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Title: Americans All - Stories of American Life of To-Day
Author: Various
Language: English
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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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Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



AMERICANS ALL

STORIES OF AMERICAN LIFE OF TO-DAY

EDITED BY
BENJAMIN A. HEYDRICK
Editor "Types of the Short Story," etc.

[Illustration: Publisher's logo]

NEW YORK
HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY


COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE, INC.

PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY
THE QUINN & BODEN COMPANY
RAHWAY. N. J.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


For permission to reprint the stories in this volume, acknowledgement is
made to the owners of the copyrights, as follows:

For "The Right Promethean Fire," to Mrs. Atwood, R. Martin and
Doubleday, Page & Company.

For "The Land of Heart's Desire," to Messrs. Doubleday, Page & Company.

For "The Tenor," to Alice I. Bunner and to Charles Scribners' Sons.

For "The Passing of Priscilla Winthrop," to William Allen White and The
Macmillan Company.

For "The Gift of the Magi," to Messrs. Doubleday, Page & Company.

For "The Gold Brick," copyright 1910, to Brand Whitlock and to The
Bobbs, Merrill Company.

For "His Mother's Son," to Edna Ferber and the Frederick A. Stokes
Company.

For "Bitter-Sweet," to Fannie Hurst and Harper & Brothers.

For "The Riverman," to Stewart Edward White and Doubleday, Page &
Company.

For "Flint and Fire," to Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Messrs. Henry Holt
& Company.

For "The Ordeal at Mt. Hope," to Mrs. Alice Dunbar, Mrs. Mathilde
Dunbar, and Messrs. Dodd, Mead & Company.

For "Israel Drake," to Katherine Mayo and Messrs. Houghton Mifflin
Company.

For "The Struggles and Triumph of Isidro," to James M. Hopper.

For "The Citizen," to James F. Dwyer and the Paget Literary Agency.



PREFACE


In the years before the war, when we had more time for light pursuits, a
favorite sport of reviewers was to hunt for the Great American Novel.
They gave tongue here and there, and pursued the quarry with great
excitement in various directions, now north, now south, now west, and
the inevitable disappointment at the end of the chase never deterred
them from starting off on a fresh scent next day. But in spite of all
the frenzied pursuit, the game sought, the Great American Novel, was
never captured. Will it ever be captured? The thing they sought was a
book that would be so broad, so typical, so true that it would stand as
the adequate expression in fiction of American life. Did these tireless
hunters ever stop to ask themselves, what is the Great French Novel?
what is the Great English Novel? And if neither of these nations has
produced a single book which embodies their national life, why should we
expect that our life, so much more diverse in its elements, so
multifarious in its aspects, could ever be summed up within the covers
of a single book?

Yet while the critics continued their hopeless hunt, there was growing
up in this country a form of fiction which gave promise of some day
achieving the task that this never-to-be written novel should
accomplish. This form was the short story. It was the work of many
hands, in many places. Each writer studied closely a certain locality,
and transcribed faithfully what he saw. Thus the New England village,
the western ranch, the southern plantation, all had their chroniclers.
Nor was it only various localities that we saw in these one-reel
pictures; they dealt with typical occupations, there were stories of
travelling salesmen, stories of lumbermen, stories of politicians,
stories of the stage, stories of school and college days. If it were
possible to bring together in a single volume a group of these, each one
reflecting faithfully one facet of our many-sided life, would not such a
book be a truer picture of America than any single novel could present?

The present volume is an attempt to do this. That it is only an attempt,
that it does not cover the whole field of our national life, no one
realizes better than the compiler. The title _Americans All_ signifies
that the characters in the book are all Americans, not that they are all
of the Americans.

This book then differs in its purpose from other collections of short
stories. It does not aim to present the world's best short stories, nor
to illustrate the development of the form from Roman times to our own
day, nor to show how the technique of Poe differs from that of Irving:
its purpose is none of these things, but rather to use the short story
as a means of interpreting American life. Our country is so vast that
few of us know more than a small corner of it, and even in that corner
we do not know all our fellow-citizens; differences of color, of race,
of creed, of fortune, keep us in separate strata. But through books we
may learn to know our fellow-citizens, and the knowledge will make us
better Americans.

The story by Dorothy Canfield has a unique interest for the student, in
that it is followed by the author's own account of how it was written,
from the first glimpse of the theme to the final typing of the story.
Teachers who use this book for studying the art of short story
construction may prefer to begin with "Flint and Fire" and follow with
"The Citizen," tracing in all the others indications of the authors'
methods.

                                               BENJAMIN A. HEYDRICK.

NEW YORK CITY,
    March, 1920.



CONTENTS

                                                                    PAGE
   I. IN SCHOOL DAYS
        THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE              _George Madden Martin_  3
        Sketch of George Madden Martin                                16

  II. JUST KIDS
        THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE             _Myra Kelly_           21
        Sketch of Myra Kelly                                          37

 III. HERO-WORSHIP
        THE TENOR                              _H. C. Bunner_         41
        Sketch of H. C. Bunner                                        54

  IV. SOCIETY IN OUR TOWN
        THE PASSING OF PRISCILLA WINTHROP      _William Allen White_  59
        Sketch of William Allen White                                 73

   V. A PAIR OF LOVERS
        THE GIFT OF THE MAGI                   _O. Henry_             79
        Sketch of O. Henry                                            86

  VI. IN POLITICS
        THE GOLD BRICK                         _Brand Whitlock_       91
        Sketch of Brand Whitlock                                     111

 VII. THE TRAVELLING SALESMAN
        HIS MOTHER'S SON                       _Edna Ferber_         117
        Sketch of Edna Ferber                                        130

VIII. AFTER THE BIG STORE CLOSES
        BITTER-SWEET                           _Fannie Hurst_        135
        Sketch of Fannie Hurst                                       166

  IX. IN THE LUMBER COUNTRY
        THE RIVERMAN                           _Stewart Edward White_173
        Sketch of Stewart E. White                                   185

   X. NEW ENGLAND GRANITE
        FLINT AND FIRE                         _Dorothy Canfield_    191
        HOW "FLINT AND FIRE" STARTED AND GREW  _Dorothy Canfield_    210
        Sketch of Dorothy Canfield                                   221

  XI. DUSKY AMERICANS
        THE ORDEAL AT MT. HOPE                 _Paul Laurence Dunbar_227
        Sketch of Paul Laurence Dunbar                               249

 XII. WITH THE POLICE
        ISRAEL DRAKE                           _Katherine Mayo_      255
        Sketch of Katherine Mayo                                     273

XIII. IN THE PHILIPPINES
        THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH
          OF ISIDRO DE LOS MAESTROS            _James M. Hopper_     279
        Sketch of James M. Hopper                                    295

 XIV. THEY WHO BRING DREAMS TO AMERICA
        THE CITIZEN                            _James F. Dwyer_      299
        Sketch of James F. Dwyer                                     318

  XV. LIST OF AMERICAN SHORT STORIES                                 321
        Classified by locality

 XVI. NOTES AND QUESTIONS FOR STUDY                                  325



IN SCHOOL DAYS

_Are any days more rich in experiences than school days? The day one
first enters school, whether it is the little red schoolhouse or the big
brick building that holds a thousand pupils,--that day marks the
beginning of a new life. One of the best records in fiction of the world
of the school room is called_ EMMY LOU. _In this book George Madden
Martin has traced the progress of a winsome little maid from the first
grade to the end of high school. This is the story of the first days in
the strange new world of the school room._



THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE

BY

GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN


Emmy Lou, laboriously copying digits, looked up. The boy sitting in line
in the next row of desks was making signs to her.

She had noticed the little boy before. He was a square little boy, with
a sprinkling of freckles over the bridge of the nose and a cheerful
breadth of nostril. His teeth were wide apart, and his smile was broad
and constant. Not that Emmy Lou could have told all this. She only knew
that to her the knowledge of the little boy concerning the things
peculiar to the Primer World seemed limitless.

And now the little boy was beckoning Emmy Lou. She did not know him, but
neither did she know any of the seventy other little boys and girls
making the Primer Class.

Because of a popular prejudice against whooping-cough, Emmy Lou had not
entered the Primer Class until late. When she arrived, the seventy
little boys and girls were well along in Alphabetical lore, having long
since passed the a, b, c, of initiation, and become glibly eloquent to a
point where the l, m, n, o, p slipped off their tongues with the liquid
ease of repetition and familiarity.

"But Emmy Lou can catch up," said Emmy Lou's Aunt Cordelia, a plump and
cheery lady, beaming with optimistic placidity upon the infant populace
seated in parallel rows at desks before her.

Miss Clara, the teacher, lacked Aunt Cordelia's optimism, also her
plumpness. "No doubt she can," agreed Miss Clara, politely, but without
enthusiasm. Miss Clara had stepped from the graduating rostrum to the
schoolroom platform, and she had been there some years. And when one has
been there some years, and is already battling with seventy little boys
and girls, one cannot greet the advent of a seventy-first with acclaim.
Even the fact that one's hair is red is not an always sure indication
that one's temperament is sanguine also.

So in answer to Aunt Cordelia, Miss Clara replied politely but without
enthusiasm, "No doubt she can."

Then Aunt Cordelia went, and Miss Clara gave Emmy Lou a desk. And Miss
Clara then rapping sharply, and calling some small delinquent to order,
Emmy Lou's heart sank within her.

Now Miss Clara's tones were tart because she did not know what to do
with this late comer. In a class of seventy, spare time is not offering
for the bringing up of the backward. The way of the Primer teacher was
not made easy in a public school of twenty-five years ago.

So Miss Clara told the new pupil to copy digits.

Now what digits were, Emmy Lou had no idea, but being shown them on the
black-board, she copied them diligently. And as the time went on, Emmy
Lou went on copying digits. And her one endeavor being to avoid the
notice of Miss Clara, it happened the needs of Emmy Lou were frequently
lost sight of in the more assertive claims of the seventy.

Emmy Lou was not catching up, and it was January.

But to-day was to be different. The little boy was nodding and
beckoning. So far the seventy had left Emmy Lou alone. As a general
thing the herd crowds toward the leaders, and the laggard brings up the
rear alone.

But to-day the little boy was beckoning. Emmy Lou looked up. Emmy Lou
was pink-cheeked and chubby and in her heart there was no guile. There
was an ease and swagger about the little boy. And he always knew when to
stand up, and what for. Emmy Lou more than once had failed to stand up,
and Miss Clara's reminder had been sharp. It was when a bell rang one
must stand up. But what for, Emmy Lou never knew, until after the others
began to do it.

But the little boy always knew. Emmy Lou had heard him, too, out on the
bench glibly tell Miss Clara about the mat, and a bat, and a black rat.
To-day he stood forth with confidence and told about a fat hen. Emmy Lou
was glad to have the little boy beckon her.

And in her heart there was no guile. That the little boy should be
holding out an end of a severed india-rubber band and inviting her to
take it, was no stranger than other things happening in the Primer World
every day.

The very manner of the infant classification breathed mystery, the sheep
from the goats, so to speak, the little girls all one side the central
aisle, the little boys all the other--and to over-step the line of
demarcation a thing too dreadful to contemplate.

Many things were strange. That one must get up suddenly when a bell
rang, was strange.

And to copy digits until one's chubby fingers, tightly gripping the
pencil, ached, and then to be expected to take a sponge and wash those
digits off, was strange.

And to be told crossly to sit down was bewildering, when in answer to c,
a, t, one said "Pussy." And yet there was Pussy washing her face, on the
chart, and Miss Clara's pointer pointing to her.

So when the little boy held out the rubber band across the aisle, Emmy
Lou took the proffered end.

At this the little boy slid back into his desk holding to his end. At
the critical moment of elongation the little boy let go. And the
property of elasticity is to rebound.

Emmy Lou's heart stood still. Then it swelled. But in her filling eyes
there was no suspicion, only hurt. And even while a tear splashed down,
and falling upon the laboriously copied digits, wrought havoc, she
smiled bravely across at the little boy. It would have made the little
boy feel bad to know how it hurt. So Emmy Lou winked bravely and smiled.

Whereupon the little boy wheeled about suddenly and fell to copying
digits furiously. Nor did he look Emmy Lou's way, only drove his pencil
into his slate with a fervor that made Miss Clara rap sharply on her
desk.

Emmy Lou wondered if the little boy was mad. One would think it had
stung the little boy and not her. But since he was not looking, she felt
free to let her little fist seek her mouth for comfort.

Nor did Emmy Lou dream, that across the aisle, remorse was eating into a
little boy's soul. Or that, along with remorse there went the image of
one Emmy Lou, defenceless, pink-cheeked, and smiling bravely.

The next morning Emmy Lou was early. She was always early. Since
entering the Primer Class, breakfast had lost its savor to Emmy Lou in
the terror of being late.

But this morning the little boy was there before her. Hitherto his tardy
and clattering arrival had been a daily happening, provocative of
accents sharp and energetic from Miss Clara.

But this morning he was at his desk copying from his Primer on to his
slate. The easy, ostentatious way in which he glanced from slate to book
was not lost upon Emmy Lou, who lost her place whenever her eyes left
the rows of digits upon the blackboard.

Emmy Lou watched the performance. And the little boy's pencil drove with
furious ease and its path was marked with flourishes. Emmy Lou never
dreamed that it was because she was watching that the little boy was
moved to this brilliant exhibition. Presently reaching the end of his
page, he looked up, carelessly, incidentally. It seemed to be borne to
him that Emmy Lou was there, whereupon he nodded. Then, as if moved by
sudden impulse, he dived into his desk, and after ostentatious search
in, on, under it, brought forth a pencil, and held it up for Emmy Lou to
see. Nor did she dream that it was for this the little boy had been
there since before Uncle Michael had unlocked the Primer door.

Emmy Lou looked across at the pencil. It was a slate-pencil. A fine,
long, new slate-pencil grandly encased for half its length in gold
paper. One bought them at the drug-store across from the school, and one
paid for them the whole of five cents.

Just then a bell rang. Emmy Lou got up suddenly. But it was the bell for
school to take up. So she sat down. She was glad Miss Clara was not yet
in her place.

After the Primer Class had filed in, with panting and frosty entrance,
the bell rang again. This time it was the right bell tapped by Miss
Clara, now in her place. So again Emmy Lou got up suddenly and by
following the little girl ahead learned that the bell meant, "go out to
the bench."

The Primer Class according to the degree of its infant precocity was
divided in three sections. Emmy Lou belonged to the third section. It
was the last section and she was the last one in it though she had no
idea what a section meant nor why she was in it.

Yesterday the third section had said, over and over, in chorus, "One and
one are two, two and two are four," etc.--but to-day they said, "Two and
one are three, two and two are four."

Emmy Lou wondered, four what? Which put her behind, so that when she
began again they were saying, "two and four are six." So now she knew.
Four is six. But what is six? Emmy Lou did not know.

When she came back to her desk the pencil was there. The fine, new, long
slate-pencil encased in gold paper. And the little boy was gone. He
belonged to the first section, and the first section was now on the
bench. Emmy Lou leaned across and put the pencil back on the little
boy's desk.

Then she prepared herself to copy digits with her stump of a pencil.
Emmy Lou's were always stumps. Her pencil had a way of rolling off her
desk while she was gone, and one pencil makes many stumps. The little
boy had generally helped her pick them up on her return. But strangely,
from this time, her pencils rolled off no more.

But when Emmy Lou took up her slate there was a whole side filled with
digits in soldierly rows across, so her heart grew light and free from
the weight of digits, and she gave her time to the washing of her desk,
a thing in which her soul revelled, and for which, patterning after her
little girl neighbors, she kept within that desk a bottle of soapy water
and rags of gray and unpleasant nature, that never dried, because of
their frequent using. When Emmy Lou first came to school, her cleaning
paraphernalia consisted of a sponge secured by a string to her slate,
which was the badge of the new and the unsophisticated comer. Emmy Lou
had quickly learned that, and no one rejoiced in a fuller assortment of
soap, bottle, and rags than she, nor did a sponge longer dangle from the
frame of her slate.

On coming in from recess this same day, Emmy Lou found the pencil on her
desk again, the beautiful new pencil in the gilded paper. She put it
back.

But when she reached home, the pencil, the beautiful pencil that costs
all of five cents, was in her companion box along with her stumps and
her sponge and her grimy little slate rags. And about the pencil was
wrapped a piece of paper. It had the look of the margin of a Primer
page. The paper bore marks. They were not digits.

Emmy Lou took the paper to Aunt Cordelia. They were at dinner.

"Can't you read it, Emmy Lou?" asked Aunt Katie, the prettiest aunty.

Emmy Lou shook her head.

"I'll spell the letters," said Aunt Louise, the youngest aunty.

But they did not help Emmy Lou one bit.

Aunt Cordelia looked troubled. "She doesn't seem to be catching up," she
said.

"No," said Aunt Katie.

"No," agreed Aunt Louise.

"Nor--on," said Uncle Charlie, the brother of the aunties, lighting up
his cigar to go downtown.

Aunt Cordelia spread the paper out. It bore the words:

"It is for you."

So Emmy Lou put the pencil away in the companion, and tucked it about
with the grimy slate rags that no harm might befall it. And the next day
she took it out and used it. But first she looked over at the little
boy. The little boy was busy. But when she looked up again, he was
looking.

The little boy grew red, and wheeling suddenly, fell to copying digits
furiously. And from that moment on the little boy was moved to strange
behavior.

Three times before recess did he, boldly ignoring the preface of
upraised hand, swagger up to Miss Clara's desk. And going and coming,
the little boy's boots with copper toes and run-down heels marked with
thumping emphasis upon the echoing boards his processional and
recessional. And reaching his desk, the little boy slammed down his
slate with clattering reverberations.

Emmy Lou watched him uneasily. She was miserable for him. She did not
know that there are times when the emotions are more potent than the
subtlest wines. Nor did she know that the male of some species is moved
thus to exhibition of prowess, courage, defiance, for the impressing of
the chosen female of the species.

Emmy Lou merely knew that she was miserable and that she trembled for
the little boy.

Having clattered his slate until Miss Clara rapped sharply, the little
boy rose and went swaggering on an excursion around the room to where
sat the bucket and dipper. And on his return he came up the center
aisle between the sheep and the goats.

Emmy Lou had no idea what happened. It took place behind her. But there
was another little girl who did. A little girl who boasted curls, yellow
curls in tiered rows about her head. A lachrymosal little girl, who
affected great horror of the little boys.

And what Emmy Lou failed to see was this: the little boy, in passing,
deftly lifted a cherished curl between finger and thumb and proceeded on
his way.

The little girl did not fail the little boy. In the suddenness of the
surprise she surprised even him by her outcry. Miss Clara jumped. Emmy
Lou jumped. And the sixty-nine jumped. And, following this, the little
girl lifted her voice in lachrymal lament.

Miss Clara sat erect. The Primer Class held its breath. It always held
its breath when Miss Clara sat erect. Emmy Lou held tightly to her desk
besides. She wondered what it was all about.

Then Miss Clara spoke. Her accents cut the silence.

"Billy Traver!"

Billy Traver stood forth. It was the little boy.

"Since you seem pleased to occupy yourself with the little girls, Billy,
_go to the pegs_!"

Emmy Lou trembled. "Go to the pegs!" What unknown, inquisitorial terrors
lay behind those dread, laconic words, Emmy Lou knew not.

She could only sit and watch the little boy turn and stump back down the
aisle and around the room to where along the wall hung rows of feminine
apparel.

Here he stopped and scanned the line. Then he paused before a hat. It
was a round little hat with silky nap and a curling brim. It had
rosettes to keep the ears warm and ribbon that tied beneath the chin. It
was Emmy Lou's hat. Aunt Cordelia had cautioned her to care concerning
it.

The little boy took it down. There seemed to be no doubt in his mind as
to what Miss Clara meant. But then he had been in the Primer Class from
the beginning.

Having taken the hat down he proceeded to put it upon his own shock
head. His face wore its broad and constant smile. One would have said
the little boy was enjoying the affair. As he put the hat on, the
sixty-nine laughed. The seventieth did not. It was her hat, and besides,
she did not understand.

Miss Clara still erect spoke again: "And now, since you are a little
girl, get your book, Billy, and move over with the girls."

Nor did Emmy Lou understand why, when Billy, having gathered his
belongings together, moved across the aisle and sat down with her, the
sixty-nine laughed again. Emmy Lou did not laugh. She made room for
Billy.

Nor did she understand when Billy treated her to a slow and
surreptitious wink, his freckled countenance grinning beneath the
rosetted hat. It never could have occurred to Emmy Lou that Billy had
laid his cunning plans to this very end. Emmy Lou understood nothing of
all this. She only pitied Billy. And presently, when public attention
had become diverted, she proffered him the hospitality of a grimy little
slate rag. When Billy returned the rag there was something in
it--something wrapped in a beautiful, glazed, shining bronze paper. It
was a candy kiss. One paid five cents for six of them at the drug-store.

On the road home, Emmy Lou ate the candy. The beautiful, shiny paper she
put in her Primer. The slip of paper that she found within she carried
to Aunt Cordelia. It was sticky and it was smeared. But it had reading
on it.

"But this is printing," said Aunt Cordelia; "can't you read it?"

Emmy Lou shook her head.

"Try," said Aunt Katie.

"The easy words," said Aunt Louise.

But Emmy Lou, remembering c-a-t, Pussy, shook her head.

Aunt Cordelia looked troubled. "She certainly isn't catching up," said
Aunt Cordelia. Then she read from the slip of paper:


     "Oh, woman, woman, thou wert made
     The peace of Adam to invade."


The aunties laughed, but Emmy Lou put it away with the glazed paper in
her Primer. It meant quite as much to her as did the reading in that
Primer: Cat, a cat, the cat. The bat, the mat, a rat. It was the jingle
to both that appealed to Emmy Lou.

About this time rumors began to reach Emmy Lou. She heard that it was
February, and that wonderful things were peculiar to the Fourteenth. At
recess the little girls locked arms and talked Valentines. The echoes
reached Emmy Lou.

The valentine must come from a little boy, or it wasn't the real thing.
And to get no valentine was a dreadful--dreadful thing. And even the
timidest of the sheep began to cast eyes across at the goats.

Emmy Lou wondered if she would get a valentine. And if not, how was she
to survive the contumely and shame?

You must never, never breathe to a living soul what was on your
valentine. To tell even your best and truest little girl friend was to
prove faithless to the little boy sending the valentine. These things
reached Emmy Lou.

Not for the world would she tell. Emmy Lou was sure of that, so grateful
did she feel she would be to anyone sending her a valentine.

And in doubt and wretchedness did she wend her way to school on the
Fourteenth Day of February. The drug-store window was full of
valentines. But Emmy Lou crossed the street. She did not want to see
them. She knew the little girls would ask her if she had gotten a
valentine. And she would have to say, No.

She was early. The big, empty room echoed back her footsteps as she went
to her desk to lay down book and slate before taking off her wraps. Nor
did Emmy Lou dream the eye of the little boy peeped through the crack of
the door from Miss Clara's dressing-room.

Emmy Lou's hat and jacket were forgotten. On her desk lay something
square and white. It was an envelope. It was a beautiful envelope, all
over flowers and scrolls.

Emmy Lou knew it. It was a valentine. Her cheeks grew pink.

She took it out. It was blue. And it was gold. And it had reading on it.

Emmy Lou's heart sank. She could not read the reading. The door opened.
Some little girls came in. Emmy Lou hid her valentine in her book, for
since you must not--she would never show her valentine--never.

The little girls wanted to know if she had gotten a valentine, and Emmy
Lou said, Yes, and her cheeks were pink with the joy of being able to
say it.

Through the day, she took peeps between the covers of her Primer, but no
one else might see it.

It rested heavy on Emmy Lou's heart, however, that there was reading on
it. She studied it surreptitiously. The reading was made up of letters.
It was the first time Emmy Lou had thought about that. She knew some of
the letters. She would ask someone the letters she did not know by
pointing them out on the chart at recess. Emmy Lou was learning. It was
the first time since she came to school.

But what did the letters make? She wondered, after recess, studying the
valentine again.

Then she went home. She followed Aunt Cordelia about. Aunt Cordelia was
busy.

"What does it read?" asked Emmy Lou.

Aunt Cordelia listened.

"B," said Emmy Lou, "and e?"

"Be," said Aunt Cordelia.

If B was Be, it was strange that B and e were Be. But many things were
strange.

Emmy Lou accepted them all on faith.

After dinner she approached Aunt Katie.

"What does it read?" asked Emmy Lou, "m and y?"

"My," said Aunt Katie.

The rest was harder. She could not remember the letters, and had to copy
them off on her slate. Then she sought Tom, the house-boy. Tom was out
at the gate talking to another house-boy. She waited until the other boy
was gone.

"What does it read?" asked Emmy Lou, and she told the letters off the
slate. It took Tom some time, but finally he told her.

Just then a little girl came along. She was a first-section little girl,
and at school she never noticed Emmy Lou.

Now she was alone, so she stopped.

"Get any valentines?"

"Yes," said Emmy Lou. Then moved to confidence by the little girl's
friendliness, she added, "It has reading on it."

"Pooh," said the little girl, "they all have that. My mamma's been
reading the long verses inside to me."

"Can you show them--valentines?" asked Emmy Lou.

"Of course, to grown-up people," said the little girl.

The gas was lit when Emmy Lou came in. Uncle Charlie was there, and the
aunties, sitting around, reading.

"I got a valentine," said Emmy Lou.

They all looked up. They had forgotten it was Valentine's Day, and it
came to them that if Emmy Lou's mother had not gone away, never to come
back, the year before, Valentine's Day would not have been forgotten.
Aunt Cordelia smoothed the black dress she was wearing because of the
mother who would never come back, and looked troubled.

But Emmy Lou laid the blue and gold valentine on Aunt Cordelia's knee.
In the valentine's center were two hands clasping. Emmy Lou's forefinger
pointed to the words beneath the clasped hands.

"I can read it," said Emmy Lou.

They listened. Uncle Charlie put down his paper. Aunt Louise looked over
Aunt Cordelia's shoulder.

"B," said Emmy Lou, "e--Be."

The aunties nodded.

"M," said Emmy Lou, "y--my."

Emmy Lou did not hesitate. "V," said Emmy Lou, "a, l, e, n, t, i, n,
e--Valentine. Be my Valentine."

"There!" said Aunt Cordelia.

"Well!" said Aunt Katie.

"At last!" said Aunt Louise.

"H'm!" said Uncle Charlie.



GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN


In the South it is not unusual to give boys' names to girls, so it
happens that George is the real name of the woman who wrote _Emmy Lou_.
George Madden was born in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 1866. She
attended the public schools in Louisville, but on account of ill health
did not graduate. She married Atwood R. Martin, and they made their home
at Anchorage, a suburb of Louisville. Here in an old house surrounded by
great catalpa trees, with cardinals nesting in their branches, she was
recovering from an illness, and to pass the time began to write a short
story. The title was "How They Missed the Exposition"; when it was sent
away, and a check for seventy-five dollars came in payment, she was
encouraged to go on. Her next work was the series of stories entitled
_Emmy Lou, Her Book and Heart_. This at once took rank as one of the
classics of school-room literature. It had a wide popularity in this
country, and was translated into French and German. One of the pleasant
tributes paid to the book was a review in a Pittsburgh newspaper which
took the form of a letter to Emmy Lou. It ran in part as follows:


     Dear Little Emmy Lou:

     I have read your book, Emmy Lou, and am writing this letter to tell
     you how much I love you. In my world of books I know a great
     assembly of lovely ladies, Emmy Lou, crowned with beauty and
     garlanded with grace, that have inspired poets to song and the
     hearts of warriors to battle, but, Emmy Lou, I love you better than
     them all, because you are the dearest little girl I ever met.

     I felt very sorry for you when the little boy in the Primer World,
     who could so glibly tell the teacher all about the mat and the bat
     and the black rat and the fat hen, hurt your chubby fist by
     snapping an india-rubber band. I do not think he atoned quite
     enough when he gave you that fine new long slate pencil, nor when
     he sent you your first valentine. No, he has not atoned quite
     enough, Emmy Lou, but now that you are Miss McLaurin, you will
     doubtless even the score by snapping the india-rubber band of your
     disdain at his heart. But only to show him how it stings, and then,
     of course, you'll make up for the hurt and be his valentine--won't
     you, Emmy Lou?...

     And when, at twelve years, you find yourself dreaming, Emmy Lou,
     and watching the clouds through the schoolroom window, still I love
     you, Emmy Lou, for your conscience, which William told about in his
     essay. You remember, the two girls who met a cow.

     "Look her right in the face and pretend we aren't afraid," said the
     biggest girl. But the littlest girl--that was you--had a
     conscience. "Won't it be deceiving the cow?" she wanted to know.
     Brave, honest Emmy Lou!

     Yes, I love you, Emmy Lou, better than all the proud and beauteous
     heroines in the big grown-up books, because you are so sunshiny and
     trustful, so sweet and brave--because you have a heart of gold,
     Emmy Lou. And I want you to tell George Madden Martin how glad I am
     that she has told us all about you, the dearest little girl since
     Alice dropped down into Wonderland.

                                                       George Seibel.


The book is more than a delightful piece of fiction. Through its
faithful study of the development of a child's mind, and its criticism
of the methods employed in many schools, it becomes a valuable
contribution to education. As such it is used in the School of Pedagogy
of Harvard University.

George Madden Martin told more about Emmy Lou in a second book of
stories entitled _Emmy Lou's Road to Grace_, which relates the little
girl's experience at home and in Sunday school. Other works from her pen
are: _A Warwickshire Lad_, the story of William Shakespeare's early
life; _The House of Fulfillment_, a novel; _Abbie Ann_, a story for
children; _Letitia; Nursery Corps, U. S. A._, a story of a child, also
showing various aspects of army life; _Selina_, the story of a young
girl who has been brought up in luxury, and finds herself confronted
with the necessity of earning a living without any equipment for the
task. None of these has equalled the success of her first book, but that
is one of the few successful portrayals of child life in fiction.



JUST KIDS

_That part of New York City known as the East Side, the region south of
Fourteenth Street and east of Broadway, is the most densely populated
square mile on earth. Its people are of all races; Chinatown, Little
Hungary and Little Italy elbow each other; streets where the signs are
in Hebrew characters, theatres where plays are given in Yiddish, notices
in the parks in four or five languages, make one rub his eyes and wonder
if he is not in some foreign land. Into this region Myra Kelly went as a
teacher in the public school. Her pupils were largely Russian Jews, and
in a series of delightfully humorous stories she has drawn these little
citizens to the life._



THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE

BY

MYRA KELLY


Isaac Borrachsohn, that son of potentates and of Assemblymen, had been
taken to Central Park by a proud uncle. For weeks thereafter he was the
favorite bard of the First Reader Class and an exceeding great trouble
to its sovereign, Miss Bailey, who found him now as garrulous as he had
once been silent. There was no subject in the Course of Study to which
he could not correlate the wonders of his journey, and Teacher asked
herself daily and in vain whether it were more pedagogically correct to
encourage "spontaneous self-expression" or to insist upon "logically
essential sequence."

But the other members of the class suffered no such uncertainty. They
voted solidly for spontaneity in a self which found expression thus:

"Und in the Central Park stands a water-lake, und in the water-lake
stands birds--a big all of birds--und fishes. Und sooner you likes you
should come over the water-lake you calls a bird, und you sets on the
bird, und the bird makes go his legs, und you comes over the
water-lake."

"They could be awful polite birds," Eva Gonorowsky was beginning when
Morris interrupted with:

"I had once a auntie und she had a bird, a awful polite bird; on'y
sooner somebody calls him he _couldn't_ to come the while he sets in a
cage."

"Did he have a rubber neck?" Isaac inquired, and Morris reluctantly
admitted that he had not been so blessed.

"In the Central Park," Isaac went on, "all the birds is got rubber
necks."

"What color from birds be they?" asked Eva.

"All colors. Blue und white und red und yellow."

"Und green," Patrick Brennan interjected determinedly. "The green ones
is the best."

"Did you go once?" asked Isaac, slightly disconcerted.

"Naw, but I know. Me big brother told me."

"They could to be stylish birds, too," said Eva wistfully. "Stylish und
polite. From red und green birds is awful stylish for hats."

"But these birds is big. Awful big! Mans could ride on 'em und ladies
und boys."

"Und little girls, Ikey? Ain't they fer little girls?" asked the only
little girl in the group. And a very small girl she was, with a softly
gentle voice and darkly gentle eyes fixed pleadingly now upon the bard.

"Yes," answered Isaac grudgingly; "sooner they sets by somebody's side
little girls could to go. But sooner nobody holds them by the hand they
could to have fraids over the rubber-neck-boat-birds und the water-lake,
und the fishes."

"What kind from fishes?" demanded Morris Mogilewsky, monitor of Miss
Bailey's gold fish bowl, with professional interest.

"From gold fishes und red fishes und black fishes"--Patrick stirred
uneasily and Isaac remembered--"und green fishes; the green ones is the
biggest; and blue fishes und _all_ kinds from fishes. They lives way
down in the water the while they have fraids over the
rubber-neck-boat-birds. Say--what you think? Sooner a
rubber-neck-boat-bird needs he should eat he longs down his neck und
eats a from-gold fish."

"'Out fryin'?" asked Eva, with an incredulous shudder.

"Yes, 'out fryin'. Ain't I told you little girls could to have fraids
over 'em? Boys could have fraids too," cried Isaac; and then spurred by
the calm of his rival, he added: "The rubber-neck-boat-birds they
hollers somethin' fierce."

"I wouldn't be afraid of them. Me pop's a cop," cried Patrick stoutly.
"I'd just as lief set on 'em. I'd like to."

"Ah, but you ain't seen 'em, und you ain't heard 'em holler," Isaac
retorted.

"Well, I'm goin' to. An' I'm goin' to see the lions an' the tigers an'
the el'phants, an' I'm goin' to ride on the water-lake."

"Oh, how I likes I should go too!" Eva broke out. "O-o-oh, _how_ I likes
I should look on them things! On'y I don't know do I need a ride on
somethings what hollers. I don't know be they fer me."

"Well, I'll take ye with me if your mother leaves you go," said Patrick
grandly. "An' ye can hold me hand if ye're scared."

"Me too?" implored Morris. "Oh, Patrick, c'n I go too?"

"I guess so," answered the Leader of the Line graciously. But he turned
a deaf ear to Isaac Borrachsohn's implorings to be allowed to join the
party. Full well did Patrick know of the grandeur of Isaac's holiday
attire and the impressionable nature of Eva's soul, and gravely did he
fear that his own Sunday finery, albeit fashioned from the blue cloth
and brass buttons of his sire, might be outshone.

At Eva's earnest request, Sadie, her cousin, was invited, and Morris
suggested that the Monitor of the Window Boxes should not be slighted by
his colleagues of the gold fish and the line. So Nathan Spiderwitz was
raised to Alpine heights of anticipation by visions of a window box "as
big as blocks and streets," where every plant, in contrast to his lanky
charges, bore innumerable blossoms. Ignatius Aloysius Diamantstein was
unanimously nominated as a member of the expedition; by Patrick, because
they were neighbors at St. Mary's Sunday-school; by Morris, because they
were classmates under the same rabbi at the synagogue; by Nathan,
because Ignatius Aloysius was a member of the "Clinton Street gang"; by
Sadie, because he had "long pants sailor suit"; by Eva, because the
others wanted him.

Eva reached home that afternoon tingling with anticipation and
uncertainty. What if her mother, with one short word, should close
forever the gates of joy and boat-birds? But Mrs. Gonorowsky met her
small daughter's elaborate plea with the simple question:

"Who pays you the car-fare?"

"Does it need car-fare to go?" faltered Eva.

"Sure does it," answered her mother. "I don't know how much, but some it
needs. Who pays it?"

"Patrick ain't said."

"Well, you should better ask him," Mrs. Gonorowsky advised, and, on the
next morning, Eva did. She thereby buried the leader under the ruins of
his fallen castle of clouds, but he struggled through them with the
suggestion that each of his guests should be her, or his, own banker.

"But ain't you got _no_ money 't all?" asked the guest of honor.

"Not a cent," responded the host. "But I'll get it. How much have you?"

"A penny. How much do I need?"

"I don't know. Let's ask Miss Bailey."

School had not yet formally begun and Teacher was reading. She was
hardly disturbed when the children drove sharp elbows into her shoulder
and her lap, and she answered Eva's--"Miss Bailey--oh, Missis Bailey,"
with an abstracted--"Well, dear?"

"Missis Bailey, how much money takes car-fare to the Central Park?"

Still with divided attention, Teacher replied--"Five cents, honey," and
read on, while Patrick called a meeting of his forces and made
embarrassing explanations with admirable tact.

There ensued weeks of struggle and economy for the exploring party, to
which had been added a chaperon in the large and reassuring person of
Becky Zalmonowsky, the class idiot. Sadie Gonorowsky's careful mother
had considered Patrick too immature to bear the whole responsibility,
and he, with a guile which promised well for his future, had complied
with her desires and preserved his own authority unshaken. For Becky,
poor child, though twelve years old and of an aspect eminently
calculated to inspire trust in those who had never held speech with her,
was a member of the First Reader Class only until such time as room
could be found for her in some of the institutions where such
unfortunates are bestowed.

Slowly and in diverse ways each of the children acquired the essential
nickel. Some begged, some stole, some gambled, some bartered, some
earned, but their greatest source of income, Miss Bailey, was denied to
them. For Patrick knew that she would have insisted upon some really
efficient guardian from a higher class, and he announced with much heat
that he would not go at all under those circumstances.

At last the leader was called upon to set the day and appointed a
Saturday in late May. He was disconcerted to find that only Ignatius
Aloysius would travel on that day.

"It's holidays, all Saturdays," Morris explained; "und we dassent to
ride on no cars."

"Why not?" asked Patrick.

"It's law, the rabbi says," Nathan supplemented. "I don't know why is
it; on'y rides on holidays ain't fer us."

"I guess," Eva sagely surmised; "I guess rubber-neck-boat-birds rides
even ain't fer us on holidays. But I don't know do I need rides on birds
what hollers."

"You'll be all right," Patrick assured her. "I'm goin' to let ye hold me
hand. If ye can't go on Saturday, I'll take ye on Sunday--next Sunday.
Yous all must meet me here on the school steps. Bring yer money and
bring yer lunch too. It's a long way and ye'll be hungry when ye get
there. Ye get a terrible long ride for five cents."

"Does it take all that to get there?" asked the practical Nathan. "Then
how are we goin' to get back?"

Poor little poet soul! Celtic and improvident! Patrick's visions had
shown him only the triumphant arrival of his host and the beatific joy
of Eva as she floated by his side on the most "fancy" of boat-birds. Of
the return journey he had taken no thought. And so the saving and
planning had to be done all over again. The struggle for the first
nickel had been wearing and wearying, but the amassment of the second
was beyond description difficult. The children were worn from long
strife and many sacrifices, for the temptations to spend six or nine
cents are so much more insistent and unusual than are yearnings to
squander lesser sums. Almost daily some member of the band would confess
a fall from grace and solvency, and almost daily Isaac Borrachsohn was
called upon to descant anew upon the glories of the Central Park. Becky,
the chaperon, was the most desultory collector of the party. Over and
over she reached the proud heights of seven or even eight cents, only to
lavish her hoard on the sticky joys of the candy cart of Isidore
Belchatosky's papa or on the suddy charms of a strawberry soda.

Then tearfully would she repent of her folly, and bitterly would the
others upbraid her, telling again of the joys and wonders she had
squandered. Then loudly would she bewail her weakness and plead in
extenuation: "I seen the candy. Mouses from choc'late und Foxy Gran'pas
from sugar--und I ain't never seen no Central Park."

"But don't you know how Isaac says?" Eva would urge. "Don't you know how
all things what is nice fer us stands in the Central Park? Say, Isaac,
you should better tell Becky, some more, how the Central Park stands."

And Isaac's tales grew daily more wild and independent of fact until the
little girls quivered with yearning terror and the boys burnished up
forgotten cap pistols. He told of lions, tigers, elephants, bears, and
buffaloes, all of enormous size and strength of lung, so that before
many days had passed he had debarred himself, by whole-hearted lying,
from the very possibility of joining the expedition and seeing the
disillusionment of his public. With true artistic spirit he omitted all
mention of confining house or cage and bestowed the gift of speech upon
all the characters, whether brute or human, in his epic. The
merry-go-round he combined with the menagerie into a whole which was not
to be resisted.

"Und all the am'blins," he informed his entranced listeners; "they goes
around, und around, und around, where music plays und flags is. Und I
sets a lion und he runs around, und runs around, und runs around.
Say--what you think? He had smiling looks und hair on the neck, und
sooner he says like that 'I'm awful thirsty,' I gives him a peanut und I
gets a golden ring."

"Where is it?" asked the jealous and incredulous Patrick.

"To my house." Isaac valiantly lied, for well he remembered the scene in
which his scandalized but sympathetic uncle had discovered his attempt
to purloin the brass ring which, with countless blackened duplicates, is
plucked from a slot by the brandishing swords of the riders upon the
merry-go-round. Truly, its possession had won him another ride--this
time upon an elephant with upturned trunk and wide ears--but in his mind
the return of that ring still ranked as the only grief in an otherwise
perfect day.

Miss Bailey--ably assisted by Æsop, Rudyard Kipling, and Thompson
Seton--had prepared the First Reader Class to accept garrulous and
benevolent lions, cows, panthers, and elephants, and the exploring
party's absolute credulity encouraged Isaac to higher and yet higher
flights, until Becky was strengthened against temptation.

At last, on a Sunday in late June, the cavalcade in splendid raiment met
on the wide steps, boarded a Grand Street car, and set out for Paradise.
Some confusion occurred at the very beginning of things when Becky
Zalmonowsky curtly refused to share her pennies with the conductor. When
she was at last persuaded to yield, an embarrassing five minutes was
consumed in searching for the required amount in the nooks and crannies
of her costume where, for safe-keeping, she had cached her fund. One
penny was in her shoe, another in her stocking, two in the lining of her
hat, and one in the large and dilapidated chatelaine bag which dangled
at her knees.

Nathan Spiderwitz, who had preserved absolute silence, now contributed
his fare, moist and warm, from his mouth, and Eva turned to him
admonishingly.

"Ain't Teacher told you money in the mouth ain't healthy fer you?" she
sternly questioned, and Nathan, when he had removed other pennies, was
able to answer:

"I washed 'em off--first." And they were indeed most brightly clean.
"There's holes in me these here pockets," he explained, and promptly
corked himself anew with currency.

"But they don't tastes nice, do they?" Morris remonstrated. Nathan shook
a corroborative head. "Und," the Monitor of the Gold Fish further urged,
"you could to swallow 'em und then you couldn't never to come by your
house no more."

But Nathan was not to be dissuaded, even when the impressionable and
experimental Becky tried his storage system and suffered keen discomfort
before her penny was restored to her by a resourceful fellow traveler
who thumped her right lustily on the back until her crowings ceased and
the coin was once more in her hand.

At the meeting of Grand Street with the Bowery, wild confusion was made
wilder by the addition of seven small persons armed with transfers and
clamoring--all except Nathan--for Central Park. Two newsboys and a
policeman bestowed them upon a Third Avenue car and all went well until
Patrick missed his lunch and charged Ignatius Aloysius with its
abstraction. Words ensued which were not easily to be forgotten even
when the refreshment was found--flat and horribly distorted--under the
portly frame of the chaperon.

Jealousy may have played some part in the misunderstanding, for it was
undeniable that there was a sprightliness, a joyant brightness, in the
flowing red scarf on Ignatius Aloysius's nautical breast, which was
nowhere paralleled in Patrick's more subdued array. And the tenth
commandment seemed very arbitrary to Patrick, the star of St. Mary's
Sunday-school, when he saw that the red silk was attracting nearly all
the attention of his female contingent. If Eva admired flaunting ties it
were well that she should say so now. There was yet time to spare
himself the agony of riding on rubber-neck-boat-birds with one whose
interest wandered from brass buttons. Darkly Patrick scowled upon his
unconscious rival, and guilefully he remarked to Eva:

"Red neckties is nice, don't you think?"

"Awful nice," Eva agreed; "but they ain't so stylish like high-stiffs.
High-stiffs und derbies is awful stylish."

Gloom and darkness vanished from the heart and countenance of the Knight
of Munster, for around his neck he wore, with suppressed agony, the
highest and stiffest of "high-stiffs" and his brows--and the back of his
neck--were encircled by his big brother's work-a-day derby. Again he saw
and described to Eva the vision which had lived in his hopes for now so
many weeks: against a background of teeming jungle, mysterious and alive
with wild beasts, an amiable boat-bird floated on the water-lake: and
upon the boat-bird, trembling but reassured, sat Eva Gonorowsky, hand in
hand with her brass-buttoned protector.

As the car sped up the Bowery the children felt that they were indeed
adventurers. The clattering Elevated trains overhead, the crowds of
brightly decked Sunday strollers, the clanging trolley cars, and the
glimpses they caught of shining green as they passed the streets leading
to the smaller squares and parks, all contributed to the holiday
upliftedness which swelled their unaccustomed hearts. At each vista of
green they made ready to disembark and were restrained only by the
conductor and by the sage counsel of Eva, who reminded her impulsive
companions that the Central Park could be readily identified by "the
hollers from all those things what hollers." And so, in happy watching
and calm trust of the conductor, they were borne far beyond 59th Street,
the first and most popular entrance to the park, before an interested
passenger came to their rescue. They tumbled off the car and pressed
towards the green only to find themselves shut out by a high stone wall,
against which they crouched and listened in vain for identifying
hollers. The silence began to frighten them, when suddenly the quiet air
was shattered by a shriek which would have done credit to the biggest of
boat-birds or of lions, but which was--the children discovered after a
moment's panic--only the prelude to an outburst of grief on the
chaperon's part. When the inarticulate stage of her sorrow was passed,
she demanded instant speech with her mamma. She would seem to have
expressed a sentiment common to the majority, for three heads in Spring
finery leaned dejectedly against the stone barrier while Nathan removed
his car-fare to contribute the remark that he was growing hungry.
Patrick was forced to seek aid in the passing crowd on Fifth Avenue, and
in response to his pleading eyes and the depression of his party, a lady
of gentle aspect and "kind looks" stopped and spoke to them.

"Indeed, yes," she reassured them; "this is Central Park."

"It has looks off the country," Eva commented.

"Because it is a piece of the country," the lady explained.

"Then we dassent to go, the while we ain't none of us got no sickness,"
cried Eva forlornly. "We're all, all healthy, und the country is for
sick childrens."

"I am glad you are well," said the lady kindly; "but you may certainly
play in the park. It is meant for all little children. The gate is near.
Just walk on near this wall until you come to it."

It was only a few blocks, and they were soon in the land of their
hearts' desire, where were waving trees and flowering shrubs and
smoothly sloping lawns, and, framed in all these wonders, a beautiful
little water-lake all dotted and brightened by fleets of tiny boats. The
pilgrims from the East Side stood for a moment at gaze and then bore
down upon the jewel, straight over grass and border, which is a course
not lightly to be followed within park precincts and in view of park
policemen. The ensuing reprimand dashed their spirits not at all and
they were soon assembled close to the margin of the lake, where they got
entangled in guiding strings and drew to shore many a craft, to the
disgust of many a small owner. Becky Zalmonowsky stood so closely over
the lake that she shed the chatelaine bag into its shallow depths and
did irreparable damage to her gala costume in her attempts to "dibble"
for her property. It was at last recovered, no wetter than the toilette
it was intended to adorn, and the cousins Gonorowsky had much difficulty
in balking Becky's determination to remove her gown and dry it then and
there.

Then Ignatius Aloysius, the exacting, remembered garrulously that he had
as yet seen nothing of the rubber-neck-boat-birds and suggested that
they were even now graciously "hollering like an'thing" in some remote
fastness of the park. So Patrick gave commands and the march was resumed
with bliss now beaming on all the faces so lately clouded. Every turn of
the endless walks brought new wonders to these little ones who were
gazing for the first time upon the great world of growing things of
which Miss Bailey had so often told them. The policeman's warning had
been explicit and they followed decorously in the paths and picked none
of the flowers which as Eva had heard of old, were sticking right up out
of the ground. But other flowers there were dangling high or low on tree
or shrub, while here and there across the grass a bird came hopping or a
squirrel ran. But the pilgrims never swerved. Full well they knew that
these delights were not for such as they.

It was, therefore, with surprise and concern that they at last
debouched upon a wide green space where a flag waved at the top of a
towering pole; for, behold, the grass was covered thick with children,
with here and there a beneficent policeman looking serenely on.

"Dast _we_ walk on it?" cried Morris. "Oh, Patrick, dast we?"

"Ask the cop," Nathan suggested. It was his first speech for an hour,
for Becky's misadventure with the chatelaine bag and the water-lake had
made him more than ever sure that his own method of safe-keeping was the
best.

"Ask him yerself," retorted Patrick. He had quite intended to accost a
large policeman, who would of course recognize and revere the buttons of
Mr. Brennan _père_, but a commander cannot well accept the advice of his
subordinates. But Nathan was once more beyond the power of speech, and
it was Morris Mogilewsky who asked for and obtained permission to walk
on God's green earth. With little spurts of running and tentative jumps
to test its spring, they crossed Peacock Lawn to the grateful shade of
the trees at its further edge and there disposed themselves upon the
ground and ate their luncheon. Nathan Spiderwitz waited until Sadie had
finished and then entrusted the five gleaming pennies to her care while
he wildly bolted an appetizing combination of dark brown bread and
uncooked eel.

Becky reposed flat upon the chatelaine bag and waved her still damp
shoes exultantly. Eva lay, face downward beside her, and peered
wonderingly deep into the roots of things.

"Don't it smells nice!" she gloated. "Don't it looks nice! My, ain't we
havin' the party-time!"

"Don't mention it," said Patrick, in careful imitation of his mother's
hostess manner. "I'm pleased to see you, I'm sure."

"The Central Park is awful pretty," Sadie soliloquized as she lay on her
back and watched the waving branches and blue sky far above. "Awful
pretty! I likes we should live here all the time."

"Well," began Ignatius Aloysius Diamantstein, in slight disparagement of
his rival's powers as a cicerone; "well, I ain't seen no lions, nor no
rubber-neck-boat-birds. Und we ain't had no rides on nothings. Und I
ain't heard no hollers neither."

As if in answer to this criticism there arose, upon the road beyond the
trees, a snorting, panting noise, growing momentarily louder and
culminating, just as East Side nerves were strained to breaking point,
in a long hoarse and terrifying yell. There was a flash of red, a cloud
of dust, three other toots of agony, and the thing was gone. Gone, too,
were the explorers and gone their peaceful rest. To a distant end of the
field they flew, led by the panic-stricken chaperon, and followed by Eva
and Patrick, hand in hand, he making show of bravery he was far from
feeling, and she frankly terrified. In a secluded corner, near the
restaurant, the chaperon was run to earth by her breathless charges:

"I seen the lion," she panted over and over. "I seen the fierce, big red
lion, und I don't know where is my mamma."

Patrick saw that one of the attractions had failed to attract, so he
tried another.

"Le's go an' see the cows," he proposed. "Don't you know the po'try
piece Miss Bailey learned us about cows?"

Again the emotional chaperon interrupted. "I'm loving much mit Miss
Bailey, too," she wailed. "Und I don't know where is she neither." But
the pride of learning upheld the others and they chanted in sing-song
chorus, swaying rhythmically the while from leg to leg:


     "The friendly cow all red and white,
         I love with all my heart:
     She gives me cream with all her might,
         To eat with apple-tart Robert Louis Stevenson."


Becky's tears ceased. "Be there cows in the Central Park?" she
demanded.

"Sure," said Patrick.

"Und what kind from cream will he give us? Ice cream?"

"Sure," said Patrick again.

"Let's go," cried the emotional chaperon. A passing stranger turned the
band in the general direction of the menagerie and the reality of the
cow brought the whole "memory gem" into strange and undreamed reality.

Gaily they set out through new and always beautiful ways; through
tunnels where feet and voices rang with ghostly boomings most pleasant
to the ear; over bridges whence they saw--in partial proof of Isaac
Borrachsohn's veracity--"mans und ladies ridin'." Of a surety they rode
nothing more exciting than horses, but that was, to East Side eyes, an
unaccustomed sight, and Eva opined that it was owing, probably, to the
shortness of their watch that they saw no lions and tigers similarly
amiable. The cows, too, seemed far to seek, but the trees and grass and
flowers were everywhere. Through long stretches of "for sure country"
they picked their way, until they came, hot but happy, to a green and
shady summerhouse on a hill. There they halted to rest, and there
Ignatius Aloysius, with questionable delicacy, began to insist once more
upon the full measure of his bond.

"We ain't seen the rubber-neck-boat-birds," he complained. "Und we ain't
had no rides on nothings."

"You don't know what is polite," cried Eva, greatly shocked at this
carping spirit in the presence of a hard-worked host. "You could to
think shame over how you says somethings like that on a party."

"This ain't no party," Ignatius Aloysius retorted. "It's a 'scursion. To
a party somebody _gives_ you what you should eat; to a 'scursion you
_brings_ it. Und anyway, we ain't had no rides."

"But we heard a holler," the guest of honor reminded him. "We heard a
fierce, big holler from a lion. I don't know do I need a ride on
something what hollers. I could to have a fraid maybe."

"Ye wouldn't be afraid on the boats when I hold yer hand, would ye?"
Patrick anxiously inquired, and Eva shyly admitted that, thus supported,
she might not be dismayed. To work off the pride and joy caused by this
avowal, Patrick mounted the broad seat extending all around the
summerhouse and began to walk clatteringly upon it. The other pilgrims
followed suit and the whole party stamped and danced with infinite
enjoyment. Suddenly the leader halted with a loud cry of triumph and
pointed grandly out through one of the wistaria-hung openings. Not De
Soto on the banks of the Mississippi nor Balboa above the Pacific could
have felt more victorious than Patrick did as he announced:

"There's the water-lake!"

His followers closed in upon him so impetuously that he was borne down
under their charge and fell ignominiously out on the grass. But he was
hardly missed, he had served his purpose. For there, beyond the rocks
and lawns and red japonicas, lay the blue and shining water-lake in its
confining banks of green. And upon its softly quivering surface floated
the rubber-neck-boat-birds, white and sweetly silent instead of red and
screaming--and the superlative length and arched beauty of their necks
surpassed the wildest of Ikey Borrachsohn's descriptions. And relying
upon the strength and politeness of these wondrous birds there were
indeed "mans und ladies und boys und little girls" embarking,
disembarking, and placidly weaving in and out and round about through
scenes of hidden but undoubted beauty.

Over rocks and grass the army charged towards bliss unutterable,
strewing their path with overturned and howling babies of prosperity
who, clumsy from many nurses and much pampering, failed to make way.
Past all barriers, accidental or official, they pressed, nor halted to
draw rein or breath until they were established, beatified, upon the
waiting swan-boat.

Three minutes later they were standing outside the railings of the
landing and regarding, through welling tears, the placid lake, the sunny
slopes of grass and tree, the brilliant sky and the gleaming
rubber-neck-boat-bird which, as Ikey described, "made go its legs," but
only, as he had omitted to mention, for money. So there they stood,
seven sorrowful little figures engulfed in the rayless despair of
childhood and the bitterness of poverty. For these were the children of
the poor, and full well they knew that money was not to be diverted from
its mission: that car-fare could not be squandered on bliss.

Becky's woe was so strong and loud that the bitter wailings of the
others served merely as its background. But Patrick cared not at all for
the general despair. His remorseful eyes never strayed from the bowed
figure of Eva Gonorowsky, for whose pleasure and honor he had striven so
long and vainly. Slowly she conquered her sobs, slowly she raised her
daisy-decked head, deliberately she blew her small pink nose, softly she
approached her conquered knight, gently and all untruthfully she
faltered, with yearning eyes on the majestic swans:

"Don't you have no sad feelings, Patrick. I ain't got none. Ain't I told
you from long, how I don't need no rubber-neck-boat-bird rides? I don't
need 'em! I don't need 'em! I"--with a sob of passionate longing--"I'm
got all times a awful scare over 'em. Let's go home, Patrick. Becky
needs she should see her mamma, und I guess I needs my mamma too."



MYRA KELLY


Is it necessary to say that she was Irish? The humor, the sympathy, the
quick understanding, the tenderness, that play through all her stories
are the birthright of the children of Erin. Myra Kelly was born in
Dublin, Ireland. Her father was Dr. John E. Kelly, a well-known surgeon.
When Myra was little more than a baby, the family came to New York City.
Here she was educated at the Horace Mann High School, and afterwards at
Teachers College, a department of Columbia University, New York. She
graduated from Teachers College in 1899. Her first school was in the
primary department of Public School 147, on East Broadway, New York,
where she taught from 1899 to 1901. Here she met all the "little
aliens," the Morris and Isidore, Yetta and Eva of her stories, and won
her way into their hearts. To her friends she would sometimes tell of
these children, with their odd ideas of life and their dialect. "Why
don't you write these stories down?" they asked her, and at last she sat
down and wrote her first story, "A Christmas Present for a Lady." She
had no knowledge of editorial methods, so she made four copies of the
story and sent them to four different magazines. Two of them returned
the story, and two of them accepted it, much to her embarrassment. The
two acceptances came from _McClure's Magazine_ and _The Century_. As
_McClure's_ replied first she gave the story to them, and most of her
other stories were first published in that magazine.

When they appeared in book form, they were welcomed by readers all over
the country. Even the President of the United States wrote to express
his thanks to her, in the following letter:


                                                     Oyster Bay, N. Y.
                                                       July, 26, 1905.

     My dear Miss Kelly:--

     Mrs. Roosevelt and I and most of the children know your very
     amusing and very pathetic accounts of East Side school children
     almost by heart, and I really think you must let me write and thank
     you for them. When I was Police Commissioner I quite often went to
     the Houston Street public school, and was immensely impressed by
     what I saw there. I thought there were a good many Miss Baileys
     there, and the work they were doing among their scholars (who were
     largely of Russian-Jewish parentage like the children you write of)
     was very much like what your Miss Bailey has done.

                                    Very sincerely yours,
                                               Theodore Roosevelt.


After two years of school room work, Miss Kelly's health broke down, and
she retired from teaching, although she served as critic teacher in the
Speyer School, Teachers College, for a year longer. One of the persons
who had read her books with delight was Allen Macnaughton. Soon after he
met Miss Kelly, and in 1905 they were married. They lived for a time at
Oldchester Village, New Jersey, in the Orange mountains, in a colony of
literary people which her husband was interested in establishing. After
several years of very successful literary work, she developed
tuberculosis. She went to Torquay, England, in search of health, and
died there March 31, 1910.

Her works include the following titles: _Little Citizens_; _The Isle of
Dreams_; _Wards of Liberty_; _Rosnah_; _the Golden Season_; _Little
Aliens_; _New Faces_. One of the leading magazines speaks of her as the
creator of a new dialect.



HERO WORSHIP

_Most of us are hero-worshippers at some time of our lives. The boy
finds his hero in the baseball player or athlete, the girl in the
matinée idol, or the "movie" star. These objects of worship are not
always worthy of the adoration they inspire, but this does not matter
greatly, since their worshippers seldom find it out. There is something
fine in absolute loyalty to an ideal, even if the ideal is far from
reality. "The Tenor" is the story of a famous singer and two of his
devoted admirers_.



THE TENOR[1]

BY

H. C. BUNNER


It was a dim, quiet room in an old-fashioned New York house, with
windows opening upon a garden that was trim and attractive, even in its
wintry days--for the rose-bushes were all bundled up in straw ulsters.
The room was ample, yet it had a cosy air. Its dark hangings suggested
comfort and luxury, with no hint of gloom. A hundred pretty trifles told
that it was a young girl's room: in the deep alcove nestled her dainty
white bed, draped with creamy lace and ribbons.

"I was _so_ afraid that I'd be late!"

The door opened, and two pretty girls came in, one in hat and furs, the
other in a modest house dress. The girl in the furs, who had been afraid
that she would be late, was fair, with a bright color in her cheeks, and
an eager, intent look in her clear brown eyes. The other girl was
dark-eyed and dark-haired, dreamy, with a soft, warm dusky color in her
face. They were two very pretty girls indeed--or, rather, two girls
about to be very pretty, for neither one was eighteen years old.

The dark girl glanced at a little porcelain clock.

"You are in time, dear," she said, and helped her companion to take off
her wraps.

Then the two girls crossed the room, and with a caressing and almost a
reverent touch, the dark girl opened the doors of a little carven
cabinet that hung upon the wall, above a small table covered with a
delicate white cloth. In its depths, framed in a mat of odorous double
violets, stood the photograph of the face of a handsome man of forty--a
face crowned with clustering black locks, from beneath which a pair of
large, mournful eyes looked out with something like religious fervor in
their rapt gaze. It was the face of a foreigner.

"O Esther!" cried the other girl, "how beautifully you have dressed him
to-day!"

"I wanted to get more," Esther said; "but I've spent almost all my
allowance--and violets do cost so shockingly. Come, now--" with another
glance at the clock--"don't let's lose any more time, Louise dear."

She brought a couple of tiny candles in Sevrès candlesticks, and two
little silver saucers, in which she lit fragrant pastilles. As the pale
gray smoke arose, floating in faint wreaths and spirals before the
enshrined photograph, Louise sat down and gazed intently upon the little
altar. Esther went to her piano and watched the clock. It struck two.
Her hands fell softly on the keys, and, studying a printed program in
front of her, she began to play an overture. After the overture she
played one or two pieces of the regular concert stock. Then she paused.

"I can't play the Tschaikowski piece."

"Never mind," said the other. "Let us wait for him in silence."

The hands of the clock pointed to 2:29. Each girl drew a quick breath,
and then the one at the piano began to sing softly, almost inaudibly,
"les Rameaux" in a transcription for tenor of Fauré's great song. When
it was ended, she played and sang the _encore_. Then, with her fingers
touching the keys so softly that they awakened only an echo-like sound,
she ran over the numbers that intervened between the first tenor solo
and the second. Then she sang again, as softly as before.

The fair-haired girl sat by the little table, gazing intently on the
picture. Her great eyes seemed to devour it, and yet there was something
absent-minded, speculative, in her steady look. She did not speak until
Esther played the last number on the program.

"He had three encores for that last Saturday," she said, and Esther
played the three encores.

Then they closed the piano and the little cabinet, and exchanged an
innocent girlish kiss, and Louise went out, and found her father's coupé
waiting for her, and was driven away to her great, gloomy, brown-stone
home near Central Park.

Louise Laura Latimer and Esther Van Guilder were the only children of
two families which, though they were possessed of the three "Rs" which
are all and more than are needed to insure admission to New York
society--Riches, Respectability and Religion--yet were not in Society;
or, at least, in the society that calls itself Society. This was not
because Society was not willing to have them. It was because they
thought the world too worldly. Perhaps this was one reason--although the
social horizon of the two families had expanded somewhat as the girls
grew up--why Louise and Esther, who had been playmates from their
nursery days, and had grown up to be two uncommonly sentimental,
fanciful, enthusiastically morbid girls, were to be found spending a
bright Winter afternoon holding a ceremonial service of worship before
the photograph of a fashionable French tenor.

It happened to be a French tenor whom they were worshiping. It might as
well have been anybody or any thing else. They were both at that period
of girlish growth when the young female bosom is torn by a hysterical
craving to worship something--any thing. They had been studying music
and they had selected the tenor who was the sensation of the hour in New
York for their idol. They had heard him only on the concert stage; they
were never likely to see him nearer. But it was a mere matter of chance
that the idol was not a Boston Transcendentalist, a Popular Preacher, a
Faith-Cure Healer, or a ringleted old maid with advanced ideas of
Woman's Mission. The ceremonies might have been different in form: the
worship would have been the same.

M. Hyppolite Rémy was certainly the musical hero of the hour. When his
advance notices first appeared, the New York critics, who are a
singularly unconfiding, incredulous lot, were inclined to discount his
European reputation.

When they learned that M. Rémy was not only a great artist, but a man
whose character was "wholly free from that deplorable laxity which is so
often a blot on the proud escutcheon of his noble profession;" that he
had married an American lady; that he had "embraced the Protestant
religion"--no sect was specified, possibly to avoid jealousy--and that
his health was delicate, they were moved to suspect that he might have
to ask that allowances be made for his singing. But when he arrived, his
triumph was complete. He was as handsome as his picture, if he _was_ a
trifle short, a shade too stout.

He was a singer of genius, too; with a splendid voice and a sound
method--on the whole. It was before the days of the Wagner autocracy,
and perhaps his tremolo passed unchallenged as it could not now; but he
was a great artist. He knew his business as well as his advance-agent
knew his. The Rémy Concerts were a splendid success. Reserved seats, $5.
For the Series of Six, $25.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the following Monday, Esther Van Guilder returned her friend's call,
in response to an urgent invitation, despatched by mail. Louise
Latimer's great bare room was incapable of transmutation into a cosy
nest of a boudoir. There was too much of its heavy raw silk
furniture--too much of its vast, sarcophagus-like bed--too much of its
upholsterer's elegance, regardless of cost--and taste. An enlargement
from an ambrotype of the original Latimer, as he arrived in New York
from New Hampshire, and a photograph of a "child subject" by Millais,
were all her works of art. It was not to be doubted that they had
climbed upstairs from a front parlor of an earlier stage of social
development. The farm-house was six generations behind Esther; two
behind Louise.

Esther found her friend in a state of almost feverish excitement. Her
eyes shone; the color burned high on her clear cheeks.

"You never would guess what I've done, dear!" she began, as soon as they
were alone in the big room. "I'm going to see _him_--to speak to
him--_Esther!_" Her voice was solemnly hushed, "to _serve_ him!"

"Oh, Louise! what _do_ you mean?"

"To serve him--with my own hands! To--to--help him on with his coat--I
don't know--to do something that a servant does--anything, so that I can
say that once, once only, just for an hour, I have been near him, been
of use to him, served him in one little thing as loyally as he serves
OUR ART."

Music was THEIR art, and no capitals could tell how much it was theirs
or how much of an art it was.

"Louise," demanded Esther, with a frightened look, "are you crazy?"

"No. Read this!" She handed the other girl a clipping from the
advertising columns of a newspaper.


     CHAMBERMAID AND WAITRESS.--WANTED, A NEAT and willing girl, for
     light work. Apply to Mme. Rémy, The Midlothian, ... Broadway.


"I saw it just by accident, Saturday, after I left you. Papa had left
his paper in the coupé. I was going up to my First Aid to the Injured
Class--it's at four o'clock now, you know. I made up my mind right
off--it came to me like an inspiration. I just waited until it came to
the place where they showed how to tie up arteries, and then I slipped
out. Lots of the girls slip out in the horrid parts, you know. And then,
instead of waiting in the ante-room, I put on my wrap, and pulled the
hood over my head and ran off to the Midlothian--it's just around the
corner, you know. And I saw his wife."

"What was she like?" queried Esther, eagerly.

"Oh, I don't know. Sort of horrid--actressy. She had a pink silk wrapper
with swansdown all over it--at four o'clock, think! I was _awfully_
frightened when I got there; but it wasn't the least trouble. She hardly
looked at me, and she engaged me right off. She just asked me if I was
willing to do a whole lot of things--I forgot what they were--and where
I'd worked before. I said at Mrs. Barcalow's."

"Mrs. Barcalow's?"

"Why, yes--my Aunt Amanda, don't you know--up in Framingham. I always
have to wash the teacups when I go there. Aunty says that everybody has
got to do _something_ in _her_ house."

"Oh, Louise!" cried her friend, in shocked admiration; "how can you
think of such things?"

"Well, I did. And she--his wife, you know--just said: 'Oh, I suppose
you'll do as well as any one--all you girls are alike.'"

"But did she really take you for a--servant?"

"Why, yes, indeed. It was raining. I had that old ulster on, you know.
I'm to go at twelve o'clock next Saturday."

"But, Louise!" cried Esther, aghast, "you don't truly mean to go!"

"I do!" cried Louise, beaming triumphantly.

"_Oh, Louise!_"

"Now, listen, dear," said Miss Latimer, with the decision of an
enthusiastic young lady with New England blood in her veins. "Don't say
a word till I tell you what my plan is. I've thought it all out, and
you've got to help me."

Esther shuddered.

"You foolish child!" cried Louise. Her eyes were sparkling: she was in a
state of ecstatic excitement; she could see no obstacles to the
carrying out of her plan. "You don't think I mean to _stay_ there, do
you? I'm just going at twelve o'clock, and at four he comes back from
the matinée, and at five o'clock I'm going to slip on my things and run
downstairs, and have you waiting for me in the coupé, and off we go. Now
do you see?"

It took some time to bring Esther's less venturesome spirit up to the
point of assisting in this undertaking; but she began, after a while, to
feel the delights of vicarious enterprise, and in the end the two girls,
their cheeks flushed, their eyes shining feverishly, their voices
tremulous with childish eagerness, resolved themselves into a committee
of ways and means; for they were two well-guarded young women, and to
engineer five hours of liberty was difficult to the verge of
impossibility. However, there is a financial manoeuvre known as
"kiting checks," whereby A exchanges a check with B and B swaps with A
again, playing an imaginary balance against Time and the Clearing House;
and by a similar scheme, which an acute student of social ethics has
called "kiting calls," the girls found that they could make Saturday
afternoon their own, without one glance from the watchful eyes of
Esther's mother or Louise's aunt--Louise had only an aunt to reckon
with.

"And, oh, Esther!" cried the bolder of the conspirators, "I've thought
of a trunk--of course I've got to have a trunk, or she would ask me
where it was, and I couldn't tell her a fib. Don't you remember the
French maid who died three days after she came here? Her trunk is up in
the store-room still, and I don't believe anybody will ever come for
it--it's been there seven years now. Let's go up and look at it."

The girls romped upstairs to the great unused upper story, where heaps
of household rubbish obscured the dusty half-windows. In a corner,
behind Louise's baby chair and an unfashionable hat-rack of the old
steering-wheel pattern, they found the little brown-painted tin trunk,
corded up with clothesline.

"Louise!" said Esther, hastily, "what did you tell her your name was?"

"I just said 'Louise'."

Esther pointed to the name painted on the trunk,


                             LOUISE LEVY


"It is the hand of Providence," she said. "Somehow, now, I'm _sure_
you're quite right to go."

And neither of these conscientious young ladies reflected for one minute
on the discomfort which might be occasioned to Madame Rémy by the
defection of her new servant a half-hour before dinner-time on Saturday
night.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, child, it's you, is it?" was Mme. Rémy's greeting at twelve o'clock
on Saturday. "Well, you're punctual--and you look clean. Now, are you
going to break my dishes or are you going to steal my rings? Well, we'll
find out soon enough. Your trunk's up in your room. Go up to the
servant's quarters--right at the top of those stairs there. Ask for the
room that belongs to apartment 11. You are to room with their girl."

Louise was glad of a moment's respite. She had taken the plunge; she was
determined to go through to the end. But her heart _would_ beat and her
hands _would_ tremble. She climbed up six flights of winding stairs, and
found herself weak and dizzy when she reached the top and gazed around
her. She was in a great half-story room, eighty feet square. The most of
it was filled with heaps of old furniture and bedding, rolls of carpet,
of canvas, of oilcloth, and odds and ends of discard of unused household
gear--the dust thick over all. A little space had been left around three
sides, to give access to three rows of cell-like rooms, in each of which
the ceiling sloped from the very door to a tiny window at the level of
the floor. In each room was a bed, a bureau that served for wash-stand,
a small looking-glass, and one or two trunks. Women's dresses hung on
the whitewashed walls. She found No. 11, threw off, desperately, her hat
and jacket, and sunk down on the little brown tin trunk, all trembling
from head to foot.

"Hello," called a cheery voice. She looked up and saw a girl in a dirty
calico dress.

"Just come?" inquired this person, with agreeable informality. She was a
good-looking large girl, with red hair and bright cheeks. She leaned
against the door-post and polished her finger-nails with a little brush.
Her hands were shapely.

"Ain't got onto the stair-climbing racket yet, eh? You'll get used to
it. 'Louise Levy,'" she read the name on the trunk. "You don't look like
a sheeny. Can't tell nothin' 'bout names, can you? My name's Slattery.
You'd think I was Irish, wouldn't you? Well, I'm straight Ne' York. I'd
be dead before I was Irish. Born here. Ninth Ward an' next to an engine
house. How's that? There's white Jews, too. I worked for one, pickin'
sealskins down in Prince Street. Most took the lungs out of me. But that
wasn't why I shook the biz. It queered my hands--see? I'm goin' to be
married in the Fall to a German gentleman. He ain't so Dutch when you
know him, though. He's a grocer. Drivin' now; but he buys out the boss
in the Fall. How's that? He's dead stuck on my hooks, an' I have to keep
'em lookin' good. I come here because the work was light. I don't have
to work--only to be doin' somethin', see? Only got five halls and the
lamps. You got a fam'ly job, I s'pose? I wouldn't have that. I don't
mind the Sooprintendent; but I'd be dead before I'd be bossed by a
woman, see? Say, what fam'ly did you say you was with?"

The stream of talk had acted like a nerve-tonic on Louise. She was able
to answer:

"M--Mr. Rémy."

"Ramy?--oh, lord! Got the job with His Tonsils? Well, you won't keep it
long. They're meaner'n three balls, see? Rent their room up here and
chip in with eleven. Their girls don't never stay. Well, I got to step,
or the Sooprintendent'll be borin' my ear. Well--so long!"

But Louise had fled down the stairs. "His Tonsils" rang in her ears.
What blasphemy! What sacrilege! She could scarcely pretend to listen to
Mme. Rémy's first instructions.

The household _was_ parsimonious. Louise washed the caterer's dishes--he
made a reduction in his price. Thus she learned that a late breakfast
took the place of luncheon. She began to feel what this meant. The beds
had been made; but there was work enough. She helped Mme. Rémy to sponge
a heap of faded finery--_her_ dresses. If they had been _his_ coats!
Louise bent her hot face over the tawdry silks and satins, and clasped
her parboiled little finger-tips over the wet sponge. At half-past three
Mme. Rémy broke the silence.

"We must get ready for Musseer," she said. An ecstatic joy filled
Louise's being. The hour of her reward was at hand.

Getting ready for "Musseer" proved to be an appalling process. First
they brewed what Mme. Rémy called a "teaze Ann." After the _tisane_, a
host of strange foreign drugs and cosmetics were marshalled in order.
Then water was set to heat on a gas-stove. Then a little table was
neatly set.

"Musseer has his dinner at half-past four," Madame explained. "I don't
take mine till he's laid down and I've got him off to the concert.
There, he's coming now. Sometimes he comes home pretty nervous. If he's
nervous, don't you go and make a fuss, do you hear, child?"

The door opened, and Musseer entered, wrapped in a huge frogged
overcoat. There was no doubt that he was nervous. He cast his hat upon
the floor, as if he were Jove dashing a thunderbolt. Fire flashed from
his eyes. He advanced upon his wife and thrust a newspaper in her
face--a little pinky sheet, a notorious blackmailing publication.

"Zees," he cried, "is your work!"

"What _is_ it now, Hipleet?" demanded Mme. Rémy.

"Vot it ees?" shrieked the tenor. "It ees ze history of how zey have
heest me at Nice! It ees all zair--how I have been heest--in zis sacre
sheet--in zis handkairchif of infamy! And it ees you zat have told it to
zat devil of a Rastignac--_traitresse!_"

"Now, Hipleet," pleaded his wife, "if I can't learn enough French to
talk with you, how am I going to tell Rastignac about your being
hissed?"

This reasoning silenced Mr. Rémy for an instant--an instant only.

"You _vood_ have done it!" he cried, sticking out his chin and thrusting
his face forward.

"Well, I didn't," said Madame, "and nobody reads that thing, any way.
Now, don't mind it, and let me get your things off, or you'll be
catching cold."

Mr. Rémy yielded at last to the necessity of self-preservation, and
permitted his wife to remove his frogged overcoat, and to unwind him
from a system of silk wraps to which the Gordian knot was a slip-noose.
This done, he sat down before the dressing-case, and Mme. Rémy, after
tying a bib around his neck, proceeded to dress his hair and put
brilliantine on his moustache. Her husband enlivened the operation by
reading from the pinky paper.

"It ees not gen-air-al-lee known--zat zees dees-tin-guished tenor vos
heest on ze pob-lic staidj at Nice--in ze year--"

Louise leaned against the wall, sick, faint and frightened, with a
strange sense of shame and degradation at her heart. At last the tenor's
eye fell on her.

"Anozzair eediot?" he inquired.

"She ain't very bright, Hipleet," replied his wife; "but I guess she'll
do. Louise, open the door--there's the caterer."

Louise placed the dishes upon the table mechanically. The tenor sat
himself at the board, and tucked a napkin in his neck.

"And how did the Benediction Song go this afternoon?" inquired his
wife.

"Ze Bénédiction? Ah! One _encore_. One on-lee. Zese pigs of Ameéricains.
I t'row my pairls biffo' swine. _Chops once more!_ You vant to mordair
me? Vat do zis mean, madame? You ar-r-re in lig wiz my enemies. All ze
vorlt is against ze ar-r-r-teest!"

The storm that followed made the first seem a zephyr. The tenor
exhausted his execratory vocabulary in French and English. At last, by
way of a dramatic finale, he seized the plate of chops and flung it from
him. He aimed at the wall; but Frenchmen do not pitch well. With a ring
and a crash, plate and chops went through the broad window-pane. In the
moment of stricken speechlessness that followed, the sound of the final
smash came softly up from the sidewalk.

"Ah-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ah!"

The tenor rose to his feet with the howl of an anguished hyena.

"Oh, good gracious!" cried his wife; "he's going to have one of his
creezes--his creezes de nare!"

He did have a _crise de nerfs_. "Ten dollair!" he yelled, "for ten
dollair of glass!" He tore his pomaded hair; he tore off his bib and his
neck-tie, and for three minutes without cessation he shrieked wildly and
unintelligibly. It was possible to make out, however, that "arteest" and
"ten dollair" were the themes of the improvisation. Finally he sank
exhausted into the chair, and his white-faced wife rushed to his side.

"Louise!" she cried, "get the foot-tub out of the closet while I spray
his throat, or he can't sing a note. Fill it up with warm water--102
degrees--there's the thermometer--and bathe his feet."

Trembling from head to foot, Louise obeyed her orders, and brought the
foot-tub, full of steaming water. Then she knelt down and began to serve
the maestro for the first time. She took off his shoes. Then she looked
at his socks. Could she do it?

"Eediot!" gasped the sufferer, "make haste! I die!"

"Hold your mouth open, dear," said Madame, "I haven't half sprayed you."

"Ah! _you!_" cried the tenor. "Cat! Devil! It ees you zat have killed
me!" And moved by an access of blind rage, he extended his arm, and
thrust his wife violently from him.

Louise rose to her feet, with a hard set, good old New England look on
her face. She lifted the tub of water to the level of her breast, and
then she inverted it on the tenor's head. For one instant she gazed at
the deluge, and at the bath-tub balanced on the maestro's skull like a
helmet several sizes too large--then she fled like the wind.

Once in the servant's quarters, she snatched her hat and jacket. From
below came mad yells of rage.

"I kill hare! give me my knife--give me my rivvolvare! Au secours!
Assassin!"

Miss Slattery appeared in the doorway, still polishing her nails.

"What have you done to His Tonsils?" she inquired. "He's pretty hot,
this trip."

"How can I get away from here?" cried Louise.

Miss Slattery pointed to a small door. Louise rushed down a long
stairway--another--and yet others--through a great room where there was
a smell of cooking and a noise of fires--past white-capped cooks and
scullions--through a long stone corridor, and out into the street. She
cried aloud as she saw Esther's face at the window of the coupé.

She drove home--cured.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] From "Stories of H. C. Bunner," copyright, 1890, 1896, by Alice L.
Bunner; published by Charles Scribner's Sons. By permission of the
publishers.



H. C. BUNNER


Henry Cuyler Bunner was his full name, H. C. Bunner was the way he
always signed his writings, and "Bunner" was his name to his friends,
and even to his wife. He was born in Oswego, New York, August 3, 1855.
His parents soon moved to New York City, and Bunner was educated in the
public schools there. Then he became a clerk in a business house, but
this did not satisfy him, and he began to write for newspapers, finally
getting a position on the _Arcadian_, a short-lived journal. In 1877 the
publishers of _Puck_, a humorous weekly printed in the German language,
decided to issue an edition in English, and made Bunner assistant
editor. It was a happy choice. He soon became editor-in-chief, and under
his direction the paper became not only the best humorous journal of its
time, but a powerful influence in politics as well. Bunner wrote not
only editorials, humorous verse, short stories, and titles for pictures,
but often suggested the cartoons, which were an important feature of the
paper.

Outside the office he was a delightful conversationalist. His friends
Brander Matthews, Lawrence Hutton and others speak of his ready wit, his
kindness of heart, and his wonderfully varied store of information. He
was a constant reader, and a good memory enabled him to retain what he
read. It is said that one could hardly name a poem that he had not read,
and it was odds but that he could quote its best lines. Next to reading,
his chief pleasure was in wandering about odd corners of the city,
especially the foreign quarters. He knew all the queer little
restaurants and queer little shops in these places.

His first literary work of note was a volume of poems, happily entitled
_Airs from Arcady_. It contains verses both grave and gay: one of the
cleverest is called "Home, Sweet Home, with Variations." He writes the
poem first in the style of Swinburne, then of Bret Harte, then of Austin
Dobson, then of Oliver Goldsmith and finally of Walt Whitman. The book
also showed his skill in the use of French forms of verse, as in this
dainty triolet:


            A PITCHER OF MIGNONETTE

     A pitcher of mignonette
       In a tenement's highest casement:
     Queer sort of flower-pot--yet
     That pitcher of mignonette
     Is a garden in heaven set,
       To the little sick child in the basement--
     The pitcher of mignonette
       In the tenement's highest casement.


The last poem in the book, called "To Her," was addressed to Miss Alice
Learned, whom he married soon after, and to whom, as "A. L. B." all his
later books were dedicated. Soon after his marriage he moved to Nutley,
New Jersey. Here he was not only the editor and man of letters but the
neighbor who could always be called on in time of need, and the citizen
who took an active part in the community life, helping to organize the
Village Improvement Society, one of the first of its kind.

He followed up his first volume by two short novels, _The Midge_ and
_The Story of a New York House_. Then he undertook the writing of the
short story, his first book being _Zadoc Pine and other Stories_. The
title story of this book contains a very humorous and faithful
delineation of a New Englander who is transplanted to a New Jersey
suburb. Soon after writing this he began to read the short stories of
Guy de Maupassant. He admired them so much that he half translated, half
adapted a number of them, and published them under the title _Made in
France_. Then he tried writing stories of his own, in the manner of de
Maupassant, and produced in _Short Sixes_ a group of stories which are
models of concise narrative, crisply told, artistic in form, and often
with a touch of surprise at the end. Other volumes of short stories are
_More Short Sixes_, and _Love in Old Cloathes_. _Jersey Street and
Jersey Lane_ was a book which grew out of his Nutley life. He also wrote
a play, _The Tower of Babel_, which was produced by Marie Wainwright in
1883. He died at Nutley, May 11, 1896. He was one of the first American
authors to develop the short story as we know it to-day, and few of his
successors have surpassed him in the light, sure style and the firmness
of construction which are characteristic of his later work.



SOCIETY IN OUR TOWN

_Life in a small town, which means any place of less than a hundred
thousand people, is more interesting than life in a big city. Both
places have their notables, but in the small town you know these people,
in the city you only read about them in the papers._ IN OUR TOWN _is a
series of portraits of the people of a typical small city of the Middle
West, seen through the keen eyes of a newspaper editor. This story tells
how the question of the social leadership of the town was finally
settled._



THE PASSING OF PRISCILLA WINTHROP

BY

WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE


What a dreary waste life in our office must have been before Miss
Larrabee came to us to edit a society page for the paper! To be sure we
had known in a vague way that there were lines of social cleavage in the
town; that there were whist clubs, and dancing clubs and women's clubs,
and in a general way that the women who composed these clubs made up our
best society, and that those benighted souls beyond the pale of these
clubs were out of the caste. We knew that certain persons whose names
were always handed in on the lists of guests at parties were what we
called "howling swells," but it remained for Miss Larrabee to sort out
ten or a dozen of these "howling swells," who belonged to the strictest
social caste in town, and call them "howling dervishes." Incidentally it
may be said that both Miss Larrabee and her mother were dervishes, but
that did not prevent her from making sport of them. From Miss Larrabee
we learned that the high priestess of the howling dervishes of our
society was Mrs. Mortimer Conklin, known by the sisterhood of the mosque
as Priscilla Winthrop. We in our office had never heard her called by
that name, but Miss Larrabee explained, rather elaborately, that unless
one was permitted to speak of Mrs. Conklin thus, one was quite beyond
the hope of a social heaven.

In the first place, Priscilla Winthrop was Mrs. Conklin's maiden name;
in the second place, it links her with the Colonial Puritan stock of
which she is so justly proud--being scornful of mere Daughters of the
Revolution--and finally, though Mrs. Conklin is a grandmother, her
maiden name seems to preserve the sweet, vague illusion of girlhood
which Mrs. Conklin always carries about her like the shadow of a dream.
And Miss Larrabee punctuated this with a wink which we took to be a
quotation mark, and she went on with her work. So we knew we had been
listening to the language used in the temple.

Our town was organized fifty years ago by Abolitionists from New
England, and twenty years ago, when Alphabetical Morrison was getting
out one of the numerous boom editions of his real estate circular, he
printed an historical article therein in which he said that Priscilla
Winthrop was the first white child born on the town site. Her father was
territorial judge, afterward member of the State Senate, and after ten
years spent in mining in the far West, died in the seventies, the
richest man in the State. It was known that he left Priscilla, his only
child, half a million dollars in government bonds.

She was the first girl in our town to go away to school. Naturally, she
went to Oberlin, famous in those days for admitting colored students.
But she finished her education at Vassar, and came back so much of a
young lady that the town could hardly contain her. She married Mortimer
Conklin, took him to the Centennial on a wedding trip, came home,
rebuilt her father's house, covering it with towers and minarets and
steeples, and scroll-saw fretwork, and christened it Winthrop Hall. She
erected a store building on Main Street, that Mortimer might have a
luxurious office on the second floor, and then settled down to the
serious business of life, which was building up a titled aristocracy in
a Kansas town.

The Conklin children were never sent to the public schools, but had a
governess, yet Mortimer Conklin, who was always alert for the call,
could not understand why the people never summoned him to any office of
honor or trust. He kept his brass signboard polished, went to his office
punctually every morning at ten o'clock, and returned home to dinner at
five, and made clients wait ten minutes in the outer office before they
could see him--at least so both of them say, and there were no others in
all the years. He shaved every day, wore a frock-coat and a high hat to
church--where for ten years he was the only male member of the
Episcopalian flock--and Mrs. Conklin told the women that altogether he
was a credit to his sex and his family--a remark which has passed about
ribaldly in town for a dozen years, though Mortimer Conklin never knew
that he was the subject of a town joke. Once he rebuked a man in the
barber shop for speaking of feminine extravagance, and told the shop
that he did not stint his wife, that when she asked him for money he
always gave it to her without question, and that if she wanted a dress
he told her to buy it and send the bill to him. And we are such a polite
people that no one in the crowded shop laughed--until Mortimer Conklin
went out.

Of course at the office we have known for twenty-five years what the men
thought of Mortimer, but not until Miss Larrabee joined the force did we
know that among the women Mrs. Conklin was considered an oracle. Miss
Larrabee said that her mother has a legend that when Priscilla Winthrop
brought home from Boston the first sealskin sacque ever worn in town she
gave a party for it, and it lay in its box on the big walnut bureau in
the spare room of the Conklin mansion in solemn state, while
seventy-five women salaamed to it. After that Priscilla Winthrop was the
town authority on sealskins. When any member of the town nobility had a
new sealskin, she took it humbly to Priscilla Winthrop to pass judgment
upon it. If Priscilla said it was London-dyed, its owner pranced away on
clouds of glory; but if she said it was American-dyed, its owner crawled
away in shame, and when one admired the disgraced garment, the martyred
owner smiled with resigned sweetness and said humbly: "Yes--but it's
only American-dyed, you know."

No dervish ever questioned the curse of the priestess. The only time a
revolt was imminent was in the autumn of 1884 when the Conklins
returned from their season at Duxbury, Massachusetts, and Mrs. Conklin
took up the carpets in her house, heroically sold all of them at the
second-hand store, put in new waxed floors and spread down rugs. The
town uprose and hooted; the outcasts and barbarians in the Methodists
and Baptist Missionary Societies rocked the Conklin home with their
merriment, and ten dervishes with set faces bravely met the onslaughts
of the savages; but among themselves in hushed whispers, behind locked
doors, the faithful wondered if there was not a mistake some place.
However, when Priscilla Winthrop assured them that in all the best homes
in Boston rugs were replacing carpets, their souls were at peace.

All this time we at the office knew nothing of what was going on. We
knew that the Conklins devoted considerable time to society; but
Alphabetical Morrison explained that by calling attention to the fact
that Mrs. Conklin had prematurely gray hair. He said a woman with
prematurely gray hair was as sure to be a social leader as a spotted
horse is to join a circus. But now we know that Colonel Morrison's view
was a superficial one, for he was probably deterred from going deeper
into the subject by his dislike for Mortimer Conklin, who invested a
quarter of a million dollars of the Winthrop fortune in the Wichita
boom, and lost it. Colonel Morrison naturally thought as long as Conklin
was going to lose that money he could have lost it just as well at home
in the "Queen City of the Prairies," giving the Colonel a chance to win.
And when Conklin, protecting his equities in Wichita, sent a hundred
thousand dollars of good money after the quarter million of bad money,
Colonel Morrison's grief could find no words; though he did find
language for his wrath. When the Conklins draped their Oriental rugs for
airing every Saturday over the veranda and portico railings of the house
front, Colonel Morrison accused the Conklins of hanging out their stamp
collection to let the neighbors see it. This was the only side of the
rug question we ever heard in our office until Miss Larrabee came; then
she told us that one of the first requirements of a howling dervish was
to be able to quote from Priscilla Winthrop's Rug book from memory. The
Rug book, the China book and the Old Furniture book were the three
sacred scrolls of the sect.

All this was news to us. However, through Colonel Morrison, we had
received many years ago another sidelight on the social status of the
Conklins. It came out in this way: Time honored custom in our town
allows the children of a home where there is an outbreak of social
revelry, whether a church festival or a meeting of the Cold-Nosed Whist
Club, to line up with the neighbor children on the back stoop or in the
kitchen, like human vultures, waiting to lick the ice-cream freezer and
to devour the bits of cake and chicken salad that are left over. Colonel
Morrison told us that no child was ever known to adorn the back yard of
the Conklin home while a social cataclysm was going on, but that when
Mrs. Morrison entertained the Ladies' Literary League, children from the
holy Conklin family went home from his back porch with their faces
smeared with chicken croquettes and their hands sticky with jellycake.

This story never gained general circulation in town, but even if it had
been known of all men it would not have shaken the faith of the
devotees. For they did not smile when Priscilla Winthrop began to refer
to old Frank Hagan, who came to milk the Conklin cow and curry the
Conklin horse, as "François, the man," or to call the girl who did the
cooking and general housework "Cosette, the maid," though every one of
the dozen other women in town whom "Cosette, the maid" had worked for
knew that her name was Fanny Ropes. And shortly after that the homes of
the rich and the great over on the hill above Main Street began to fill
with Lisettes and Nanons and Fanchons, and Mrs. Julia Neal Worthington
called her girl "Grisette," explaining that they had always had a
Grisette about the house since her mother first went to housekeeping in
Peoria, Illinois, and it sounded so natural to hear the name that they
always gave it to a new servant. This story came to the office through
the Young Prince, who chuckled over it during the whole hour he consumed
in writing Ezra Worthington's obituary.

Miss Larrabee says that the death of Ezra Worthington marks such a
distinct epoch in the social life of the town that we must set down
here--even if the narrative of the Conklins halts for a moment--how the
Worthingtons rose and flourished. Julia Neal, the eldest daughter of
Thomas Neal--who lost the "O" before his name somewhere between the
docks of Dublin and the west bank of the Missouri River--was for ten
years principal of the ward school in that part of our town known as
"Arkansaw," where her term of service is still remembered as the "reign
of terror." It was said of her then that she could whip any man in the
ward--and would do it if he gave her a chance. The same manner which
made the neighbors complain that Julia Neal carried her head too high,
later in life, when she had money to back it, gave her what the women of
the State Federation called a "regal air." In her early thirties she
married Ezra Worthington, bachelor, twenty years her senior. Ezra
Worthington was at that time, had been for twenty years before, and
continued to be until his death, proprietor of the Worthington Poultry
and Produce Commission Company. He was owner of the stockyards,
president of the Worthington State Bank, vice-president, treasurer and
general manager of the Worthington Mercantile Company, and owner of five
brick buildings on Main Street. He bought one suit of clothes every five
years whether he needed it or not, never let go of a dollar unless the
Goddess of Liberty on it was black in the face, and died rated "at
$350,000" by all the commercial agencies in the country. And the first
thing Mrs. Worthington did after the funeral was to telephone to the
bank and ask them to send her a hundred dollars.

The next important thing she did was to put a heavy, immovable granite
monument over the deceased so that he would not be restless, and then
she built what is known in our town as the Worthington Palace. It makes
the Markley mansion which cost $25,000 look like a barn. The
Worthingtons in the life-time of Ezra had ventured no further into the
social whirl of the town than to entertain the new Presbyterian preacher
at tea, and to lend their lawn to the King's Daughters for a social,
sending a bill in to the society for the eggs used in the coffee and the
gasoline used in heating it.

To the howling dervishes who surrounded Priscilla Winthrop the
Worthingtons were as mere Christian dogs. It was not until three years
after Ezra Worthington's death that the glow of the rising Worthington
sun began to be seen in the Winthrop mosque. During those three years
Mrs. Worthington had bought and read four different sets of the best
hundred books, had consumed the Chautauque course, had prepared and
delivered for the Social Science Club, which she organized, five papers
ranging in subject from the home life of Rameses I., through a Survey of
the Forces Dominating Michael Angelo, to the Influence of Esoteric
Buddhism on Modern Political Tendencies. More than that, she had been
elected president of the City Federation clubs and being a delegate to
the National Federation from the State, was talked of for the State
Federation Presidency. When the State Federation met in our town, Mrs.
Worthington gave a reception for the delegates in the Worthington
Palace, a feature of which was a concert by a Kansas City organist on
the new pipe-organ which she had erected in the music-room of her house,
and despite the fact that the devotees of the Priscilla shrine said that
the crowd was distinctly mixed and not at all representative of our best
social grace and elegance, there is no question but that Mrs.
Worthington's reception made a strong impression upon the best local
society. The fact that, as Miss Larrabee said, "Priscilla Winthrop was
so nice about it," also may be regarded as ominous. But the women who
lent Mrs. Worthington the spoons and forks for the occasion were
delighted, and formed a phalanx about her, which made up in numbers what
it might have lacked in distinction. Yet while Mrs. Worthington was in
Europe the faithful routed the phalanx, and Mrs. Conklin returned from
her summer in Duxbury with half a carload of old furniture from Harrison
Sampson's shop and gave a talk to the priestesses of the inner temple on
"Heppelwhite in New England."

Miss Larrabee reported the affair for our paper, giving the small list
of guests and the long line of refreshments--which included
alligator-pear salad, right out of the Smart Set Cook Book. Moreover,
when Jefferson appeared in Topeka that fall, Priscilla Winthrop, who had
met him through some of her Duxbury friends in Boston, invited him to
run down for a luncheon with her and the members of the royal family who
surrounded her. It was the proud boast of the defenders of the Winthrop
faith in town that week, that though twenty-four people sat down to the
table, not only did all the men wear frock coats--not only did Uncle
Charlie Haskins of String Town wear the old Winthrop butler's livery
without a wrinkle in it, and with only the faint odor of mothballs to
mingle with the perfume of the roses--but (and here the voices of the
followers of the prophet dropped in awe) not a single knife or fork or
spoon or napkin was borrowed! After that, when any of the sisterhood had
occasion to speak of the absent Mrs. Worthington, whose house was filled
with new mahogany and brass furniture, they referred to her as the
Duchess of Grand Rapids, which gave them much comfort.

But joy is short-lived. When Mrs. Worthington came back from Europe and
opened her house to the City Federation, and gave a colored
lantern-slide lecture on "An evening with the Old Masters," serving
punch from her own cut-glass punch bowl instead of renting the
hand-painted crockery bowl of the queensware store, the old dull pain
came back into the hearts of the dwellers in the inner circle. Then just
in the nick of time Mrs. Conklin went to Kansas City and was operated
on for appendicitis. She came back pale and interesting, and gave her
club a paper called "Hospital Days," fragrant with iodoform and Henley's
poems. Miss Larrabee told us that it was almost as pleasant as an
operation on one's self to hear Mrs. Conklin tell about hers. And they
thought it was rather brutal--so Miss Larrabee afterward told us--when
Mrs. Worthington went to the hospital one month, and gave her famous
Delsarte lecture course the next month, and explained to the women that
if she wasn't as heavy as she used to be it was because she had had
everything cut out of her below the windpipe. It seemed to the temple
priestesses that, considering what a serious time poor dear Priscilla
Winthrop had gone through, Mrs. Worthington was making light of serious
things.

There is no doubt that the formal rebellion of Mrs. Worthington, Duchess
of Grand Rapids, and known of the town's nobility as the Pretender,
began with the hospital contest. The Pretender planted her siege-guns
before the walls of the temple of the priestess, and prepared for
business. The first manoeuver made by the beleaguered one was to give a
luncheon in the mosque, at which, though it was midwinter, fresh
tomatoes and fresh strawberries were served, and a real authoress from
Boston talked upon John Fiske's philosophy and, in the presence of the
admiring guests, made a new kind of salad dressing for the fresh lettuce
and tomatoes. Thirty women who watched her forgot what John Fiske's
theory of the cosmos is, and thirty husbands who afterward ate that
salad dressing have learned to suffer and be strong. But that salad
dressing undermined the faith of thirty mere men--raw outlanders to be
sure--in the social omniscience of Priscilla Winthrop. Of course they
did not see it made; the spell of the enchantress was not over them; but
in their homes they maintained that if Priscilla Winthrop didn't know
any more about cosmic philosophy than to pay a woman forty dollars to
make a salad dressing like that--and the whole town knows that was the
price--the vaunted town of Duxbury, Massachusetts, with its old
furniture and new culture, which Priscilla spoke of in such repressed
ecstasy, is probably no better than Manitou, Colorado, where they get
their Indian goods from Buffalo, New York.

Such is the perverse reasoning of man. And Mrs. Worthington, having
lived with considerable of a man for fifteen years, hearing echoes of
this sedition, attacked the fortification of the faithful on its weakest
side. She invited the thirty seditious husbands with their wives to a
beefsteak dinner, where she heaped their plates with planked sirloin,
garnished the sirloin with big, fat, fresh mushrooms, and topped off the
meal with a mince pie of her own concoction, which would make a man
leave home to follow it. She passed cigars at the table, and after the
guests went into the music-room ten old men with ten old fiddles
appeared and contested with old-fashioned tunes for a prize, after which
the company danced four quadrilles and a Virginia reel. The men threw
down their arms going home and went over in a body to the Pretender. But
in a social conflict men are mere non-combatants, and their surrender
did not seriously injure the cause that they deserted.

The war went on without abatement. During the spring that followed the
winter of the beefsteak dinner many skirmishes, minor engagements,
ambushes and midnight raids occurred. But the contest was not decisive.
For purposes of military drill, the defenders of the Winthrop faith
formed themselves into a Whist Club. _The_ Whist Club they called it,
just as they spoke of Priscilla Winthrop's gowns as "the black and white
one," "the blue brocade," "the white china silk," as if no other black
and white or blue brocade or white china silk gowns had been created in
the world before and could not be made again by human hands. So, in the
language of the inner sanctuary, there was "The Whist Club," to the
exclusion of all other possible human Whist Clubs under the stars. When
summer came the Whist Club fled as birds to the mountains--save
Priscilla Winthrop, who went to Duxbury, and came home with a brass
warming-pan and a set of Royal Copenhagen china that were set up as holy
objects in the temple.

But Mrs. Worthington went to the National Federation of Women's Clubs,
made the acquaintance of the women there who wore clothes from Paris,
began tracing her ancestry back to the Maryland Calverts--on her
mother's side of the house--brought home a membership in the Daughters
of the Revolution, the Colonial Dames and a society which referred to
Charles I. as "Charles Martyr," claimed a Stuart as the rightful king of
England, affecting to score the impudence of King Edward in sitting on
another's throne. More than this, Mrs. Worthington had secured the
promise of Mrs. Ellen Vail Montgomery, Vice-President of the National
Federation, to visit Cliff Crest, as Mrs. Worthington called the
Worthington mansion, and she turned up her nose at those who worshiped
under the towers, turrets and minarets of the Conklin mosque, and played
the hose of her ridicule on their outer wall that she might have it
spotless for a target when she got ready to raze it with her big gun.

The week that Ellen Vail Montgomery came to town was a busy one for Miss
Larrabee. We turned over the whole fourth page of the paper to her for a
daily society page, and charged the Bee Hive and the White Front Dry
Goods store people double rates to put their special advertisements on
that page while the "National Vice," as the Young Prince called her, was
in town. For the "National Vice" brought the State President and two
State Vices down, also four District Presidents and six District Vices,
who, as Miss Larrabee said, were monsters "of so frightful mien, that to
be hated need but to be seen." The entire delegation of visiting
stateswomen--Vices and Virtues and Beatitudes as we called them--were
entertained by Mrs. Worthington at Cliff Crest, and there was so much
Federation politics going on in our town that the New York _Sun_ took
five hundred words about it by wire, and Colonel Alphabetical Morrison
said that with all those dressed-up women about he felt as though he was
living in a Sunday supplement.

The third day of the ghost-dance at Cliff Crest was to be the day of the
big event--as the office parlance had it. The ceremonies began at
sunrise with a breakfast to which half a dozen of the captains and kings
of the besieging host of the Pretender were bidden. It seems to have
been a modest orgy, with nothing more astonishing than a new gold-band
china set to dishearten the enemy. By ten o'clock Priscilla Winthrop and
the Whist Club had recovered from that; but they had been asked to the
luncheon--the star feature of the week's round of gayety. It is just as
well to be frank, and say that they went with fear and trembling. Panic
and terror were in their ranks, for they knew a crisis was at hand. It
came when they were "ushered into the dining-hall," as our paper so
grandly put it, and saw in the great oak-beamed room a table laid on the
polished bare wood--a table laid for forty-eight guests, with a doily
for every plate, and every glass, and every salt-cellar, and--here the
mosque fell on the heads of the howling dervishes--forty-eight
soup-spoons, forty-eight silver-handled knives and forks; forty-eight
butter-spreaders, forty-eight spoons, forty-eight salad forks,
forty-eight ice-cream spoons, forty-eight coffee spoons. Little did it
avail the beleaguered party to peep slyly under the spoon-handles--the
word "Sterling" was there, and, more than that, a large, severely plain
"W" with a crest glared up at them from every piece of silver. The
service had not been rented. They knew their case was hopeless. And so
they ate in peace.

When the meal was over it was Mrs. Ellen Vail Montgomery, in her
thousand-dollar gown, worshiped by the eyes of forty-eight women, who
put her arm about Priscilla Winthrop and led her into the conservatory,
where they had "a dear, sweet quarter of an hour," as Mrs. Montgomery
afterward told her hostess. In that dear, sweet quarter of an hour
Priscilla Winthrop Conklin unbuckled her social sword and handed it to
the conqueror, in that she agreed absolutely with Mrs. Montgomery that
Mrs. Worthington was "perfectly lovely," that she was "delighted to be
of any service" to Mrs. Worthington; that Mrs. Conklin "was sure no one
else in our town was so admirably qualified for National Vice" as Mrs.
Worthington, and that "it would be such a privilege" for Mrs. Conklin to
suggest Mrs. Worthington's name for the office. And then Mrs.
Montgomery, "National Vice" and former State Secretary for Vermont of
the Colonial Dames, kissed Priscilla Winthrop and they came forth
wet-eyed and radiant, holding each other's hands. When the company had
been hushed by the magic of a State Vice and two District Virtues,
Priscilla Winthrop rose and in the sweetest Kansas Bostonese told the
ladies that she thought this an eminently fitting place to let the
visiting ladies know how dearly our town esteems its most distinguished
townswoman, Mrs. Julia Neal Worthington, and that entirely without her
solicitation, indeed quite without her knowledge, the women of our
town--and she hoped of our beloved State--were ready now to announce
that they were unanimous in their wish that Mrs. Worthington should be
National Vice-President of the Federation of Women's Clubs, and that
she, the speaker, had entered the contest with her whole soul to bring
this end to pass. Then there was hand-clapping and handkerchief waving
and some tears, and a little good, honest Irish hugging, and in the
twilight two score of women filed down through the formal garden of
Cliff Crest and walked by twos and threes in to the town.

There was the usual clatter of home-going wagons; lights winked out of
kitchen windows; the tinkle of distant cow-bells was in the air; on Main
Street the commerce of the town was gently ebbing, and man and nature
seemed utterly oblivious of the great event that had happened. The
course of human events was not changed; the great world rolled on, while
Priscilla Winthrop went home to a broken shrine to sit among the the
potsherds.



WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE

(Written by Mr. White especially for this book.)


I was born in Emporia, Kansas, February 10, 1868, when Emporia was a
pioneer village a hundred miles from a railroad. My father came to
Emporia in 1859 and my mother in 1855. She was a pioneer school teacher
and he a pioneer doctor. She was pure bred Irish, and he of Yankee
lineage since 1639. When I was a year old, Emporia became too effete for
my parents, and they moved to El Dorado, Kansas. There I grew up. El
Dorado was a town of a dozen houses, located on the banks of the Walnut,
a sluggish, but a clear and beautiful prairie stream, rock bottom, and
spring fed. I grew up in El Dorado, a prairie village boy; went to the
large stone school house that "reared its awful form" on the hill above
the town before there were any two-story buildings in the place.

In 1884, I was graduated from the town high school, and went to the
College of Emporia for a year; worked a year as a printer's devil;
learned something of the printer's trade; went to school for another
year, working in the afternoons and Saturdays at the printer's case;
became a reporter on the _Emporia News_; later went to the State
University for three years. After more or less studying and working on
the Lawrence papers, I went back to El Dorado as manager of the _El
Dorado Republican_ for State Senator T. B. Murdock.

From the _El Dorado Republican_, I went to Kansas City to work for the
_Kansas City Journal_, and at 24 became an editorial writer on the
_Kansas City Star_. For three years I worked on the _Star_, during which
time I married Miss Sallie Lindsay, a Kansas City, Kansas, school
teacher. In 1895 I bought the _Emporia Gazette_ on credit, without a
cent in money, and chiefly with the audacity and impudence of youth. It
was then a little paper; I paid three thousand dollars for it, and I
have lived in Emporia ever since.

In 1896, I published a book of short stories called _The Real Issue_; in
1899, another book of short stories called _The Court of Boyville_. In
1901, I published a third book of short stories called _Stratagems and
Spoils_; in 1906, _In Our Town_. In 1909, I published my first novel, _A
Certain Rich Man_. In 1910, I published a book of political essays
called _The Old Order Changeth_; in 1916, a volume of short stories
entitled _God's Puppets_. A volume half novel and half travel sketches
called _The Martial Adventures of Henry & Me_ filled the gap between my
two novels; and the second novel, _In the Heart of a Fool_ was published
in 1918.

I am a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters; the Short
Ballot Association; the International Peace Society; National Civic
Federation; National Academy of Political Science; have honorary degrees
from the College of Emporia, Baker University, and Columbia University
of the City of New York; was regent of the Kansas State University from
1905 to 1913. Politically I am a Republican and was elected National
Republican Committeeman from Kansas in 1912, but resigned to be
Progressive National Committeeman from Kansas that year. I am now a
member of the Republican National Committee on Platforms and Policies
appointed by the National Chairman, Will S. Hays. I am a trustee of the
College of Emporia; a member of the Congregational Church, and of the
Elks Lodge, and of no other organization.
                                            WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE.


To the above biography a few items about Mr. White's literary work may
be added. It was through an editorial that he first became famous. This
appeared in the _Emporia Gazette_ in 1896, with the title, "What's the
matter with Kansas?" It contained so much good sense, and was written
in such vigorous English that it was copied in newspapers all over the
country. Perhaps no other editorial ever brought such sudden recognition
to its author. In the same year he published his first book, _The Real
Issue_, a volume of short stories. Some of them pictured the life of a
small town, some centered about politics, and some were stories of small
boys. These three subjects were the themes of most of Mr. White's later
books.

_Stratagems and Spoils_, a volume of short stories, dealt chiefly with
politics, as seen from the inside. _In Our Town_, from which "The
Passing of Priscilla Winthrop" is taken, belongs to the studies of
small-town life. His first novel, _A Certain Rich Man_, was published in
1909. Its theme is the development of an American multi-millionaire,
from his beginning as a small business man with a reputation for close
dealing, his success, his reaching out to greater schemes, growing more
and more unscrupulous in his methods, until at last he achieves the
great wealth he had sought, but in winning it he loses his soul.

This book was written during a vacation in the Colorado mountains. His
family were established in a log cabin, and he set up a tent near by for
a workshop. This is his account of his method of writing:


     My working day was supposed to begin at nine o'clock in the
     morning, but the truth is I seldom reached the tent before ten.
     Then it took me some time to get down to work. From then on until
     late in the afternoon I would sit at my typewriter, chew my tongue,
     and pound away. Each night I read to my wife what I had written
     that day, and Mrs. White would criticise it. While my work was
     redhot I couldn't get any perspective on it--each day's installment
     seemed to me the finest literature I had ever read. She didn't
     always agree with me. When she disapproved of anything I threw it
     away--after a row--and re-wrote it.


In his next book, _The Old Order Changeth_, Mr. White turned aside from
fiction to write a series of papers dealing with various reform
movements in our national life. He shows how through these much has been
done to regain for the people the control of municipal and state
affairs. The material for this book was drawn largely from Mr. White's
participation in political affairs.

In 1917 he was sent to France as an observer by the American Red Cross.
The lighter side of what he saw there was told in _The Martial
Adventures of Henry and Me_. His latest book is a long novel, _In the
Heart of a Fool_, another study of American life of to-day.

All in all, he stands as one of the chief interpreters in fiction of the
spirit of the Middle West,--a section of our country which some
observers say is the most truly American part of America.



A PAIR OF LOVERS

_The typical love story begins by telling us how two young people fall
in love, allows us to eavesdrop at a proposal, with soft moonlight
effects, and then requests our presence at a wedding. Or perhaps an
elopement precedes the wedding, which gives us an added thrill. The
scene may be laid anywhere, the period may be the present or any time
back to the Middle Ages, (apparently people did not fall in love at any
earlier periods), but the formula remains the same. O. Henry wrote a
love story that does not follow the formula. He called it "The Gift of
the Magi."_



THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

BY

O. HENRY


One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it
was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the
grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned
with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied.
Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the
next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch
and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that
life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles
predominating.

While the mistress of the house is gradually subsiding from the first
stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per
week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that
word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go,
and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring.
Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James
Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of
prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the
income was shrunk to $20, the letters of "Dillingham" looked blurred, as
though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and
unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and
reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs.
James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all
very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag.
She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a
gray fence in a gray backyard. To-morrow would be Christmas Day, and she
had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving
every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a
week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated.
They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a
happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something
fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being
worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have
seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may,
by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips,
obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender,
had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her
eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within
twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its
full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which
they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been
his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the
Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have
let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her
Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all
his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his
watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from
envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like
a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself
almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and
quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or
two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of
skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered
out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All
Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame,
large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at
the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed
metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else.
There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all
of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain, simple and chaste in
design, properly proclaiming its value by substance and not by
meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even
worthy of The Watch.

As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him.
Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars
they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With
that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in
any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the
sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a
chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence
and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went
to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is
always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls
that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at
her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second
look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what
could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?"

At seven o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back
of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on
the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she
heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight and she turned
white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers
about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered:

"Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and
very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened
with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of
quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in
them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger,
nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments
that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with
that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went to him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut
off and sold it because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without
giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I
just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say 'Merry Christmas!'
Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice--what a beautiful,
nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not
arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well,
anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and
gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you.
Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with a sudden
serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I
put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to awake. He enfolded his Della.
For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some
inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a
million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would
give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was
not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think
there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that
could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package
you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an
ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to
hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of
all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had
worshipped for long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise
shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful
vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had
simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of
possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have
adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up
with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him
eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with
reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have
to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I
want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands
under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a
while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get
the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought
gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving
Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones,
possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And
here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two
foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other
the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of
these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the
wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest.
Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.



O. HENRY


He came to New York in 1902 almost unknown. At his death eight years
later he was the best known writer of short stories in America. His life
was as full of ups and downs, and of strange turns of fortune, as one of
his own stories. William Sidney Porter, who always signed his stories as
O. Henry, was born in Greenboro, North Carolina, September 11, 1862. His
mother died when he was but three years old; and an aunt, Miss Evelina
Porter, cared for him and gave him nearly all his education. Books, too,
were his teachers. He says that between his thirteenth and nineteenth
years he did more reading than in all the years since. His favorite
books were _The Arabian Nights_, in Lane's translation, and Burton's
_Anatomy of Melancholy_, an old English book in which bits of science,
superstition and reflections upon life were strangely mingled. Other
books that he enjoyed were the works of Scott, Dickens, Thackeray,
Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. He early showed ability as a
cartoonist, and was noted among his friends as a good story teller.
After school days he became a clerk in his uncle's drug store, and here
acquired that knowledge which he used to such good effect in stories
like "Makes the Whole World Kin" and "The Love Philtre of Ikey
Schoenstein."

His health was not robust, and confinement in a drug store did not
improve it. A friend who was going to Texas invited him to go along, and
from 1882 to 1884 he lived on a ranch, acting as cowboy, and at odd
moments studying French, German and Spanish. Then he went to Austin,
where at various times he was clerk, editor, bookkeeper, draftsman, bank
teller, actor and cartoonist. In 1887 he married Miss Athol Roach. He
began contributing short stories and humorous sketches to newspapers,
and finally purchased a paper of his own, which he called _Rolling
Stones_, a humorous weekly. After a year the paper failed, and the
editor went to Houston to become a reporter on the _Daily Post_. A year
later, it was discovered that there were serious irregularities in the
bank in which he had worked in Austin. Several arrests were made, and O.
Henry was called to stand trial with others. He had not been guilty of
wrong doing, but the affairs of the bank had been so loosely managed
that he was afraid that he would be convicted, so he fled to Central
America. After a year there, he heard that his wife's health was
failing, and returned to Austin to give himself up. He was found guilty,
and sentenced to five years in the Ohio penitentiary. His wife died
before the trial. His time in prison was shortened by good behavior to a
little more than three years, ending in 1901. He wrote a number of
stories during this time, sending them to friends who in turn mailed
them to publishers. The editor of _Ainslie's Magazine_ had printed
several of them and in 1902 he wrote to O. Henry urging him to come to
New York, and offering him a hundred dollars apiece for a dozen stories.
He came, and from that time made New York his home, becoming very fond
of Little Old-Bagdad-on-the-Subway as he called it.

He had found the work which he wished to do, and he turned out stories
very rapidly. These were first published in newspapers and magazines,
then collected in book form. The first of these volumes, _Cabbages and
Kings_, had Central America as its setting. He said that while there he
had knocked around chiefly with refugees and consuls. _The Four Million_
was a group of stories of New York; it contained some of his best tales,
such as "The Gift of the Magi," and "An Unfinished Story." _The Trimmed
Lamp_ and _The Voice of the City_ also dealt with New York. _The Gentle
Grafter_ was a collection of stories about confidence men and "crooks."
The material for these narratives he had gathered from his companions in
his prison days. _Heart of the West_ reflects his days on a Texas
ranch. Other books, more or less miscellaneous in their locality, are
_Roads of Destiny_, _Options_, _Strictly Business_, _Whirligigs_; and
_Sixes and Sevens_. He died in New York, June 5, 1910. After his death a
volume containing some of his earliest work was published under the
title _Rolling Stones_.

His choice of subjects is thus indicated in the preface to _The Four
Million_:

"Not very long ago some one invented the assertion that there were only
'Four Hundred' people in New York who were really worth noticing. But a
wiser man has arisen--the census taker--and his larger estimate of human
interest has been preferred in marking out the field of these little
stories of the 'Four Million.'"

It was the common man,--the clerk, the bartender, the policeman, the
waiter, the tramp, that O. Henry chose for his characters. He loved to
talk to chance acquaintances on park benches or in cheap lodging houses,
to see life from their point of view. His stories are often of the
picaresque type; a name given to a kind of story in which the hero is an
adventurer, sometimes a rogue. He sees the common humanity, and the
redeeming traits even in these. His plots usually have a turn of
surprise at the end; sometimes the very last sentence suddenly
illuminates the whole story. His style is quick, nervous, often slangy;
he is wonderfully dextrous in hitting just the right word or phrase. His
descriptions are notable for telling much in a few words. He has almost
established a definite type of short story writing, and in many of the
stories now written one may clearly see the influence of O. Henry.



IN POLITICS

_Politics is democracy in action. If we believe in democracy, we must
recognize in politics the instrument, however imperfect, through which
democracy works. Brand Whitlock knew politics, first as a political
reporter, then as candidate for mayor in four campaigns, in each of
which he was successful. Under his administration the city of Toledo
became a better place to live in. In_ THE GOLD BRICK _he describes a
municipal campaign, as seen from the point of view of the newspaper
office._



THE GOLD BRICK

BY

BRAND WHITLOCK


Ten thousand dollars a year! Neil Kittrell left the office of the
_Morning Telegraph_ in a daze. He was insensible of the raw February
air, heedless of sloppy pavements, the gray day had suddenly turned
gold. He could not realize it all at once; ten thousand a year--for him
and Edith! His heart swelled with love of Edith, she had sacrificed so
much to become the wife of a man who had tried to make an artist of
himself, and of whom fate, or economic determinism, or something, had
made a cartoonist. What a surprise for her! He must hurry home.

In this swelling of his heart he felt a love not only of Edith but of
the whole world. The people he met seemed dear to him; he felt friendly
with every one, and beamed on perfect strangers with broad, cheerful
smiles. He stopped to buy some flowers for Edith--daffodils, or tulips,
which promised spring, and he took the daffodils, because the girl said:

"I think yellow is such a spirituelle color, don't you?" and inclined
her head in a most artistic manner.

But daffodils, after all, which would have been much the day before,
seemed insufficient in the light of new prosperity, and Kittrell bought
a large azalea, beautiful in its graceful spread of pink blooms.

"Where shall I send it?" asked the girl, whose cheeks were as pink as
azaleas themselves.

"I think I'll call a cab and take it to her myself," said Kittrell.

And she sighed over the romance of this rich young gentleman and the
girl of the azalea, who, no doubt, was as beautiful as the young woman
who was playing _Lottie, the Poor Saleslady_ at the Lyceum that very
week.

Kittrell and the azalea bowled along Claybourne Avenue; he leaned back
on the cushions, and adopted the expression of ennui appropriate to that
thoroughfare. Would Edith now prefer Claybourne Avenue? With ten
thousand a year they could, perhaps--and yet, at first it would be best
not to put on airs, but to go right on as they were, in the flat. Then
the thought came to him that now, as the cartoonist on the _Telegraph_,
his name would become as well known in Claybourne Avenue as it had been
in the homes of the poor and humble during his years on the _Post_. And
his thoughts flew to those homes where tired men at evening looked for
his cartoons and children laughed at his funny pictures. It gave him a
pang; he had felt a subtle bond between himself and all those thousands
who read the _Post_. It was hard to leave them. The _Post_ might be
yellow, but as the girl had said, yellow was a spiritual color, and the
_Post_ brought something into their lives--lives that were scorned by
the _Telegraph_ and by these people on the avenue. Could he make new
friends here where the cartoons he drew and the _Post_ that printed them
had been contemned, if not despised? His mind flew back to the dingy
office of the _Post_; to the boys there, the whole good-natured,
happy-go-lucky gang; and to Hardy--ah, Hardy!--who had been so good to
him, and given him his big chance, had taken such pains and interest,
helping him with ideas and suggestions, criticism and sympathy. To tell
Hardy that he was going to leave him, here on the eve of the
campaign--and Clayton, the mayor, he would have to tell him, too--oh,
the devil! Why must he think of these things now?

After all, when he had reached home, and had run up-stairs with the news
and the azalea, Edith did not seem delighted.

"But, dearie, business is business," he urged, "and we need the money!"

"Yes, I know; doubtless you're right. Only please don't say 'business
is business;' it isn't like you, and--"

"But think what it will mean--ten thousand a year!"

"Oh, Neil, I've lived on ten thousand a year before, and I never had
half the fun that I had when we were getting along on twelve hundred."

"Yes, but then we were always dreaming of the day when I'd make a lot;
we lived on that hope, didn't we?"

Edith laughed. "You used to say we lived on love."

"You're not serious." He turned to gaze moodily out of the window. And
then she left the azalea, and perched on the flat arm of his chair.

"Dearest," she said, "I am serious. I know all this means to you. We're
human, and we don't like to 'chip at crusts like Hindus,' even for the
sake of youth and art. I never had illusions about love in a cottage and
all that. Only, dear, I have been happy, so very happy, with you,
because--well, because I was living in an atmosphere of honest purpose,
honest ambition, and honest desire to do some good thing in the world. I
had never known such an atmosphere before. At home, you know, father and
Uncle James and the boys--well, it was all money, money, money with
them, and they couldn't understand why I--"

"Could marry a poor newspaper artist? That's just the point."

She put her hand to his lips.

"Now, dear! If they couldn't understand, so much the worse for them. If
they thought it meant sacrifice to me, they were mistaken. I have been
happy in this little flat; only--" she leaned back and inclined her head
with her eyes asquint--"only the paper in this room is atrocious; it's a
typical landlord's selection--McGaw picked it out. You see what it means
to be merely rich."

She was so pretty thus that he kissed her, and then she went on:

"And so, dear, if I didn't seem to be as impressed and delighted as you
hoped to find me, it is because I was thinking of Mr. Hardy and the
poor, dear common little _Post_, and then--of Mr. Clayton. Did you think
of him?"

"Yes."

"You'll have to--to cartoon him?"

"I suppose so."

The fact he had not allowed himself to face was close to both of them,
and the subject was dropped until, just as he was going down-town--this
time to break the news to Hardy--he went into the room he sarcastically
said he might begin to call his studio, now that he was getting ten
thousand a year, to look for a sketch he had promised Nolan for the
sporting page. And there on his drawing-board was an unfinished cartoon,
a drawing of the strong face of John Clayton. He had begun it a few days
before to use on the occasion of Clayton's renomination. It had been a
labor of love, and Kittrell suddenly realized how good it was. He had
put into it all of his belief in Clayton, all of his devotion to the
cause for which Clayton toiled and sacrificed, and in the simple lines
he experienced the artist's ineffable felicity; he had shown how good,
how noble, how true a man Clayton was. All at once he realized the
sensation the cartoon would produce, how it would delight and hearten
Clayton's followers, how it would please Hardy, and how it would touch
Clayton. It would be a tribute to the man and the friendship, but now a
tribute broken, unfinished. Kittrell gazed a moment longer, and in that
moment Edith came.

"The dear, beautiful soul!" she exclaimed softly. "Neil, it is
wonderful. It is not a cartoon; it is a portrait. It shows what you
might do with a brush."

Kittrell could not speak, and he turned the drawing-board to the wall.

When he had gone, Edith sat and thought--of Neil, of the new position,
of Clayton. He had loved Neil, and been so proud of his work; he had
shown a frank, naive pleasure in the cartoons Neil had made of him. That
last time he was there, thought Edith, he had said that without Neil the
"good old cause," as he called it, using Whitman's phrase, could never
have triumphed in that town. And now, would he come again? Would he ever
stand in that room and, with his big, hearty laugh, clasp an arm around
Neil's shoulder, or speak of her in his good friendly way as "the little
woman?" Would he come now, in the terrible days of the approaching
campaign, for rest and sympathy--come as he used to come in other
campaigns, worn and weary from all the brutal opposition, the
vilification and abuse and mud-slinging? She closed her eyes. She could
not think that far.

Kittrell found the task of telling Hardy just as difficult as he
expected it to be, but by some mercy it did not last long. Explanation
had not been necessary; he had only to make the first hesitating
approaches, and Hardy understood. Hardy was, in a way, hurt; Kittrell
saw that, and rushed to his own defense:

"I hate to go, old man. I don't like it a little bit--but, you know,
business is business, and we need the money."

He even tried to laugh as he advanced this last conclusive reason, and
Hardy, for all he showed in voice or phrase, may have agreed with him.

"It's all right, Kit," he said. "I'm sorry; I wish we could pay you
more, but--well, good luck."

That was all. Kittrell gathered up the few articles he had at the
office, gave Nolan his sketch, bade the boys good-by--bade them good-by
as if he were going on a long journey, never to see them more--and then
he went.

After he had made the break it did not seem so bad as he had
anticipated. At first things went on smoothly enough. The campaign had
not opened, and he was free to exercise his talents outside the
political field. He drew cartoons dealing with banal subjects, touching
with the gentle satire of his humorous pencil foibles which all the
world agreed about, and let vital questions alone. And he and Edith
enjoyed themselves: indulged oftener in things they loved; went more
frequently to the theater; appeared at recitals; dined now and then
downtown. They began to realize certain luxuries they had not known for
a long time--some he himself had never known, some that Edith had not
known since she left her father's home to become his bride. In more
subtle ways, too, Kittrell felt the change: there was a sense of larger
leisure; the future beamed with a broader and brighter light; he formed
plans, among which the old dream of going ere long to Paris for serious
study took its dignified place. And then there was the sensation his
change had created in the newspaper world; that the cartoons signed
"Kit," which formerly appeared in the _Post_, should now adorn the broad
page of the _Telegraph_ was a thing to talk about at the press club; the
fact of his large salary got abroad in that little world as well, and,
after the way of that world, managed to exaggerate itself, as most facts
did. He began to be sensible of attentions from men of prominence--small
things, mere nods in the street, perhaps, or smiles in the theater
foyer, but enough to show that they recognized him. What those children
of the people, those working-men and women who used to be his unknown
and admiring friends in the old days on the _Post_, thought of
him--whether they missed him, whether they deplored his change as an
apostasy or applauded it as a promotion--he did not know. He did not
like to think about it.

But March came, and the politicians began to bluster like the season.
Late one afternoon he was on his way to the office with a cartoon, the
first in which he had seriously to attack Clayton. Benson, the managing
editor of the _Telegraph_, had conceived it, and Kittrell had worked on
it that day in sickness of heart. Every line of this new presentation of
Clayton had cut him like some biting acid; but he had worked on, trying
to reassure himself with the argument that he was a mere agent, devoid
of personal responsibility. But it had been hard, and when Edith, after
her custom, had asked to see it, he had said:

"Oh, you don't want to see it; it's no good."

"Is it of--him?" she had asked.

And when he nodded she had gone away without another word. Now, as he
hurried through the crowded streets, he was conscious that it was no
good indeed; and he was divided between the artist's regret and the
friend's joy in the fact. But it made him tremble. Was his hand to
forget its cunning? And then, suddenly, he heard a familiar voice, and
there beside him, with his hand on his shoulder, stood the mayor.

"Why, Neil, my boy, how are you?" he said, and he took Kittrell's hand
as warmly as ever. For a moment Kittrell was relieved, and then his
heart sank; for he had a quick realization that it was the coward within
him that felt the relief, and the man the sickness. If Clayton had
reproached him, or cut him, it would have made it easier; but Clayton
did none of these things, and Kittrell was irresistibly drawn to the
subject himself.

"You heard of my--new job?" he asked.

"Yes," said Clayton, "I heard."

"Well--" Kittrell began.

"I'm sorry," Clayton said.

"So was I," Kittrell hastened to say. "But I felt it--well, a duty, some
way--to Edith. You know--we--need the money." And he gave the cynical
laugh that went with the argument.

"What does _she_ think? Does she feel that way about it?"

Kittrell laughed, not cynically now, but uneasily and with
embarrassment, for Clayton's blue eyes were on him, those eyes that
could look into men and understand them so.

"Of course you know," Kittrell went on nervously, "there is nothing
personal in this. We newspaper fellows simply do what we are told; we
obey orders like soldiers, you know. With the policy of the paper we
have nothing to do. Just like Dick Jennings, who was a red-hot
free-trader and used to write free-trade editorials for the _Times_--he
went over to the _Telegraph_, you remember, and writes all those
protection arguments."

The mayor did not seem to be interested in Dick Jennings, or in the
ethics of his profession.

"Of course, you know I'm for you, Mr. Clayton, just exactly as I've
always been. I'm going to vote for you."

This did not seem to interest the mayor, either.

"And, maybe, you know--I thought, perhaps," he snatched at this bright
new idea that had come to him just in the nick of time; "that I might
help you by my cartoons in the _Telegraph_; that is, I might keep them
from being as bad as they might--"

"But that wouldn't be dealing fairly with your new employers, Neil," the
mayor said.

Kittrell was making more and more a mess of this whole miserable
business, and he was basely glad when they reached the corner.

"Well, good-by, my boy," said the mayor, as they parted. "Remember me to
the little woman."

Kittrell watched him as he went on down the avenue, swinging along in
his free way, the broad felt hat he wore riding above all the other hats
in the throng that filled the sidewalk; and Kittrell sighed in deep
depression.

When he turned in his cartoon, Benson scanned it a moment, cocked his
head this side and that, puffed his briar pipe, and finally said:

"I'm afraid this is hardly up to you. This figure of Clayton, here--it
hasn't got the stuff in it. You want to show him as he _is_. We want the
people to know what a four-flushing, hypocritical, demagogical
blatherskite he is--with all his rot about the people and their damned
rights!"

Benson was all unconscious of the inconsistency of having concern for a
people he so despised, and Kittrell did not observe it, either. He was
on the point of defending Clayton, but he restrained himself and
listened to Benson's suggestions. He remained at the office for two
hours, trying to change the cartoon to Benson's satisfaction, with a
growing hatred of the work and a disgust with himself that now and then
almost drove him to mad destruction. He felt like splashing the piece
with India ink, or ripping it with his knife. But he worked on, and
submitted it again. He had failed, of course; failed to express in it
that hatred of a class which Benson unconsciously disguised as a hatred
of Clayton, a hatred which Kittrell could not express because he did not
feel it; and he failed because art deserts her devotees when they are
false to truth.

"Well, it'll have to do," said Benson, as he looked it over; "but let's
have a little more to the next one. Damn it! I wish I could draw. I'd
cartoon the crook!"

In default of which ability, Benson set himself to write one of those
savage editorials in which he poured out on Clayton that venom of which
he seemed to have such an inexhaustible supply.

But on one point Benson was right: Kittrell was not up to himself. As
the campaign opened, as the city was swept with the excitement of it,
with meetings at noon-day and at night, office-seekers flying about in
automobiles, walls covered with pictures of candidates, hand-bills
scattered in the streets to swirl in the wild March winds, and men
quarreling over whether Clayton or Ellsworth should be mayor, Kittrell
had to draw a political cartoon each day; and as he struggled with his
work, less and less the old joy came to cheer and spur him on. To read
the ridicule, the abuse, which the _Telegraph_ heaped on Clayton, the
distortion of facts concerning his candidature, the unfair reports of
his meetings, sickened him, and more than all, he was filled with
disgust as he tried to match in caricature these libels of the man he so
loved and honored. It was bad enough to have to flatter Clayton's
opponent, to picture him as a noble, disinterested character, ready to
sacrifice himself for the public weal. Into his pictures of this man,
attired in the long black coat of conventional respectability, with the
smug face of pharisaism, he could get nothing but cant and hypocrisy;
but in his caricatures of Clayton there was that which pained him
worse--disloyalty, untruth, and now and then, to the discerning few who
knew the tragedy of Kittrell's soul, there was pity. And thus his work
declined in value; lacking all sincerity, all faith in itself or its
purpose, it became false, uncertain, full of jarring notes, and, in
short, never once rang true. As for Edith, she never discussed his work
now; she spoke of the campaign little, and yet he knew she was deeply
concerned, and she grew hot with resentment at the methods of the
_Telegraph_. Her only consolation was derived from the _Post_, which of
course, supported Clayton; and the final drop of bitterness in
Kittrell's cup came one evening when he realized that she was following
with sympathetic interest the cartoons in that paper.

For the _Post_ had a new cartoonist, Banks, a boy whom Hardy had picked
up somewhere and was training to the work Kittrell had laid down. To
Kittrell there was a cruel fascination in the progress Banks was making;
he watched it with a critical, professional eye, at first with
amusement, then with surprise, and now at last, in the discovery of
Edith's interest, with a keen jealousy of which he was ashamed. The boy
was crude and untrained; his work was not to be compared with
Kittrell's, master of line that he was, but Kittrell saw that it had the
thing his work now lacked, the vital, primal thing--sincerity, belief,
love. The spark was there, and Kittrell knew how Hardy would nurse that
spark and fan it, and keep it alive and burning until it should
eventually blaze up in a fine white flame. And Kittrell realized, as the
days went by, that Banks' work was telling, and that his own was
failing. He had, from the first missed the atmosphere of the _Post_,
missed the _camaraderie_ of the congenial spirits there, animated by a
common purpose, inspired and led by Hardy, whom they all loved--loved as
he himself once loved him, loved as he loved him still--and dared not
look him in the face when they met!

He found the atmosphere of the _Telegraph_ alien and distasteful. There
all was different; the men had little joy in their work, little interest
in it, save perhaps the newspaper man's inborn love of a good story or a
beat. They were all cynical, without loyalty or faith; they secretly
made fun of the _Telegraph_, of its editors and owners; they had no
belief in its cause; and its pretensions to respectability, its parade
of virtue, excited only their derision. And slowly it began to dawn on
Kittrell that the great moral law worked always and everywhere, even on
newspapers, and that there was reflected inevitably and logically in the
work of the men on that staff the hatred, the lack of principle, the
bigotry and intolerance of its proprietors; and this same lack of
principle tainted and made meretricious his own work, and enervated the
editorials so that the _Telegraph_, no matter how carefully edited or
how dignified in typographical appearance, was, nevertheless, without
real influence in the community.

Meanwhile Clayton was gaining ground. It was less than two weeks before
election. The campaign waxed more and more bitter, and as the forces
opposed to him foresaw defeat, they became ugly in spirit, and
desperate. The _Telegraph_ took on a tone more menacing and brutal, and
Kittrell knew that the crisis had come. The might of the powers massed
against Clayton appalled Kittrell; they thundered at him through many
brazen mouths, but Clayton held on his high way unperturbed. He was
speaking by day and night to thousands. Such meetings he had never had
before. Kittrell had visions of him before those immense audiences in
halls, in tents, in the raw open air of that rude March weather, making
his appeals to the heart of the great mass. A fine, splendid, romantic
figure he was, striking to the imagination, this champion of the
people's cause, and Kittrell longed for the lost chance. Oh, for one day
on the _Post_ now!

One morning at breakfast, as Edith read the _Telegraph_, Kittrell saw
the tears well slowly in her brown eyes.

"Oh," she said, "it is shameful!" She clenched her little fists. "Oh, if
I were only a man I'd--" She could not in her impotent feminine rage say
what she would do; she could only grind her teeth. Kittrell bent his
head over his plate; his coffee choked him.

"Dearest," she said presently, in another tone, "tell me, how is he? Do
you--ever see him? Will he win?"

"No, I never see him. But he'll win; I wouldn't worry."

"He used to come here," she went on, "to rest a moment, to escape from
all this hateful confusion and strife. He is killing himself! And they
aren't worth it--those ignorant people--they aren't worth such
sacrifices."

He got up from the table and turned away, and then realizing quickly,
she flew to his side and put her arms about his neck and said:

"Forgive me, dearest, I didn't mean--only--"

"Oh, Edith," he said, "this is killing me. I feel like a dog."

"Don't dear; he is big enough, and good enough; he will understand."

"Yes; that only makes it harder, only makes it hurt the more."

That afternoon, in the car, he heard no talk but of the election; and
down-town, in a cigar store where he stopped for cigarettes, he heard
some men talking mysteriously, in the hollow voice of rumor, of some
sensation, some scandal. It alarmed him, and as he went into the office
he met Manning, the _Telegraph_'s political man.

"Tell me, Manning," Kittrell said, "how does it look?"

"Damn bad for us."

"For us?"

"Well, for our mob of burglars and second story workers here--the gang
we represent." He took a cigarette from the box Kittrell was opening.

"And will he win?"

"Will he win?" said Manning, exhaling the words on the thin level stream
of smoke that came from his lungs. "Will he win? In a walk, I tell you.
He's got 'em beat to a standstill right now. That's the dope."

"But what about this story of--"

"Aw, that's all a pipe-dream of Burns'. I'm running it in the morning,
but it's nothing; it's a shine. They're big fools to print it at all.
But it's their last card; they're desperate. They won't stop at
anything, or at any crime, except those requiring courage. Burns is in
there with Benson now; so is Salton, and old man Glenn, and the rest of
the bunco family. They're framing it up. When I saw old Glenn go in,
with his white side-whiskers, I knew the widow and the orphan were in
danger again, and that he was going bravely to the front for 'em. Say,
that young Banks is comin', isn't he? That's a peach, that cartoon of
his to-night."

Kittrell went on down the hall to the art-room to wait until Benson
should be free. But it was not long until he was sent for, and as he
entered the managing editor's room he was instantly sensible of the
somber atmosphere of a grave and solemn council of war. Benson
introduced him to Glenn, the banker, to Salton, the party boss, and to
Burns, the president of the street-car company; and as Kittrell sat down
he looked about him, and could scarcely repress a smile as he recalled
Manning's estimate of Glenn. The old man sat there, as solemn and
unctuous as ever he had in his pew at church. Benson, red of face, was
more plainly perturbed, but Salton was as reserved, as immobile, as
inscrutable as ever, his narrow, pointed face, with its vulpine
expression, being perhaps paler than usual. Benson had on his desk
before him the cartoon Kittrell had finished that day.

"Mr. Kittrell," Benson began, "we've been talking over the political
situation, and I was showing these gentlemen this cartoon. It isn't, I
fear, in your best style; it lacks the force, the argument, we'd like
just at this time. That isn't the _Telegraph_ Clayton, Mr. Kittrell." He
pointed with the amber stem of his pipe. "Not at all. Clayton is a
strong, smart, unscrupulous, dangerous man! We've reached a crisis in
this campaign; if we can't turn things in the next three days, we're
lost, that's all; we might as well face it. To-morrow we make an
important revelation concerning the character of Clayton, and we want to
follow it up the morning after by a cartoon that will be a stunner, a
clencher. We have discussed it here among ourselves, and this is our
idea."

Benson drew a crude, bald outline, indicating the cartoon they wished
Kittrell to draw. The idea was so coarse, so brutal, so revolting, that
Kittrell stood aghast, and, as he stood, he was aware of Salton's little
eyes fixed on him. Benson waited; they all waited.

"Well," said Benson, "what do you think of it?"

Kittrell paused an instant, and then said:

"I won't draw it; that's what I think of it."

Benson flushed angrily and looked up at him.

"We are paying you a very large salary, Mr. Kittrell, and your work, if
you will pardon me, has not been up to what we were led to expect."

"You are quite right, Mr. Benson, but I can't draw that cartoon."

"Well, great God!" yelled Burns, "what have we got here--a gold brick?"
He rose with a vivid sneer on his red face, plunged his hands in his
pockets, and took two or three nervous strides across the room. Kittrell
looked at him, and slowly his eyes blazed out of a face that had gone
white on the instant.

"What did you say, sir?" he demanded.

Burns thrust his red face, with its prognathic jaw, menacingly toward
Kittrell.

"I said that in you we'd got a gold brick."

"You?" said Kittrell. "What have you to do with it? I don't work for
you."

"You don't? Well, I guess it's us that puts up--"

"Gentlemen! Gentlemen!" said Glenn, waving a white, pacificatory hand.

"Yes, let me deal with this, if you please," said Benson, looking hard
at Burns. The street-car man sneered again, then, in ostentatious
contempt, looked out the window. And in the stillness Benson continued:

"Mr. Kittrell, think a minute. Is your decision final?"

"It is final, Mr. Benson," said Kittrell. "And as for you, Burns," he
glared angrily at the man, "I wouldn't draw that cartoon for all the
dirty money that all the bribing street-car companies in the world could
put into Mr. Glenn's bank here. Good evening, gentlemen."

It was not until he stood again in his own home that Kittrell felt the
physical effects which the spiritual squalor of such a scene was certain
to produce in a nature like his.

"Neil! What is the matter?" Edith fluttered toward him in alarm.

He sank into a chair, and for a moment he looked as if he would faint,
but he looked wanly up at her and said:

"Nothing; I'm all right; just a little weak. I've gone through a
sickening, horrible scene--"

"Dearest!"

"And I'm off the _Telegraph_--and a man once more!"

He bent over, with his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands, and
when Edith put her calm, caressing hand on his brow, she found that it
was moist from nervousness. Presently he was able to tell her the whole
story.

"It was, after all, Edith, a fitting conclusion to my experience on the
_Telegraph_. I suppose, though, that to people who are used to ten
thousand a year such scenes are nothing at all." She saw in this trace
of his old humor that he was himself again, and she hugged his head to
her bosom.

"Oh, dearest," she said, "I'm proud of you--and happy again."

They were, indeed, both happy, happier than they had been in weeks.

The next morning after breakfast, she saw by his manner, by the
humorous, almost comical expression about his eyes, that he had an idea.
In this mood of satisfaction--this mood that comes too seldom in the
artist's life--she knew it was wise to let him alone. And he lighted his
pipe and went to work. She heard him now and then, singing or whistling
or humming; she scented his pipe, then cigarettes; then, at last, after
two hours, he called in a loud, triumphant tone:

"Oh, Edith!"

She was at the door in an instant, and, waving his hand grandly at his
drawing-board, he turned to her with that expression which connotes the
greatest joy gods or mortals can know--the joy of beholding one's own
work and finding it good. He had, as she saw, returned to the cartoon of
Clayton he had laid aside when the tempter came; and now it was
finished. Its simple lines revealed Clayton's character, as the
sufficient answer to all the charges the _Telegraph_ might make against
him. Edith leaned against the door and looked long and critically.

"It was fine before," she said presently; "it's better now. Before it
was a portrait of the man; this shows his soul."

"Well, it's how he looks to me," said Neil, "after a month in which to
appreciate him."

"But what," she said, stooping and peering at the edge of the drawing,
where, despite much knife-scraping, vague figures appeared, "what's
that?"

"Oh, I'm ashamed to tell you," he said. "I'll have to paste over that
before it's electrotyped. You see, I had a notion of putting in the
gang, and I drew four little figures--Benson, Burns, Salton and Glenn;
they were plotting--oh, it was foolish and unworthy. I decided I didn't
want anything of hatred in it--just as he wouldn't want anything of
hatred in it; so I rubbed them out."

"Well, I'm glad. It is beautiful; it makes up for everything; it's an
appreciation--worthy of the man."

When Kittrell entered the office of the _Post_, the boys greeted him
with delight, and his presence made a sensation, for there had been
rumors of the break which the absence of a "Kit" cartoon in the
_Telegraph_ that morning had confirmed. But, if Hardy was surprised, his
surprise was swallowed up in his joy, and Kittrell was grateful to him
for the delicacy with which he touched the subject that consumed the
newspaper and political world with curiosity.

"I'm glad, Kit," was all that he said. "You know that."

Then he forgot everything in the cartoon, and he showed his instant
recognition of its significance by snatching out his watch, pushing a
button, and saying to Garland, who came to the door in his shirtsleeves:

"Tell Nic to hold the first edition for a five-column first-page
cartoon. And send this up right away."

They had a last look at it before it went, and after gazing a moment in
silence Hardy said:

"It's the greatest thing you ever did, Kit, and it comes at the
psychological moment. It'll elect him."

"Oh, he was elected anyhow."

Hardy shook his head, and in the movement Kittrell saw how the strain of
the campaign had told on him. "No, he wasn't; the way they've been
hammering him is something fierce; and the _Telegraph_--well, your
cartoons and all, you know."

"But my cartoons in the _Telegraph_ were rotten. Any work that's not
sincere, not intellectually honest----"

Hardy interrupted him:

"Yes; but, Kit, you're so good that your rotten is better than 'most
anybody's best." He smiled, and Kittrell blushed and looked away.

Hardy was right. The "Kit" cartoon, back in the _Post_, created its
sensation, and after it appeared the political reporters said it had
started a landslide to Clayton; that the betting was 4 to 1 and no
takers, and that it was all over but the shouting.

That night, as they were at dinner, the telephone rang, and in a minute
Neil knew by Edith's excited and delighted reiteration of "yes," "yes,"
who had called up. And he then heard her say:

"Indeed I will; I'll come every night and sit in the front seat."

When Kittrell displaced Edith at the telephone, he heard the voice of
John Clayton, lower in register and somewhat husky after four weeks'
speaking, but more musical than ever in Kittrell's ears when it said:

"I just told the little woman, Neil, that I didn't know how to say it,
so I wanted her to thank you for me. It was beautiful in you, and I wish
I were worthy of it; it was simply your own good soul expressing
itself."

And it was the last delight to Kittrell to hear that voice and to know
that all was well.

But one question remained unsettled. Kittrell had been on the
_Telegraph_ a month, and his contract differed from that ordinarily made
by the members of a newspaper staff in that he was paid by the year,
though in monthly instalments. Kittrell knew that he had broken his
contract on grounds which the sordid law would not see or recognize and
the average court think absurd, and that the _Telegraph_ might legally
refuse to pay him at all. He hoped the _Telegraph_ would do this! But it
did not; on the contrary, he received the next day a check for his
month's work. He held it up for Edith's inspection.

"Of course, I'll have to send it back," he said.

"Certainly."

"Do you think me quixotic?"

"Well, we're poor enough as it is--let's have some luxuries; let's be
quixotic until after election, at least."

"Sure," said Neil; "just what I was thinking. I'm going to do a cartoon
every day for the _Post_ until election day, and I'm not going to take a
cent. I don't want to crowd Banks out, you know, and I want to do my
part for Clayton and the cause, and do it, just once, for the pure love
of the thing."

Those last days of the campaign were, indeed, luxuries to Kittrell and
to Edith, days of work and fun and excitement. All day Kittrell worked
on his cartoons, and in the evening they went to Clayton's meetings. The
experience was a revelation to them both--the crowds, the waiting for
the singing of the automobile's siren, the wild cheers that greeted
Clayton, and then his speech, his appeals to the best there was in men.
He had never made such speeches, and long afterward Edith could hear
those cheers and see the faces of those working-men aglow with the hope,
the passion, the fervent religion of democracy. And those days came to
their glad climax that night when they met at the office of the _Post_
to receive the returns, in an atmosphere quivering with excitement, with
messenger boys and reporters coming and going, and in the street outside
an immense crowd, swaying and rocking between the walls on either side,
with screams and shouts and mad huzzas, and the wild blowing of
horns--all the hideous, happy noise an American election-night crowd can
make.

Late in the evening Clayton had made his way, somehow unnoticed, through
the crowd, and entered the office. He was happy in the great triumph he
would not accept as personal, claiming it always for the cause; but as
he dropped into the chair Hardy pushed toward him, they all saw how
weary he was.

Just at that moment the roar in the street below swelled to a mighty
crescendo, and Hardy cried:

"Look!"

They ran to the window. The boys up-stairs who were manipulating the
stereopticon, had thrown on the screen an enormous picture of Clayton,
the portrait Kittrell had drawn for his cartoon.

"Will you say now there isn't the personal note in it?" Edith asked.

Clayton glanced out the window, across the dark, surging street, at the
picture.

"Oh, it's not me they're cheering for," he said; "it's for Kit, here."

"Well, perhaps some of it's for him," Edith admitted loyally.

They were silent, seized irresistibly by the emotion that mastered the
mighty crowd in the dark streets below. Edith was strangely moved.
Presently she could speak:

"Is there anything sweeter in life than to know that you have done a
good thing--and done it well?"

"Yes," said Clayton, "just one: to have a few friends who understand."

"You are right," said Edith. "It is so with art, and it must be so with
life; it makes an art of life."

It was dark enough there by the window for her to slip her hand into
that of Neil, who had been musing silently on the crowd.

"I can never say again," she said softly, "that those people are not
worth sacrifice. They are worth all; they are everything; they are the
hope of the world; and their longings and their needs, and the
possibility of bringing them to pass, are all that give significance to
life."

"That's what America is for," said Clayton, "and it's worth while to be
allowed to help even in a little way to make, as old Walt says, 'a
nation of friends, of equals.'"



BRAND WHITLOCK


Brand Whitlock, lawyer, politician, author and ambassador, was born in
Urbana, Ohio, March 4, 1869. His father, Rev. Elias D. Whitlock, was a
minister of power and a man of strong convictions. Brand was educated
partly in the public schools, partly by private teaching. He never went
to college, but this did not mean that his education stopped; he kept on
studying, and to such good purpose that in 1916 Brown University gave
him the degree of Doctor of Laws. Like many other writers, he received
his early training in newspaper work. At eighteen he became a reporter
on a Toledo paper, and three years later was reporter and political
correspondent for the Chicago _Herald_. While in Chicago he was a member
of the old Whitechapel Club, a group of newspaper men which included F.
P. Dunne, the creator of _Mr. Dooley_; Alfred Henry Lewis, author of
_Wolfville_; and George Ade, whose _Fables in Slang_ were widely popular
a few years ago.

He was strongly drawn to the law, and in 1893 went to Springfield,
Illinois, and entered a law office as a student. He was admitted to the
bar, and shortly after went to Toledo, Ohio, to practice. In eight years
he had established himself as a successful lawyer, and something more.
He was recognized as a man of high executive ability, and as being
absolutely "square." Such men are none too common, and Toledo decided
that it needed him in the mayor's chair. Without a political machine,
without a platform, and without a party, he was elected mayor in 1905,
reelected in 1907, again in 1909, again in 1911--and could probably have
had the office for life if he had been willing to accept it. In the
meantime he had written several successful novels; he wanted more time
for writing, and when in 1913 he was offered the post of United States
Minister to Belgium, he accepted, thinking that he would find in this
position an opportunity to observe life from a new angle, and leisure
for literary work. In August 1914 he was on his vacation, and had begun
work on a new novel. In his own words:


     I had the manuscript of my novel before me.... It was somehow just
     beginning to take form, beginning to show some signs of life; at
     times some characters in it gave evidence of being human and alive;
     they were beginning to act now and then spontaneously, beginning to
     say and to do things after the manner of human beings; the long
     vista before me, the months of laborious drudging toil and pain,
     the long agony of effort necessary to write any book, even a poor
     one, was beginning to appear less weary, less futile; there was the
     first faint glow of the joy of creative effort.


and then suddenly the telephone bell rang, and announced that the
Archduke of Austria had been assassinated at Sarajevo.

The rest of the story belongs to history. How he went back to Brussels;
how when the city seemed doomed, and all the government officials left,
he stayed on; how when the city was preparing to resist by force, he
went to Burgomaster Max and convinced him that it was useless, and so
saved the city from the fate of Louvain; how he took charge of the
relief work, how the King of Belgium thanked him for his services to the
country; how the city of Brussels in gratitude gave him a picture by Van
Dyck, a priceless thing, which he accepted--not for himself but for his
home city of Toledo; how after the war, he went back, not as Minister
but as Ambassador,--all these are among the proud memories of America's
part in the World War.

Brand Whitlock is so much more than an author that it is with an effort
that we turn to consider his literary work. His first book, _The
Thirteenth District_, published in 1902, was a novel of American
politics; it contains a capital description of a convention, and shows
the strategy of political leaders as seen by a keen observer. In _Her
Infinite Variety_ he dealt with the suffrage movement as it was in
1904, with determined women seeking the ballot, and equally determined
women working just as hard to keep it away from them. _The Happy
Average_ was a story of an every-day American couple: they were not
rich, nor famous, nor divorced,--yet the author thinks their story is
typical of most American lives. _The Turn of the Balance_ is a novel
that grew out of his legal experiences: it deals with the underworld of
crime, and often in a depressing way. It reflects the author's belief
that the present organization of society, and our methods of
administering justice, are the cause of much of the misery in the world.
Following these novels came two volumes of short stories, _The Gold
Brick_ and _The Fall Guy_: both deal with various aspects of American
life of to-day. In 1914 he published an autobiography under the title
_Forty Years of It_. This is interesting as a picture of political life
of the period in Ohio. His latest book, _Memories of Belgium under the
German Occupation_, tells the story of four eventful years. In all that
trying time, each night, no matter how weary he was, he forced himself
to set down the events of the day. From these records he wrote a book
that by virtue of its first-hand information and its literary art ranks
among the most important of the books called forth by the Great War.



THE TRAVELING SALESMAN

_The traveling salesman is a characteristic American type. We laugh at
his stories, or we criticise him for his "nerve," but we do not always
make allowance for the fact that his life is not an easy one, and that
his occupation develops "nerve" just as an athlete's work develops
muscle. The best presentation of the traveling salesman in fiction is
found in the stories of Edna Ferber. And the fact that her "salesman" is
a woman only adds to the interest of the stories. When ex-President
Roosevelt read Miss Ferber's book, he wrote her an enthusiastic letter
telling her how much he admired Emma McChesney. We meet her in the first
words of this story_.



HIS MOTHER'S SON

BY

EDNA FERBER


"Full?" repeated Emma McChesney (and if it weren't for the compositor
there'd be an exclamation point after that question mark).

"Sorry, Mrs. McChesney," said the clerk, and he actually looked it, "but
there's absolutely nothing stirring. We're full up. The Benevolent
Brotherhood of Bisons is holding its regular annual state convention
here. We're putting up cots in the hall."

Emma McChesney's keen blue eyes glanced up from their inspection of the
little bunch of mail which had just been handed her. "Well, pick out a
hall with a southern exposure and set up a cot or so for me," she said,
agreeably, "because I've come to stay. After selling Featherloom
Petticoats on the road for ten years I don't see myself trailing up and
down this town looking for a place to lay my head. I've learned this one
large, immovable truth, and that is, that a hotel clerk is a hotel
clerk. It makes no difference whether he is stuck back of a marble
pillar and hidden by a gold vase full of thirty-six-inch American Beauty
roses at the Knickerbocker, or setting the late fall fashions for men in
Galesburg, Illinois."

By one small degree was the perfect poise of the peerless personage
behind the register jarred. But by only one. He was a hotel night clerk.

"It won't do you any good to get sore, Mrs. McChesney," he began,
suavely. "Now a man would----"

"But I'm not a man," interrupted Emma McChesney. "I'm only doing a
man's work and earning a man's salary and demanding to be treated with
as much consideration as you'd show a man."

The personage busied himself mightily with a pen, and a blotter, and
sundry papers, as is the manner of personages when annoyed. "I'd like to
accommodate you; I'd like to do it."

"Cheer up," said Emma McChesney, "you're going to. I don't mind a little
discomfort. Though I want to mention in passing that if there are any
lady Bisons present you needn't bank on doubling me up with them. I've
had one experience of that kind. It was in Albia, Iowa. I'd sleep in the
kitchen range before I'd go through another."

Up went the erstwhile falling poise. "You're badly mistaken, madam. I'm
a member of this order myself, and a finer lot of fellows it has never
been my pleasure to know."

"Yes, I know," drawled Emma McChesney. "Do you know, the thing that gets
me is the inconsistency of it. Along come a lot of boobs who never use a
hotel the year around except to loaf in the lobby, and wear out the
leather chairs, and use up the matches and toothpicks and get the
baseball returns, and immediately you turn away a traveling man who uses
a three-dollar-a-day room, with a sample room downstairs for his stuff,
who tips every porter and bell-boy in the place, asks for no favors, and
who, if you give him a halfway decent cup of coffee for breakfast, will
fall in love with the place and boom it all over the country. Half of
your Benevolent Bisons are here on the European plan, with a view to
patronizing the free-lunch counters or being asked to take dinner at the
home of some local Bison whose wife has been cooking up on pies, and
chicken salad and veal roast for the last week."

Emma McChesney leaned over the desk a little, and lowered her voice to
the tone of confidence. "Now, I'm not in the habit of making a nuisance
of myself like this. I don't get so chatty as a rule, and I know that I
could jump over to Monmouth and get first-class accommodations there.
But just this once I've a good reason for wanting to make you and myself
a little miserable. Y'see, my son is traveling with me this trip."

"Son!" echoed the clerk, staring.

"Thanks. That's what they all do. After a while I'll begin to believe
that there must be something hauntingly beautiful and girlish about me
or every one wouldn't petrify when I announce that I've a six-foot son
attached to my apron-strings. He looks twenty-one, but he's seventeen.
He thinks the world's rotten because he can't grow one of those fuzzy
little mustaches that the men are cultivating to match their hats. He's
down at the depot now, straightening out our baggage. Now I want to say
this before he gets here. He's been out with me just four days. Those
four days have been a revelation, an eye-opener, and a series of rude
jolts. He used to think that his mother's job consisted of traveling in
Pullmans, eating delicate viands turned out by the hotel chefs, and
strewing Featherloom Petticoats along the path. I gave him plenty of
money, and he got into the habit of looking lightly upon anything more
trifling than a five-dollar bill. He's changing his mind by great leaps.
I'm prepared to spend the night in the coal cellar if you'll just fix
him up--not too comfortably. It'll be a great lesson for him. There he
is now. Just coming in. Fuzzy coat and hat and English stick. Hist! As
they say on the stage."

The boy crossed the crowded lobby. There was a little worried, annoyed
frown between his eyes. He laid a protecting hand on his mother's arm.
Emma McChesney was conscious of a little thrill of pride as she realized
that he did not have to look up to meet her gaze.

"Look here, Mother, they tell me there's some sort of a convention here,
and the town's packed. That's what all those banners and things were
for. I hope they've got something decent for us here. I came up with a
man who said he didn't think there was a hole left to sleep in."

"You don't say!" exclaimed Emma McChesney, and turned to the clerk.
"This is my son, Jock McChesney--Mr. Sims. Is this true?"

"Glad to know you, sir," said Mr. Sims. "Why, yes, I'm afraid we are
pretty well filled up, but seeing it's you maybe we can do something for
you."

He ruminated, tapping his teeth with a penholder, and eying the pair
before him with a maddening blankness of gaze. Finally:

"I'll do my best, but you can't expect much. I guess I can squeeze
another cot into eight-seven for the young man. There's--let's see
now--who's in eighty-seven? Well, there's two Bisons in the double bed,
and one in the single, and Fat Ed Meyers in the cot and----"

Emma McChesney stiffened into acute attention. "Meyers?" she
interrupted. "Do you mean Ed Meyers of the Strauss Sans-silk Skirt
Company?"

"That's so. You two are in the same line, aren't you? He's a great
little piano player, Ed is. Ever hear him play?"

"When did he get in?"

"Oh, he just came in fifteen minutes ago on the Ashland division. He's
in at supper."

"Oh," said Emma McChesney. The two letters breathed relief.

But relief had no place in the voice, or on the countenance of Jock
McChesney. He bristled with belligerence. "This cattle-car style of
sleeping don't make a hit. I haven't had a decent night's rest for three
nights. I never could sleep on a sleeper. Can't you fix us up better
than that?"

"Best I can do."

"But where's mother going? I see you advertise 'three large and
commodious steam-heated sample rooms in connection.' I suppose mother's
due to sleep on one of the tables there."

"Jock," Emma McChesney reproved him, "Mr. Sims is doing us a great
favor. There isn't another hotel in town that would----"

"You're right, there isn't," agreed Mr. Sims. "I guess the young man is
new to this traveling game. As I said, I'd like to accommodate you,
but-- Let's see now. Tell you what I'll do. If I can get the housekeeper
to go over and sleep in the maids' quarters just for to-night, you can
use her room. There you are! Of course, it's over the kitchen, and there
may be some little noise early in the morning----"

Emma McChesney raised a protesting hand. "Don't mention it. Just lead me
thither. I'm so tired I could sleep in an excursion special that was
switching at Pittsburgh. Jock, me child, we're in luck. That's twice in
the same place. The first time was when we were inspired to eat our
supper on the diner instead of waiting until we reached here to take the
leftovers from the Bisons' grazing. I hope that housekeeper hasn't a
picture of her departed husband dangling life-size on the wall at the
foot of the bed. But they always have. Good-night, son. Don't let the
Bisons bite you. I'll be up at seven."

But it was just 6.30 A.M. when Emma McChesney turned the little bend in
the stairway that led to the office. The scrub-woman was still in
possession. The cigar-counter girl had not yet made her appearance.
There was about the place a general air of the night before. All but the
night clerk. He was as spruce and trim, and alert and smooth-shaven as
only a night clerk can be after a night's vigil.

"'Morning!" Emma McChesney called to him. She wore blue serge, and a
smart fall hat. The late autumn morning was not crisper and sunnier than
she.

"Good-morning, Mrs. McChesney," returned Mr. Sims, sonorously. "Have a
good night's sleep? I hope the kitchen noises didn't wake you."

Emma McChesney paused with her hand on the door. "Kitchen? Oh, no. I
could sleep through a vaudeville china-juggling act. But--what an
extraordinarily unpleasant-looking man that housekeeper's husband must
have been."

That November morning boasted all those qualities which November-morning
writers are so prone to bestow upon the month. But the words wine, and
sparkle, and sting, and glow, and snap do not seem to cover it. Emma
McChesney stood on the bottom step, looking up and down Main Street and
breathing in great draughts of that unadjectivable air. Her complexion
stood the test of the merciless, astringent morning and came up
triumphantly and healthily firm and pink and smooth. The town was still
asleep. She started to walk briskly down the bare and ugly Main Street
of the little town. In her big, generous heart, and her keen, alert
mind, there were many sensations and myriad thoughts, but varied and
diverse as they were they all led back to the boy up there in the
stuffy, over-crowded hotel room--the boy who was learning his lesson.

Half an hour later she reentered the hotel, her cheeks glowing. Jock was
not yet down. So she ordered and ate her wise and cautious breakfast of
fruit and cereal and toast and coffee, skimming over her morning paper
as she ate. At 7:30 she was back in the lobby, newspaper in hand. The
Bisons were already astir. She seated herself in a deep chair in a quiet
corner, her eyes glancing up over the top of her paper toward the
stairway. At eight o'clock Jock McChesney came down.

There was nothing of jauntiness about him. His eyelids were red. His
face had the doughy look of one whose sleep has been brief and feverish.
As he came toward his mother you noticed a stain on his coat, and a
sunburst of wrinkles across one leg of his modish brown trousers.

"Good-morning, son!" said Emma McChesney. "Was it as bad as that?"

Jock McChesney's long fingers curled into a fist.

"Say," he began, his tone venomous, "do you know what
those--those--those----"

"Say it!" commanded Emma McChesney. "I'm only your mother. If you keep
that in your system your breakfast will curdle in your stomach."

Jock McChesney said it. I know no phrase better fitted to describe his
tone than that old favorite of the erotic novelists. It was vibrant with
passion. It breathed bitterness. It sizzled with savagery. It--Oh,
alliteration is useless.

"Well," said Emma McChesney, encouragingly, "go on."

"Well!" gulped Jock McChesney, and glared; "those two double-bedded,
bloomin', blasted Bisons came in at twelve, and the single one about
fifteen minutes later. They didn't surprise me. There was a herd of
about ninety-three of 'em in the hall, all saying good-night to each
other, and planning where they'd meet in the morning, and the time, and
place and probable weather conditions. For that matter, there were
droves of 'em pounding up and down the halls all night. I never saw such
restless cattle. If you'll tell me what makes more noise in the middle
of the night than the metal disk of a hotel key banging and clanging up
against a door, I'd like to know what it is. My three Bisons were all
dolled up with fool ribbons and badges and striped paper canes. When
they switched on the light I gave a crack imitation of a tired working
man trying to get a little sleep. I breathed regularly and heavily, with
an occasional moaning snore. But if those two hippopotamus Bisons had
been alone on their native plains they couldn't have cared less. They
bellowed, and pawed the earth, and threw their shoes around, and yawned,
and stretched and discussed their plans for the next day, and reviewed
all their doings of that day. Then one of them said something about
turning in, and I was so happy I forgot to snore. Just then another key
clanged at the door, in walked a fat man in a brown suit and a brown
derby, and stuff was off."

"That," said Emma McChesney, "would be Ed Meyers, of the Strauss
Sans-silk Skirt Company."

"None other than our hero." Jock's tone had an added acidity. "It took
those four about two minutes to get acquainted. In three minutes they
had told their real names, and it turned out that Meyers belonged to an
organization that was a second cousin of the Bisons. In five minutes
they had got together a deck and a pile of chips and were shirt-sleeving
it around a game of pinochle. I would doze off to the slap of cards, and
the click of chips, and wake up when the bell-boy came in with another
round, which he did every six minutes. When I got up this morning I
found that Fat Ed Meyers had been sitting on the chair over which I
trustingly had draped my trousers. This sunburst of wrinkles is where he
mostly sat. This spot on my coat is where a Bison drank his beer."

Emma McChesney folded her paper and rose, smiling. "It is sort of
trying, I suppose, if you're not used to it."

"Used to it!" shouted the outraged Jock. "Used to it! Do you mean to
tell me there's nothing unusual about----"

"Not a thing. Oh, of course you don't strike a bunch of Bisons every
day. But it happens a good many times. The world is full of Ancient
Orders and they're everlastingly getting together and drawing up
resolutions and electing officers. Don't you think you'd better go in to
breakfast before the Bisons begin to forage? I've had mine."

The gloom which had overspread Jock McChesney's face lifted a little.
The hungry boy in him was uppermost. "That's so. I'm going to have some
wheat cakes, and steak, and eggs, and coffee, and fruit, and toast, and
rolls."

"Why slight the fish?" inquired his mother. Then, as he turned toward
the dining-room, "I've two letters to get out. Then I'm going down the
street to see a customer. I'll be up at the Sulzberg-Stein department
store at nine sharp. There's no use trying to see old Sulzberg before
ten, but I'll be there, anyway, and so will Ed Meyers, or I'm no skirt
salesman. I want you to meet me there. It will do you good to watch how
the overripe orders just drop, ker-plunk, into my lap."

Maybe you know Sulzberg & Stein's big store? No? That's because you've
always lived in the city. Old Sulzberg sends his buyers to the New York
market twice a year, and they need two floor managers on the main floor
now. The money those people spend for red and green decorations at
Christmas time, apple-blossoms and pink crêpe paper shades in the
spring, must be something awful. Young Stein goes to Chicago to have his
clothes made, and old Sulzberg likes to keep the traveling men waiting
in the little ante-room outside his private office.

Jock McChesney finished his huge breakfast, strolled over to Sulzberg &
Stein's, and inquired his way to the office only to find that his mother
was not yet there. There were three men in the little waiting-room. One
of them was Fat Ed Meyers. His huge bulk overflowed the spindle-legged
chair on which he sat. His brown derby was in his hands. His eyes were
on the closed door at the other side of the room. So were the eyes of
the other two travelers. Jock took a vacant seat next to Fat Ed Meyers
so that he might, in his mind's eye, pick out a particularly choice spot
upon which his hard young fist might land--if only he had the chance.
Breaking up a man's sleep like that, the great big overgrown mutt!

"What's your line?" said Ed Meyers, suddenly turning toward Jock.

Prompted by some imp--"Skirts," answered Jock. "Ladies' petticoats."
("As if men ever wore 'em!" he giggled inwardly.)

Ed Meyers shifted around in his chair so that he might better stare at
this new foe in the field. His little red mouth was open ludicrously.

"Who're you out for?" he demanded next.

There was a look of Emma McChesney on Jock's face. "Why--er--the Union
Underskirt and Hosiery Company of Chicago. New concern."

"Must be," ruminated Ed Meyers. "I never heard of 'em, and I know 'em
all. You're starting in young, ain't you, kid! Well, it'll never hurt
you. You'll learn something new every day. Now me, I----"

In breezed Emma McChesney. Her quick glance rested immediately upon
Meyers and the boy. And in that moment some instinct prompted Jock
McChesney to shake his head, ever so slightly, and assume a blankness of
expression. And Emma McChesney, with that shrewdness which had made her
one of the best salesmen on the road, saw, and miraculously understood.

"How do, Mrs. McChesney," grinned Fat Ed Meyers. "You see I beat you to
it."

"So I see," smiled Emma, cheerfully. "I was delayed. Just sold a nice
little bill to Watkins down the street." She seated herself across the
way, and kept her eyes on that closed door.

"Say, kid," Meyers began, in the husky whisper of the fat man, "I'm
going to put you wise to something, seeing you're new to this game. See
that lady over there?" He nodded discreetly in Emma McChesney's
direction.

"Pretty, isn't she?" said Jock, appreciatively.

"Know who she is?"

"Well--I--she does look familiar, but----"

"Oh, come now, quit your bluffing. If you'd ever met that dame you'd
remember it. Her name's McChesney--Emma McChesney, and she sells T. A.
Buck's Featherloom Petticoats. I'll give her her dues; she's the best
little salesman on the road. I'll bet that girl could sell a ruffled,
accordion-plaited underskirt to a fat woman who was trying to reduce.
She's got the darndest way with her. And at that she's straight, too."

If Ed Meyers had not been gazing so intently into his hat, trying at
the same time to look cherubically benign he might have seen a quick and
painful scarlet sweep the face of the boy, coupled with a certain tense
look of the muscles around the jaw.

"Well, now, look here," he went on, still in a whisper. "We're both
skirt men, you and me. Everything's fair in this game. Maybe you don't
know it, but when there's a bunch of the boys waiting around to see the
head of the store like this, and there happens to be a lady traveler in
the crowd, why, it's considered kind of a professional courtesy to let
the lady have the first look-in. See? It ain't so often that three
people in the same line get together like this. She knows it, and she's
sitting on the edge of her chair, waiting to bolt when that door opens,
even if she does act like she was hanging on the words of that lady
clerk there. The minute it does open a crack she'll jump up and give me
a fleeting, grateful smile, and sail in and cop a fat order away from
the old man and his skirt buyer. I'm wise. Say, he may be an oyster, but
he knows a pretty woman when he sees one. By the time she's through with
him he'll have enough petticoats on hand to last him from now until
Turkey goes suffrage. Get me?"

"I get you," answered Jock.

"I say, this is business, and good manners be hanged. When a woman
breaks into a man's game like this, let her take her chances like a man.
Ain't that straight?"

"You've said something," agreed Jock.

"Now, look here, kid. When that door opens I get up. See? And shoot
straight for the old man's office. See? Like a duck. See? Say, I may be
fat, kid, but I'm what they call light on my feet, and when I see an
order getting away from me I can be so fleet that I have Diana looking
like old Weston doing a stretch of muddy country road in a
coast-to-coast hike. See? Now you help me out on this and I'll see that
you don't suffer for it. I'll stick in a good word for you, believe me.
You take the word of an old stager like me and you won't go far--"

The door opened. Simultaneously three figures sprang into action. Jock
had the seat nearest the door. With marvelous clumsiness he managed to
place himself in Ed Meyers' path, then reddened, began an apology,
stepped on both of Ed's feet, jabbed his elbow into his stomach, and
dropped his hat. A second later the door of old Sulzberg's private
office closed upon Emma McChesney's smart, erect, confident figure.

Now, Ed Meyers' hands were peculiar hands for a fat man. They were
tapering, slender, delicate, blue-veined, temperamental hands. At this
moment, despite his purpling face, and his staring eyes, they were the
most noticeable thing about him. His fingers clawed the empty air,
quivering, vibrant, as though poised to clutch at Jock's throat.

Then words came. They spluttered from his lips. They popped like corn
kernels in the heat of his wrath; they tripped over each other; they
exploded.

"You darned kid, you!" he began, with fascinating fluency. "You
thousand-legged, double-jointed, ox-footed truck horse! Come on out of
here and I'll lick the shine off your shoes, you blue-eyed babe, you!
What did you get up for, huh? What did you think this was going to be--a
flag drill?"

With a whoop of pure joy Jock McChesney turned and fled.

They dined together at one o'clock, Emma McChesney and her son Jock.
Suddenly Jock stopped eating. His eyes were on the door. "There's that
fathead now," he said, excitedly. "The nerve of him! He's coming over
here."

Ed Meyers was waddling toward them with the quick light step of the fat
man. His pink, full-jowled face was glowing. His eyes were bright as a
boy's. He stopped at their table and paused for one dramatic moment.

"So, me beauty, you two were in cahoots, huh? That's the second low-down
deal you've handed me. I haven't forgotten that trick you turned with
Nussbaum at DeKalb. Never mind, little girl. I'll get back at you yet."

He nodded a contemptuous head in Jock's direction. "Carrying a packer?"

Emma McChesney wiped her fingers daintily on her napkin, crushed it on
the table, and leaned back in her chair. "Men," she observed,
wonderingly, "are the cussedest creatures. This chap occupied the same
room with you last night and you don't even know his name. Funny! If two
strange women had found themselves occupying the same room for a night
they wouldn't have got to the kimono and back hair stage before they
would not only have known each other's names, but they'd have tried on
each other's hats, swapped corset cover patterns, found mutual friends
living in Dayton, Ohio, taught each other a new Irish crochet stitch,
showed their family photographs, told how their married sister's little
girl nearly died with swollen glands, and divided off the mirror into
two sections to paste their newly-washed handkerchiefs on. Don't tell
_me_ men have a genius for friendship."

"Well, who is he?" insisted Ed Meyers. "He told me everything but his
name this morning. I wish I had throttled him with a bunch of Bisons'
badges last night."

"His name," smiled Emma McChesney, "is Jock McChesney. He's my one and
only son, and he's put through his first little business deal this
morning just to show his mother that he can be a help to his folks if he
wants to. Now, Ed Meyers, if you're going to have apoplexy, don't you go
and have it around this table. My boy is only on his second piece of
pie, and I won't have his appetite spoiled."



EDNA FERBER


A professor of literature once began a lecture on Lowell by saying: "It
makes a great deal of difference to an author whether he is born in
Cambridge or Kalamazoo." Miss Ferber was born in Kalamazoo, but it
hasn't made much difference to her. The date was August 15, 1887. She
attended high school at Appleton, Wisconsin, and at seventeen secured a
position as reporter on the Appleton _Daily Crescent_. That she was
successful in newspaper work is shown by the fact that she soon had a
similar position on the _Milwaukee Journal_, and went from there to the
staff of the _Chicago Tribune_, one of the leading newspapers in the
United States.

But journalism, engrossing as it is, did not take all of her time. She
began a novel, working on it in spare moments, but when it was finished
she was so dissatisfied with it that she threw the manuscript into the
waste basket. Here her mother found it, and sent it to a publisher, who
accepted it at once. The book was _Dawn O'Hara_. It was dedicated "To my
dear mother who frequently interrupts, and to my sister Fannie who says
Sh-sh-sh outside my door." With this book Miss Ferber, at twenty-four,
found herself the author of one of the successful novels of the year.

Her next work was in the field of the short story, and here too she
quickly gained recognition. The field that she has made particularly her
own is the delineation of the American business woman, a type familiar
in our daily life, but never adequately presented in fiction until Emma
McChesney appeared. The fidelity with which these stories describe the
life of a traveling salesman show that Miss Ferber knew her subject
through and through before she began to write. Her knowledge of other
things is shown in an amusing letter which she wrote to the editor of
the _Bookman_ in 1912. He had criticized her for writing a story about
baseball, saying that no woman really knew baseball. This was her reply,
in part:


     You, buried up there in your office, or your apartment, with your
     books, books, books, and your pipe, and your everlasting
     manuscripts, and makers of manuscripts, don't you know that your
     woman secretary knows more about baseball than you do? Don't you
     know that every American girl knows baseball, and that most of us
     read the sporting page, not as a pose, but because we're interested
     in things that happen on the field, and track, and links, and
     gridiron? Bless your heart, that baseball story was the worst story
     in the book, but it was written after a solid summer of watching
     our bush league team play ball in the little Wisconsin town that I
     used to call home.

     Humanity? Which of us really knows it? But take a fairly
     intelligent girl of seventeen, put her on a country daily
     newspaper, and then keep her on one paper or another, country and
     city, for six years, and--well, she just naturally can't help
     learning some things about some folks, now can she?...

     You say that two or three more such books may entitle me to serious
     consideration. If I can get the editors to take more stories, why I
     suppose there'll be more books. But please don't perform any more
     serious consideration stuff over 'em. Because me'n Georgie Cohan,
     we jest aims to amuse.


Her first book of short stories was called _Buttered Side Down_ (her
titles are always unusual). This was followed by _Roast Beef, Medium_,
in which Mrs. McChesney appears as the successful distributor of
Featherloom skirts. _Personality Plus_ tells of the adventures of her
son Jock as an advertising man. _Cheerful--by Request_ introduces Mrs.
McChesney and some other people. By this time her favorite character had
become so well known that the stage called for her, so Miss Ferber
collaborated with George V. Hobart in a play called _Our Mrs.
McChesney_, which was produced with Ethel Barrymore in the title role.
Her latest book, _Fanny Herself_, is a novel, and in its pages Mrs.
McChesney appears again.

Her stories show the effect of her newspaper training. The style is
crisp; the descriptions show close observation. Humor lights up every
page, and underlying all her stories is a belief in people, a faith that
life is worth while, a courage in the face of obstacles, that we like to
think is characteristically American. In the structure and the style of
her stories, Miss Ferber shows the influence of O. Henry, or as a
newspaper wit put it,


     O. Henry's fame, unless mistaken I'm
     Goes ednaferberating down through time.



AFTER THE BIG STORE CLOSES

_We all go to the Big Store to buy its bargains, and sometimes we
wonder idly what the clerks are like when they are not behind the
counter. This story deals with the lives of two people who punched the
time-clock. When the store closes, it is like the striking of the clock
in the fairy tales: the clerks are transformed into human beings, and
become so much like ourselves that it is hard to tell the difference._



BITTER-SWEET

BY

FANNIE HURST


Much of the tragical lore of the infant mortality, the malnutrition, and
the five-in-a-room morality of the city's poor is written in statistics,
and the statistical path to the heart is more figurative than literal.

It is difficult to write stylistically a per-annum report of 1,327
curvatures of the spine, whereas the poor specific little vertebra of
Mamie O'Grady, daughter to Lou, your laundress, whose alcoholic husband
once invaded your very own basement and attempted to strangle her in the
coal-bin, can instantly create an apron bazaar in the church
vestry-rooms.

That is why it is possible to drink your morning coffee without nausea
for it, over the head-lines of forty thousand casualties at Ypres, but
to push back abruptly at a three-line notice of little Tony's, your
corner bootblack's, fatal dive before a street-car.

Gertie Slayback was statistically down as a woman wage-earner; a typhoid
case among the thousands of the Borough of Manhattan for 1901; and her
twice-a-day share in the Subway fares collected in the present year of
our Lord.

She was a very atomic one of the city's four millions. But after all,
what are the kings and peasants, poets and draymen, but great, greater,
or greatest, less, lesser, or least atoms of us? If not of the least,
Gertie Slayback was of the very lesser. When she unlocked the front door
to her rooming-house of evenings, there was no one to expect her, except
on Tuesdays, which evening it so happened her week was up. And when she
left of mornings with her breakfast crumblessly cleared up and the box
of biscuit and condensed-milk can tucked unsuspectedly behind her
camisole in the top drawer there was no one to regret her.

There are some of us who call this freedom. Again there are those for
whom one spark of home fire burning would light the world.

Gertie Slayback was one of these. Half a life-time of opening her door
upon this or that desert-aisle of hall bedroom had not taught her heart
how not to sink or the feel of daily rising in one such room to seem
less like a damp bathing-suit, donned at dawn.

The only picture--or call it atavism if you will--which adorned Miss
Slayback's dun-colored walls was a passe-partout snowscape, night
closing in, and pink cottage windows peering out from under eaves. She
could visualize that interior as if she had only to turn the frame for
the smell of wood fire and the snap of pine logs and for the scene of
two high-back chairs and the wooden crib between.

What a fragile, gracile thing is the mind that can leap thus from nine
bargain basement hours of hairpins and darning-balls to the downy
business of lining a crib in Never-Never Land and warming No Man's
slippers before the fire of imagination.

There was that picture so acidly etched into Miss Slayback's brain that
she had only to close her eyes in the slit-like sanctity of her room and
in the brief moment of courting sleep feel the pink penumbra of her
vision begin to glow.

Of late years, or, more specifically, for two years and eight months,
another picture had invaded, even superseded the old. A stamp-photograph
likeness of Mr. James P. Batch in the corner of Miss Slayback's mirror,
and thereafter No Man's slippers became number eight-and-a-half C, and
the hearth a gilded radiator in a dining-living-room somewhere between
the Fourteenth Street Subway and the land of the Bronx.

How Miss Slayback, by habit not gregarious, met Mr. Batch is of no
consequence, except to those snug ones of us to whom an introduction is
the only means to such an end.

At a six o'clock that invaded even Union Square with heliotrope dusk,
Mr. James Batch mistook, who shall say otherwise, Miss Gertie Slayback,
as she stepped down into the wintry shade of a Subway kiosk, for Miss
Whodoesitmatter. At seven o'clock, over a dish of lamb stew _à la_ White
Kitchen, he confessed, and if Miss Slayback affected too great surprise
and too little indignation, try to conceive six nine-hour week-in-and
week-out days of hairpins and darning-balls, and then, at a heliotrope
dusk, James P. Batch, in invitational mood, stepping in between it and
the papered walls of a dun-colored evening. To further enlist your
tolerance, Gertie Slayback's eyes were as blue as the noon of June, and
James P. Batch, in a belted-in coat and five kid finger-points
protruding ever so slightly and rightly from a breast pocket, was hewn
and honed in the image of youth. His the smile of one for whom life's
cup holds a heady wine, a wrinkle or two at the eye only serving to
enhance that smile; a one-inch feather stuck upright in his derby
hatband.

It was a forelock once stamped a Corsican with the look of emperor. It
was this hat feather, a cock's feather at that and worn without sense of
humor, to which Miss Slayback was fond of attributing the consequences
of that heliotrope dusk.

"It was the feather in your cap did it, Jimmie. I can see you yet,
stepping up with that innocent grin of yours. You think I didn't know
you were flirting? Cousin from Long Island City! 'Say,' I says to
myself, I says, 'I look as much like his cousin from Long Island City,
if he's got one, as my cousin from Hoboken (and I haven't got any) would
look like my sister if I had one.' It was that sassy little feather in
your hat!"

They would laugh over this ever-green reminiscence on Sunday park
benches and at intermission at moving pictures when they remained
through it to see the show twice. Be the landlady's front parlor ever so
permanently rented out, the motion-picture theater has brought to
thousands of young city starvelings, if not the quietude of the home,
then at least the warmth and a juxtaposition and a deep darkness that
can lave the sub-basement throb of temples and is filled with music with
a hum in it.

For two years and eight months of Saturday nights, each one of them a
semaphore dropping out across the gray road of the week, Gertie Slayback
and Jimmie Batch dined for one hour and sixty cents at the White
Kitchen. Then arm and arm up the million-candle-power flare of Broadway,
content, these two who had never seen a lake reflect a moon, or a slim
fir pointing to a star, that life could be so manifold. And always, too,
on Saturday, the tenth from the last row of the De Luxe Cinematograph,
Broadway's Best, Orchestra Chairs, fifty cents; Last Ten Rows,
thirty-five. The give of velvet-upholstered chairs, perfumed darkness,
and any old love story moving across it to the ecstatic ache of Gertie
Slayback's high young heart.

On a Saturday evening that was already pointed with stars at the
six-o'clock closing of Hoffheimer's Fourteenth Street Emporium, Miss
Slayback, whose blondness under fatigue could become ashy, emerged from
the Bargain Basement almost the first of its frantic exodus, taking the
place of her weekly appointment in the entrance of the Popular Drug
Store adjoining, her gaze, something even frantic in it, sifting the
passing crowd.

At six o'clock Fourteenth Street pours up from its basements, down from
its lofts, and out from its five-and-ten-cent stores, shows, and
arcades, in a great homeward torrent--a sweeping torrent that flows full
flush to the Subway, the Elevated, and the surface car, and then spreads
thinly into the least pretentious of the city's homes--the five flights
up, the two rooms rear, and the third floor back.

Standing there, this eager tide of the Fourteenth Street Emporium, thus
released by the six-o'clock flood-gates, flowed past Miss Slayback.
White-nosed, low-chested girls in short-vamp shoes and no-carat gold
vanity-cases. Older men resigned that ambition could be flayed by a
yard-stick; young men still impatient of their clerkship.

It was into the trickle of these last that Miss Slayback bored her
glance, the darting, eager glance of hot eyeballs and inner trembling.
She was not so pathetically young as she was pathetically blond, a
treacherous, ready-to-fade kind of blondness that one day, now that she
had found that very morning her first gray hair, would leave her ashy.

Suddenly, with a small catch of breath that was audible in her throat,
Miss Slayback stepped out of that doorway, squirming her way across the
tight congestion of the sidewalk to its curb, then in and out, brushing
this elbow and that shoulder, worming her way in an absolutely supreme
anxiety to keep in view a brown derby hat bobbing right briskly along
with the crowd, a greenish-black bit of feather upright in its band.

At Broadway, Fourteenth Street cuts quite a caper, deploying out into
Union Square, an island of park, beginning to be succulent at the first
false feint of spring, rising as it were from a sea of asphalt. Across
this park Miss Slayback worked her rather frenzied way, breaking into a
run when the derby threatened to sink into the confusion of a hundred
others, and finally learning to keep its course by the faint but
distinguishing fact of a slight dent in the crown. At Broadway, some
blocks before that highway bursts into its famous flare, Mr. Batch, than
whom it was no other, turned off suddenly at right angles down into a
dim pocket of side-street and into the illuminated entrance of Ceiner's
Café Hungarian. Meals at all hours. Lunch, thirty cents. Dinner, fifty
cents. Our Goulash is Famous.

New York, which expresses itself in more languages to the square block
than any other area in the world, Babylon included, loves thus to dine
linguistically, so to speak. To the Crescent Turkish Restaurant for its
Business Men's Lunch comes Fourth Avenue, whose antique-shop patois
reads across the page from right to left. Sight-seeing automobiles on
mission and commission bent allow Altoona, Iowa City, and Quincy,
Illinois, fifteen minutes' stop-in at Ching Ling-Foo's Chinatown
Delmonico's. Spaghetti and red wine have set New York racing to reserve
its table d'hôtes. All except the Latin race.

Jimmie Batch, who had first seen light, and that gaslight, in a block in
lower Manhattan which has since been given over to a milk-station for a
highly congested district, had the palate, if not the purse, of the
cosmopolite. His digestive range included _borsch_ and _chow main_;
_risotta_ and "ham and."

To-night, as he turned into Café Hungarian, Miss Slayback slowed and
drew back into the overshadowing protection of an adjoining
office-building. She was breathing hard, and her little face, somehow
smaller from chill, was nevertheless a high pink at the cheek-bones.

The wind swept around the corner, jerking her hat, and her hand flew up
to it. There was a fair stream of passers-by even here, and occasionally
one turned for a backward glance at her standing there so frankly
indeterminate.

Suddenly Miss Slayback adjusted her tam-o'-shanter to its flop over her
right ear, and, drawing off a pair of dark-blue silk gloves from over
immaculately new white ones, entered Ceiner's Café Hungarian. In its
light she was not so obviously blonder than young, the pink spots in her
cheeks had a deepening value to the blue of her eyes, and a black velvet
tam-o'-shanter revealing just the right fringe of yellow curls is no
mean aid.

First of all, Ceiner's is an eating-place. There is no music except at
five cents in the slot, and its tables for four are perpetually set each
with a dish of sliced radishes, a bouquet of celery, and a mound of
bread, half the stack rye. Its menus are well thumbed and badly
mimeographed. Who enters Ceiner's is prepared to dine from barley soup
to apple strudel. At something after six begins the rising sound of
cutlery, and already the new-comer fears to find no table.

Off at the side, Mr. Jimmie Batch had already disposed of his hat and
gray overcoat, and tilting the chair opposite him to indicate its
reservation, shook open his evening paper, the waiter withholding the
menu at this sign of rendezvous.

Straight toward that table Miss Slayback worked quick, swift way,
through this and that aisle, jerking back and seating herself on the
chair opposite almost before Mr. Batch could raise his eyes from off the
sporting page.

There was an instant of silence between them--the kind of silence that
can shape itself into a commentary upon the inefficacy of mere speech--a
widening silence which, as they sat there facing, deepened until, when
she finally spoke, it was as if her words were pebbles dropping down
into a well.

"Don't look so surprised, Jimmie," she said, propping her face calmly,
even boldly, into the white-kid palms. "You might fall off the Christmas
tree."

Above the snug, four-inch collar and bow tie Mr. Batch's face was taking
on a dull ox-blood tinge that spread back, even reddening his ears. Mr.
Batch had the frontal bone of a clerk, the horn-rimmed glasses of the
literarily astigmatic, and the sartorial perfection that only the rich
can afford not to attain.

He was staring now quite frankly, and his mouth had fallen open. "Gert!"
he said.

"Yes," said Miss Slayback, her insouciance gaining with his
discomposure, her eyes widening and then a dolly kind of glassiness
seeming to set in. "You wasn't expecting me, Jimmie?"

He jerked up his hand, not meeting her glance. "What's the idea of the
comedy?"

"You don't look glad to see me, Jimmie."

"If you--think you're funny."

She was working out of and then back into the freshly white gloves in a
betraying kind of nervousness that belied the toss of her voice. "Well,
of all things! Mad-cat! Mad, just because you didn't seem to be
expecting me."

"I--There's some things that are just the limit, that's what they are.
Some things that are just the limit, that no fellow would stand from any
girl, and this--this is one of them."

Her lips were trembling now. "You--you bet your life there's some things
that are just the limit."

He slid out his watch, pushing back. "Well, I guess this place is too
small for a fellow and a girl that can follow him around the town like
a--like----"

She sat forward, grasping the table-sides, her chair tilting with her.
"Don't you dare to get up and leave me sitting here! Jimmie Batch, don't
you dare!"

The waiter intervened, card extended.

"We--we're waiting for another party," said Miss Slayback, her hands
still rigidly over the table-sides and her glance like a steady drill
into Mr. Batch's own.

There was a second of this silence while the waiter withdrew, and then
Mr. Batch whipped out his watch again, a gun-metal one with an open
face.

"Now look here. I got a date here in ten minutes, and one or the other
of us has got to clear. You--you're one too many, if you got to know
it."

"Oh, I do know it, Jimmie! I been one too many for the last four
Saturday nights. I been one too many ever since May Scully came into
five hundred dollars' inheritance and quit the Ladies' Neckwear. I been
one too many ever since May Scully became a lady."

"If I was a girl and didn't have more shame!"

"Shame! Now you're shouting, Jimmie Batch. I haven't got shame, and I
don't care who knows it. A girl don't stop to have shame when she's
fighting for her rights."

He was leaning on his elbow, profile to her. "That movie talk can't
scare me. You can't tell me what to do and what not to do. I've given
you a square deal all right. There's not a word ever passed between us
that ties me to your apron-strings. I don't say I'm not without my
obligations to you, but that's not one of them. No, siree--no
apron-strings."

"I know it isn't, Jimmie. You're the kind of a fellow wouldn't even talk
to himself for fear of committing himself."

"I got a date here now any minute, Gert, and the sooner you----"

"You're the guy who passed up the Sixty-first for the Safety First
regiment."

"I'll show you my regiment some day."

"I--I know you're not tied to my apron-strings, Jimmie. I--I wouldn't
have you there for anything. Don't you think I know you too well for
that? That's just it. Nobody on God's earth knows you the way I do. I
know you better than you know yourself."

"You better beat it, Gertie. I tell you I'm getting sore."

Her face flashed from him to the door and back again, her anxiety almost
edged with hysteria. "Come on, Jimmie--out the side entrance before she
gets here. May Scully ain't the company for you. You think if she was,
honey, I'd--I'd see myself come butting in between you this way,
like--like a--common girl? She's not the girl to keep you straight.
Honest to God she's not, honey."

"My business is my business, let me tell you that."

"She's speedy, Jimmie. She was the speediest girl on the main floor, and
now that she's come into those five hundred, instead of planting it for
a rainy day, she's quit work and gone plumb crazy with it."

"When I want advice about my friends I ask for it."

"It's not the good name that worries me, Jimmie, because she ain't got
any. It's you. She's got you crazy with that five hundred, too--that's
what's got me scared."

"Gee! you ought to let the Salvation Army tie a bonnet under your
chin."

"She's always had her eyes on you, Jimmie. Ain't you men got no sense
for seein' things? Since the day they moved the Gents' Furnishings
across from the Ladies' Neckwear she's had you spotted. Her goings-on
used to leak down to the basement, alrighty. She's not a good girl, May
ain't, Jimmie. She ain't, and you know it. Is she? Is she?"

"Aw!" said Jimmie Batch.

"You see! See! Ain't got the nerve to answer, have you?"

"Aw--maybe I know, too that she's not the kind of a girl that would turn
up where she's not----"

"If you wasn't a classy-looking kind of boy, Jimmie, that a fly girl
like May likes to be seen out with, she couldn't find you with
magnifying glasses, not if you was born with the golden rule in your
mouth and had swallowed it. She's not the kind of girl, Jimmie, a fellow
like you needs behind him. If--if you was ever to marry her and get your
hands on them five hundred dollars----"

"It would be my business."

"It'll be your ruination. You're not strong enough to stand up under
nothing like that. With a few hundred unearned dollars in your pocket
you--you'd go up in spontaneous combustion, you would."

"It would be my own spontaneous combustion."

"You got to be drove, Jimmie, like a kid. With them few dollars you
wouldn't start up a little cigar-store like you think you would. You and
her would blow yourselves to the dogs in two months. Cigar-stores ain't
the place for you, Jimmie. You seen how only clerking in them was nearly
your ruination--the little gambling-room-in-the-back kind that you pick
out. They ain't cigar-stores; they're only false faces for gambling."

"You know it all, don't you?"

"Oh, I'm dealing it to you straight! There's too many sporty crowds
loafing around those joints for a fellow like you to stand up under. I
found you in one, and as yellow-fingered and as loafing as they come, a
new job a week, a----"

"Yeh, and there was some pep to variety, too."

"Don't throw over, Jimmie, what my getting you out of it to a decent job
in a department store has begun to do for you. And you're making good,
too. Higgins teld me to-day, if you don't let your head swell, there
won't be a fellow in the department can stack up his sales-book any
higher."

"Aw!"

"Don't throw it all over, Jimmie--and me--for a crop of dyed red hair
and a few dollars to ruin yourself with."

He shot her a look of constantly growing nervousness, his mouth pulled
to an oblique, his glance constantly toward the door.

"Don't keep no date with her to-night, Jimmie. You haven't got the
constitution to stand her pace. It's telling on you. Look at those
fingers yellowing again--looka----"

"They're my fingers, ain't they?"

"You see, Jimmie, I--I'm the only person in the world that likes you
just for what--you ain't--and hasn't got any pipe dreams about you.
That's what counts, Jimmie, the folks that like you in spite, and not
because of."

"We will now sing psalm number two hundred and twenty-three."

"I know there's not a better fellow in the world if he's kept nailed to
the right job, and I know, too, there's not another fellow can go to the
dogs any easier."

"To hear you talk, you'd think I was about six."

"I'm the only girl that'll ever be willing to make a whip out of herself
that'll keep you going and won't sting, honey. I know you're soft and
lazy and selfish and----"

"Don't forget any."

"And I know you're my good-looking good-for-nothing, and I know, too,
that you--you don't care as much--as much for me from head to toe as I
do for your little finger. But I--like you just the same, Jimmie.
That--that's what I mean about having no shame. I--do like you so--so
terribly, Jimmie."

"Aw now--Gert!"

"I know it, Jimmie--that I ought to be ashamed. Don't think I haven't
cried myself to sleep with it whole nights in succession."

"Aw now--Gert!"

"Don't think I don't know it, that I'm laying myself before you pretty
common. I know it's common for a girl to--to come to a fellow like this,
but--but I haven't got any shame about it--I haven't got anything,
Jimmie, except fight for--for what's eating me. And the way things are
between us now is eating me."

"I---- Why, I got a mighty high regard for you, Gert."

"There's a time in a girl's life, Jimmie, when she's been starved like I
have for something of her own all her days; there's times, no matter how
she's held in, that all of a sudden comes a minute when she busts out."

"I understand, Gert, but----"

"For two years and eight months, Jimmie, life has got to be worth while
living to me because I could see the day, even if we--you--never talked
about it, when you would be made over from a flip kid to--to the kind of
a fellow would want to settle down to making a little two-by-four home
for us. A little two-by-four all our own, with you steady on the job and
advanced maybe to forty or fifty a week and----"

"For God's sake, Gertie, this ain't the time or the place to----"

"Oh yes, it is! It's got to be, because it's the first time in four
weeks that you didn't see me coming first."

"But not now, Gert. I----"

"I'm not ashamed to tell you, Jimmie Batch, that I've been the making
of you since that night you threw the wink at me. And--and it hurts,
this does. God! how it hurts!"

He was pleating the table-cloth, swallowing as if his throat had
constricted, and still rearing his head this way and that in the tight
collar.

"I--never claimed not to be a bad egg. This ain't the time and the place
for rehashing, that's all. Sure you been a friend to me. I don't say you
haven't. Only I can't be bossed by a girl like you. I don't say May
Scully's any better than she ought to be. Only that's my business. You
hear? my business. I got to have life and see a darn sight more future
for myself than selling shirts in a Fourteenth Street department store."

"May Scully can't give it to you--her and her fast crowd."

"Maybe she can and maybe she can't."

"Them few dollars won't make you; they'll break you."

"That's for her to decide, not you."

"I'll tell her myself. I'll face her right here and----"

"Now, look here, if you think I'm going to be let in for a holy show
between you two girls, you got another think coming. One of us has got
to clear out of here, and quick, too. You been talking about the side
door; there it is. In five minutes I got a date in this place that I
thought I could keep like any law-abiding citizen. One of us has got to
clear, and quick, too. Gad! you wimmin make me sick, the whole lot of
you!"

"If anything makes you sick, I know what it is. It's dodging me to fly
around all hours of the night with May Scully, the girl who put the tang
in tango. It's eating around in swell sixty-cent restaurants like this
and----"

"Gad! your middle name ought to be Nagalene."

"Aw, now, Jimmie, maybe it does sound like nagging, but it ain't, honey.
It--it's only my--my fear that I'm losing you, and--and my hate for the
every-day grind of things, and----"

"I can't help that, can I?"

"Why, there--there's nothing on God's earth I hate, Jimmie, like I hate
that Bargain-Basement. When I think it's down there in that manhole I've
spent the best years of my life, I--I wanna die. The day I get out of
it, the day I don't have to punch that old time-clock down there next to
the Complaints and Adjustment Desk, I--I'll never put my foot below
sidewalk level again to the hour I die. Not even if it was to take a
walk in my own gold-mine."

"It ain't exactly a garden of roses down there."

"Why, I hate it so terrible, Jimmie, that sometimes I wake up nights
gritting my teeth with the smell of steam-pipes and the tramp of feet on
the glass sidewalk up over me. Oh, God! you dunno--you dunno!"

"When it comes to that, the main floor ain't exactly a maiden's dream,
or a fellow's, for that matter."

"With a man it's different. It's his job in life, earning, and--and the
woman making the two ends of it meet. That's why, Jimmie, these last two
years and eight months, if not for what I was hoping for us,
why--why--I--why, on your twenty a week, Jimmie, there's nobody could
run a flat like I could. Why, the days wouldn't be long enough to putter
in. I--Don't throw away what I been building up for us, Jimmie, step by
step! Don't, Jimmie!'

"Good Lord, girl! You deserve better'n me."

"I know I got a big job, Jimmie, but I want to make a man out of you,
temper, laziness, gambling, and all. You got it in you to be something
more than a tango lizard or a cigar-store bum, honey. It's only you
ain't got the stuff in you to stand up under a five-hundred-dollar
windfall and--a--and a sporty girl. If--if two glasses of beer make you
as silly as they do, Jimmie, why, five hundred dollars would land you
under the table for life."

"Aw--there you go again!"

"I can't help it, Jimmie. It's because I never knew a fellow had what's
he's cut out for written all over him so. You're a born clerk, Jimmie."

"Sure, I'm a slick clerk, but----"

"You're born to be a clerk, a good clerk, even a two-hundred-a-month
clerk, the way you can win the trade, but never your own boss. I know
what I'm talking about. I know your measure better than any human on
earth can ever know your measure. I know things about you that you don't
even know yourself."

"I never set myself up to nobody for anything I wasn't."

"Maybe not, Jimmie, but I know about you and--and that Central Street
gang that time, and----"

"You!"

"Yes, honey, and there's not another human living but me knows how
little it was your fault. Just bad company, that was all. That's how
much I--I love you, Jimmie, enough to understand that. Why, if I thought
May Scully and a set-up in business was the thing for you, Jimmie, I'd
say to her, I'd say, if it was like taking my own heart out in my hand
and squashing it, I'd say to her, I'd say, 'Take him, May.' That's how
I--I love you, Jimmie. Oh, ain't it nothing, honey, a girl can come here
and lay herself this low to you----"

"Well, haven't I just said you--you deserve better."

"I don't want better, Jimmie. I want you. I want to take hold of your
life and finish the job of making it the kind we can both be proud of.
Us two, Jimmie, in--in our own decent two-by-four. Shopping on Saturday
nights. Frying in our own frying-pan in our own kitchen. Listening to
our own phonograph in our own parlor. Geraniums and--and kids--and--and
things. Gas-logs. Stationary washtubs. Jimmie! Jimmie!"

Mr. James P. Batch reached up for his hat and overcoat, cramming the
newspaper into a rear pocket.

"Come on," he said, stalking toward the side door and not waiting to see
her to her feet.

Outside, a banner of stars was over the narrow street. For a chain of
five blocks he walked, with a silence and speed that Miss Slayback could
only match with a running quickstep. But she was not out of breath. Her
head was up, and her hand where it hooked into Mr. Batch's elbow, was in
a vise that tightened with each block.


You who will mete out no other approval than that vouched for by the
stamp of time and whose contempt for the contemporary is from behind the
easy refuge of the classics, suffer you the shuddering analogy that
between Aspasia who inspired Pericles, Theodora who suggested the
Justinian code, and Gertie Slayback who commandeered Jimmie Batch, is a
sistership which rounds them, like a lasso thrown back into time, into
one and the same petticoat dynasty behind the throne.

True, Gertie Slayback's _mise en scène_ was a two-room kitchenette
apartment situated in the Bronx at a surveyor's farthest point between
two Subway stations, and her present state one of frequent red-faced
forays down into a packing-case. But there was that in her eyes which
witchingly bespoke the conquered, but not the conqueror. Hers was
actually the titillating wonder of a bird which, captured, closes its
wings, that surrender can be so sweet.

Once she sat on the edge of the packing-case, dallying with a hammer,
then laid it aside suddenly, to cross the littered room and place the
side of her head to the immaculate waistcoat of Mr. Jimmie Batch,
red-faced, too, over wrenching up with hatchet-edge a barrel-top.

"Jimmie darling, I--I just never will get over your finding this place
for us."

Mr. Batch wiped his forearm across his brow, his voice jerking between
the squeak of nails extracted from wood.

"It was you, honey. You give me the to let ad. and I came to look,
that's all."

"Just the samey, it was my boy found it. If you hadn't come to look we
might have been forced into taking that old dark coop over on Simpson
Street."

"What's all this junk in this barrel?"

"Them's kitchen utensils, honey."

"Kitchen what?"

"Kitchen things that you don't know nothing about except to eat good
things out of."

"What's this?"

"Don't bend it! That's a celery-brush. Ain't it cute?"

"A celery-brush! Why didn't you get it a comb, too?"

"Ah, now, honey-bee, don't go trying to be funny and picking through
these things you don't know nothing about! They're just cute things I'm
going to cook something grand suppers in, for my something awful bad
boy."

He leaned down to kiss her at that. "Gee!"

She was standing, her shoulder to him and head thrown back against his
chest. She looked up to stroke his cheek, her face foreshortened.

"I'm all black and blue pinching myself, Jimmie."

"Me too."

"Every night when I get home from working here in the flat I say to
myself in the looking-glass, I say, 'Gertie Slayback, what if you're
only dreamin'?'"

"Me too."

"I say to myself, 'Are you sure that darling flat up there, with the new
pink-and-white wall-paper and the furniture arriving every day, is going
to be yours in a few days when you're Mrs. Jimmie Batch?'"

"Mrs. Jimmie Batch--say, that's immense."

"I keep saying it to myself every night, 'One day less.' Last night it
was two days. To-night it'll be--one day, Jimmie, till I'm--her."

She closed her eyes and let her hand linger up to his cheek, head still
back against him, so that, inclining his head, he could rest his lips in
the ash-blond fluff of her hair.

"Talk about can't wait! If to-morrow was any farther off they'd have to
sweep out a padded cell for me."

She turned to rumple the smooth light thatch of his hair. "Bad boy!
Can't wait! And here we are getting married all of a sudden, just like
that. Up to the time of this draft business, Jimmie Batch, 'pretty soon'
was the only date I could ever get out of you, and now here you are
crying over one day's wait. Bad honey boy!"

He reached back for the pink newspaper so habitually protruding from his
hip-pocket. "You ought to see the way they're neck-breaking for the
marriage-license bureaus since the draft. First thing we know the whole
shebang of the boys will be claiming exemption of sole support of wife."

"It's a good thing we made up our minds quick, Jimmie. They'll be
getting wise. If too many get exemption from the army by marrying right
away, it'll be a give-away."

"I'd like to know who can lay his hands on the exemption of a little
wife to support."

"Oh, Jimmie, it--it sounds so funny. Being supported! Me that always did
the supporting, not only to me, but to my mother and great-grandmother
up to the day they died."

"I'm the greatest little supporter you ever seen."

"Me getting up mornings to stay at home in my own darling little flat,
and no basement or time-clock. Nothing but a busy little hubby to eat
him nice, smelly, bacon breakfast and grab him nice morning newspaper,
kiss him wifie, and run downtown to support her. Jimmie, every morning
for your breakfast I'm going to fry----"

"You bet your life he's going to support her, and he's going to pay back
that forty dollars of his girl's that went into his wedding duds, that
hundred and ninety of his girl's savings that went into furniture----"

"We got to meet our instalments every month first, Jimmie. That's what
we want--no debts and every little darling piece of furniture paid up."

"We--I'm going to pay it, too."

"And my Jimmie is going to work to get himself promoted and quit being a
sorehead at his steady hours and all."

"I know more about selling, honey, than the whole bunch of dubs in that
store put together if they'd give me a chance to prove it."

She laid her palm to his lips.

"Shh-h-h! You don't nothing of the kind. It's not conceit, it's work is
going to get my boy his raise."

"If they'd listen to me, that department would----"

"Sh-h-h! J. G. Hoffheimer don't have to get pointers from Jimmie Batch
how to run his department store."

"There you go again. What's J. G. Hoffheimer got that I ain't? Luck and
a few dollars in his pocket that, if I had in mine, would----"

"It was his own grit put those dollars there, Jimmie. Just put it out of
your head that it's luck makes a self-made man."

"Self-made! You mean things just broke right for him. That's two-thirds
of this self-made business."

"You mean he buckled right down to brass tacks, and that's what my boy
is going to do."

"The trouble with this world is it takes money to make money. Get your
first few dollars, I always say, no matter how, and then when you're on
your feet scratch your conscience if it itches. That's why I said in the
beginning, if we had took that hundred and ninety furniture money and
staked it on----"

"Jimmie, please--please! You wouldn't want to take a girl's savings of
years and years to gamble on a sporty cigar proposition with a card-room
in the rear. You wouldn't, Jimmie. You ain't that kind of fellow. Tell
me you wouldn't, Jimmie."

He turned away to dive into the barrel. "Naw," he said. "I wouldn't."

The sun had receded, leaving a sudden sullen gray; the little square
room, littered with an upheaval of excelsior, sheet-shrouded furniture,
and the paper-hanger's paraphernalia and inimitable smells, darkening
and seeming to chill.

"We got to quit now, Jimmie. It's getting dark and the gas ain't turned
on in the meter yet."

He rose up out of the barrel, holding out at arm's-length what might
have been a tinsmith's version of a porcupine.

"What in-- What's this thing that scratched me?"

She danced to take it. "It's a grater, a darling grater for horseradish
and nutmeg and cocoanut. I'm going to fix you a cocoanut cake for our
honeymoon supper to-morrow night, honey-bee. Essie Wohlgemuth over in
the cake-demonstrating department is going to bring me the recipe.
Cocoanut cake! And I'm going to fry us a little steak in this darling
little skillet. Ain't it the cutest!"

"Cute she calls a tin skillet."

"Look what's pasted on it. 'Little Housewife's Skillet. The Kitchen
Fairy.' That's what I'm going to be, Jimmie, the kitchen fairy. Give me
that. It's a rolling-pin. All my life I've wanted a rolling-pin. Look
honey, a little string to hang it up by. I'm going to hang everything up
in rows. It's going to look like Tiffany's kitchen, all shiny. Give me,
honey; that's an egg-beater. Look at it whiz. And this--this is a pan
for war bread. I'm going to make us war bread to help the soldiers."

"You're a little soldier yourself," he said.

"That's what I would be if I was a man, a soldier all in brass buttons."

"There's a bunch of the fellows going," said Mr. Batch, standing at the
window, looking out over roofs, dilly-dallying up and down on his heels
and breaking into a low, contemplative whistle.

She was at his shoulder, peering over it. "You wouldn't be afraid, would
you, Jimmie?"

"You bet your life I wouldn't."

She was tiptoes now, her arms creeping up to him. "Only my boy's got a
wife--a brand-new wifie to support, ain't he?"

"That's what he has," said Mr. Batch, stroking her forearm, but still
gazing through and beyond whatever roofs he was seeing.

"Jimmie!"

"Huh?"

"Look! We got a view of the Hudson River from our flat, just like we
lived on Riverside Drive."

"All the Hudson River I can see is fifteen smokestacks and somebody's
wash-line out."

"It ain't so. We got a grand view. Look! Stand on tiptoe, Jimmie, like
me. There, between that water-tank on that black roof over there and
them two chimneys. See? Watch my finger. A little stream of something
over there that moves."

"No, I don't see."

"Look, honey-bee, close! See that little streak?"

"All right, then, if you see it I see it."

"To think we got a river view from our flat! It's like living in the
country. I'll peek out at it all day long. God! honey, I just never will
be over the happiness of being done with basements."

"It was swell of old Higgins to give us this half-Saturday. It shows
where you stood with the management, Gert--this and a five-dollar gold
piece. Lord knows they wouldn't pony up that way if it was me getting
married by myself."

"It's because my boy ain't shown them down there yet the best that's in
him. You just watch his little safety-first wife see to it that from now
on he keeps up her record of never in seven years pushing the time-clock
even one minute late, and that he keeps his stock shelves O. K. and
shows his department he's a comer-on."

"With that bunch of boobs a fellow's got a swell chance to get
anywheres."

"It's getting late, Jimmie. It don't look nice for us to stay here so
late alone, not till--to-morrow. Ruby and Essie and Charley are going to
meet us in the minister's back parlor at ten sharp in the morning. We
can be back here by noon and get the place cleared up enough to give 'em
a little lunch, just a fun lunch without fixings."

"I hope the old guy don't waste no time splicing us. It's one of the
things a fellow likes to have over with."

"Jimmie! Why, it's the most beautiful thing in the world, like a garden
of lilies or--or something, a marriage ceremony is! You got the ring
safe, honey-bee, and the license?"

"Pinned in my pocket where you put 'em, Flirty Gertie."

"Flirty Gertie! Now you'll begin teasing me with that all our life--the
way I didn't slap your face that night when I should have. I just
couldn't have, honey. Goes to show we were just cut and dried for each
other, don't it? Me, a girl that never in her life let a fellow even bat
his eyes at her without an introduction. But that night when you winked,
honey--something inside of me just winked back."

"My girl!"

"You mean it, boy? You ain't sorry about nothing, Jimmie?"

"Sorry? Well, I guess not!"

"You seen the way--she--May--you seen for yourself what she was, when we
seen her walking, that next night after Ceiner's, nearly staggering, up
Sixth Avenue with Budge Evans."

"I never took no stock in her, honey. I was just letting her like me."

She sat back on the box edge, regarding him, her face so soft and wont
to smile that she could not keep its composure.

"Get me my hat and coat, honey. We'll walk down. Got the key?"

They skirmished in the gloom, moving through slit-like aisles of
furniture and packing-box.

"Ouch!"

"Oh, the running water is hot, Jimmie, just like the ad. said! We got
red-hot running water in our flat. Close the front windows, honey. We
don't want it to rain in on our new green sofa. Not till it's paid for,
anyways."

"Hurry."

"I'm ready."

They met at the door, kissing on the inside and the outside of it; at
the head of the fourth and the third and the second balustrade down.

"We'll always make 'em little love landings, Jimmie, so we can't ever
get tired climbing them."

"Yep."

Outside there was still a pink glow in a clean sky. The first flush of
spring in the air had died, leaving chill. They walked briskly, arm in
arm, down the asphalt incline of sidewalk leading from their
apartment-house, a new street of canned homes built on a hillside--the
sepulchral abode of the city's trapped whose only escape is down the
fire-escape, and then only when the alternative is death. At the base of
the hill there flows, in constant hubbub, a great up-and-down artery of
street, repeating itself, mile after mile, in terms of the butcher, the
baker, and the every-other-corner drug-store of a million dollar
corporation. Housewives with perambulators and oilcloth shopping bags.
Children on roller-skates. The din of small tradesmen and the humdrum of
every city block where the homes remain unboarded all summer, and every
wife is on haggling terms with the purveyor of her evening roundsteak
and mess of rutabaga.

Then there is the soap-box provender, too, sure of a crowd, offering
creed, propaganda, patent medicine, and politics. It is the pulpit of
the reformer and the housetop of the fanatic, this soap-box. From it the
voice to the city is often a pious one, an impious one, and almost
always a raucous one. Luther and Sophocles and even a Citizen of
Nazareth made of the four winds of the street corner the walls of a
temple of wisdom. What more fitting acropolis for freedom of speech
than the great out-of-doors!

Turning from the incline of cross-street into this petty Bagdad of the
petty wise, the voice of the street corner lifted itself above the
inarticulate din of the thoroughfare. A youth, thewed like an ox,
surmounted on a stack of three self-provided canned-goods boxes, his
in-at-the-waist silhouette thrown out against a sky that was almost
ready to break out in stars; a crowd tightening about him.

"It's a soldier-boy talkin', Gert."

"If it ain't!" They tiptoed at the fringe of the circle, heads back.

"Look, Gert, he's a lieutenant; he's got a shoulder-bar. And those four
down there holding the flag are just privates. You can always tell a
lieutenant by the bar."

"Uh-huh."

"Say, them boys do stack up some for Uncle Sam."

"'Shh-h-h, Jimmie!"

"I'm here to tell you that them boys stack up some."

A banner stiffened out in the breeze, Mr. Batch reading: "Enlist before
you are drafted. Last chance to beat the draft. Prove your patriotism.
Enlist now! Your country calls!"

"Come on," said Mr. Batch.

"Wait. I want to hear what he's saying."

" ... there's not a man here before me can afford to shirk his duty to
his country. The slacker can't get along without his country, but his
country can very easily get along without him."

Cheers.

"The poor exemption boobs are already running for doctors' certificates
and marriage licenses, but even if they get by with it--and it is
ninety-nine to one they won't--they can't run away from their own
degradation and shame."

"Come on, Jimmie."

"Wait."

"Men of America, for every one of you who tries to dodge his duty to
his country there is a yellow streak somewhere underneath the hide of
you. Women of America, every one of you that helps to foster the spirit
of cowardice in your particular man or men is helping to make a coward.
It's the cowards and the quitters and the slackers and dodgers that need
this war more than the patriotic ones who are willing to buckle on and
go!

"Don't be a buttonhole patriot! A government that is good enough to live
under is good enough to fight under!"

Cheers.

"If there is any reason on earth that has manifested itself for this
devastating and terrible war it is that it has been a maker of men.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am back from four months in the trenches with
the French army, and I've come home, now that my own country is at war,
to give her every ounce of energy I've got to offer. As soon as a hole
in my side is healed up I'm going back to those trenches, and I want to
say to you that them four months of mine face to face with life and with
death have done more for me than all my twenty-four civilian years put
together."

Cheers.

"I'll be a different man, if I live to come back home after this war and
take up my work again as a draftsman. Why, I've seen weaklings and
self-confessed failures and even ninnies go into them trenches and come
out--oh yes, plenty of them do come out--men. Men that have got close
enough down to the facts of things to feel new realizations of what life
means come over them. Men that have gotten back their pep, their
ambitions, their unselfishness. That's what war can do for your men, you
women who are helping them to foster the spirit of holding back, of
cheating their government. That's what war can do for your men. Make of
them the kind of men who some day can face their children without
having to hang their heads. Men who can answer for their part in making
the world a safe place for democracy."

An hour they stood there, the air quieting but chilling, and lavishly
sown stars cropping out. Street lights had come out, too, throwing up in
ever darker relief the figure above the heads of the crowd. His voice
had coarsened and taken on a raw edge, but every gesture was flung from
the socket, and from where they had forced themselves into the tight
circle Gertie Slayback, her mouth fallen open and her head still back,
could see the sinews of him ripple under khaki and the diaphragm lift
for voice.

There was a shift of speakers then, this time a private, still too
rangy, but his looseness of frame seeming already to conform to the
exigency of uniform.

"Come on, Jimmie. I--I'm cold."

They worked out into the freedom of the sidewalk, and for ten minutes,
down blocks of petty shops already lighted, walked in a silence that
grew apace.

He was suddenly conscious that she was crying, quietly, her handkerchief
wadded against her mouth. He strode on with a scowl and his head bent.

"Let's sit down in this little park, Jimmie. I'm tired."

They rested on a bench on one of those small triangles of
breathing-space which the city ekes out now and then; mill ends of land
parcels.

He took immediately to roving the toe of his shoe in and out among the
gravel. She stole out her hand to his arm.

"Well, Jimmie?" Her voice was in the gauze of a whisper that hardly left
her throat.

"Well, what?" he said, still toeing.

"There--there's a lot of things we never thought about, Jimmie."

"Aw!"

"Eh, Jimmie?"

"You mean _you_ never thought about."

"What do you mean?"

"I know what I mean alrighty."

"I--I was the one that suggested it, Jimmie, but--but you fell in. I--I
just couldn't bear to think of it, Jimmie--your going and all. I
suggested it, but--you fell in."

"Say, when a fellow's shoved he falls. I never gave a thought to
sneaking an exemption until it was put in my head. I'd smash the fellow
in the face that calls me coward, I will."

"You could have knocked me down with a feather, Jimmie, looking at it
his way, all of a sudden."

"You couldn't me. Don't think I was ever strong for the whole business.
I mean the exemption part. I wasn't going to say nothing. What's the
use, seeing the way you had your heart set on--on things? But the whole
business, if you want to know it, went against my grain. I'll smash the
fellow in the face that calls me a coward."

"I know, Jimmie; you--you're right. It was me suggested hurrying things
like this. Sneakin'! Oh, God! ain't I the messer-up!"

"Lay easy, girl. I'm going to see it through. I guess there's been
fellows before me and will be after me who have done worse. I'm going to
see it through. All I got to say is I'll smash up the fellow calls me
coward. Come on, forget it. Let's go."

She was close to him, her cheek crinkled against his with the frank kind
of social unconsciousness the park bench seems to engender.

"Come on, Gert. I got a hunger on."

"'Shh-h-h, Jimmie! Let me think. I'm thinking."

"Too much thinking killed a cat. Come on."

"Jimmie!"

"Huh?"

"Jimmie--would you--had you ever thought about being a soldier?"

"Sure. I came in an ace of going into the army that time after--after
that little Central Street trouble of mine. I've got a book in my trunk
this minute on military tactics. Wouldn't surprise me a bit to see me
land in the army some day."

"It's a fine thing, Jimmie, for a fellow--the army."

"Yeh, good for what ails him."

She drew him back, pulling at his shoulder so that finally he faced her.
"Jimmie!"

"Huh?"

"I got an idea."

"Shoot."

"You remember once, honey-bee, how I put it to you that night at
Ceiner's how, if it was for your good, no sacrifice was too much to
make."

"Forget it."

"You didn't believe it."

"Aw, say now, what's the use digging up ancient history?"

"You'd be right, Jimmie, not to believe it. I haven't lived up to what I
said."

"Oh Lord, honey! What's eating you now? Come to the point."

She would not meet his eyes, turning her head from him to hide lips that
would quiver. "Honey, it--it ain't coming off--that's all. Not
now--anyways."

"What ain't?"

"Us."

"Who?"

"You know what I mean, Jimmie. It's like everything the soldier boy on
the corner just said. I--I saw you getting red clear behind your ears
over it. I--I was, too, Jimmie. It's like that soldier boy was put there
on that corner just to show me, before it was too late, how wrong I been
in every one of my ways. Us women who are helping to foster slackers.
That's what we're making of them--slackers for life. And here I been
thinking it was your good I had in mind, when all along it's been mine.
That's what it's been, mine!"

"Aw, now, Gert----"

"You got to go, Jimmie. You got to go, because you want to go
and--because I want you to go."

"Where?"

"To war."

He took hold of her two arms because they were trembling. "Aw, now,
Gert, I didn't say anything complaining. I----"

"You did, Jimmie, you did, and--and I never was so glad over you that
you did complain. I just never was so glad. I want you to go, Jimmie. I
want you to go and get a man made out of you. They'll make a better job
out of you than ever I can. I want you to get the yellow streak washed
out. I want you to get to be all the things he said you would. For every
line he was talking up there, I could see my boy coming home to me some
day better than anything I could make out of him, babying him the way I
can't help doing. I could see you, honey-bee, coming back to me with the
kind of lift to your head a fellow has when he's been fighting to make
the world a safe place for dem--for whatever it was he said. I want you
to go, Jimmie. I want you to beat the draft, too. Nothing on earth can
make me not want you to go."

"Why, Gert--you're kiddin'!"

"Honey, you want to go, don't you? You want to square up those shoulders
and put on khaki, don't you? Tell me you want to go!"

"Why--why, yes, Gert, if----"

"Oh, you're going, Jimmie! You're going!"

"Why, girl--you're crazy! Our flat! Our furniture--our----"

"What's a flat? What's furniture? What's anything? There's not a firm in
business wouldn't take back a boy's furniture--a boy's
everything--that's going out to fight for--for dem-o-cracy! What's a
flat? What's anything?"

He let drop his head to hide his eyes.


Do you know it is said that on the Desert of Sahara, the slope of
Sorrento, and the marble of Fifth Avenue the sun can shine whitest?
There is an iridescence to its glittering on bleached sand, blue bay,
and Carrara façade that is sheer light distilled to its utmost.

On one such day when, standing on the high slope of Fifth Avenue where
it rises toward the Park, and looking down on it, surging to and fro, it
was as if, so manifest the brilliancy, every head wore a tin helmet,
parrying sunlight at a thousand angles of refraction.

Parade-day, all this glittering midstream is swept to the clean sheen of
a strip of moiré, this splendid desolation blocked on each side by
crowds half the density of the sidewalk.

On one of these sun-drenched Saturdays dedicated by a growing tradition
to this or that national expression, the Ninety-ninth Regiment, to a
flare of music that made the heart leap out against its walls, turned
into a scene thus swept clean for it, a wave of olive drab, impeccable
row after impeccable row of scissors-like legs advancing. Recruits, raw
if you will, but already caparisoned, sniffing and scenting, as it were,
for the great primordial mire of war.

There is no state of being so finely sensitized as national
consciousness. A gauntlet down, and it surges up. One ripple of a flag
defended can goose-flesh a nation. How bitter and how sweet it is to
give a soldier!

To the seething kinetic chemistry of such mingling emotions there were
women who stood in the frontal crowds of the sidewalks stifling
hysteria, or ran after in terror at sight of one so personally hers,
receding in that great impersonal wave of olive drab.

And yet the air was martial with banner and with shout. And the ecstasy
of such moments is like a dam against reality, pressing it back. It is
in the pompless watches of the night or of too long days that such dams
break, excoriating.

For the thirty blocks of its course Gertie Slayback followed that wave
of men, half run and half walk. Down from the curb, and at the beck and
call of this or that policeman up again, only to find opportunity for
still another dive out from the invisible roping off of the sidewalk
crowds.

From the middle of his line, she could see, sometimes, the tail of
Jimmie Batch's glance roving for her, but to all purports his eye was
solely for his own replica in front of him, and at such times, when he
marched, his back had a little additional straightness that was almost
swayback.

Nor was Gertie Slayback crying. On the contrary, she was inclined to
laughter. A little too inclined to a high and brittle sort of dissonance
over which she seemed to have no control.

"'By, Jimmie. So long! Jimmie! You-hoo!"

Tramp. Tramp. Tramp-tramp-tramp.

"You-hoo! Jimmie! So long, Jimmie!"

At Fourteenth Street, and to the solemn stroke of one from a tower, she
broke off suddenly without even a second look back, dodging under the
very arms of the crowd as she ran out from it.

She was one and three-quarter minutes late when she punched the
time-clock beside the Complaints and Adjustment Desk in the
Bargain-Basement.



FANNIE HURST


"I find myself at twenty-nine exactly where at fourteen I had planned I
would be." So Miss Hurst, in a sketch written for the _American
Magazine_ (March, 1919), sums up the story of a remarkable literary
career.

Fannie Hurst was born in St. Louis, October 19, 1889. She attended the
public schools, and began to write--with the firm intention of becoming
an author--before she was out of grammar school. "At fourteen," she
tells us in the article just referred to, "the one pigeon-hole of my
little girl's desk was already stuffed with packets of rejected verse
which had been furtively written, furtively mailed, and still more
furtively received back again by heading off the postman a block before
he reached our door." To this dream of authorship--the secret of which
was carefully guarded from her family--she sacrificed her play and even
her study hours. The first shock to her family came on St. Valentine's
Day. There was to be a party that night, her first real party. A new
dress was ready for the occasion, and a boy escort was to call for her
in a cab. It happened that Valentine's day fell on Saturday, and
Saturday was her time for writing. That day she turned from poetry to
fiction, and was just in the middle of her first story when it came time
to get ready for the party. She did not get ready. The escort arrived,
cab and all; the family protested, but all to no purpose. She finished
the story, mailed it, three weeks later received it back, and began her
second story. All through her high school days she mailed a manuscript
every Saturday, and they always came back.

After high school she entered Washington University, St. Louis,
graduating in 1909. And still she kept writing. To one journal alone
she sent during those four years, thirty-four short stories. And they
all came back--all but one. Just before graduation she sold her first
article, a little sketch first written as a daily theme, which was
published in a local weekly, and brought her three dollars. This was the
total result of eight years' literary effort. So quite naturally she
determined to go on.

She announced to her family that she was going to New York City to
become a writer. There was a stormy discussion in the Hurst family, but
it ended in her going away, with a bundle of manuscripts in her trunk,
to brave the big city alone. She found a tiny furnished room and set
forth to besiege the editors' offices. One evening she returned, to find
the house being raided, a patrol wagon at the curb, and the lodgers
being hustled into it. She crossed the street and walked on, and never
saw her bag or baggage again. By the help of the Young Women's Christian
Association she found another room, in different surroundings, and set
out again to make the round of the editorial offices.

Then followed months and months of "writing, rewriting, rejections, and
re-rejections." From home came letters now beseeching, now commanding
her to return, and at length cutting off her allowance. So she returned
her rented typewriter and applied at a theatrical agency. She secured a
small part in a Broadway company, and then came her first acceptance of
a story, with an actual check for thirty dollars. She left the stage and
rented another typewriter,--but it was six months before she sold
another story.

In all this time she dipped deeply into the great stream of the city's
life. To quote her own account:


     For a month I lived with an Armenian family on West Broadway, in a
     room over a tobacconist's shop. I apprenticed myself as a
     sales-girl in New York's most gigantic department store. Four and
     one-quarter yards of ribbon at seven and a half cents a yard proved
     my Waterloo, and my resignation at the end of one week was not
     entirely voluntary. I served as waitress in one of New York's most
     gigantic chain of white-tiled lunch rooms. I stitched boys' pants
     in a Polish sweatshop, and lived for two days in New York's most
     rococo hotel. I took a graduate course in Anglo Saxon at Columbia
     University, and one in lamp-shade making at Wanamaker's: wormed
     into a Broadway musical show as wardrobe girl, and went out on a
     self-appointed newspaper assignment to interview the mother of the
     richest baby in the world.


All these experiences yielded rich material for stories, but no one
would print them. Her money was gone; so was a diamond ring that had
been a Commencement present; it seemed as if there was nothing left but
to give up the struggle and go back home. Then, just as she had struck
bottom, an editor actually told her she could write, and followed up his
remark by buying three stories. Since that time she has never had a
story rejected, and her checks have gone up from two figures into four.
And so, at the end of a long fight, as she says, "I find myself at
twenty-nine exactly where at fourteen I had planned I would be. And best
of all, what popular success I am enjoying has come not from pandering
to popular demand or editorial policy, but from pandering to my own
inner convictions, which are like little soul-tapers, lighting the way."

All her work has been in the form of the short story. Her first book,
_Just Around the Corner_, published in 1914, is a collection of stories
dealing with the life of working girls in a city. _Every Soul Hath Its
Song_ is a similar collection; the title suggests the author's outlook
upon life. Some one has said that in looking at a puddle of water, you
may see either the mud at the bottom or the sky reflected on its
surface. Miss Hurst sees the reflection of the sky. The _Boston
Transcript_ said of this book: "Here at last is a story writer who is
bent on listening to the voices of America and interpreting them."
_Gaslight Sonatas_, from which "Bitter-Sweet" is taken, showed an
advance over her earlier work. Two of the stories from this volume were
selected by Mr. O'Brien for his volume, _Best Short Stories_, for 1916
and 1917. _Humoresque_, her latest work, continues her studies of city
types, drawn from New York and St. Louis. The stories show her insight
into character and her graphic descriptive power. Miss Hurst is also the
author of two plays, _The Land of the Free_ and _The Good Provider_.



IN THE LUMBER COUNTRY

_The men of the woods are not as the men of the cities. The great open
spaces where men battle with the primeval forest set their mark upon
their inhabitants, not only in physique but in character. The
lumberman,--rough, frank, independent, humorous, equally ready for a
fight or a frolic, has been portrayed at full length by Stewart Edward
White in_ THE BLAZED TRAIL _and_ THE RIVERMAN. _In the following sketch,
taken from his_ BLAZED TRAIL STORIES, _he shows the lumberman at work
and at play._



THE RIVERMAN

BY

STEWART EDWARD WHITE


I first met him one Fourth of July afternoon in the middle eighties. The
sawdust streets and high board sidewalks of the lumber town were filled
to the brim with people. The permanent population, dressed in the
stiffness of its Sunday best, escorted gingham wives or sweethearts; a
dozen outsiders like myself tried not to be too conspicuous in a city
smartness; but the great multitude was composed of the men of the woods.
I sat, chair-tilted by the hotel, watching them pass. Their heavy
woollen shirts crossed by the broad suspenders, the red of their sashes
or leather shine of their belts, their short kersey trousers "stagged"
off to leave a gap between the knee and the heavily spiked "cork
boots"--all these were distinctive enough of their class, but most
interesting to me were the eyes that peered from beneath their little
round hats tilted rakishly askew. They were all subtly alike, those
eyes. Some were black, some were brown, or gray, or blue, but all were
steady and unabashed, all looked straight at you with a strange humorous
blending of aggression and respect for your own business, and all
without exception wrinkled at the corners with a suggestion of dry
humor. In my half-conscious scrutiny I probably stared harder than I
knew, for all at once a laughing pair of blue eyes suddenly met mine
full, and an ironical voice drawled,

"Say, bub, you look as interested as a man killing snakes. Am I your
long-lost friend?"

The tone of the voice matched accurately the attitude of the man, and
that was quite non-committal. He stood cheerfully ready to meet the
emergency. If I sought trouble, it was here to my hand; or if I needed
help he was willing to offer it.

"I guess you are," I replied, "if you can tell me what all this outfit's
headed for."

He thrust back his hat and ran his hand through a mop of closely cropped
light curls.

"Birling match," he explained briefly. "Come on."

I joined him, and together we followed the crowd to the river, where we
roosted like cormorants on adjacent piles overlooking a patch of clear
water among filled booms.

"Drive just over," my new friend informed me. "Rear come down last
night. Fourther July celebration. This little town will scratch fer th'
tall timber along about midnight when the boys goes in to take her
apart."

A half-dozen men with peavies rolled a white-pine log of about a foot
and a half in diameter into the clear water, where it lay rocking back
and forth, three or four feet from the boom piles. Suddenly a man ran
the length of the boom, leaped easily into the air, and landed with both
feet square on one end of the floating log. That end disappeared in an
ankle-deep swirl of white foam, the other rose suddenly, the whole
timber, projected forward by the shock, drove headlong to the middle of
the little pond. And the man, his arms folded, his knees just bent in
the graceful nervous attitude of the circus-rider, stood upright like a
statue of bronze.

A roar approved this feat.

"That's Dickey Darrell," said my informant, "Roaring Dick. He's hell
_and_ repeat. Watch him."

The man on the log was small, with clean beautiful haunches and
shoulders, but with hanging baboon arms. Perhaps his most striking
feature was a mop of reddish-brown hair that overshadowed a little
triangular white face accented by two reddish-brown quadrilaterals that
served as eyebrows and a pair of inscrutable chipmunk eyes.

For a moment he poised erect in the great calm of the public performer.
Then slowly he began to revolve the log under his feet. The lofty gaze,
the folded arms, the straight supple waist budged not by a hair's
breadth; only the feet stepped forward, at first deliberately, then
faster and faster, until the rolling log threw a blue spray a foot into
the air. Then suddenly _slap! slap!_ the heavy caulks stamped a
reversal. The log came instantaneously to rest, quivering exactly like
some animal that had been spurred through its paces.

"Magnificent!" I cried.

"Hell, that's nothing!" my companion repressed me, "anybody can birl a
log. Watch this."

Roaring Dick for the first time unfolded his arms. With some appearance
of caution he balanced his unstable footing into absolute immobility.
Then he turned a somersault.

This was the real thing. My friend uttered a wild yell of applause which
was lost in a general roar.

A long pike-pole shot out, bit the end of the timber, and towed it to
the boom pile. Another man stepped on the log with Darrell. They stood
facing each other, bent-kneed, alert. Suddenly with one accord they
commenced to birl the log from left to right. The pace grew hot. Like
squirrels treading a cage their feet twinkled. Then it became apparent
that Darrell's opponent was gradually being forced from the top of the
log. He could not keep up. Little by little, still moving desperately,
he dropped back to the slant, then at last to the edge, and so off into
the river with a mighty splash.

"Clean birled!" commented my friend.

One after another a half-dozen rivermen tackled the imperturbable Dick,
but none of them possessed the agility to stay on top in the pace he set
them. One boy of eighteen seemed for a moment to hold his own, and
managed at least to keep out of the water even when Darrell had
apparently reached his maximum speed. But that expert merely threw his
entire weight into two reversing stamps of his feet, and the young
fellow dove forward as abruptly as though he had been shied over a
horse's head.

The crowd was by now getting uproarious and impatient of volunteer
effort to humble Darrell's challenge. It wanted the best, and at once.
It began, with increasing insistence, to shout a name.

"Jimmy Powers!" it vociferated, "Jimmy Powers!"

And then by shamefaced bashfulness, by profane protest, by muttered and
comprehensive curses I knew that my companion on the other pile was
indicated.

A dozen men near at hand began to shout. "Here he is!" they cried. "Come
on, Jimmy." "Don't be a high banker." "Hang his hide on the fence."

Jimmy, still red and swearing, suffered himself to be pulled from his
elevation and disappeared in the throng. A moment later I caught his
head and shoulders pushing toward the boom piles, and so in a moment he
stepped warily aboard to face his antagonist.

This was evidently no question to be determined by the simplicity of
force or the simplicity of a child's trick. The two men stood
half-crouched, face to face, watching each other narrowly, but making no
move. To me they seemed like two wrestlers sparring for an opening.
Slowly the log revolved one way; then slowly the other. It was a mere
courtesy of salute. All at once Dick birled three rapid strokes from
left to right as though about to roll the log, leaped into the air and
landed square with both feet on the other slant of the timber. Jimmy
Powers felt the jar, and acknowledged it by a spasmodic jerk with which
he counterbalanced Darrell's weight. But he was not thrown.

As though this daring and hazardous manoeuvre had opened the combat,
both men sprang to life. Sometimes the log rolled one way, sometimes the
other, sometimes it jerked from side to side like a crazy thing, but
always with the rapidity of light, always in a smother of spray and
foam. The decided _spat, spat, spat_ of the reversing blows from the
caulked boots sounded like picket firing. I could not make out the
different leads, feints, parries, and counters of this strange method of
boxing, nor could I distinguish to whose initiative the various
evolutions of that log could be ascribed. But I retain still a vivid
mental picture of two men nearly motionless above the waist, nearly
vibrant below it, dominating the insane gyrations of a stick of pine.

The crowd was appreciative and partisan--for Jimmy Powers. It howled
wildly, and rose thereby to even higher excitement. Then it forgot its
manners utterly and groaned when it made out that a sudden splash
represented its favorite, while the indomitable Darrell still trod the
quarter-deck as champion birler for the year.

I must confess I was as sorry as anybody. I climbed down from my
cormorant roost, and picked my way between the alleys of aromatic piled
lumber in order to avoid the press, and cursed the little gods heartily
for undue partiality in the wrong direction. In this manner I happened
on Jimmy Powers himself seated dripping on a board and examining his
bare foot.

"I'm sorry," said I behind him. "How did he do it?"

He whirled, and I could see that his laughing boyish face had become
suddenly grim and stern, and that his eyes were shot with blood.

"Oh, it's you, is it?" he growled disparagingly. "Well, that's how he
did it."

He held out his foot. Across the instep and at the base of the toes ran
two rows of tiny round punctures from which the blood was oozing. I
looked very inquiring.

"He corked me!" Jimmy Powers explained. "Jammed his spikes into me!
Stepped on my foot and tripped me, the----" Jimmy Powers certainly could
swear.

"Why didn't you make a kick?" I cried.

"That ain't how I do it," he muttered, pulling on his heavy woollen
sock.

"But no," I insisted, my indignation mounting. "It's an outrage! That
crowd was with you. All you had to do was to _say_ something----"

He cut me short. "And give myself away as a damn fool--sure Mike. I
ought to know Dickey Darrell by this time, and I ought to be big enough
to take care of myself." He stamped his foot into his driver's shoe and
took me by the arm, his good humor apparently restored. "No, don't lose
any hair, bub; I'll get even with Roaring Dick."

That night, having by the advice of the proprietor moved my bureau and
trunk against the bedroom door, I lay wide awake listening to the taking
of the town apart. At each especially vicious crash I wondered if that
might be Jimmy Powers getting even with Roaring Dick.

The following year, but earlier in the season, I again visited my little
lumber town. In striking contrast to the life of that other midsummer
day were the deserted streets. The landlord knew me, and after I had
washed and eaten approached me with a suggestion.

"You got all day in front of you," said he; "why don't you take a horse
and buggy and make a visit to the big jam? Everybody's up there more or
less."

In response to my inquiry, he replied:

"They've jammed at the upper bend, jammed bad. The crew's been picking
at her for near a week now, and last night Darrell was down to see about
some more dynamite. It's worth seein'. The breast of her is near thirty
feet high, and lots of water in the river."

"Darrell?" said I, catching at the name.

"Yes. He's rear boss this year. Do you think you'd like to take a look
at her?"

"I think I should," I assented.

The horse and I jogged slowly along a deep sand road, through wastes of
pine stumps and belts of hardwood beautiful with the early spring, until
finally we arrived at a clearing in which stood two huge tents, a
mammoth kettle slung over a fire of logs, and drying racks about the
timbers of another fire. A fat cook in the inevitable battered derby
hat, two bare-armed cookees, and a chore "boy" of seventy-odd summers
were the only human beings in sight. One of the cookees agreed to keep
an eye on my horse. I picked my way down a well-worn trail toward the
regular _clank, clank, click_ of the peavies.

I emerged finally to a plateau elevated some fifty or sixty feet above
the river. A half-dozen spectators were already gathered. Among them I
could not but notice a tall, spare, broad-shouldered young fellow
dressed in a quiet business suit, somewhat wrinkled, whose square,
strong, clean-cut face and muscular hands were tanned by the weather to
a dark umber-brown. In another moment I looked down on the jam.

The breast, as my landlord had told me, rose sheer from the water to the
height of at least twenty-five feet, bristling and formidable. Back of
it pressed the volume of logs packed closely in an apparently
inextricable tangle as far as the eye could reach. A man near informed
me that the tail was a good three miles up stream. From beneath this
wonderful _chevaux de frise_ foamed the current of the river,
irresistible to any force less mighty than the statics of such a mass.

A crew of forty or fifty men were at work. They clamped their peavies to
the reluctant timbers, heaved, pushed, slid, and rolled them one by one
into the current, where they were caught and borne away. They had been
doing this for a week. As yet their efforts had made but slight
impression on the bulk of the jam, but some time, with patience, they
would reach the key-logs. Then the tangle would melt like sugar in the
freshet, and these imperturbable workers would have to escape suddenly
over the plunging logs to shore.

My eye ranged over the men, and finally rested on Dickey Darrell. He
was standing on the slanting end of an upheaved log dominating the
scene. His little triangular face with the accents of the quadrilateral
eyebrows was pale with the blaze of his energy, and his chipmunk eyes
seemed to flame with a dynamic vehemence that caused those on whom they
fell to jump as though they had been touched with a hot poker. I had
heard more of Dickey Darrell since my last visit, and was glad of the
chance to observe Morrison & Daly's best "driver" at work.

The jam seemed on the very edge of breaking. After half an hour's
strained expectation it seemed still on the very edge of breaking. So I
sat down on a stump. Then for the first time I noticed another
acquaintance, handling his peavie near the very person of the rear boss.

"Hullo," said I to myself, "that's funny. I wonder if Jimmy Powers got
even; and if so, why he is working so amicably and so near Roaring
Dick."

At noon the men came ashore for dinner. I paid a quarter into the cook's
private exchequer and so was fed. After the meal I approached my
acquaintance of the year before.

"Hello, Powers," I greeted him, "I suppose you don't remember me?"

"Sure," he responded heartily. "Ain't you a little early this year?"

"No," I disclaimed, "this is a better sight than a birling match."

I offered him a cigar, which he immediately substituted for his corn-cob
pipe. We sat at the root of a tree.

"It'll be a great sight when that jam pulls," said I.

"You bet," he replied, "but she's a teaser. Even old Tim Shearer would
have a picnic to make out just where the key-logs are. We've started her
three times, but she's plugged tight every trip. Likely to pull almost
any time."

We discussed various topics. Finally I ventured:

"I see your old friend Darrell is rear boss."

"Yes," said Jimmy Powers, dryly.

"By the way, did you fellows ever square up on that birling match?"

"No," said Jimmy Powers; then after an instant, "Not yet."

I glanced at him to recognize the square set to the jaw that had
impressed me so formidably the year before. And again his face relaxed
almost quizzically as he caught sight of mine.

"Bub," said he, getting to his feet, "those little marks are on my foot
yet. And just you tie into one idea: Dickey Darrel's got it coming." His
face darkened with a swift anger. "God damn his soul!" he said,
deliberately. It was no mere profanity. It was an imprecation, and in
its very deliberation I glimpsed the flare of an undying hate.

About three o'clock that afternoon Jimmy's prediction was fulfilled.
Without the slightest warning the jam "pulled." Usually certain
premonitory _cracks_, certain sinkings down, groanings forward,
grumblings, shruggings, and sullen, reluctant shiftings of the logs give
opportunity for the men to assure their safety. This jam, after
inexplicably hanging fire for a week, as inexplicably started like a
sprinter almost into its full gait. The first few tiers toppled smash
into the current, raising a waterspout like that made by a dynamite
explosion; the mass behind plunged forward blindly, rising and falling
as the integral logs were up-ended, turned over, thrust one side, or
forced bodily into the air by the mighty power playing jack-straws with
them.

The rivermen, though caught unaware, reached either bank. They held
their peavies across their bodies as balancing-poles, and zig-zagged
ashore with a calmness and lack of haste that were in reality only an
indication of the keenness with which they fore-estimated each chance.
Long experience with the ways of saw-logs brought them out. They knew
the correlation of these many forces just as the expert billiard-player
knows instinctively the various angles of incident and reflection
between his cue-ball and its mark. Consequently they avoided the centers
of eruption, paused on the spots steadied for the moment, dodged moving
logs, trod those not yet under way, and so arrived on solid ground. The
jam itself started with every indication of meaning business, gained
momentum for a hundred feet, and then plugged to a standstill. The
"break" was abortive.

Now we all had leisure to notice two things. First, the movement had not
been of the whole jam, as we had at first supposed, but only of a block
or section of it twenty rods or so in extent. Thus between the part that
had moved and the greater bulk that had not stirred lay a hundred feet
of open water in which floated a number of loose logs. The second fact
was, that Dickey Darrell had fallen into that open stretch of water and
was in the act of swimming toward one of the floating logs. That much we
were given time to appreciate thoroughly. Then the other section of the
jam rumbled and began to break. Roaring Dick was caught between two
gigantic millstones moving to crush him out of sight.

An active figure darted down the tail of the first section, out over the
floating logs, seized Darrell by the coat-collar, and so burdened began
desperately to scale the very face of the breaking jam.

Never was a more magnificent rescue. The logs were rolling, falling,
diving against the laden man. He climbed as over a treadmill, a
treadmill whose speed was constantly increasing. And when he finally
gained the top, it was as the gap closed splintering beneath him and the
man he had saved.

It is not in the woodsman to be demonstrative at any time, but here was
work demanding attention. Without a pause for breath or congratulation
they turned to the necessity of the moment. The jam, the whole jam, was
moving at last. Jimmy Powers ran ashore for his peavie. Roaring Dick,
like a demon incarnate, threw himself into the work. Forty men attacked
the jam in a dozen places, encouraging the movement, twisting aside the
timbers that threatened to lock anew, directing pigmy-like the titanic
forces into the channel of their efficiency. Roaring like wild cattle
the logs swept by, at first slowly, then with the railroad rush of the
curbed freshet. Men were everywhere, taking chances, like cowboys before
the stampeded herd. And so, out of sight around the lower bend swept the
front of the jam in a swirl of glory, the rivermen riding the great boom
back of the creature they subdued, until at last, with the slackening
current, the logs floated by free, cannoning with hollow sound one
against the other. A half-dozen watchers, leaning statuesquely on the
shafts of their peavies, watched the ordered ranks pass by.

One by one the spectators departed. At last only myself and the
brown-faced young man remained. He sat on a stump, staring with
sightless eyes into vacancy. I did not disturb his thoughts.

The sun dipped. A cool breeze of evening sucked up the river. Over near
the cook-camp a big fire commenced to crackle by the drying frames. At
dusk the rivermen straggled in from the down-river trail.

The brown-faced young man arose and went to meet them. I saw him return
in close conversation with Jimmy Powers. Before they reached us he had
turned away with a gesture of farewell.

Jimmy Powers stood looking after him long after his form had
disappeared, and indeed even after the sound of his wheels had died
toward town. As I approached, the riverman turned to me a face from
which the reckless, contained self-reliance of the woods-worker had
faded. It was wide-eyed with an almost awe-stricken wonder and
adoration.

"Do you know who that is?" he asked me in a hushed voice. "That's
Thorpe, Harry Thorpe. And do you know what he said to me just now, _me_?
He told me he wanted me to work in Camp One next winter, Thorpe's One.
And he told me I was the first man he ever hired straight into One."

His breath caught with something like a sob.

I had heard of the man and of his methods. I knew he had made it a
practice of recruiting for his prize camp only from the employees of his
other camps, that, as Jimmy said, he never "hired straight into One." I
had heard, too, of his reputation among his own and other woodsmen. But
this was the first time I had ever come into personal contact with his
influence. It impressed me the more in that I had come to know Jimmy
Powers and his kind.

"You deserve it, every bit," said I. "I'm not going to call you a hero,
because that would make you tired. What you did this afternoon showed
nerve. It was a brave act. But it was a better act because your rescued
your enemy, because you forgot everything but your common humanity when
danger----"

I broke off. Jimmy was again looking at me with his ironically quizzical
grin.

"Bub," said he, "if you're going to hang any stars of Bethlehem on my
Christmas tree, just call a halt right here. I didn't rescue that
scalawag because I had any Christian sentiments, nary bit. I was just
naturally savin' him for the birling match next Fourther July."



STEWART EDWARD WHITE


There are some authors whom we think of as bookmen; there are others
whom we think of as men first, and as writers secondarily. Lowell, for
example was a bookman; Roosevelt was a man of action who wrote books.
Stewart Edward White, far more of a literary artist than Roosevelt,
gives like him the impression of a man who has done things, of one who
lives a full life, and produces books as a sort of by-product: very
valuable, but not the chief end of existence.

Mr. White was born in a small town near Grand Rapids, Michigan, March
12, 1873. His parents had their own ideas about bringing up children.
Instead of sending him to school they sent for a teacher to instruct
him, they encouraged him to read, they took him traveling, not only to
cities but to the silent places, the great forests, and to the lumber
camps. He spent four years in California, and became a good horseman,
making many trips in the saddle to the picturesque old ranches. When
finally, he entered high school, at sixteen, he went in with boys of his
own age, and graduated at eighteen, president of his class. And what he
was most proud of was that he won and still holds, the five-mile running
record of his school. He was intensely interested in birds at this time,
and spent all his spare hours in the woods, studying bird-life. The
result was a series of articles on birds, published in various
scientific journals,--papers whose columns are not usually open to high
school contributors.

Then came a college course at the University of Michigan, with vacations
spent in cruising about the Great Lakes in a twenty-eight-foot cutter
sloop. After graduation he worked for a time in a packing house, then
hearing of the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, he set off with
the other gold-diggers. He did not find a mine, but the experience gave
him a background for two later novels, _The Claim Jumpers_, and _The
Westerners_.

He went east for a year of graduate study at Columbia University. Like
many other students, he found a friend in Professor Brander Matthews,
who encouraged him to write of some of his western experiences. He sold
a few short stories to magazines, and his first novel, _The Claim
Jumpers_ was accepted by Appleton's. _The Westerners_, his next book,
brought him $500 for the serial rights, and with its publication he
definitely determined upon making authorship his calling. But it was not
authorship in a study. _The Blazed Trail_ was written in a lumber camp
in midwinter. He got up at four o'clock, wrote until eight, then put on
his snowshoes and went out for a day's work. When the story was finished
he gave it to the foreman of the camp to read. The man began it after
supper, and when White got up next morning at four, he found him still
reading, so he felt that the book would succeed.

Another year he made a trip to the Hudson Bay country, and on his return
wrote _Conjurer's House_. This was dramatized by George Broadhurst, and
was very successful on the stage. With Thomas Fogarty, the artist, he
made a long canoe trip, and the resulting book, _The Forest_, was
illustrated by Mr. Fogarty. A camping trip in the Sierra Mountains of
California was followed by the writing of _The Mountains_. His next
book, _The Mystery_, was written jointly by Mr. White and Samuel Hopkins
Adams. When it was finished they not only divided the proceeds but
divided the characters for future stories, White taking Handy Solomon,
whom he used again in _Arizona Nights_, and Darrow, who appeared in _The
Sign at Six_.

Then without warning, Mr. White went to Africa. His explanation was
simple:


     I went because I wanted to. About once in so often the wheels get
     rusty and I have to get up and do something real or else blow up.
     Africa seemed to me a pretty real thing. Let me add that I did not
     go for material. I never go anywhere for material; if I did I
     should not get it. That attitude of mine would give me merely
     externals, which are not worth writing about. I go places merely
     because for one reason or another they attract me. Then if it
     happens that I get close enough to the life, I may later find that
     I have something to write about. A man rarely writes anything
     convincing unless he has lived the life; not with his critical
     faculty alert, but whole-heartedly and because, for the time being,
     it is his life.


Naturally he found that he had something to write about on his return.
_The Land of Footprints_, _African Camp Fires_, _Simba_, and _The
Leopard Woman_ were books that grew out of his African trip. Mr. White
next planned to write a series of three novels dealing with the romantic
history of the state of California. The first of these books, _Gold_,
describes the mad rush of the Forty-Niners on the first discovery of
gold in California. _The Gray Dawn_, the second of the series, tells of
the days of the Vigilantes, when the wild life of the mining camps
slowly settled down to law and order. The coming of the World War was a
fresh challenge to his adventurous spirit, and he saw service in France
as a major in the U. S. Field Artillery.

From this sketch it is apparent that Mr. White's books have all grown
out of his experience, in the sense that the background is one that he
has known. This explains the strong feeling of reality that we
experience as we read his stories.



NEW ENGLAND GRANITE

_From the day the Pilgrims landed on a rockbound coast, the name New
Englander has suggested certain traits of character. It connotes a
restraint of feeling which more impulsive persons may mistake for
absence of feeling; a reserve carried almost to the point of coldness; a
quiet dignity which to a breezy Westerner seems like "stand-offishness."
But those who come to know New England people well, find that beneath
the flint is fire. Dorothy Canfield suggests the theme of her story in
the title--"Flint and Fire."_



FLINT AND FIRE

BY

DOROTHY CANFIELD


My husband's cousin had come up from the city, slightly more fagged and
sardonic than usual, and as he stretched himself out in the big
porch-chair he was even more caustic than was his wont about the
bareness and emotional sterility of the lives of our country people.

"Perhaps they had, a couple of centuries ago, when the Puritan
hallucination was still strong, a certain fierce savor of religious
intolerance; but now that that has died out, and no material prosperity
has come to let them share in the larger life of their century, there is
a flatness, a mean absence of warmth or color, a deadness to all
emotions but the pettiest sorts----"

I pushed the pitcher nearer him, clinking the ice invitingly, and
directed his attention to our iris-bed as a more cheerful object of
contemplation than the degeneracy of the inhabitants of Vermont. The
flowers burned on their tall stalks like yellow tongues of flame. The
strong, sword-like green leaves thrust themselves boldly up into the
spring air like a challenge. The plants vibrated with vigorous life.

In the field beyond them, as vigorous as they, strode Adoniram Purdon
behind his team, the reins tied together behind his muscular neck, his
hands grasping the plow with the masterful sureness of the successful
practitioner of an art. The hot, sweet spring sunshine shone down on
'Niram's head with its thick crest of brown hair, the ineffable odor of
newly turned earth steamed up about him like incense, the mountain
stream beyond him leaped and shouted. His powerful body answered every
call made on it with the precision of a splendid machine. But there was
no elation in the grimly set face as 'Niram wrenched the plow around a
big stone, or as, in a more favorable furrow, the gleaming share sped
steadily along before the plowman, turning over a long, unbroken brown
ribbon of earth.

My cousin-in-law waved a nervous hand toward the sternly silent figure
as it stepped doggedly behind the straining team, the head bent forward,
the eyes fixed on the horses' heels.

"There!" he said. "There is an example of what I mean. Is there another
race on earth which could produce a man in such a situation who would
not on such a day sing, or whistle, or at least hold up his head and
look at all the earthly glories about him?"

I was silent, but not for lack of material for speech. 'Niram's reasons
for austere self-control were not such as I cared to discuss with a man
of my cousin's mental attitude. As we sat looking at him the noon
whistle from the village blew and the wise old horses stopped in the
middle of a furrow. 'Niram unharnessed them, led them to the shade of a
tree, and put on their nose-bags. Then he turned and came toward the
house.

"Don't I seem to remember," murmured my cousin under his breath, "that,
even though he is a New-Englander, he has been known to make up errands
to your kitchen to see your pretty Ev'leen Ann?"

I looked at him hard; but he was only gazing down, rather cross-eyed, on
his grizzled mustache, with an obvious petulant interest in the increase
of white hairs in it. Evidently his had been but a chance shot. 'Niram
stepped up on the grass at the edge of the porch. He was so tall that he
overtopped the railing easily, and, reaching a long arm over to where I
sat, he handed me a small package done up in yellowish tissue-paper.
Without hat-raisings, or good-mornings or any other of the greetings
usual in a more effusive civilization, he explained briefly:

"My stepmother wanted I should give you this. She said to thank you for
the grape-juice." As he spoke he looked at me gravely out of deep-set
blue eyes, and when he had delivered his message he held his peace.

I expressed myself with the babbling volubility of one whose manners
have been corrupted by occasional sojourns in the city. "Oh, 'Niram!" I
cried protestingly, as I opened the package and took out an exquisitely
wrought old-fashioned collar. "Oh, 'Niram! How _could_ your stepmother
give such a thing away? Why, it must be one of her precious old relics.
I don't _want_ her to give me something every time I do some little
thing for her. Can't a neighbor send her in a few bottles of grape-juice
without her thinking she must pay it back somehow? It's not kind of her.
She has never yet let me do the least thing for her without repaying me
with something that is worth ever so much more than my trifling
services."

When I had finished my prattling, 'Niram repeated, with an accent of
finality, "She wanted I should give it to you."

The older man stirred in his chair. Without looking at him I knew that
his gaze on the young rustic was quizzical and that he was recording on
the tablets of his merciless memory the ungraceful abruptness of the
other's action and manner.

"How is your stepmother feeling to-day, 'Niram?" I asked.

"Worse."

'Niram came to a full stop with the word. My cousin covered his
satirical mouth with his hand.

"Can't the doctor do anything to relieve her?" I asked.

'Niram moved at last from his Indian-like immobility. He looked up under
the brim of his felt hat at the sky-line of the mountain, shimmering
iridescent above us. "He says maybe 'lectricity would help her some. I'm
goin' to git her the batteries and things soon's I git the rubber
bandages paid for."

There was a long silence. My cousin stood up, yawning, and sauntered
away toward the door. "Shall I send Ev'leen Ann out to get the pitcher
and glasses?" he asked in an accent which he evidently thought very
humorously significant.

The strong face under the felt hat turned white, the jaw muscles set
hard, but for all this show of strength there was an instant when the
man's eyes looked out with the sick, helpless revelation of pain they
might have had when 'Niram was a little boy of ten, a third of his
present age, and less than half his present stature. Occasionally it is
horrifying to see how a chance shot rings the bell.

"No, no! Never mind!" I said hastily. "I'll take the tray in when I go."

Without salutation or farewell 'Niram Purdon turned and went back to his
work.

The porch was an enchanted place, walled around with starlit darkness,
visited by wisps of breezes shaking down from their wings the breath of
lilac and syringa, flowering wild grapes, and plowed fields. Down at the
foot of our sloping lawn the little river, still swollen by the melted
snow from the mountains, plunged between its stony banks and shouted its
brave song to the stars.

We three middle-aged people--Paul, his cousin, and I--had disposed our
uncomely, useful, middle-aged bodies in the big wicker chairs and left
them there while our young souls wandered abroad in the sweet, dark
glory of the night. At least Paul and I were doing this, as we sat, hand
in hand, thinking of a May night twenty years before. One never knows
what Horace is thinking of, but apparently he was not in his usual
captious vein, for after a long pause he remarked, "It is a night almost
indecorously inviting to the making of love."

My answer seemed grotesquely out of key with this, but its sequence was
clear in my mind. I got up, saying: "Oh, that reminds me--I must go and
see Ev'leen Ann. I'd forgotten to plan to-morrow's dinner."

"Oh, everlastingly Ev'leen Ann!" mocked Horace from his corner. "Can't
you think of anything but Ev'leen Ann and her affairs?"

I felt my way through the darkness of the house, toward the kitchen,
both doors of which were tightly closed. When I stepped into the hot,
close room, smelling of food and fire, I saw Ev'leen Ann sitting on the
straight kitchen chair, the yellow light of the bracket-lamp bearing
down on her heavy braids and bringing out the exquisitely subtle
modeling of her smooth young face. Her hands were folded in her lap. She
was staring at the blank wall, and the expression of her eyes so
startled and shocked me that I stopped short and would have retreated if
it had not been too late. She had seen me, roused herself, and said
quietly, as though continuing a conversation interrupted the moment
before:

"I had been thinking that there was enough left of the roast to make
hash-balls for dinner"--"hash-balls" is Ev'leen Ann's decent Anglo-Saxon
name for croquettes--"and maybe you'd like a rhubarb pie."

I knew well enough she had been thinking of no such thing, but I could
as easily have slapped a reigning sovereign on the back as broken in on
the regal reserve of Ev'leen Ann in her clean gingham.

"Well, yes, Ev'leen Ann," I answered in her own tone of reasonable
consideration of the matter; "that would be nice, and your pie-crust is
so flaky that even Mr. Horace will have to be pleased."

"Mr. Horace" is our title for the sardonic cousin whose carping ways are
half a joke, and half a menace in our family.

Ev'leen Ann could not manage the smile which should have greeted this
sally. She looked down soberly at the white-pine top of the kitchen
table and said, "I guess there is enough sparrow-grass up in the garden
for a mess, too, if you'd like that."

"That would taste very good," I agreed, my heart aching for her.

"And creamed potatoes," she finished bravely, thrusting my unspoken
pity from her.

"You know I like creamed potatoes better than any other kind," I
concurred.

There was a silence. It seemed inhuman to go and leave the stricken
young thing to fight her trouble alone in the ugly prison, her
work-place, though I thought I could guess why Ev'leen Ann had shut the
doors so tightly. I hung near her, searching my head for something to
say, but she helped me by no casual remark. 'Niram is not the only one
of our people who possesses to the full the supreme gift of silence.
Finally I mentioned the report of a case of measles in the village, and
Ev'leen Ann responded in kind with the news that her Aunt Emma had
bought a potato-planter. Ev'leen Ann is an orphan, brought up by a
well-to-do spinster aunt, who is strong-minded and runs her own farm.
After a time we glided by way of similar transitions to the mention of
his name.

"'Niram Purdon tells me his stepmother is no better," I said. "Isn't it
too bad?" I thought it well for Ev'leen Ann to be dragged out of her
black cave of silence once in a while, even if it could be done only by
force. As she made no answer, I went on. "Everybody who knows 'Niram
thinks it splendid of him to do so much for his stepmother."

Ev'leen Ann responded with a detached air, as though speaking of a
matter in China: "Well, it ain't any more than what he should. She was
awful good to him when he was little and his father got so sick. I guess
'Niram wouldn't ha' had much to eat if she hadn't ha' gone out sewing to
earn it for him and Mr. Purdon." She added firmly, after a moment's
pause, "No, ma'am, I don't guess it's any more than what 'Niram had
ought to do."

"But it's very hard on a young man to feel that he's not able to marry,"
I continued. Once in a great while we came so near the matter as this.
Ev'leen Ann made no answer. Her face took on a pinched look of
sickness. She set her lips as though she would never speak again. But I
knew that a criticism of 'Niram would always rouse her, and said: "And
really, I think 'Niram makes a great mistake to act as he does. A wife
would be a help to him. She could take care of Mrs. Purdon and keep the
house."

Ev'leen Ann rose to the bait, speaking quickly with some heat: "I guess
'Niram knows what's right for him to do! He can't afford to marry when
he can't even keep up with the doctor's bills and all. He keeps the
house himself, nights and mornings, and Mrs. Purdon is awful handy about
taking care of herself, for all she's bedridden. That's her way, you
know. She can't bear to have folks do for her. She'd die before she'd
let anybody do anything for her that she could anyways do for herself!"

I sighed acquiescingly. Mrs. Purdon's fierce independence was a rock on
which every attempt at sympathy or help shattered itself to atoms. There
seemed to be no other emotion left in her poor old work-worn shell of a
body. As I looked at Ev'leen Ann it seemed rather a hateful
characteristic, and I remarked, "It seems to me it's asking a good deal
of 'Niram to spoil his life in order that his stepmother can go on
pretending she's independent."

Ev'leen Ann explained hastily: "Oh, 'Niram doesn't tell her anything
about--She doesn't know he would like to--he don't want she should be
worried--and, anyhow, as 'tis, he can't earn enough to keep ahead of all
the doctors cost."

"But the right kind of a wife--a good, competent girl--could help out by
earning something, too."

Ev'leen Ann looked at me forlornly, with no surprise. The idea was
evidently not new to her. "Yes, ma'am, she could. But 'Niram says he
ain't the kind of man to let his wife go out working." Even while she
dropped under the killing verdict of his pride she was loyal to his
standards and uttered no complaint. She went on, "'Niram wants Aunt
Em'line to have things the way she wants 'em, as near as he can give
'em to her--and it's right she should."

"Aunt Emeline?" I repeated, surprised at her absence of mind. "You mean
Mrs. Purdon, don't you?"

Ev'leen Ann looked vexed at her slip, but she scorned to attempt any
concealment. She explained dryly, with the shy, stiff embarrassment our
country people have in speaking of private affairs: "Well, she _is_ my
Aunt Em'line, Mrs. Purdon is, though I don't hardly ever call her that.
You see, Aunt Emma brought me up, and she and Aunt Em'line don't have
anything to do with each other. They were twins, and when they were
girls they got edgeways over 'Niram's father, when 'Niram was a baby and
his father was a young widower and come courting. Then Aunt Em'line
married him, and Aunt Emma never spoke to her afterward."

Occasionally, in walking unsuspectingly along one of our leafy lanes,
some such fiery geyser of ancient heat uprears itself in a boiling
column. I never get used to it, and started back now.

"Why, I never heard of that before, and I've known your Aunt Emma and
Mrs. Purdon for years!"

"Well, they're pretty old now," said Ev'leen Ann listlessly, with the
natural indifference of self-centered youth to the bygone tragedies of
the preceding generation. "It happened quite some time ago. And both of
them were so touchy, if anybody seemed to speak about it, that folks got
in the way of letting it alone. First Aunt Emma wouldn't speak to her
sister because she'd married the man she'd wanted, and then when Aunt
Emma made out so well farmin' and got so well off, why, then Mrs. Purdon
wouldn't try to make up because she was so poor. That was after Mr.
Purdon had had his stroke of paralysis and they'd lost their farm and
she'd taken to goin' out sewin'--not but what she was always perfectly
satisfied with her bargain. She always acted as though she'd rather have
her husband's old shirt stuffed with straw than any other man's whole
body. He was a real nice man, I guess, Mr. Purdon was."

There I had it--the curt, unexpanded chronicle of two passionate lives.
And there I had also the key to Mrs. Purdon's fury of independence. It
was the only way in which she could defend her husband against the
charge, so damning to her world, of not having provided for his wife. It
was the only monument she could rear to her husband's memory. And her
husband had been all there was in life for her!

I stood looking at her young kinswoman's face, noting the granite under
the velvet softness of its youth, and divining the flame underlying the
granite. I longed to break through her wall and to put my arms about
her, and on the impulse of the moment I cast aside the pretense of
casualness in our talk.

"Oh, my dear!" I said. "Are you and 'Niram always to go on like this?
Can't anybody help you?"

Ev'leen Ann looked at me, her face suddenly old and gray. "No, ma'am; we
ain't going to go on this way. We've decided, 'Niram and I have, that it
ain't no use. We've decided that we'd better not go places together any
more or see each other. It's too--If 'Niram thinks we can't"--she flamed
so that I knew she was burning from head to foot--"it's better for us
not----" She ended in a muffled voice, hiding her face in the crook of
her arm.

Ah, yes; now I knew why Ev'leen Ann had shut out the passionate breath
of the spring night!

I stood near her, a lump in my throat, but I divined the anguish of her
shame at her involuntary self-revelation, and respected it. I dared do
no more than to touch her shoulder gently.

The door behind us rattled. Ev'leen Ann sprang up and turned her face
toward the wall. Paul's cousin came in, shuffling a little, blinking his
eyes in the light of the unshaded lamp, and looking very cross and
tired. He glanced at us without comment as he went over to the sink.
"Nobody offered me anything good to drink," he complained, "so I came in
to get some water from the faucet for my nightcap."

When he had drunk with ostentation from the tin dipper he went to the
outside door and flung it open. "Don't you people know how hot and
smelly it is in here?" he said, with his usual unceremonious abruptness.

The night wind burst in, eddying, and puffed out the lamp with a breath.
In an instant the room was filled with coolness and perfumes and the
rushing sound of the river. Out of the darkness came Ev'leen Ann's young
voice. "It seems to me," she said, as though speaking to herself, "that
I never heard the Mill Brook sound so loud as it has this spring."


I woke up that night with the start one has at a sudden call. But there
had been no call. A profound silence spread itself through the sleeping
house. Outdoors the wind had died down. Only the loud brawl of the river
broke the stillness under the stars. But all through this silence and
this vibrant song there rang a soundless menace which brought me out of
bed and to my feet before I was awake. I heard Paul say, "What's the
matter?" in a sleepy voice, and "Nothing," I answered, reaching for my
dressing gown and slippers. I listened for a moment, my head ringing
with all the frightened tales of the morbid vein of violence which runs
through the character of our reticent people. There was still no sound.
I went along the hall and up the stairs to Ev'leen Ann's room, and I
opened the door without knocking. The room was empty.

Then how I ran! Calling loudly for Paul to join me, I ran down the two
flights of stairs, out of the open door, and along the hedged path which
leads down to the little river. The starlight was clear. I could see
everything as plainly as though in early dawn. I saw the river, and I
saw--Ev'leen Ann.

There was a dreadful moment of horror, which I shall never remember
very clearly, and then Ev'leen Ann and I--both very wet--stood on the
bank, shuddering in each other's arms.

Into our hysteria there dropped, like a pungent caustic, the arid voice
of Horace, remarking, "Well, are you two people crazy, or are you
walking in your sleep?"

I could feel Ev'leen Ann stiffen in my arms, and I fairly stepped back
from her in astonished admiration as I heard her snatch at the straw
thus offered, and still shuddering horribly from head to foot, force
herself to say quite connectedly: "Why--yes--of course--I've always
heard about my grandfather Parkman's walking in his sleep. Folks _said_
'twould come out in the family some time."

Paul was close behind Horace--I wondered a little at his not being
first--and with many astonished and inane ejaculations, such as people
always make on startling occasions, we made our way back into the house
to hot blankets and toddies. But I slept no more that night.

Some time after dawn, however, I did fall into a troubled
unconsciousness full of bad dreams, and only woke when the sun was quite
high. I opened my eyes to see Ev'leen Ann about to close the door.

"Oh, did I wake you up?" she said. "I didn't mean to. That little Harris
boy is here with a letter for you."

She spoke with a slightly defiant tone of self-possession. I tried to
play up to her interpretation of her rôle.

"The little Harris boy?" I said, sitting up in bed. "What in the world
is he bringing me a letter for?"

Ev'leen Ann, with her usual clear perception of the superfluous in
conversation, vouchsafed no opinion on a matter where she had no
information, but went downstairs and brought back the note. It was of
four lines, and--surprisingly enough--from old Mrs. Purdon, who asked me
abruptly if I would have my husband take me to see her. She specified,
and underlined the specification, that I was to come "right off, and in
the automobile." Wondering extremely at this mysterious bidding, I
sought out Paul, who obediently cranked up our small car and carried me
off. There was no sign of Horace about the house, but some distance on
the other side of the village we saw his tall, stooping figure swinging
along the road. He carried a cane and was characteristically occupied in
violently switching off the heads from the wayside weeds as he walked.
He refused our offer to take him in, alleging that he was out for
exercise and to reduce his flesh--an ancient jibe at his bony frame
which made him for an instant show a leathery smile.

There was, of course, no one at Mrs. Purdon's to let us into the tiny,
three-roomed house, since the bedridden invalid spent her days there
alone while 'Niram worked his team on other people's fields. Not knowing
what we might find, Paul stayed outside in the car, while I stepped
inside in answer to Mrs. Purdon's "Come _in_, why don't you!" which
sounded quite as dry as usual. But when I saw her I knew that things
were not as usual.

She lay flat on her back, the little emaciated wisp of humanity, hardly
raising the piecework quilt enough to make the bed seem occupied, and to
account for the thin, worn old face on the pillow. But as I entered the
room her eyes seized on mine, and I was aware of nothing but them and
some fury of determination behind them. With a fierce heat of impatience
at my first natural but quickly repressed exclamation of surprise she
explained briefly that she wanted Paul to lift her into the automobile
and take her into the next township to the Hulett farm. "I'm so shrunk
away to nuthin', I know I can lay on the back seat if I crook myself
up," she said, with a cool accent but a rather shaky voice. Seeming to
realize that even her intense desire to strike the matter-of-fact note
could not take the place of any and all explanation of her extraordinary
request, she added, holding my eyes steady with her own: "Emma Hulett's
my twin sister. I guess it ain't so queer, my wanting to see her."

I thought, of course, we were to be used as the medium for some
strange, sudden family reconciliation, and went out to ask Paul if he
thought he could carry the old invalid to the car. He replied that, so
far as that went, he could carry so thin an old body ten times around
the town, but that he refused absolutely to take such a risk without
authorization from her doctor. I remembered the burning eyes of
resolution I had left inside, and sent him to present his objections to
Mrs. Purdon herself.

In a few moments I saw him emerge from the house with the old woman in
his arms. He had evidently taken her up just as she lay. The piecework
quilt hung down in long folds, flashing its brilliant reds and greens in
the sunshine, which shone so strangely upon the pallid old countenance,
facing the open sky for the first time in years.

We drove in silence through the green and gold lyric of the spring day,
an elderly company sadly out of key with the triumphant note of eternal
youth which rang through all the visible world. Mrs. Purdon looked at
nothing, said nothing, seemed to be aware of nothing but the purpose in
her heart, whatever that might be. Paul and I, taking a leaf from our
neighbors' book, held, with a courage like theirs, to their excellent
habit of saying nothing when there is nothing to say. We arrived at the
fine old Hulett place without the exchange of a single word.

"Now carry me in," said Mrs. Purdon briefly, evidently hoarding her
strength.

"Wouldn't I better go and see if Miss Hulett is at home?" I asked.

Mrs. Purdon shook her head impatiently and turned her compelling eyes on
my husband. I went up the path before them to knock at the door,
wondering what the people in the house would possibly be thinking of us.
There was no answer to my knock. "Open the door and go in," commanded
Mrs. Purdon from out her quilt.

There was no one in the spacious, white-paneled hall, and no sound in
all the big, many-roomed house.

"Emma's out feeding the hens," conjectured Mrs. Purdon, not, I fancied,
without a faint hint of relief in her voice. "Now carry me up-stairs to
the first room on the right."

Half hidden by his burden, Paul rolled wildly inquiring eyes at me; but
he obediently staggered up the broad old staircase, and waiting till I
had opened the first door to the right, stepped into the big bedroom.

"Put me down on the bed, and open them shutters," Mrs. Purdon commanded.

She still marshaled her forces with no lack of decision, but with a
fainting voice which made me run over to her quickly as Paul laid her
down on the four-poster. Her eyes were still indomitable, but her mouth
hung open slackly and her color was startling. "Oh, Paul, quick! quick!
Haven't you your flask with you?"

Mrs. Purdon informed me in a barely audible whisper, "In the corner
cupboard at the head of the stairs," and I flew down the hallway. I
returned with a bottle, evidently of great age. There was only a little
brandy in the bottom, but it whipped up a faint color into the sick
woman's lips.

As I was bending over her and Paul was thrusting open the shutters,
letting in a flood of sunshine and flecky leaf-shadows, a firm, rapid
step came down the hall, and a vigorous woman, with a tanned face and a
clean, faded gingham dress, stopped short in the doorway with an
expression of stupefaction.

Mrs. Purdon put me on one side, and although she was physically
incapable of moving her body by a hair's breadth, she gave the effect of
having risen to meet the newcomer. "Well, Emma, here I am," she said in
a queer voice, with involuntary quavers in it. As she went on she had it
more under control, although in the course of her extraordinarily
succinct speech it broke and failed her occasionally. When it did, she
drew in her breath with an audible, painful effort, struggling forward
steadily in what she had to say. "You see, Emma, it's this way: My
'Niram and your Ev'leen Ann have been keeping company--ever since they
went to school together--you know that 's well as I do, for all we let
on we didn't, only I didn't know till just now how hard they took it.
They can't get married because 'Niram can't keep even, let alone get
ahead any, because I cost so much bein' sick, and the doctor says I may
live for years this way, same's Aunt Hettie did. An' 'Niram is
thirty-one, an' Ev'leen Ann is twenty-eight, an' they've had 'bout's
much waitin' as is good for folks that set such store by each other.
I've thought of every way out of it--and there ain't any. The Lord knows
I don't enjoy livin' any, not so's to notice the enjoyment, and I'd
thought of cutting my throat like Uncle Lish, but that'd make 'Niram and
Ev'leen Ann feel so--to think why I'd done it; they'd never take the
comfort they'd ought in bein' married; so that won't do. There's only
one thing to do. I guess you'll have to take care of me till the Lord
calls me. Maybe I won't last so long as the doctor thinks."

When she finished, I felt my ears ringing in the silence. She had walked
to the sacrificial altar with so steady a step, and laid upon it her
precious all with so gallant a front of quiet resolution, that for an
instant I failed to take in the sublimity of her self-immolation. Mrs.
Purdon asking for charity! And asking the one woman who had most reason
to refuse it to her.

Paul looked at me miserably, the craven desire to escape a scene written
all over him. "Wouldn't we better be going, Mrs. Purdon?" I said
uneasily. I had not ventured to look at the woman in the doorway.

Mrs. Purdon motioned me to remain, with an imperious gesture whose
fierceness showed the tumult underlying her brave front. "No; I want you
should stay. I want you should hear what I say, so's you can tell folks,
if you have to. Now, look here, Emma," she went on to the other, still
obstinately silent; "you must look at it the way 'tis. We're neither of
us any good to anybody, the way we are--and I'm dreadfully in the way
of the only two folks we care a pin about--either of us. You've got
plenty to do with, and nothing to spend it on. I can't get myself out of
their way by dying without going against what's Scripture and proper,
but----" Her steely calm broke. She burst out in a screaming, hysterical
voice: "You've just _got_ to, Emma Hulett! You've just _got_ to! If you
don't I won't never go back to 'Niram's house! I'll lie in the ditch by
the roadside till the poor-master comes to get me--and I'll tell
everybody that it's because my own twin sister, with a house and a farm
and money in the bank, turned me out to starve--" A fearful spasm cut
her short. She lay twisted and limp, the whites of her eyes showing
between the lids.

"Good God, she's gone!" cried Paul, running to the bed.

I was aware that the woman in the doorway had relaxed her frozen
immobility and was between Paul and me as we rubbed the thin, icy hands
and forced brandy between the placid lips. We all three thought her dead
or dying, and labored over her with the frightened thankfulness for one
another's living presence which always marks that dreadful moment. But
even as we fanned and rubbed, and cried out to one another to open the
windows and to bring water, the blue lips moved to a ghostly whisper:
"Em, listen----" The old woman went back to the nickname of their common
youth. "Em--your Ev'leen Ann--tried to drown herself--in the Mill Brook
last night.... That's what decided me--to----" And then we were plunged
into another desperate struggle with Death for the possession of the
battered old habitation of the dauntless soul before us.

"Isn't there any hot water in the house?" cried Paul, and "Yes, yes; a
tea-kettle on the stove!" answered the woman who labored with us. Paul,
divining that she meant the kitchen, fled down-stairs. I stole a look at
Emma Hulett's face as she bent over the sister she had not seen in
thirty years, and I knew that Mrs. Purdon's battle was won. It even
seemed that she had won another skirmish in her never-ending war with
death, for a little warmth began to come back into her hands.

When Paul returned with the tea-kettle, and a hot-water bottle had been
filled, the owner of the house straightened herself, assumed her
rightful position as mistress of the situation, and began to issue
commands. "You git right in the automobile, and go git the doctor," she
told Paul. "That'll be the quickest. She's better now, and your wife and
I can keep her goin' till the doctor gits here."

As Paul left the room she snatched something white from a bureau-drawer,
stripped the worn, patched old cotton nightgown from the skeleton-like
body, and, handling the invalid with a strong, sure touch, slipped on a
soft, woolly outing-flannel wrapper with a curious trimming of zigzag
braid down the front. Mrs. Purdon opened her eyes very slightly, but
shut them again at her sister's quick command, "You lay still, Em'line,
and drink some of this brandy." She obeyed without comment, but after a
pause she opened her eyes again and looked down at the new garment which
clad her. She had that moment turned back from the door of death, but
her first breath was used to set the scene for a return to a decent
decorum.

"You're still a great hand for rick-rack work, Em, I see," she murmured
in a faint whisper. "Do you remember how surprised Aunt Su was when you
made up a pattern?"

"Well, I hadn't thought of it for quite some time," returned Miss
Hulett, in exactly the same tone of everyday remark. As she spoke she
slipped her arm under the other's head and poked the pillow to a more
comfortable shape. "Now you lay perfectly still," she commanded in the
hectoring tone of the born nurse; "I'm goin' to run down and make you up
a good hot cup of sassafras tea."

I followed her down into the kitchen and was met by the same refusal to
be melodramatic which I had encountered in Ev'leen Ann. I was most
anxious to know what version of my extraordinary morning I was to give
out to the world, but hung silent, positively abashed by the cool
casualness of the other woman as she mixed her brew. Finally, "Shall I
tell 'Niram--What shall I say to Ev'leen Ann? If anybody asks me----" I
brought out with clumsy hesitation.

At the realization that her reserve and family pride were wholly at the
mercy of any report I might choose to give, even my iron hostess
faltered. She stopped short in the middle of the floor, looked at me
silently, piteously, and found no word.

I hastened to assure her that I would attempt no hateful picturesqueness
of narration. "Suppose I just say that you were rather lonely here, now
that Ev'leen Ann has left you, and that you thought it would be nice to
have your sister come to stay with you, so that 'Niram and Ev'leen Ann
can be married?"

Emma Hulett breathed again. She walked toward the stairs with the
steaming cup in her hand. Over her shoulder she remarked, "Well, yes,
ma'am; that would be as good a way to put it as any, I guess."


'Niram and Ev'leen Ann were standing up to be married. They looked very
stiff and self-conscious, and Ev'leen Ann was very pale. 'Niram's big
hands, bent in the crook of a man who handles tools, hung down by his
new black trousers. Ev'leen Ann's strong fingers stood out stiffly from
one another. They looked hard at the minister and repeated after him in
low and meaningless tones the solemn and touching words of the marriage
service. Back of them stood the wedding company, in freshly washed and
ironed white dresses, new straw hats, and black suits smelling of
camphor. In the background among the other elders, stood Paul and Horace
and I--my husband and I hand in hand; Horace twiddling the black ribbon
which holds his watch, and looking bored. Through the open windows into
the stuffiness of the best room came an echo of the deep organ note of
midsummer.

"Whom God hath joined together----" said the minister, and the epitome
of humanity which filled the room held its breath--the old with a wonder
upon their life-scarred faces, the young half frightened to feel the
stir of the great wings soaring so near them.

Then it was all over. 'Niram and Ev'leen Ann were married, and the rest
of us were bustling about to serve the hot biscuit and coffee and
chicken salad, and to dish up the ice-cream. Afterward there were no
citified refinements of cramming rice down the necks of the departing
pair or tying placards to the carriage in which they went away. Some of
the men went out to the barn and hitched up for 'Niram, and we all went
down to the gate to see them drive off. They might have been going for
one of their Sunday afternoon "buggy-rides" except for the wet eyes of
the foolish women and girls who stood waving their hands in answer to
the flutter of Ev'leen Ann's handkerchief as the carriage went down the
hill.

We had nothing to say to one another after they left, and began soberly
to disperse to our respective vehicles. But as I was getting into our
car a new thought suddenly struck me.

"Why," I cried, "I never thought of it before! However in the world did
old Mrs. Purdon know about Ev'leen Ann--that night?"

Horace was pulling at the door, which was badly adjusted and shut hard.
He closed it with a vicious slam "_I_ told her," he said crossly.



HOW "FLINT AND FIRE" STARTED AND GREW

BY

DOROTHY CANFIELD


I feel very dubious about the wisdom or usefulness of publishing the
following statement of how one of my stories came into existence. This
is not on account of the obvious danger of seeming to have illusions
about the value of my work, as though I imagined one of my stories was
inherently worth in itself a careful public analysis of its growth; the
chance, remote as it might be, of usefulness to students, would outweigh
this personal consideration. What is more important is the danger that
some student may take the explanation as a recipe or rule for the
construction of other stories, and I totally disbelieve in such rules or
recipes.

As a rule, when a story is finished, and certainly always by the time it
is published, I have no recollection of the various phases of its
development. In the case of "Flint and Fire", an old friend chanced to
ask me, shortly after the tale was completed, to write out for his
English classes, the stages of the construction of a short story. I set
them down, hastily, formlessly, but just as they happened, and this
gives me a record which I could not reproduce for any other story I ever
wrote. These notes are here published on the chance that such a truthful
record of the growth of one short story, may have some general
suggestiveness for students.

No two of my stories are ever constructed in the same way, but broadly
viewed they all have exactly the same genesis, and I confess I cannot
conceive of any creative fiction written from any other beginning ...
that of a generally intensified emotional sensibility, such as every
human being experiences with more or less frequency. Everybody knows
such occasional hours or days of freshened emotional responses when
events that usually pass almost unnoticed, suddenly move you deeply,
when a sunset lifts you to exaltation, when a squeaking door throws you
into a fit of exasperation, when a clear look of trust in a child's eyes
moves you to tears, or an injustice reported in the newspapers to
flaming indignation, a good action to a sunny warm love of human nature,
a discovered meanness in yourself or another, to despair.

I have no idea whence this tide comes, or where it goes, but when it
begins to rise in my heart, I know that a story is hovering in the
offing. It does not always come safely to port. The daily routine of
ordinary life kills off many a vagrant emotion. Or if daily humdrum
occupation does not stifle it, perhaps this saturated solution of
feeling does not happen to crystallize about any concrete fact, episode,
word or phrase. In my own case, it is far more likely to seize on some
slight trifle, the shade of expression on somebody's face, or the tone
of somebody's voice, than to accept a more complete, ready-made episode.
Especially this emotion refuses to crystallize about, or to have
anything to do with those narrations of our actual life, offered by
friends who are sure that such-and-such a happening is so strange or
interesting that "it ought to go in a story."

The beginning of a story is then for me in more than usual sensitiveness
to emotion. If this encounters the right focus (and heaven only knows
why it is the "right" one) I get simultaneously a strong thrill of
intense feeling, and an intense desire to pass it on to other people.
This emotion may be any one of the infinitely varied ones which life
affords, laughter, sorrow, indignation, gayety, admiration, scorn,
pleasure. I recognize it for the "right" one when it brings with it an
irresistible impulse to try to make other people feel it. And I know
that when it comes, the story is begun. At this point, the story begins
to be more or less under my conscious control, and it is here that the
work of construction begins.

"Flint and Fire" thus hovered vaguely in a shimmer of general emotional
tensity, and thus abruptly crystallized itself about a chance phrase and
the cadence of the voice which pronounced it. For several days I had
been almost painfully alive to the beauty of an especially lovely
spring, always so lovely after the long winter in the mountains. One
evening, going on a very prosaic errand to a farm-house of our region, I
walked along a narrow path through dark pines, beside a brook swollen
with melting snow, and found the old man I came to see, sitting silent
and alone before his blackened small old house. I did my errand, and
then not to offend against our country standards of sociability, sat for
half an hour beside him.

The old man had been for some years desperately unhappy about a tragic
and permanent element in his life. I had known this, every one knew it.
But that evening, played upon as I had been by the stars, the darkness
of the pines and the shouting voice of the brook, I suddenly stopped
merely knowing it, and felt it. It seemed to me that his misery emanated
from him like a soundless wail of anguish. We talked very little, odds
and ends of neighborhood gossip, until the old man, shifting his
position, drew a long breath and said, "Seems to me I never heard the
brook sound so loud as it has this spring." There came instantly to my
mind the recollection that his grandfather had drowned himself in that
brook, and I sat silent, shaken by that thought and by the sound of his
voice. I have no words to attempt to reproduce his voice, or to try to
make you feel as I did, hot and cold with the awe of that glimpse into a
naked human heart. I felt my own heart contract dreadfully with helpless
sympathy ... and, I hope this is not as ugly as it sounds, I knew at the
same instant that I would try to get that pang of emotion into a story
and make other people feel it.

That is all. That particular phase of the construction of the story
came and went between two heart-beats.

I came home by the same path through the same pines along the same
brook, sinfully blind and deaf to the beauty that had so moved me an
hour ago. I was too busy now to notice anything outside the rapid
activity going on inside my head. My mind was working with a swiftness
and a coolness which I am somewhat ashamed to mention, and my emotions
were calmed, relaxed, let down from the tension of the last few days and
the last few moments. They had found their way out to an attempt at
self-expression and were at rest. I realize that this is not at all
estimable. The old man was just as unhappy as he had been when I had
felt my heart breaking with sympathy for him, but now he seemed very far
away.

I was snatching up one possibility after another, considering it for a
moment, casting it away and pouncing on another. First of all, the story
must be made as remote as possible from resembling the old man or his
trouble, lest he or any one in the world might think he was intended,
and be wounded.

What is the opposite pole from an old man's tragedy? A lover's tragedy,
of course. Yes, it must be separated lovers, young and passionate and
beautiful, because they would fit in with the back-ground of spring, and
swollen shouting starlit brooks, and the yearly resurrection which was
so closely connected with that ache of emotion that they were a part of
it.

Should the separation come from the weakness or faithlessness of one of
the lovers? No, ah no, I wanted it without ugliness, pure beautiful
sorrow, to fit that dark shadow of the pines ... the lovers must be
separated by outside forces.

What outside forces? Lack of money? Family opposition? Both, perhaps. I
knew plenty of cases of both in the life of our valley.

By this time I had come again to our own house and was swallowed in the
usual thousand home-activities. But underneath all that, quite steadily
my mind continued to work on the story as a wasp in a barn keeps on
silently plastering up the cells of his nest in the midst of the noisy
activities of farm-life. I said to one of the children, "Yes, dear,
wasn't it fun!" and to myself, "To be typical of our tradition-ridden
valley-people, the opposition ought to come from the dead hand of the
past." I asked a caller, "One lump or two?" and thought as I poured the
tea, "And if the character of that opposition could be made to indicate
a fierce capacity for passionate feeling in the older generation, that
would make it doubly useful in the story, not only as part of the
machinery of the plot, but as indicating an inheritance of passionate
feeling in the younger generation, with whom the story is concerned." I
dozed off at night, and woke to find myself saying, "It could come from
the jealousy of two sisters, now old women."

But that meant that under ordinary circumstances the lovers would have
been first cousins, and this might cause a subconscious wavering of
attention on the part of some readers ... just as well to get that stone
out of the path! I darned a sock and thought out the relationship in the
story, and was rewarded with a revelation of the character of the sick
old woman, 'Niram's step-mother.

Upon this, came one of those veering lists of the ballast aboard which
are so disconcerting to the author. The story got out of hand. The old
woman silent, indomitable, fed and deeply satisfied for all of her hard
and grinding life by her love for the husband whom she had taken from
her sister, she stepped to the front of my stage, and from that moment
on, dominated the action. I did not expect this, nor desire it, and I
was very much afraid that the result would be a perilously divided
interest which would spoil the unity of impression of the story. It now
occurs to me that this unexpected shifting of values may have been the
emergence of the element of tragic old age which had been the start of
the story and which I had conscientiously tried to smother out of sight.
At any rate, there she was, more touching, pathetic, striking, to my
eyes with her life-time proof of the reality of her passion, than my
untried young lovers who up to that time had seemed to me, in the full
fatuous flush of invention as I was, as ill-starred, innocent and
touching lovers as anybody had ever seen.

Alarmed about this double interest I went on with the weaving back and
forth of the elements of the plot which now involved the attempt to
arouse in the reader's heart as in mine a sympathy for the bed-ridden
old Mrs. Purdon and a comprehension of her sacrifice.

My daily routine continued as usual, gardening, telling stories, music,
sewing, dusting, motoring, callers ... one of them, a self-consciously
sophisticated Europeanized American, not having of course any idea of
what was filling my inner life, rubbed me frightfully the wrong way by
making a slighting condescending allusion to what he called the mean,
emotional poverty of our inarticulate mountain people. I flew into a
silent rage at him, though scorning to discuss with him a matter I felt
him incapable of understanding, and the character of Cousin Horace went
into the story. He was for the first day or two, a very poor cheap
element, quite unreal, unrealized, a mere man of straw to be knocked
over by the personages of the tale. Then I took myself to task, told
myself that I was spoiling a story merely to revenge myself on a man I
cared nothing about, and that I must either take Cousin Horace out or
make him human. One day, working in the garden, I laughed out suddenly,
delighted with the whimsical idea of making him, almost in spite of
himself, the _deus ex machina_ of my little drama, quite soft and
sympathetic under his shell of would-be worldly disillusion, as
occasionally happens to elderly bachelors.

At this point the character of 'Niram's long-dead father came to life
and tried to push his way into the story, a delightful, gentle, upright
man, with charm and a sense of humor, such as none of the rest of my
stark characters possessed. I felt that he was necessary to explain the
fierceness of the sisters' rivalry for him. I planned one or two ways to
get him in, in retrospect--and liked one of the scenes better than
anything that finally was left in the story. Finally, very
heavy-hearted, I put him out of the story, for the merely material
reason that there was no room for him. As usual with my story-making,
this plot was sprouting out in a dozen places, expanding, opening up,
till I perceived that I had enough material for a novel. For a day or so
I hung undecided. Would it perhaps be better to make it a novel and
really tell about those characters all I knew and guessed? But again a
consideration that has nothing to do with artistic form, settled the
matter. I saw no earthly possibility of getting time enough to write a
novel. So I left Mr. Purdon out, and began to think of ways to compress
my material, to make one detail do double work so that space might be
saved.

One detail of the mechanism remained to be arranged, and this ended by
deciding the whole form of the story, and the first-person character of
the recital. This was the question of just how it would have been
materially possible for the bed-ridden old woman to break down the
life-long barrier between her and her sister, and how she could have
reached her effectively and forced her hand. I could see no way to
manage this except by somehow transporting her bodily to the sister's
house, so that she could not be put out on the road without public
scandal. This transportation must be managed by some character not in
the main action, as none of the persons involved would have been willing
to help her to this. It looked like putting in another character, just
for that purpose, and of course he could not be put in without taking
the time to make him plausible, human, understandable ... and I had just
left out that charming widower for sheer lack of space. Well, why not
make it a first person story, and have the narrator be the one who takes
Mrs. Purdon to her sister's? The narrator of the story never needs to be
explained, always seems sufficiently living and real by virtue of the
supremely human act of so often saying "I".

Now the materials were ready, the characters fully alive in my mind and
entirely visualized, even to the smoothly braided hair of Ev'leen Ann,
the patch-work quilt of the old woman out-of-doors, and the rustic
wedding at the end, all details which had recently chanced to draw my
attention; I heard everything through the song of the swollen brook, one
of the main characters in the story, (although by this time in actual
fact, June and lower water had come and the brook slid quiet and
gleaming, between placid green banks) and I often found myself smiling
foolishly in pleasure over the buggy going down the hill, freighted so
richly with hearty human joy.

The story was now ready to write.

I drew a long breath of mingled anticipation and apprehension, somewhat
as you do when you stand, breathing quickly, balanced on your skis, at
the top of a long white slope you are not sure you are clever enough to
manage. Sitting down at my desk one morning, I "pushed off" and with a
tingle of not altogether pleasurable excitement and alarm, felt myself
"going." I "went" almost as precipitately as skis go down a long white
slope, scribbling as rapidly as my pencil could go, indicating whole
words with a dash and a jiggle, filling page after page with scrawls ...
it seemed to me that I had been at work perhaps half an hour, when
someone was calling me impatiently to lunch. I had been writing four
hours without stopping. My cheeks were flaming, my feet were cold, my
lips parched. It was high time someone called me to lunch.

The next morning, back at the desk, I looked over what I had written,
conquered the usual sick qualms of discouragement at finding it so
infinitely flat and insipid compared to what I had wished to make it,
and with a very clear idea of what remained to be done, plodded ahead
doggedly, and finished the first draught before noon. It was almost
twice too long.

After this came a period of steady desk work, every morning, of
re-writing, compression, more compression, and the more or less
mechanical work of technical revision, what a member of my family calls
"cutting out the 'whiches'". The first thing to do each morning was to
read a part of it over aloud, sentence by sentence, to try to catch
clumsy, ungraceful phrases, overweights at one end or the other,
"ringing" them as you ring a dubious coin, clipping off too-trailing
relative clauses, "listening" hard. This work depends on what is known
in music as "ear", and in my case it cannot be kept up long at a time,
because I find my attention flagging. When I begin to suspect that my
ear is dulling, I turn to other varieties of revision, of which there
are plenty to keep anybody busy; for instance revision to explain facts;
in this category is the sentence just after the narrator suspects
Ev'leen Ann has gone down to the brook, "my ears ringing with all the
frightening tales of the morbid vein of violence which runs through the
characters of our reticent people." It seemed too on re-reading the
story for the tenth or eleventh time, that for readers who do not know
our valley people, the girl's attempt at suicide might seem improbable.
Some reference ought to be brought in, giving the facts that their
sorrow and despair is terrible in proportion to the nervous strain of
their tradition of repression, and that suicide is by no means unknown.
I tried bringing that fact in, as part of the conversation with Cousin
Horace, but it never fused with the rest there, "stayed on top of the
page" as bad sentences will do, never sank in, and always made the
disagreeable impression on me that a false intonation in an actor's
voice does. So it came out from there. I tried putting it in Ev'leen
Ann's mouth, in a carefully arranged form, but it was so shockingly out
of character there, that it was snatched out at once. There I hung over
the manuscript with that necessary fact in my hand and no place to lay
it down. Finally I perceived a possible opening for it, where it now is
in the story, and squeezing it in there discontentedly left it, for I
still think it only inoffensively and not well placed.

Then there is the traditional, obvious revision for suggestiveness, such
as the recurrent mention of the mountain brook at the beginning of each
of the first scenes; revision for ordinary sense, in the first draught I
had honeysuckle among the scents on the darkened porch, whereas
honeysuckle does not bloom in Vermont till late June; revision for
movement to get the narrator rapidly from her bed to the brook; for
sound, sense proportion, even grammar ... and always interwoven with
these mechanical revisions recurrent intense visualizations of the
scenes. This is the mental trick which can be learned, I think, by
practice and effort. Personally, although I never used as material any
events in my own intimate life, I can write nothing if I cannot achieve
these very definite, very complete visualizations of the scenes; which
means that I can write nothing at all about places, people or phases of
life which I do not intimately know, down to the last detail. If my life
depended on it, it does not seem to me I could possibly write a story
about Siberian hunters or East-side factory hands without having lived
long among them. Now the story was what one calls "finished," and I made
a clear copy, picking my way with difficulty among the alterations, the
scratched-out passages, and the cued-in paragraphs, the inserted pages,
the re-arranged phrases. As I typed, the interest and pleasure in the
story lasted just through that process. It still seemed pretty good to
me, the wedding still touched me, the whimsical ending still amused me.

But on taking up the legible typed copy and beginning to glance rapidly
over it, I felt fall over me the black shadow of that intolerable
reaction which is enough to make any author abjure his calling for ever.
By the time I had reached the end, the full misery was there, the
heart-sick, helpless consciousness of failure. What! I had had the
presumption to try to translate into words, and make others feel a
thrill of sacred living human feeling, that should not be touched save
by worthy hands. And what had I produced? A trivial, paltry, complicated
tale, with certain cheaply ingenious devices in it. I heard again the
incommunicable note of profound emotion in the old man's voice, suffered
again with his sufferings; and those little black marks on white paper
lay dead, dead in my hands. What horrible people second-rate authors
were! They ought to be prohibited by law from sending out their
caricatures of life. I would never write again. All that effort, enough
to have achieved a master-piece it seemed at the time ... and this,
_this_, for result!

From the subconscious depths of long experience came up the cynical,
slightly contemptuous consolation, "You know this never lasts. You
always throw this same fit, and get over it."

So, suffering from really acute humiliation and unhappiness, I went out
hastily to weed a flower-bed.

And sure enough, the next morning, after a long night's sleep, I felt
quite rested, calm, and blessedly matter-of-fact. "Flint and Fire"
seemed already very far away and vague, and the question of whether it
was good or bad, not very important or interesting, like the chart of
your temperature in a fever now gone by.



DOROTHY CANFIELD


Dorothy Canfield grew up in an atmosphere of books and learning. Her
father, James H. Canfield, was president of Kansas University, at
Lawrence, and there Dorothy was born, Feb. 17, 1879. She attended the
high school at Lawrence, and became friends with a young army officer
who was teaching at the near-by Army post, and who taught her to ride
horseback. In 1917 when the first American troops entered Paris, Dorothy
Canfield, who had gone to Paris to help in war work, again met this army
officer, General John J. Pershing.

But this is getting ahead of the story. Dr. Canfield was called from
Kansas to become president of Ohio State University, and later to be
librarian at Columbia University, and so it happened that Dorothy took
her college course at Ohio State and her graduate work at Columbia. She
specialized in Romance languages, and took her degree as Doctor of
Philosophy in 1904. In connection with Professor Carpenter of Columbia
she wrote a text book on rhetoric. But books did not absorb quite all of
her time, for the next item in her biography is her marriage to John R.
Fisher, who had been the captain of the Columbia football team. They
made their home at Arlington, Vermont, with frequent visits to Europe.
In 1911-1912 they spent the winter in Rome. Here they came to know
Madame Montessori, famous for developing a new system of training
children. Dorothy Canfield spent many days at the "House of Childhood,"
studying the methods of this gifted teacher. The result of this was a
book, _A Montessori Mother_, in which the system was adapted to the
needs of American children.

_The Squirrel Cage_, published in 1912, was a study of an unhappy
marriage. The book was favorably received by the critics, but found only
a moderately wide public. A second novel, _The Bent Twig_, had college
life as its setting; the chief character was the daughter of a professor
in a Middle Western university. Meantime she had been publishing in
magazines a number of short stories dealing with various types of New
England country people, and in 1916 these were gathered into a volume
with the title _Hillsboro People_. This book met with a wide acceptance,
not only in this country but in France, where, like her other books, it
was quickly translated and published. "Flint and Fire" is taken from
this book. _The Real Motive_, another book of short stories, and
_Understood Betsy_, a book for younger readers, were her next
publications.

Meantime the Great War had come, and its summons was heard in their
quiet mountain home. Mr. Fisher went to France with the Ambulance Corps;
his wife as a war-relief worker. A letter from a friend thus described
her work:


     She has gone on doing a prodigious amount of work. First running,
     almost entirely alone, the work for soldiers blinded in battle,
     editing a magazine for them, running the presses, often with her
     own hands, getting books written for them; all the time looking out
     for refugees and personal cases that came under her attention:
     caring for children from the evacuated portions of France,
     organizing work for them, and establishing a Red Cross hospital for
     them.


Out of the fullness of these experiences she wrote her next book, _Home
Fires in France_, which at once took rank as one of the most notable
pieces of literature inspired by the war. It is in the form of short
stories, but only the form is fiction: it is a perfectly truthful
portrayal of the French women and of some Americans who, far back of the
trenches, kept up the life of a nation when all its people were gone. It
reveals the soul of the French people. _The Day of Glory_, her latest
book, is a series of further impressions of the war in France.

It is not often that an author takes us into his workshop and lets us
see just how his stories are written. The preceding account of Dorothy
Canfield's literary methods was written especially for this book.



DUSKY AMERICANS

_Most stories of Negro life fall into one of two groups. There is the
story of the Civil War period, which pictures the "darky" on the old
plantation, devoted to "young Massa" or "old Miss,"--the Negro of
slavery. Then there are stories of recent times in which the Negro is
used purely for comic effect, a sort of minstrel-show character. Neither
of these is the Negro of to-day. A truer picture is found in the stories
of Paul Laurence Dunbar. The following story is from his FOLKS FROM
DIXIE._



THE ORDEAL AT MT. HOPE

BY

PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR


"And this is Mt. Hope," said the Rev. Howard Dokesbury to himself as he
descended, bag in hand, from the smoky, dingy coach, or part of a coach,
which was assigned to his people, and stepped upon the rotten planks of
the station platform. The car he had just left was not a palace, nor had
his reception by his fellow-passengers or his intercourse with them been
of such cordial nature as to endear them to him. But he watched the
choky little engine with its three black cars wind out of sight with a
look as regretful as if he were witnessing the departure of his dearest
friend. Then he turned his attention again to his surroundings, and a
sigh welled up from his heart. "And this is Mt. Hope," he repeated. A
note in his voice indicated that he fully appreciated the spirit of keen
irony in which the place had been named.

The color scheme of the picture that met his eyes was in dingy blacks
and grays. The building that held the ticket, telegraph, and train
despatchers' offices was a miserably old ramshackle affair, standing
well in the foreground of this scene of gloom and desolation. Its
windows were so coated with smoke and grime that they seemed to have
been painted over in order to secure secrecy within. Here and there a
lazy cur lay drowsily snapping at the flies, and at the end of the
station, perched on boxes or leaning against the wall, making a living
picture of equal laziness, stood a group of idle Negroes exchanging rude
badinage with their white counterparts across the street.

After a while this bantering interchange would grow more keen and
personal, a free-for-all friendly fight would follow, and the newspaper
correspondent in that section would write it up as a "race war." But
this had not happened yet that day.

"This is Mt. Hope," repeated the new-comer; "this is the field of my
labors."

Rev. Howard Dokesbury, as may already have been inferred, was a
Negro,--there could be no mistake about that. The deep dark brown of his
skin, the rich over-fullness of his lips, and the close curl of his
short black hair were evidences that admitted of no argument. He was a
finely proportioned, stalwart-looking man, with a general air of
self-possession and self-sufficiency in his manner. There was firmness
in the set of his lips. A reader of character would have said of him,
"Here is a man of solid judgement, careful in deliberation, prompt in
execution, and decisive."

It was the perception in him of these very qualities which had prompted
the authorities of the little college where he had taken his degree and
received his theological training, to urge him to go among his people at
the South, and there to exert his powers for good where the field was
broad and the laborers few.

Born of Southern parents from whom he had learned many of the
superstitions and traditions of the South, Howard Dokesbury himself had
never before been below Mason and Dixon's line. But with a confidence
born of youth and a consciousness of personal power, he had started
South with the idea that he knew the people with whom he had to deal,
and was equipped with the proper weapons to cope with their
shortcomings.

But as he looked around upon the scene which now met his eye, a doubt
arose in his mind. He picked up his bag with a sigh, and approached a
man who had been standing apart from the rest of the loungers and
regarding him with indolent intentness.

"Could you direct me to the house of Stephen Gray?" asked the minister.

The interrogated took time to change his position from left foot to
right and shift his quid, before he drawled forth, "I reckon you's de
new Mefdis preachah, huh?"

"Yes," replied Howard, in the most conciliatory tone he could command,
"and I hope I find in you one of my flock."

"No, suh, I's a Babtist myse'f. I wa'n't raised up no place erroun' Mt.
Hope; I'm nachelly f'om way up in Adams County. Dey jes' sont me down
hyeah to fin' you an' tek you up to Steve's. Steve, he's workin' to-day
an' couldn't come down."

He laid particular stress upon the "to-day," as if Steve's spell of
activity were not an every-day occurrence.

"Is it far from here?" asked Dokesbury.

"'T ain't mo' 'n a mile an' a ha'f by de shawt cut."

"Well, then, let's take the short cut, by all means," said the preacher.

They trudged along for a while in silence, and then the young man asked,
"What do you men about here do mostly for a living?"

"Oh, well, we does odd jobs, we saws an' splits wood an' totes bundles,
an' some of 'em raises gyahden, but mos' of us, we fishes. De fish bites
an' we ketches 'em. Sometimes we eats 'em an' sometimes we sells 'em; a
string o' fish'll bring a peck o' co'n any time."

"And is that all you do?"

"'Bout."

"Why, I don't see how you live that way."

"Oh, we lives all right," answered the man; "we has plenty to eat an'
drink, an' clothes to wear, an' some place to stay. I reckon folks ain't
got much use fu' nuffin' mo'."

Dokesbury sighed. Here indeed was virgin soil for his ministerial
labors. His spirits were not materially raised when, some time later, he
came in sight of the house which was to be his abode. To be sure, it was
better than most of the houses which he had seen in the Negro part of
Mt. Hope; but even at that it was far from being good or
comfortable-looking. It was small and mean in appearance. The weather
boarding was broken, and in some places entirely fallen away, showing
the great unhewn logs beneath; while off the boards that remained the
whitewash had peeled in scrofulous spots.

The minister's guide went up to the closed door, and rapped loudly with
a heavy stick.

"G' 'way f'om dah, an' quit you' foolin'," came in a large voice from
within.

The guide grinned, and rapped again. There was a sound of shuffling feet
and the pushing back of a chair, and then the same voice asking: "I bet
I'll mek you git away f'om dat do'."

"Dat's A'nt Ca'line," the guide said, and laughed.

The door was flung back as quickly as its worn hinges and sagging bottom
would allow, and a large body surmounted by a face like a big round full
moon presented itself in the opening. A broomstick showed itself
aggressively in one fat shiny hand.

"It's you, Tom Scott, is it--you trif'nin'----" and then, catching sight
of the stranger, her whole manner changed, and she dropped the
broomstick with an embarrassed "'Scuse me, suh."

Tom chuckled all over as he said, "A'nt Ca'line, dis is yo' new
preachah."

The big black face lighted up with a broad smile as the old woman
extended her hand and enveloped that of the young minister's.

"Come in," she said. "I's mighty glad to see you--that no-'count Tom
come put' nigh mekin' me 'spose myse'f." Then turning to Tom, she
exclaimed with good-natured severity, "An' you go 'long, you scoun'll
you!"

The preacher entered the cabin--it was hardly more--and seated himself
in the rush-bottomed chair which "A'nt Ca'line" had been industriously
polishing with her apron.

"An' now, Brothah----"

"Dokesbury," supplemented the young man.

"Brothah Dokesbury, I jes' want you to mek yo'se'f at home right erway.
I know you ain't use to ouah ways down hyeah; but you jes' got to set in
an' git ust to 'em. You mus'n' feel bad ef things don't go yo' way f'om
de ve'y fust. Have you got a mammy?"

The question was very abrupt, and a lump suddenly jumped up in
Dokesbury's throat and pushed the water into his eyes. He did have a
mother away back there at home. She was all alone, and he was her heart
and the hope of her life.

"Yes," he said, "I've got a little mother up there in Ohio."

"Well, I's gwine to be yo' mothah down hyeah; dat is, ef I ain't too
rough an' common fu' you."

"Hush!" exclaimed the preacher, and he got up and took the old lady's
hand in both of his own. "You shall be my mother down here; you shall
help me, as you have done to-day. I feel better already."

"I knowed you would," and the old face beamed on the young one. "An' now
jes' go out de do' dah an' wash yo' face. Dey's a pan an' soap an' watah
right dah, an' hyeah's a towel; den you kin go right into yo' room, fu'
I knows you want to be erlone fu' a while. I'll fix yo' suppah while you
rests."

He did as he was bidden. On a rough bench outside the door, he found a
basin and a bucket of water with a tin dipper in it. To one side, in a
broken saucer, lay a piece of coarse soap. The facilities for copious
ablutions were not abundant, but one thing the minister noted with
pleasure: the towel, which was rough and hurt his skin, was,
nevertheless, scrupulously clean. He went to his room feeling fresher
and better, and although he found the place little and dark and warm, it
too was clean, and a sense of its homeness began to take possession of
him.

The room was off the main living-room into which he had been first
ushered. It had one small window that opened out on a fairly neat yard.
A table with a chair before it stood beside the window, and across the
room--if the three feet of space which intervened could be called
"across"--stood the little bed with its dark calico quilt and white
pillows. There was no carpet on the floor, and the absence of a
washstand indicated very plainly that the occupant was expected to wash
outside. The young minister knelt for a few minutes beside the bed, and
then rising cast himself into the chair to rest.

It was possibly half an hour later when his partial nap was broken in
upon by the sound of a gruff voice from without saying, "He's hyeah, is
he--oomph! Well, what's he ac' lak? Want us to git down on ouah knees
an' crawl to him? If he do, I reckon he'll fin' dat Mt. Hope ain't de
place fo' him."

The minister did not hear the answer, which was in a low voice and came,
he conjectured, from Aunt "Ca'line"; but the gruff voice subsided, and
there was the sound of footsteps going out of the room. A tap came on
the preacher's door, and he opened it to the old woman. She smiled
reassuringly.

"Dat' uz my ol' man," she said. "I sont him out to git some wood, so's
I'd have time to post you. Don't you mind him; he's lots mo' ba'k dan
bite. He's one o' dese little yaller men, an' you know dey kin be
powahful contra'y when dey sets dey hai'd to it. But jes' you treat him
nice an' don't let on, an' I'll be boun' you'll bring him erroun' in
little er no time."

The Rev. Mr. Dokesbury received this advice with some misgiving. Albeit
he had assumed his pleasantest manner when, after his return to the
living-room, the little "yaller" man came through the door with his
bundle of wood.

He responded cordially to Aunt Caroline's, "Dis is my husband, Brothah
Dokesbury," and heartily shook his host's reluctant hand.

"I hope I find you well, Brother Gray," he said.

"Moder't, jes' moder't," was the answer.

"Come to suppah now, bofe o' you," said the old lady, and they all sat
down to the evening meal of crisp bacon, well-fried potatoes, egg-pone,
and coffee.

The young man did his best to be agreeable, but it was rather
discouraging to receive only gruff monosyllabic rejoinders to his most
interesting observations. But the cheery old wife came bravely to the
rescue, and the minister was continually floated into safety on the flow
of her conversation. Now and then, as he talked, he could catch a
stealthy upflashing of Stephen Gray's eye, as suddenly lowered again,
that told him that the old man was listening. But as an indication that
they would get on together, the supper, taken as a whole, was not a
success. The evening that followed proved hardly more fortunate. About
the only remarks that could be elicited from the "little yaller man"
were a reluctant "oomph" or "oomph-uh."

It was just before going to bed that, after a period of reflection, Aunt
Caroline began slowly: "We got a son"--her husband immediately bristled
up and his eyes flashed, but the old woman went on; "he named 'Lias, an'
we thinks a heap o' 'Lias, we does; but--" the old man had subsided, but
he bristled up again at the word--"he ain't jes' whut we want him to
be." Her husband opened his mouth as if to speak in defense of his son,
but was silent in satisfaction at his wife's explanation: "'Lias ain't
bad; he jes' ca'less. Sometimes he stays at home, but right sma't o' de
time he stays down at"--she looked at her husband and hesitated--"at de
colo'ed s'loon. We don't lak dat. It ain't no fitten place fu' him. But
'Lias ain't bad, he jes' ca'less, an' me an' de ol' man we 'membahs him
in ouah pra'ahs, an' I jes' t'ought I'd ax you to 'membah him too,
Brothah Dokesbury."

The minister felt the old woman's pleading look and the husband's
intense gaze upon his face, and suddenly there came to him an intimate
sympathy in their trouble and with it an unexpected strength.

"There is no better time than now," he said, "to take his case to the
Almighty Power; let us pray."

Perhaps it was the same prayer he had prayed many times before; perhaps
the words of supplication and the plea for light and guidance were the
same; but somehow to the young man kneeling there amid those humble
surroundings, with the sorrow of these poor ignorant people weighing
upon his heart, it seemed very different. It came more fervently from
his lips, and the words had a deeper meaning. When he arose, there was a
warmth at his heart just the like of which he had never before
experienced.

Aunt Caroline blundered up from her knees, saying, as she wiped her
eyes, "Blessed is dey dat mou'n, fu' dey shall be comfo'ted." The old
man, as he turned to go to bed, shook the young man's hand warmly and in
silence; but there was a moisture in the old eyes that told the minister
that his plummet of prayer had sounded the depths.

Alone in his own room Howard Dokesbury sat down to study the situation
in which he had been placed. Had his thorough college training
anticipated specifically any such circumstance as this? After all, did
he know his own people? Was it possible that they could be so different
from what he had seen and known? He had always been such a loyal Negro,
so proud of his honest brown; but had he been mistaken? Was he, after
all, different from the majority of the people with whom he was supposed
to have all thoughts, feelings, and emotions in common?

These and other questions he asked himself without being able to arrive
at any satisfactory conclusion. He did not go to sleep soon after
retiring, and the night brought many thoughts. The next day would be
Saturday. The ordeal had already begun,--now there were twenty-four
hours between him and the supreme trial. What would be its outcome?
There were moments when he felt, as every man, howsoever brave, must
feel at times, that he would like to shift all his responsibilities and
go away from the place that seemed destined to tax his powers beyond
their capability of endurance. What could he do for the inhabitants of
Mt. Hope? What was required of him to do? Ever through his mind ran that
world-old question: "Am I my brother's keeper?" He had never asked, "Are
these people my brothers?"

He was up early the next morning, and as soon as breakfast was done, he
sat down to add a few touches to the sermon he had prepared as his
introduction. It was not the first time that he had retouched it and
polished it up here and there. Indeed, he had taken some pride in it.
But as he read it over that day, it did not sound to him as it had
sounded before. It appeared flat and without substance. After a while he
laid it aside, telling himself that he was nervous and it was on this
account that he could not see matters as he did in his calmer moments.
He told himself, too, that he must not again take up the offending
discourse until time to use it, lest the discovery of more imaginary
flaws should so weaken his confidence that he would not be able to
deliver it with effect.

In order better to keep his resolve, he put on his hat and went out for
a walk through the streets of Mt. Hope. He did not find an encouraging
prospect as he went along. The Negroes whom he met viewed him with
ill-favor, and the whites who passed looked on him with unconcealed
distrust and contempt. He began to feel lost, alone, and helpless. The
squalor and shiftlessness which were plainly in evidence about the
houses which he saw filled him with disgust and a dreary hopelessness.

He passed vacant lots which lay open and inviting children to healthful
play; but instead of marbles or leap-frog or ball, he found little boys
in ragged knickerbockers huddled together on the ground, "shooting
craps" with precocious avidity and quarreling over the pennies that made
the pitiful wagers. He heard glib profanity rolling from the lips of
children who should have been stumbling through baby catechisms; and
his heart ached for them.

He would have turned and gone back to his room, but the sound of shouts,
laughter, and the tum-tum of a musical instrument drew him on down the
street. At the turn of a corner, the place from which the noise emanated
met his eyes. It was a rude frame building, low and unpainted. The panes
in its windows whose places had not been supplied by sheets of tin were
daubed a dingy red. Numerous kegs and bottles on the outside attested
the nature of the place. The front door was open, but the interior was
concealed by a gaudy curtain stretched across the entrance within. Over
the door was the inscription, in straggling characters, "Sander's
Place;" and when he saw half-a-dozen Negroes enter, the minister knew
instantly that he now beheld the colored saloon which was the
frequenting-place of his hostess's son 'Lias; and he wondered, if, as
the mother said, her boy was not bad, how anything good could be
preserved in such a place of evil.

The cries of boisterous laughter mingled with the strumming of the banjo
and the shuffling of feet told him that they were engaged in one of
their rude hoe-down dances. He had not passed a dozen paces beyond the
door when the music was suddenly stopped, the sound of a quick blow
followed, then ensued a scuffle, and a young fellow half ran, half fell
through the open door. He was closely followed by a heavily built
ruffian who was striking him as he ran. The young fellow was very much
the weaker and slighter of the two, and was suffering great punishment.
In an instant all the preacher's sense of justice was stung into sudden
life. Just as the brute was about to give his victim a blow that would
have sent him into the gutter, he felt his arm grasped in a detaining
hold and heard a commanding voice,--"Stop!"

He turned with increased fury upon this meddler, but his other wrist was
caught and held in a vise-like grip. For a moment the two men looked
into each other's eyes. Hot words rose to the young man's lips, but he
choked them back. Until this moment he had deplored the possession of a
spirit so easily fired that it had been a test of his manhood to keep
from "slugging" on the football field; now he was glad of it. He did not
attempt to strike the man, but stood holding his arms and meeting the
brute glare with manly flashing eyes. Either the natural cowardice of
the bully or something in his new opponent's face had quelled the big
fellow's spirit, and he said doggedly, "Lemme go. I wasn't a-go'n to
kill him no-how, but ef I ketch him dancin' with my gal any mo', I----"
He cast a glance full of malice at his victim, who stood on the pavement
a few feet away, as much amazed as the dumfounded crowd which thronged
the door of "Sander's Place." Loosing his hold, the preacher turned,
and, putting his hand on the young fellow's shoulder, led him away.

For a time they walked on in silence. Dokesbury had to calm the tempest
in his breast before he could trust his voice. After a while he said:
"That fellow was making it pretty hot for you, my young friend. What had
you done to him?"

"Nothin'," replied the other. "I was jes' dancin' 'long an' not thinkin'
'bout him, when all of a sudden he hollered dat I had his gal an'
commenced hittin' me."

"He's a bully and a coward, or he would not have made use of his
superior strength in that way. What's your name, friend?"

"'Lias Gray," was the answer, which startled the minister into
exclaiming,--

"What! are you Aunt Caroline's son?"

"Yes, suh, I sho is; does you know my mothah?"

"Why, I'm stopping with her, and we were talking about you last night.
My name is Dokesbury, and I am to take charge of the church here."

"I thought mebbe you was a preachah, but I couldn't scarcely believe it
after I seen de way you held Sam an' looked at him."

Dokesbury laughed, and his merriment seemed to make his companion feel
better, for the sullen, abashed look left his face, and he laughed a
little himself as he said: "I wasn't a-pesterin' Sam, but I tell you he
pestered me mighty."

Dokesbury looked into the boy's face,--he was hardly more than a
boy,--lit up as it was by a smile, and concluded that Aunt Caroline was
right. 'Lias might be "ca'less," but he wasn't a bad boy. The face was
too open and the eyes too honest for that. 'Lias wasn't bad; but
environment does so much, and he would be if something were not done for
him. Here, then, was work for a pastor's hands.

"You'll walk on home with me, 'Lias, won't you?"

"I reckon I mout ez well," replied the boy. "I don't stay erroun' home
ez much ez I oughter."

"You'll be around more, of course, now that I am there. It will be so
much less lonesome for two young people than for one. Then, you can be a
great help to me, too."

The preacher did not look down to see how wide his listener's eyes grew
as he answered: "Oh, I ain't fittin' to be no he'p to you, suh. Fust
thing, I ain't nevah got religion, an' then I ain't well larned enough."

"Oh, there are a thousand other ways in which you can help, and I feel
sure that you will."

"Of co'se, I'll do de ve'y bes' I kin."

"There is one thing I want you to do soon, as a favor to me."

"I can't go to de mou'nah's bench," cried the boy, in consternation.

"And I don't want you to," was the calm reply.

Another look of wide-eyed astonishment took in the preacher's face.
These were strange words from one of his guild. But without noticing the
surprise he had created, Dokesbury went on: "What I want is that you
will take me fishing as soon as you can. I never get tired of fishing
and I am anxious to go here. Tom Scott says you fish a great deal about
here."

"Why, we kin go dis ve'y afternoon," exclaimed 'Lias, in relief and
delight; "I's mighty fond o' fishin', myse'f."

"All right; I'm in your hands from now on."

'Lias drew his shoulders up, with an unconscious motion. The preacher
saw it, and mentally rejoiced. He felt that the first thing the boy
beside him needed was a consciousness of responsibility, and the lifted
shoulders meant progress in that direction, a sort of physical
straightening up to correspond with the moral one.

On seeing her son walk in with the minister, Aunt "Ca'line's" delight
was boundless. "La! Brothah Dokesbury," she exclaimed, "wha'd you fin'
dat scamp?"

"Oh, down the street here," the young man replied lightly. "I got hold
of his name and made myself acquainted, so he came home to go fishing
with me."

"'Lias is pow'ful fon' o' fishin', hisse'f. I 'low he kin show you some
mighty good places. Cain't you, 'Lias?"

"I reckon."

'Lias was thinking. He was distinctly grateful that the circumstances of
his meeting with the minister had been so deftly passed over. But with a
half idea of the superior moral responsibility under which a man in
Dokesbury's position labored, he wondered vaguely--to put it in his own
thought-words--"ef de preachah hadn't put' nigh lied." However, he was
willing to forgive this little lapse of veracity, if such it was, out of
consideration for the anxiety it spared his mother.

When Stephen Gray came in to dinner, he was no less pleased than his
wife to note the terms of friendship on which the minister received his
son. On his face was the first smile that Dokesbury had seen there, and
he awakened from his taciturnity and proffered much information as to
the fishing-places thereabout. The young minister accounted this a
distinct gain. Anything more than a frowning silence from the "little
yaller man" was gain.

The fishing that afternoon was particularly good. Catfish, chubs, and
suckers were landed in numbers sufficient to please the heart of any
amateur angler.

'Lias was happy, and the minister was in the best of spirits, for his
charge seemed promising. He looked on at the boy's jovial face, and
laughed within himself; for, mused he, "it is so much harder for the
devil to get into a cheerful heart than into a sullen, gloomy one." By
the time they were ready to go home Harold Dokesbury had received a
promise from 'Lias to attend service the next morning and hear the
sermon.

There was a great jollification over the fish supper that night, and
'Lias and the minister were the heroes of the occasion. The old man
again broke his silence, and recounted, with infinite dryness, ancient
tales of his prowess with rod and line; while Aunt "Ca'line" told of
famous fish suppers that in the bygone days she had cooked for "de white
folks." In the midst of it all, however, 'Lias disappeared. No one had
noticed when he slipped out, but all seemed to become conscious of his
absence about the same time. The talk shifted, and finally simmered into
silence.

When the Rev. Mr. Dokesbury went to bed that night, his charge had not
yet returned.

The young minister woke early on the Sabbath morning, and he may be
forgiven that the prospect of the ordeal through which he had to pass
drove his care for 'Lias out of mind for the first few hours. But as he
walked to church, flanked on one side by Aunt Caroline in the stiffest
of ginghams and on the other by her husband stately in the magnificence
of an antiquated "Jim-swinger," his mind went back to the boy with
sorrow. Where was he? What was he doing? Had the fear of a dull church
service frightened him back to his old habits and haunts? There was a
new sadness at the preacher's heart as he threaded his way down the
crowded church and ascended the rude pulpit.

The church was stiflingly hot, and the morning sun still beat
relentlessly in through the plain windows. The seats were rude wooden
benches, in some instances without backs. To the right, filling the
inner corner, sat the pillars of the church, stern, grim, and critical.
Opposite them, and, like them, in seats at right angles to the main
body, sat the older sisters, some of them dressed with good
old-fashioned simplicity, while others yielding to newer tendencies were
gotten up in gaudy attempts at finery. In the rear seats a dozen or so
much beribboned mulatto girls tittered and giggled, and cast bold
glances at the minister.

The young man sighed as he placed the manuscript of his sermon between
the leaves of the tattered Bible. "And this is Mt. Hope," he was again
saying to himself.

It was after the prayer and in the midst of the second hymn that a more
pronounced titter from the back seats drew his attention. He raised his
head to cast a reproving glance at the irreverent, but the sight that
met his eyes turned that look into one of horror. 'Lias had just entered
the church, and with every mark of beastly intoxication was staggering
up the aisle to a seat, into which he tumbled in a drunken heap. The
preacher's soul turned sick within him, and his eyes sought the face of
the mother and father. The old woman was wiping her eyes, and the old
man sat with his gaze bent upon the floor, lines of sorrow drawn about
his wrinkled mouth.

All of a sudden a great revulsion of feeling came over Dokesbury.
Trembling he rose and opened the Bible. There lay his sermon, polished
and perfected. The opening lines seemed to him like glints from a bright
cold crystal. What had he to say to these people, when the full
realization of human sorrow and care and of human degradation had just
come to him? What had they to do with firstlies and secondlies, with
premises and conclusions? What they wanted was a strong hand to help
them over the hard places of life and a loud voice to cheer them through
the dark. He closed the book again upon his precious sermon. A something
new had been born in his heart. He let his glance rest for another
instant on the mother's pained face and the father's bowed form, and
then turning to the congregation began, "Come unto me, all ye that labor
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find
rest unto your souls." Out of the fullness of his heart he spoke unto
them. Their great need informed his utterance. He forgot his carefully
turned sentences and perfectly rounded periods. He forgot all save that
here was the well-being of a community put into his hands whose real
condition he had not even suspected until now. The situation wrought him
up. His words went forth like winged fire, and the emotional people were
moved beyond control. They shouted, and clapped their hands, and praised
the Lord loudly.

When the service was over, there was much gathering about the young
preacher, and handshaking. Through all 'Lias had slept. His mother
started toward him; but the minister managed to whisper to her, "Leave
him to me." When the congregation had passed out, Dokesbury shook 'Lias.
The boy woke, partially sobered, and his face fell before the preacher's
eyes.

"Come, my boy, let's go home." Arm in arm they went out into the street,
where a number of scoffers had gathered to have a laugh at the abashed
boy; but Harold Dokesbury's strong arm steadied his steps, and something
in his face checked the crowd's hilarity. Silently they cleared the way,
and the two passed among them and went home.

The minister saw clearly the things which he had to combat in his
community, and through this one victim he determined to fight the
general evil. The people with whom he had to deal were children who must
be led by the hand. The boy lying in drunken sleep upon his bed was no
worse than the rest of them. He was an epitome of the evil, as his
parents were of the sorrows, of the place.

He could not talk to Elias. He could not lecture him. He would only be
dashing his words against the accumulated evil of years of bondage as
the ripples of a summer sea beat against a stone wall. It was not the
wickedness of this boy he was fighting or even the wrong-doing of Mt.
Hope. It was the aggregation of the evils of the fathers, the
grandfathers, the masters and mistresses of these people. Against this
what could talk avail?

The boy slept on, and the afternoon passed heavily away. Aunt Caroline
was finding solace in her pipe, and Stephen Gray sulked in moody silence
beside the hearth. Neither of them joined their guest at evening
service.

He went, however. It was hard to face those people again after the
events of the morning. He could feel them covertly nudging each other
and grinning as he went up to the pulpit. He chided himself for the
momentary annoyance it caused him. Were they not like so many naughty,
irresponsible children?

The service passed without unpleasantness, save that he went home with
an annoyingly vivid impression of a yellow girl with red ribbons on her
hat, who pretended to be impressed by his sermon and made eyes at him
from behind her handkerchief.

On the way to his room that night, as he passed Stephen Gray, the old
man whispered huskily, "It's de fus' time 'Lias evah done dat."

It was the only word he had spoken since morning.

A sound sleep refreshed Dokesbury, and restored the tone to his
overtaxed nerves. When he came out in the morning, Elias was already in
the kitchen. He too had slept off his indisposition, but it had been
succeeded by a painful embarrassment that proved an effectual barrier to
all intercourse with him. The minister talked lightly and amusingly, but
the boy never raised his eyes from his plate, and only spoke when he was
compelled to answer some direct questions.

Harold Dokesbury knew that unless he could overcome this reserve, his
power over the youth was gone. He bent every effort to do it.

"What do you say to a turn down the street with me?" he asked as he
rose from breakfast.

'Lias shook his head.

"What! You haven't deserted me already?"

The older people had gone out, but young Gray looked furtively about
before he replied: "You know I ain't fittin' to go out with
you--aftah--aftah--yestiddy."

A dozen appropriate texts rose in the preacher's mind, but he knew that
it was not a preaching time, so he contented himself with saying,--

"Oh, get out! Come along!"

"No, I cain't. I cain't. I wisht I could! You needn't think I's ashamed,
'cause I ain't. Plenty of 'em git drunk, an' I don't keer nothin' 'bout
dat"--this in a defiant tone.

"Well, why not come along then?"

"I tell you I cain't. Don't ax me no mo'. It ain't on my account I won't
go. It's you."

"Me! Why, I want you to go."

"I know you does, but I mustn't. Cain't you see that dey'd be glad to
say dat--dat you was in cahoots wif me an' you tuk yo' dram on de sly?"

"I don't care what they say so long as it isn't true. Are you coming?"

"No, I ain't."

He was perfectly determined, and Dokesbury saw that there was no use
arguing with him. So with a resigned "All right!" he strode out the gate
and up the street, thinking of the problem he had to solve.

There was good in Elias Gray, he knew. It was a shame that it should be
lost. It would be lost unless he were drawn strongly away from the paths
he was treading. But how could it be done? Was there no point in his
mind that could be reached by what was other than evil? That was the
thing to be found out. Then he paused to ask himself if, after all, he
were not trying to do too much,--trying, in fact, to play Providence to
Elias. He found himself involuntarily wanting to shift the
responsibility of planning for the youth. He wished that something
entirely independent of his intentions would happen.

Just then something did happen. A piece of soft mud hurled from some
unknown source caught the minister square in the chest, and spattered
over his clothes. He raised his eyes and glanced about quickly, but no
one was in sight. Whoever the foe was, he was securely ambushed.

"Thrown by the hand of a man," mused Dokesbury, "prompted by the malice
of a child."

He went on his way, finished his business, and returned to the house.

"La, Brothah Dokesbury!" exclaimed Aunt Caroline, "what's de mattah 'f
you' shu't bosom?"

"Oh, that's where one of our good citizens left his card."

"You don' mean to say none o' dem low-life scoun'els----"

"I don't know who did it. He took particular pains to keep out of
sight."

"'Lias!" the old woman cried, turning on her son, "wha' 'd you let
Brothah Dokesbury go off by hisse'f fu? Why n't you go 'long an' tek
keer o' him?"

The old lady stopped even in the midst of her tirade, as her eyes took
in the expression on her son's face.

"I'll kill some o' dem damn----"

"'Lias!"

"'Scuse me, Mistah Dokesbury, but I feel lak I'll bus' ef I don't
'spress myse'f. It makes me so mad. Don't you go out o' hyeah no mo'
'dout me. I'll go 'long an' I'll brek somebody's haid wif a stone."

"'Lias! how you talkin' fo' de ministah?"

"Well, dat's whut I'll do, 'cause I kin outth'ow any of 'em an' I know
dey hidin'-places."

"I'll be glad to accept your protection," said Dokesbury.

He saw his advantage, and was thankful for the mud,--the one thing that
without an effort restored the easy relations between himself and his
protégé.

Ostensibly these relations were reversed, and Elias went out with the
preacher as a guardian and protector. But the minister was laying his
nets. It was on one of these rambles that he broached to 'Lias a subject
which he had been considering for some time.

"Look here, 'Lias," he said, "what are you going to do with that big
back yard of yours?"

"Oh, nothin'. 'Tain't no 'count to raise nothin' in."

"It may not be fit for vegetables, but it will raise something."

"What?"

"Chickens. That's what."

Elias laughed sympathetically.

"I'd lak to eat de chickens I raise. I wouldn't want to be feedin' de
neighborhood."

"Plenty of boards, slats, wire, and a good lock and key would fix that
all right."

"Yes, but whah 'm I gwine to git all dem things?"

"Why, I'll go in with you and furnish the money, and help you build the
coops. Then you can sell chickens and eggs, and we'll go halves on the
profits."

"Hush man!" cried 'Lias, in delight.

So the matter was settled, and, as Aunt Caroline expressed it, "Fu' a
week er sich a mattah, you nevah did see sich ta'in' down an' buildin'
up in all yo' bo'n days."

'Lias went at the work with zest and Dokesbury noticed his skill with
tools. He let fall the remark: "Say, 'Lias, there's a school near here
where they teach carpentry; why don't you go and learn?"

"What I gwine to do with bein' a cyahpenter?"

"Repair some of these houses around Mt. Hope, if nothing more,"
Dokesbury responded, laughing; and there the matter rested.

The work prospered, and as the weeks went on, 'Lias's enterprise became
the town's talk. One of Aunt Caroline's patrons who had come with some
orders about work regarded the changed condition of affairs, and said,
"Why, Aunt Caroline, this doesn't look like the same place. I'll have to
buy some eggs from you; you keep your yard and hen-house so nice, it's
an advertisement for the eggs."

"Don't talk to me nothin' 'bout dat ya'd, Miss Lucy," Aunt Caroline had
retorted. "Dat 'long to 'Lias an' de preachah. Hit dey doin's. Dey done
mos' nigh drove me out wif dey cleanness. I ain't nevah seed no sich
ca'in' on in my life befo'. Why, my 'Lias done got right brigity an'
talk about bein' somep'n."

Dokesbury had retired from his partnership with the boy save in so far
as he acted as a general supervisor. His share had been sold to a friend
of 'Lias, Jim Hughes. The two seemed to have no other thought save of
raising, tending, and selling chickens.

Mt. Hope looked on and ceased to scoff. Money is a great dignifier, and
Jim and 'Lias were making money. There had been some sniffs when the
latter had hinged the front gate and whitewashed his mother's cabin, but
even that had been accepted now as a matter of course.

Dokesbury had done his work. He, too, looked on, and in some
satisfaction.

"Let the leaven work," he said, "and all Mt. Hope must rise."


It was one day, nearly a year later, that "old lady Hughes" dropped in
on Aunt Caroline for a chat.

"Well, I do say, Sis' Ca'line, dem two boys o' ourn done sot dis town on
fiah."

"What now, Sis' Lizy?"

"Why, evah sence 'Lias tuk it into his haid to be a cyahpenter an' Jim
'cided to go 'long an' lu'n to be a blacksmiff, some o' dese hyeah
othah young people's been trying to do somep'n'."

"All dey wanted was a staht."

"Well, now will you b'lieve me, dat no-'count Tom Johnson done opened a
fish sto', an' he has de boys an' men bring him dey fish all de time. He
gives 'em a little somep'n fu' dey ketch, den he go sell 'em to de white
folks."

"Lawd, how long!"

"An' what you think he say?"

"I do' know, sis'."

"He say ez soon 'z he git money enough, he gwine to dat school whah
'Lias and Jim gone an' lu'n to fahm scientific."

"Bless de Lawd! Well, 'um, I don' put nothin' pas' de young folks now."

Mt. Hope had at last awakened. Something had come to her to which she
might aspire,--something that she could understand and reach. She was
not soaring, but she was rising above the degradation in which Harold
Dokesbury had found her. And for her and him the ordeal had passed.



PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR


The Negro race in America has produced musicians, composers and
painters, but it was left for Paul Laurence Dunbar to give it fame in
literature. He was of pure African stock; his father and mother were
born in slavery, and neither had any schooling, although the father had
taught himself to read. Paul was born in Dayton, Ohio, June 27, 1872. He
was christened Paul, because his father said that he was to be a great
man. He was a diligent pupil at school, and began to make verses when he
was still a child. His ability was recognized by his class mates; he was
made editor of the high school paper, and wrote the class song for his
commencement.

The death of his father made it necessary for him to support his mother.
He sought for some employment where his education might be put to some
use, but finding such places closed to him, he became an elevator boy.
He continued to write, however, and in 1892 his first volume was
published, a book of poems called _Oak and Ivy_. The publishers were so
doubtful of its success that they would not bring it out until a friend
advanced the cost of publication. Paul now sold books to the passengers
in his elevator, and realized enough to repay his friend. He was
occasionally asked to give readings from his poetry. Gifted as he was
with a deep, melodious voice, and a fine power of mimicry, he was very
successful. In 1893 he was sought out by a man who was organizing a
concert company and who engaged Paul to go along as reader. Full of
enthusiasm, he set to work committing his poems to memory, and writing
new ones. Ten days before the company was to start, word came that it
had been disbanded. Paul found himself at the approach of winter without
money and without work, and with his mother in real need. In his
discouragement he even thought of suicide, but by the help of a friend
he found work, and with it courage. In a letter written about this time
he tells of his ambitions: "I did once want to be a lawyer, but that
ambition has long since died out before the all-absorbing desire to be a
worthy singer of the songs of God and nature. To be able to interpret my
own people through song and story, and to prove to the many that we are
more human than African."

A second volume of poems, _Majors and Minors_, appeared in 1895. Like
his first book it was printed by a local publisher, and had but a small
sale. The actor James A. Herne happened to be playing _Shore Acres_ in
Toledo; Paul saw him, admired his acting, and timidly presented him with
a copy of his book. Mr. Herne read it with great pleasure, and sent it
on to his friend William Dean Howells, who was then editor of _Harper's
Weekly_. In June, 1896, there appeared in that journal a full-page
review of the work of Paul Laurence Dunbar, quoting freely from his
poems, and praising them highly. This recognition by America's greatest
critic was the beginning of Paul's national reputation. Orders came for
his books from all over the country; a manager engaged him for a series
of readings from his poems, and a New York firm, Dodd Mead & Co.,
arranged to bring out his next book, _Lyrics of Lowly Life_.

In 1897 he went to England to give a series of readings. Here he was a
guest at the Savage Club, one of the best-known clubs of London. His
readings were very successful, but a dishonest manager cheated him out
of the proceeds, and he was obliged to cable to his friends for money to
come home.

Through the efforts of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, the young poet obtained
a position in the Congressional Library at Washington. It was thought
that this would give him just the opportunity he needed for study, but
the work proved too confining for his health. The year 1898 was marked
by two events: the publication of his first book of short stories,
_Folks From Dixie_, and his marriage to Miss Alice R. Moore. In 1899 at
the request of Booker T. Washington he went to Tuskeegee and gave
several readings and lectures before the students, also writing a school
song for them. He made a tour through the South, giving readings with
much success, but the strain of public appearances was beginning to tell
upon his health. He continued to write, and in 1899 published _Lyrics of
the Hearthside_, dedicated to his wife. He was invited to go to Albany
to read before a distinguished audience, where Theodore Roosevelt, then
governor, was to introduce him. He started, but was unable to get
farther than New York. Here he lay sick for weeks, and when he grew
stronger, the doctors said that his lungs were affected and he must have
a change of climate. He went to Colorado in the fall of 1899, and wrote
back to a friend: "Well, it is something to sit under the shadow of the
Rocky Mountains, even if one only goes there to die." From this time on
his life was one long fight for health, and usually a losing battle, but
he faced it as courageously as Robert Louis Stevenson had done. In
Colorado he wrote a novel, The _Love of Landry_, whose scene was laid in
his new surroundings. He returned to Washington in 1900, and gave
occasional readings, but it was evident that his strength was failing.
He published two more volumes, _The Strength of Gideon_, a book of short
stories, and _Poems of Cabin and Field_, which showed that his genius
had lost none of its power. His last years were spent in Dayton, his old
home, with his mother. He died February 10, 1906.

One of the finest tributes to him was paid by his friend Brand Whitlock,
then Mayor of Toledo, who has since become famous as United States
Minister to Belgium during the Great War. This is from a letter written
when he heard that the young poet was dead:


     Paul was a poet: and I find that when I have said that I have said
     the greatest and most splendid thing that can be said about a
     man.... Nature, who knows so much better than man about everything,
     cares nothing at all for the little distinctions, and when she
     elects one of her children for her most important work, bestows on
     him the rich gift of poesy, and assigns him a post in the greatest
     of the arts, she invariably seizes the opportunity to show her
     contempt of rank and title and race and land and creed. She took
     Burns from a plough and Paul from an elevator, and Paul has done
     for his own people what Burns did for the peasants of Scotland--he
     has expressed them in their own way and in their own words.



WITH THE POLICE

_Not all Americans are good Americans. For the lawbreakers, American
born or otherwise, we need men to enforce the law. Of these guardians of
public safety, one body, the Pennsylvania State Police, has become
famous for its achievements. Katherine Mayo studied their work at first
hand, met the men of the force, visited the scenes of their activity,
and in_ THE STANDARD BEARERS, _tells of their daring exploits. This
story is taken from that book_.



ISRAEL DRAKE

BY

KATHERINE MAYO


Israel Drake was a bandit for simple love of the thing. To hunt for
another reason would be a waste of time. The blood in his veins was pure
English, unmixed since long ago. His environment was that of his
neighbors. His habitat was the noble hills. But Israel Drake was a
bandit, just as his neighbors were farmers--just as a hawk is a hawk
while its neighbors are barnyard fowls.

Israel Drake was swarthy-visaged, high of cheek bone, with large, dark,
deep-set eyes, and a thin-lipped mouth covered by a long and drooping
black mustache. Barefooted, he stood six feet two inches tall. Lean as a
panther, and as supple, he could clear a five-foot rail fence without
the aid of his hand. He ran like a deer. As a woodsman the very deer
could have taught him little. With rifle and revolver he was an expert
shot, and the weapons he used were the truest and best.

All the hill-people of Cumberland County dreaded him. All the scattered
valley-folk spoke softly at his name. And the jest and joy of Israel's
care-free life was to make them skip and shiver and dance to the tune of
their trepidations.

As a matter of fact, he was leader of a gang, outlaws every one. But his
own strong aura eclipsed the rest, and he glared alone, in the thought
of his world, endued with terrors of diverse origin.

His genius kept him fully aware of the value of this preeminence, and it
lay in his wisdom and pleasure to fan the flame of his own repute. In
this it amused him to seek the picturesque--the unexpected. With an
imagination fed by primeval humor and checked by no outward
circumstances of law, he achieved a ready facility. Once, for example,
while trundling through his town of Shippensburg on the rear platform of
a freight train, he chanced to spy a Borough Constable crossing a bridge
near the track.

"Happy thought! Let's touch the good soul up. He's getting stodgy."

Israel drew a revolver and fired, neatly nicking the Constable's hat.
Then with a mountaineer's hoot, he gayly proclaimed his identity.

Again, and many times, he would send into this or that town or
settlement a message addressed to the Constable or Chief of Police:--

"I am coming down this afternoon. Get away out of town. Don't let me
find you there."

Obediently they went away. And Israel, strolling the streets that
afternoon just as he had promised to do, would enter shop after shop,
look over the stock at his leisure, and, with perfect good-humor, pick
out whatever pleased him, regardless of cost.

"I think I'll take this here article," he would say to the trembling
store-keeper, affably pocketing his choice.

"Help yourself, Mr. Drake! Help yourself, sir! Glad we are able to
please you to-day."

Which was indeed the truth. And many of them there were who would have
hastened to curry favor with their persecutor by whispering in his ear a
word of warning had they known of any impending attempt against him by
the agents of peace.

Such was their estimate of the relative strength of Israel Drake and of
the law forces of the Sovereign State of Pennsylvania.

In the earlier times they had tried to arrest him. Once the attempt
succeeded and Israel went to the Penitentiary for a term. But he emerged
a better and wilier bandit than before, to embark upon a career that
made his former life seem tame. Sheriffs and constables now proved
powerless against him, whatever they essayed.

Then came a grand, determined effort when the Sheriff, supported by
fifteen deputies, all heavily armed, actually surrounded Drake's house.
But the master-outlaw, alone and at ease at an upper window, his
Winchester repeating-rifle in his hand and a smile of still content on
his face, coolly stood the whole army off until, weary of empty danger,
it gave up the siege and went home.

This disastrous expedition ended the attempts of the local authorities
to capture Israel Drake. Thenceforth he pursued his natural course
without pretense of let or hindrance. At the time when this story
begins, no fewer than fourteen warrants were out for his apprehension,
issued on charges ranging from burglary and highway robbery through a
long list of felonies. But the warrants, slowly accumulating, lay in the
bottom of official drawers, apprehending nothing but dust. No one
undertook to serve them. Life was too sweet--too short.

Then came a turn of fate. Israel chanced to bethink himself of a certain
aged farmer living with his old wife near a spot called Lee's
Cross-Road. The two dwelt by themselves, without companions on their
farm, and without neighbors. And they were reputed to have money.

The money might not be much--might be exceedingly little. But, even so,
Israel could use it, and in any event there would be the fun of the
trick. So Israel summoned one Carey Morrison, a gifted mate and
subordinate, with whom he proceeded to act.

At dead of night the two broke into the farmhouse--crept into the
chamber of the old pair--crept softly, softly, lest the farmer might
keep a shotgun by his side. Sneaking to the foot of the bed, Israel
suddenly flashed his lantern full upon the pillows--upon the two pale,
deep-seamed faces crowned with silver hair.

The woman sat up with a piercing scream. The farmer clutched at his
gun. But Israel, bringing the glinting barrel of his revolver into the
lantern's shaft of light, ordered both to lie down. Carey, slouching at
hand, awaited orders.

"Where is your money?" demanded Israel, indicating the farmer by the
point of his gun.

"I have no money, you coward!"

"It's no use your lying to me. _Where's the money?_"

"I have no money, I tell you."

"Carey," observed Israel, "hunt a candle."

While Carey looked for the candle, Israel surveyed his victims with a
cheerful, anticipatory grin.

The candle came; was lighted.

"Carey," Israel spoke again, "you pin the old woman down. Pull the quilt
off. Clamp her feet together. So!"

Then he thrust the candle-flame against the soles of those gnarled old
feet--thrust it close, while the flame bent upward, and the melting
tallow poured upon the bed.

The woman screamed again, this time in pain. The farmer half rose, with
a quivering cry of rage, but Israel's gun stared him between the eyes.
The woman screamed without interval. There was a smell of burning flesh.

"Now we'll change about," remarked Israel, beaming. "I'll hold the old
feller. You take the candle, Carey. You don't reely need your gun--now,
do ye, boy?"

And so they began afresh.

It was not a game to last long. Before dawn the two were back in their
own place, bearing the little all of value that the rifled house had
contained.

When the news of the matter spread abroad, it seemed, somehow, just a
straw too much. The District Attorney of the County of Cumberland blazed
into white heat. But he was powerless, he found. Not an officer within
his entire jurisdiction expressed any willingness even to attempt an
arrest.

"Then we shall see," said District Attorney Rhey, "what the State will
do for us, since we cannot help ourselves!" And he rushed off a
telegram, confirmed by post, to the Superintendent of the Department of
State Police.

The Superintendent of the Department of State Police promptly referred
the matter to the Captain of "C" Troop, with orders to act. For
Cumberland County, being within the southeastern quarter of the
Commonwealth, lies under "C" Troop's special care.

It was Adams, in those days, who held that command--Lynn G. Adams, now
Captain of "A" Troop, although for the duration of the war serving in
the regular army, even as his fathers before him have served in our
every war, including that which put the country on the map. Truer
soldier, finer officer, braver or straighter or surer dealer with men
and things need not be sought. His victories leave no needless scar
behind, and his command would die by inches rather than fail him
anywhere.

The Captain of "C" Troop, then, choosing with judgment, picked his
man--picked Trooper Edward Hallisey, a Boston Irishman, square of jaw,
shrewd of eye, quick of wit, strong of wind and limb. And he ordered
Private Hallisey to proceed at once to Carlisle, county seat of
Cumberland, and report to the District Attorney for service toward
effecting the apprehension of Israel Drake.

Three days later--it was the 28th of September, to be exact--Private
Edward Hallisey sent in his report to his Troop Commander. He had made
all necessary observations, he said, and was ready to arrest the
criminal. In this he would like to have the assistance of two Troopers,
who should join him at Carlisle.

The report came in the morning mail. First Sergeant Price detailed two
men from the Barracks reserve. They were Privates H. K. Merryfield and
Harvey J. Smith. Their orders were simply to proceed at once, in
civilian clothes, to Carlisle, where they would meet Private Hallisey
and assist him in effecting the arrest of Israel Drake.

Privates Merryfield and Smith, carrying in addition to their service
revolvers the 44-caliber Springfield carbine which is the Force's heavy
weapon, left by the next train.

On the Carlisle station platform, as the two Troopers debarked, some
hundred persons were gathered in pursuance of various and centrifugal
designs. But one impulse they appeared unanimously to share--the impulse
to give as wide a berth as possible to a peculiarly horrible tramp.

Why should a being like that intrude himself upon a passenger platform
in a respectable country town? Not to board a coach, surely, for such as
he pay no fares. To spy out the land? To steal luggage? Or simply to
make himself hateful to decent folk?

He carried his head with a hangdog lurch--his heavy jaw was rough with
stubble beard. His coat and trousers fluttered rags and his toes stuck
out of his boots. Women snatched back their skirts as he slouched near,
and men muttered and scowled at him for a contaminating beast.

Merryfield and Smith, drifting near this scum of the earth, caught the
words "Four-thirty train" and the name of a station.

"Right," murmured Merryfield.

Then he went and bought tickets.

In the shelter of an ancient, grimy day-coach, the scum muttered again,
as Smith brushed past him in the aisle.

"Charlie Stover's farm," said he.

"M'm," said Smith.

At a scrap of a station, in the foothills of ascending heights the tramp
and the Troopers separately detrained. In the early evening all three
strayed together once more in the shadow of the lilacs by Charlie
Stover's gate.

Over the supper-table Hallisey gave the news. "Drake is somewhere on the
mountain to-night," said he. "His cabin is way up high, on a ridge
called Huckleberry Patch. He is practically sure to go home in the
course of the evening. Then is our chance. First, of course, you fellows
will change your clothes. I've got some old things ready for you."

Farmer Stover, like every other denizen of the rural county, had lived
for years in terror and hatred of Israel Drake. Willingly he had aided
Hallisey to the full extent of his power. He had told all that he knew
of the bandit's habits and mates. He had indicated the mountain trails
and he had given the Trooper such little shelter and food as the latter
had stopped to take during his rapid work of investigation. But now he
was asked to perform a service that he would gladly have refused; he was
asked to hitch up a horse and wagon and to drive the three Troopers to
the very vicinity of Israel Drake's house.

"Oh, come on, Mr. Stover," they urged. "You're a public-spirited man, as
you've shown. Do it for your neighbors' sake if not for your own. You
want the county rid of this pest."

Very reluctantly the farmer began the trip. With every turn of the
ever-mounting forest road his reluctance grew. Grisly memories, grisly
pictures, flooded his mind. It was night, and the trees in the darkness
whispered like evil men. The bushes huddled like crouching figures. And
what was it, moving stealthily over there, that crackled twigs? At last
he could bear it no more.

"Here's where _I_ turn 'round," he muttered hoarsely. "If you fellers
are going farther you'll go alone. I got a use for _my_ life!"

"All right, then," said Hallisey. "You've done well by us already.
Good-night."

It was a fine moonlight night and Hallisey now knew those woods as well
as did his late host. He led his two comrades up another stiff mile of
steady climbing. Then he struck off, by an almost invisible trail, into
the dense timber. Silently the three men moved, threading the fragrant,
silver-flecked blackness with practised woodsmen's skill. At last their
file-leader stopped and beckoned his mates.

Over his shoulder the two studied the scene before them: A clearing
chopped out of the dense tall timber. In the midst of the clearing a log
cabin, a story and a half high. On two sides of the cabin a straggling
orchard of peach and apple trees. In the cabin window a dim light.

It was then about eleven o'clock. The three Troopers, effacing
themselves in the shadows, laid final plans.

The cabin had two rooms on the top floor and one below, said Hallisey,
beneath his breath. The first-floor room had a door and two windows on
the north, and the same on the south, just opposite. Under the west end
was a cellar, with an outside door. Before the main door to the north
was a little porch. This, by day, commanded the sweep of the
mountain-side; and here, when Drake was "hiding out" in some neighboring
eyrie, expecting pursuit, his wife was wont to signal him concerning the
movements of intruders.

Her code was written in dish-water. A panful thrown to the east meant
danger in the west, and _vice versa_; this Hallisey himself had seen and
now recalled in case of need.

Up to the present moment each officer had carried his carbine, taken
apart and wrapped in a bundle, to avoid the remark of chance observers
by the way. Now each put his weapon together, ready for use. They
compared their watches, setting them to the second. They discarded their
coats and hats.

The moon was flooding the clearing with high, pale light, adding greatly
to the difficulty of their task. Accordingly, they plotted carefully.
Each Trooper took a door--Hallisey that to the north, Merryfield that to
the south, Smith that of the cellar. It was agreed that each should
creep to a point opposite the door on which he was to advance, ten
minutes being allowed for all to reach their initial positions; that at
exactly five minutes to midnight the advance should be started, slowly,
through the tall grass of the clearing toward the cabin; that in case of
any unusual noise or alarm, each man should lie low exactly five minutes
before resuming this advance; and that from a point fifty yards from the
cabin a rush should be made upon the doors.

According to the request of the District Attorney, Drake was to be taken
"dead or alive," but according to an adamantine principle of the Force,
he must be taken not only alive, but unscathed if that were humanly
possible. This meant that he must not be given an opportunity to run and
so render shooting necessary. If, however, he should break away, his
chance of escape would be small, as each Trooper was a dead shot with
the weapons he was carrying.

The scheme concerted, the three officers separated, heading apart to
their several starting-points. At five minutes before midnight, to the
tick of their synchronized watches, each began to glide through the tall
grass. But it was late September. The grass was dry. Old briar-veins
dragged at brittle stalks. Shimmering whispers of withered leaves echoed
to the smallest touch; and when the men were still some two hundred
yards from the cabin the sharp ears of a dog caught the rumor of all
these tiny sounds,--and the dog barked.

Every man stopped short--moved not a finger again till five minutes had
passed. Then once more each began to creep--reached the fifty-yard
point--stood up, with a long breath, and dashed for his door.

At one and the same moment, practically, the three stood in the cabin,
viewing a scene of domestic peace. A short, square, swarthy woman, black
of eye, high of cheek bone, stood by a stove calmly stirring a pot. On
the table besides her, on the floor around her, clustered many jars of
peaches--jars freshly filled, steaming hot, awaiting their tops. In a
corner three little children, huddled together on a low bench, stared at
the strangers with sleepy eyes. Three chairs; a cupboard with dishes;
bunches of corn hanging from the rafters by their husks; festoons of
onions; tassels of dried herbs--all this made visible by the dull light
of a small kerosene lamp whose dirty chimney was streaked with smoke.
All this and nothing more.

Two of the men, jumping for the stairs, searched the upper half-story
thoroughly, but without profit.

"Mrs. Drake," said Hallisey, as they returned, "we are officers of the
State Police, come to arrest your husband. Where is he?"

In silence, in utter calm the woman still stirred her pot, not missing
the rhythm of a stroke.

"The dog warned them. He's just got away," said each officer to himself.
"She's _too_ calm."

She scooped up a spoonful of the fruit, peered at it critically,
splashed it back into the bubbling pot. From her manner it appeared the
most natural thing in the world to be canning peaches at midnight on the
top of South Mountain in the presence of officers of the State Police.

"My husband's gone to Baltimore," she vouchsafed at her easy leisure.

"Let's have a look in the cellar," said Merryfield, and dropped down the
cellar stairs with Hallisey at his heels. Together they ransacked the
little cave to a conclusion. During the process, Merryfield conceived an
idea.

"Hallisey," he murmured, "what would you think of my staying down here,
while you and Smith go off talking as though we were all together? She
might say something to the children, when she believes we're gone, and I
could hear every word through that thin floor."

"We'll do it!" Hallisey answered, beneath his voice. Then, shouting:--

"Come on, Smith! Let's get away from this; no use wasting time here!"

And in another moment Smith and Hallisey were crashing up the
mountain-side, calling out: "Hi, there! Merryfield--Oh! Merryfield,
wait for us!"--as if their comrade had outstripped them on the trail.

Merryfield had made use of the noise of their departure to establish
himself in a tenable position under the widest crack in the floor. Now
he held himself motionless, subduing even his breath.

One--two--three minutes of dead silence. Then came the timorous
half-whisper of a frightened child:

"Will them men kill father if they find him?"

"S-sh!"

"Mother!" faintly ventured another little voice, "will them men kill
father if they find him?"

"S-sh! S-sh! I tell ye!"

"Ma-ma! Will they kill my father?" This was the wail, insistent,
uncontrolled, of the smallest child of all.

The crackling tramp of the officers, mounting the trail, had wholly died
away. The woman evidently believed all immediate danger past.

"No!" she exclaimed vehemently, "they ain't goin' to lay eyes on yo'
father, hair nor hide of him. Quit yer frettin'!"

In a moment she spoke again: "You keep still, now, like good children,
while I go out and empty these peach-stones. I'll be back in a minute.
See you keep still just where you are!"

Stealing noiselessly to the cellar door as the woman left the house,
Merryfield saw her making for the woods, a basket on her arm. He watched
her till the shadows engulfed her. Then he drew back to his own place
and resumed his silent vigil.

Moments passed, without a sound from the room above. Then came soft
little thuds on the floor, a whimper or two, small sighs, and a slither
of bare legs on bare boards.

"Poor little kiddies!" thought Merryfield, "they're coiling down to
sleep!"

Back in the days when the Force was started, the Major had said to each
recruit of them all:--

"I expect you to treat women and children at all times with every
consideration."

From that hour forth the principle has been grafted into the lives of
the men. It is instinct now--self-acting, deep, and unconscious. No
tried Trooper deliberately remembers it. It is an integral part of him,
like the drawing of his breath.

"I wish I could manage to spare those babies and their mother in what's
to come!" Merryfield pondered as he lurked in the mould-scented dark.

A quarter of an hour went by. Five minutes more. Footsteps nearing the
cabin from the direction of the woods. Low voices--very low.
Indistinguishable words. Then the back door opened. Two persons entered,
and all that they now uttered was clear.

"It was them that the dog heard," said a man's voice. "Get me my rifle
and all my ammunition. I'll go to Maryland. I'll get a job on that stone
quarry near Westminster. I'll send some money as soon as I'm paid."

"But you won't start _to-night_!" exclaimed the wife.

"Yes, to-night--this minute. Quick! I wouldn't budge an inch for the
County folks. But with the State Troopers after me, that's another
thing. If I stay around here now they'll get me dead sure--and send me
up too. My gun, I say!"

"Oh, daddy, daddy, don't go away!" "_Don't_ go away off and leave me,
daddy!" "_Don't go, don't go!_" came the children's plaintive wails,
hoarse with fatigue and fright.

Merryfield stealthily crept from the cellar's outside door, hugging the
wall of the cabin, moving toward the rear. As he reached the corner, and
was about to make the turn toward the back, he drew his six-shooter and
laid his carbine down in the grass. For the next step, he knew, would
bring him into plain sight. If Drake offered any resistance, the
ensuing action would be at short range or hand to hand.

He rounded the corner. Drake was standing just outside the door, a rifle
in his left hand, his right hand hidden in the pocket of his overcoat.
In the doorway stood the wife, with the three little children crowding
before her. It was the last moment. They were saying good-bye.

Merryfield covered the bandit with his revolver.

"Put up your hands! You are under arrest," he commanded.

"Who the hell are you!" Drake flung back. As he spoke he thrust his
rifle into the grasp of the woman and snatched his right hand from its
concealment. In its grip glistened the barrel of a nickel-plated
revolver.

Merryfield could have easily shot him then and there--would have been
amply warranted in doing so. But he had heard the children's voices. Now
he saw their innocent, terrified eyes.

"Poor--little--kiddies!" he thought again.

Drake stood six feet two inches high, and weighed some two hundred
pounds, all brawn. Furthermore, he was desperate. Merryfield is merely
of medium build.

"Nevertheless, I'll take a chance," he said to himself, returning his
six-shooter to its holster. And just as the outlaw threw up his own
weapon to fire, the Trooper, in a running jump, plunged into him with
all fours, exactly as, when a boy, he had plunged off a springboard into
the old mill-dam of a hot July afternoon.

Too amazed even to pull his trigger, Drake gave backward a step into the
doorway. Merryfield's clutch toward his right hand missed the gun,
fastening instead on the sleeve of his heavy coat. Swearing wildly while
the woman and children screamed behind him, the bandit struggled to
break the Trooper's hold--tore and pulled until the sleeve, where
Merryfield held it, worked down over the gun in his own grip. So
Merryfield, twisting the sleeve, caught a lock-hold on hand and gun
together.

Drake, standing on the doorsill, had now some eight inches advantage of
height. The door opened inward, from right to left. With a tremendous
effort Drake forced his assailant to his knees, stepped back into the
room, seized the door with his left hand and with the whole weight on
his shoulder slammed it to, on the Trooper's wrist.

The pain was excruciating--but it did not break that lock-hold on the
outlaw's hand and gun. Shooting from his knees like a projectile,
Merryfield flung his whole weight at the door. Big as Drake was, he
could not hold it. It gave, and once more the two men hung at grips,
this time within the room.

Drake's one purpose was to turn the muzzle of his imprisoned revolver
upon Merryfield. Merryfield, with his left still clinching that deadly
hand caught in its sleeve, now grabbed the revolver in his own right
hand, with a twist dragged it free, and flung it out of the door.

But, as he dropped his right defense, taking both hands to the gun, the
outlaw's powerful left grip closed on Merryfield's throat with a
strangle-hold.

With that great thumb closing his windpipe, with the world turning red
and black, "Guess I can't put it over, after all!" the Trooper said to
himself.

Reaching for his own revolver, he shoved the muzzle against the bandit's
breast.

"Damn you, _shoot_!" cried the other, believing his end was come.

But in that same instant Merryfield once more caught a glimpse of the
fear-stricken faces of the babies, huddled together beyond.

"Hallisey and Smith must be here soon," he thought. "I won't shoot yet."

Again he dropped his revolver back into the holster, seizing the wrist
of the outlaw to release that terrible clamp on his throat. As he did
so, Drake with a lightning twist, reached around to the Trooper's belt
and possessed himself of the gun. As he fired Merryfield had barely time
and space to throw back his head. The flash blinded him--scorched his
face hairless. The bullet grooved his body under the upflung arm still
wrenching at the clutch that was shutting off his breath.

Perhaps, with the shot, the outlaw insensibly somewhat relaxed that
choking arm. Merryfield tore loose. Half-blinded and gasping though he
was, he flung himself again at his adversary and landed a blow in his
face. Drake, giving backward, kicked over a row of peach jars, slipped
on the slimy stream that poured over the bare floor, and dropped the
gun.

Pursuing his advantage, Merryfield delivered blow after blow on the
outlaw's face and body, backing him around the room, while both men
slipped and slid, fell and recovered, on the jam-coated floor. The table
crashed over, carrying with it the solitary lamp, whose flame died
harmlessly, smothered in tepid mush. Now only the moonlight illuminated
the scene.

Drake was manoeuvring always to recover the gun. His hand touched the
back of a chair. He picked the chair up, swung it high, and was about to
smash it down on his adversary's head when Merryfield seized it in the
air.

At this moment the woman, who had been crouching against the wall
nursing the rifle that her husband had put into her charge, rushed
forward clutching the barrel of the gun, swung it at full arm's length
as she would have swung an axe, and brought the stock down on the
Trooper's right hand.

That vital hand dropped--fractured, done. But in the same second Drake
gave a shriek of pain as a shot rang out and his own right arm fell
powerless.

In the door stood Hallisey, smoking revolver in hand, smiling grimly in
the moonlight at the neatness of his own aim. What is the use of killing
a man, when you can wing him as trigly as that?

Private Smith, who had entered by the other door, was taking the rifle
out of the woman's grasp--partly because she had prodded him viciously
with the muzzle. He examined the chambers.

"Do you know this thing is loaded?" he asked her in a mild, detached
voice.

She returned his gaze with frank despair in her black eyes.

"Drake, do you surrender?" asked Hallisey.

"Oh, I'll give up. You've got me!" groaned the outlaw. Then he turned on
his wife with bitter anger. "Didn't I tell ye?" he snarled. "Didn't I
tell ye they'd get me if you kept me hangin' around here? These ain't no
damn deputies. _These is the State Police!_"

"An' yet, if I'd known that gun was loaded," said she, "there'd been
some less of 'em to-night!"

They dressed Israel's arm in first-aid fashion. Then they started with
their prisoner down the mountain-trail, at last resuming connection with
their farmer friend. Not without misgivings, the latter consented to
hitch up his "double team" and hurry the party to the nearest town where
a doctor could be found.

As the doctor dressed the bandit's arm, Private Merryfield, whose broken
right hand yet awaited care, observed to the groaning patient:--

"Do you know, you can be thankful to your little children that you have
your life left."

"To hell with you and the children and my life. I'd a hundred times
rather you'd killed me than take what's comin' now."

Then the three Troopers philosophically hunted up a night restaurant and
gave their captive a bite of lunch.

"Now," said Hallisey, as he paid the score, "where's the lock-up?"

The three officers, with Drake in tow, proceeded silently through the
sleeping streets. Not a ripple did their passing occasion. Not even a
dog aroused to take note of them.

Duly they stood at the door of the custodian of the lock-up, ringing the
bell--again and again ringing it. Eventually some one upstairs raised a
window, looked out for an appreciable moment, quickly lowered the window
and locked it. Nothing further occurred. Waiting for a reasonable
interval the officers rang once more. No answer. Silence complete.

Then they pounded on the door till the entire block heard.

Here, there, up street and down, bedroom windows gently opened, then
closed with finality more gentle yet. Silence. Not a voice. Not a foot
on a stair.

The officers looked at each other perplexed. Then, by chance, they
looked at Drake. Drake, so lately black with suicidal gloom, was
grinning! Grinning as a man does when the citadel of his heart is
comforted.

"You don't understand, do ye!" chuckled he. "Well, I'll tell ye: What do
them folks see when they open their windows and look down here in the
road? They see three hard-lookin' fellers with guns in their hands, here
in this bright moonlight. And they see somethin' scarier to them than a
hundred strangers with guns--they see _ME_! There ain't a mother's son
of 'em that'll budge downstairs while I'm here, not if you pound on
their doors till the cows come home." And he slapped his knee with his
good hand and laughed in pure ecstasy--a laugh that caught all the
little group and rocked it as with one mind.

"We don't begrudge you that, do we boys?" Hallisey conceded. "Smith,
you're as respectable-looking as any of us. Hunt around and see if you
can find a Constable that isn't onto this thing. We'll wait here for
you."

Moving out of the zone of the late demonstration, Private Smith learned
the whereabouts of the home of a Constable.

"What's wanted?" asked the Constable, responding like a normal burgher
to Smith's knock at his door.

"Officer of State Police," answered Smith. "I have a man under arrest
and want to put him in the lock-up. Will you get me the keys?"

"Sure. I'll come right down and go along with you myself. Just give me a
jiffy to get on my trousers and boots," cried the Constable, clearly
glad of a share in the adventure.

In a moment the borough official was at the Trooper's side, talking
eagerly as they moved toward the place where the party waited.

"So, he's a highwayman, is he? Good! and a burglar, too, and a
cattle-thief! Good work! And you've got him right up the street, ready
to jail! Well, I'll be switched. Now, what might his name be? Israel
Drake? _Not Israel Drake!_ Oh, my God!"

The Constable had stopped in his tracks like a man struck paralytic.

"No, stranger," he quavered. "I reckon I--I--I won't go no further with
you just now. Here, I'll give you the keys. You can use 'em yourself:
These here's for the doors. This bunch is for the cells. _Good_-night to
you. I'll be getting back home!"

By the first train next morning the Troopers, conveying their prisoner,
left the village for the County Town. As they deposited Drake in the
safe-keeping of the County Jail and were about to depart, he seemed
burdened with an impulse to speak, yet said nothing. Then, as the three
officers were leaving the room, he leaned over and touched Merryfield on
the shoulder.

"Shake!" he growled, offering his unwounded hand.

Merryfield "shook" cheerfully, with his own remaining sound member.

"I'm plumb sorry to see ye go, and that's a fact," growled the outlaw.
"Because--well, because you're the only _man_ that ever tried to arrest
me."



KATHERINE MAYO


Miss Katherine Mayo comes of Mayflower stock, but her birthplace was
Ridgway, Pennsylvania. She was educated in private schools at Boston and
Cambridge, Mass. Her earliest literary work to appear in print was a
series of articles describing travels in Norway, followed by another
series on Colonial American topics, written for the New York _Evening
Post_. Later, during a residence in Dutch Guiana, South America, she
wrote for the _Atlantic Monthly_ some interesting sketches of the
natives of Surinam. After this came three years wholly devoted to
historic research. The work, however, that first attracted wide
attention was a history of the Pennsylvania State Police, published in
1917, under the title of _Justice To All_.

This history gives the complete story of the famous Mounted Police of
Pennsylvania, illustrated with a mass of accurate narrative and
re-enforced with statistics. The occasion of its writing was a personal
experience--the cold-blooded murder of Sam Howell, a fine young American
workingman, a carpenter by trade, near Miss Mayo's country home in New
York. The circumstances of this murder could not have been more
skilfully arranged had they been specially designed to illustrate the
weakness and folly of the ancient, out-grown engine to which most states
in the Union, even yet, look for the enforcement of their laws in rural
parts. Sam Howell, carrying the pay roll on pay-day morning, gave his
life for his honor as gallantly as any soldier in any war. He was shot
down, at arm's length range, by four highway men, to whom, though
himself unarmed, he would not surrender his trust. Sheriff, deputy
sheriffs, constables, and some seventy-five fellow laborers available as
sheriff's posse spent hours within a few hundred feet of the little
wood in which the four murderers were known to be hiding, but no arrest
was made and the murderers are to-day still at large.

"You will have forgotten all this in a month's time," said Howell's
fellow-workmen an hour after the tragedy, to Miss Mayo and her friend
Miss Newell, owner of the estate, on the scene. "Sam was only a laboring
man, like ourselves. We, none of us, have any protection when we work in
country parts."

The remark sounded bitter indeed. But investigation proved it, in
principle, only too true. Sam Howell had not been the first, by many
hundreds, to give his life because the State had no real means to make
her law revered. And punishment for such crimes had been rare. Sam
Howell, however, was not to be forgotten, neither was his sacrifice to
be vain. From his blood, shed unseen, in the obscurity of a quiet
country lane, was to spring a great movement, taking effect first in the
state in which he died, and spreading through the Union.

At that time Pennsylvania was the only state of all the forty-seven that
had met its just obligations to protect all its people under its laws.
Pennsylvania's State Police had been for ten years a body of defenders
of justice, "without fear and without reproach". The honest people of
the State had recorded its deeds in a long memory of noble service. But,
never stooping to advertise itself, never hesitating to incur the enmity
of evildoers, it had had many traducers and no historian. There was
nothing in print to which the people of other states might turn for
knowledge of the accomplishment of the sister commonwealth.

So, in order that the facts might be conveniently available for every
American citizen to study from "A" to "Z" and thus to decide
intelligently for himself where he wanted his own state to stand, in the
matter of fair and full protection to all people, Miss Mayo went to
Pennsylvania and embarked on an exhaustive analysis of the workings of
the Pennsylvania State Police Force, viewed from the standpoint of all
parts of the community. Ex-President Roosevelt wrote the preface for
_Justice To All_, the book in which the fruits of this study were
finally embodied, and, in the meantime, Miss Newell devoted all her
energies to the development of an active and aggressive state-wide
movement for a State Police. _Justice To All_, in this campaign was
widely used as a source of authority on which to base the arguments for
the case. And in 1917 came Sam Howell's triumph, the passage of the Act
creating the Department of New York State Police, now popularly called
"the State Troopers".

In the course of collecting the material for this book, Miss Mayo
gathered a mass of facts much greater than one volume could properly
contain. From this she later took fifteen adventurous stories of actual
service in the Pennsylvania Force, of which some, including "Israel
Drake" appeared in the _Saturday Evening Post_, while others came out
simultaneously in the _Atlantic Monthly_ and in the _Outlook_. All were
later collected in a volume called _The Standard Bearers_, which met
with a very cordial reception by readers and critics.

During the latter part of the World War, Miss Mayo was in France
investigating the war-work of the Y. M. C. A. Her experiences there
furnished material for a book from which advance pages appeared in the
_Outlook_ in the form of separate stories, "Billy's Hut," "The Colonel's
Lady" and others. The purpose of this book was to determine, as closely
as possible, the real values, whatever those might be, of the work
actually accomplished by the Overseas Y, and to lay the plain truth
without bias or color, before the American people.



IN THE PHILIPPINES

_When the Philippine Islands passed from the possession of Spain to
that of the United States, there was a change in more than the flag.
Spain had sent soldiers and tax-gatherers to the islands; Uncle Sam sent
road-builders and school teachers. One of these school teachers was also
a newspaper man; and in a book called_ CAYBIGAN _he gave a series of
vivid pictures of how the coming generation of Filipinos are taking the
first step towards Americanization._



THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH OF ISIDRO DE LOS MAESTROS

BY

JAMES HOPPER


_I--Face to Face with the Foe_

Returning to his own town after a morning spent in "working up" the
attendance of one of his far and recalcitrant barrio-schools, the
Maestro of Balangilang was swaying with relaxed muscle and half-closed
eyes to the allegretto trot of his little native pony, when he pulled up
with a start, wide awake and all his senses on the alert. Through his
somnolence, at first in a low hum, but fast rising in a fiendish
crescendo, there had come a buzzing sound, much like that of one of the
saw-mills of his California forests, and now, as he sat in the saddle,
erect and tense, the thing ripped the air in ragged tear, shrieked
vibrating into his ear, and finished its course along his spine in
delicious irritation.

"Oh, where am I?" murmured the Maestro, blinking; but between blinks he
caught the flashing green of the palay fields and knew that he was far
from the saw-mills of the Golden State. So he raised his nose to heaven
and there, afloat above him in the serene blue, was the explanation. It
was a kite, a great locust-shaped kite, darting and swooping in the hot
monsoon, and from it, dropping plumb, came the abominable clamor.

"Aha!" exclaimed the Maestro, pointing accusingly at the thin line
vaguely visible against the sky-line in a diagonal running from the kite
above him ahead to a point in the road. "Aha! there's something at the
end of that; there's Attendance at the end of that!"

With which significant remark he leaned forward in the saddle, bringing
his switch down with a whizz behind him. The pony gave three rabbit
leaps and then settled down to his drumming little trot. As they
advanced the line overhead dropped gradually. Finally the Maestro had to
swerve the horse aside to save his helmet. He pulled up to a walk, and a
few yards further came to the spot where string met earth in the
expected Attendance.

The Attendance was sitting on the ground, his legs spread before him in
an angle of forty-five degrees, each foot arched in a secure grip of a
bunch of cogon grass. These legs were bare as far up as they went, and,
in fact, no trace of clothing was reached until the eye met the lower
fringe of an indescribable undershirt modestly veiling the upper half of
a rotund little paunch; an indescribable undershirt, truly, for
observation could not reach the thing itself, but only the dirt
incrusting it so that it hung together, rigid as a knight's iron
corslet, in spite of monstrous tears and rents. Between the teeth of the
Attendance was a long, thick cheroot, wound about with hemp fiber, at
which he pulled with rounded mouth. Hitched around his right wrist was
the kite string, and between his legs a stick spindled with an extra
hundred yards. At intervals he hauled hand-over-hand upon the taut line,
and then the landscape vibrated to the buzz-saw song which had so
compellingly recalled the Maestro to his eternal pursuit.

As the shadow of the horse fell upon him, the Attendance brought his
eyes down from their heavenly contemplation, and fixed them upon the
rider. A tremor of dismay, mastered as soon as born, flitted over him;
then, silently, with careful suppression of all signs of haste, he
reached for a big stone with his little yellow paw, then for a stick
lying farther off. Using the stone as a hammer, he drove the stick into
the ground with deliberate stroke, wound the string around it with
tender solicitude, and then, everything being secure, just as the
Maestro was beginning his usual embarrassing question:

"Why are you not at school, eh?"

He drew up his feet beneath him, straightened up like a jack-in-a-box,
took a hop-skip-jump, and with a flourish of golden heels, flopped
head-first into the roadside ditch's rank luxuriance.

"The little devil!" exclaimed the disconcerted Maestro. He dismounted
and, leading his horse, walked up to the side of the ditch. It was full
of the water of the last baguio. From the edge of the cane-field on the
other side there cascaded down the bank a mad vegetation; it carpeted
the sides, arched itself above in a vault, and inside this recess the
water was rotting, green-scummed; and a powerful fermentation filled the
nostrils with hot fever-smells. In the center of the ditch the broad,
flat head of a caribao emerged slightly above the water; the floating
lilies made an incongruous wreath about the great horns and the
beatifically-shut eyes, and the thick, humid nose exhaled ecstasy in
shuddering ripplets over the calm surface.

Filled with a vague sense of the ridiculous, the Maestro peered into the
darkness. "The little devil!" he murmured. "He's somewhere in here; but
how am I to get him, I'd like to know. Do you see him, eh, Mathusalem?"
he asked of the stolid beast soaking there in bliss.

Whether in answer to this challenge or to some other irritant, the
animal slowly opened one eye and ponderously let it fall shut again in
what, to the heated imagination of the Maestro, seemed a patronizing
wink. Its head slid quietly along the water; puffs of ooze rose from
below and spread on the surface. Then, in the silence there rose a
significant sound--a soft, repeated snapping of the tongue:

"Cluck, cluck."

"Aha!" shouted the Maestro triumphantly to his invisible audience. "I
know where you are, you scamp; right behind the caribao; come out of
there, _pronto, dale-dale_!"

But his enthusiasm was of short duration. To the commanding
tongue-click the caribao had stopped dead-still, and a silence heavy
with defiance met the too-soon exultant cries. An insect in the foliage
began a creaking call, and then all the creatures of humidity hidden
there among this fermenting vegetation joined in mocking chorus.

The Maestro felt a vague blush welling up from the innermost recesses of
his being.

"I'm going to get that kid," he muttered darkly, "if I have to wait
till--the coming of Common Sense to the Manila office! By gum, he's the
Struggle for Attendance personified!"

He sat down on the bank and waited. This did not prove interesting. The
animals of the ditch creaked on; the caribao bubbled up the water with
his deep content; above, the abandoned kite went through strange
acrobatics and wailed as if in pain. The Maestro dipped his hand into
the water; it was lukewarm. "No hope of a freeze-out," he murmured
pensively.

Behind, the pony began to pull at the reins.

"Yes, little horse, I'm tired, too. Well," he said apologetically, "I
hate to get energetic, but there are circumstances which----"

The end of his sentence was lost, for he had whisked out the big Colt's
dissuader of ladrones, that hung on his belt, and was firing. The six
shots went off like a bunch of fire-crackers, but far from at random,
for a regular circle boiled up around the dozing caribao. The disturbed
animal snorted, and again a discreet "cluck-cluck" rose in the sudden,
astounded silence.

"This," said the Maestro, as he calmly introduced fresh cartridges into
the chambers of his smoking weapon, "is what might be called an
application of western solutions to eastern difficulties."

Again he brought his revolver down, but he raised it without shooting
and replaced it in its holster. From beneath the caribao's rotund belly,
below the surface, an indistinct form shot out; cleaving the water like
a polliwog it glided for the bank, and then a black, round head emerged
at the feet of the Maestro.

"All right, bub; we'll go to school now," said the latter, nodding to
the dripping figure as it rose before him.

He lifted the sullen brownie and straddled him forward of the saddle,
then proceeded to mount himself, when the Capture began to display
marked agitation. He squirmed and twisted, turned his head back and up,
and finally a grunt escaped him.

"El volador."

"The kite, to be sure; we mustn't forget the kite," acquiesced the
Maestro graciously. He pulled up the anchoring stick and laboriously,
beneath the hostilely critical eye of the Capture, he hauled in the line
till the screeching, resisting flying-machine was brought to earth. Then
he vaulted into the saddle.

The double weight was a little too much for the pony; so it was at a
dignified walk that the Maestro, his naked, dripping, muddy and still
defiant prisoner a-straddle in front of him, the captured kite passed
over his left arm like a knightly shield, made his triumphant entry into
the pueblo.


_II--Heroism and Reverses_

When Maestro Pablo rode down Rizal-y-Washington Street to the
schoolhouse with his oozing, dripping prize between his arms, the kite,
like a knightly escutcheon against his left side, he found that in spite
of his efforts at preserving a modest, self-deprecatory bearing, his
spine would stiffen and his nose point upward in the unconscious
manifestations of an internal feeling that there was in his attitude
something picturesquely heroic. Not since walking down the California
campus one morning after the big game won three minutes before blowing
of the final whistle, by his fifty-yard run-in of a punt, had he been
in that posture--at once pleasant and difficult--in which one's vital
concern is to wear an humility sufficiently convincing to obtain from
friends forgiveness for the crime of being great.

A series of incidents immediately following, however, made the thing
quite easy.

Upon bringing the new recruit into the schoolhouse, to the perfidiously
expressed delight of the already incorporated, the Maestro called his
native assistant to obtain the information necessary to a full
matriculation. At the first question the inquisition came to a
dead-lock. The boy did not know his name.

"In Spanish times," the Assistant suggested modestly, "we called them
"de los Reyes" when the father was of the army, and "de la Cruz" when
the father was of the church; but now, we can never know _what_ it is."

The Maestro dashed to a solution. "All right," he said cheerily. "I
caught him; guess I can give him a name. Call him--Isidro de los
Maestros."

And thus it was that the urchin went down on the school records, and on
the records of life afterward.

Now, well pleased with himself, the Maestro, as is the wont of men in
such state, sought for further enjoyment.

"Ask him," he said teasingly, pointing with his chin at the
newly-baptized but still unregenerate little savage, "why he came out of
the ditch."

"He says he was afraid that you would steal the kite," answered the
Assistant, after some linguistic sparring.

"Eh?" ejaculated the surprised Maestro.

And in his mind there framed a picture of himself riding along the road
with a string between his fingers; and, following in the upper layers of
air, a buzzing kite; and, down in the dust of the highway, an urchin
trudging wistfully after the kite, drawn on irresistibly, in spite of
his better judgment, on and on, horrified but fascinated, up to the
yawning school-door.

It would have been the better way. "I ought to go and soak my head,"
murmured the Maestro pensively.

This was check number one, but others came in quick succession.

For the morning after this incident the Maestro did not find Isidro
among the weird, wild crowd gathered into the annex (a transformed sugar
storehouse) by the last raid of the Municipal Police.

Neither was Isidro there the next day, nor the next. And it was not till
a week had passed that the Maestro discovered, with an inward blush of
shame, that his much-longed-for pupil was living in the little hut
behind his own house. There would have been nothing shameful in the
overlooking--there were seventeen other persons sharing the same
abode--were it not that the nipa front of this human hive had been blown
away by the last baguio, leaving an unobstructed view of the interior,
if it might be called such. As it was, the Municipal Police was
mobilized at the urgent behest of the Maestro. Its "cabo," flanked by
two privates armed with old German needle-guns, besieged the home, and
after an interesting game of hide-and-go-seek, Isidro was finally caught
by one arm and one ear, and ceremoniously marched to school. And there
the Maestro asked him why he had not been attending.

"No hay pantalones"--there are no pants--Isidro answered, dropping his
eyes modestly to the ground.

This was check number two, and unmistakably so, for was it not a fact
that a civil commission, overzealous in its civilizing ardor, had passed
a law commanding that every one should wear, when in public, "at least
one garment, preferably trousers?"

Following this, and an unsuccessful plea upon the town tailor who was on
a three weeks' vacation on account of the death of a fourth cousin, the
Maestro shut himself up a whole day with Isidro in his little nipa
house; and behind the closely-shut shutters engaged in some mysterious
toil. When they emerged again the next morning, Isidro wended his way to
the school at the end of the Maestro's arm, trousered!

The trousers, it must be said, had a certain cachet of distinction. They
were made of calico-print, with a design of little black skulls
sprinkled over a yellow background. Some parts hung flat and limp as if
upon a scarecrow; others pulsed, like a fire-hose in action, with the
pressure of flesh compressed beneath, while at other points they bulged
pneumatically in little foot-balls. The right leg dropped to the ankle;
the left stopped discouraged, a few inches below the knee. The seams
looked like the putty mountain chains of the geography class. As the
Maestro strode along he threw rapid glances at his handiwork, and it was
plain that the emotions that moved him were somewhat mixed in character.
His face showed traces of a puzzled diffidence, as that of a man who has
come in sack-coat to a full-dress function; but after all it was
satisfaction that predominated, for after this heroic effort he had
decided that Victory had at last perched upon his banners.

And it really looked so for a time. Isidro stayed at school at least
during that first day of his trousered life. For when the Maestro, later
in the forenoon paid a visit to the annex, he found the Assistant in
charge standing disconcerted before the urchin who, with eyes indignant
and hair perpendicular upon the top of his head, was evidently holding
to his side of the argument with his customary energy.

Isidro was trouserless. Sitting rigid upon his bench, holding on with
both hands as if in fear of being removed, he dangled naked legs to the
sight of who might look.

"Que barbaridad!" murmured the Assistant in limp dejection.

But Isidro threw at him a look of black hatred. This became a tense,
silent plea for justice as it moved up for a moment to the Maestro's
face, and then it settled back upon its first object in frigid
accusation.

"Where are your trousers, Isidro?" asked the Maestro.

Isidro relaxed his convulsive grasp of the bench with one hand, canted
himself slightly to one side just long enough to give an instantaneous
view of the trousers, neatly folded and spread between what he was
sitting with and what he was sitting on, then swung back with the
suddenness of a kodak-shutter, seized his seat with new determination,
and looked eloquent justification at the Maestro.

"Why will you not wear them?" asked the latter.

"He says he will not get them dirty," said the Assistant, interpreting
the answer.

"Tell him when they are dirty he can go down to the river and wash
them," said the Maestro.

Isidro pondered over the suggestion for two silent minutes. The prospect
of a day spent splashing in the lukewarm waters of the Ilog he finally
put down as not at all detestable, and getting up to his feet:

"I will put them on," he said gravely.

Which he did on the moment, with an absence of hesitation as to which
was front and which was back, very flattering to the Maestro.

That Isidro persevered during the next week, the Maestro also came to
know. For now regularly every evening as he smoked and lounged upon his
long, cane chair, trying to persuade his tired body against all laws of
physics to give up a little of its heat to a circumambient atmosphere of
temperature equally enthusiastic; as he watched among the rafters of the
roof the snakes swallowing the rats, the rats devouring the lizards, the
lizards snapping up the spiders, the spiders snaring the flies in
eloquent representation of the life struggle, his studied passiveness
would be broken by strange sounds from the dilapidated hut at the back
of his house. A voice, imitative of that of the Third Assistant who
taught the annex, hurled forth questions, which were immediately
answered by another voice, curiously like that of Isidro.

Fiercely: "Du yu ssee dde hhett?"

Breathlessly: "Yiss I ssee dde hhett."

Ferociously: "Show me dde hhett."

Eagerly: "Here are dde hhett."

Thunderously: "Gif me dde hhett."

Exultantly: "I gif yu dde hhett."

Then the Maestro would step to the window and look into the hut from
which came this Socratic dialogue. And on this wall-less platform which
looked much like a primitive stage, a singular action was unrolling
itself in the smoky glimmer of a two-cent lamp. The Third Assistant was
not there at all; but Isidro was the Third Assistant. And the pupil was
not Isidro, but the witless old man who was one of the many sharers of
the abode. In the voice of the Third Assistant, Isidro was hurling out
the tremendous questions; and, as the old gentleman, who represented
Isidro, opened his mouth only to drule betel-juice, it was Isidro who,
in Isidro's voice, answered the questions. In his rôle as Third
Assistant he stood with legs akimbo before the pupil, a bamboo twig in
his hand; as Isidro the pupil, he plumped down quickly upon the bench
before responding. The sole function of the senile old man seemed that
of representing the pupil while the question was being asked, and
receiving, in that capacity, a sharp cut across the nose from
Isidro-the-Third-Assistant's switch, at which he chuckled to himself in
silent glee and druled ad libitum.

For several nights this performance went on with gradual increase of
vocabulary in teacher and pupil. But when it had reached the "Do you see
the apple-tree?" stage, it ceased to advance, marked time for a while,
and then slowly but steadily began sliding back into primitive
beginnings. This engendered in the Maestro a suspicion which became
certainty when Isidro entered the schoolhouse one morning just before
recess, between two policemen at port arms. A rapid scrutiny of the
roll-book showed that he had been absent a whole week.

"I was at the river cleaning my trousers," answered Isidro when put face
to face with this curious fact.

The Maestro suggested that the precious pantaloons which, by the way,
had been mysteriously embellished by a red stripe down the right leg and
a green stripe down the left leg, could be cleaned in less than a week,
and that Saturday and Sunday were days specially set aside in the
Catechismo of the Americanos for such little family duties.

Isidro understood, and the nightly rehearsals soon reached the stage of:

"How menny hhetts hev yu?"

"I hev _ten_ hhetts."

Then came another arrest of development and another decline, at the end
of which Isidro again making his appearance flanked by two German
needle-guns, caused a blush of remorse to suffuse the Maestro by
explaining with frigid gravity that his mother had given birth to a
little pickaninny-brother and that, of course, he had had to help.

But significant events in the family did not stop there. After birth,
death stepped in for its due. Isidro's relatives began to drop off in
rapid sequence--each demise demanding three days of meditation in
retirement--till at last the Maestro, who had had the excellent idea of
keeping upon paper a record of these unfortunate occurrences, was
looking with stupor upon a list showing that Isidro had lost, within
three weeks, two aunts, three grandfathers, and five
grandmothers--which, considering that an actual count proved the house
of bereavement still able to boast of seventeen occupants, was plainly
an exaggeration.

Following a long sermon from the Maestro in which he sought to explain
to Isidro that he must always tell the truth for sundry philosophical
reasons--a statement which the First Assistant tactfully smoothed to
something within range of credulity by translating it that one must not
lie to _Americanos_, because _Americanos_ do not like it--there came a
period of serenity.


_III--The Triumph_

There came to the Maestro days of peace and joy. Isidro was coming to
school; Isidro was learning English. Isidro was steady, Isidro was
docile, Isidro was positively so angelic that there was something
uncanny about the situation. And with Isidro, other little savages were
being pruned into the school-going stage of civilization. Helped by the
police, they were pouring in from barrio and hacienda; the attendance
was going up by leaps and bounds, till at last a circulative report
showed that Balangilang had passed the odious Cabancalan with its less
strenuous school-man, and left it in the ruck by a full hundred. The
Maestro was triumphant; his chest had gained two inches in expansion.
When he met Isidro at recess, playing cibay, he murmured softly: "You
little devil; you were Attendance personified, and I've got you now." At
which Isidro, pausing in the act of throwing a shell with the top of his
head at another shell on the ground, looked up beneath long lashes in a
smile absolutely seraphic.

In the evening, the Maestro, his heart sweet with content, stood at the
window. These were moonlight nights; in the grassy lanes the young girls
played graceful Spanish games, winding like garlands to a gentle song;
from the shadows of the huts came the tinkle-tinkle of serenading
guitars and yearning notes of violins wailing despairing love. And
Isidro, seated on the bamboo ladder of his house, went through an
independent performance. He sang "Good-night, Ladies," the last song
given to the school, sang it in soft falsetto, with languorous drawls,
and never-ending organ points, over and over again, till it changed
character gradually, dropping into a wailing minor, an endless croon
full of obscure melancholy of a race that dies.

"Goo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh loidies-ies-ies; goo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh
loidies-ies-ies; goo-oo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh loidies-ies-ies-ies," he
repeated and repeated, over and over again, till the Maestro's soul
tumbled down and down abysses of maudlin tenderness, and Isidro's chin
fell upon his chest in a last drawling, sleepy note. At which he shook
himself together and began the next exercise, a recitation, all of one
piece from first to last syllable, in one high, monotonous note, like a
mechanical doll saying "papa-mama."

"Oh-look-et-de-moon-she-ees-shinin-up-theyre-oh-mudder-she
look-like-a-lom-in-de-ayre-lost-night-she-was-smalleyre-on-joos
like-a-bow-boot-now-she-ees-biggerr-on-rrraon-like-an-O."

Then a big gulp of air and again:

"Oh-look-et-de-moon-she-ees-shinin-up-theyre,----" etc.

An hour of this, and he skipped from the lyric to the patriotic, and
then it was:


     "I-loof-dde-name-off-Wash-ing-ton,
       I-loof-my-coontrrree-tow,
     I-loof-dde-fleg-dde-dear-owl-fleg,
       Off-rridd-on-whit-on-bloo-oo-oo!"


By this time the Maestro was ready to go to bed, and long in the torpor
of the tropic night there came to him, above the hum of the mosquitoes
fighting at the net, the soft, wailing croon of Isidro, back at his
"Goo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh loidies-ies-ies."

These were days of ease and beauty to the Maestro, and he enjoyed them
the more when a new problem came to give action to his resourceful
brain.

The thing was this: For three days there had not been one funeral in
Balangilang.

In other climes, in other towns, this might have been a source of
congratulation, perhaps, but not in Balangilang. There were rumors of
cholera in the towns to the north, and the Maestro, as president of the
Board of Health, was on the watch for it. Five deaths a day, experience
had taught him, was the healthy average for the town; and this sudden
cessation of public burials--he could not believe that dying had
stopped--was something to make him suspicious.

It was over this puzzling situation that he was pondering at the morning
recess, when his attention was taken from it by a singular scene.

The "batas" of the school were flocking and pushing and jolting at the
door of the basement which served as stable for the municipal caribao.
Elbowing his way to the spot, the Maestro found Isidro at the entrance,
gravely taking up an admission of five shells from those who would
enter. Business seemed to be brisk; Isidro had already a big bandana
handkerchief bulging with the receipts which were now overflowing into a
great tao hat, obligingly loaned him by one of his admirers, as one by
one, those lucky enough to have the price filed in, feverish curiosity
upon their faces.

The Maestro thought that it might be well to go in also, which he did
without paying admission. The disappointed gate-keeper followed him. The
Maestro found himself before a little pink-and-blue tissue-paper box,
frilled with paper rosettes.

"What have you in there?" asked the Maestro.

"My brother," answered Isidro sweetly.

He cast his eyes to the ground and watched his big toe drawing vague
figures in the earth, then appealing to the First Assistant who was
present by this time, he added in the tone of virtue which _will_ be
modest:

"Maestro Pablo does not like it when I do not come to school on account
of a funeral, so I brought him (pointing to the little box) with me."

"Well, I'll be----" was the only comment the Maestro found adequate at
the moment.

"It is my little pickaninny-brother," went on Isidro, becoming alive to
the fact that he was a center of interest, "and he died last night of
the great sickness."

"The great what?" ejaculated the Maestro who had caught a few words.

"The great sickness," explained the Assistant. "That is the name by
which these ignorant people call the cholera."


For the next two hours the Maestro was very busy.

Firstly he gathered the "batas" who had been rich enough to attend
Isidro's little show and locked them up--with the impresario himself--in
the little town-jail close by. Then, after a vivid exhortation upon the
beauties of boiling water and reporting disease, he dismissed the school
for an indefinite period. After which, impressing the two town
prisoners, now temporarily out of home, he shouldered Isidro's pretty
box, tramped to the cemetery and directed the digging of a grave six
feet deep. When the earth had been scraped back upon the lonely little
object, he returned to town and transferred the awe-stricken playgoers
to his own house, where a strenuous performance took place.

Tolio, his boy, built a most tremendous fire outside and set upon it all
the pots and pans and caldrons and cans of his kitchen arsenal, filled
with water. When these began to gurgle and steam, the Maestro set
himself to stripping the horrified bunch in his room; one by one he
threw the garments out of the window to Tolio who, catching them,
stuffed them into the receptacles, poking down their bulging protest
with a big stick. Then the Maestro mixed an awful brew in an old
oil-can, and taking the brush which was commonly used to sleek up his
little pony, he dipped it generously into the pungent stuff and began an
energetic scrubbing of his now absolutely panic-stricken wards. When he
had done this to his satisfaction and thoroughly to their discontent, he
let them put on their still steaming garments and they slid out of the
house, aseptic as hospitals.

Isidro he kept longer. He lingered over him with loving and strenuous
care, and after he had him externally clean, proceeded to dose him
internally from a little red bottle. Isidro took everything--the
terrific scrubbing, the exaggerated dosing, the ruinous treatment of his
pantaloons--with wonder-eyed serenity.

When all this was finished the Maestro took the urchin into the
dining-room and, seating him on his best bamboo chair, he courteously
offered him a fine, dark perfecto.

The next instant he was suffused with the light of a new revelation.
For, stretching out his hard little claw to receive the gift, the little
man had shot at him a glance so mild, so wistful, so brown-eyed, filled
with such mixed admiration, trust, and appeal, that a queer softness had
risen in the Maestro from somewhere down in the regions of his heel, up
and up, quietly, like the mercury in the thermometer, till it had flowed
through his whole body and stood still, its high-water mark a little
lump in his throat.

"Why, Lord bless us-ones, Isidro," said the Maestro quietly. "We're only
a child after all; mere baby, my man. And don't we like to go to
school?"

"Señor Pablo," asked the boy, looking up softly into the Maestro's still
perspiring visage, "Señor Pablo, is it true that there will be no school
because of the great sickness?"

"Yes, it is true," answered the Maestro. "No school for a long, long
time."

Then Isidro's mouth began to twitch queerly, and suddenly throwing
himself full-length upon the floor, he hurled out from somewhere within
him a long, tremulous wail.



JAMES MERLE HOPPER


James Merle Hopper was born in Paris, France. His father was American,
his mother French; their son James was born July 23, 1876. In 1887 his
parents came to America, and settled in California. James Hopper
attended the University of California, graduating in 1898. He is still
remembered there as one of the grittiest football players who ever
played on the 'Varsity team. Then came a course in the law school of
that university, and admission to the California bar in 1900. All this
reads like the biography of a lawyer: so did the early life of James
Russell Lowell, and of Oliver Wendell Holmes: they were all admitted to
the bar, but they did not become lawyers. James Hopper had done some
newspaper work for San Francisco papers while he was in law school, and
the love of writing had taken hold of him. In the meantime he had
married Miss Mattie E. Leonard, and as literature did not yet provide a
means of support, he became an instructor in French at the University of
California.

With the close of the Spanish-American War came the call for thousands
of Americans to go to the Philippines as schoolmasters. This appealed to
him, and he spent the years 1902-03 in the work that Kipling thus
describes in "The White Man's Burden":


     To wait in heavy harness
       On fluttered folk and wild--
     Your new-caught sullen peoples,
       Half devil and half child.


His experiences here furnished the material for a group of short stories
dealing picturesquely with the Filipinos in their first contact with
American civilization. These were published in _McClure's_, and
afterwards collected in book form under the title _Caybigan_.

In 1903 James Hopper returned to the United States, and for a time was
on the editorial staff of _McClure's_. Later in collaboration with Fred
R. Bechdolt he wrote a remarkable book, entitled "_9009_". This is the
number of a convict in an American prison, and the book exposes the
system of spying, of treachery, of betrayal, that a convict must
identify himself with in order to become a "trusty." His next book was a
college story, _The Freshman_. This was followed by a volume of short
stories, _What Happened in the Night_. These are stories of child life,
but intended for older readers; they are very successful in reproducing
the imaginative world in which children live. In 1915 and 1916 he acted
as a war correspondent for _Collier's_, first with the American troops
in Mexico in pursuit of Villa, and later in France. His home is at
Carmel, California.



THEY WHO BRING DREAMS TO AMERICA

_"No wonder this America of ours is big. We draw the brave ones from
the old lands, the brave ones whose dreams are like the guiding sign
that was given to the Israelites of old--a pillar of cloud by day, a
pillar of fire by night." "The Citizen" is a story of a brave man who
followed his dream over land and sea, until it brought him to America, a
fortunate event for him and for us._



THE CITIZEN

BY

JAMES FRANCIS DWYER


The President of the United States was speaking. His audience comprised
two thousand foreign-born men who had just been admitted to citizenship.
They listened intently, their faces, aglow with the light of a new-born
patriotism, upturned to the calm, intellectual face of the first citizen
of the country they now claimed as their own.

Here and there among the newly-made citizens were wives and children.
The women were proud of their men. They looked at them from time to
time, their faces showing pride and awe.

One little woman, sitting immediately in front of the President, held
the hand of a big, muscular man and stroked it softly. The big man was
looking at the speaker with great blue eyes that were the eyes of a
dreamer.

The President's words came clear and distinct:

_You were drawn across the ocean by some beckoning finger of hope, by
some belief, by some vision of a new kind of justice, by some
expectation of a better kind of life. You dreamed dreams of this
country, and I hope you brought the dreams with you. A man enriches the
country to which he brings dreams, and you who have brought them have
enriched America._

The big man made a curious choking noise and his wife breathed a soft
"Hush!" The giant was strangely affected.

The President continued:

_No doubt you have been disappointed in some of us, but remember this,
if we have grown at all poor in the ideal, you brought some of it with
you. A man does not go out to seek the thing that is not in him. A man
does not hope for the thing that he does not believe in, and if some of
us have forgotten what America believed in, you at any rate imported in
your own hearts a renewal of the belief. Each of you, I am sure, brought
a dream, a glorious, shining dream, a dream worth more than gold or
silver, and that is the reason that I, for one, make you welcome._

The big man's eyes were fixed. His wife shook him gently, but he did not
heed her. He was looking through the presidential rostrum, through the
big buildings behind it, looking out over leagues of space to a
snow-swept village that huddled on an island in the Beresina, the
swift-flowing tributary of the mighty Dnieper, an island that looked
like a black bone stuck tight in the maw of the stream.

It was in the little village on the Beresina that the Dream came to Ivan
Berloff, Big Ivan of the Bridge.

The Dream came in the spring. All great dreams come in the spring, and
the Spring Maiden who brought Big Ivan's Dream was more than ordinarily
beautiful. She swept up the Beresina, trailing wondrous draperies of
vivid green. Her feet touched the snow-hardened ground, and armies of
little white and blue flowers sprang up in her footsteps. Soft breezes
escorted her, velvety breezes that carried the aromas of the far-off
places from which they came, places far to the southward, and more
distant towns beyond the Black Sea whose people were not under the sway
of the Great Czar.

The father of Big Ivan, who had fought under Prince Menshikov at Alma
fifty-five years before, hobbled out to see the sunbeams eat up the snow
hummocks that hid in the shady places, and he told his son it was the
most wonderful spring he had ever seen.

"The little breezes are hot and sweet," he said, sniffing hungrily with
his face turned toward the south. "I know them, Ivan! I know them! They
have the spice odor that I sniffed on the winds that came to us when we
lay in the trenches at Balaklava. Praise God for the warmth!"

And that day the Dream came to Big Ivan as he plowed. It was a wonder
dream. It sprang into his brain as he walked behind the plow, and for a
few minutes he quivered as the big bridge quivers when the Beresina
sends her ice squadrons to hammer the arches. It made his heart pound
mightily, and his lips and throat became very dry.

Big Ivan stopped at the end of the furrow and tried to discover what had
brought the Dream. Where had it come from? Why had it clutched him so
suddenly? Was he the only man in the village to whom it had come?

Like his father, he sniffed the sweet-smelling breezes. He thrust his
great hands into the sunbeams. He reached down and plucked one of a
bunch of white flowers that had sprung up overnight. The Dream was born
of the breezes and the sunshine and the spring flowers. It came from
them and it had sprung into his mind because he was young and strong. He
knew! It couldn't come to his father or Donkov, the tailor, or Poborino,
the smith. They were old and weak, and Ivan's dream was one that called
for youth and strength.

"Ay, for youth and strength," he muttered as he gripped the plow. "And I
have it!"

That evening Big Ivan of the Bridge spoke to his wife, Anna, a little
woman, who had a sweet face and a wealth of fair hair.

"Wife, we are going away from here," he said.

"Where are we going, Ivan?" she asked.

"Where do you think, Anna?" he said, looking down at her as she stood by
his side.

"To Bobruisk," she murmured.

"No."

"Farther?"

"Ay, a long way farther."

Fear sprang into her soft eyes. Bobruisk was eighty-nine versts away,
yet Ivan said they were going farther.

"We--we are not going to Minsk?" she cried.

"Aye, and beyond Minsk!"

"Ivan, tell me!" she gasped. "Tell me where we are going!"

"We are going to America."

"_To America?_"

"Yes, to America!"

Big Ivan of the Bridge lifted up his voice when he cried out the words
"To America," and then a sudden fear sprang upon him as those words
dashed through the little window out into the darkness of the village
street. Was he mad? America was 8,000 versts away! It was far across the
ocean, a place that was only a name to him, a place where he knew no
one. He wondered in the strange little silence that followed his words
if the crippled son of Poborino, the smith, had heard him. The cripple
would jeer at him if the night wind had carried the words to his ear.

Anna remained staring at her big husband for a few minutes, then she sat
down quietly at his side. There was a strange look in his big blue eyes,
the look of a man to whom has come a vision, the look which came into
the eyes of those shepherds of Judea long, long ago.

"What is it, Ivan?" she murmured softly, patting his big hand. "Tell
me."

And Big Ivan of the Bridge, slow of tongue, told of the Dream. To no one
else would he have told it. Anna understood. She had a way of patting
his hands and saying soft things when his tongue could not find words to
express his thoughts.

Ivan told how the Dream had come to him as he plowed. He told her how it
had sprung upon him, a wonderful dream born of the soft breezes, of the
sunshine, of the sweet smell of the upturned sod and of his own
strength. "It wouldn't come to weak men," he said, baring an arm that
showed great snaky muscles rippling beneath the clear skin. "It is a
dream that comes only to those who are strong and those who want--who
want something that they haven't got." Then in a lower voice he said:
"What is it that we want, Anna?"

The little wife looked out into the darkness with fear-filled eyes.
There were spies even there in that little village on the Beresina, and
it was dangerous to say words that might be construed into a reflection
on the Government. But she answered Ivan. She stooped and whispered one
word into his ear, and he slapped his thigh with his big hand.

"Ay," he cried. "That is what we want! You and I and millions like us
want it, and over there, Anna, over there we will get it. It is the
country where a muzhik is as good as a prince of the blood!"

Anna stood up, took a small earthenware jar from a side shelf, dusted it
carefully and placed it upon the mantel. From a knotted cloth about her
neck she took a ruble and dropped the coin into the jar. Big Ivan looked
at her curiously.

"It is to make legs for your Dream," she explained. "It is many versts
to America, and one rides on rubles."

"You are a good wife," he said. "I was afraid that you might laugh at
me."

"It is a great dream," she murmured. "Come, we will go to sleep."

The Dream maddened Ivan during the days that followed. It pounded within
his brain as he followed the plow. It bred a discontent that made him
hate the little village, the swift-flowing Beresina and the gray
stretches that ran toward Mogilev. He wanted to be moving, but Anna had
said that one rode on rubles, and rubles were hard to find.

And in some mysterious way the village became aware of the secret.
Donkov, the tailor, discovered it. Donkov lived in one-half of the
cottage occupied by Ivan and Anna, and Donkov had long ears. The tailor
spread the news, and Poborino, the smith, and Yanansk, the baker, would
jeer at Ivan as he passed.

"When are you going to America?" they would ask.

"Soon," Ivan would answer.

"Take us with you!" they would cry in chorus.

"It is no place for cowards," Ivan would answer. "It is a long way, and
only brave men can make the journey."

"Are you brave?" the baker screamed one day as he went by.

"I am brave enough to want liberty!" cried Ivan angrily. "I am brave
enough to want----"

"Be careful! Be careful!" interrupted the smith. "A long tongue has
given many a man a train journey that he never expected."

That night Ivan and Anna counted the rubles in the earthenware pot. The
giant looked down at his wife with a gloomy face, but she smiled and
patted his hand.

"It is slow work," he said.

"We must be patient," she answered. "You have the Dream."

"Ay," he said. "I have the Dream."

Through the hot, languorous summertime the Dream grew within the brain
of Big Ivan. He saw visions in the smoky haze that hung above the
Beresina. At times he would stand, hoe in hand, and look toward the
west, the wonderful west into which the sun slipped down each evening
like a coin dropped from the fingers of the dying day.

Autumn came, and the fretful whining winds that came down from the north
chilled the Dream. The winds whispered of the coming of the Snow King,
and the river grumbled as it listened. Big Ivan kept out of the way of
Poborino, the smith, and Yanansk, the baker. The Dream was still with
him, but autumn is a bad time for dreams.

Winter came, and the Dream weakened. It was only the earthenware pot
that kept it alive, the pot into which the industrious Anna put every
coin that could be spared. Often Big Ivan would stare at the pot as he
sat beside the stove. The pot was the cord which kept the Dream alive.

"You are a good woman, Anna," Ivan would say again and again. "It was
you who thought of saving the rubles."

"But it was you who dreamed," she would answer. "Wait for the spring,
husband mine. Wait."

It was strange how the spring came to the Beresina that year. It sprang
upon the flanks of winter before the Ice King had given the order to
retreat into the fastnesses of the north. It swept up the river escorted
by a million little breezes, and housewives opened their windows and
peered out with surprise upon their faces. A wonderful guest had come to
them and found them unprepared.

Big Ivan of the Bridge was fixing a fence in the meadow on the morning
the Spring Maiden reached the village. For a little while he was not
aware of her arrival. His mind was upon his work, but suddenly he
discovered that he was hot, and he took off his overcoat. He turned to
hang the coat upon a bush, then he sniffed the air, and a puzzled look
came upon his face. He sniffed again, hurriedly, hungrily. He drew in
great breaths of it, and his eyes shone with a strange light. It was
wonderful air. It brought life to the Dream. It rose up within him, ten
times more lusty than on the day it was born, and his limbs trembled as
he drew in the hot, scented breezes that breed the _Wanderlust_ and
shorten the long trails of the world.

Big Ivan clutched his coat and ran to the little cottage. He burst
through the door, startling Anna, who was busy with her housework.

"The Spring!" he cried. "_The Spring!_"

He took her arm and dragged her to the door. Standing together they
sniffed the sweet breezes. In silence they listened to the song of the
river. The Beresina had changed from a whining, fretful tune into a
lilting, sweet song that would set the legs of lovers dancing. Anna
pointed to a green bud on a bush beside the door.

"It came this minute," she murmured.

"Yes," said Ivan. "The little fairies brought it there to show us that
spring has come to stay."

Together they turned and walked to the mantel. Big Ivan took up the
earthenware pot, carried it to the table, and spilled its contents upon
the well-scrubbed boards. He counted while Anna stood beside him, her
fingers clutching his coarse blouse. It was a slow business, because
Ivan's big blunt fingers were not used to such work, but it was over at
last. He stacked the coins into neat piles, then he straightened himself
and turned to the woman at his side.

"It is enough," he said quietly. "We will go at once. If it was not
enough, we would have to go because the Dream is upon me and I hate this
place."

"As you say," murmured Anna. "The wife of Littin, the butcher, will buy
our chairs and our bed. I spoke to her yesterday."

Poborino, the smith; his crippled son; Yanansk, the baker; Dankov, the
tailor, and a score of others were out upon the village street on the
morning that Big Ivan and Anna set out. They were inclined to jeer at
Ivan, but something upon the face of the giant made them afraid. Hand in
hand the big man and his wife walked down the street, their faces turned
toward Bobruisk, Ivan balancing upon his head a heavy trunk that no
other man in the village could have lifted.

At the end of the street a stripling with bright eyes and yellow curls
clutched the hand of Ivan and looked into his face.

"I know what is sending you," he cried.

"Ay, _you_ know," said Ivan, looking into the eyes of the other.

"It came to me yesterday," murmured the stripling. "I got it from the
breezes. They are free, so are the birds and the little clouds and the
river. I wish I could go."

"Keep your dream," said Ivan softly. "Nurse it, for it is the dream of a
man."

Anna, who was crying softly, touched the blouse of the boy. "At the back
of our cottage, near the bush that bears the red berries, a pot is
buried," she said. "Dig it up and take it home with you and when you
have a kopeck drop it in. It is a good pot."

The stripling understood. He stooped and kissed the hand of Anna, and
Big Ivan patted him upon the back. They were brother dreamers and they
understood each other.

Boris Lugan has sung the song of the versts that eat up one's courage as
well as the leather of one's shoes.


     "Versts! Versts! Scores and scores of them!
     Versts! Versts! A million or more of them!
     Dust! Dust! And the devils who play in it,
     Blinding us fools who forever must stay in it."


Big Ivan and Anna faced the long versts to Bobruisk, but they were not
afraid of the dust devils. They had the Dream. It made their hearts
light and took the weary feeling from their feet. They were on their
way. America was a long, long journey, but they had started, and every
verst they covered lessened the number that lay between them and the
Promised Land.

"I am glad the boy spoke to us," said Anna.

"And I am glad," said Ivan. "Some day he will come and eat with us in
America."

They came to Bobruisk. Holding hands, they walked into it late one
afternoon. They were eighty-nine versts from the little village on the
Beresina, but they were not afraid. The Dream spoke to Ivan, and his big
hand held the hand of Anna. The railway ran through Bobruisk, and that
evening they stood and looked at the shining rails that went out in the
moonlight like silver tongs reaching out for a low-hanging star.

And they came face to face with the Terror that evening, the Terror that
had helped the spring breezes and the sunshine to plant the Dream in the
brain of Big Ivan.

They were walking down a dark side street when they saw a score of men
and women creep from the door of a squat, unpainted building. The little
group remained on the sidewalk for a minute as if uncertain about the
way they should go, then from the corner of the street came a cry of
"Police!" and the twenty pedestrians ran in different directions.

It was no false alarm. Mounted police charged down the dark thoroughfare
swinging their swords as they rode at the scurrying men and women who
raced for shelter. Big Ivan dragged Anna into a doorway, and toward
their hiding place ran a young boy who, like themselves, had no
connection with the group and who merely desired to get out of harm's
way till the storm was over.

The boy was not quick enough to escape the charge. A trooper pursued
him, overtook him before he reached the sidewalk, and knocked him down
with a quick stroke given with the flat of his blade. His horse struck
the boy with one of his hoofs as the lad stumbled on his face.

Big Ivan growled like an angry bear, and sprang from his hiding place.
The trooper's horse had carried him on to the sidewalk, and Ivan seized
the bridle and flung the animal on its haunches. The policeman leaned
forward to strike at the giant, but Ivan of the Bridge gripped the left
leg of the horseman and tore him from the saddle.

The horse galloped off, leaving its rider lying beside the moaning boy
who was unlucky enough to be in a street where a score of students were
holding a meeting.

Anna dragged Ivan back into the passageway. More police were charging
down the street, and their position was a dangerous one.

"Ivan!" she cried, "Ivan! Remember the Dream! America, Ivan! _America!_
Come this way! Quick!"

With strong hands she dragged him down the passage. It opened into a
narrow lane, and, holding each other's hands, they hurried toward the
place where they had taken lodgings. From far off came screams and
hoarse orders, curses and the sound of galloping hoofs. The Terror was
abroad.

Big Ivan spoke softly as they entered the little room they had taken.
"He had a face like the boy to whom you gave the lucky pot," he said.
"Did you notice it in the moonlight when the trooper struck him down?"

"Yes," she answered. "I saw."

They left Bobruisk next morning. They rode away on a great, puffing,
snorting train that terrified Anna. The engineer turned a stopcock as
they were passing the engine, and Anna screamed while Ivan nearly
dropped the big trunk. The engineer grinned, but the giant looked up at
him and the grin faded. Ivan of the Bridge was startled by the rush of
hot steam, but he was afraid of no man.

The train went roaring by little villages and great pasture stretches.
The real journey had begun. They began to love the powerful engine. It
was eating up the versts at a tremendous rate. They looked at each other
from time to time and smiled like two children.

They came to Minsk, the biggest town they had ever seen. They looked out
from the car windows at the miles of wooden buildings, at the big church
of St. Catharine, and the woolen mills. Minsk would have frightened them
if they hadn't had the Dream. The farther they went from the little
village on the Beresina the more courage the Dream gave to them.

On and on went the train, the wheels singing the song of the road.
Fellow travelers asked them where they were going. "To America," Ivan
would answer.

"To America?" they would cry. "May the little saints guide you. It is a
long way, and you will be lonely."

"No, we shall not be lonely," Ivan would say.

"Ha! you are going with friends?"

"No, we have no friends, but we have something that keeps us from being
lonely." And when Ivan would make that reply Anna would pat his hand and
the questioner would wonder if it was a charm or a holy relic that the
bright-eyed couple possessed.

They ran through Vilna, on through flat stretches of Courland to Libau,
where they saw the sea. They sat and stared at it for a whole day,
talking little but watching it with wide, wondering eyes. And they
stared at the great ships that came rocking in from distant ports, their
sides gray with the salt from the big combers which they had battled
with.

No wonder this America of ours is big. We draw the brave ones from the
old lands, the brave ones whose dreams are like the guiding sign that
was given to the Israelites of old--a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar
of fire by night.

The harbormaster spoke to Ivan and Anna as they watched the restless
waters.

"Where are you going, children?"

"To America," answered Ivan.

"A long way. Three ships bound for America went down last month."

"Our ship will not sink," said Ivan.

"Why?"

"Because I know it will not."

The harbor master looked at the strange blue eyes of the giant, and
spoke softly. "You have the eyes of a man who sees things," he said.
"There was a Norwegian sailor in the _White Queen_, who had eyes like
yours, and he could see death."

"I see life!" said Ivan boldly. "A free life----"

"Hush!" said the harbor master. "Do not speak so loud." He walked
swiftly away, but he dropped a ruble into Anna's hand as he passed her
by. "For luck," he murmured. "May the little saints look after you on
the big waters."

They boarded the ship, and the Dream gave them a courage that surprised
them. There were others going aboard, and Ivan and Anna felt that those
others were also persons who possessed dreams. She saw the dreams in
their eyes. There were Slavs, Poles, Letts, Jews, and Livonians, all
bound for the land where dreams come true. They were a little
afraid--not two per cent of them had ever seen a ship before--yet their
dreams gave them courage.

The emigrant ship was dragged from her pier by a grunting tug and went
floundering down the Baltic Sea. Night came down, and the devils who,
according to the Esthonian fishermen, live in the bottom of the Baltic,
got their shoulders under the stern of the ship and tried to stand her
on her head. They whipped up white combers that sprang on her flanks and
tried to crush her, and the wind played a devil's lament in her rigging.
Anna lay sick in the stuffy women's quarters, and Ivan could not get
near her. But he sent her messages. He told her not to mind the sea
devils, to think of the Dream, the Great Dream that would become real in
the land to which they were bound. Ivan of the Bridge grew to full
stature on that first night out from Libau. The battered old craft that
carried him slouched before the waves that swept over her decks, but he
was not afraid. Down among the million and one smells of the steerage he
induced a thin-faced Livonian to play upon a mouth organ, and Big Ivan
sang Paleer's "Song of Freedom" in a voice that drowned the creaking of
the old vessel's timbers, and made the seasick ones forget their
sickness. They sat up in their berths and joined in the chorus, their
eyes shining brightly in the half gloom:


     "Freedom for serf and for slave,
     Freedom for all men who crave
     Their right to be free
     And who hate to bend knee
     But to Him who this right to them gave."


It was well that these emigrants had dreams. They wanted them. The sea
devils chased the lumbering steamer. They hung to her bows and pulled
her for'ard deck under emerald-green rollers. They clung to her stern
and hoisted her nose till Big Ivan thought that he could touch the door
of heaven by standing on her blunt snout. Miserable, cold, ill, and
sleepless, the emigrants crouched in their quarters, and to them Ivan
and the thin-faced Livonian sang the "Song of Freedom."

The emigrant ship pounded through the Cattegat, swung southward through
the Skagerrack and the bleak North Sea. But the storm pursued her. The
big waves snarled and bit at her, and the captain and the chief officer
consulted with each other. They decided to run into the Thames, and the
harried steamer nosed her way in and anchored off Gravesend.

An examination was made, and the agents decided to transship the
emigrants. They were taken to London and thence by train to Liverpool,
and Ivan and Anna sat again side by side, holding hands and smiling at
each other as the third-class emigrant train from Euston raced down
through the green Midland counties to grimy Liverpool.

"You are not afraid?" Ivan would say to her each time she looked at him.

"It is a long way, but the Dream has given me much courage," she said.

"To-day I spoke to a Lett whose brother works in New York City," said
the giant. "Do you know how much money he earns each day?"

"How much?" she questioned.

"Three rubles, and he calls the policemen by their first names."

"You will earn five rubles, my Ivan," she murmured. "There is no one as
strong as you."

Once again they were herded into the bowels of a big ship that steamed
away through the fog banks of the Mersey out into the Irish Sea. There
were more dreamers now, nine hundred of them, and Anna and Ivan were
more comfortable. And these new emigrants, English, Irish, Scotch,
French, and German, knew much concerning America. Ivan was certain that
he would earn at least three rubles a day. He was very strong.

On the deck he defeated all comers in a tug of war, and the captain of
the ship came up to him and felt his muscles.

"The country that lets men like you get away from it is run badly," he
said. "Why did you leave it?"

The interpreter translated what the captain said, and through the
interpreter Ivan answered.

"I had a Dream," he said, "a Dream of freedom."

"Good," cried the captain. "Why should a man with muscles like yours
have his face ground into the dust?"

The soul of Big Ivan grew during those days. He felt himself a man, a
man who was born upright to speak his thoughts without fear.

The ship rolled into Queenstown one bright morning, and Ivan and his
nine hundred steerage companions crowded the for'ard deck. A boy in a
rowboat threw a line to the deck, and after it had been fastened to a
stanchion he came up hand over hand. The emigrants watched him
curiously. An old woman sitting in the boat pulled off her shoes, sat in
a loop of the rope, and lifted her hand as a signal to her son on deck.

"Hey, fellers," said the boy, "help me pull me muvver up. She wants to
sell a few dozen apples, an' they won't let her up the gangway!"

Big Ivan didn't understand the words, but he guessed what the boy
wanted. He made one of a half dozen who gripped the rope and started to
pull the ancient apple woman to the deck.

They had her halfway up the side when an undersized third officer
discovered what they were doing. He called to a steward, and the steward
sprang to obey.

"Turn a hose on her!" cried the officer. "Turn a hose on the old woman!"

The steward rushed for the hose. He ran with it to the side of the ship
with the intention of squirting on the old woman, who was swinging in
midair and exhorting the six men who were dragging her to the deck.

"Pull!" she cried. "Sure, I'll give every one of ye a rosy red apple an'
me blessing with it."

The steward aimed the muzzle of the hose, and Big Ivan of the Bridge let
go of the rope and sprang at him. The fist of the great Russian went out
like a battering ram; it struck the steward between the eyes, and he
dropped upon the deck. He lay like one dead, the muzzle of the hose
wriggling from his limp hands.

The third officer and the interpreter rushed at Big Ivan, who stood
erect, his hands clenched.

"Ask the big swine why he did it," roared the officer.

"Because he is a coward!" cried Ivan. "They wouldn't do that in
America!"

"What does the big brute know about America?" cried the officer.

"Tell him I have dreamed of it," shouted Ivan. "Tell him it is in my
Dream. Tell him I will kill him if he turns the water on this old
woman."

The apple seller was on deck then, and with the wisdom of the Celt she
understood. She put her lean hand upon the great head of the Russian and
blessed him in Gaelic. Ivan bowed before her, then as she offered him a
rosy apple he led her toward Anna, a great Viking leading a withered old
woman who walked with the grace of a duchess.

"Please don't touch him," she cried, turning to the officer. "We have
been waiting for your ship for six hours, and we have only five dozen
apples to sell. It's a great man he is. Sure he's as big as Finn
MacCool."

Some one pulled the steward behind a ventilator and revived him by
squirting him with water from the hose which he had tried to turn upon
the old woman. The third officer slipped quietly away.

The Atlantic was kind to the ship that carried Ivan and Anna. Through
sunny days they sat up on deck and watched the horizon. They wanted to
be among those who would get the first glimpse of the wonderland.

They saw it on a morning with sunshine and soft wind. Standing together
in the bow, they looked at the smear upon the horizon, and their eyes
filled with tears. They forgot the long road to Bobruisk, the rocking
journey to Libau, the mad buckjumping boat in whose timbers the sea
devils of the Baltic had bored holes. Everything unpleasant was
forgotten, because the Dream filled them with a great happiness.

The inspectors at Ellis Island were interested in Ivan. They walked
around him and prodded his muscles, and he smiled down upon them
good-naturedly.

"A fine animal," said one. "Gee, he's a new white hope! Ask him can he
fight?"

An interpreter put the question, and Ivan nodded. "I have fought," he
said.

"Gee!" cried the inspector. "Ask him was it for purses or what?"

"For freedom," answered Ivan. "For freedom to stretch my legs and
straighten my neck!"

Ivan and Anna left the Government ferryboat at the Battery. They started
to walk uptown, making for the East Side, Ivan carrying the big trunk
that no other man could lift.

It was a wonderful morning. The city was bathed in warm sunshine, and
the well-dressed men and women who crowded the sidewalks made the two
immigrants think that it was a festival day. Ivan and Anna stared at
each other in amazement. They had never seen such dresses as those worn
by the smiling women who passed them by; they had never seen such
well-groomed men.

"It is a feast day for certain," said Anna.

"They are dressed like princes and princesses," murmured Ivan. "There
are no poor here, Anna. None."

Like two simple children, they walked along the streets of the City of
Wonder. What a contrast it was to the gray, stupid towns where the
Terror waited to spring upon the cowed people. In Bobruisk, Minsk,
Vilna, and Libau the people were sullen and afraid. They walked in
dread, but in the City of Wonder beside the glorious Hudson every person
seemed happy and contented.

They lost their way, but they walked on, looking at the wonderful shop
windows, the roaring elevated trains, and the huge skyscrapers. Hours
afterward they found themselves in Fifth Avenue near Thirty-third
Street, and there the miracle happened to the two Russian immigrants. It
was a big miracle inasmuch as it proved the Dream a truth, a great
truth.

Ivan and Anna attempted to cross the avenue, but they became confused in
the snarl of traffic. They dodged backward and forward as the stream of
automobiles swept by them. Anna screamed, and, in response to her
scream, a traffic policeman, resplendent in a new uniform, rushed to her
side. He took the arm of Anna and flung up a commanding hand. The
charging autos halted. For five blocks north and south they jammed on
the brakes when the unexpected interruption occurred, and Big Ivan
gasped.

"Don't be flurried, little woman," said the cop. "Sure I can tame 'em by
liftin' me hand."

Anna didn't understand what he said, but she knew it was something nice
by the manner in which his Irish eyes smiled down upon her. And in front
of the waiting automobiles he led her with the same care that he would
give to a duchess, while Ivan, carrying the big trunk, followed them,
wondering much. Ivan's mind went back to Bobruisk on the night the
Terror was abroad.

The policeman led Anna to the sidewalk, patted Ivan good-naturedly upon
the shoulder, and then with a sharp whistle unloosed the waiting stream
of cars that had been held up so that two Russian immigrants could cross
the avenue.

Big Ivan of the Bridge took the trunk from his head and put it on the
ground. He reached out his arms and folded Anna in a great embrace. His
eyes were wet.

"The Dream is true!" he cried. "Did you see, Anna? We are as good as
they! This is the land where a muzhik is as good as a prince of the
blood!"


The President was nearing the close of his address. Anna shook Ivan, and
Ivan came out of the trance which the President's words had brought upon
him. He sat up and listened intently:

_We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in
the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's
evening. Some of us let those great dreams die, but others nourish and
protect them, nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the
sunshine and light which come always to those who sincerely hope that
their dreams will come true._

The President finished. For a moment he stood looking down at the faces
turned up to him, and Big Ivan of the Bridge thought that the President
smiled at him. Ivan seized Anna's hand and held it tight.

"He knew of my Dream!" he cried. "He knew of it. Did you hear what he
said about the dreams of a spring day?"

"Of course he knew," said Anna. "He is the wisest man in America, where
there are many wise men. Ivan, you are a citizen now."

"And you are a citizen, Anna."

The band started to play "My Country, 'tis of Thee," and Ivan and Anna
got to their feet. Standing side by side, holding hands, they joined in
with the others who had found after long days of journeying the blessed
land where dreams come true.



JAMES FRANCIS DWYER


Mr. Dwyer is an American by adoption, an Australian by birth. He was
born in Camden, New South Wales, April 22, 1874; and received his
education in the public schools there. He entered newspaper work, and in
the capacity of a correspondent for Australian papers traveled
extensively in Australia and in the South Seas, from 1898 to 1906. In
1906 he made a tour through South Africa, and at the conclusion of this
went to England. He came to America in 1907, and since that time has
made his home in New York City. He has been a frequent contributor to
_Collier's_, _Harper's Weekly_, _The American Magazine_, _The Ladies'
Home Journal_, and other periodicals. He has published five books,
nearly all dealing with the strange life of the far East. His first
book, _The White Waterfall_, published in 1912, has its scene in the
South Sea Islands. A California scientist, interested in ancient
Polynesian skulls, goes to the South Seas to investigate his favorite
subject, accompanied by his two daughters. The amazing adventures they
meet there make a very interesting story. _The Spotted Panther_ is a
story of adventure in Borneo. Three white men go there in search of a
wonderful sword of great antiquity which is in the possession of a tribe
of Dyaks, the head-hunters of Borneo. There are some vivid descriptions
in the story and plenty of thrills. _The Breath of the Jungle_ is a
collection of short stories, the scenes laid in the Malay Peninsula and
nearby islands. They describe the strange life of these regions, and
show how it reacts in various ways upon white men who live there. _The
Green Half Moon_ is a story of mystery and diplomatic intrigue, the
scene partly in the Orient, partly in London.

In his later work Mr. Dwyer has taken up American themes. _The Bust of
Lincoln_, really a short story, deals with a young man whose proudest
possession is a bust of Lincoln that had belonged to his grandfather;
the story shows how it influences his life. The story _The Citizen_ had
an interesting origin. On May 10, 1915, just after the sinking of the
_Lusitania_, President Wilson went to Philadelphia to address a meeting
of an unusual kind. Four thousand foreign-born men, who had just become
naturalized citizens of our country, were to be welcomed to citizenship
by the Mayor of the city, a member of the Cabinet, and the President of
the United States. The meeting was held in Convention Hall; more than
fifteen thousand people were present, and the event, occurring as it did
at a time when every one realized that the loyalty of our people was
likely to be soon put to the test, was one of historic importance. Moved
by the significance of this event, Mr. Dwyer translated it into
literature. His story, "The Citizen," was published in _Collier's_ in
November, 1915.



LIST OF AMERICAN SHORT STORIES CLASSIFIED BY LOCALITY


I. THE EAST


NEW ENGLAND

_A New England Nun_; _A Humble Romance_, Mary Wilkins-Freeman.
_Meadow-Grass_; _The Country Road_, Alice Brown.
_A White Heron_; _The Queen's Twin_, Sarah Orne Jewett.
_Pratt Portraits_; _Later Pratt Portraits_, Anna Fuller.
_The Village Watch Tower_, Kate Douglas Wiggin.
_The Old Home House_, Joseph C. Lincoln.
_Hillsboro People_, Dorothy Canfield.
_Out of Gloucester_; _The Crested Seas_, James B. Connolly.
_Under the Crust_, Thomas Nelson Page.
_Dumb Foxglove_, Annie T. Slosson.
_Huckleberries Gathered From New England Hills_, Rose Terry Cooke.


NEW YORK CITY

_The Four Million_; _The Voice of the City_; _The Trimmed Lamp_,
   O. Henry.
_Van Bibber and Others_, Richard Harding Davis.
_Doctor Rast_, James Oppenheim.
_Toomey and Others_, Robert Shackleton.
_Vignettes of Manhattan_, Brander Matthews.
_The Imported Bridegroom_, Abraham Cahan.
_Little Citizens_; _Little Aliens_, Myra Kelly.
_The Soul of the Street_, Norman Duncan.
_Wall Street Stories_, Edwin Le Fevre.
_The Optimist_, Susan Faber.
_Every Soul Hath Its Song_, Fannie Hurst.


NEW JERSEY

_Hulgate of Mogador_, Sewell Ford.
_Edgewater People_, Mary Wilkins-Freeman.


PENNSYLVANIA

_Old Chester Tales_; _Doctor Lavender's People_, Margaret Deland.
_Betrothal of Elypholate_, Helen R. Martin.
_The Passing of Thomas_, Thomas A. Janvier.
_The Standard Bearers_, Katherine Mayo.
_Six Stars_, Nelson Lloyd.


II. THE SOUTH


ALABAMA

_Alabama Sketches_, Samuel Minturn Peck.
_Polished Ebony_, Octavius R. Cohen.


ARKANSAS

_Otto the Knight_; _Knitters in the Sun_, Octave Thanet.


FLORIDA

_Rodman the Keeper_, Constance F. Woolson.


GEORGIA

_Georgia Scenes_, A. B. Longstreet.
_Free Joe_; _Tales of the Home-Folks_, Joel Chandler Harris.
_Stories of the Cherokee Hills_, Maurice Thompson.
_Northern Georgia Sketches_, Will N. Harben.
_His Defence_, Harry Stilwell Edwards.
_Mr. Absalom Billingslea_; _Mr. Billy Downes_, Richard Malcolm Johnston.


KENTUCKY

_Flute and Violin_; _A Kentucky Cardinal_, James Lane Allen.
_In Happy Valley_, John Fox, Jr.
_Back Home_; _Judge Priest and his People_, Irvin S. Cobb.
_Land of Long Ago_; _Aunt Jane of Kentucky_, Eliza Calvert Hall.


LOUISIANA

_Holly and Pizen_; _Aunt Amity's Silver Wedding_, Ruth McEnery Stuart.
_Balcony Stories_; _Tales of Time and Place_, Grace King.
_Old Creole Days_; _Strange True Stories of Louisiana_, George W. Cable.
_Bayou Folks_, Kate Chopin.


TENNESSEE

_In the Tennessee Mountains_; _Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains_,
  Charles Egbert Craddock. (Mary N. Murfree.)


VIRGINIA

_In Ole Virginia_, Thomas Nelson Page.
_Virginia of Virginia_, Amelie Rives.
_Colonel Carter of Cartersville_, F. Hopkinson Smith.


NORTH CAROLINA

_North Carolina Sketches_, Mary N. Carter.


III. THE MIDDLE WEST


INDIANA

_Dialect Sketches_, James Whitcomb Riley.


ILLINOIS

_The Home Builders_, K. E. Harriman.


IOWA

_Stories of a Western Town_; _The Missionary Sheriff_, Octave Thanet.
_In a Little Town_, Rupert Hughes.


KANSAS

_In Our Town_; _Stratagems and Spoils_, William Allen White.


MISSOURI

_The Man at the Wheel_, John Hanton Carter.
_Stories of a Country Doctor_, Willis King.


MICHIGAN

_Blazed Trail Stories_, Stewart Edward White.
_Mackinac and Lake Stories_, Mary Hartwell Catherwood.


OHIO

_Folks Back Home_, Eugene Wood.


WISCONSIN

_Main-Travelled Roads_, Hamlin Garland.
_Friendship Village_; _Friendship Village Love Stories_, Zona Gale.



IV. THE FAR WEST


ARIZONA

_Lost Borders_, Mary Austin.
_Arizona Nights_, Stewart Edward White.


ALASKA

_Love of Life_; _Son of the Wolf_, Jack London.


CALIFORNIA

_The Cat and the Cherub_, Chester B. Fernald.
_The Luck of Roaring Camp_; _Tales of the Argonauts_, Bret Harte.
_The Splendid Idle Forties_, Gertrude Atherton.


NEW MEXICO

_The King of the Broncos_, Charles F. Lummis.
_Santa Fe's Partner_, Thomas A. Janvier.


WYOMING

_Red Men and White_; _The Virginian_; _Members of the Family_,
  Owen Wister.
_Teepee Tales_, Grace Coolidge.


PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

_Caybigan_, James N. Hopper.



NOTES AND QUESTIONS FOR STUDY


THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE

In Greek mythology, the work of creating living things was entrusted to
two of the gods, Epimetheus and Prometheus. Epimetheus gave to the
different animals various powers, to the lion strength, to the bird
swiftness, to the fox sagacity, and so on until all the good gifts had
been bestowed, and there was nothing left for man. Then Prometheus
ascended to heaven and brought down fire, as his gift to man. With this,
man could protect himself, could forge iron to make weapons, and so in
time develop the arts of civilization. In this story the "Promethean
Fire" of love is the means of giving little Emmy Lou her first lesson in
reading.

     1. A test that may be applied to any story is, Does it read as if
     it were true? Would the persons in the story do the things they are
     represented as doing? Test the acts of Billy Traver in this way,
     and see if they are probable.

     2. In writing stories about children, a writer must have the power
     to present life as a child sees it. Point out places in this story
     where school life is described as it appears to a new pupil.

     3. One thing we ought to gain from our reading is a larger
     vocabulary. In this story there are a number of words worth adding
     to our stock. Define these exactly: inquisitorial; lachrymose;
     laconic; surreptitious; contumely.

     Get the habit of looking up new words and writing down their
     meanings.

     4. Can you write a story about a school experience?

     5. Other books containing stories of school life are:

     _Little Aliens_, Myra Kelly; _May Iverson Tackles Life_, Elizabeth
     Jordan; _Ten to Seventeen_, Josephine Daskam Bacon; _Closed Doors_,
     Margaret P. Montague. Read a story from one of these books, and
     compare it with this story.


THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE

Central Park, New York, covers an era of more than eight hundred acres,
with a zoo and several small lakes. On one of the lakes there are large
boats with a huge wooden swan on each side. Richard Harding Davis
located one of his stories here: See "Van Bibber and the Swan Boats,"
in the volume called _Van Bibber and Others_.

     1. How is this story like the preceding one? What difference in the
     characters? What difference in their homes?

     2. How does Myra Kelly make you feel sympathy for the little folks?
     In what ways have their lives been less fortunate than the lives of
     children in your town?

     3. What is peculiar about the talk of these children? Do they all
     speak the same dialect? Many of the children of the East Side never
     hear English spoken at home.

     4. What touches of humor are there in this story?

     5. What new words do you find? Define garrulous, pedagogically,
     cicerone.

     6. Where did Miss Kelly get her materials for this story? See the
     life on page 37.

     7. What other stories by this author have you read? This is from
     _Little Citizens_; other books telling about the same characters
     are _Little Aliens_, and _Wards of Liberty_.

     8. Other books of short stories dealing with children are:
     _Whilomville Stories_, by Stephen Crane; _The Golden Age_, by
     Kenneth Grahame; _The Madness of Philip_, by Josephine Daskam
     Bacon; _The King of Boyville_, by William Allen White; _New
     Chronicles of Rebecca_, by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Read one of these,
     and compare it with Myra Kelly's story.


THE TENOR

     1. Point out the humorous touches in this story.

     2. Is the story probable? To answer this, consider two points:
     would Louise have undertaken such a thing as answering the
     advertisement? and would she have had the spirit to act as she did
     at the close? Note the touches of description and characterization
     of Louise, and show how they prepare for the events that follow.

     3. One of the most effective devices in art is the use of contrast;
     that is, bringing together two things or persons or ideas that are
     very different, perhaps the exact opposite of each other. Show that
     the main effect of this story depends on the use of contrast.

     4. Read the paragraph on page 43 beginning, "It happened to be a
     French tenor." Give in your own words the thought of this
     paragraph. Is it true? Can you give examples of it?

     5. Compare the length of this story with that of others in the
     book. Which authors get their effects in a small compass? Could any
     parts of this story be omitted?

     6. Other stories by H. C. Bunner that you will enjoy are "The Love
     Letters of Smith" and "A Sisterly Scheme" in _Short Sixes_.


THE PASSING OF PRISCILLA WINTHROP

     1. Does the title fit the story well? Why?

     2. Notice the familiar, almost conversational style. Is it suited
     to the story? Why?

     3. Show how the opening paragraph introduces the main idea of the
     story.

     4. To make a story there must be a conflict of some sort. What is
     the conflict here?

     5. How does the account of Julia Neal's career as a teacher (page
     64) prepare for the ending of the story?

     6. Do you have a clear picture in your mind of Mrs. Winthrop? Of
     Mrs. Worthington? Why did not the author tell about their personal
     appearance?

     7. Point out humorous touches in the next to the last paragraph.

     8. Is this story true to life? Who is the Priscilla Winthrop of
     your town?

     9. What impression do you get of the man behind this story? Do you
     think he knew the people of his town well? Did he like them even
     while he laughed at them? What else can you say about him?

     10. Other books of short stories dealing with life in a small town
     are: _Pratt Portraits_, by Anna Fuller; _Old Chester Tales_, by
     Margaret Deland; _Stories of a Western Town_, by Octave Thanet; _In
     a Little Town_, by Rupert Hughes; _Folks Back Home_, by Eugene
     Wood; _Friendship Village_, by Zona Gale; _Bodbank_, by Richard W.
     Child. Read one of these books, or a story from one, and compare it
     with this story.

     11. In what ways does life in a small town differ from life in a
     large city?


THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

This story, taken from the volume called _The Four Million_, is a good
example of O. Henry's method as a short-story writer. It is notable for
its brevity. The average length of the modern short story is about five
thousand words; O. Henry uses a little over one thousand words. This
conciseness is gained in several ways. In his descriptions, he has the
art of selecting significant detail. When Della looks out of the window,
instead of describing fully the view that met her eyes, he says: "She
looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard."
A paragraph could do no more. Again, the beginning of the story is
quick, abrupt. There is no introduction. The style is often elliptical;
in the first paragraph half the sentences are not sentences at all. But
the main reason for the shortness of the story lies in the fact that the
author has included only such incidents and details as are necessary to
the unfolding of the plot. There is no superfluous matter.

Another characteristic of O. Henry is found in the unexpected turns of
his plots. There is almost always a surprise in his stories, usually at
the end. And yet this has been so artfully prepared for that we accept
it as probable. Our pleasure in reading his stories is further
heightened by the constant flashes of humor that light up his pages. And
beyond this, he has the power to touch deeper emotions. When Della heard
Jim's step on the stairs, "she turned white just for a moment. She had a
habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest things, and now
she whispered, 'Please God, make him think I am still pretty.'" One
reads that with a little catch in the throat.

In his plots, O. Henry is romantic; in his settings he is a realist.
Della and Jim are romantic lovers, they are not prudent nor calculating,
but act upon impulse. In his descriptions, however, he is a realist. The
eight-dollar-a-week flat, the frying pan on the back of the stove, the
description of Della "flopping down on the couch for a cry," and
afterwards "attending to her cheeks with the powder-rag,"--all these are
in the manner of realism.

And finally, the tone of his stories is brave and cheerful. He finds the
world a most interesting place, and its people, even its commonplace
people, its rogues, its adventurers, are drawn with a broad sympathy
that makes us more tolerant of the people we meet outside the books.

     1. Compare the beginning of this story with the beginning of
     "Bitter-Sweet." What difference do you note?

     2. Select a description of a person that shows the author's power
     of concise portraiture.

     3. What is the turn of surprise in this story? What other stories
     in this book have a similar twist at the end?

     4. What is the central thought of this story?

     5. Other stories of O. Henry's that ought not to be missed are "An
     Unfinished Story" and "The Furnished Room" in _The Four Million_;
     "A Blackjack Bargainer" in _Whirligigs_; "Best Seller" and "The
     Rose of Dixie" in _Options_; "A Municipal Report" in _Strictly
     Business_; "A Retrieved Reformation" in _Roads of Destiny_; and
     "Hearts and Crosses" in _Hearts of the West_.


THE GOLD BRICK

This story, first published in the _American Magazine_, was reprinted in
a volume called _The Gold Brick_, published in 1910. The quotation "chip
at crusts like Hindus" is from Robert Browning's poem "Youth and Art."
The reference to "Old Walt" at the end of the story is to Walt Whitman,
one of the great poets of democracy.

     1. To make a story interesting, there must be a conflict. In this
     the conflict is double: the outer conflict, between the two
     political factions, and the inner conflict, in the soul of the
     artist. Note how skilfully this inner struggle is introduced: at
     the moment when Kittrell is first rejoicing over his new position,
     he feels a pang at leaving the _Post_, and what it stood for. This
     feeling is deepened by his wife's tacit disapproval; it grows
     stronger as the campaign progresses, until the climax is reached in
     the scene where he resigns his position.

     2. If you knew nothing about the author, what could you infer from
     this story about his political ideals? Did he believe in democracy?
     Did he have faith in the good sense of the common people? Did he
     think it was worth while to make sacrifices for them? What is your
     evidence for this?

     3. How far is this story true to life, as you know it? Do any
     newspapers in your city correspond to the _Post_? To the
     _Telegraph_? Can you recall a campaign in which the contest was
     between two such groups as are described here?

     4. Does Whitlock have the art of making his characters real? Is
     this true of the minor characters? The girl in the flower shop, for
     instance, who appears but for a moment,--is she individualized?
     How?

     5. Is there a lesson in this story? State it in your own words.

     6. What experiences in Whitlock's life gave him the background for
     this story?

     7. What new words did you gain from this? Define meritricious;
     prognathic; banal; vulpine; camaraderie; vilification; ennui;
     quixotic; naïve; pharisaism. What can you say of Whitlock's
     vocabulary?

     8. Other good stories dealing with politics are found in
     _Stratagems and Spoils_, by William Allen White.


HIS MOTHER'S SON

     1. Note the quick beginning of the story; no introduction, action
     from the start. Why is this suitable to this story?

     2. Why is slang used so frequently?

     3. Point out examples of humor in the story.

     4. In your writing, do you ever have trouble in finding just the
     right word? Note on page 123 how Edna Ferber tries one expression
     after another, and how on page 122 she finally coins a
     word--"unadjectivable." What does the word mean?

     5. Do you have a clear picture of Emma McChesney? Of Ed Meyers?
     Note that the description of Meyers in the office is not given all
     at once, but a touch here and then. Point out all these bits of
     description of this person, and note how complete the portrait is.

     6. What have you learned in this story about the life of a
     traveling salesman?

     7. What qualities must a good salesman possess?

     8. Was Emma McChesney a lady? Was Ed Meyers a gentleman? Why do you
     think so?

     9. This story is taken from the book called _Roast Beef, Medium_.
     Other good books of short stories by this author are _Personality
     Plus_, and _Cheerful--by Request_.


BITTER-SWEET

     1. Note the introduction, a characteristic of all of Fannie Hurst's
     stories. What purpose does it serve here? What trait of Gertie's is
     brought out? Is this important to the story?

     2. From the paragraph on page 139 beginning "It was into the
     trickle of the last----" select examples that show the author's
     skill in the use of words. What other instances of this do you note
     in the story?

     3. Read the sketch of the author. What episode in her life gave her
     material for parts of this story?

     4. Notice how skillfully the conversation is handled. The opening
     situation developes itself entirely through dialogue, yet in a
     perfectly natural way. It is almost like a play rather than a
     story. If it were dramatized, how many scenes would it make?

     5. What does the title mean? Does the author give us the key to its
     meaning?

     6. What do you think of Gertie as you read the first part of the
     conversation in the restaurant? Does your opinion of her change at
     the end of the story? Has her character changed?

     7. Is the ending of the story artistic? Why mention the time-clock?
     What had Gertie said about it?

     8. State in three or four words the central idea of the story. Is
     it true to life?

     9. What is the meaning of these words: atavism; penumbra;
     semaphore; astigmatic; insouciance; mise-en-scene; kinetic?

     10. Other books of stories dealing with life in New York City are
     _The Four Million_, and _The Voice of the City_, by O. Henry; _Van
     Bibber and Others_, by Richard Harding Davis; _Every Soul Hath Its
     Song_, by Fannie Hurst; _Doctor Rast_, by James Oppenheim.


THE RIVERMAN

     1. In how many scenes is this story told? What is the connection
     between them?

     2. Is there anything in the first description of Dicky Darrell that
     gives you a slight prejudice against him?

     3. Why was the sympathy of the crowd with Jimmy Powers in the
     birling match?

     4. Comment on Jimmy's remark at the end of the story. Did he mean
     it, or is he just trying to turn away the praise?

     5. What are the characteristics of a lumberman, as seen in Jimmy
     Powers?

     6. Read the sketch of Stewart Edward White, and decide which one of
     his books you would like to read.


FLINT AND FIRE

     1. What does the title mean?

     2. How does the author strike the keynote of the story in the
     opening paragraph?

     3. Where is the first hint of the real theme of the story?

     4. Point out some of the dialect expressions. Why is dialect used?

     5. What turn of surprise comes at the end of the story? Is it
     probable?

     6. What characteristics of New England country people are brought
     out in this story? How does the author contrast them with "city
     people"?

     7. Does this story read as if the author knew the scenes she
     describes? Read the description of Niram plowing (page 191), and
     point out touches in it that could not have been written by one who
     had always lived in the city.

     8. Read the account of how this story was written, (page 210). What
     first suggested the idea? What work remained after the story was
     first written? How did the author feel while writing it? Compare
     what William Allen White says about his work, (page 75).

     9. Other stories of New England life that you will enjoy reading
     are found in the following books: _New England Nun_, Mary E.
     Wilkins; _Cape Cod Folks_, S. P. McLean Greene; _Pratt Portraits_,
     Anna Fuller; _The Country Road_, Alice Brown; _Tales of New
     England_, Sarah Orne Jewett.


THE ORDEAL AT MT. HOPE

     1. This story contains three characters who are typical of many
     colored people, and as such are worth study. Howard Dokesbury is
     the educated colored man of the North. What are the chief traits of
     this character?

     2. Aunt Caroline is the old-fashioned darky who suggests slavery
     days. What are her chief characteristics?

     3. 'Lias is the new generation of the Southern negro of the towns.
     What are his characteristics?

     4. Is the colored American given the same rights as others? Read
     carefully the opening paragraph of the story.

     5. What were the weaknesses of the colored people of Mt. Hope? How
     far are they true of the race? How were they overcome in this case?

     6. There are two theories about the proper solution of what is
     called "The Negro Problem." One is, that the hope of the race lies
     in industrial training; the other theory, that they should have
     higher intellectual training, so as to develope great leaders.
     Which theory do you think Dunbar held? Why do you think so?

     7. Other stories dealing with the life of the colored people are:
     _Free Joe_, and _Tales of the Home Folks_, by Joel Chandler Harris;
     _Polished Ebony_, by Octavius R. Cohen; _Aunt Amity's Silver
     Wedding_, by Ruth McEnery Stuart; _In Ole Virginia_, by Thomas
     Nelson Page.


ISRAEL DRAKE

The Pennsylvania State Police have made a wonderful record for
maintaining law and order in the rural sections of the state. The
history of this organization was told by Katherine Mayo in a book called
_Justice to All_. In a later book, _The Standard Bearers_, she tells
various incidents which show how these men do their work. The book is
not fiction--the story here told happened just as it is set down, even
the names of the troopers are their real names.

     1. Do you get a clear picture of Drake from the description? Why
     are several pages given to telling his past career?

     2. Where does the real story begin?

     3. Who was the tramp at the Carlisle Station? When did you guess
     it?

     4. What are the principles of the State Police, as you see them in
     this story?

     5. Why was such an organization necessary? Is there one in your
     state?

     6. What new words did you find in this story? Define aura,
     primeval, grisly.


THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH OF ISIDRO

In this story the author introduces a number of unfamiliar words,
chiefly of Spanish origin, which are current in the Philippines. The
meanings are given below.

     _baguio_, hurricane.
     _barrio_, ward; district.
     _carabao_, a kind of buffalo, used as a work animal.
     _cabo_, head officer.
     _cibay_, a boys' game.
     _daledale_, hurry up!
     _de los Reyes_, of the King.
     _de la Cruz_, of the cross.
     _hacienda_, a large plantation.
     _ladrones_, robbers.
     _maestro_, teacher.
     _nipa_, a palm tree or the thatch made from it.
     _palay_, rice.
     _pronto_, quickly.
     _pueblo_, town.
     _que barbaridad!_--what an atrocious thing!
     _volador_, kite.

     1. Why does the story end with Isidro's crying? What did this
     signify? What is the relation of this to the beginning of the
     story?

     2. Has this story a central idea? What is it?

     3. This might be called a story of local color, in that it gives in
     some detail the atmosphere of an unfamiliar locality. What are the
     best descriptive passages in the story?

     4. Judging from this story, what are some of the difficulties a
     school teacher meets with in the Philippines? What must he be
     besides a teacher?

     5. What other school stories are there in this book? The pupils in
     Emmy Lou's school, (in Louisville, Ky.) are those with several
     generations of American ancestry behind them; in Myra Kelly's
     story, they are the children of foreign parents; in this story they
     are still in a foreign land--that is, a land where they are not
     surrounded by American influences. The public school is the one
     experience that is common to them all, and therefore the greatest
     single force in bringing them all to share in a common ideal, to
     reverence the great men of our country's history, and to comprehend
     the meaning of democracy. How does it do these things?


THE CITIZEN

     1. During the war, President Wilson delivered an address at
     Philadelphia to an audience of men who had just been made citizens.
     The quoted passages in this story are taken from this speech. Read
     these passages, and select the one which probably gave the author
     the idea for this story.

     2. Starting with the idea, that he would write a story about
     someone who followed a dream to America, why should the author
     choose Russia as the country of departure?

     3. Having chosen Russia, why does he make Ivan a resident of a
     village far in the interior? Why not at Libau?

     4. Two incidents are told as occurring on the journey: the charge
     of the police at Bobrinsk, and the coming on board of the apple
     woman at Queenstown. Why was each of these introduced? What is the
     purpose of telling the incident on Fifth Avenue?

     5. What have you learned about the manner in which this story was
     written? Compare it with the account given by Dorothy Canfield as
     to how she wrote her story.

     6. What is the main idea in this story? Why do you think it was
     written? Edward Everett Hale wrote a story called "A Man without a
     Country." Suggest another title for "The Citizen."

     7. Has this story in any way changed your opinion of immigrants? Is
     Big Ivan likely to meet any treatment in America that will change
     his opinion of the country?

     8. The part of this story that deals with Russia affords a good
     example of the use of local color. This is given partly through the
     descriptions, partly through the names of the villagers--Poborino,
     Yanansk, Dankov; partly through the Russian words, such as verst
     (about three quarters of a mile), ruble (a coin worth fifty cents),
     kopeck (a half cent), muzhik (a peasant). How is local color given
     in the conversations?

     9. For a treatment of the theme of this story in poetry, read "Scum
     o' the Earth," by Robert Haven Schauffler, in Rittenhouse's _Little
     Book of Modern Verse_. This is the closing stanza:


     "Newcomers all from the eastern seas,
     Help us incarnate dreams like these.
     Forget, and forgive, that we did you wrong.
     Help us to father a nation, strong
     In the comradeship of an equal birth,
     In the wealth of the richest bloods of earth."





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