothing
about it, that I am not a policeman, nor a spy; tell him that so far as
I am concerned I do not know that he had anything to do with it, and
return him the paper."

And bending forward, he reached out the paper to the Italian, who first
snatched it eagerly, and then, having secured it, made a ceremonious
bow. The proprietor of the restaurant translated the boy's words, and
with a brief reply, which Hamilton rightly construed to be thanks, the
stranger left the store. No sooner was he gone than the restaurateur,
with a word of apology, sank into the nearest chair, fairly exhausted
with fright.

"I tell you, sair," he said, as soon as he could get his breath, "I
had-a nothing at all to do with that-a man."

"It's pretty hard to know about these things," said Hamilton, who was
somewhat unnerved himself, "but I don't believe you had. Anyway, there's
no harm done. I've always heard about the Black Hand society, but I
didn't expect to run across it first thing, that way."

"There is no Black-a Hand society," the Italian said, "at least I do not
think there is."

"How do you mean there's no Black Hand?" asked Hamilton a little
indignantly, "haven't I just seen it?"

The Italian shook his head.

"What were you so scared about, then?" queried the boy impatiently.

"Mafia," said the other, his lips just shaping the syllables.

"You mean that the Mafia use the Black Hand?"

The Italian nodded.

"And that it is the sign of the Mafia?"

"No," said the restaurant proprietor. "It is this-a way. When the Mafia
was all-a broken up in-a the Sicily, the chiefs come to America. But the
people are so far away it is difficult-a to speak-a to them all. One day
one of the Mafia leaders write a letter threatening to kill. His--what
you call it--nickname was 'Il Mano Nera'--"

"That means 'The Black Hand,' doesn't it?" queried the boy.

The Italian nodded.

"He sign at the bottom with a Black Hand because the man-a to whom he
write, once was member of the Mafia. The police see the letter, a
newspaper print-a big long story about Italian society which have the
Black-a Hand for its sign, and saying that much recent murders was done.
Everybody become-a frightened, and the Mafia and the Camorra right away
both begin-a to use Black Hand. So you see when I say there is no
Black-a Hand society, no chief, no place-a to meet, no meetings, no
plan-a to share money, no oath, it is quite true, but if I say there is
a society which used the Black-a Hand that is true, too. But all I
want-a to do is to be let alone. Now, I will get you your dinner, sair."

Hamilton felt distinctly uncomfortable in being left alone, not feeling
at all sure that the man who had been there before would not suddenly
dash in upon him unawares and stab him in the back with a stiletto to
make sure of his not talking, nor that the restaurant-keeper might not
put some poison in his coffee. Take it all in all, it was the most
nerve-racking meal he had ever eaten.

Chatting with the Inspector that evening over his Black Hand experiences
he found that his chief took a very serious view of the question.

"If we were receiving immigrants from the north of Italy," he said, "it
would be an entirely different matter, but all the Italians who are
coming in now are from the 'toe' and the 'heel' of Italy, and from
Sicily. You see, the north of Italy are really Celts, like the French
and Irish, being descended from the Lombards, but the Sicilians and
Calabrians are a mixture of the old pirates, the Moors, and the
degenerated Latin races that were left when the Roman Empire fell to
pieces. The endeavor to break up the Mafia sent all the leaders of that
nefarious Sicilian society here, and now the attack upon the Neapolitan
Camorra lands another criminal group. Italy has sent us a larger
proportion of criminals than any other country, and under our present
laws, if they have been three years here, they cannot be deported. The
Vincenzo Abadasso case was a good example of the folly of that rule."

"Who was he?" asked Hamilton.

"He was an Italian immigrant who had been arrested twenty-seven times
and convicted twenty-five and who came over here a couple of years ago.
Within a few months of his arrival he was arrested here and sentenced to
three years' imprisonment And now, although he is a professed criminal,
they won't be able to deport him, because when his prison term is up, he
will have been in the United States three years."

"I suppose there are a lot of Italians coming over now?" said Hamilton
questioningly.

"A little over three weeks ago," was the reply, "as I heard from a
friend in the Immigration Bureau, there was a funeral in a small village
near Naples and not enough able-bodied civilians could be found in the
place to carry the casket. All of them were in America. There are scores
of towns in southern Italy where all the work--of every kind--is done
now by the women, because the men have emigrated."

"What do you think about this Black Hand business?"

"I think your friend the restaurant-keeper was nearly right, only that
it is being used by all sorts of crooks as well, who have no connection
with either the Mafia or the Camorra. Mark you, I think those two secret
societies are apt to be much misrepresented, just as the Jesuits were
during the Middle Ages and the Freemasons were at other periods. The
Camorra was once simply the Tammany Hall of Naples. But when, as
happened last year, there were six hundred and fourteen Black Hand
outrages in two States in four months it is idle to say that it does not
exist in America. The Camorrist trials over the Cuocolo murders at
Viterbo, perhaps the most sensational in the world since the Dreyfus
case, have shown its power to be more dangerous than any one could for a
moment have imagined. And the danger lies here--there are more
Camorrists in New York than in Naples!"

For a moment the boy looked at the Inspector, astounded.

"You mean--" he began, and stopped.

"I mean that the worst elements of the two worst societies in Europe are
concentrating in New York, and that unless rigorous measures are taken
to keep them down, America will harbor graver dangers than any it has
yet known. Russian nihilism, Polish anarchism, German socialism may join
hands with the Sicilian Mafia and the Neapolitan Camorra to institute a
criminal organization such as the world has never seen before. There are
enough ignorant immigrants to yield to a wave of fear, and the Black
Hand thrives and grows on terror. But, wisely held in check until they
learn, these very Sicilians and Neapolitans bring much that is of value
to the making of an American people."

"Oh, there couldn't be any real danger!" Hamilton exclaimed. "The spirit
of American institutions would prevent such a happening; that could only
be in some old-world city like Naples. The Camorra comes down from the
Middle Ages, anyway."

The Inspector shook his head.

"I hope so," he said, "and I only trust you may be right," and he turned
the subject to the actual work in hand.

It so chanced that the very next day Hamilton had an opportunity of
seeing, in a mild way, how truly the Inspector had spoken with regard to
the alienizing of the crowds in the streets of New York. He had been
working steadily several hours, and early in the afternoon he noticed a
great deal of shouting in the streets. Being curious, and noticing that
numbers of women were hurrying past, gesticulating violently, Hamilton
followed, until almost before he was aware, the crowd grew so dense as
to engulf him, and he was carried along, whether he would or no, up the
street. Some of the women were crying, some shrieking, and all wore a
furtive, strained expression as though in great distress.

Although there was a great deal of shouting, not a word was in a
language familiar to Hamilton, and although he questioned every one
around him he could find no one that understood his questions. All that
he could gather was from some one in the front of the crowd who kept on
crying out in English at irregular intervals:

"Our children, we want our children!"

Even if the boy had desired to break through the crowd to return to his
work he could not have done so, and he really did not wish to,--he was
too much interested in following the purposes of the throng. Finally the
people stopped, but the boy was so far back that he could see nothing of
what was going on at the head of the crowd. Being determined, however,
Hamilton elbowed his way by main force and reached the woman who was
still crying:

"Our children, we want our children!"

Hamilton spoke to her, but the woman paid no heed. Finally, seeing that
she would not listen, he shouted at her as harshly as he could. Then she
turned and tried to answer his questions.

"What's all the row about?" he asked.

"They rob us. Steal our children. Make them walk far away, never see our
children any more. Oh, my Mario, oh, my Petronilla. Oh, our children, we
want our children!"

Further information the boy could not get. He worked his way clear to
the front of the mob and saw the police gathering on all sides. Breaking
through the front rank he stepped up to the nearest policeman, who
merely shifted his grip on his night stick.

"That's quite a mob," he said in a conversational tone.

"It is that, sorr," said the policeman, recognizing immediately that the
boy was not one of the rioters.

"I'm a census officer," the boy continued, "and I was doing some
inspection work for the census when I got caught in the crowd. What's
the matter with them?"

"'Tis a bunch of dummies they are," was the reply; "'tis thinkin' they
are that the schools are goin' to steal their children. As if any one
would be wantin' their brats. The most of us has enough of our own to
keep."

"But why should the school want to steal their children? Do you mean
that they don't want them to go to school?"

"'Tis not that, sorr," the Irishman answered, "but 'tis due to some
'fire drill' business. The little ones are taught in the school that
when a bell rings--'tis the fire bell I'm m'anin'--they sh'd all march
out dacintly and in order. 'Tis a good idea, that same, an' I'm favorin'
it. But it's hard to make the children see it, so that they have to
drill them often."

"That all seems right enough," Hamilton answered.

"Ye would think so, sorr," continued the policeman "But most of these
mothers come from countries on the other side where they make them
soldiers whether they want to be or not, an' this drillin' business
scares the old folks 'most to death."

"But if it continues and nothing happens, I don't see why they should go
on being scared. You would think the children had grown used to it."

"The children! They're not makin' any trouble, it's all the parents."

"Then what started it?"

"There was some street corner lecturer here the day before yisterday,
tryin' to teach the people that children were the cause of poverty an'
that the only way to prevent poverty was to get rid of the children,
either by havin' fewer or by shippin' off the existin' surplus."

"It's silly for them to heed a man like that!"

"It's worse than silly, sorr," the policeman said. "But even then I
don't believe there would have been trouble. But yisterday, some rich
lady, plannin' to give the children a picnic this afternoon and a treat,
told them they were all goin' out to the country and that they must tell
their mothers they wouldn't be home until late."

"What about that?" asked the boy. "I should think they would be glad
that the children should have some pleasure. From all I've seen recently
of the way people live in this neighborhood, I don't believe the
children have any too much good times."

"An' so they should be glad, sorr, but they won't see it that way. They
know the children have been drilled for weeks an' weeks; they know a man
on the street corner said the children ought to be shipped away; an' the
next day they are told that the children are goin' to be taken into the
country, an' they don't believe the children'll ever come back."

"Surely they can't be as silly as all that! And what do you suppose they
want to do?"

"They don't know what they want," the policeman answered, "but it's a
bad business when a crowd gathers. Look there now!"

Hamilton looked where the man was pointing. On the outskirts of the
crowd the boy noted a number of half-grown toughs, hoodlums, and
trouble-makers generally. The cries were increasing, and the boy could
see that these men were doing all they could to stir up the rest of the
crowd.

"Where they come from, I don't know," the police officer said, "but any
time that there's a little trouble, they'll make it as big as they can."

"But the whole thing's so absurd," the boy said. "What do they think
they're going to do,--raid the school?" He laughed.

The policeman turned on him quickly.

"'Tis absurd, as ye say, sorr," he said rebukingly "but there's many a
good man been hurt with less cause than this. That crowd's growin' by
thousands. Do you slip away, sorr, I'm afraid there's goin' to be
trouble."

"Not much," Hamilton answered, "now I'm in this far, I'm going to stay
and see the fun out."

"Well then, sorr," advised the policeman, "ye'd better slip through the
school gates. Show your census badge, and the other men at the gate will
let ye through."

Thanking him, Hamilton walked across the narrow stretch of road between
the foremost ranks of the crowd and the little group of policemen
gathered in front of the school entrance. As he did so, a bottle came
whizzing at his head with deadly aim. Fortunately he had been keeping
his head partly turned curiously toward the crowd, and he saw the
missile in time to dodge. It missed him and went hurtling on, just
passing between two policemen and smashing on the iron bars of the
railing.

"You nearly got hit that time," said one of the policemen, as Hamilton
showed his badge and was let through. "How did you get in with them?"

"Just doing my work," the boy answered, "and got carried right along. I
was curious at first,--then when I wanted to get out I found I couldn't.
I think," he added, a little nervously, for the flying jagged bottle had
startled him not a little, "that's the first time I've been in front of
a mob."

"I wish it was the last I'm likely to be," was the reply, "especially a
crowd of women like that. Men you know what to do with."

"What do you suppose they'll do?" asked the boy. "Try to rush the
school?"

"They did once not far from here," the policeman answered, "it was a
school on the East Side, where nearly all the children were Jewish, and
in order to make it easier for the poorer children the school
authorities had opened a sort of restaurant where the kids could get
lunch for three cents. The story got abroad that the children were
getting ham and pork, and the whole section rose in arms. We tried to
disperse them and couldn't. There was no way of reasoning with them,
there was nothing they could do, but they just hung around."

"What for?"

"Waiting a chance to burn the school down, every one seemed to think.
They did make one rush toward the end of the afternoon, and several
people were wounded. One of our men was badly stabbed, but he got over
it. Watch now," he added, in a sharp voice. "There's something doing!"

The crowd hushed a moment, and a man's voice could be heard, but whether
pacifying the women or inflaming them, Hamilton could not make out. The
next moment answered him. Without any apparent preparation, the whole
face of the crowd suddenly seemed to burst, the end closed in, and in a
second one of the wildest hordes Hamilton had ever seen was at the
school gates. There was a brief struggle and nightsticks were drawn. The
crowd rolled back, then surged on, more angrily than before. But the
bluecoats stood firm, and when the crowd rolled back the second time a
number showed broken heads.

"Son," called the police lieutenant, "you scamper along, and tell the
principal to hurry up with letting out the school. I sent him one
message now this means business."

Hamilton turned and ran for all he was worth toward the building, but
just as he reached there, he saw the children marching in regular order
out of the rear door, and he came back immediately to report. As he did
so he found that the crowd was getting ready to make a third attempt to
attack the police, when, turning the corner, sauntering down the narrow
lane between the crowd and the police, came an Italian boy, about
fourteen years old, with half a dozen other ragged boys at his heels. On
seeing him, the lieutenant turned to Hamilton.

"That's Caesar," he said, with a sigh of relief. "I've known him for the
past year or two, and he'll settle all this trouble."

The boy looked at the police lieutenant with surprise. The police force
had had trouble enough, and what could a boy do? He voiced his query.

"His father's a 'Man of Silence,'" was the reply, "and Caesar himself
knows all there is to know. You'll see."

Arriving at the center of the crowd, just by the school gate, the boy
turned, and speaking to the nearest officer, said, in English, without a
trace of foreign accent, shrugging his shoulders:

"Some of them won't ever learn!"

For a moment he scanned the mob, called the names of two or three men on
the outskirts, and Hamilton could see them wince as this
fourteen-year-old lad named them; then he commenced a speech, which
seemed,--so far as Hamilton could tell--to be ridiculing them for their
fears.

The crowd relaxed, and for a moment Hamilton thought the whole trouble
was over; but suddenly a man sprang to the front of the rioters, and
gesticulating wildly, answered the boy in what seemed to be a
threatening tone. The young Italian lad heard him through patiently,
then almost without raising his voice, uttered one crisp sentence. The
man turned white to the lips and slunk away.

"Ask him," said Hamilton to a policeman, "what he said?"

"I only asked him," the Italian said, "if he wanted me to find out his
name--so that you would know it if you wanted to arrest him of course,"
he added, as an afterthought.

The policeman looked at him and pulled the boy's ear, in fun.

"Av I knew as much about some things as you do," he said, "they'd make
me chief. Maybe, though," he added, "I wouldn't hold it long. But what
about this, Caesar, is it all over?"

The Italian nodded.

"See," he said, "they all go!"

It was as the boy said; Hamilton could see that little by little the
crowd was dispersing and that the members of the boyish gang were going
all through the groups, evidently explaining that the trouble was all
over.

"Ye see what we're up against," the policeman said to Hamilton. "Here's
a slip of a lad that c'n just make a crowd do what he says because his
father is a leader in the Mafia. There's never any one gives credit
enough to the force for keepin peace, between all these foreigners and
the Chinks; this ain't an American city, it's a racial nightmare."

"Do the Chinese give much trouble, then?"

"Not such a great deal usually, but they do once in a while. There's
bloody murder in Chinatown going on now, or going to begin mighty soon.
Three were killed yesterday and the word was given out at Headquarters
this morning that the Tongs were out."

[Illustration: THE FIGHTING MEN OF THE TONGS. The younger combatants of
the Five Brothers outside the impregnably guarded headquarters in
Chinatown, New York.]

"Have we Tongs in New York?" asked Hamilton. "I've heard all about the
troubles in the West. Before the fire in San Francisco, I know, there
were fifteen organized Tongs of Highbinders, each with its paid band of
'Hatchet Men' for no other purpose than to rule Chinatown. The man who
got up the report for the government told me that 'Frisco Chinatown was
far more under Tong rule and had far more crimes in proportion than any
city in China."

"There are six strong Tongs in New York that I know about," the
policeman answered, "and I guess there are a lot more. But I reckon it's
the same in 'Frisco as it is here, they keep their killings to
themselves, and they don't let any white men get mixed up in it at all.
That's why you never can tell anything about it. But right now Chinatown
is pretty dangerous, and all the sight-seeing business there has been
shut off. No one is going into Mott and Pell Streets now."

"Pell Street!" exclaimed the boy. "Is that in Chinatown?"

"Right in the heart of it," was the reply. "Why?"

"Because I'm headed there now," Hamilton answered, taking from his
pocket the schedule he had been given by Burns to check up, and showing
it to the officer.

"That's Chinatown all right," the policeman said, "just look at the
names!"

"I hadn't looked at it closely," the boy remarked, "why, yes, so it is.
Well, Tong or no Tong, I suppose I've got to chance it, if those are
orders."

The policeman shook his head.

"Looks to me as though you'd have to wait a while. Take some other
district first and come back next week."

"Can't," the boy answered. "The Census Inspector and I have to go to
'Frisco to straighten out a Chinese tangle over the census there. The
Chinese refused point-blank to have anything to do with the census, and
there was a heap of trouble."

"What was it?" asked the policeman, walking along beside Hamilton in the
direction of Chinatown, his beat extending to the limits of that
section.

"When the rule for the census was issued, so they told me in
Washington," Hamilton answered, "in order to make sure that the Chinese
would not place any obstacles in the way, not only was a copy of the
President's proclamation in Chinese pasted all over the walls of the
city, but, in addition a decree was made by the Chinese consul-general
that it was the wish of the Chinese government that the population in
the city be properly numbered."

"That was a good idea," said the policeman approvingly.

"It would have been," said Hamilton, "if the Chinese had paid any
attention to it. Instead of that, some of the Tongs got together and had
a brief threat printed and pasted across the face of the President's
proclamation, as well as that of the consul, that no Chinaman was to
give any information to a census officer, unless he wanted to come under
the displeasure of the Tongs."

"The nerve of them!"

"At this," continued the boy, "the consul put out a second order,
sharper than the first, not only commanding obedience, but pointing out
that refusal would lay the person refusing open to fine or imprisonment.
Over these second orders again was pasted the former threat of the
Tongs. A few days later the enumerators, each accompanied by a
policeman, went through Chinatown. The Chinese wouldn't understand any
language, not even their own. They didn't refuse to give information,
they simply answered, 'No understand' when any question was asked."

     TRANSLATION OF THE PROCLAMATION

     Whereas, the Director of the Census Bureau of the Department of
     Commerce and Labor of the United States, in a letter to His
     Excellency Chang, His Imperial Chinese Majesty's Envoy
     Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, requests that, since it
     has been the custom of the United States to take a census of the
     population once in every ten years, many of which have been taken
     and are on record, and since the present year is the time for
     taking another such census, which is to include the people of every
     nationality residing within the territory of the United States, and
     as the Chinese residents of this country, through possible
     ignorance of the English language, may mistake the object of the
     enumerators to be that of ascertaining what the people possess and
     its value, in order to impose taxes, or that of investigating the
     certificates of registration, etc., a proclamation be issued fully
     explaining the matter to the Chinese people;

     And whereas, instructions have been received from His Excellency to
     the effect that, the taking of a census being merely to ascertain
     the population of the country, and having no connection in any way
     with the imposing of taxes or the examination of certificates by
     the customs authorities of the Treasury Department, and for fear
     that our countrymen may not understand the purpose and make trouble
     through a mistaken notion of the whole proceeding, the
     Consul-General at San Francisco and the Consul at New York shall
     publish and make known to all Chinese residing in every part of the
     United States that it is the custom of the United States to take a
     census at stated intervals, that this proceeding has no connection
     with the laying of taxes or the examination of certificates of
     residence, that our countrymen have no cause for suspicion or
     alarm, but, as soon as the enumerators present themselves, they
     should answer the questions put to them without evasion or
     reservation, in order not to incur the penalty of the law:

     Now, therefore, we, Li Yung Yew, His Imperial Chinese Majesty's
     Consul-General at the port of San Francisco, and Yang Yu Ying, His
     Imperial Chinese Majesty's Consul at the port of New York, in
     pursuance of instructions as aforesaid, do hereby publish and make
     known that inasmuch as it is the custom of the United States to
     take a census of the population thereof once in every ten years,
     and as this proceeding has no connection whatever with the laying
     of taxes or the examination of certificates of residence, and as
     all persons irrespective of nationality are to be enumerated under
     the provisions of the law, our countrymen should not be alarmed or
     cherish any suspicion, but, as soon as the proper officers of the
     Census Bureau present themselves with this Consular proclamation,
     should answer all the questions put to them without evasion or
     reservation, in order not to incur the penalty of the law.

     A list of the questions to be answered is hereby appended for the
     information of all concerned:

     Population schedule (32 questions).

     Agriculture schedule (59 questions).

     Dated Hsuan Tung, second year, First moon (February, 1910), and
     sealed with our respective seals of office.


     THIRTEENTH CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES

     CHINESE CONSULAR PROCLAMATION

     [Illustration: Chinese text]

     (SEE TRANSLATION ABOVE)

"What was finally done?" the policeman queried.

"The Consul-General had to ask the Five Companies to back up the census
order, and they did. The fifth layer of paper was put on the billboards,
and the Five Companies, without beating around the bush, just ordered
the Chinese to do as they were told."

"I've always heard that the Five Companies were stronger on the Pacific
coast than they are here. I wonder why?"

"I asked that very question," Hamilton said, "and the man who told me
all about this explained that it was because they controlled the Chinese
slave traffic to America."

"'Tis like enough," the policeman agreed, "and of course the most of
that would be on the other slope. But there's enough of it here, just
the same, and half the trouble between the Tongs is because of it."

"That was what started the trouble in Oakland between the Hop Sings
and the Bing Gongs," Hamilton said, "and there were eight men killed in
that. It began over the possession of a slave girl who had been given as
security for debt. But they never caught any one for that."

[Illustration: ARRESTED AS THE FIRING STOPS. Watching the close of a
shooting affray; the principals trying to escape the police.]

"You can't ever catch a Chinaman," the policeman said. "I've arrested a
dozen myself--but it never did any good. Look at Boston--it was open
talk that there were two regular executioners under Tong law, but the
Chinks got out of it by tellin' the judge that there never had been any
executions and that it was merely an ancient title!"

"There have been cases in New York, too," the boy said, "that they
haven't found out yet!"

"It doesn't matter what the case is--you can never prove it on them.
Look at that young girl, a missionary, who was killed! And that's only
one of dozens. And they can shoot, and shoot straight, too!" he added.
"Look at the shooting galleries," the two were walking down the Bowery,
"they've been kept going for years by the practice of the Tong marksmen.
You'd never think it, but some of those Highbinders could make our crack
shots do their best to keep an even score. Well," he broke off, "here
we are at Mott Street. Bob," he called to the policeman across the
street, "here's a young fellow wants to go into Chinatown."

"Sorry, sir," said the other, a great big burly fellow, coming forward
to meet them, "but orders are strict. No one going in at all, unless on
business."

"It is on business, officer," said Hamilton. "I'm a census agent and the
Inspector told me to check up some names on this schedule."

The policeman took it and looked it over.

"I think those are all right, sir," he said, "I know most of 'em by
name. But that's one of those underground places and we don't any of us
go down there any more than we have to. Of course when we have to
go--why, that's another matter. I think, sir, you can take it those
names are about all right."

"I don't feel that I could make a report like that," Hamilton answered.
"I was sent to check it up personally, and don't you think I'd better do
it? There's a chap there," he added, pointing to a young fellow standing
a few yards up the street, "he doesn't look Chinese."

"He's a reporter, sir," the policeman said, "an' he's like us,--it's
part of his business to take chances."

"Mine, too," said Hamilton; "only he represents a newspaper and I'm here
for the government."

The policeman scratched his chin in perplexity.

"Do you wait here," he said, "and I'll call up the station."

He came back in a minute or two.

"The lieutenant says it'll be all right," he said. "I told him that I
hadn't seen any sign of trouble--not that that means anything," he
added, "but if you wait a minute the other man will be up this way; he's
patrollin' the streets and you can go along with him."

"How many of you are there here?" asked the boy.

"Generally half a dozen in these two or three streets," the policeman
answered, "but I guess right now there's twice that number."

Just as he had expected, another policeman appeared shortly, and
Hamilton was passed on to him. His conductor was taciturn, and the boy
was glad when the reporter joined them. In reply to a question, Hamilton
told his purpose, and the reporter, scenting a story, volunteered to
accompany them. The boy was willing enough, especially as he found the
reporter had the Chinese district as his regular assignment and was well
known in Chinatown.

The address given, as the first policeman had said, was merely that
painted over a stairway.

"I guess we go down here," Hamilton said.

The policeman answered not a word, he simply pushed past the boy and
went down first; Hamilton followed, and the reporter came next. At the
bottom of the stair the policeman rapped on a door with his nightstick,
a good loud rap. It was opened, and he strode in, followed by the two
boys. A few questions from Hamilton verified one or two items of
information, but details about the rest of the house were not
forthcoming. In answer to questions the Chinaman simply pointed to the
ground.

"Next floor down, I reckon," the reporter said.

"But we're in the cellar now," objected Hamilton

The reporter laughed.

"We build above ground, the Chinese below," he said. "Lots of these
houses have five stories underground, and nearly all have either two or
three. A Chinaman doesn't care about fresh air at all, and he won't
waste money in fuel when he can keep warm in an underground burrow. Come
on, I guess we'll go down some more."

The policeman still leading the way, three of them went down a rickety
stair, not much better than a ladder, and found themselves in a sort of
storehouse.

"They don't keep things to eat here!" exclaimed Hamilton, scarcely able
to breathe the foul air and the exhalations from decaying food-stuffs.

"Sure," the reporter answered. "Cheerful, isn't it?"

Hamilton gave a little shiver of repugnance, but taking out his
schedule, asked the underground store-keeper all the personal questions
on it. Then, realizing that he would be able to know about his
customers, the lad quickly made enough inquiries to assure him that
there was no fault to find with the work, and started for the upper air.
Just as they passed out of the stairway, the policeman, who was the
last, still being on the steps, Hamilton heard a shot, and a bullet came
whizzing by his head. It was answered by a fusillade of shots.

The boy's first instinct was to duck back under the cover of the
staircase from which he had just come out, but the policeman, as he
left it, roughly gave him a push, as much as to say, "Keep out of
there," and started on a dead run for the group where the firing was
going on.

"That's the Hip Sings," the reporter said, pulling Hamilton into the
shadow of a doorway, "the Ong Leongs have been waiting for them, ever
since that affair in the theater."

"What was that?" asked Hamilton, although more interested in the
immediate excitement than the story.

"Time of the Chinese New Year," the reporter answered in short, crisp
sentences. "There was a gala performance in the theater with suppers and
banquets before and after. Everybody brought fire-crackers to the
theater, and at a certain time all the fire-crackers were set off. When
the noise stopped eighteen men were found shot dead, all members of the
Ong Leong Tong. The Hip Sing men were blamed for it, but none ever
caught."

"What's up now?" cried Hamilton, in alarm.

As he spoke two men dashed out of a building near by, and fired at the
group beyond. The others turned and made a rush. The two newcomers cut
across the street, thus for a moment diverting the line of fire which
had been perilously close to where the two boys were standing.

"This is too hot for me," said the reporter, "we'd better get out of
here as fast as we know how. We'll go to the end of this street and turn
to the right. Are you ready? Come along."

Out from the doorway like a couple of frightened hares the two lads
bolted, pursued by a few shots which, they flew so far over their heads,
Hamilton surmised were intended as a warning to keep out of the way
rather than as attempts to shoot them. In the few seconds that had
elapsed it seemed that the streets had become full of running policemen,
and Hamilton looked back.

As he did so, he saw one of the men in the nearest group stagger
sideways and stand for an instant alone in the center of the street.
There was the sharp bark of a sawed-off revolver, and the wounded man
just reached the shelter of a doorway as the bullet sang over the spot
on which he had stood a second before.

The sight unnerved Hamilton. He clutched the reporter's arm.

"Chinese, Camorrists, sweatshop workers, and negroes!" he cried, a
hysterical note in his voice. "Are there no Americans in an American
city?"

The reporter grasped his shoulder and pointed to where, a block or two
away, the towering framework of a Titanic building pierced the sunlit
air, far above the sordid savagery of the human rat-holes near by.
Guiding monster beams into place, sure-set upon the frailest foothold,
forms of men, made tiny by the distance, were silhouetted against the
sky.

"The post of honor is the post of danger," he said; "it is in work like
that, where skill is linked to daring, where brain is joined to nerve,
that the Yankee stands. If you want to see the American in America,
don't look down, look up!"

[Illustration: WORK FOR AMERICANS. Where skill and nerve and endurance
are required is where the true American is found. (_Copyright by Brown
Bros._)]


THE END





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